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Ah you just beat me to posting! I think I largely agree with you, Bellawood. Opus 19 was great, as was the Liang. I've always loved Anna Sui, and yes, those skirts were amazing. It was a lovely ballet. I loved Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen, and Tyler Angle was also really great as well. The piece had a great folksy quality without it hitting you to much over the head with it.

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.

Symphony in C did look a little sleepy. Several corps members had missteps. Jared Angle should not be partnering Teresa Reichlen. He's too short, and looked like he was struggling to lift her, and while she was wonderful I think she was limiting herself to make things easier on him. I wish she was partnered with Tyler Angle, who is fantastic with her in the Paris video, but given as he had just danced the Liang I can see why they didn't cast him. I will also say that Ashley Hod as a demi in the first movement looked great. It's good to have her back and recovered from her injury. 

 

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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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8 hours ago, vipa said:

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

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

Thank you Vipa for the update on Tiler Peck. 

 

I am so happy to see you all rave about Jovani Furlan! He was always one of my favorites to watch down at Miami City Ballet, and I'm very happy to hear he's transitioned well into NYCB and is doing great already.

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I was blown away by yesterday's matinee. Phelan and Gerrity were particularly fantastic in Kammermusik no. 2, which looked ridiculously hard to dance due to the high speed and complicated timing of the piece. The two women also look alike in height, body type, and hair, so there was an interesting, mirror-like effect when they danced opposite one another. Their long limbs really brought out the jagged lines and inherent geometry in the choreography. 

Union Jack was such a crowd-pleasing spectacle, so it's unfortunate that it doesn't draw huge crowds, although I can see why it might be difficult to market a piece like this. I loved it. Mearns was fierce and on fire as always, and Reichlen was a perfect leader for the leggy WRENS number. 

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8 hours ago, pherank said:

Lovette has created something like three ballets at this point, so she's a beginner. 

She’s created many ballets, for Vail and ABT II among others. I appreciate that she was trying new things. It made for an interesting viewing experience at the very least, but I was really disappointed. I look forward to seeing her next one.

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3 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Union Jack was such a crowd-pleasing spectacle, so it's unfortunate that it doesn't draw huge crowds, although I can see why it might be difficult to market a piece like this. I loved it. Mearns was fierce and on fire as always, and Reichlen was a perfect leader for the leggy WRENS number. 

I have seen Union Jack only a few times and always found it a fascinating demonstration of Balanchine's ingenuity. It was considered cheeky at the time of the US Bicentennial, but he had already created Stars and Stripes a decade earlier, so this was a good solution. I'm also amazed that he has so many dancers on stage, especially in the first section, and moves them around so artfully. (His Garland Dance is another with a remarkably huge number of dancers on stage at once.)

I heard a pre-performance talk once about it; they pointed out that no other company has ever performed it, partly (at least) because it requires 74 dancers and few could muster that many, even drawing on apprentices and advanced students. A funny tidbit we were told: the semaphores in the last section were learned by looking at a tape and someone realized quite belatedly that they were using mirror images, creating an entirely different meaning. Legend has it that Baryshnikov performed the middle music hall section on short notice, thus giving rise to the name "Ballet alert" as balletomanes spread the word. (If you were there for that episode, please correct me if I'm wrong on this.)

https://www.nycballet.com/ballets/u/union-jack.aspx

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Is Union Jack the longest plotless work by Balanchine in the repertoire? It certainly felt long. I agree that Mearns and Reichlen were sensational, but for me, there were just too many sections that weren't very interesting, with the Costermonger PDD being the most notable example. Has that section ever actually been funny? It certainly wasn't funny yesterday, and it didn't even elicit very many polite, obligatory chuckles. I admire Balanchine's ingenuity in working with so many dancers, but much of the choreography didn't even feel close to his best work. To me, the ballet felt bloated and dated (and I'm very hesitant to apply the word "dated" to any Balanchine ballet, as they generally hold up so well).

Edited by fondoffouettes
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2 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Is Union Jack the longest plotless work by Balanchine in the repertoire? It certainly felt long. I agree that Mearns and Reichlen were sensational, but for me, there were just too many sections that weren't very interesting, with the Costermonger PDD being the most notable example. Has that section ever actually been funny? It certainly wasn't funny yesterday, and it didn't even elicit very many polite, obligatory chuckles. I admire Balanchine's ingenuity in working with so many dancers, but much of the choreography didn't even feel close to his best work. To me, the ballet felt bloated and dated (and I'm very hesitant to apply the word "dated" to any Balanchine ballet, as they generally hold up so well).

It looks like we could not be on more opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to this ballet.  I've always loved the dancing and the pure spectacle of Union Jack.  I saw the Saturday matinee and it blew me away as usual.   The entire cast was superb and the ballet was danced brilliantly.  None of it felt dated to me.  It’s all pomp and circumstance with a military tattoo a la Balanchine.  These military tattoos still go on today.  As far as the Costermonger pdd, it was never meant to be contemporary.  It’s a take off on 19th century British music hall period piece humor which Balanchine captured perfectly.  But to each his/her own.   I can never get enough of this ballet, and hope it’s not too long before they perform it again.

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4 hours ago, fondoffouettes said:

Is Union Jack the longest plotless work by Balanchine in the repertoire? It certainly felt long. I agree that Mearns and Reichlen were sensational, but for me, there were just too many sections that weren't very interesting, with the Costermonger PDD being the most notable example. Has that section ever actually been funny? It certainly wasn't funny yesterday, and it didn't even elicit very many polite, obligatory chuckles. I admire Balanchine's ingenuity in working with so many dancers, but much of the choreography didn't even feel close to his best work. To me, the ballet felt bloated and dated (and I'm very hesitant to apply the word "dated" to any Balanchine ballet, as they generally hold up so well).

The military tattoo is such a particular type of choreography and music - it's definitely a love it or hate it kind of thing. Or maybe that's 'love it, or be bored by it'.  ;)
There are few things more purposefully traditional than military events and ceremonies, so if that's not your cup of tea, it's going to be painful. (Even with Balanchine putting his own spin on the spectacle.)

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Seeing the Costermonger pdd performed with so well by Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette and knowing that they went through a painful divorce—and have obviously come out on the other side—certainly added subtext and humor, and a bit of pathos!  Fairchild has terrific comic flair. 

I loved seeing this cast in Union Jack. Reichlin, Hyltin, Mearns and Tyler Angle were standouts this afternoon. 

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I was at the Friday night performance of Opus 19/the Dreamer, new Lovette, new Liang, and Symphony in C. I've been mulling over my thoughts about the new pieces. I found the Liang piece derivative, but pleasant and very watchable. It's not anything great, but I could see it again and enjoy it. As for the Lovette piece, I can see she's exploring ideas about gender and ballet, a timely and welcome endeavor. But the message is muddled. Take the tutus. They are split open in the front, and pull up sharply in back, exposing the rear end. I can't quite tell how to take this. Is it meant to be shocking? Humorous? Doing something crazy just for the sake up making a statement that this is different? All I get is that she's taking a starting point, say traditional norms, and opposing it - rather than presenting new ideas, or ideas towards some new vision.  I also found it overwrought generally. Even if the message were clearer, as a dance piece I didn't find it very pleasing. Would hesitate to see again. Great use of Georgina Pazcoguin, though. 

In Opus 19/the Dreamer, Gonzalo Garcia looked as good as one could possibly look in his white unitard. His earthy, charismatic presence and great port de bras, along with a shimmering Sterling Hyltin, made a good case for this piece. 

Symphony in C always livens things up. I felt like I've seen more sparkling performances, or maybe it was just a heaviness in my mood after a ho-hum reaction to the two new pieces (which I was hoping to like more). Still, I left with a smile. 

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29 minutes ago, cobweb said:

. Take the tutus. They are split open in the front, and pull up sharply in back, exposing the rear end. I can't quite tell how to take this. Is it meant to be shocking? Humorous? Doing something crazy just for the sake up making a statement that this is different? All I get is that she's taking a starting point, say traditional norms, and opposing it - rather than presenting new ideas, or ideas towards some new vision.  I also found it overwrought generally. Even if the message were clearer, as a dance piece I didn't find it very pleasing. Would hesitate to see again. Great use of Georgina Pazcoguin, though. 

Thanks for the review Cobweb. When I saw the Lovette piece, I didn't know what make of the costumes and even thought them silly. Then I saw an interview with Lovette in which she said that the costumes were something of a surprise to her, and sent her in a different direction choreographically. That reminded me that the fall season has the fashion designer tie-in. I believe it's a Sarah Jessica Parker innovation that keeps going, in which a fashion designer is assigned to a choreographer. The extent to which they work together seems to vary. If the fashion gimmick brings in a lot of interest, donor dollars and ticket sales that's fine. If it no longer serves that function it should be dropped, because it doesn't serve the ballets particularly well. 

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36 minutes ago, vipa said:

Thanks for the review Cobweb. When I saw the Lovette piece, I didn't know what make of the costumes and even thought them silly. Then I saw an interview with Lovette in which she said that the costumes were something of a surprise to her, and sent her in a different direction choreographically. That reminded me that the fall season has the fashion designer tie-in. I believe it's a Sarah Jessica Parker innovation that keeps going, in which a fashion designer is assigned to a choreographer. The extent to which they work together seems to vary. If the fashion gimmick brings in a lot of interest, donor dollars and ticket sales that's fine. If it no longer serves that function it should be dropped, because it doesn't serve the ballets particularly well. 

Thanks vipa. I wasn't taking into account the celebrity fashion designer angle. If I were a choreographer who was presented with those tutus by my assigned costume designer (and I had to use them), I would have taken a comedic route. They could work very well in a piece with a lighter tone.  

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6 hours ago, NinaFan said:

I can never get enough of this ballet, and hope it’s not too long before they perform it again.

Thank you NinaFan, I feel the same!

Today's audience seemed very appreciative and enthusiastic about Union Jack, with an extra curtain call. In MacDonald of Sleat, the regiment was more in unison than yesterday, but I guess it's a piece where unison isn't the point. The problem, if that's the right word, is that Sara Mearns is so powerful and so fit, the other ladies make a weak impression next to her.

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