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Spring 2019


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I thought Mearns was on fire last night. I was also surprised to read that self-deprecating Instagram story. I thought everyone danced wonderfully throughout the whole evening -- the whole cast of Pictures at an Exhibition, Veyette in Oltremare, and Ulbright and Stanley in Rodeo were particular standouts. Pollack was great standing in for Tiler Peck. Oltremare is undeniably not on the same level as the other pieces on the program (some of the ensemble moments in particular were laughably bad), but the excellent dancing -- especially Kowroski's elastic-like extensions in the acrobatic partnering -- still made it enjoyable. 

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9 hours ago, laurel said:

 

Spotted in the audience during the second intermission:  Wendy Whelan, chatting with a young admirer.  They took a photo together, then Whelan sat down and autographed a pair of pointe shoes for her.  It was a kind and gracious moment, quietly done, and wonderful to see.

Whelan was also at the two shows I attended during the week. I think she now attends almost every performance.

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I noticed a young corps member, Jonathan Fahoury, last night in both Oltremare and Rodeo. He did a little duet with Pollack in Oltremare and caught my attention with his fluid, natural, musical movements. He then danced Taylor Stanley's old part in Rodeo, and again was a standout for me. He has a movement quality that I can see taking him places in this company in the future. I look forward to seeing him grow more, and is definitely someone to keep an eye on!

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4 hours ago, NYCgirl said:

I noticed a young corps member, Jonathan Fahoury, last night in both Oltremare and Rodeo. He did a little duet with Pollack in Oltremare and caught my attention with his fluid, natural, musical movements. He then danced Taylor Stanley's old part in Rodeo, and again was a standout for me. He has a movement quality that I can see taking him places in this company in the future. I look forward to seeing him grow more, and is definitely someone to keep an eye on!

Saw Fahoury on Friday night in the same role, and share your sentiments. While nobody can match Taylor Stanley in the role he created, Fahoury is fantastic.

Another corps standout: Rachel Hutsell in Oltremare. She’s got an amazing movement quality and sense of phrasing, even in the unison passages, and I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

It was my first time seeing Oltremare, and for me, it worked — maybe because the subject matter is close to my heart. Interesting to others’ reactions, though.

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On 4/23/2019 at 3:39 PM, rg said:

the following from NYCB's press dept:

<<due to injury, Tiler Peck and Abi Stafford will be both be replaced in their performances this week. (We’re not sure beyond this week.)  Tonight, in Pictures at an Exhibition, Lauren King will make her debut (originally scheduled for Thursday, and replacing Stafford) and Indiana Woodward will replace Tiler Peck. In Oltremare, Brittany Pollack will debut, replacing Tiler Peck.>>

I saw the show.  Lauren King did a great job in Stafford's part, and Woodward also, though no one can match Tiler Peck in that role, in my view.  She is a phenomenon.

Edited by nanran3
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12 hours ago, nanushka said:

What do people think of Baily Jones? She's debuting the Scotch Symphony soloist role (I'm assuming — she's listed third), and I don't recall her dancing from any times I may have seen her.

I've seen Baily Jones in two featured roles recently—the Fairy of Courage (Sleeping Beauty) and the Waltz of the Golden Hours (Coppelia)—and based on those performances I expect she'll do well. 

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14 hours ago, nanushka said:

What do people think of Baily Jones? She's debuting the Scotch Symphony soloist role (I'm assuming — she's listed third), and I don't recall her dancing from any times I may have seen her.

 

She was cast in the third movement of Symphony in C at the Kennedy Center last month and I really enjoyed her dancing. She has a very warm and lighthearted presence and her movement is very clean and springy.

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On 4/28/2019 at 3:39 AM, Leah said:

It’s concerning that Sara Mearns seems to be giving up a few roles now, she just did so with Lilac Fairy and I feel like one or two more recently? I thought she was great on Thursday.

Perhaps wishful thinking, but I interpreted her "goodbye for awhile" to just be referencing the fact that NYCB isn't performing Pictures through at least Spring 2020.

Edited by mille-feuille
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It was my first time seeing Scotch Symphony this evening, and Bouder/Gordon’s performance was a bit of a mixed bag (more to come later). I’m mostly familiar with the ballet’s adagio from the Bell Telephone Hour clip of Maria Tallchief, which includes those thrilling tosses of her through the air. Tonight, there were no tosses. Is that standard nowadays? Are the tosses ever done? Tonight the corps boys just lifted Bouder, and then Gordon took her in his arms and lowered her. I must admit I was disappointed not to see them, and I figured Bouder, more than anyone, would be game to be tossed!  

Edited by fondoffouettes
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51 minutes ago, fondoffouettes said:

It was my first time seeing Scotch Symphony this evening, and Bouder/Gordon’s performance was a bit of a mixed bag (more to come later). I’m mostly familiar with the ballet’s adagio from the Bell Telephone Hour clip of Maria Tallchief, which includes those thrilling tosses of her through the air. Tonight, there were no tosses. Is that standard nowadays? Are the tosses ever done? Tonight the corps boys just lifted Bouder, and then Gordon took her in his arms and lowered her. I must admit I was disappointed not to see them, and I figured Bouder, more than anyone, would be game to be tossed!  

When SFB did it at the City Center Festival they did not do the throw either. Strangely at the SAB workshop a few years ago I remember the throw.

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On 4/24/2019 at 3:33 PM, mille-feuille said:

I've found most Peck that I've seen agreeable but bland, so I was pretty blown away by last night's Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes. My favorite Peck works have been Rodeo and Pulcinella Variations; on the other hand, I've found most of his collaborations with Sufjan Stevens forgettable. His only ballet to electronic music that I like is The Times Are Racing. I'd love it if he stuck to orchestral music...!

Those are my two favorites of Peck too.  And I also loved Belles Lettres.  

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36 minutes ago, Leah said:

Ashley Bouder’s pointe shoes have been getting very squeaky. Has anyone else noticed this? It was very distracting tonight, 

Yes.  I have noticed this too.  The problem started back in the winter season.

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9 hours ago, Leah said:

Ashley Bouder’s pointe shoes have been getting very squeaky. Has anyone else noticed this? It was very distracting tonight, and I remember it being that way as well in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto in the winter. 

Yes, I'm not usually bothered by shoe noise, but I've never heard such a squeak-fest in my entire ballet-going life. It was super distracting, especially in the adagio. I overall enjoyed Scotch Symphony. It was a very strong debut from Gordon, and his variation in the third movement was spectacular. I'm just not sure I really liked him and Bouder together, especially in the adagio. She's a bit overpowering and, to me, doesn't have the delicacy I'd want to see in that sylph-like role. It made me wonder what Gordon would look like with someone like Indiana Woodward. I did miss the lifts; the music builds to a climax, and I don't think cautiously lowering Bouder to the ground matches it (but I can certainly understand why dancers would forgo such a risky move, especially when the man is dancing the ballet for the first time). Baily Jones matched the positive descriptions of her up-thread; she was joyful, light, delightful. I thought the corps looked great, too. Alec Knight was a standout as one of the two demi-soloists -- every move was done big, with such panache.

I agree with Leah about Meghan Fairchild. Duo Concertante isn't a favorite of mine either, but Fairchild has given some of my favorite performances of it, both tonight and when she danced it in the past with Russell Janzen. Anthony Huxley -- wow -- fast, sharp, so musical. I can find the spotlit ending a bit precious and overly sentimental, but his tenderness in this section was quite beautiful. 

While I would have loved to have seen Peck in Sonatine, I thought the role fit Lovette so well; she sparkled in it. I know some have felt that Lovette has struggled to find rep at NYCB that suits her, but this felt like just the sort of role that brought out the best in her. Garcia was just OK. It definitely suited his abilities better than the high-octane bravura roles that NYCB continues to (inexplicably) cast him in. But his dancing seemed effortful at times, and it looked like he struggled to pull off a decent arabesque. And at times his leg positions were just sloppy. 

A an all-around great performance Stravinksy Violin Concerto. The highlight was Kowroski and Danchig-Waring in the first aria. Both danced like artists at the top of their games. Danchig-Waring looks just as good as before his injury, and Kowroski ... you'd think she were at the zenith of her career, rather than nearing the end. 

Edited by fondoffouettes
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3 hours ago, canbelto said:

When SFB did it at the City Center Festival they did not do the throw either. Strangely at the SAB workshop a few years ago I remember the throw.

Thanks for this. I did find this old Mariinsky video where they don't do the throw, but I like how the ballerina at least falls into his arms. Whatever Bouder/Gordon did looked even more cautious. It looked like the corps men were just passing Bouder off to Gordon.

In looking back at the Tallchief/Eglevsky video, I see that they actually do the throw twice each time, so four times total in the ballet. Does anyone know the story on when this was altered? Were the repeated throws just for TV? I do find the throws very compelling and not just a cheap trick. And they harken back to the ballerinas-on-wires days of Romantic ballet. 

I didn't care at all for the clumsily drawn, too-bright backdrop NYCB is using (it kind of looks like a Romantic-Gothic coloring book). They aren't the Karin von Aroldingen designs from 2009, are they? Her designs look much more monochromatic and abstract:

https://dancetabs.com/2017/06/school-of-american-ballet-workshop-performance-new-york/

*Edited to add: I should have checked the program (duh) regarding the set designs. I guess they've reverted to the Horace Armistead designs.

Edited by fondoffouettes
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11 hours ago, Leah said:

Ashley Bouder’s pointe shoes have been getting very squeaky. Has anyone else noticed this? It was very distracting tonight, and I remember it being that way as well in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto in the winter.

YES! I couldn't focus on the dancing during her sections of Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 last winter because of her darn shoes!! Thankfully my guests (new to the ballet; I'm always trying to get others hooked!) somehow didn't notice.

Edited by mille-feuille
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in reference to the "throws" in SCOTCH SYMPHONY, all the Balanchine Catalog says is:


<< The daring throw of the ballerina by four men into the arms of the highlander, simulating the flight by wires of the Romantic age, was later eliminated in favor of placing her in his arms.>>

thus no date given.

I recall longtime NYCB-goer Edward Gorey's once noting in conversation that after a mishap with the move that left Maria Tallchief flat on top of a collapsed Erik Bruhn, the throws were no longer done. this being a memory of the past, of course, there's a chance EG's recollection was faulty.

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