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Fall Season


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Sarah Villwock annoucing on instagram that she'll be joining husband Gio Villalobos next month... seems she's ending her tenure with NYCB. What a shame! I have always loved her in demi roles and wish she'd been given more soloist opportunities.

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3 hours ago, DC Export said:

Sarah Villwock annoucing on instagram that she'll be joining husband Gio Villalobos next month... seems she's ending her tenure with NYCB. What a shame! I have always loved her in demi roles and wish she'd been given more soloist opportunities.

She also says that she's joining PNB starting with Nutcracker.

 

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Casting for the week is updated. Huxley replaced in Raymonda Variations and Symphony in C. However, it looks like Reichlen is back. 

Also Week 4 casting is up. Olivia MacKinnon debuts in the soloist role in Tchaikovsky Ballet Concerto 2 and also there are debuts in Dances at a Gathering and Everywhere We go. 

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One of the most glaring instances of a miscast ballet I’ve ever experienced was ABT’s performance of Valse-Fantasie a number of years ago, with Hee Seo and James Whiteside, one too large, the other too lethargic.  Neither dancer had the technique, speed or precision the ballet requires.  Both were exhausted and looked ghastly, as if they might collapse at any moment.  Thankfully, tonight’s performance of Valse-Fantasie with Daniel Ulbricht and Erica Pereira finally allowed me to experience this ballet as it was intended.  Buoyant and fluid, both flew across the stage as if it were the easiest thing in the world.  Until tonight, I’d no idea how light and joyous this ballet could be.  It was a pleasure to see two great Balanchine artists perform the choreography so beautifully.  Now I understand!  My thanks!

The rest of tonight’s performances just got better and better. This was my first viewing of Kammermusik No. 2, and I loved it.  It’s sort of my childhood concept of a Balanchine ballet, and combined with the beautiful Hindemith score, I just relaxed as a soft wave of modernist nostalgia washed over me.  The four soloists, Emilie Gerrity, Unity Phelan, Jovani Furlan and Peter Walker, were superb. Emilie Gerrity was marvelous tonight, and I hope to see more of her in the future.

How appropriate to see Union Jack tonight, on the same day the British Parliament reconvened in the midst of their nation’s own political crisis.  What a great ballet!  The standouts for me were Sterling Hyltin (Dress MacDonald), Sara Mearns (MacDonald of Sleat), and Teresa Reichlin (WRENS).  I thought Hyltin was especially outstanding; she danced with great panache and verve, both in Rubies last week as well as tonight.

I wish I had the time to see this program again; it was a real knockout performance and an absolute pleasure.  So enjoying NYC Ballet’s fall season! 

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7 hours ago, laurel said:

One of the most glaring instances of a miscast ballet I’ve ever experienced was ABT’s performance of Valse-Fantasie a number of years ago, with Hee Seo and James Whiteside

This is so horrifying that I would think you were making it up, if a friend hadn’t told me the same thing during intermission last night. OMG I just can’t even! In addition to the flaws you mention, I’d add they each, in their separate ways, have a fundamentally wrong temperament for Valse Fantaisie. 
Ulbricht and Pereira certainly embody more of the spirit of the piece, but I find Pereira lacking in impact. My eyes kept going to the ladies behind her, especially Kristen Segin and Emma Von Enck, who have more substantive presence. New casting idea for this piece: Emma Von Enck and Roman Mejia. I bet these two would look great together. 
I was thrilled to see Union Jack again. Mr Cobweb, who had never seen it before, was fascinated. I am on the subway and about to lose my connection. Will report more later. 

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1 hour ago, cobweb said:

This is so horrifying that I would think you were making it up, if a friend hadn’t told me the same thing during intermission last night. OMG I just can’t even! In addition to the flaws you mention, I’d add they each, in their separate ways, have a fundamentally wrong temperament for Valse Fantaisie. 
Ulbricht and Pereira certainly embody more of the spirit of the piece, but I find Pereira lacking in impact. My eyes kept going to the ladies behind her, especially Kristen Segin and Emma Von Enck, who have more substantive presence. New casting idea for this piece: Emma Von Enck and Roman Mejia. I bet these two would look great together. 
I was thrilled to see Union Jack again. Mr Cobweb, who had never seen it before, was fascinated. I am on the subway and about to lose my connection. Will report more later. 

I like Emma Von Enck, but I have thought that Alston Macgill and Roman would make a fabulous pair. Alston and Roman share such a natural and dynamic energy.

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Who is dancing MacDonald of Sleat in the other cast? Is that Ashley Bouder's role?

I'll be at the Oct. 1 performance. I haven't been in the US for over 10 years, and I'm so excited. I can only get to one NYCB show, and I'm so glad it's this all-Balanchine, well-balanced, million featured dancers program!

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21 minutes ago, Petra said:

Who is dancing MacDonald of Sleat in the other cast? Is that Ashley Bouder's role?

I believe that Bouder does RCAF/WRENS. The first cast Macdonald of Sleat is Sara Mearns, and then Unity Phelan debuts next week.

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Just got back from tonight's performance with the Lovette and Liang ballets. 

 

The program opened with a very nice Opus 19. Garcia had his normal lovely stage presence and at moments reminded me of Peter Boal. 

The two new ballets were after the first interval with a (very short) pause in between. Lauren Lovette's ballet was not great.

I should state up front that it contained two of my pet peeves: singing/speaking from dancers and an on-stage costume change. It might not be very nice of me but if I want to hear from my dancers I will go to Broadway instead. Overall, the ballet seemed overwhelmed by the size of the cast and the rigid, overwrought Zac Posen costumes. It's never a good sign when your mind starts recasting the ballet halfway through, but that's what I did. The most compelling dancer in the piece was Taylor Stanley, and I thought he should dance the Pazcoguin role. Though I liked her look (as I have a pixie cut and often wear tuxedo shirts) I thought the gender-bending element felt tacked-on. The PDD with Unity did not work at all. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the Liang -- and in contrast, the costumes were wonderful (I want that skirt) and the frou-frou disappeared when you wanted to see their lines. Maria/Tyler were lovely, but I think the partnership of Sara/Russell has now hit a new level. They seem very in tune. There was a lovely motif of a touch on the upper arm that really resonated with me. We also got a major hot-dog role for Roman Mejia which got me thinking about the T&V we will surely see in a few years' time with Roman and Indiana -- right?

As for Symphony in C -- I think everyone had a late night last night. Even my beloved Joe Gordon looked a little off in the 4th Movement (though the 1st movement with Joseph/Megan was the best-danced movement tonight). The second movement was not one for the ages. I am very fond of Jared Angle--and loved Jock Soto when he was a similar body type late in his career -- but I have to say I think retirement approaches. Tess Reichlen seemed remote and unengaged. I always think with Symphony in C that the 2nd movement sets the bar for the rest of the ballet and it was just lackluster tonight. 3rd movement saw a nice NYC debut for Baily Jones and a so-so performance from Villarini-Velez who should really kill in this role. He looks a little out of shape. The 4th felt a bit messy and didn't have that breathless sense of anticipation during the race to the end. I mean -- it's still Symphony in C so you still love it -- but tonight with reservations.

Does anyone agree or am I being really hard on some incredible dancers? 

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I just returned from tonights performance and had a lovely time. Opus 19/The Dreamer is not one of Robbin's best works IMO. It has a lot of the folk dance motifs he uses in other works. It's not a distinctive or memorable piece. It was done as a vehicle  for Baryshnikov, but I can't imagine his performance made a whole lot of difference. Anyway, it's pleasant enough and tonight, Garcia's movement quality served him well and Hyltin was absolutely beautiful - musical, lovely, responsive. 

The Shaded Line, the new Lovette piece was interesting. It had the feel of a choreographer working things out - moving groups, creating drama & tension, partnering etc. The gender bending aspect was interesting, and clearly another part of Lovette's explorations. Frankly, I was confused by the costumes. Some seemed silly, so I wasn't sure what to do with that. For me the whole thing didn't quite hold together but it held my interest and left me thinking about it. I look forward to seeing more of Lovette's work.

Lineage - Edward Liang's piece was quite enjoyable. He played to everyone's strength - Mejia's virtuosity, Kowroski's legginess, Bouder's strength and speed - etc. It was an enjoyable mix. I felt the Mearns/Jansen pas the most interesting. My only criticism of the piece was the abrupt and anti climactic ending. BTW Mearn and Bouder look incredibly athletic and fit - beautiful to behold!

Symphony in C is always fun. Fairchild seems to be in her prime as a ballerina - radiant, secure, playing with the music. Gordon was great. He is so technically secure that a minor glitch is only - a minor glitch. I have never been a Reichlin fan. I root for her - there is a real earnestness to her dancing, but, except in Rubies, I have trouble liking her.  Despite her tall legginess I never feel a regalness (is that a word) or amplitude. In tonight's performance she seemed tentative at times. Jared Angle (who looks out of shape) was a flawless partner. Not many man could partner her the way he did. Baily Jones was exuberant in third movement. Villarini-Velez danced well. His four pirouettes finishing up, seemed to surprise him! Erica Pereira (never a favorite of mine) looked great in fourth movement along with Scordato. 

Symphony in C always leaves me smiling! The show seemed fairly well attended but they didn't open the 4th ring.

Edited by vipa
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10 hours ago, vipa said:

BTW Mearn and Bouder look incredibly athletic and fit - beautiful to behold!

There is a video on the New York Times "Speaking in Dance" series, showing Mearns rehearsing MacDonald of Sleat. Wearing a halter-top bike-short leo, she looks fabulous. 

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13 hours ago, vipa said:

I just returned from tonights performance and had a lovely time. Opus 19/The Dreamer is not one of Robbin's best works IMO. It has a lot of the folk dance motifs he uses in other works. It's not a distinctive or memorable piece. It was done as a vehicle  for Baryshnikov, but I can't imagine his performance made a whole lot of difference. Anyway, it's pleasant enough and tonight, Garcia's movement quality served him well and Hyltin was absolutely beautiful - musical, lovely, responsive. 

I barely remember seeing Baryshnikov do this so long ago. I saw it again last spring with Taylor Stanley. I did find the NY Times article about Baryshnikov's coaching session helpful in grasping what they're trying to do: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/arts/dance/mikhail-baryshnikov-coaching-new-york-city-ballet.html

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I am just back from my second time seeing the Valse-Fantaisie - Kammermusik - Union Jack program. After seeing him twice now, I am eager to see more of new company member and soloist Jovani Furlan. He has "it," that extra quality, confidence and authority that makes you keep your eyes on him. Glad he's here! 

I have a real passion for Union Jack. I'm trying to soak it all in while I can. It's not performed all that often, presumably because it takes a huge amount of resources and, to judge from the fact that the performances are on TDF, is not a huge ticket seller. But those who are there seem to love it. The Royal Navy section, which is great fun, is not the only of Balanchine's works to exude joy and exuberance. But the Scottish and Canadian Guards Regiments is unlike anything else. i find the intensity of the drumbeat, along with the precision and intricate patterns, to build an incredible tension. It must take a lot of rehearsal time to get the precision right, but if you can't put that time in, it's not worth doing it, it would just be a mess. The opening section was thrilling. Among many other things, I love the fierceness of it, including the facial expressions. Several of the dancers were downright glaring at the audience, and I loved it.

In MacDonald of Sleat, Sara Mearns was incredible, but the rest of the regiment could use some extra rehearsal time. Some of them were having trouble keeping up with the music and the overall effect was ragged. It was great to see Isabella LaFreniere back in the corps of RCAF and WRENS. She would be a natural to lead the WRENS one day. Meanwhile, Teresa Reichlen's legs practically steal the show. Megan Fairchild (Costermonger pdd) is looking better than ever. She has somehow morphed into a dancer I always look forward to seeing. I miss seeing Tiler Peck in Green Montgomerie, she was very charming. Come back soon, Tiler!

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On 9/23/2019 at 8:30 PM, BalanchineFan said:

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.

Tess backed out as her brother passed away. She references him in her post on Instagram today. I tried to insert the post to no avail.

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1 minute ago, NWillis said:

. . .  Instagram today. I tried to insert the post to no avail.

It took me a while to figure this out...if you right-click the first Instagram image, copy-paste doesn't work. So go over to that person's account (the account name on upper-left of their posting) and you see all their postings. Right-click/save on that image and it usually works. (Touch wood!)

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8 hours ago, cobweb said:

There is a video on the New York Times "Speaking in Dance" series, showing Mearns rehearsing MacDonald of Sleat. Wearing a halter-top bike-short leo, she looks fabulous. 

Thank you Cobweb. I just checked it out. she does look fabulous

13 hours ago, sohalia said:

Maybe I missed this, but how long will Tiler Peck be out? I gather she's injured since she's not cast anywhere.

I believe she's been out since last April. If I remember correctly, she said in an interview that it was a herniated disc. 

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I had never seen Union Jack before this afternoon — and now don't particularly feel the need to see it all again. I really liked the opening tattoo, as well as the dances for MacDonald of Sleat and RCAF. (Sara Mearns was fierce.) That was it, until the Royal Navy section, which I also really liked (and had seen before on video). I hope I never have to see the Costermonger PDD again. (Those jokes were old on first viewing.) How dismayed I was when I realized it was not a single-movement PDD!

I enjoyed Valse Fantaisie well enough, and thought both Pereira and Ulbricht danced well. (I haven't liked her quite as much in anything else before, I don't think.) Still, I felt it was rather slower than the Leland/Clifford video, and so it didn't seem as exciting. (Granted, the wacky — and ultimately rather annoying — camera work considerably impacts the experience of the video.)

Jovani Furlan and Joseph Gordon (in for Peter Walker) were excellent in Kammermusik No. 2 — another one I hadn't seen before, and one I wouldn't necessarily rush to see again ASAP but would definitely like to get to know better. I can't wait to see more of Furlan, and I'll take Gordon in just about anything these days.

Edited by nanushka
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On 9/27/2019 at 8:42 PM, Leah said:

Lovette's was not great. I did like the Zac Posen costumes, and I liked the music (absent the wailing and whispers from the cast), but the choreography just didn't stand up. I really wanted to like it because I think it's fantastic to have a young female choreographer, and I like Lovette as a dancer. But it was just so amateurish. You could tell that she really wanted to make a Point (evidenced by the cast pointing accusingly at the audience) but I'm not sure what it was about? Maybe about gender? And then there was the taking off of the pointe shoes that were made to look like not pointe shoes, and leaving them in the middle of the stage. I'm very surprised that the corps didn't trip over them.

Lovette has created something like three ballets at this point, so she's a beginner. There's nothing wrong with that - one has to start someplace, and it's a long process, a life's work, and she's very fortunate to be able to create on NYCB dancers. Most choreographers start out working with other students in dance school. Lovette is learning not just how step sequences are created, but also how to conceive an entire ballet that hopefully feels like an organic whole and syncs well with the chosen music. She's going to learn about visual themes, and variations, narrative lines and building atmospheres and dramatic tension. There's going to be a lot of mistakes made no matter what. It's just interesting that she is doing her initial learning on the "big stage" in front of the NYCB audience. Very few people get that chance (and probably wouldn't want that kind of exposure in the beginning). She seems to have a good attitude about the work though, and that should serve her well.

Balanchine was 21 when he choreographed the revival of Le Chant du Rossignol (The Song of the Nightingale) for the Ballets Russes in 1925. His earliest works had been created mainly on his fellow Mariinsky students, in his teens. His first choreographed piece, La Nuit, almost got him kicked out of the school - so Lovette is having an easier time of it already.  ;)

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