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Leah

Winter 2020

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I'm not sure that article did anybody any favors.  The accompanying photo is not compelling,  and the video is downright silly.  It looks like a comedic interpretation of ballet.  Joseph Gordon graciously credits Darci Kistler for encouraging him,  but the writer includes gratuitous information about Peter Martins and Kistler's  departure from the school.  Did we really need to know that another principal dancer is Gordon's "boyfriend"?  That struck me as juvenile.

I love Joseph Gordon's confident virtuosity and I'm sure he has a brilliant future.  Dancers get far more media attention now than in the past.  It would be beneficial if Gordon exerted control over his public image,  perhaps with the assistance of a public relations professional.

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The Times doesn't really do ballet reviews anymore, so dancer profiles and interviews now fill the paper space where reviews used to be.  If Gordon doesn't have an issue with revealing his personal life, why should we.  In fact, if you follow Gordon on instagram, it is well known that his boyfriend is Adrian DW.

Adding a sentence about the circumstances of the departure of Martins is now apparently obligatory at the NY Times any time the paper refers to anyone presently or formerly in a management position, or anytime the name Martins  comes up in any context.  It's ridiculous. 

Actually, having a press rep is the worst thing Gordon could do.  He's not looking for a glossy portrayal of himself.  He presents himself as completely genuine without artifice,  and he comes across that way in performances and in the article.  That's completely refreshing as far as I'm concerned. 

 

PS Casting for week 3 is up on the website.

Edited by abatt

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4 minutes ago, abatt said:

He's not looking for a glossy portrayal of himself.  He presents himself as completely genuine without artifice,  and he comes across that way in performances and in the article.  That's completely refreshing as far as I'm concerned.

I agree.

As for the reference to Danchig-Waring as Gordon's boyfriend, I don't see why that should be considered "juvenile." People in their 20s have "boyfriends." Heck, people in their 40s and 50s (and above) often have "boyfriends" too. I'm sure Kourlas or someone else at the Times would have checked with Gordon to verify which of the various possible terms he prefers to use in reference to his relationship. And the fact that he's in a long-term relationship with another member of the company is certainly relevant in a profile largely focused on his experiences as a member of NYCB.

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Before the performance started last night, Jon Stafford came out and introduced the Levin Award for this year, and then Baily Jones came out and gave a short speech. Has this been done in past years, and I just missed it? Jones was charming, but my feeling is I don't need the talk - let's get on with the performance! I am also wondering about the idea behind the Levin Award. Looking at past awardees, obviously for many years it went to those they saw as future principals, which almost all of them eventually became. Last year it went to Kristen Segin and this year to Baily Jones. Both of these are, to me, the very epitome of excellence in corps dancing, and very capable soloists as well. I'm not sure I see either as principal material. And for two years now they have overlooked the single most promising member of the corps - Roman Mejia. He is, IMHO, the most obvious future principal, and is already doing principal roles. All making me wonder if the idea behind the award has changed. 

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I have no issue with Gordon revealing his personal life.   Obviously opinions vary,  but  while someone may refer to someone as a boyfriend in everyday speech,  to me it seems juvenile,  even trivial,  in an artist's profile in the newspaper of record.  In the same edition of the NY Times,  in the story on West Side Story,  Ivo Van Hove's set designer is described as his "romantic partner".   I'm not at all confident that the editors at the Times checked with either party as to what term they preferred.

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25 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Before the performance started last night, Jon Stafford came out and introduced the Levin Award for this year, and then Baily Jones came out and gave a short speech. Has this been done in past years, and I just missed it? Jones was charming, but my feeling is I don't need the talk - let's get on with the performance! I am also wondering about the idea behind the Levin Award. Looking at past awardees, obviously for many years it went to those they saw as future principals, which almost all of them eventually became. Last year it went to Kristen Segin and this year to Baily Jones. Both of these are, to me, the very epitome of excellence in corps dancing, and very capable soloists as well. I'm not sure I see either as principal material. And for two years now they have overlooked the single most promising member of the corps - Roman Mejia. He is, IMHO, the most obvious future principal, and is already doing principal roles. All making me wonder if the idea behind the award has changed. 

This was the first time that a Levin Award winner was the subject of a pre performance speech.   I liked the fact that they gave Bailey Jones a special one page  blurb  in the playbill last night regarding the award and Ms. Jones, but the speeches were a bit much and over the top.

Bailey still has a lot to learn about performing, in my opinion.  She was the Marzipan Shepherdess at my Nutcracker performance in late December, and faltered badly in the final moments of the choreography for her variation.

Agree with you about Mejia.  

Edited by abatt

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11 minutes ago, abatt said:

This was the first time that a Levin Award winner was the subject of a pre performance speech.   I liked the fact that they gave Bailey Jones a special one page  blurb  in the playbill last night regarding the award and Ms. Jones, but the speeches were a bit much and over the top.

Bailey still has a lot to learn about performing, in my opinion.  She was the Marzipan Shepherdess at my Nutcracker performance in late December, and faltered badly in the final moments of the choreography for her variation.

Agree with you about Mejia.  

Agree with both cobweb and abatt about Mejia! He was the most deserving recipient of the award. I thought the speech was too much before the performance last night. I find Baily Jones to be an adequate, but bland dancer and definitely not principal material. Perhaps the intention of the award has changed as cobweb suggested. 

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

I'm not sure that article did anybody any favors. The accompanying photo is not compelling,  and the video is downright silly.  It looks like a comedic interpretation of ballet. 

I was as surprised as anyone when Gia Kourlas was named Dance Critic at NYT. "Very, very basic" is the nicest way I can think to describe her writing. If someone like me who is obsessed with ballet and reading finds a piece like this so dull, what's someone looking for a reason to enjoy ballet going to do with it? I agree that this certainly didn't do the author any favors. 

And yeah, that video is something else. 

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15 minutes ago, Brook703 said:

Agree with both cobweb and abatt about Mejia! He was the most deserving recipient of the award. I thought the speech was too much before the performance last night. I find Baily Jones to be an adequate, but bland dancer and definitely not principal material. Perhaps the intention of the award has changed as cobweb suggested. 

Or maybe its the fact that the person deciding the recipient of the award has changed.  Stafford himself could be described as adequate and bland in his dancing during his relatively short dancing career at NYCB.  Given Jones's youth, I am not ready to judge whether  she has qualities to make it to principal at some point in the future..

Edited by abatt

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Also, hasn’t the Levin Award rotated between male/female dancers for some years now?

Edited by Brook703

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The speech and public ceremony may be an effort simply to continue to garner support from the descendants of Janice Levin to keep this award going year after year.  Doesn't every rich person who gives money to a company enjoy  praise  in an on stage ceremony?  I had no idea that Ariel Tepper was Janice Levin's granddaughter.

 

Edited by abatt

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I didn't think Stafford's description of Jones was all that flattering, it didn't make her sound like a special dancer. She's speedy, athletic, has good attack. Great, that describes almost all the corps dancers. If he gives a correction, he knows she'll work on it and keep improving. Really, this is what it takes to win the award?

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On 1/18/2020 at 9:01 AM, Leah said:

Baily Jones gets the Janice Levin award this year. She's certainly been singled out lately. I'm not sure what I think about her, although she does have good technique. 

She has great jumps but I am not a fan of her upper body movements and I feel like every time she is on stage I see too many technical issues.  I am shocked and disappointed at the award.  What happened to Indiana Woodward, Unity Phelan, Roman Mejia, Preston Chamblee, Silas Farley, Sara Adams, Devin Alberda, Peter Walker, Emily Kitka, Miriam Miller, Bologna, Habony, Kayali, Hod, Sanz, C VonEnck,  ... and the list goes on.  The new AD is telling us he is picking his stable of dancers and those that have been waiting ... well, moving on ... I cannot imagine what those generations of dancers are feeling.

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I really thought it was going to go to Mejia because they had been alternating men and women and he’s (deservedly) the favorite of the male corps. I remember liking Jones in Scotch Symphony but being a little underwhelmed by her 3rd movement Bizet. Maybe I’ve seen her in other things that I’ve forgotten. Certainly there are corps members with more star power - if they had to give the award to a small blonde why not Emma von Enck?

Maybe the award has changed. Segin was an odd pick last year, but I do think she deserved it - she just doesn’t seem to be on the promotion track. But Jones is younger and has been getting a fair number of debuts lately.

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3 minutes ago, Leah said:

Certainly there are corps members with more star power - if they had to give the award to a small blonde why not Emma von Enck?

Or a non blonde - Alston Macgill. She’s been my favorite petite dancer for several seasons now and I think she has star power!

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8 minutes ago, Brook703 said:

Or a non blonde - Alston Macgill. She’s been my favorite petite dancer for several seasons now and I think she has star power!

She's wonderful as well. And she did a great job with 3rd movement Bizet on the Paris DVD, but hasn't been allowed to dance it since.

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I don't know whether to chalk it up to the new management or the old, but I find myself very disappointed about the stagnation in the career of Emily Kikta. To me she is one of the most interesting and commanding dancers in the company. I finally had to accept that Ashley Laracey will never be a principal and we'll never see her in the great ballerina roles that she seems so obviously suited for. But now I'm disappointed about Kikta. Maybe that's just part of being a ballet fan, the AD's choices will never entirely overlap with one's own. 

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30 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Maybe that's just part of being a ballet fan, the AD's choices will never entirely overlap with one's own. 

Or maybe they’re just not as smart as we are! 😀

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If you haven't already seen it, City Ballet live streamed an Allegro Brillante rehearsal on facebook last week.  LaFreniere was stunning.

 

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39 minutes ago, cobweb said:

 I finally had to accept that Ashley Laracey will never be a principal and we'll never see her in the great ballerina roles that she seems so obviously suited for. But now I'm disappointed about Kikta. Maybe that's just part of being a ballet fan, the AD's choices will never entirely overlap with one's own. 

Just had to chime in that I so agree about Laracey. Her Lilac Fairy was one of the best I've seen, and I've seen a lot. Such a quality dancer.

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21 minutes ago, ABT Fan said:

Or maybe they’re just not as smart as we are! 😀

Thanks for the perspective, ABT Fan. Sometimes I think the same thing!

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On 1/9/2020 at 8:45 AM, cobweb said:

Pollack doesn't seem to be getting preferential casting, so that's a good thing. The question may be, whether she is being held back. I have found her bland many times, but I also remember seeing her as one of the demis in T&V several years ago, and thinking that she looked very grand and polished, ready for bigger things. So I think the potential is there. In any case I don't avoid her, the way I do Pereira. 

I'm trying to remember - is this season one that was programmed by the "interim team"? I know not everyone agrees, but I'm finding it lacking in excitement. 

I was wondering the same.  It's uninspiring and has weird pairings.  The spring season also doesn't look fantastic. Usually I have trouble deciding which  performance  I want to see on a weekend trip to NY.  Now I can hardly find one evening that I'm really eager to see. As far as Pereira and Pollack go, both of them leave me cold but I prefer Pollack.  

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On 1/15/2020 at 4:05 PM, griffie said:

Trying to decide between the Wed 22nd casting and the Wed 29th, because any season Tiler & Tyler are doing Allegro Brillante I want to be there. 22nd is La Source/Bouder and Firebird/ Reichlin, while 29th is La Source/Fairchild and Firebird/Bouder. Any suggestions on which to choose? 

I'm also bemused by just how much Pereira is scheduled so far. Of course she's a good dancer, they all are, and I find her technically proficient, but onstage she never seems to give me that extra something I'm looking for and I don't find her musicality really zings. But perhaps she has other qualities that might make her appealing to an AD (maybe she learns steps lightning fast, is always superprepared, gets along with even the most difficult personalities, never injured, has powerful or rich sponsors who want her pushed - all kinds of things that don't reach across the footlights but matter to an AD.) I know these things are factors. I'm mourning the lack of casting this spring season for one of my favorite principal dancers over at ABT and the only thing I can rationalize is there there must be behind-the-scenes issues that I am not privy to. The dancer's performances are wonderful in both technique and artistry, and yet... 😞

I've seen both Bouder and Reichlen in Firebird in the last 5 years and both were great. I'd choose Reichlen because she's a greater contrast to Bouder, whereas Fairchild and Bouder are more similar to each other. Yes I know, they are very different but comparatively ...

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