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Digital Spring Season

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Now that's more like it! I'm so glad to see they're doing this — and will be so happy to watch.

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Yay! I am seriously doing the happy dance right now.

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Very happy about this!

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I can't wait to watch. The clip of Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette gave me a jolt. So sad, too... I miss everyone! After the winter season, I found the ones most lingering in my mind were Unity Phelan and Jovani Furlan. But there are so many to miss. 

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2 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Hopefully ABT does something similar

So far it looks like just more classes/workouts and social media content. Not at all as exciting.

 

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Press release:

NEW YORK CITY BALLET ANNOUNCES DIGITAL SPRING SEASON

Six Weeks of Online Programming
to Feature Full Ballets and Excerpts from More Than 20 Works
With New Repertory Available on Tuesday and Fridays from April 21 Through May 29

Additional Content for the Digital Season Will Include
a New Season of 
City Ballet The Podcast Launching Monday, April 20,
Ballet Essentials Interactive Educational Workshops Launching Thursday, April 23 Ballet Break Interactive Workshops for Children Launching Saturday, April 25
and

Wednesday With Wendy
Ballet-Inspired Movement Classes
Taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan Launching Wednesday, April 22

New Content Will Be Available Six Days a Week, Monday through Saturday, Free of Charge on Several Platforms

New York City Ballet announced today that the Company will launch a digital spring season on Tuesday, April 21, the date that would have been the opening night of the Company’s now cancelled 2020 Spring Season. The online season will continue for six weeks, with new releases of ballet performances on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 8pm (EDT), through Friday, May 29. Each program will be available free- of-charge for 72 hours on NYCB’s YouTube channel (YouTube.com/nycballet), Facebook page (Facebook.com/nycballet), and website home page (nycballet.com).

The programming for the digital season will feature complete ballets and excerpts, with Tuesday releases devoted to repertory by the Company’s co-founding choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Friday releases devoted primarily to contemporary works by some of today’s most exciting choreographers.

The ballets and excerpts that will be shown have been curated by NYCB Artistic Director Jonathan Stafford, Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan, and Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck, and will include performance footage from more than 20 ballets filmed during live performances in recent seasons at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. Each episode will also feature an introduction by one of NYCB’s artists, including artistic staff, choreographers, dancers, and musicians.

“While it was extremely disappointing to cancel our spring season performances at Lincoln Center, we are thrilled that we can offer an online selection of works from our unparalleled repertory of ballets, performed by our incredible dancers and musicians,” said Stafford. “I know that our long-time audience members will recognize many of their favorites, and I am also excited that people from around the world who have never seen the Company perform live will now be able to experience our performances through this digital season.”

The first installment on Tuesday, April 21, will feature a performance of George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante that was filmed on January 18, 2017, featuring Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette in the principal roles, with an introduction by Stafford. Set to Tschaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75, Balanchine once said of the work, “it contains everything I know about the classical ballet in 13 minutes.”

The second night of programming on Friday, April 24 will feature the World Premiere performance of Justin Peck’s Rotunda, which took place on February 26, 2020, set to a commissioned score by composer Nico Muhly. NYCB’s most recent premiere, which features a cast of 12 dancers, Rotunda was also scheduled to be performed at Sadler’s Wells in London last month as part of a festival of choreography to music by Muhly, which was also cancelled due to the current coronavirus pandemic. Muhly will introduce the April 24 episode.

Originally captured for use in short excerpts for promotional purposes only, the ballet footage will now be shared with the public for the first-time ever with the cooperation of the labor unions for the Company’s artists, stagehands, and other behind-the-scenes personnel, as well as the rights holders for the choreography, music, sets, costumes, and lighting design.

“While the footage was not originally meant to be broadcast in this format, NYCB’s marketing and media department has done an extraordinary job, while working remotely, to prepare and stream this digital season,” said Stafford.

Additional repertory for the digital season will feature performances by all of the Company’s current roster of Principal Dancers in works by choreographers Kyle Abraham, Mauro Bigonzetti, Alexei Ratmansky, Gianna Reisen, Pam Tanowitz, and Christopher Wheeldon. For updates on programming visit nycballet.com/digitalspring throughout the course of the six-week season.

Ancillary content for the digital season will include nine all-new episodes of City Ballet The Podcast; Ballet Essentials interactive educational workshops; Ballet Break movement workshops for children; and Wednesday With Wendy, a weekly, open-level ballet inspired-movement class taught by the Company’s Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan on NYCB’s Instagram Live and IGTV channel.

Together these programs will provide new NYCB content, launching each day, Monday through Saturday, presented free of charge on several media platforms.

City Ballet The Podcast Spring Season Episodes
On Monday, April 20, NYCB will launch its latest season of City Ballet The Podcast with nine all-

new episodes featuring discussions of some of the ballets included in the digital spring season. The season will begin with a never-before released “See the Music” episode featuring NYCB Resident Conductor Daniel Capps and the NYCB Orchestra in an exploration of Tschaikovsky’s score for Allegro Brillante that was recorded live during a performance on September 30, 2018. NYCB Music Director Andrew Litton will introduce the episode.

Additional episodes, released every Monday, will feature NYCB dancers Silas Farley, Claire Kretzschmar, and Aaron Sanz hosting conversations with current and former NYCB artists, including Patricia McBride who will discuss George Balanchine’s Rubies. City Ballet The Podcast is available at podcast.nycballet.com and on all platforms where podcasts are available.

Ballet Essentials & Ballet Break Educational Workshops and In-School Programming
As part of the digital spring season NYCB’s Education Department will also be presenting online

offerings including a series of nine Ballet Essentials movement workshops, which will launch on Thursday, April 23 at 6pm (EDT). Each Ballet Essentials workshop will be conducted by NYCB artists who will lead viewers through a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by iconic works by Balanchine, Robbins, and 21st century choreographers.

The online versions of the Ballet Essentials workshops will be modeled after the popular in-person workshops that have been presented in NYCB’s rehearsal studios since 2014. Each workshop is 45- minutes long and suitable for young adults and adults. The first online workshop on Thursday, April 23 will be taught by NYCB Soloist Lauren King and will explore Balanchine’s choreography for Serenade, with additional Ballet Essentials programs launching on Mondays and Thursdays at 6pm (EDT) through Thursday, May 21. All workshops will be offered free of charge and registration is required; visit balletessentials.nycballet.com for more information.

On Saturday, April 25 at 11am (EDT) the Company will also launch Ballet Break, a six-week series of lively Saturday morning movement activities designed for children ages 3 to 8. Each 20-minute Ballet Break workshop will be taught by a NYCB dancer and will include a warm-up and choreography inspired by some of NYCB’s most beloved ballets. The first Ballet Break on Saturday, April 25 will be led by NYCB Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht who will explore movement inspired by Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free. TheBallet Break workshops will be offered free of charge and registration is required; visit nycballet.com/balletbreaks for more information.

In addition, with the closure of the New York City public school system, NYCB’s Education Department has mobilized its team of teaching artists for the Company’s Ballet Tales and Project Ballet school residency programs to pivot from teaching onsite in school classrooms to creating content that can be shared with students remotely. Currently 11 NYCB teaching artists are working with nearly 2,000 public school children from 77 elementary classrooms throughout New York City.

Wednesday With Wendy Open Level Ballet Classes on Instagram
Beginning Wednesday, April 22 at 5pm (EDT), NYCB will launch Wednesday With Wendy, a series

of ballet-inspired movement classes taught by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan on Instagram Live. Suitable for people of all ages and levels of training, each class will also be available on NYCB’s Instagram TV channel (Instagram.com/nycballet).

“I want to create the atmosphere of a virtual ballet class for anyone and everyone,” said Whelan. “I want less experienced dancers to feel comfortable and more advanced dancers to feel like they can scale it up and push themselves. I want it to feel light, yet still focused and filled with insight. Most importantly, I hope to keep a sense of humor in what I offer – I want it to be fun!”

Spring Season Cancellation

Last month New York City Ballet announced the cancellation of its 2020 Spring Season which was scheduled to take place from Tuesday, April 21 through Sunday, May 31 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. “The health and safety of New York City Ballet’s artists, staff, patrons, and community at large is our number one priority at this time,” said Stafford and NYCB Executive Director Katherine Brown at the time of the announcement. “While we are devastated to have to cancel the upcoming spring season, the current pandemic has left us with no other choice. We look forward to the time when we can bring the beauty and joy of NYCB’s incredible artists and repertory back to our stages and welcome our wonderful audiences back to the theater.”

NYCB Relief Fund

NYCB has also created a special Relief Fund to ensure the company’s future during this extraordinary and challenging time. Contributions to the Relief Fund can be made online at nycballet.com/donate.

“The impact of this crisis on the well-being of the entire NYCB community of employees, which includes 100 dancers, 62 musicians, and more than 250 other administrative and theater staff members, will be significant, and we hope that our devoted patrons and audience members will support our relief efforts however they are able,” said Whelan.

The Travelers Companies, Inc. is the Global Sponsor of New York City Ballet

New York City Ballet Company Dancers and Stage Managers are members of the American Guild of Musical Artists AFL-CIO.

 

More:

 

NEW YORK CITY BALLET DIGITAL SPRING SEASON | APRIL 20-May 21, 2020

nycballet.com/digitalspring

WEEK 1: Monday, April 20 – Saturday, April 25 Monday, April 20: City Ballet The Podcast

“See the Music” episode on Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky’s score for George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, featuring NYCB Resident Conductor Daniel Capps and the NYCB Orchestra, with an introduction by NYCB Music Director Andrew Litton

(available at podcast.nycballet.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Luminary, the iHeartRadio app, and other podcast platforms)

Tuesday, April 21: NYCB Performance

Allegro Brillante

Music by Peter Ilyitch Tschaikovsky Choreography by George Balanchine

PRINCIPAL CASTING: Tiler Peck and Andrew Veyette

with the NYCB Orchestra,
Conductor: Andrew Litton, NYCB Music Director Solo Piano: Susan Walters

Filmed on January 18, 2017, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Introduction by Jonathan Stafford, Artistic Director, NYCB and SAB

(available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Tuesday, April 21 at 8pm until Friday, April 24, at 8pm EDT)

Wednesday, April 22: Wednesday with Wendy
Live ballet-inspired movement class suitable for people of all ages and levels of training, taught

by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan

(available on Instagram Live at 5pm EDT and IGTV at instagram.com/nycballet)

Thursday, April 23: Ballet Essentials - Serenade

45-minute interactive movement workshop suitable for people of all ages and level of training consisting of a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by George Balanchine’s Serenade, taught by NYCB Soloist Lauren King

(register at balletessentials.nycballet.com; workshop at 6pm EDT)

Friday, April 24: NYCB Performance

Rotunda

Music by Nico Muhly (commissioned by NYCB) Choreography by Justin Peck

CAST: Sara Mearns, Miriam Miller, Sara Adams, Claire Kretzschmar, Brittany Pollack, Unity Phelan, Gonzalo Garcia, Andrew Scordato, Adrian Danchig-Waring, Daniel Ulbricht, Jovani Furlan, Gilbert Bolden III

With the NYCB Orchestra
Conductor: Andrew Litton, NYCB Music Director

World Premiere Performance filmed on February 26, 2020, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Introduction by Nico Muhly, composer

(available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Friday, April 24 at 8pm until Monday, April 27 at 8pm EDT)

Saturday, April 25: Ballet Breaks – Fancy Free

20-minute interactive movement workshop for children ages 3-8, consisting of a warm-up and choreography inspired by Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, taught by NYCB Principal Dancer Daniel Ulbricht

(register at nycballet.com/balletbreaks; workshop at 11am EDT)

Programming subject to change (04/20/20)

 

 

NEW YORK CITY BALLET DIGITAL SPRING SEASON | APRIL 20-May 21, 2020

nycballet.com/digitalspring
WEEK 2: Monday, April 27 – Saturday, May 2

Monday, April 27:
City Ballet The Podcast

Episode on George Balanchine’s Apollo
(available at podcast.nycballet.com, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Luminary, the iHeartRadio app,

and other podcast platforms)
Ballet Essentials – West Side Story Suite

45-minute interactive movement workshop suitable for people of all ages and level of training consisting of a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, taught by NYCB Soloist Claire Kretzschmar

(register at balletessentials.nycballet.com; workshop at 6pm EDT)

Tuesday, April 28: NYCB Performance

Apollo

Music by Igor Stravinsky Choreography by George Balanchine

PRINCIPAL CASTING: Taylor Stanley, Tiler Peck, Brittany Pollack, and Indiana Woodward

with the NYCB Orchestra,
Conductor: Andrew Litton, NYCB Music Director

Filmed on January 22, 2019, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

Introduction by Craig Hall, NYCB Ballet Master

(available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Tuesday, April 28 at 8pm until Friday, May 1, at 8pm EDT)

Wednesday, April 29: Wednesday with Wendy
Live ballet-inspired movement class suitable for people of all ages and levels of training, taught

by NYCB Associate Artistic Director Wendy Whelan

(available on Instagram Live at 5pm EDT and IGTV at instagram.com/nycballet)

Thursday, April 30: Ballet Essentials – Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes

45-minute interactive movement workshop suitable for young adults and adults consisting of a ballet warm-up and a movement combination inspired by Justin Peck’s Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, taught by NYCB Dancer Silas Farley, with a short Q&A with NYCB Resident Choreographer and Artistic Advisor Justin Peck

(register at balletessentials.nycballet.com; workshop at 6pm EDT)

Friday, May 1: NYCB Performance

Ballo Della Regina

Music by Giuseppe Verdi Choreography by George Balanchine

PRINCIPAL CASTING: Megan Fairchild, Anthony Huxley

With the NYCB Orchestra
Conductor: Andrews Sill, NYCB Associate Music Director

Filmed on May 12, 2016, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

After the Rain Pas de Deux

Music by Arvo Pärt
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon

PRINCIPAL CASTING: Wendy Whelan, Craig Hall
With NYCB Orchestra Concertmaster Arturo Delmoni and Solo Pianist Nancy McDill Filmed on October 9, 2012, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Introductions by Wendy Whelan, NYCB Associate Artistic Director

(available at nycballet.com, facebook.com/nycballet, and youtube.com/nycballet from Friday, May 1 at 8pm until Monday, May 4 at 8pm EDT)

Saturday, May 2: Ballet Breaks – Western Symphony

20-minute interactive movement workshop for children ages 3-8, consisting of a warm-up and choreography inspired by George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, taught by NYCB Dancer Kristen Segin

(register at nycballet.com/balletbreaks; workshop at 11am EDT)

Programming subject to change (04/20/20)

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Does seem like there's more performance video than some other company offerings. We'll see if it's more than what they normally post on their Flash performance videos on Facebook or the excerpts they post on their website and YouTube. In addition to that, I'm interested in the podcasts. ETA: it does seem the full Allegro Brillante will be shown as well as Rotunda.

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9 minutes ago, Dale said:

Does seem like there's more performance video than some other company offerings. We'll see if it's more than what they normally post on their Flash performance videos on Facebook or the excerpts they post on their website and YouTube. In addition to that, I'm interested in the podcasts. ETA: it does seem the full Allegro Brillante will be shown as well as Rotunda.

Complete performances always seem like a big deal given how loathe NYCB has been to share archived films over the past 40 years. I do think Balanchine would have been more likely to embrace digital distribution than the post-Balanchine administrations have been.

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The Apollo they're going to run has Taylor Stanley. What about putting up Robert Fairchild and Adrian Danchig-Waring too? Also Gonzalo Garcia brought a lot to the role. This would be a good opportunity to see several versions in short order. Just a thought...

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Yes. I guess people have pointed out that in Europe, where we have seen full performances of theater, ballet, opera, orchestras made available to stream, the institutions have more guaranteed state support. That support, much smaller, is always under threat here. However, I agree. Balanchine always did take advantage of media in all its guises. He would have been "platform agnostic" as we say in the media world :) Ballets for the circus, for vaccine appeals, films, stage, variety shows, TV... And, judging by his history, he would have wanted to provide his performances for the greater good at time when people need it. I'm glad the current heads (Stafford/Whelan and everybody else who had a hand in this) are trying to produce a nice digital season. 

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1 hour ago, pherank said:

I do think Balanchine would have been more likely to embrace digital distribution than the post-Balanchine administrations have been.

I agree with this, especially as he told stagers like Francia Russell and Maria Tallchief to stage the versions they knew and danced, not the ones he updated.  PNB was doing the full-length Apollo staged by Russell until Peter Boal decided to go with the castrated version.

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13 minutes ago, Helene said:

...until Peter Boal decided to go with the castrated version.

Ouch. And I mean ouch!
But I like that characterization.  ;)

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Posted (edited)

There may be a myth about the "complete" version of Apollo. Reading old reviews in the historical New York Times and elsewhere, it seemed to have changed with every revival, from 1937 on – in tone and in some of the action. According to an interview Lynn Garafola reported on in a Green Room talk in San Francisco, some of the birthing scene was inspired by the Martha Graham exercises Balanchine saw one of his students do. Danilova talks about significant changes in meter and accent from the 1928 Apollo she was in. So the longer ur-version could have been any one of many different versions. 

Edited by Quiggin

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5 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Hopefully ABT does something similar

Remember that City Ballet has had an in-house, HD "media suite" for filming for almost 10 years. I don't know whether ABT has ever had access to it, or to the cameras installed by the Metropolitan Opera. I doubt it. I don't know how much decent footage ABT has to show.

I'm thrilled at the prospect of seeing complete versions of the "Flash Footage" that NYCB posts. My only concern is that the recorded sound quality on those clips is not the best, which may start to grate over 20-30 minutes.

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5 minutes ago, volcanohunter said:

Remember that City Ballet has had an in-house, HD "media suite" for filming for almost 10 years. I don't know whether ABT has ever had access to it, or to the cameras installed by the Metropolitan Opera. I doubt it. I don't know how much decent footage ABT has to show.

I'd be happy with some re-airings of previously released (1970s-80s) material, as a starting point, just to see something better than old VHS transfers on YouTube.

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22 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

So the longer ur-version could have been any one of many different versions. 

Very true.  Balanchine told Francia Russell to stage the version she knew, which included the birth, the unswaddling, the lute handover, and a "getting his feet under himself" solo at the beginning and the ascent up the staircase to end, rather than the  "intermediate" Apollo opening solo and the AT&T logo ending.

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47 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

There may be a myth about the "complete" version of Apollo. Reading old reviews in the historical New York Times and elsewhere, it seemed to have changed with every revival, from 1937 on – in tone and in some of the action. According to an interview Lynn Garafola reported on in a Green Room talk in San Francisco, some of the birthing scene was inspired by the Martha Graham exercises Balanchine saw one of his students do. Danilova talks about significant changes in meter and accent from the 1928 Apollo she was in. So the longer ur-version could have been any one of many different versions. 

Every version is "complete" in that sense, but what I'm interested in are any versions beginning with Apollo's mother Leto, and his birth, and ending with the ascension to Parnassus. The narrative works well enough in that version(s), while in the "castrated" version we get little narrative bits but don't know the context for anything (except by referring back to the early versions of the ballet - which someone new to the ballet can't do).

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Posted (edited)

Yes, I came across my old notes on the trajectory of Apollo – I was house cleaning and they were in the toss pile – and looked at the John Martin NYT comments. The first one has a reference to the birth scene.

Quote

 

"The ladies dance it handsomely, and so, quite literally, does Mr. Youskevitch, though he patently finds it difficult to be cute enough for Mr. Balanchine's chic (1928) pantheon. Incidentally, the accouchement in the first scene has been conspicuously bowdlerized." (Dec 1, 1947).

"It is much lighter in mood than it used to be, much simpler and more straightforward in style, and even its occasional touches of banter are genial rather than impudent." (Nov 16, 1951)

 

And 1957 Balanchine was already eliminating things:

Quote

"It is now being performed in practice clothes and without scenery except for a flight of steps and a plain stool that the action demands. To claim that this change is a matter of deliberate esthetic reappraisal would be hazardous; the reason is more likely that the City Ballet is too poor to pay for clothes and decor. But however it has come about, it is a wonder-working change." (Dec 8, 1957).

I'd also say that the Modernist movement of which Balanchine was indeed a part – from his days as a Constructivist choreographer in St Petersburg, through Episodes, Kammermusik and Violin Concerto – was all about eliminating narrative references and footnotes, especially in the post WWII period. You can see this paring down and essentializing in "Square Dance." You also see this sort of thing in the work of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock from 1945 to 1951 or so.

Added in answer to –

46 minutes ago, pherank said:

The narrative works well enough in that version(s), while in the "castrated" version we get little narrative bits but don't know the context for anything ...

 

Edited by Quiggin

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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, Quiggin said:

I'd also say that the Modernist movement of which Balanchine was indeed a part – from his days as a Constructivist choreographer in St Petersburg, through Episodes, Kammermusik and Violin Concerto – was all about eliminating narrative references and footnotes, especially in the post WWII period. You can see this paring down and essentializing in "Square Dance." You also see this sort of thing in the work of Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock from 1945 to 1951 or so.

Balanchine was just doing his job as an artist - constantly questioning ideas and techniques. I just happen to be one of the people feeling that Apollo was weakened, not strengthened, by his efforts to minimize and render more abstract what was originally a narrative structure. He was certainly within his rights to try. I just don't think it was a complete success. Maybe if he had another 20 years on the Earth...

I have the same problems with the final version of Apollo as I have with much of Cathy Marsten's work - too much confusion of purely abstract elements interwoven with narrative elements. The lack of proper context leaves the narrative elements adrift.

Edited by pherank

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Very interesting observations, pherank and all. Thanks for giving me much to think about. 

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Just one more observation(!) - the experience of waiting 4 minutes and 31 seconds in the dark, as it were, through the "Birth of Apollo" section of music - and if any music begs to be represented through character-driven mime movement this is it - to finally see a dancer swinging his arms about like a windmill (during a relatively quiet musical interlude) is just a strange beginning to a ballet. Why the furious strumming here at the beginning? And why even use a stage prop instrument if abstraction is what we're shooting for? Balanchine wasn't really secure eliminating the various character development bits, he just wanted to chop out the things that were less interesting to himself. But what's the context Mr. B?

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