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Fall Season


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Due to a series of unfortunate events I was only able to make it to one Jewels this season(yesterday afternoon's)  but I thought Unity Phelan was absolutely divine as the Walking Girl in Emeralds and the whole Rubies cast was great, with Emily Kikta dazzling as the Tall Girl and Sterling Hyltin really flirty and fun in the Patricia McBride role. I was a little disappointed in the Kowroski/Angle Diamonds. I thought Maria was good but she wasn't nearly as good as the Diamonds I saw her do this past spring. She just seemed a little more careful.

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15 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Due to a series of unfortunate events I was only able to make it to one Jewels this season(yesterday afternoon's)  but I thought Unity Phelan was absolutely divine as the Walking Girl in Emeralds and the whole Rubies cast was great, with Emily Kikta dazzling as the Tall Girl and Sterling Hyltin really flirty and fun in the Patricia McBride role. I was a little disappointed in the Kowroski/Angle Diamonds. I thought Maria was good but she wasn't nearly as good as the Diamonds I saw her do this past spring. She just seemed a little more careful.

Although opening night (Tuesday) Maria was excellent, I agree that she seemed a little more careful than she had in last spring’s performance. Maybe that was her plan because she had so many performances in the role, all packed into this week. I just want to add another shoutout to Tyler Angle, whose performance many posters here found superlative. I agree—he really inhabited and radiated the noble role. A great role model for younger, aspiring male dancers in the company. 

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Kowroski may have been a bit careful, but I thought it was a gorgeous performance, from both her and Angle. I didn't catch any missteps.

Abi Stafford's performance, on the other hand, had a lot of very small ones. She repeatedly had to adjust her hands on Ramasar's arms, etc. during their two duets, and she even had to re-place one of her feet on the walking opening of the PDD. Nothing major, but not ideal. Ramasar was by far the lovelier dancer. He should have had her solo, with his superior port de bras. Someone earlier mentioned he seemed cold, but I didn't get that — and especially not in his solos in the penultimate movement.

Unity Phelan was excellent. If I remember correctly, last year Ashley Laracey (whom I otherwise loved in the role) was too direct in registering the audience, whereas Phelan was much more in her own world — and could have been even more so, in my opinion. That solo comes off best when it's performed that way, I think. (I always think of the little curtsies as being to imagined or remembered gentlemen.)

Edited by nanushka
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Saw Saturday's Jewels matinee, what a great start to the season!

I felt Abi was really miscast in Emeralds. She doesn't have the exceptional port de bras or lush quality to her dancing that Emeralds requires. I didn't enjoy watching her and Amar at all and couldn't wait for them to get off stage and make room for Unity and Ask, who were great. I also really enjoyed Georgina. And a shout out is due to India Bradley, who has much refined her dancing since the spring.

In the 15 years I've been attending City Ballet performances I've never seen someone do Rubies better than Sterling. She just crackles with energy, managing to be both playful and utterly in control. She perfectly punctuates each step yet is so fleet and quick, and Veyette was a great foil to her. Lots of spark between them. I thought Emily Kikta gave a good performance; I haven't followed her closely and was surprised to see she's still in the corps. But to me she lacked some of the sharpness and definition that the strongest interpreters of the role have (I'm thinking of Teresa Reichlen, for example). At times she looked rushed and the steps didn't have the crispness of Sterling's.

Diamonds was what I was most looking forward to seeing, and Maria and Jared did not disappoint. Maria's dancing has such a beautiful, crystalline quality: every step is so clear, so fully articulated. She seemed totally in command of time, as though she was the axis of her own world. Her performance really reminded me of how Farrell describes the diamonds ballerina as "the most powerful woman in the world". She was really regal, but there was also vulnerability in those slowly unfurling supported backbends. I've always felt Maria was regal in this role, but in this performance she felt not just queenly but actually powerful, and to have independence and authority rather than the romantic, Swan-Queen quality that some dancers bring to the role.  It was just a gorgeous, totally entrancing performance where I was hanging on every little movement. It amazes me that this far into her career Maria is still uncovering new facets to some of her most-performed roles.

Edited by MarzipanShepherdess
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Joseph Gordon was amazing in his Raymonda Variations debut. It wasn't the cleanest performance, but it was so full of energy, style, speed, grace, personality. I was floored. And at times giddy with excitement.

Edited by nanushka
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29 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Joseph Gordon was amazing in his Raymonda Variations debut. It wasn't the cleanest performance, but it was so full of energy, style, speed, grace, personality. I was floored. And at times giddy with excitement.

He’s really wonderful. I agree it wasn’t as polished as some of his other debuts — Oberon, for instance — but he can make his saves graceful! I thought Alston Macgill was adorable in her variation. All those variations just look brutal to do. 

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I found the afternoon's performance a mixed bag, sort of an odd mismatched program with nothing that I really loved, aside from some individual performances. Joseph Gordon in Raymonda Variations was radiant and poised as always, but as noted not as polished as he usually is. Also I noticed some awkward partnering moments with Bouder, although to be fair, I was sitting WAY up close and maybe just noticed more than I usually would. Emma von Enck particularly stood out to me among the soloists, with energy, style, and crispness radiating out to the audience. Lydia Wellington has a rich and mature quality that the younger ones lack. Olivia MacKinnon looked overburdened by her variation, and didn't look like she was having a very good time. 

This is the second time I've seen Variations pour une porte et un soupir, the first time being with Mearns. It is a fascinating and theatrical piece, with two veteran performers, Kowroski and Ulbricht, who gave it their all. I feel sure it could not be done any better. I would enjoy seeing it again, but only if there were other things on the program I wanted to see. 

DGV. I had seen this once or twice last time it was in the rep, several years back. With the memory of Kowroski and her long limbs being carried out overhead Tyler Angle, the much shorter limbs of Lauren Lovette didn't quite measure up. I don't know. I like the piece, and despite the repetitive bombastic music, I couldn't help but get into it. But still I was left kind of blah. Looking forward to the all-Balanchine program this week. Hello, Union Jack!

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7 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Bouder’s squeaking is ridiculous. Surely there’s something she could do about that, no? I loved her performance but it was seriously detracting and just a turnoff.

I noticed there was a lot of shoe squeaking in the corps yesterday for both Emeralds and Diamonds. Maybe it's a rosin they're putting on their pointe shoes to avoid slipping?

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1 minute ago, canbelto said:

I noticed there was a lot of shoe squeaking in the corps yesterday for both Emeralds and Diamonds. Maybe it's a rosin they're putting on their pointe shoes to avoid slipping?

Could be. No one seems anywhere near as squeaky as she does though. Or maybe it’s particularly noticeable in solos and PdDs

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33 minutes ago, Leah said:

Raymonda was fantastic, and Gordon and Bouder (still a bit squeaky, alas) were amazing together. Of the variations I thought Macgill and Emma von Enck were the best. 

The ushers nearly ruined the whole thing though; they chatted and kept their walkie talkies on for the entire ballet. Where on earth does the Koch get these people? 

I agree! I liked Macgill and VonEnck the best of the variations. Alston Macgill is one of my favorites to watch right now! 

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

Raymonda was fantastic, and Gordon and Bouder (still a bit squeaky, alas) were amazing together. Of the variations I thought Macgill and Emma von Enck were the best. 

The ushers nearly ruined the whole thing though; they chatted and kept their walkie talkies on for the entire ballet. Where on earth does the Koch get these people? 

Up in the first ring, somebody continued to use their cell phones throughout the entire performance.  

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3 minutes ago, Novice123 said:

Up in the first ring, somebody continued to use their cell phones throughout the entire performance.  

Texting or talking on the phone? (Both would make me want to scream!)

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8 hours ago, cobweb said:

I was very up front orchestra. A phone went off and rang incessantly and took awhile to be turned off during Porte et soupir. 

:offtopic:I do understand that you may forget to turn off your mobile. It can happen to anyone for several reasons. But texting or talking during a performance or concert is something I really don't  get. In the first place, why are you attending if you are more interested in something else? And in case it's an emergency, just leave the place and talk/text as much as needed. Not to mention how much you disturb those people around you.

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1 hour ago, Leah said:

I was in 1st ring too. Did you hear what sounded like someone on speakerphone? It was the ushers on their walkie talkies.

I've had the usher walkie talkie issue in the third ring several times.  YOu would think that ushers would have a little common sense.  

Any insights into why they did not give Gordon Diamonds this season?  I thought he was sensational in his debut last season.  However, he does look odd when paired with Mearns in this ballet.   They need to find more appropriate partners for Gordon - ie, people who are closer in age to him. 

PS:  Emily Kikta gets my vote for a chance at Choleric in the 4T's when it is next revived, based on her outstanding Tall Girl.

Edited by abatt
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31 minutes ago, Novice123 said:

don't want to go off topic.  Good to know it was the ushers and not audience.  

I think the disturbances from the ushers are worse than from the audience members.  The ushers are there to enforce rules, not to create disturbances themselves.

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53 minutes ago, nanushka said:

Depending on the ringtone, it really could have been. But the tune that played was unfortunately not a good fit!

Yeah, it really wasn't. If it was an old-fashioned phone ringtone, then it would have been hilarious. But it was some musical number totally out of sync with the, um, "score."

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14 minutes ago, abatt said:

I think the disturbances from the ushers are worse than from the audience members.  The ushers are there to enforce rules, not to create disturbances themselves.

I have generally found the ushers good about enforcing the rules when a problem is brought to their attention. I have complained to them about texters and talkers, and ushers have intervened - not always effectively, sometimes the people kept texting anyway, but at least the ushers tried and I have the feeling most of them take their job seriously.

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21 hours ago, Novice123 said:

Up in the first ring, somebody continued to use their cell phones throughout the entire performance.  

I didn't think it was the ushers.  A phone rang in the First Ring during Porte et Soupir. What is wrong with people? Though, if it was the ushers maybe there was a medical emergency.

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11 hours ago, abatt said:

I've had the usher walkie talkie issue in the third ring several times.  YOu would think that ushers would have a little common sense.  

Any insights into why they did not give Gordon Diamonds this season?  I thought he was sensational in his debut last season.  However, he does look odd when paired with Mearns in this ballet.   They need to find more appropriate partners for Gordon - ie, people who are closer in age to him. 

PS:  Emily Kikta gets my vote for a chance at Choleric in the 4T's when it is next revived, based on her outstanding Tall Girl.

I'd be happy to see Emily Kikta as Choleric! It really need a long-legged woman. Ashley Bouder dances it well, but, imo, the impact is lost with someone of her build.

My guess, utter speculation, re Gordon and Diamonds, is that they don't have a good partner for him. Since Janzen/Mearns and Kowroski/Angle did the coachings with Farrell and there aren't that many performances, they got them.  Was Gordon originally scheduled to dance Diamonds with Teresa Reichlen? When she bowed out (never heard why)  she must have had a partner. Maybe Gordon will partner Isabelle LaFreniere when she's back. I haven't heard of many other ladies working on Diamonds.

I was also surprised that Unity Phelan didn't dance in DGV on Sunday. She had been scheduled and then Brittany Pollack replaced her. It seemed odd that Peter Walker was partnering both Phelan and Pollack. Maybe Phelan was casts out of it earlier for some reason.

Anyway, I loved the afternoon. I don't get to see Raymonda Variations that often and I don't remember the ending being so thrilling. I'd never seen Porte et Soupir, and, though it's not a favorite, Balanchine really could make anything.  His use of the different elements in that piece shows real compositional mastery. I also enjoyed DGV. The couples were all quite beautiful, and I kept thinking how good Andy Veyette looks in this kind of work. There's some crazy difficult partnering that all went really smoothly. He's so attentive and focused on the ballerina.

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I'm glad to hear that a confrontation with the ushers was productive.  It's appalling that they were creating such a disturbance.  I would think that a   phone call via the box office or even an email would be helpful.

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