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Spring 2019


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2 hours ago, Leah said:

So is it time to call no promotions this season? I really thought Woodward and Mejia would get it this time around.

Since there were a bunch of promotions (7) this past October, maybe they will wait? I don't think NYCB always announces promotions at the end of the spring season. 

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I was at today’s matinee (last performance of the season). Lovely performance with a few standouts from my perspective. First, Sara Mearns was perfection—her musicality, her extensions, her flexibility, but mostly her joy, which was infectious. There was a delicacy to her dancing. In Slaughter, which I saw her in a few weeks ago, she was on the attack, going for broke—her energy felt by every audience member. Today she was romantic, her dancing with Peter Walker as Bottom was tender. Truly she is at the height of her powers and artistry. 

Second, Harrison Ball as Puck was fantastic. His dramatic acting, leaps, energy, and star power drove the narrative and stole the show. 

I thought Lars Nelson and Lauren King, and Daniel Applebaum and Erica Periera   were delightful both in dance and acting. Peter Walker as Bottom gave a comic and nuanced performance. Georgina Pazcoguin was a strong Hippolyta. I hadn’t seen her for some time and thought she made the most of her role. 

Ask La Cour replaced Russell Janzen as Titania’s cavalier. He was an okay partner for Mearns but had a wooden, passive expression throughout, in contrast to Mearns’ expressiveness and joy. 

Gonzalo Garcia did dance as Oberon, and as Nanushka noted, he acquitted himself fairly well. I did notice that although he does not get great elevations on his jumps, he is precise and lands like a cat—no thuds!

in the Divertissement, Ashley Bouder was graceful and fluid—no shoe squeaks!—but she had a pasted-on smile that looked disingenuous. I prefer her in more forceful roles. It was good to see Adrian D-W back. He was an earnest partner but did not have much expression. 

The children were perfectly trained. I don’t know how their teachers do it! 

One confusing note: before Act I, there was an announcement that La Cour was replacing Janzen. I could swear the voice making the announcement was Peter Martins. If so, why was he there? Did he stage the ballet?

Too bad the season is over.....

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26 minutes ago, CTballetfan said:

One confusing note: before Act I, there was an announcement that La Cour was replacing Janzen. I could swear the voice making the announcement was Peter Martins. If so, why was he there? Did he stage the ballet?

Too bad the season is over.....

I was there. That was NOT Peter Martins' voice. I thought it was the same voice that welcomes people to New York City Ballet every performance. No Danish accent.

Too bad the season's over...

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3 hours ago, FPF said:

Since there were a bunch of promotions (7) this past October, maybe they will wait? I don't think NYCB always announces promotions at the end of the spring season. 

In my 40 years of following NYCB I have seen no external rhyme or reason to when promotions are announced. The only mildly regular thing they do is the hiring of apprentices which happens sometime between December and June, depending on need.

Savannah Durham will be an apprentice at NYCB beginning in May. It's in the SAB workshop program.

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I just want to add a few comments from today's matinee. Ask La Cour was a replacement cavalier and did some mighty fine partnering, which allowed Mearns to have the freedom to really shine. Cavalier isn't really a character, so partnering is the job IMO. His short solos were fine. I enjoyed Gina Pazcoguin's Hippolyta  very much. She was strong and secure. A couple of fixes on the fouettes didn't disturb the rhythm or finish. There were some partnering problems in the 2nd act with Farley which have to be ironed out. His to work out.

I liked Kristen Segin's butterfly. She is such a good dancer. I'd like to see her promoted although her body type isn't typical NYCB.

I almost dreaded seeing Bouder in the 2nd act pas. I typically like her in things like Square Dance. I was pleasantly surprised. I usually feel she goes for the moment to moment balance/trick, and find her a one-trick-pony in her phrasing choices.  Today I felt that her amazing technique was used in service of the piece. For me, it is one of the most heavenly pieces of choreography ever created, and I was mesmerized as usual. 

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I agree with vipa that La Cour did well, especially if this was a last-minute replacement; his partnering was super solid and really allowed Mearns to shine, and shine she did. She was radiant throughout. 

Ball -- wow -- he was spectacular. I think he's the type of dancer who could be both a great Puck and a great Oberon. Garcia was fine as Oberon. Not a memorable performance, but he managed the choreography better than I'd expected.

Yeah, I heard a bunch of squeaks from Bouder's shoes (it might just depend on where you're sitting). It was definitely mood-breaking in such a quiet, dreamy pas de deux. Still, it was only about half the amount of squeaking as in Scotch Symphony. It's maybe not an ideal role for Bouder, but she managed to have more softness and delicacy than she's know for. I was really disappointed in the final move of the PDD, where the ballerina shifts from one of her partner's arms to the other, done so beautifully in this video. Bouder was kind of just passed quickly from one arm to the next. It's one of the most beautiful moments in the PDD, and so unique, so it was a let-down to see it not performed well.

This was my first time seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream live. There's so much to love in it, but I thought the first act especially seems a bit bloated; the part with the four lovers just felt interminable. Hippolyta adds interest to the mist scene, but it just felt too long and a bit dull. I'd love to see the ballet condensed into a one act with a pause between the main story and the wedding. While there's some brilliant choreography throughout, I also think there's quite a bit that's not Balanchine at his best. But it's a beloved work that sells well as an evening-long full-length, and I think I'm probably in the minority in thinking the ballet could use tightening. 

Edited to add: In the wedding act, does Hippolyta always wear slightly darker tights than the rest of the women? I'm curious whether this was a choice to use tights that better match Pazcoguin's complexion; I know she's someone who is very engaged with issues of how dancers of color are represented onstage. It was subtle and I don't think I would have noticed except it made her white point shoes and ribbons stand out more. I was reminded of this article where Olivia Boisson says NYCB is becoming more attuned to issues like these. 

Edited by fondoffouettes
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I know this has already been commented on/complained about, but I too was troubled by Megan LeCrone's lack of any kind of smile during her performance of Hippolyta last night. In the second act particularly, where the three newly engaged/married couples are dancing, the women with white veils in their hair, it seems only natural to look radiant. Pollack and Laracey, of course, have lovely smiles, but LeCrone next to them just looked dour and unhappy. I don't understand why this is a problem for her.

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5 hours ago, cobweb said:

I know this has already been commented on/complained about, but I too was troubled by Megan LeCrone's lack of any kind of smile during her performance of Hippolyta last night. In the second act particularly, where the three newly engaged/married couples are dancing, the women with white veils in their hair, it seems only natural to look radiant. Pollack and Laracey, of course, have lovely smiles, but LeCrone next to them just looked dour and unhappy. I don't understand why this is a problem for her.

It's also not consistently a problem, which suggests it's fixable. I saw her a few weeks ago as a demi-soloist in Theme and Variations and she looked dreadful — black(?!) lipstick and a scowl. But then last week in Stars and Stripes she had a perfectly good expression (though with the same lipstick). I get that some of this is just facial features, and she may have to work extra hard to achieve the right look. (And I do feel kind of icky playing into that old "you should smile more, you'd be so pretty!" trope.) I'm not looking for a big grin here. Just a decently soft expression. Really, it's the sort of thing that one would think she'd have worked out years ago in her training.

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