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Digital Spring Season


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2 hours ago, Drew said:

A statement that perhaps bears a few caveats...or a lot of them...:wink:.  (Not doubting New York real estate is insanely expensive.)

 

2 hours ago, BalanchineFan said:

I should have said larger houses, as in larger than the places people of modest means have in NYC.

This all reminds me that one of the 'benefits' to watching the live company class videos is that one gets to see how the dancer's are really living. And dogs and cats are the co-stars of this domestic scene.  :wink:

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Posted (edited)

The Liturgy PDD is as good as anything I've seen from Wheeldon. Mainly because it appears to develop organically from beginning to end. And the choreography feels appropriate to the music. I do like the Japonesque movements that appear throughout the piece. I wondered about the dancer's dramatic poses and the plucked strings that punctuate the score. I'm assuming that the pose would ideally occur right on the string pluck (or beat). Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't. But I really don't know if Wheeldon was worrying about that level of synchronization between dancers and music.

Maria Kowroski was really effective in this piece. Jared Angle was certainly a good partner though I didn't find his look and movements quite as well matched to the ballet, which seems to call for both long lines, and angularity in the poses. There's a particular pose, at 9:40, that instantly reminded me of something - was it Balanchine's Metamorphoses? I'm drawing a blank otherwise.

Carousel is Wheeldon flirting with Broadway. Bits of it are enjoyable but it's really lightweight (as befits a gala piece). I do wish there was more of Lauren Lovette in this Digital Spring Season.

Edited by pherank
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Liturgy was definitely... interesting. Although I now understand people's comments about Wheeldon now. But it was lovely to finally get to see Kowroski, although I would have loved loved to see her in Agon or Mozartiana instead. I did get a bit distracted by the heavy breathing we could hear at times, so that was unfortunate.

Agreed with everybody's comments about Carousel, and I too wish we had seen more of Lovette. 

This was my first time seeing anything from Wheeldon and I have got to admit I wasn't blown away. Maybe his style is not for me either.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, sohalia said:

This was my first time seeing anything from Wheeldon and I have got to admit I wasn't blown away. Maybe his style is not for me either.

Liturgy is not what I would call "typical" Wheeldon. Nowdays he tends to work bigger than this.

Did you see his An American in Paris musical when that was on PBS?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzej9POx0kA

That would be a different side of Chris Wheeldon. I'm not sure it's his best side, but it's quite different from Liturgy.

After the Rain has been popular. His version of Cinderella for SFB and HET Nationale has been successful with audiences, but personally I think a lot of that has to do with the stagings and special effects. Which speaks to his current popularity (or notoriety) - he's not afraid of taking on large scale projects, and that makes him friends in high places. He's been given the Michael Jackson musical project which makes zero actual sense if one thinks about it for 10 seconds, but there you have it.

You can watch SFB in Wheeldon's Bound To - available for a few more days:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfBbRjh5tf0

I have my issues with that work, but it makes more sense to talk about it in the SFB area of the forum.

Edited by pherank
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4 hours ago, pherank said:

Liturgy is not what I would call "typical" Wheeldon. Nowdays he tends to work bigger than this.

Did you see his An American in Paris musical when that was on PBS?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzej9POx0kA

That would be a different side of Chris Wheeldon. I'm not sure it's his best side, but it's quite different from Liturgy.

After the Rain has been popular. His version of Cinderella for SFB and HET Nationale has been successful with audiences, but personally I think a lot of that has to do with the stagings and special effects. Which speaks to his current popularity (or notoriety) - he's not afraid of taking on large scale projects, and that makes him friends in high places. He's been given the Michael Jackson musical project which makes zero actual sense if one thinks about it for 10 seconds, but there you have it.

You can watch SFB in Wheeldon's Bound To - available for a few more days:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfBbRjh5tf0

I have my issues with that work, but it makes more sense to talk about it in the SFB area of the forum.

Has anyone seen his Alice in Wonderland for The Royal? I've heard interesting things. 

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On 5/22/2020 at 7:01 PM, Helene said:

I'd never seen Lovette dance before, I thought she was a lovely Julie.  Tyler Angle had that necessary undertone of menace as Bill Bigelow, and I loved him in the role. 

Lauren was lovely Julie indeed and I completely agree with you about Tyler and his menacing characterization.  It played really well.  The carousel section with the entire corps was impressive.  This isn't the kind of ballet that I would run out to see but it looked fun.

 

Maria Kowroski - ahhhhh...I think I could watcher her dance all day.  She has a very aesthetically pleasing body to my eye.  The costume for Liturgy looked so beautiful on her.  Jared Angle is such a great partner!  Lovely pas de deux.

 

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I enjoyed the group-choreographed piece featured on NYCB homepage, A Part of Together. I'm assuming each dancer choreographed his/her own section, and IMHO Peter Walker gets the prize, inventively using the interior of the home (rather than using some scenic outdoor setting as a backdrop) and finding movements that more effectively reflect the music. 

I could do without Carousel, the ballet. Maybe they needed the wingcam and skycam to make it more interesting. There is no development of feeling to the music or structure, it's all just there. The best part was reviving my memories of the recent Broadway production of Carousel, which I loved. 

I liked Liturgy better than expected. My first thought is there's no dancing, it's all complicated lifts and posing, but despite that I found it quite compelling, and Kowroski of course looked fantastic. I'll have to watch again. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/15/2020 at 3:52 PM, Dale said:

Wow. I think you might have found the lost Turning Point outtakes! Thank you!

Farrell & Martins in Tschai PdD is fabulous!  Thank you canbelto for the link.  The clip in the Turning Point is just a minute or so.  Some of the steps especially in Martins' variations are significantly different from the version with McBride and Baryshnikov which I think is the greatest.  Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz were also spectacular last year.

Edited by Marta
wrong spelling
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4 hours ago, cassieallison said:

Has anyone seen his Alice in Wonderland for The Royal? I've heard interesting things. 

AiW is just like Liturgy.
Kidding!

It's nothing like Liturgy, and demonstrates the 'other side' of Chris Wheeldon: the large-scale, ambitious production Wheeldon. And it struck me as a vehicle for Lauren Cuthbertson.

It's impossible for me to know your tastes so I can't guess if you would think AiW is a stupendous bit of showmanship, or a terrible shipwreck of a ballet.

'This “Alice” is essentially a sophisticated popular entertainment that combines elements of theater, vaudeville and magic show, with a hint of youthful romance thrown in.'
--New York Times

If you love stage effects that may be reason enough to go see it/watch online.

In the filmed version you get Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, with James Hay as Lewis Carroll/The White Rabbit (and looking a bit like Johnny Depp). Steven McRae plays the tap dancing Mad Hatter.

For me, AiW was a long slog waiting for the inspired, character developing choreography to take place - I'm not sure that it ever does. AiW is mostly played for laughs, but I didn't find it all that funny. It's packed with special effects, and big sets, but this is a ballet, and the choreography that is supposed to carry the entire production struck me as very uninteresting and repetitive. Cuthbertson is on stage constantly, and does a crazy number of pirouettes, and Hay probably not nearly enough as he is the most interesting participant.

The introductory scene involves a garden party with characters/guests who will reappear in Alice's adventure. I just don't find that the scene flows well, is particularly well thought out or explanatory. There's an odd mix of standard mime acting, and short 'character' dance bits. But their purpose is confusing (something like: "remember, it's a ballet - we need some dancing about!"). The intention was probably to set up a 'delightful' English country home environment a la The Nutcracker's Stahlbaum home, but I doubt anyone has found it to be that memorable a scene.

Once Alice goes down the rabbit hole, Cuthbertson starts dancing more frequently (to illustrate the various changes she is going through), which might be a good thing, or if you're like me, you get bored with all the dull dance interludes, which just seem like a way to use up time between special effect sequences. I do appreciate the energy that went into the mime acting in the later scenes, but things still tend to drag on unnecessarily. I preferred Hay's character dancing to most of what Cuthbertson is given to do to pass the time. [There is a full-blown PDD with Cuthbertson and the Knave of Hearts (lots of lifts and spins) that I don't remember a step of. And near the end Alice and the Knave have another reunion PDD of little interest, and then another.]

There's a creepy butcher’s shop scene with more uninteresting dancing, but lots of gory goings on. It's too long for my taste, and more Broadway than ballet. The Cheshire Cat is cleverly animated but I didn't really like the look of the plastic cat costume/props. The Queen of Hearts scene and dancing reminded me of the Trockadero Ballet. To no good effect. There's lots of "stage magic" in the later scenes to gawk at. But that's not really my idea of what ballet should be.

Once I was half way through the ballet, I was disappointed at how much more there was to go. And at the very end of the ballet the main characters turn out to be in present day England, for no particular reason. I never really understand the point of that kind of transition. Modern audiences can't relate if the entire setting is Victorian England?

Don't let what I've said deter you though - others have said the choreography is very enjoyable. it's available on Medici.tv

 

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Posted (edited)

My reaction to seeing a video of Wheeldon's Alice in Wonderland was similar to Pherank's -- the cleverness and the spectacle  never turned into interesting dancing.  I kept waiting for it and "it" never happened. So, Lauren Cuthbertson notwithstanding, I was kind of bored. Of course, I'd be willing to give the ballet a try in the theater to see if a live performance made a stronger impression (as it likely would), but...I can't say I'm longing for the opportunity. Apparently it sells out and I'm guessing that may be reason enough for the Royal to keep it in the repertory.

However, Wheeldon's Winter's Tale, which I have also only seen on video, I do find compelling--both moving and choreographically interesting in the way it adapts the play. Though one or two sections seem to me overlong and I could wish the score were more varied, I would still love to see it in the theater. And, actually, if the score were more varied, some of the sections that feel overlong might seem less so. Based on video, at least, I think the ballet is an impressive accomplishment.  

(I just saw "Bound to..." in the San Francisco Ballet stream and though I understand why the literal mindedness of its moralizing gets on people's nerves, I enjoyed quite a bit of the dancing. On the other hand, Carousel...well, I get it as something thrown together for a gala, but I'm mystified that it has been kept in NYCB's repertory. Like many others posting here, I found Kowroski just gorgeous in Liturgy and that was more than enough for me to enjoy that work.)

Edited by Drew
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I don't wish to divert the thread too much off topic, but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the streams offered by the Royal Danish Ballet. So although it was listed on the "free streams" thread some time ago, I'll add it here since the subject has come up. I'm not a great specialist on the ballet because I don't love it, but it seems to me that Wheeldon shortened and condensed the ballet from its original production, whereas the RDB performs the longer version, which seems to go on forever. I could be completely mistaken about that.

https://kglteater.dk/xtra/forestillinger/forestilling-alice-i-eventyrland?section=31521&fbclid=IwAR0du9YrjPXBL5DnuFFjjIwuGGXdvJMI3LVgnDMxfaLujY7rD6pQZ1LQ0xo

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17 hours ago, pherank said:

Liturgy is not what I would call "typical" Wheeldon. Nowdays he tends to work bigger than this.

Did you see his An American in Paris musical when that was on PBS?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gzej9POx0kA

That would be a different side of Chris Wheeldon. I'm not sure it's his best side, but it's quite different from Liturgy.

After the Rain has been popular. His version of Cinderella for SFB and HET Nationale has been successful with audiences, but personally I think a lot of that has to do with the stagings and special effects. Which speaks to his current popularity (or notoriety) - he's not afraid of taking on large scale projects, and that makes him friends in high places. He's been given the Michael Jackson musical project which makes zero actual sense if one thinks about it for 10 seconds, but there you have it.

You can watch SFB in Wheeldon's Bound To - available for a few more days:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfBbRjh5tf0

I have my issues with that work, but it makes more sense to talk about it in the SFB area of the forum.

*facepalm* I did watch After the Rain, which NYCB streamed a few weeks ago. Good job me. I did enjoy that, but I suppose it didn't really make a strong impression one, did it?

I do think my favorite has been "This Bitter Earth." Well, at least from that little excerpt NYCB released with Mearns and ADW. It really gave me goosebumps. 

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1 hour ago, sohalia said:

*facepalm* I did watch After the Rain, which NYCB streamed a few weeks ago. Good job me. I did enjoy that, but I suppose it didn't really make a strong impression one, did it?

I do think my favorite has been "This Bitter Earth." Well, at least from that little excerpt NYCB released with Mearns and ADW. It really gave me goosebumps. 

This Bitter Earth is only about seven or eight minutes long in total, so the excerpt is is a decent chunk of the whole. You can watch the whole thing here, performed by Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle. The video's lighting is certainly less moody than NYCB's chiaroscuro version, and the camera work is more straightforward, so you can actually see the steps. Peck and Angle aren't wearing the Reid Bartelme costumes, however, and that's a shame because they are lovely.

This Bitter Earth is one movement in a longer Wheeldon work, Five Movements, Three Repeats, which NYCB doesn't perform. You can see some excerpts from the rest of the work in this video from the 2012 Vail Dance Festival, where it premiered. The cast is Fang-Yi Sheu (who danced for the Martha Graham company), Wendy Whelan, Craig Hall, and Tyler Angle. I honestly don't know why NYCB doesn't do the whole work; yes, Fang-Yi Sheu was a Graham dancer, but I find it hard to believe that Wheeldon's choreography for her is so far removed from what NYCB dances that one of its ballerinas couldn't perform her part. 

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

This Bitter Earth is only about seven or eight minutes long in total, so the excerpt is is a decent chunk of the whole. You can watch the whole thing here, performed by Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle. The video's lighting is certainly less moody than NYCB's chiaroscuro version, and the camera work is more straightforward, so you can actually see the steps. Peck and Angle aren't wearing the Reid Bartelme costumes, however, and that's a shame because they are lovely.

Thank you for this link Kathleen, what a gorgeous movement, and gorgeous dancers. Peck was stellar as usual, and so incredibly light. She made the entire dance look so effortless. Stunning partnering from Angle as well, the way he smoothly catches her in those falls at 2:44 was... *chef's kiss*

And that lift at 4:50, I cannot get enough. It's like she's just floating away in his arms. So effortless.

Edited by sohalia
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Posted (edited)

The Mariinsky was to stage Alice in Wonderland, but canceled. Thank goodness.

 

Spoiler

 

 

Edited by mussel
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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I don't wish to divert the thread too much off topic, but Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is one of the streams offered by the Royal Danish Ballet. So although it was listed on the "free streams" thread some time ago, I'll add it here since the subject has come up. I'm not a great specialist on the ballet because I don't love it, but it seems to me that Wheeldon shortened and condensed the ballet from its original production, whereas the RDB performs the longer version, which seems to go on forever. I could be completely mistaken about that.

https://kglteater.dk/xtra/forestillinger/forestilling-alice-i-eventyrland?section=31521&fbclid=IwAR0du9YrjPXBL5DnuFFjjIwuGGXdvJMI3LVgnDMxfaLujY7rD6pQZ1LQ0xo

Honestly, the production would be strengthened considerably if a director simply cut out all the dead weight. There are a number of sequences that don't really serve a lot of purpose other than to check off an item found in Carroll's book. But a bunch of meager references doesn't a masterpiece make.

I suppose the worry is that if AiW was reduced to mainly the balletic scenes, the dancing might not be enough of a reason to put on this show. This is a production that doesn't know exactly what it wants to be, so it tries to cover all bases. That sometimes works on Broadway, but it's an odd fit for most ballet companies. I suppose this kind of thing brings in the non-ballet audience, and dupes them into watching some luke-warm dancing. Yeah?

Edited by pherank
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26 minutes ago, pherank said:

I suppose this kind of thing brings in the non-ballet audience, and dupes them into watching some luke-warm dancing. Yeah?

Truthfully, I think it does. I remember a particularly dreadful ballet on a "popular" theme with pretty flashy production values. A non-ballet acquaintance went and declared that she loved it. In my best non-judgmental way I asked her what she loved about it. She replied: "the costumes." :dunno:

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Posted (edited)
On 5/23/2020 at 5:16 AM, BalanchineFan said:

It's kind of part of the Digital Spring Season, I suppose, are people aware that A Part of Together, a new six minute ballet choreographed during the pandemic by Tiler Peck, Troy Schumacher, Lauren Lovette, Ashley Bouder and Peter Walker is now on the nycballet.com front page? I found it quite charming. It's a series of solos to Bach's Brandenburg #6. Each of the dancers appears outside in their own location.

I enjoyed it too, BalanchineFan.

I'm always glad to see what can be done outdoors, especially in nature settings. I like the dance styles chosen and it gives them a chance to loosen up. This in combination with their considerable dance ability is something that could possibly be further developed and brought to the NYCB stage.

Edited by Buddy
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I am grateful NYCB included Carousel (A Dance) in their digital spring season. I'd heard of it years ago on this forum and was very curious to see it. (The only Wheeldon I've seen has been Swan Lake, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Cinderella, all of which I enjoyed.) The ballet was quite charming IMO. Lauren Lovette was very lovely, a sweet and vulnerable Julie. Tyler Angle a convincing Billy. Their pas de deux, particularly during the "Soliloquy" portion, was touching. Two moments really struck me: the opening with Tyler center stage, the corps running in a circle -- hints of the carousel -- while Lauren raced the other way around them. Then in the finale they switched, Lauren in the middle of the fully formed carousel as Tyler danced around her.

Besides the return of Skycam and Wingcam, there were a number of times I wished the camera would show the full stage so I could see the whole company.

P.S. Liturgy I liked more than expected. Kowroski was stunning.

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Posted (edited)

To finish with Mr. Wheeldon...
One of the ballets mentioned in the above interview was Within the Golden Hour. That has been an audience favorite in San Francisco, and it was eventually performed by the Royal Ballet (I think after SFB introduced the work while on tour in London). The RB has a couple of films showing sections of the ballet - one with Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell which immediately reminded me that she must be dancing the Sarah Van Patten role, and that happens to be online as well (though the image quality isn't good). I may be wrong about who is dancing which role, but both clips show some of Wheeldon's better PDD choreography.

Edited by pherank
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3 hours ago, pherank said:

To finish with Mr. Wheeldon...
One of the ballets mentioned in the above interview was Within the Golden Hour. That has been an audience favorite in San Francisco, and it was eventually performed by the Royal Ballet (I think after SFB introduced the work while on tour in London). The RB has a couple of films showing sections of the ballet - one with Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell which immediately reminded me that she must be dancing the Sarah Van Patten role, and that happens to be online as well (though the image quality isn't good). I may be wrong about who is dancing which role, but both clips show some of Wheeldon's better PDD choreography.

Actually, Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell dance the PDD originated by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada.  I saw the Royal Ballet filmed performance in the theatre last year.  The program included a piece by Crystal Pite.  I forget the other choreographer, but it was a new creation which was in the second part.  New costumes were created for the piece when it premiered on the Royal.

Here is the PDD danced by Sarah Lamb & Alexander Campbell:  

 

This is a clip from SFB with a part of the opening section, a part of the PDD danced by Sarah Van Patten and Pierre Francois Villanoba at 0:19, and a part of the PDD danced by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada at 0:35:

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, sf_herminator said:

Actually, Sarah Lamb and Alexander Campbell dance the PDD originated by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada.  I saw the Royal Ballet filmed performance in the theatre last year.  The program included a piece by Crystal Pite.  I forget the other choreographer, but it was a new creation which was in the second part.  New costumes were created for the piece when it premiered on the Royal.

 

That's it - thanks SF_Herminator. I couldn't for the life of me remember all the original casting. I've never forgotten how startling Vanessa Zahorian was doing the crazy movement at 4:35 - she appeared to suspend her entire body over the stage - with her upper body within about 4 inches of the stage surface - arms held out and curving upwards. I wish I could remember who her partner was, because the amount of strength and control needed to pull that off would be Olympian. Maybe it was Tiit Helimets.

Edited by pherank
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On to Donizetti Variations!

Both Bouder and Veyette are sharp, clean and buoyant on this night. Bouder never appears to 'break a sweat', until perhaps the very end of the ballet.

Many of the steps used in DV may seem familiar to classical ballet audiences, so it's the slight variations and jokes thrown in that I look for:

  • At 14:48, Veyette twice moves in towards Bouder as if to grab her waist but instead quickly throws up his arms as a kind of exclamation and visual enhancement of her movement and form.
  • The faked "hurt foot" at 21:20 is very Balanchine, as well as the way he varies the partnering assignments, and leaves out one woman to behave as a soloist, and then merge back into the ensemble. Or the way Balanchine uses one man with four women plus two separate duos. Another nice surprise is the two partnered Corp dancers rotating beneath the arms of the other Corps members, leading to more complicated interlacing of the ensemble dancers, finally ending back where they started  [23:15].
  • Veyette appearing to run towards the back of the stage and then thinks better of it [25:14 and 25:22].
  • The missed kisses at 26:22 and 26:30.

Balanchine working with numbers (3's, 4's, 6's, 9's) is always fun for me. DV is lighthearted fun.

 

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