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Spring 2019


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I’m curious if anyone saw Scotch Symphony both Tuesday and today and if today’s performance may have been more satisfying. Bouder’s shoes only squeaked a bit that I could hear and the adagio was better than I’d expected. I wouldn’t call her a delicate sylph but then this is Balanchine not La Sylphide, and she did have more lightness than I’ve often seen from her. (And few facial Ashleyisms except in bit of the final movement.) Gordon was lovely. Alec Knight’s dancing is so large — on some kicks to the front he got his leg a good foot higher than Lars Nelson, it seemed.

India Bradley was in the corps and while I always like her dancing she was noticeably behind the beat compared with others onstage.

I know Mendelssohn doesn’t give Balanchine a ton to work with in the final portion of the finale but I find the ending sequence so disappointing. After the bower, there’s hardly any real inspiration in the choreography. I like when the man kind of throws the woman to the side into something like a pas de chat, but otherwise yawn.

Overall though I do love the piece, and it’s a great opener. It was my first time getting to see it live.

Edited by nanushka
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India Bradley has a very distinctive, angular quality to her dancing that I think would suit soloist roles much more than the corps. Hopefully she gets some opportunities at featured roles soon. I’ve also been noticing Mary Thomas MacKinnon whenever she’s in the corps of something, she has great stage presence. Yesterday as she danced in Slaughter I wondered whether she might be the next Sara Mearns?

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I mostly thoroughly enjoyed this afternoon's performance. It was a great pleasure to see Adrian Danchig-Waring back onstage; I didn't realize how much I'd missed him. Sometimes the dancers seem like dear old friends that I'm happy to see; that's how I felt about Danchig-Waring and Kowroski in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Megan Fairchild, in Duo Concertant, danced with a very appealing sense of freedom and humor. I found Lauren Lovette beautiful in Sonatine, and Garcia has an earthy quality that I enjoy, but overall it seemed lacking in excitement, or something. As for Scotch Symphony, Baily Jones was wonderfully charming. Among much wonderful dancing of the afternoon, I most enjoyed Joseph Gordon. He has some intangible quality that makes me just love him. 

Must dash for the evening performance.  

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After a few hours struggling with the latest update of Quicken this afternoon, I was in dire need of the humor and good cheer of Western Symphony. Before we got there, though, my mood turned even more dark as I sat through the new Tanowitz piece. Maybe if I had ever seen a Tanowitz work before I might have a clue, but I have no idea how to read this piece. Baffling, heavy, and humorless (as far as I can see anyway). The only bright spot was the golden swimsuits that several of the women wore (I didn’t care for this item on the guys); I was only sorry that Emily Kikta didn’t get to wear one. After this the new Peck piece was a blessed relief. Actual ballet! Order! Brightness, light, and pleasing flowy watercolor-y outfits! Finally, on to the hijinks of Western Symphony. Perhaps not as much snap as it should have, but it revived my spirits. Roman Mejia subbed for Veyette in the Rondo, and he and Reichlen were FAB. I left with a smile. Thank you Mr B, I needed that!

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Bartok Ballet was pretty bad. It looked very unfinished, as if she had a lot of ideas, some of them admittedly good, but no time to develop them. There didn’t seem to be any sense in how the ballet was laid out or how it progressed. Many times I didn’t know where to look because different dancers were off doing their own thing on various ends of the stage. I did think that Miriam Miller looked really good, though. Bright was a welcome relief. I liked the orchestration of the Dancigers music, it was much better than his original version for solo piano I had heard earlier. I don’t think it’s the greatest ballet, but as cobweb put so well, it was actual ballet and order. I also really liked the costumes.

Erica Pereira and Daniel Ulbricht were great in Valse Fantaisie. I think this is the kind of soubrette role where Pereira does particularly well. I also liked Gonzalo Garcia in A Suite of Dances, which I did not like at all when De Luz did it last year. I think that De Luz approached it as a more bravura piece while Garcia did better by being more introspective.

Mejia and Reichlen were the obvious highlight of Western Symphony, but Lauren King deserves a lot of praise as well. She has so much warmth in her dancing. I took a closer look at India Bradley tonight, and did notice that she luxuriated in her port de bras a little too much which made her appear a beat behind at times. 

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On 5/3/2019 at 5:21 PM, canbelto said:

I wrote a review for bachtrack about the spring gala that hasn't been published yet but I agree about the disappointment with Tanowitz's work. I thought the Bartok String Quartet had a lot of possibilities but Tanowitz didn't seem to know what to do with the dancers. I can't remember a ballet with so much movement with so little to actually remember.

Well, I agree that the Tanowitz was disappointing. I thought it was oddly static, lots of ideas, but no real movement, no sweep, no visually satisfying formations or changes of formation. It seemed influenced by Merce Cunningham, but his pieces had both a stronger visual sense and a stronger sense of movement, of dancing. Bartok Ballet would have been too long at 1/3 the length. I hope it adds to the dancers' mastery and that they had a good time in the studio, because otherwise.... not many pluses for this one. Some of the dancing, I admit, is spectacular (I think it's Devin Alberda who seems to hop/turn on one leg for two days. Indiana Woodward leads everyone quite capably. Miriam Miller looks fantastic in her gold leotard. Gretchen Smith returns from injury.) I really liked the last Tanowitz piece I saw at Fall For Dance to the Goldberg Variations. I remember more dance type movement in that one. Was the Bartok movement inspired by insects? Ants? Cicadas? It would have been nice to have a clue in the title. Would it have made me more generous? Doubtful.

Justin Peck's Bright was such a relief following the Bartok; sweeping movement, momentum, ebbs and flows of energy. People dancing as people. The piece is quite short. Next time they can dance it twice and skip the Tanowitz, imo.

Megan Fairchild is dancing with newfound radiance. She danced Duo Concertante in the matinee, and 2nd movement Western Symphony Saturday evening. She looks technically as sharp and brilliant as ever and her performing seems more relaxed and expansive. She looks so happy to be there, as if motherhood and her private life situation make her grateful for every moment onstage and helped her to put things into a proper perspective. She says as much in an interview in Refinery29

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/megan-fairchild-postpartum-ballet-interview

Roman Mejia replaced Andy Veyette in Western Symphony. He was amazing, all jumps, beats, multiple turns and bravado befitting a cowboy on a night out with his girl. They brought the house down. I think he and Tess Reichlen made a great couple and someone should revive Bourree Fantasque for them asap! NYCB could probably make a lot of tall gal-shorter guy couples with their current roster. Daniel Ulbright would be great in Bourree Fantasque too. Lauren King and Taylor Stanley started Western Symphony off quite well and it just kept building after that. King and Stanley have a nice partnership. I remember they did a movement of Symphony in C for the Balanchine Celebration last fall.

I hope Andy Veyette is ok.

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On 5/1/2019 at 4:59 PM, Royal Blue said:

Viewing a piece like Oltremare is not exactly what people have in mind when thinking of going to the ballet. In fact, it is a work of contemporary dance instead of a ballet, and it is surprising that NYCB has performed it three years in a row. Nevertheless, its subject matter resonates strongly with some in the audience and is ultimately part of the work's attraction. Even without other reasons, immigration was always and always will be a sensitive subject, since it reflects fundamental aspects of the human condition. Are not all human beings essentially journeyers—through the limitless dimensions of time and space—into the unknown?

Due to vintage photographs, motion pictures, fictional treatments of the topic the massive wave of immigration to the United States during the late 19th and early 20th century—the time period depicted in Mauro Bigonzetti’s Oltremare—looms large in our minds when contemplating the subject. For the vast majority of emigrants leaving their native country during that time extraordinary, daunting risks accompanied whatever promise the journey to America offered. Identifying with the various feelings they likely experienced is not difficult.

My initial bewilderment upon seeing Oltremare dissipated with every subsequent viewing. There is plentiful glamour, style, color showcased at the ballet. This work by Bigonzetti provides an interesting contrast in terms of its choreography, costumes and lusterless overall appearance. And the enthusiasm with which NYCB's dancers have always performed their roles as common people from that period is commendable. Although it may sound sentimental to some, Bruno Moretti's music is touching and effective.

Any criticism regarding the peculiar movement involved in the main pas de deux of Oltremare is offset by how naturally Maria Kowroski and Tyler Angle perform it. An earlier pas de deux with Brittany Pollack and Peter Walker, both splendid in their parts, was as moving and superbly executed. Every other dancer in this run also deserves due credit, with an intriguing Lydia Wellington particularly capturing my own attention.                                                                                                                             *

I'm glad there are some that see the good side of Oltremare.

I've seen Oltremare a few times now. It was the piece that convinced me I am against sleeves in ballet. Women dancers should not wear sleeves if at all possible. These sleeves hide their lines, hide their bodies. I find the costumes so unflattering that it's difficult to see the ballet. (Drab colors are bad enough, though utterly in keeping with the subject of the ballet.) I know it's petty of me, but Maria K and Tiler Peck in buttons and ruffles up to their necks, sleeves down to their wrist bones... it's a waste.

Couldn't it have been about people who immigrate in the summer?    :wallbash:

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14 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

Well, I agree that the Tanowitz was disappointing. I thought it was oddly static, lots of ideas, but no real movement, no sweep, no visually satisfying formations or changes of formation. It seemed influenced by Merce Cunningham, but his pieces had both a stronger visual sense and a stronger sense of movement, of dancing. 

This is a completely accurate observation.  The choreography was clearly influenced and derivative of Cunningham, but lacking in the mastery of a Cunningham work.  There was also a direct quotation from Taylor's Esplanade, but again the Tanowitz usage  was completely static and unmusical.

  I bought a ticket for next week just to see Mejia in Western.  I feel like seeing him in everything is now essential viewing, and I go out of my way to see the performances in which he is appearing.

 

 

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

This is a completely accurate observation.  The choreography was clearly influenced and derivative of Cunningham, but lacking in the mastery of a Cunningham work.  There was also a direct quotation from Taylor's Esplanade, but again the Tanowitz usage  was completely static and unmusical.

  I bought a ticket for next week just to see Mejia in Western.  I feel like seeing him in everything is now essential viewing, and I go out of my way to see the performances in which he is appearing.

Thank you.

I've thought it since the first time I saw him onstage in the SAB workshop: Roman Mejia is a joy to behold.

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It was a treat to see both of yesterday’s performances.  Standouts for me were Lovette in Sonatine, who just glowed, and Fairchild in both roles. WOW, has she come back from maternity time with a renewed sense of herself that comes through.  I had a more positive impression of Tanowitz’s work than most, it seems.  Multiple people spoke to me at intermission to express their dismay, and I’m not one to engage with strangers (gross).  I agree that it was too long, and pretty difficult to love, but I found her movement vocabulary refreshing (in contrast to Peck’s, which seemed like, well, Peck with more lifts than average).  I quite enjoyed the gnarly quartet, and appreciated relationships I saw between the movement and, in particular, the folk themes.  Let me agree in hailing Alberda’s.  His unmannered dancing and beautiful lines should put him in line for promotion!

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Just saw today’s matinee.  Mearns in Slaughter is a hoot.  Legs, legs, legs.  I don’t care for Barber at all.  I think the partnering for the women is just gross.  

Diamonds made me gasp in delight multiple times.  The corps was beautifully synchronous without being wooden.  Much less icy than the Bolshoi corps at City Center, but much more put together than NYCB was at that foray.  Maria and Tyler were a miracle in the second movement.  Expert coaching?  Pure artistry and command.  They were less impressive in the allegros, but still strong.  The Demi-soloists also looked great, with Alberda again leading the way.  The audience was enraptured.

Edited by KikiRVA
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Exhilarating performance at today’s matinee. In Slaughter, Sara Mearns was her go-for-broke self, hair flying. Peter Walker has lots of personality but his technique needs refining. I kept wishing Robbie Fairchild we’re back in the role. 

I enjoyed conductor AndrewLitton’s See the Music exploring Barber’s Violin Concerto with the brilliant solo violin of Kurt Nikkanan. I didn’t think I would like this ballet but I did, especially Taylor Stanley, who commanded the stage, inhabiting the role with sinuous intensity.

Diamonds was scintillating, especially the brilliant Maria Kowroski. I didn’t notice any difference in her performance of this role since being coached by Suzanne Farrell, but others more attuned to the piece may. There did seem a great energy and joy to all the dancers’ performances in this piece. I especially applaud the quartet of Laine Habony, Olivia MacKinnon, Mary Elizabeth Sell, and Lydia Wellington, who all sparkled. Tyler Angle as always is a great partner for Maria but he seems less energized than others, and he lands his jumps heavily (I was in Orch row G). 

Where else can you experience such a great day in the theater? As always, NYCB thrills me.

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1 hour ago, ivanov said:

I loved today's performance of Diamonds!  I hope Suzanne Farrell is invited back to coach many more ballets.

I was there too, and keep trying to stop myself from overly attributing the Diamond's performance to Suzanne. Ultimately I couldn't help myself. The pas was something special. You felt a risk taking/vulnerability on Kowroski's part that isn't usually there. There was also a palpable awareness, nothing was on automatic, everything seemed in the moment. Tiler Angle is always an awesome partner and did well with his solo parts. He is not a virtuoso dancer, and made some wise choices.

The rest of the program was very enjoyable. Somehow, after seeing Slaughter over and over, I still get a kick out it. Mearns was great and danced with abandon. Peter Walker, who I haven't liked in some other things, was great fun as the hooker.

A piece I've seen over and over but have grown tired of, is Barber's Violin Concerto. However, it was fun seeing Emma Von Enck in a lead role (the "modern" dancer). She was great, and had a straightforward, direct attack. Ashley Bouder mugs and smiles through the role (if memory serves) which lends a different tone. I don't know which is the choreographer's intent, but Von Enck carried it off well.

It was my great pleasure to see Cobweb at the ballet and exchange notes! 

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Can I get back for a moment to the discussion of future directions for the NYCB..

I mentioned Wendy Whelan’s ‘Lyrical’ legacy, where, for me, she was perhaps at her finest and most beautiful. This was when she was working with  Christopher Wheeldon. Here, once again, are two of those performances to be seen at 1:50 and 14:10.

 

I think that there’s definitely a place for this sort of gentle beauty at NYCB. At the Mariinsky Festival this year there was a current of lyricism that ran through much of the ‘modern’ performances, especially during the Young Choreographer’s evening. It was also very ballet oriented. I would really enjoy seeing this happen more throughout the ‘modern’ world of dance.

Added: It's sort of interesting to note that in the world of 'modern' rock music, some of the most high energy perfomers' ballads were their biggest hits.

 

htt

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I agree with everyone about the Kowroski-Angle "Diamonds" yesterday. They have a rich and mature artistry. I found the communication between them, the eye contact, the glances and gazes, to be especially touching. Reminds me of that moment at the end of the second movement of Symphony in C, when she falls back into his arms and gazes up at him with trust and surrender -- to him, to her fate. 

I wasn't expecting the unfortunate "See the Music" lecture before Barber Violin Concerto, and this messed up my timing. The website said the program should be over by 5:15, but that must not have accounted for "See the Music." I could see the program was running long and since I was supposed to be on the Upper East Side by 5:30, before "Diamonds" I found a seat on the aisle and figured I'd bolt out just before the polonaise. But I was so caught up that I couldn't bear to leave. The beaming young faces of the corps dancers, and the procession now led by Spartak Hoxha (since Aaron Sanz was promoted), were irresistible. 

I agree with vipa about Emma von Enck's debut in Barber Violin Concerto. I thought she showed great presence and maturity. 

And what's not to love about Sara Mearns in Slaughter on 10th Ave. Totally delicious. I was wondering who else they might have lined up to do this role, and I could see Emilie Gerrity doing it. 

Edited by cobweb
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If anyone catches the Wednesday night Scotch-Valse-Sonatine-Violin Concerto, please let me know what they thought of Macgill in her 'Scotch Symphony' debut! I think she's got something special, but she hasn't really done many leads or soloist parts this season, from what I can tell. I think she was out for injury. 

Love Emma von Enck & Olivia MacKinnon also. 

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I also wanted to comment on Valse Fantaisie, which I saw on Saturday afternoon with Erica Pereira and Daniel Ulbricht. I know some here have found Pereira much improved lately, and I was looking forward to seeing her. While she did have some moments of real radiance, for the most part I found her timid and indecisive, with an insubstantial, lightweight presence. IMHO, she still has a long ways to go.

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On 5/5/2019 at 2:07 PM, BalanchineFan said:

I've seen Oltremare a few times now. It was the piece that convinced me I am against sleeves in ballet. Women dancers should not wear sleeves if at all possible. These sleeves hide their lines, hide their bodies. I find the costumes so unflattering that it's difficult to see the ballet. (Drab colors are bad enough, though utterly in keeping with the subject of the ballet.) I know it's petty of me, but Maria K and Tiler Peck in buttons and ruffles up to their necks, sleeves down to their wrist bones... it's a waste.

I hear you, although I feel differently. To be sure, the stage during ballet performances is not the right place to hide the human body: tutus and leotards are by far my preferred costumes for female dancers. Nonetheless, my experience of watching NYCB has taught me the necessity and logic of balancing these with a variety of other costumes. (Those for The Exchange, for instance, added to that work's interest.) Obviously, no person is going to like every article of clothing they see, and certain costumes may not flatter individual performers. Still, Oltremare is a single dance work about a specific subject. At times, due to their bouncing dresses/skirts as they danced, one could even see the antiquated undergarments from that time period the women were wearing. There was hardly any harm in that! On the contrary, it added to the work's quaintness, and made one marvel at the extraordinary transformation society has undergone since then.

What appeared like a strange wardrobe malfunction with Maria Kowroski’s costume in Diamonds did not tarnish the superb performance of Balanchine's glorious ballet Friday evening. Sunday afternoon's rendition was magnificent! For me, far from being a waste the performances this season of Oltremare with Kowroski and Tyler Angle provided a stimulating visual, moral and intellectual counterpoint to those of Diamonds.  

 

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32 minutes ago, Royal Blue said:

 

What appeared like a strange wardrobe malfunction with Maria Kowroski’s costume in Diamonds did not tarnish the superb performance of Balanchine's glorious ballet Friday evening. Sunday afternoon's rendition was magnificent! For me, far from being a waste the performances this season of Oltremare with Kowroski and Tyler Angle provided a stimulating visual, moral and intellectual counterpoint to those of Diamonds.  

 

I was there, but I didn't notice a wardrobe malfunction in Maria's costume in Diamonds.  What was the malfunction

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I was there. I noticed that there was some slight hesitation, but I thought it was a shoe problem as it seemed to be focused in one leg. I didn’t see any tutu tearing. Regardless she was still amazing. I much preferred her Diamonds to Mearns’ from last fall.

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