Jump to content
ABT Fan

ABT 2019 Tharp Trio

Recommended Posts

I cannot wait to see this program. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen In the Upper Room. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

Just a few quick comments on the Thursday night opening program:

  • Cornejo is still out with an "injury." [EDITED TO ADD: I didn't intend those as scare quotes. I was using the term in the slip in the program: "Herman Cornejo is injured and unable to dance this evening." Sorry for the confusion. The continuing silence on his Instagram is ominous. ]
  • Cornejo and Paris were replaced in Brahms-Hayden by Brandt and Scott.
  • Tharp came out at the end of the program to an enthusiastic standing ovation. What a treat. She refused the flowers the usher brought out and threw them into the empty orchestra pit. For several bows, she did a little jig getting to the front of the stage.
  • I thought they overdid it with the smoke in the first few sections. It seemed like much more than they used last fall across the Plaza. The theater was just filled at some point. It was dialed back in the middle sections, then churned up again at the end.
Edited by California
CLARIFICATION

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

I don't think Cornejo has an "injury" - I think he is injured *no scare quotes*.  The fact that this seems to be an annual event is dispiriting.  He was also out of "In the Upper Room" last night where he was replaced by Blaine Hoven and Hoven was replaced by Duncan Lyle.

Some notes:  "The Brahms-Haydn Symphony" is very attractive and not entirely memorable.  Misty Copeland danced very well in this as well as in a different vein in "Deuce Coupe".  Calvin Royal also caught the eye in the first two ballets.  Stephanie Williams had a major soloist role and danced it strongly.  Two corps dancers were up there partnering principals in soloist roles:  Joo Won Ahn and Gary Pogossian.  It worked really well as an ensemble piece but the original ABT cast in 2000 had Carreno, Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky (who were in attendance), Corella, Gomes, Cornejo, Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera, Ashley Tuttle and Sandra Brown. 

"Deuce Coupe" was a collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet and the Tharp company.  It is a very early exploration by Tharp in combining classical steps with modern.  The two styles aren't completely blended.  Each Beach Boys song is linked to a classical academic step or combination.  Usually a solo ballerina - Christine Schevchenko - dances the classical step while the modern dancers jive and boogie to the Beach Boys.  The songs were prerecorded and yes, it sounded canned.  Misty again did very well in several solos and combinations.  James Whiteside brought down the house with a song that was deliberately speeded up and his movements became increasingly spastic and distorted.  I seriously love Whiteside when he is outside of the classical danseur box.  Very versatile artist.

"In the Upper Room" is still a crowd pleaser.  Devon Teuscher and Skylar Brandt were the stomping girls and Isabella Boylston (partnered by a very fine Tom Forster) was the red toe shoes girl.  The eventually shirtless male trio were Aran Bell (who had some partnering mishaps), Blaine Hoven (replacing Herman) and Duncan Lyle (replacing Hoven).  

The evening is long - two and a half hours.  I found it worthwhile but a once only kind of thing.  Halfway through "In the Upper Room" I got antsy and bored - I go back to Gillian Murphy as the stomping girl and Paloma as the red toe shoes girl.  The audience was incredibly enthusiastic with standing ovations and cheers at the end for Tharp who brought on her stagers and demanded that they get her flowers.

Edited by FauxPas

Share this post


Link to post
43 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

 It worked really well as an ensemble piece but the original ABT cast in 2000 had Carreno, Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky (who were in attendance), Corella, Gomes, Cornejo, Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera, Ashley Tuttle and Sandra Brown.  Two corps dancers were up there partnering principals in soloist roles:  Joo Won Ahn and Gary Pogossian. 

 

 

The Glory Days of ABT are long gone.  They had an amazing roster back in 2000.  I'm happy I was able to see the company so often during the height of its artistry.   I doubt we'll be seeing that level of artistic triumph again in this company anytime soon.

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, abatt said:

The Glory Days of ABT are long gone.  They had an amazing roster back in 2000.  I'm happy I was able to see the company so often during the height of its artistry.   I doubt we'll be seeing that level of artistic triumph again in this company anytime soon.

I agree, but I feel this is less of an issue in the mixed rep programs, where the current crop of dancers have really shined and danced at a very high level. It's more of a let-down for me in the full-lengths; I miss wanting to see 3+ casts to catch all those great performers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
3 hours ago, FauxPas said:

"Deuce Coupe" was a collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet and the Tharp company.  It is a very early exploration by Tharp in combining classical steps with modern.  The two styles aren't completely blended.  Each Beach Boys song is linked to a classical academic step or combination.  Usually a solo ballerina - Christine Schevchenko - dances the classical step while the modern dancers jive and boogie to the Beach Boys.  The songs were prerecorded and yes, it sounded canned.  Misty again did very well in several solos and combinations.  James Whiteside brought down the house with a song that was deliberately speeded up and his movements became increasingly spastic and distorted.  I seriously love Whiteside when he is outside of the classical danseur box.  Very versatile artist.

I'm so glad that this work is getting some performances -- it's a key element in Tharp's development as a choreographer.  I can't remember which critic referred to the two different groups as "teams" in the original performances, but several people noticed a kind of Sharks and Jets thing going on.  The solo woman who performs long classical phrases was originated by Pamela Nearhoof (I think -- can't find book to confirm) -- they are danced in alphabetical order, I think from the Gail Grant dictionary.  Tharp has always relished making these kind of interconnected references.

3 hours ago, abatt said:

The Glory Days of ABT are long gone.  They had an amazing roster back in 2000.  I'm happy I was able to see the company so often during the height of its artistry.   I doubt we'll be seeing that level of artistic triumph again in this company anytime soon.

ABT has gone through multiple "glory days," and will likely have many more, unless disaster strikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, fondoffouettes said:

I agree, but I feel this is less of an issue in the mixed rep programs, where the current crop of dancers have really shined and danced at a very high level. It's more of a let-down for me in the full-lengths; I miss wanting to see 3+ casts to catch all those great performers.

I found it interesting that Brian Seibert referred, in his review of the Tharp program today, to "the company's deep bench" — which, I guess is true? There are a lot of talented dancers worthy of top soloist-level status (some of them are, indeed, soloists; some are still in the corps; some have made it above soloist level). There aren't, in my opinion, a lot of dancers worthy of top principal-level status.

Edited by nanushka

Share this post


Link to post
34 minutes ago, nanushka said:

There are a lot of talented dancers worthy of top soloist-level status (some of them are, indeed, soloists; some are still in the corps; some have made it above soloist level). There aren't, in my opinion, a lot of dancers worthy of top principal-level status.

Indeed, some who have attained top principal level status at ABT are not worthy of that status. 

Share this post


Link to post

The originator of the "alphabetical" rendering of the classical ballet lexicon was Erika Goodman.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, FauxPas said:

I don't think Cornejo has an "injury" - I think he is injured *no scare quotes*. 

 

Oh, I didn't intend those as scare quotes. I was using the term in the slip in the program: "Herman Cornejo is injured and unable to dance this evening." (As opposed to, say, illness or schedule conflict...) Sorry for the confusion. The continuing silence on his Instagram is ominous. 

Edited by California

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, sandik said:

 

ABT has gone through multiple "glory days," and will likely have many more, unless disaster strikes.

I would add that ABT currently has a major, internationally renowned choreographer creating and staging for them on a regular basis--something that has not been true in decades (and decades). I know not everyone shares in admiration or liking for Ratmansky's work, but his presence alone makes ABT today an important company in the world of ballet.

My personal ABT "glory days" when it comes to the ballerina roster are the Fracci/Makarova/Kirkland/Van Hamel (etc.) era.

Edited by Drew

Share this post


Link to post

Fracci, Makarov, Kirkland also must have been a great era, but before my time.  

Since ABT has now gone to a new model, whereby it is relying on its own school instead of contracting with artists of international stature, how many stellar artists do we really expect to come out of ABT's school?  It is not an internationally important school.  Even within the US it is not considered a top tier school.  Certainly there are some good dancers, but is anyone really expecting the next Nina Ananiashvilli or Julio Bocca to emerge from ABT's school pipeline?

Share this post


Link to post
17 minutes ago, abatt said:

Fracci, Makarov, Kirkland also must have been a great era, but before my time.  

Since ABT has now gone to a new model, whereby it is relying on its own school instead of contracting with artists of international stature, how many stellar artists do we really expect to come out of ABT's school?  It is not an internationally important school.  Even within the US it is not considered a top tier school.  Certainly there are some good dancers, but is anyone really expecting the next Nina Ananiashvilli or Julio Bocca to emerge from ABT's school pipeline?

If it produces talented dancers like Cassandra Trenary, Skylar Brandt and Catherine Hurlin (among many other standouts), I don't have a problem with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)

ABT’s school hasn’t been around that long (I can’t remember how many years and that info seems absent on their website). In recent years they’ve greatly expanded their curriculum, student body, outreach, and I’d argue, their reputation. Also, Cynthia Harvey, a former star who is known for her teaching ability is now in charge. It takes time to establish an international reputation and produce great dancers. But, if you check the bios of some of their current dancers including principals and soloists, many of them attended the school. There are a lot of (former) star dancers who never studied at SAB, Paris Opera or in Russia, like Bocca and Corella to name two. Maybe JKO will never produce an international star, but I think it is premature and short-sighted at this point to assume they never will.

Added: as Aurora noted, they’ve already produced some standout soloists (and up and comers like Bell) who many of us predict will be well-deserved principals in the near future. I also have no problem with that.

Edited by ABT Fan

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, the three ladies you mention are all talented, good dancers.  However, it remains to be seen whether any of them will turn into important artists of the caliber that used to contract with ABT.

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, abatt said:

Yes, the three ladies you mention are all talented, good dancers.  However, it remains to be seen whether any of them will turn into important artists of the caliber that used to contract with ABT.

Many of whom were exceptional/extraordinary talents no matter where they trained.

In the case of at least some of them, this was at places with no better reputation than ABT's school as ABT Fan noted above.

Share this post


Link to post

Getting back to the Tharp program, Brahms Haydn was very well done last night.  However, I think my favorite Twyla classical ballet is Bach Partita. As always, In the Upper Room is an astonishing display of non stop energy.

 

Last night was my first viewing of Deuce Coupe.  I found it frequently boring and don't need to see it again.  Even though it was only about 30 minutes long, it felt a lot longer.

Share this post


Link to post

Back to Tharp Trio:

Last night was a great night. I thought a lot of dancers, especially some corps men, did very well with the tricky and difficult partnering in all three pieces.

Brahms-Haydn stand-outs were Lane and Pogossian (they looked very good together, and he is another one to watch), Brandt and Scott, and one of the soloist couples McBride and Lyle. 

This was my first time seeing Deuce Coupe. In general I liked it, but I wouldn’t fall over myself to see it again. I thought the graffiti backdrops looked a bit amateurish. Abrera was her usual glamorous and stylish self. Shevchenko was beautiful as the “ballerina “. Whiteside was terrific and funny in his too-short warp-speed solo. Bell, again, kept capturing my eye. I’m more and more impressed by him every time i see him. Hurlin looked really at ease with the choreography as did Ribagorda who filled in for Gonzalez. 

In the Upper Room was worth the whole ticket. What a genius ballet. There were some issues though. Brandt and Lyle missed a chair lift that should have been in sync with 2 other couples. They kind of stood there stunned for a second until Brandt high-fived Lyle to keep it going. Teuscher had several partnering misshaps with Bell and I believe Hoven. She tripped over Bell at one point. I think she was tired, though she didn’t look it, because they looked like the kind of flubs that can happen when your stamina is lagging. Even so, in this type of piece with this kind of choreography, I didn’t think the errors took away from the excellence that both Brandt and Teuscher displayed. It’s obviously a killer ballet and they both looked like they were having a blast. Bell, Forster, Hoven and Lyle were all terrific as well.

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't been posting much but I thought I'd give my thoughts about the Tharp Trio which I saw for the 2nd time this afternoon.  Brahms-Haydn is, for me, an example of what I have always felt has been lacking in Tharp's choreography (I have been watching her since the early days of her first company). She has great craft when it comes to moving people around the stage - groups, duets, trios etc. She does inventive partnering and interesting movements. What is never present is honest, real, emotion. She can do: chic, tongue-in-cheek, cynical, sexy, witty, campy ... but there is no revelation of deep, honest, human emotion.  In her choreography, I've never had the experience of being deeply touched, moved to tears or felt that the movement was so married to the music it seems inevitable.  In Brahms-Haydn, there is no marriage of movement and music at all, IMO. The music is romantic, but the movement ignores any sense of that. i'm not saying there should be a narrative or traditionally romantic choreography, but there should be some connection to the sentiment of the music. I shouldn't be left wondering why she used that music. The ballet could have just as easily been done to Bach or Billy Joel. There were sections in which the dancers had "relationships" but it seemed plastered on. So for me, this piece revealed and confirmed my thoughts of Tharp at her worst.

Deuce Coupe - which I'm old enough to remember from the Joffrey days was an interesting re-visit. I thought the women, in particular, seemed confident and happy in the choreography. 

In the Upper Room, to me, is the best of Tharp. Intense, inventive, dynamic and with the perfect score to go with it. The dancers looked great.

I wish ABT would bring back Push Comes to Shove

 

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, vipa said:

I wish ABT would bring back Push Comes to Shove

I, too, wish they would revive this. Didn't a few other men briefly perform the Baryshnikov role before the ballet was retired? And a gala a few years back had an excerpt, which made us hope they would revive the entire work, but never did?

Share this post


Link to post

In the Upper Room: Saturday night:

What a surprise! Twyla reappeared for the bows at the end. She seemed to be enjoying every moment and the audience couldn't get enough of her. This has been such an appropriate and much-deserved tribute late in her career.  Very glad they programmed this.

These trios of important work by important living choreographers seems to be a successful approach to putting mixed bills onto the Met stage. Not sure who they might try this with in 2020, though.

Share this post


Link to post

I’ll write more later, but I was proud of ABTs performance last night. The theater looked full and the energy level was great (very enthusiastic audience). 

I think deuce coupe was the most successful. Stella looked perfect. To me, she was the standout. In the Upper Room, while always a crowd pleaser, looked like it was danced at 95%. I think they looked tired and a little timid towards the end. Either way, the audience loved it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, California said:

In the Upper Room: Saturday night:

What a surprise! Twyla reappeared for the bows at the end. She seemed to be enjoying every moment and the audience couldn't get enough of her. This has been such an appropriate and much-deserved tribute late in her career.  Very glad they programmed this.

These trios of important work by important living choreographers seems to be a successful approach to putting mixed bills onto the Met stage. Not sure who they might try this with in 2020, though.

Maybe a Mcgregor or Forsythe next season? or Joffrey/Aprino? (Although not living). Wishful thinking? 

Edited by Dancerboy90210

Share this post


Link to post

Twyla appeared for bows at the Saturday matinee as well.  Loved the Brahms-Haydn and In the Upper Room, but was disappointed with Deuce Coupe.  It's not that we didn't enjoy it, but more that we were disappointed in the choice of songs and terrible music quality.   She used a few hits, but mostly it was their less popular songs.  The dancing was good, and Katherine Williams was terrific as the ballerina doing the classical ballet, but I found it a distraction and felt it just didn't go with the rest of the dancing.  Whiteside was an absolute scream in a sped up section of one of their songs.  

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, NinaFan said:

 Whiteside was an absolute scream in a sped up section of one of their songs.  

Whiteside was really in his element in Deuce Coupe and seemed to enjoy every moment! A small cultural moment: that speeded up sequence included a bit of floss, the dance kids are doing now. I saw floss injected into the Central City Opera's Magic Flute in July 2018! Seems to be like the macarena 15+ years ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...