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ABT Fall 2019 NY season

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9 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

During the first decade or so of my NYCB-watching career, I only saw taller dancers like Merrill Ashley, Kyra Nichols, and Darci Kistler perform T&V's ballerina role. Nothing against Fairchild, Bouder, and Peck, but I wouldn't mind seeing some of the company's taller women get a shot at it—and would very much have like to have seen Teuscher dance it. 

Yes, I remember Nichols and Miranda Weese as the ballerinas in T&V at NYCB back in the day - both commanding Ballerinas with a capital B.  I really don't understand the current trend in casting T&V at NYCB.  I too would love to see some taller ladies cast in T&V.  It is said that short guys can better handle the demanding male solo, but I have vivid memories of  Damian Woetzel thrillingly dancing the male lead.

Edited by abatt

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

  It is said that short guys can better handle the demanding male solo, but I have vivid memories of  Damian Woetzel thrillingly dancing the male lead.

I've often wondered if NYCB's 21st Century T&V ballerina casting has been more or less dictated by the requirements of its male roster. When Ashley, Nichols, and Kistler were dancing the role, the company had a luxury contingent of taller men to partner them like Sean Lavery, Adam Lüders, and Igor Zelensky. Lavery certainly put the lie to the contention that the male role is better suited to a shorter dancer: I think he was something like 6'3" and all legs.

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With regard to Hamrick re promotions, she’s been injured quite a lot in the last few years and also was out for maternity leave for awhile. When you’re not dancing, you’re not going to be promoted. 

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Got to see a nice T&V tonight. Teuscher is lyrical and soft in the role, Stearns bobbled the tours/pirouettes from fifth sequence but was otherwise adept, the demi men (Sebastian, Forster, Frenette, Royal) looked strong, and Williams sparkled among the demi women. This isn’t necessarily a T&V on par with City Ballet’s, but it’s quite good nonetheless, and ABT brings something new and different to the ballet.

I had to leave after the first act due to some work surprises, but they also announced a number of cast changes in Seasons — maybe another BA poster will be able to report back.

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Many of us on this board have asked why other peers of Copeland were given prominence and promoted as well, especially when they were seen as lacking.  And they didn't have the upside of selling tickets, either.

There are all kinds of political, and all kinds of considerations that impact promotions. There were many more promotions that happened besides Copeland's when Hamrick would have been considered.

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I attended the "Masters" program on Thursday, October 17th and last night the 22nd.

Theme and Variations:  Frankly the slow tempos could be seen as adding grandeur and lyricism to the work if the dancing has enough amplitude and strength.  Devon Teuscher and Cory Stearns who are taller and longer-limbed than the other cast filled out the broader phrases better.  Stearns is also an excellent partner and carried himself well except for his solo in which he struggled through the multiple turns traveling a lot around the stage.  Teuscher really shone in the ballerina role - she actually has a Balanchine ballerina body - very elongated.  Also she is an excellent turner as the late Alicia Alonso was.  She looked like a queen on that stage.  I was sitting quite close to the stage last Thursday and Sarah did not look nervous or tight to me.  Her problems were her conductor and her partner - not small ones which can seriously derail a dancer's performance.  Otherwise, she looked lovely.  Her problem is that she is small and those slow tempos make her dancing look small and brittle because she lacks the amplitude to fill them out.  Faster tempos and a strong partner and she would sparkle in T&V like Tiler Peck and Ashley Bouder do at NYCB.  Gorak was exactly as described by the previous posters and his lack of development is disappointing in the extreme.  His coach is Keith Roberts and Gorak mentioned in an interview that upper body strength is a problem with him and that he was training to correct that.  Frankly, nothing has come of that and he is exactly in the same place he was when he started at ABT.

A Gathering of Ghosts:  I agree that this is no masterpiece.  I found it enjoyable because of Herman and a few of the supporting dancers like Christine Schevchenko and Skylar Brandt.  Herman's solos are the best thing in it and reminded me of how well Tharp worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov in the 1970's and early 1980's.  There was that same creativity and sense of fun and she released something in both Misha and Herman that was not seen with other choreographers.  When the costumes weren't pretty, they were humorous.  My advice is to totally ignore any suggestion of plot or individual characters - you can ignore "Greased Lightning" and "Madame de Stael" and "Murasaki" as they don't really show up in the choreography.  It's just Catherine Hurlin in silver shorts, Joo Won Ahn and Aran Bell up there.  And that isn't a bad thing.

The Seasons:  A choreographic masterpiece.  The weird color palette and discordant designs of the costumes and the lack of scenic designs are a problem.  I agree with the poster above who said that it looks better on the Koch/State Theater stage.  Aran Bell is just out of his teens and had a huge growth spurt less than five years ago - I think he is still growing into his new 6 foot plus body.  Hence his odd posture, etc.  He will blossom into a tall, handsome man with maturation.  The casting changes last night were Zimmi Coker replacing Cassandra Trenary as Rose, Cassandra Trenary replacing Catherine Hurlin as Autumn Bacchante.  So Hurlin was the odd woman out but she danced earlier that evening in the Tharp and is scheduled to dance in the "New Romantics" program tonight.  I suspect fatigue from a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals is the culprit.  Stella Abrera looked so gorgeous as the Spirit of the Corn - her port de bras really looked creamy and magical and Tom Forster was an excellent partner.  He is ready for Siegfried and Albrecht.  

 

Edited by FauxPas

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26 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

ITeuscher really shone in the ballerina role - she actually has a Balanchine ballerina body - very elongated.  Also she is an excellent turner as the late Alicia Alonso was.  She looked like a queen on that stage.  

  Stella Abrera looked so gorgeous as the Spirit of the Corn - her port de bras really looked creamy and magical and Tom Forster was an excellent partner.  He is ready for Siegfried and Albrecht.  

 

Agree completely.  Devon was again excellent in T&V.  She danced with more freedom and joy than on opening night.  Also agree about Stella.  The Spirit of the Corn looks like an athletic romp of jumps and spins when Boylston does it.  Abrera brings elegance and eloquence to the role that was completely lacking in Boylston's performances.

 

I missed Hurlin in Winter (Hail) from the Seasons though.  The role she does in Winter requires break neck speed, and last night it looked labored and slow.

Edited by abatt

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42 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

I attended the "Masters" program on Thursday, October 17th and last night the 22nd.

Theme and Variations:  Frankly the slow tempos could be seen as adding grandeur and lyricism to the work if the dancing has enough amplitude and strength.  Devon Teuscher and Cory Stearns who are taller and longer-limbed than the other cast filled out the broader phrases better.  Stearns is also an excellent partner and carried himself well except for his solo in which he struggled through the multiple turns traveling a lot around the stage.  Teuscher really shone in the ballerina role - she actually has a Balanchine ballerina body - very elongated.  Also she is an excellent turner as the late Alicia Alonso was.  She looked like a queen on that stage.  I was sitting quite close to the stage last Thursday and Sarah did not look nervous or tight to me.  Her problems were her conductor and her partner - not small ones which can seriously derail a dancer's performance.  Otherwise, she looked lovely.  Her problem is that she is small and those slow tempos make her dancing look small and brittle because she lacks the amplitude to fill them out.  Faster tempos and a strong partner and she would sparkle in T&V like Tiler Peck and Ashley Bouder do at NYCB.  Gorak was exactly as described by the previous posters and his lack of development is disappointing in the extreme.  His coach is Keith Roberts and Gorak mentioned in an interview that upper body strength is a problem with him and that he was training to correct that.  Frankly, nothing has come of that and he is exactly in the same place he was when he started at ABT.

A Gathering of Ghosts:  I agree that this is no masterpiece.  I found it enjoyable because of Herman and a few of the supporting dancers like Christine Schevchenko and Skylar Brandt.  Herman's solos are the best thing in it and reminded me of how well Tharp worked with Mikhail Baryshnikov in the 1970's and early 1980's.  There was that same creativity and sense of fun and she released something in both Misha and Herman that was not seen with other choreographers.  When the costumes weren't pretty, they were humorous.  My advice is to totally ignore any suggestion of plot or individual characters - you can ignore "Greased Lightning" and "Madame de Stael" and "Murasaki" as they don't really show up in the choreography.  It's just Catherine Hurlin in silver shorts, Joo Won Ahn and Aran Bell up there.  And that isn't a bad thing.

The Seasons:  A choreographic masterpiece.  The weird color palette and discordant designs of the costumes and the lack of scenic designs are a problem.  I agree with the poster above who said that it looks better on the Koch/State Theater stage.  Aran Bell is just out of his teen and had a huge growth spurt less than five years ago - I think he is still growing into his new 6 foot plus body.  Hence his odd posture, etc.  He will blossom into a tall, handsome man with maturation.  The casting changes last night were Zimmi Coker replacing Cassandra Trenary as Rose, Cassandra Trenary replacing Catherine Hurlin as Autumn Bacchante.  So Hurlin was the odd woman out but she danced earlier that evening in the Tharp and is scheduled to dance in the "New Romantics" program tonight.  I suspect fatigue from a demanding schedule of performances and rehearsals is the culprit.  Stella Abrera looked so gorgeous as the Spirit of the Corn - her port de bras really looked creamy and magical and Tom Forster was an excellent partner.  He is ready for Siegfried and Albrecht.  

 

I do not think that FauxPas made any faux pas and I agree with everything said above. I saw the same program last Saturday night and was so disappointed with The Seasons, about which I'd heard such good things. With Abrera dancing the Spirit of the Corn instead of Boylston, the ballet took on a whole new elegance worthy of calling it a masterpiece.

Watching T&V, I didn't see how it could be danced any faster by Devon and Cory, who seemed to fill out every musical phrase. if it were danced any faster it would have looked jerky and manic.

I also want to give a shout-out to Courtney Lavine as Hail. I thought she did a beautiful job and I'm glad to see her breaking out of the corps into demi roles. And another shout-out to Zimmi Coker of the corps, who looked completely at one with the three soloists. I really enjoy seeing corps dancers getting demi roles and maybe moving up through the ranks.

 

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29 minutes ago, angelica said:

I saw the same program last Saturday night and was so disappointed with The Seasons, about which I'd heard such good things. With Abrera dancing the Spirit of the Corn instead of Boylston, the ballet took on a whole new elegance worthy of calling it a masterpiece.

It's interesting, I found Boylston considerably more bothersome in The Season on Saturday night than I did back in the spring. She seemed to have tamed some of her more problematic qualities then, but on Saturday they were back. I'm so sorry to have missed the Abrera/Forster pairing both times this ballet has been done.

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1 minute ago, nanushka said:

It's interesting, I found Boylston considerably more bothersome in The Season on Saturday night than I did back in the spring. She seemed to have tamed some of her more problematic qualities then, but on Saturday they were back. I'm so sorry to have missed the Abrera/Forster pairing both times this ballet has been done.

I think that when Ratmansky is present and preparing dancers for a new work, he must point out all of the flaws and problems.  Once the revival of the work comes, there is probably nobody paying attention to the details of how  Boylston is performing the the work.  All of those awful tendencies just creep back into the performance, unchecked.

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13 minutes ago, abatt said:

I think that when Ratmansky is present and preparing dancers for a new work, he must point out all of the flaws and problems.  Once the revival of the work comes, there is probably nobody paying attention to the details of how  Boylston is performing the the work.  All of those awful tendencies just creep back into the performance, unchecked.

It shouldn't have to take the presence of any single choreographer to point out a dancer's flaws, since these appear in every ballet she dances. Somebody on the artistic staff needs to coach her or else present her with the need to get an outside coach, as many dancers do. There are too many ballets I have to avoid because she is dancing the leading role.

 

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1 hour ago, angelica said:

It shouldn't have to take the presence of any single choreographer to point out a dancer's flaws, since these appear in every ballet she dances. Somebody on the artistic staff needs to coach her or else present her with the need to get an outside coach, as many dancers do. There are too many ballets I have to avoid because she is dancing the leading role.

 

My thoughts exactly since choreographers like Ratmansky can't be at every single performance once of every single company, I would think it is up to each company's artist leadership and staff to follow through ?! In this case, seems like there is a lack-there-of, and for what it is worth who is really left to coach these days? Jaffe, Irina & Max, Reyes, Kent, Gomes (if he had stayed) would all have been wonderful coaches, sadly there is a lack of leadership to employ such talent!

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21 hours ago, Syzygy said:

I don't disagree with this thought. But if influence and press brings in revenue, it'd make much more sense coming from someone else. Hamrick gets a lot of press for her personal life and additional gigs in comparison to many of her colleagues. 

 Hamrick is a journeyman dancer who has made some news, mainly in the tabloids, because of her liaison with the elderly frontman of a classic rock band (admittedly, it’s the Rolling Stones, not the Doobie Brothers).  This is distinction of a sort, but not really of a kind to break the box office.

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25 minutes ago, dirac said:

 Hamrick is a journeyman dancer who has made some news, mainly in the tabloids, because of her liaison with the elderly frontman of a classic rock band...

Her "liaison"? According to the recent New York Times article:

Quote

She has a son, Devereaux, 2, with her partner, Mick Jagger.

 

Edited by nanushka

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46 minutes ago, stuben said:

My thoughts exactly since choreographers like Ratmansky can't be at every single performance once of every single company, I would think it is up to each company's artist leadership and staff to follow through ?! In this case, seems like there is a lack-there-of, and for what it is worth who is really left to coach these days? Jaffe, Irina & Max, Reyes, Kent, Gomes (if he had stayed) would all have been wonderful coaches, sadly there is a lack of leadership to employ such talent!

Some dancers pay for outside coaching, and it shows in their dancing. I think the particular dancer of whom we speak has taken acting lessons, but is so secure in her legs and feet that she doesn't realize anything is wrong with her upper body and port de bras. It is the responsibility of the artistic staff to educate her about this.

Edited by angelica
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Weird thing - Boylston at age 14 did have lovely port de bras.  Here she is at age 14 at the 2001 YAGP:

BTW:  Boylston herself has been one of the most outspoken critics of the lack of coaching for the ABT dancers.  She mentioned that she was working with Susan Jaffe but when Jaffe left to take another position that it left only the octogenarian Irina Kolpakova in charge "and Kolpakova can't coach everyone".  The other two female coaches are Nancy Raffa and Susan Jones who mainly handle the corps.  The male coaches are Keith Roberts and Carlos Lopez.  Lopez was only a soloist at ABT and not a great one.  

Edited by FauxPas
remembered something

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52 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Her "liaison"? According to the recent New York Times article:

 

Liaison being a refined manner of saying Mick's (most recent) baby mama.

Edited by abatt

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28 minutes ago, abatt said:

Liaison being a refined manner of saying Mick's (most recent) baby mama.

The refined and accurate way of putting it would be the way the NY Times did: Mick's partner.

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1 hour ago, FauxPas said:

Lopez was only a soloist at ABT and not a great one.  

A great dancer does not automatically equal a great coach / teacher / director / stager / repetiteur / regisseur / choreographer / anything else.

Having experience as a dancer does not equip you for being a good coach which encompasses so much more than just “passing along things people have told me”. Not only is it having knowledge (and knowledge isn’t solely passed along from principal to principal), but it also means having a good eye and having a strong understanding of how to psychologically and emotionally get the best out of the dancer you are working with. 

Coaches don’t turn dancers into copies of themselves. 

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People have all kinds of relationships, and, for the most part, the right to define them; this is their business.

Hamrick got plenty of praise as a young dancer, long before she met Jagger, and it wouldn't have been surprising had she had gotten more recognition and a bigger push earlier on.

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5 minutes ago, Helene said:

People have all kinds of relationships, and, for the most part, the right to define them; this is their business.

Quite right. As a journalist, Kourlas would have checked her terminology with both Hamrick and Jagger.

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1 hour ago, BLalo said:

A great dancer does not automatically equal a great coach / teacher / director / stager / repetiteur / regisseur / choreographer / anything else.

Having experience as a dancer does not equip you for being a good coach which encompasses so much more than just “passing along things people have told me”. Not only is it having knowledge (and knowledge isn’t solely passed along from principal to principal), but it also means having a good eye and having a strong understanding of how to psychologically and emotionally get the best out of the dancer you are working with. 

My impression of a lot of Ballet Company AD's like McKenzie and Peter Martins is that they hire ballet masters who will not be a threat to their authority.  That is why Martins refused to bring back star dancers like Farrell, Villella, Patricia McBride, Allegra Kent or Melissa Hayden as ballet masters.  They had worked longer with Balanchine and could challenge his authority.  Someone like Clinton Luckett or Carlos Lopez cannot claim authority over Kevin McKenzie.  And they did not dance leading principal roles and therefore cannot teach them to someone like Aran Bell or Joseph Gorak.

Aran Bell had to go to Max Beloserkovsky to learn Romeo in the MacMillan R&J.  He had never done a lead in a dramatic ballet before.  Carlos Lopez was at best a Benvolio or Mandolin Player and couldn't coach him as Romeo.  Max evidently got the job done since Aran Bell got excellent notices for his Romeo debut including in the New York Times.

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1 hour ago, FauxPas said:

....The other two female coaches are Nancy Raffa and Susan Jones who mainly handle the corps.  The male coaches are Keith Roberts and Carlos Lopez.  Lopez was only a soloist at ABT and not a great one.  

Isn't Raffa and Jones ballet mistresses? I am not sure of the differences since they do coach as said here but mostly corps and soloists? Even the male "coaches" I do believe are listed in the programs as ballet masters. If so, there really isn't anyone other than Irina, who I think may be 82? I recall a birthday wish and postings about her recent birthday.

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1 hour ago, FauxPas said:

My impression of a lot of Ballet Company AD's like McKenzie and Peter Martins is that they hire ballet masters who will not be a threat to their authority.  That is why Martins refused to bring back star dancers like Farrell, Villella, Patricia McBride, Allegra Kent or Melissa Hayden as ballet masters.  They had worked longer with Balanchine and could challenge his authority.  Someone like Clinton Luckett or Carlos Lopez cannot claim authority over Kevin McKenzie.  And they did not dance leading principal roles and therefore cannot teach them to someone like Aran Bell or Joseph Gorak.

Aran Bell had to go to Max Beloserkovsky to learn Romeo in the MacMillan R&J.  He had never done a lead in a dramatic ballet before.   Carlos Lopez was at best a Benvolio or Mandolin Player and couldn't coach him as Romeo.  Max evidently got the job done since Aran Bell got excellent notices for his Romeo debut including in the New York Times.

My thoughts exactly! In any job I would think a boss would never want to feel threatened by their employees to surpass their successes. Sadly though in this case of performing arts the artists suffer for this type of power grab. Question about the coaching outside though, would the company pay for such help or does the individual dancer have to use their own salaries? Assuming that costs quite a bit especially for well known coaches like Max, if so this has to be tough on the small salaries that dancers make.

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