Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I find Laracey to be a much more interesting dancer than a couple of the other soloist women who are cast more often — and not infrequently in ballets that either don't make the most of their talents or that actually showcase some of their weaknesses. From the outside it looks as if the company has decided that there are a handful of ballets that suit Laracey's presumed "type," and that's what she gets. If it's willing to challenge other dancers with roles that might not suit them at the outset, but that will feed their artistry, why not Laracey? 

 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

Ashley Laracey’s thoughts on not being cast for the first four weeks of the winter season. Unless she’s been dealing with an injury,

 

By using words like left out and invisible, I get the impression that her absence was not due to injury.  I agree with others that Laracey is much more interesting to me than some of the other soloists like LeCrone. 

I have to wonder if Ashly Isaacs's absence was due to injury or because Stafford isn't casting her.

Share this post


Link to post

I noticed Ashley Laracey's absence and just assumed she must be injured. ... but it appears not. She would have been a much better choice, IMHO for the soloist in Ballet Imperial than Megan LeCrone. 

Share this post


Link to post

I was just logging in to comment that Ashley Laracey was STUNNING in last night's rehearsal when I saw Laracey's instagram post. She (and Brittany Pollack, actually) sparkled. Obviously, it was a rehearsal, and I know dancers are dealing with injuries, saving themselves for tonight's performance, etc., but the two of them brought great energy to the rehearsal, especially next to Megan LeCrone, who had a misstep part of the way through her variation/marked until she stopped dancing (I was seated pretty high so didn't hear all of the dialogue). She walked off stage, but the orchestra prepared to play her variation again and said something to the ballet masters, and the ballet master walked back stage (I'm assuming checked with her), then emerged saying that she said didn't want to re-run it. It was quite the juxtaposition next to Ashley Laracey. I can't wait to see more of her, and equally disappointed not to see her cast thus far this season after seeing her stunning performance of Barocco last year. 

All in all, the rehearsal was interesting to see—it was a full run with tonight's cast. I've never seen NYCB's Sleeping Beauty, and there were some elements that seemed like hallmarks of Martin's choreography. The prologue fairy variations felt rushed to me! I'm not sure if it was the orchestra's tempo or the sheer number of steps crammed into the music. Tess Reichlen's lines and movement quality were absolutely gorgeous, and though she faltered in the 2nd diagonal traveling back with the pique, arabesque, pirouette into the tendu, she spoke with the ballet masters, started the variation again from that diagonal, and re-attempted the step with much better results, which, a was quite the contrast from LeCrone. I'm seeing the same cast this Saturday PM, and I'll be interested to watch Martin's version in performance and now that I have an idea of what to expect. 

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the report on the dress rehearsal. 

Share this post


Link to post
13 minutes ago, gallerina said:

I've never seen NYCB's Sleeping Beauty, and there were some elements that seemed like hallmarks of Martin's choreography. The prologue fairy variations felt rushed to me! I'm not sure if it was the orchestra's tempo or the sheer number of steps crammed into the music.

Likely both. For whatever reason, NYCB insists on taking the score at an absolutely punishing pace. It's not just hard on the dancers, it's hard on the audience too; it's impossible for the music to breathe at those metronome markings and it's as fatiguing to listen to as it must be to dance. If the company is worried about overtime or getting the audience on the last train to Ronkonkoma, then for heaven's sake cut a few minutes of fairy promenading or something. And yes, it does seem as if Martins indulged in an extra step or two when he really didn't need to — when everyone, dancers and audience together — would have benefited from a phrase that was allowed to breathe. 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, abatt said:

I have to wonder if Ashly Isaacs's absence was due to injury or because Stafford isn't casting her.

Sean Suozzi seems to be another soloist who has been completely absent, and not cast in any Sleeping Beauties. Is he injured?

3 hours ago, Balletwannabe said:

That's really sad that she wasn't cast for a whole month.  Seems like a failure on the part of the interim team.  

I should have checked the dates. It was actually three weeks during which she wasn't cast at all.

Edited by fondoffouettes

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB Sleeping Beauty dress rehearsal live stream starting today at 4:15pm on NYCB Facebook page.

Edited by mussel

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, mussel said:

NYCB Sleeping Beauty dress rehearsal live stream starting today at 4:15pm on NYCB Facebook page.

They are also showing it live via Instagram live video right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Quote
10 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

when everyone, dancers and audience together — would have benefited from a phrase that was allowed to breathe. 

I agree Kathleen.  I've been telling friends and family for years that this Sleeping Beauty doesn't breathe.  I call it Sleeping Beauty on "speed" and I don't mean metronome markings.

The first Sleeping Beauty I saw was the Royal Ballet's at the Met many years ago.  It was a prologue and plus three or four acts (I've forgotten).  I'm not advocating that for NYCB but a breath here and there would be welcome.  

 

Share this post


Link to post

I also saw the live stream and I'm afraid I have to agree - the dancers did well considering what they were up against, but those tempi took all the charm and singing beauty out of that amazing score. It became dry and tick-tock. I don't understand what those conductors are trying to prove. That that's how Tchaikovsky wanted it? Seriously doubt that. 

Share this post


Link to post

Just returned to our hotel after the opening night performance of Martins' Sleeping Beauty, and unfortunately it lived up to the sleeping portion of its name. A bit of a snooze! I love these dancers, but it felt like they were not set up for success tonight. The tempo in the fairy variations in particular did not allow the women to fully complete the steps and stretch to the end of their lines. Poor Tess Reichlen as LIlac Fairy looked like she was fighting to catch up the entire time, and it certainly wasn't her fault. Kristen Segin managed the tempo better than others and was a breath of fresh air as Fairy of Eloquence. 

I've been a fan of Sterling Hyltin in other ballets, but she was a big disappointment for us tonight unfortunately. It felt like there was no effort to build her character at all, and it felt like she completely missed the mark on the Rose Adagio. The balances don't have to be perfect, but they should be attempted. That wasn't the case tonight. 

In the third act the shining stars were jewels, especially Megan LeCrone. Little Red Riding Hood was adorable. Another positive note - the sets and costumes were beautiful. Maybe other casts will have better luck as Aurora!

Share this post


Link to post

Last night was my first time seeing City Ballet’s production of Sleeping Beauty.

First of all the dancing last night was pretty lacklustre and really not very clean. After so enjoying Sterling Hyltin in Mozartiana a few weeks ago, I went last night specifically to see her as Aurora, but it was a bit disappointing. Not sure whether she was having an off night or if it’s just not her role but she seemed to be struggling through most of the ballet. The strongest part for her was the coda of the grand pas which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Russell Janzen did a good partnering job, but I really can’t say much for his dancing. He seemed to struggle also.

One always hears how agile City Ballet dancers are, but I can’t say that I felt that way last night. Everyone really seemed to be struggling to keep up and many movements felt incomplete to fit them in. The Prologue Fairies fared especially poorly. So many of these variations rely on port de bras and it seemed as though no care was given to the coaching of the port de bras - just a “do it quick and it will be exciting” feeling. 

The whole production was very amateurish. The projections at the beginning of each scene (still images which fade into another) and projections for the backdrops were particularly irksome. While I appreciated that the designs actually shot forward 100 years for Act III (which Richard Hudson’s for ABT don’t), I found the decision to dress the third act in the 18th century but give only half of the characters powdered wigs (and not the King and Queen!) to be jarring.

The details just really aren’t there. The King physically assaulting Catalabutte for a cheap slapstick comedy moment. The King not being horrified with embarrassment at the begging Queen dropping to her knees. The Queen touching the baby. The Queen greeting Aurora like a best friend with a kiss on each cheek. The King and Queen actually running in front of Carabosse to try and block her. Several characters putting their hands on their hips in frustration. The Countess having a tantrum at the Prince. The hunting party sitting on the floor.

Peter Martins’ additional choreography is also quite awful. He “jazzes up” a lot of things that don’t need to be. I particularly disliked the jewels pas de quatre and the cat pas de deux (which usually has sexual undertones, but in Martins’ version these become blatant over tones with some… rapey undertones?). I also found Martins’ choreography for the nymphs overdone, unmusical and distasteful.

I was extremely shocked to see Ashton’s Act II variation for Aurora show up in this production despite being credited to Martins after Petipa. I’m sure nobody in this company is even aware that this variation is by Ashton and not Petipa. But I wonder if anyone from the Ashton Foundation is aware?

Perhaps most problematic for me was Taylor Stanley appearing as a character called “Africa” in Act I. Not the “African Prince” but “Africa”. The suitors are all pretty nondescript anyway, but why on earth are they each representing an entire continent (Europe, America, Asia, Africa)? It comes across instead as representing a race. They could easily just be “Four Suitors”.

 

Edited by BLalo

Share this post


Link to post

I saw the performance of Sleeping Beauty last night and really enjoyed it. Sterling Hyltin was so fluid in her upper body and radiated joy on stage. She was a very beautiful, effervescent, youthful Aurora. The only time she ever showed any work was during the balances during the Rose Adagio - otherwise, she made it all look so easy. She did raise her arms to fifth position during all 8 of the balances. Tess was a stately and authoritative Lilac Fairy. I enjoyed Kristen Segin's fairy variation as well - definitely the best of the bunch.  Of course, the children were a delight in the Garland Waltz. The Von Enck sisters, Baily Jones, and especially Maira Nadon really stood out in the corps. Ms. Nadon looks like a future Lilac Fairy to me. I don't believe Aurora has to be short, and I would love to see her Aurora too, although that will probably never happen at NYCB. Rus Jensen's prince needs some work - he was pretty stone faced and seemed to struggle with some of the technical demands of the Act III variation. No chemistry between him and Hyltin whatsoever - and that's entirely on him because she as just beaming the whole time. He did a good job of being invisible during the wedding pas, but I would have liked him to bring something to the table.

After all the slamming of this production on BA, I expected it to be a lot worse than it is. The costumes are fine. The courtiers and the jesters have garish colors on their costumes, but the majority of the costumes are absolutely beautiful. My main knock on the program is that there isn't actually a lot of dancing for Aurora!

ETA: I saw on Ashley Hod's instagram that she visited Andy Veyette some place and he is "working on himself." Does anyone have any info on this? She almost made it sound like he was in some kind of rehab.

Edited by chicagoballetomane

Share this post


Link to post

I don't remember seeing this version in the theater, although I had seen the TV production long ago and never felt any special inclination to see it. Still, I'm in town for some meetings, so I thought it was worth checking out.

The highlight for me is Martin's use of Balanchine's Garland Dance. I had seen that before as part of a mixed bill for some special occasion. So many dancers on stage in such interesting formations. Students, corps members. It really is delightful and a reminder of Balanchine's genius for moving large groups of people around.

I saw the dress rehearsal Tuesday night for friends. It's not fair to comment on that, but I was surprised that Hyltin seemed to be dancing mostly full out, with little marking. I wondered if that wouldn't be exhausting just 24 hours before the opening. I wasn't very impressed at the actual opening. Fortunately, the suitors steadied her in several places in the rose adagio and she did raise her arm after each turn. Before the third fish dive, she did something odd -- an overwrought arm gesture (sort of like: here we go - just one more of these things and we're done!). She was off-position on that one, but Jenzen got her into position. He was utterly lacking in presence or anything special otherwise. 

A detail I loved that was probably inspired by Balanchine's stories about how his performances as a child inspired him to pursue ballet: lots more children than we see in other productions. Red Riding Hood was a tiny little girl who was a delight. Little kids carrying gifts for the fairies in the Prologue. Two little ones holding the robes of the king and queen. The Garland Dance, as noted. 

I liked those projections of the trip to the castle. Different and effective. 

Share this post


Link to post
44 minutes ago, chicagoballetomane said:

My main knock on the program is that there isn't actually a lot of dancing for Aurora!

I don't recall, as I've only seen this production once — what from the most traditional versions is missing for her?

Share this post


Link to post

there's mention above from California of a tv production of this staging: can anyone provide particulars on this?

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, BLalo said:

 

Perhaps most problematic for me was Taylor Stanley appearing as a character called “Africa” in Act I. Not the “African Prince” but “Africa”. The suitors are all pretty nondescript anyway, but why on earth are they each representing an entire continent (Europe, America, Asia, Africa)? It comes across instead as representing a race. They could easily just be “Four Suitors”.

 

This makes the point that Aurora is being courted by the regal heads of state from around the world.   Referring to them as four suitors does not convey their high statures.

Share this post


Link to post
38 minutes ago, rg said:

there's mention above from California of a tv production of this staging: can anyone provide particulars on this?

I'm not home at the moment, but I had a memory of seeing this long ago televised somewhere. Now I can't find anything with Google. It's possible I'm mixing this up with something else! So sorry!

Share this post


Link to post
25 minutes ago, abatt said:

This makes the point that Aurora is being courted by the regal heads of state from around the world.   Referring to them as four suitors does not convey their high statures.

Yet in the program they are referred to as “Suitors” and then subsequently “Asia”, “Africa” etc. Nothing to indicate as in other productions that they are princes or have “high stature”. 

Regardless, the point I was trying to make was that their costumes are fairly nondescript and choreographically there is no difference between any of them (most royal Ballet productions have the French Prince do most of the “extra” partner work as Aurora would already probably be familiar with him - but at City Ballet they all take turns doing the extra stuff). They could easily be referred to as “Four Princes” (to convey their high stature).

Edited by BLalo

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, chicagoballetomane said:

ETA: I saw on Ashley Hod's instagram that she visited Andy Veyette some place and he is "working on himself." Does anyone have any info on this? She almost made it sound like he was in some kind of rehab.

Yeah, not sure. Here's the post from Ashley Hod's account for anyone who isn't on Instagram. And Veyette has deleted all past posts from his own account. Now that I look at the casting sheets, I see he wasn't cast in anything this winter season. I guess I assumed that they were phasing him out of roles that no longer suited him, but I didn't realize he'd been completely absent. 

 

Share this post


Link to post

I had assumed he was injured. I thought he danced well in the fall, especially in In Vento.

Share this post


Link to post

Re any lackluster performing, I am always willing to give dancers a pass on a few performances, especially in February. I work in a school and we are riddled through and through with the flu, strep and a gastrointestinal virus. Add a dance environment and you've got just the right mix for illnesses to breed. Any time a bunch of people sweat together en masse in a warm environment, viruses and  bacteria run rampant, especially in deep winter. 

Edited by vagansmom
to correct an autoincorrect

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, California said:

 

 

Edited by angelica
Please delete.

Share this post


Link to post
18 hours ago, Rock said:

I also saw the live stream and I'm afraid I have to agree - the dancers did well considering what they were up against, but those tempi took all the charm and singing beauty out of that amazing score. It became dry and tick-tock. I don't understand what those conductors are trying to prove. That that's how Tchaikovsky wanted it? Seriously doubt that. 

The tempo was probably not entirely at the discretion of the conductor. I recall that when this production was new it was described as being done "our way" (NYCB's way) and found this on their website:

"...Martins' version is streamlined into Two Acts, that combine the drama and beauty of the original choreography with the speed and energy for which New York City Ballet is known."

The music has always been played at breakneck speed, especially the fairy variations. For me this is always the low point of the production because it robs the variations of their meaning and often makes the dancers look ridiculous. Its just impossible to keep up with those tempos and the fact that NYCB always ignores the port de bras is just insult packed upon injury. 

Over all though, I like this production. I like the projections, I like the costumes, I like the use of children and, of course, I love the Garland Dance!

I recall seeing Means the Lilac fairy role several times and she was always amazing & expansive. Also Bouder dispatching the Rose Adagio like it was the easiest thing on earth.

I'm going to my first performance tomorrow night & very much looking forward to it. 

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...