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School of American Ballet: 2019 Annual Workshop

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The program for the SAB Workshop (June 1 & 3) was just sent out by e-mail to Friends. Impressive!

Concerto Barocco

Music By Johann Sebastian Bach

Choreography by George Balanchine

Garland Dance from The Sleeping Beauty

Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky

Choreography by George Balanchine

 

 New Sleep (pas de deux)

Music by Thom Willems

Choreography by William Forsythe

Workshop Premiere

 

Bourrée Fantasque

Music by Emmanuel Chabrier

Choreography by George Balanchine

Agon (pas de deux)
Music by Igor Stravinsky
Choreography by George Balanchine
Monday performance only, in tribute to Arthur Mitchell

 

Workshop Performances will take place on Saturday, June 1 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm and Monday, June 3 at 7:00pm.

Tickets will go on sale to the public at www.sab.org in mid-April.

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Happy to see Bourree Fantasque being programmed. It's a busy time of year for me, but I'd love to see it again.

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I was at the matinee. It's a very fun, happy atmosphere and a great show; this is my third year and I'm glad I started attending! Highly recommended for anyone who hasn't attended yet. For me the standout was the charismatic KJ Takahashi in the first movement of Bourree Fantasque. I remember him from the final movement of Western Symphony last year, and he appears to have grown a few inches in the interim, which is great, because last year I feared he was too short to be accepted into NYCB, and now maybe he has a chance. He danced with expansiveness and elegance. I also liked Mary Kate Edwards and Mia Domini in Bourree Fantasque. I had not seen Bourree Fantasque before, and I'm not sure I could sit through many performances of it, but it's a great vehicle for a student workshop. Also it was wonderful to see Concerto Barocco so beautifully rehearsed and the remarkably in sync corps (except for a blunder right at the beginning). On another note, seats are assigned apparently at random, so imagine my surprise when I found I was sitting right next to a friend! Good to see you, let's do it again soon!

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A few of us saw both Saturday shows, and we thought the superb matinee casts were somewhat bettered by the excellent evening ones.  

Concerto  Barocco had two completely different casts.  I was particularly pleased to visit the "world" Suki Schorer's staging of it set before us; not taking anything away from what I said abut the fine, but bolder, staging I saw in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, but early on here I was aware of "seeing" more notes, more of the music, than I had there, even if these performances were a little subdued in energy both onstage and in the orchestra pit by comparison.  

I'm not complaining; I'm just noting some differences.  This was the finest Balanchine I've seen in some time:  Clearly, richly detailed within supple phrasing, never a "demonstration", but a vital and satisfying realization of what I heard.  Well worth the trip.

The Garland Waltz from The Sleeping Beauty is a very different dance from most of what we see in that there's little "upper body" in the choreography (the dancers' arms are occupied with holding  the garlands); but it's not all stage-filling patterns arranged and rearranged according to the near-repetitions of the waltz rhythm, and I found much to enjoy merely watching the clear eloquence of the older girls' feet when they were visible downstage - compensation enough for me for the reduced activity up above.   

Both performances of a pas de deux from William Forsythe's New Sleep seemed highly accomplished and technically secure; neither did much for me.  The movement generally looked coordinated with the noisy sounds we heard, but they never looked necessitated by this accompaniment, disappointingly unlike the Balanchine on the program.  (I gather this fragment was presented partly because some Forsythe choreography is included in the SAB curriculum.)  

Our favorite of all the leads in Bourree Fantasque was Savannah Durham in Bourree Fantasque, the first danced number after the brief Marche joyeux which introduces the ballet, for the way she inhabited her role and in particular the flirtatious relationship of her persona with her partner Dylan Callahan.   

I was a little disappointed that the conductor, Daniel Capps, didn't get the "Workshop Orchestra" to play the faster movements of the Chabrier score for Bouree Fantasque in clearer texture.  There was nothing muzzy about the  dancing!  Credit to Susan Pilarre, who staged it.   

 

Edited by Jack Reed

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I don't know who has been taken into the company, but I do know that Shelby Tzung has accepted a contract with the National Ballet of Canada.  She is also one of this year's Mae L. Wien Award recipients.  (Shelby came from

 Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, CA, founded by Yvonne Mounsey -- my daughters former pre-professional school -- and this was posted on their social media.  Andrew Veyette is also an alumnus.)

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10 hours ago, canbelto said:

Any word on who was taken into the company?

The only thing I saw was a mention in Savannah Durham's bio that she was invited to apprentice with NYCB beginning in July. She is a Mae Wein awardee and got a bio for that.

Jonathan Stafford and Kay Mazzo spoke before the performance. They stood before 17 students of the Capstone Class (I believe that's what they call SAB's graduating class ) of which three were male. As a group they got into ten ballet companies (NYCB, Dresden, Miami City, Cincinati Ballet 2 and PNB, are the ones I remember) and Stafford also mentioned 10 of the more numerous colleges they got into. Some universities, like Fordham and Southern New Hampshire, have robust online programs where professional dancers can more easily continue their educations. At other schools (he mentioned Harvard, Yale and Columbia among the ten) I imagine it would be more difficult. It's possible Savannah is the only one offered an apprenticeship. Usually there's some mention somewhere on social media by now of the new apprentices. They've taken about 7 students each of the past several years so maybe NYCB's need is diminished. There are also a fair number of apprentices performing in Midsummer (do some of the names seem new to any else?), maybe they took apprentices in early and they couldn't dance in the Workshop. (In fact, LaJeromeny Brown has joined NYCB and Cainan Weber is listed as an apprentice so they weren't at the Workshop even though they're listed as students).

I saw inclusion of Forsyth's choreography as a good move on several fronts:  

1. Students get experience with Forsyth's idiom and work with his répétiteurs, which helps them get into more modern focused ballet companies and companies in Europe.  Both the male dancers cast seemed 15 or 16 years old, so this may play out in the future.

2. SAB moves further away from Peter Martins choreography.

3. Perhaps the stagers were already in town for rehearsals for NYCB's revival of Herman Schmerman (I haven't checked my program about this one.)

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31 minutes ago, Jacqueline said:

I don't know who has been taken into the company, but I do know that Shelby Tzung has accepted a contract with the National Ballet of Canada.  She is also one of this year's Mae L. Wien Award recipients.  (Shelby came from

 Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, CA, founded by Yvonne Mounsey -- my daughters former pre-professional school -- and this was posted on their social media.  Andrew Veyette is also an alumnus.)

Shelby looked great! Very spirited and huge front battements. She was one of the casts I saw for Concerto Barocco, if I recall correctly. I went to the dress rehearsal where there were no programs and then saw the Saturday evening performance which had different casts.

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2 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

the Capstone Class (I believe that's what they call SAB's graduating class ) of which three were male.

I was surprised to see there were only three men. Is that typical? That seems barely enough to keep feeding men into the company, let alone producing men who might join other companies.  

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That’s what made me check my programs. I compared the SAB program to the NYCB program and LaJeromeny Brown and Cainan Weber are listed in both. They must be students that were taken in fairly recently.  Brown is in NYCB’s corps and Weber is an apprentice. 

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I went:

Here are the leads in Monday evening's Workshop, in case they haven't been published elsewhere yet:

Concerto Barocco:  Magnussen, Lepson, Tomasini (the same as the Saturday matinee)

"Garland Dance" (the same as Saturday's casts, unless I missed somebody in the huge corps list...)

(Intermission)

Agon pas de deux:  Savannah Durham and Lajeromeny Brown  (The Agon pas de deux, staged by Maria     Kowroski  and Tyler Angle, was listed second after Intermission in the printed program, after the New Sleep pas de deux, but performed before it.)

New Sleep pas de deux: Quinn Starner and Cainan Weber

Bourree Fantasque:  Edwards and Takahashi; Domini and Clark; Hong and Allen (same as the Saturday matinee)

I thought Durham's performance was large, clear, and strong - she is a tall girl to begin with - perhaps lacking only a little in energy and attack compared to some I have seen over the years; but she's "only" 19.  We learned from the pre-performance announcements she had been accepted as an apprentice into NYCB three days before.  (Good for them!)   

Durham looked like her partner gave her everything she needed - she was completely secure - but I have a few reservations about Brown otherwise:  He's a bit short - as a friend pointed out, we've usually seen men standing head and shoulders over the pas de deux woman in the past - and his movements would also have made more effect had he been able to give them more apparent weight or emphasis.  

Still, "loyalty" to your lady goes a long way with me - we've seen some men over the years who look as though they care less for them than for their own dancing.  (I say "look as though" because I think I've picked up accurately over those years that partnering, when the boys encounter it, is almost a whole new game.  Still...)

And having criticized the "Workshop Orchestra's" playing in the Chabrier in fast tempos previously, I should add that Monday evening's musical performance was clearer and even more fun.   
 

Edited by Jack Reed

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I went to Saturday evening's performance too, and in view of the apparent error in the Broadway World review of  that one linked to by our indefatigable dirac, I can testify that a change slip in my program identified Ross Allen's substitution for Jonah Glickman in the last movement, "Fete Polonaise", of Bourree Fantasque.       

Edited by Jack Reed

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I attended on June 4 as well.  I wondered why Maria Kowrowski and Tyler Angle weren’t presented with flowers and didn’t join in the bows after the Agon pdd, as the other stagers did after their ballets were danced. Kowrowski was definitely there although I didn’t see Tyler Angle. 

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On 6/7/2019 at 4:36 PM, Jack Reed said:

Durham looked like her partner gave her everything she needed - she was completely secure - but I have a few reservations about Brown otherwise:  He's a bit short - as a friend pointed out, we've usually seen men standing head and shoulders over the pas de deux woman in the past - and his movements would also have made more effect had he been able to give them more apparent weight or emphasis.

I know it was originally created on Tanaquil LeClerq and Jerome Robbins, but I always thought the first movement of Bouree Fantasque was designed to be danced by a tall woman and a somewhat shorter man. Aren't there a number of jokes with him peeking under her arm, or something similar? 

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I agree with you about Bourree Fantasque, which has a lot of jokes to stretch the range of the classically well-trained SAB students, but if you look again, I think you'll see that in the passage you quote I was writing about the Agon pas de deux Durham danced with Brown.

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