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Spring 2019


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Last night was a lovely night at the ballet, thanks to Stravinsky Violin Concerto closing out the show. There were several fumbles throughout the night (I missed the one with Indiana Woodward and Harrison Coll) - Nieve Corrigan went down hard in Scotch Symphony and for whatever reason Sara Mearns' tights had many holes in Stravinsky Violin Concerto!  I hope the new directors work on the dancers with their "dance faces". While I love Ashley Bouder's dancing, the constant mugging is too much for me. I think Lydia Wellington is just lovely and has a pleasant, elegant expression on her face at all times. Oh and back to Harrison - I liked his dancing but his expression was just too smug for his own good.

I am also loving Aaron Sanz - such nice long limbs and I enjoyed seeing him paired with Sara Mearns. A few dancers stood out as possible concerns to me - Sarah Villwock is looking painfully thin and Jacqueline Bologna is just not in the same shape as she was before.

There was a NYCB YouTube video awhile back where Wendy Whelan was coaching Sara Adams on Liturgy. She said that she really likes Sara and is surprised nobody gives her a chance. I'm hoping to see more of Sara because I really admire her clean technique and turnout.

I'm also wondering if the new team will be weeding out long-term corps members or certain principals that might be needing to retire. I've seen speculation on here, only time will tell.

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2 minutes ago, jessa_sissonne said:

There were several fumbles throughout the night (I missed the one with Indiana Woodward and Harrison Coll) - Nieve Corrigan went down hard in Scotch Symphony and for whatever reason Sara Mearns' tights had many holes in Stravinsky Violin Concerto!  

It also looked like Lauren Lovette's leotard had a hole in the seam near the hip (right above the skirt) during Stravinsky Violin Concerto! And I thought Sarah Villwock looked distractingly thin in Serenade this winter, so was sorry to still feel that way into the first weeks of the spring season. I'm with you 100% on the smugness, too—that's exactly what I meant. 

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I've been bothered at some recent performances by the wandering eyes of corps members when they are standing in formation. In the finale of Diamonds, there are times when the principals are dancing and the corps are standing along the sides. Some of the ladies are obviously watching the principals, following them across the stage with their eyes, and I've even noticed a few turning their heads to watch! In more informal ballets, like, say, Scotch Symphony, this doesn't seem like a problem, but surely in the grand finale of Diamonds the corps should be standing at military-like attention. I also noticed this in the winter during Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #2, with some corps ladies very intent on Reichlen's solo. 

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I was there on Wednesday night for the Scotch Symphony-Valse Fantaisie-Sonatine-Stravinsky Violin Concerto program. I don't recall ever seeing Valse Fantaisie before this season, but I'd love to see it more often. I thought Indiana Woodward and Harrison Ball, despite the partnering mishap, looked terrific. They both have the presence and personality that makes them look like principal material. I found myself picturing them in Theme & Variations, Ball especially. 

I have my doubts about the Sara Mearns-Aaron Sanz pairing in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Sanz is very striking with his long lines, but his frame is so slender, and Mearns was dancing so full-out that at times I was afraid she was about to wriggle herself out of his hands. 

I see Unity Phelan is debuting in the first movement of Western Symphony tomorrow. I'd love to hear reports from anyone who sees it. 

 

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3 hours ago, vipa said:

Thanks for your report cobweb. What were your impressions of Scotch?

 

Thanks for asking vipa. Scotch Symphony is one of those ballets that I have seen only a few times, being newer to NYCB than many of you. I’ve enjoyed it a lot and find it lingering in my mind for days after. I hope they bring it back soon! Sterling Hyltin looked as if she’s been dancing this for years, a seamless, natural fit for the choreography and the ethereal style. Anthony Huxley was his usual incredible, crystalline self, but could use more of a sense of depth and yearning. I liked Alston Magill well enough, but kept thinking about Baily Jones who I saw last week. I know this habit of comparing is not good. Magill didn’t project or shine as well as Jones but both were very good. 

I’m crushed that I have to miss one of my favorite dancers, Ashley Laracey, debut in Scotch. I count on my friends on BA for many reports!

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Roman Mejia as Brick Boy in DAAG and Harrison Ball as El Capitan in Stars and Stripes both made wonderful debuts last night. Mejia and Megan Fairchild (Apricot) in their duet got such loud applause that I thought they'd come out for another applause. Ball has amazing jumps and fifth position. I thought Lauren Lovette as Pink Girl was pretty but a bit low-impact. 

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Sad about Ashly Isaacs. It seems like she was cast a bit this year, but I can’t renember if it was any point roles or if she was replaced. I feel bad she never came back from her injury, but I hope she continues dancing (if able!) in some capacity.

in teens if promotions, I hold these new debuts are indicative of a promotion for Laracey, she is long overdue. However, I think it is more likely there will be more Corp to soloist promotions (especially with Isaacs leaving). Although it is early, it seems like Mejia is deserving of a promotion. 

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I attended last night and totally agree with canbelto that Harrison Ball and Roman Mejia looked wonderful in their respective debuts. In Stars & Stripes, Ball looked like he was enjoying himself, very much at ease, and playing with the humor in the role. In Dances at a Gathering, Mejia just looked sensational. At times he nearly turned the role into a bravura one, which was not in keeping with the tone of the piece, but he stopped just short of that. You can tell he's loving being onstage and dancing. He and Megan Fairchild looked great together. Watching them, I found myself musing on time and change - just a few years ago, I had never heard of Roman Mejia, nor could I have imagined Megan Fairchild, now looking modern and glam with her highlighted hair, dancing with so much freedom and expansiveness. And it was funny to see Mejia confidently escorting Kowroski, who towers over him and is old enough to be his mother. He seemed undaunted. Finally, watching Aaron Sanz and Sara Mearns, especially with that shoulder lift on their first exit, I recalled last year and Chase Finlay's lamentable, nearly disastrous partnering of Mearns. Glad she now has someone who at least seems committed to doing well by her!

Stars and Stripes is so much fun. It's all silly, but I love it. Emily Kikta led the second regiment with as much tall-girl verve as you could wish for, while Erica Pereira was bland in the first. I love the guys' sections. When will see Mejia leading the men? This is a role perfect for him.

Following up wonderwall's comment about promotions, Mejia may be young but to me he looks ready. Sometimes I worry about young dancers being pushed too fast, but (from what I can see anyway) Mejia looks like he has the emotional attitude to handle the pressure. As for Laracey, god knows she deserves it, but 10 years ago would have been a better time. After a certain point/certain age, they probably would rather promote someone younger, it's a better long-term investment for the company. But, I would be thrilled if she were principal. 

In sum - glad there is so much talent in the company!

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I went to today's (5/12) matinee.

Pereira and Ball looked nice in Valse Fantaisie. It's not Balanchine's most inspired, in my opinion, but even his middle-of-the-road stuff is just lovely. The four corps members looked great, as did Pereira and Ball. I did find him a little "lurch-y" at times.

I preferred Ulbricht's A Suite of Dances today to de Luz's at his retirement. Ulbricht was casual, playful, and introspective -- it was very soothing to see. (Special shout-out to the latecomers behind me who were SQUEAKING their boots and RUSTLING their plastic bags and LOUDLY WHISPERING for what felt like an entire section of the ballet.)

The Tanowitz was so terrible. I just couldn't stand it. Next time if it's programmed, I intend to skip it and do a crossword in the lobby or something. It was cruel and unusual punishment that the curtain came down partially before the ballet was ending. I was so sick of the dreadful choreography I almost burst into applause for the curtain (until I realized the ballet was continuing). At least the dancers looked good. 😐

I agree that Bright was pleasant but too short -- I wanted more, especially after the Tanowitz. Sara Adams and Emilie Gerrity looked lovely, as did Sara Mearns. :wub:

On 5/10/2019 at 12:00 PM, cobweb said:

I see Unity Phelan is debuting in the first movement of Western Symphony tomorrow. I'd love to hear reports from anyone who sees it.

I thought Phelan was a little low-impact, but Taylor Stanley really shone. Pollack and J. Angle underwhelmed in the second movement, but Mearns and Mejia were on FIRE in the third. I was grinning from ear to ear the moment the two of them started dancing. I want to see so much more of him! It was my first time seeing Western Symphony in person and I'm still basking in its playful, fun, energetic afterglow.

Edited by mille-feuille
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17 hours ago, Leah said:

I just counted and so far Mejia has been cast for 5 debuts in the spring season alone. 6 if you include Puck which hasn’t been announced but I think is just a given at this point

Puck seems an obvious fit for Mejia, but what about Oberon? Isn't he often cast short as well?

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Some quick takes on NYCB's 5/12/19 Matinee:

Program and Cast

Valse Fantaisie (Balanchine) - Pereira, Ball
A Suite of Dances (Robbins) - Ulbricht
Bartók Ballet (Tanowitz) - Hutsell, Kitka, Miller, Nadon, Smith, Villwock, Woodward, Alberda, Applebaum, Fahoury, Henson
Bright (Peck) Adams, Gerrity, Mearns, Bolden, Janzen, Scordato
Western Symphony (Balanchine) - Phelan, Stanley, Pollack, Angle, Mearns, Mejia

1. My companion, who is professionally connect to the dance world but who was an NYCB first-timer, observed that the afternoon felt akin to attending a Fall For Dance performance, and I don't think she meant it as a compliment. Frankly, I found it hard to disagree.

2. I found a lot to like in Bartók Ballet and look forward to seeing it again. I know and love the Bartók string quartets, so I didn't find the music to be a barrier to enjoyment: it's not pretty, but I think it is very beautiful. I also know and love Tanowitz' choreography: some of the things I like best in her work turned up in Bartók Ballet. I might not have enjoyed the ballet as much as I did if I had to simultaneously wrap my head around both Tanowitz' and Bartók's pointed departures from, for lack of a better term, "common practice," but I walked into the theater knowing what to expect, and that might have made all the difference. (I listened to String Quartet No. 5 just before I left for the theater, and was interested to see how Tanowitz would deal with certain aspects of the score, e.g., its folk rhythms, the sound effects, the way it ramps up tension and barely releases it, etc etc etc.) I liked seeing how the dancers dug into everything Tanowitz gave them to do. Gretchen Smith, who has worked with Tanowitz before, and Devin Alberda looked absolutely terrific; Bartók Ballet is very much an ensemble work, but Smith and Alberda seemed to be in the point of focus a bit more often than their colleagues. But really, everyone shone.

3. It took me longer to type in the cast of Bright than it did for them to dance it. It was harmless, I guess, and lord knows Gerrity, Adams, and Scordato could use more time in the spotlight than they're getting, but I wish they had gotten more than this trifle.

4. I have no love for Western Symphony's Schlock and AweIt did not help that half the cast just bored me out of my skull. 

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29 minutes ago, Leah said:

Also productions I’ve seen from other companies have had tall Oberons- Roberto Bolle, Hugo Marchand, etc. Is NYCB stricter about a short man doing the role?

Not particularly. I've seen Ib Anderson, Peter Boal, Benjamin Millepied, and Adrew Veyette dance Oberon. Although Boal and Millepied weren't tall dancers per se, they also weren't short powerhouses like, say, Horiuchi.

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6 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

2. I found a lot to like in Bartók Ballet and look forward to seeing it again. I know and love the Bartók string quartets, so I didn't find the music to be a barrier to enjoyment: it's not pretty, but I think it is very beautiful. I also know and love Tanowitz' choreography: some of the things I like best in her work turned up in Bartók Ballet. I might not have enjoyed the ballet as much as I did if I had to simultaneously wrap my head around both Tanowitz' and Bartók's pointed departures from, for lack of a better term, "common practice," but I walked into the theater knowing what to expect, and that might have made all the difference. (I listened to String Quartet No. 5 just before I left for the theater, and was interested to see how Tanowitz would deal with certain aspects of the score, e.g., its folk rhythms, the sound effects, the way it ramps up tension and barely releases it, etc etc etc.) I liked seeing how the dancers dug into everything Tanowitz gave them to do. Gretchen Smith, who has worked with Tanowitz before, and Devin Alberda looked absolutely terrific; Bartók Ballet is very much an ensemble work, but Smith and Alberda seemed to be in the point of focus a bit more often than their colleagues. But really, everyone shone.

I've been intrigued by your reviews in general and also what you have said about Tanowitz.  I didn't see Bartok, but wish I had.  I liked and admired very much her Goldberg Variations and hope to see more of her work.  You seem to be one of the few on this forum who found aspects to appreciate.

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17 hours ago, Marta said:

I've been intrigued by your reviews in general and also what you have said about Tanowitz.  I didn't see Bartok, but wish I had.  I liked and admired very much her Goldberg Variations and hope to see more of her work.  You seem to be one of the few on this forum who found aspects to appreciate.

 

23 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Some quick takes on NYCB's 5/12/19 Matinee:

Program and Cast

Valse Fantaisie (Balanchine) - Pereira, Ball
A Suite of Dances (Robbins) - Ulbricht
Bartók Ballet (Tanowitz) - Hutsell, Kitka, Miller, Nadon, Smith, Villwock, Woodward, Alberda, Applebaum, Fahoury, Henson
Bright (Peck) Adams, Gerrity, Mearns, Bolden, Janzen, Scordato
Western Symphony (Balanchine) - Phelan, Stanley, Pollack, Angle, Mearns, Mejia

1. My companion, who is professionally connect to the dance world but who was an NYCB first-timer, observed that the afternoon felt akin to attending a Fall For Dance performance, and I don't think she meant it as a compliment. Frankly, I found it hard to disagree.

2. I found a lot to like in Bartók Ballet and look forward to seeing it again. I know and love the Bartók string quartets, so I didn't find the music to be a barrier to enjoyment: it's not pretty, but I think it is very beautiful. I also know and love Tanowitz' choreography: some of the things I like best in her work turned up in Bartók Ballet. I might not have enjoyed the ballet as much as I did if I had to simultaneously wrap my head around both Tanowitz' and Bartók's pointed departures from, for lack of a better term, "common practice," but I walked into the theater knowing what to expect, and that might have made all the difference. (I listened to String Quartet No. 5 just before I left for the theater, and was interested to see how Tanowitz would deal with certain aspects of the score, e.g., its folk rhythms, the sound effects, the way it ramps up tension and barely releases it, etc etc etc.) I liked seeing how the dancers dug into everything Tanowitz gave them to do. Gretchen Smith, who has worked with Tanowitz before, and Devin Alberda looked absolutely terrific; Bartók Ballet is very much an ensemble work, but Smith and Alberda seemed to be in the point of focus a bit more often than their colleagues. But really, everyone shone.

3. It took me longer to type in the cast of Bright than it did for them to dance it. It was harmless, I guess, and lord knows Gerrity, Adams, and Scordato could use more time in the spotlight than they're getting, but I wish they had gotten more than this trifle.

4. I have no love for Western Symphony's Schlock and AweIt did not help that half the cast just bored me out of my skull. 

I didn't feel this when I first saw Bartok Ballet, but after reading these comments, and those of Alistair MacCauley about his repeated viewings I feel like I would be interested to see the Tanowitz again. Sometimes a first viewing is needed just to get over the shock of what you're seeing.  (Not that the piece is shocking in and of itself, it's just a very particular vein of choreography. The approach is a shock.)

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12 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

I didn't feel this when I first saw Bartok Ballet, but after reading these comments, and those of Alistair MacCauley about his repeated viewings I feel like I would be interested to see the Tanowitz again. Sometimes a first viewing is needed just to get over the shock of what you're seeing.  (Not that the piece is shocking in and of itself, it's just a very particular vein of choreography. The approach is a shock.)

I really do think that someone who's unfamiliar with Tanowitz' choreography might have trouble finding a way into Bartók Ballet on a first viewing (or even repeated viewings). It can seem like she's allergic to the kind of gracefully curved line that's a hallmark of ballet vocabulary, or the resolution of a phrase into a position of balanced repose.  The Bartók score itself is an added complication. I love it, but it is definitely tense and dense — there are parts where I can feel my muscles tightening up just listening. 

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Here a link to some footage from Bartók Ballet that NYCB posted to its Facebook page. There are parts of the ballet (and, ahem, the score) that aren't this frenetic, but the clip is a decent sample of what the work looked like on stage. 

Not everyone is going to like this work, and that's OK. 

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Forgive me for intruding ... but I wondered if someone could help me.  I'm coming to NYC in February 2020 and wanted to spend the evenings at NYCB (of course)!!!  Can someone tell me when single tickets for the NYCB's Winter 2020 season go on sale.  I would like to get in on the ground floor so to speak 😉 I would be most grateful if someone could let me know.  Much, much thanks.  

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4 minutes ago, meunier fan said:

Can someone tell me when single tickets for the NYCB's Winter 2020 season go on sale.

August, usually. Probably the second or third Sunday, I think? The three main seasons of 2019-20 (fall, winter, spring — but not Nutcracker) will go on sale at once for single tickets.

Edited by nanushka
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I have tickets for May 30 and 31, and strangely it's the same cast (except for the divertissement) both nights. So I get to see Huxley and Mejia two nights in a row. No complaints there! Ever since I saw Huxley do Oberon a few years ago, I've been eager to see it again. (IIRC, he did it one year, but was injured the following year, and then last year they didn't do it.) I'm bummed I'll have to miss Gordon's debut as Oberon, but I have tickets for the SAB workshop that afternoon. If anyone has a workshop ticket for the evening and wants to swap for the afternoon, let me know...

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