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Digital Spring Season


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12 hours ago, Marta said:

Taylor Stanley was fantastic; from what I read I don't know if the rest of Abraham's work would  have appealed to me. 

Do you mean Abraham's work for his own and other companies, or The Runaway in particular? 

What Abraham and Stanley have wrought in The Runaway is magnificent, but there's more to that work than Stanley's solos. The haunting ensemble to James Blake's "Don't Miss It" that closes the ballet is but one example. (See the last video clip on The Runaway's repertory page for an excerpt.) There's a fantastic duet for two male dancers as well as a pyrotechnic (and witty) male solo set to "I Love Kanye." (This was up on NYCB's website for about two seconds. Maybe the music rights folks issued a swift take-down request since it was the whole cut, not just an excerpt. The track and the solo are so perfect together that Kanye should just license it already and put it up on YouTube as the official music video.)

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Kathleen O'Connell:  I meant The Runaway. I'm put off however by anything connected to Kanye West, although I don't think it's a good attitude to have! .   I haven't seen much of Abraham's other work. 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Marta said:

I meant The Runaway. I'm put off however by anything connected to Kanye West, although I don't think it's a good attitude to have! .   I haven't seen much of Abraham's other work. 

My feelings about Kanye are ... complicated. It's OK to give something a pass if you've got strong feelings about one of the artists involved. The list of things I've refused to see or hear based on nothing more than my aversion to its creator is long and distinguished. 

 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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13 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

It was. Or at least I was one of the Alertniks making this suggestion. Honestly, I would plunk down more than a few dollars for a video with a complete set of alternate casts. 

So, I gather I am the only person who liked Bartók Ballet. And I mean the whole thing, not just the little excerpt the company deigned to show us. 

I'd pay to see different casts of The Times Are Racing in its entirety, too.

I'm warming up to Bartok Ballet. Sometimes the first time seeing a new ballet is just shock. Imagine if you're expecting Dances at a Gathering and you get The Cage instead. Isn't there a podcast where Tanowitz talks about the ballet? I may need to listen to that before my next viewing.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

Isn't there a podcast where Tanowitz talks about the ballet? I may need to listen to that before my next viewing.

Episode 26: New Combinations: Pam Tanowitz & Justin Peck

I was prepared for Bartók Ballet because I'd seen a lot of Tanowitz' work already. Although she seems to be choreographing everywhere these days, it's not always easy to see her work live. Fortunately, Bard College's Fisher Center for the Arts has posted a video of Tanowitz' 2015 SummerScape performance there in its entirety.

Here's the video.

Here's the program.

Be sure to check out all of the good things Bard is making available online since they can't host live performances.

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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16 hours ago, mussel said:

Although the digital season is not officially over until the current program is taken out this Monday, however the season is unofficially extended with the Lincoln Center at Home streaming of Midsummer Night's Dream:

 

What a lovely reminder! I watched Midsummer last night. As much as I love the ballet, and as many times as I've seen it, I discover new delights each time. This time it was the quartet of lovers, and Hermia's mad scene which is quickly followed by the Mechanicals and more much needed comedy.

There's another stunning solo from The Runaway posted on the NYCB site, trigger warnings for those with rap music issues...

https://www.nycballet.com/Videos/Ballet-Detail-clips/The-Runaway-Taylor-Stanley-excerpt-Kanye-2.aspx

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I waited till the last hour to watch the final NYCB "digital season" clip, and went straight to the Taylor Stanley solo, which I had not seen before. The whole thing is mesmerizing, a perfect marriage (as noted up-thread) of dancer, choreographer, and I'd add, composer and costume designer. My only question is, who was the understudy? I can't imagine anyone else dancing it anything like this, and I pity the poor guy who has to go on if Stanley is out one night.

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Posted (edited)

I kind of wish we had seen full, impactful ballet instead of a whole bunch of excerpts, but I suppose I'm being picky at this point. I also wish they had concluded the season with a "bang"... Maybe something less contemporary, and more iconic and memorable from Balanchine (Serenade, Agon, Mozartiana or even Emeralds from Jewels). But that's okay, again, I can't really complain and I am super thankful we even got to see anything at all.

My favorite part of this whole assortment was definitely Taylor Stanley and his solo. Wow.

I'm also happy we saw a little bit of Unity Phelan in Easy, although I wish we had seen her in a more prominent, pointe-based role. I love her dancing. Harrison Coll was also fantastic. I really enjoyed this piece overall...Now, this is the Justin Peck people were talking about!

I'm pretty excited to move on to the Lincoln Center selection with some oldies but goodies!

Edited by sohalia
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This final program was disappointing - some good but majority of the excerpts I would skip. I watched all of them, but only re-watched The Runaway, The Times are Racing and Oltremare. I did not care for Peck's Easy and the Tanowitz piece when I saw them live, and these excerpts didn't change my opinion. Ratmansky's Voices and Gianna Reisen's piece were ok, but not intriguing enough that I would want to see the full ballets in the theater. Oltremare was new for me and I would like to see the full ballet. I loved the energy of it and having Maria Kowroski come center right at the end made me want to see her dance. I've seen The Runaway a few times and agree with all on here that Taylor Stanley is fantastic. His dancing alone makes it worthwhile. I'm really glad to see The Times are Racing, as it's my favorite of Peck's sneaker ballets. I love the tap aspects and watching Fairchild and Peck dance next to each other. Fairchild's movements feel fuller and Peck's feel more casual and natural. I also like the back story of how they did DDR together as roommates. When it debuted, Robert Fairchild and Tiler Peck were still together, Justin Peck was still dancing and Amar Ramasar was still in the good graces of NYCB and fans. I missed seeing Ashly Isaacs dance Fairchild's role and would like to see it if they have it since she's no longer with the company.

I also agree that it would been better to end this season with Balanchine - would have loved Serenade as a beautiful sendoff until next season.

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I just made it in time to see the final program. I don't care for a program of excerpts because it gives the feel of a youtube compilation rather than a real night at the theatre, but I understand why NYCB chose to put up a program like this. It would have been better though in the middle of the season and not as the closer.

Easy - a fun Cliff Notes version of Jerome Robbins, but I would have preferred to see something else from Peck or something else from Robbins. [I have recently discovered that Robbins as ballet choreographer is an acquired taste for me, and I'm still not quite there.] 

Bartok Ballet - I loved it. The quirkiness, the quickness, the insect like arms, the costumes, the music - everything was so Art Deco. This is the first thing I've ever seen of Tanowitz but I will definitely be looking out for her. Indiana Woodward was so great. I listened to her interview with Megan Fairchild earlier, and they spoke about her story ballet roles (La Sylphide, Juliet, Aurora) so it was surprising to see her in a very modern ballet.

Voices - I couldn't get a good grasp of it from the short excerpt. The sound was very grating. Lauren Lovette is an truly charismatic and dramatic dancer.

Composer's Holiday - it was ok and fun and held my interest, but I hope that Gianna Reisen has a long career as a choreographer with more important and innovative pieces.

The Runaway - Taylor Stanley is outstanding, but I thought he was better showcased in other ballets earlier in the Digital Season. Not sure what the ballet-Gaga combination looks like on stage, but the choreography wasn't earth-shattering IMHO.

The Times Are Racing - I agree with nycvillager that Fairchild danced full out and Peck was more casual. I wonder whether that was a choice or just how they dance. This excerpt definitely piqued my interest and I would have liked to see the entire ballet.

Oltremare - I feel bad making a judgment based on 5 minutes, but it looked like an epilogue to Fiddler On The Roof. It's a shame it was cut exactly when Kowroski was about to dance. On a more somber note, Oltremare was by chance a very pertinent ballet to end this season with. The USA is a country founded by immigrants - some came voluntarily and some were brought as enslaved people - and is based on the self-evident proposition that all men are created equal. This ballet is a good reminder of that fact. 

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Although I preferred the full length ballet streamed by the NYCB, I cannot complain too much as they are sharing beautiful works of art.  This last one was my least favorite as the excerpts were so short.  The ones that impressed me the most were:

The Times Are Racing - I love when the guys get to show their stuff and this was so much fun.  

Oltremare - It would be a treat for me to get to see this in it's entirety.  The music, choreography, and dancers were delightful to me.  Normally I prefer tutus and tiaras, but this struck me as very exciting..

The Runaway - After seeing Taylor Stanley as Apollo, I didn't think he could outdo himself but he did.  There is something special about him and the way he moves - it's mesmerizing.

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It was a significant decision to end the Digital Spring Season with a program of new ballets. It says to me that NYCB, with their impressive, unmatched repertory of Balanchine and Robbins, and perhaps the largest working repertory of any ballet company, is focused on creating NEW WORK. That was one of Balanchine's core principles, make new ballets. The art of creation is foremost. Put a choreographer, a dancer, and live music in a studio and see what can happen. As if ballet were a verb. Any ballet company, perhaps every ballet company has old ballets that people have seen. Some build their entire rep around old, traditional ballets (see ABT). This company is about the new, which means it is perpetually perched on the cusp of reinvention. It, they, can always speak to the present moment.

Dancers need new ballets to grow and by ending the Digital Spring Season with new works NYCB is inviting the audience to think to the future. It is probably why they included so many debuts, too (Taylor Stanley's Apollo, Mira Nadon's Rubies, Roman Mejia's Western Symphony). What could be? Who might develop? What partnerships could bloom ... when the company continues?  If they had ended with Balanchine (not that anyone would mind) that would have been about the past, as if they were over. Start with the past, whet our appetite and move into the future.

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I like that reading, @BalanchineFan (even if I didn't particularly like the excerpt format or some of the newer pieces).

I hope the past remains a very strong presence in the present and in the future. NYCB's chief (though certainly not only) value, to my eyes, is in its role as the foremost keeper of the Balanchine tradition.

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3 minutes ago, nanushka said:

I like that reading, @BalanchineFan (even if I didn't particularly like the excerpt format or some of the newer pieces).

I hope the past remains a very strong presence in the present and in the future. NYCB's chief (though certainly not only) value, to my eyes, is in its role as the foremost keeper of the Balanchine tradition.

I utterly agree. The past, (especially Balanchine!!) is the foundation that everything else is built upon. 

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Posted (edited)

For anyone who watched the Diamonds video broadcast, I highly recommend the podcast interview with Sara Mearns in which she gives a blow by blow of dancing Diamonds. (Merrill Ashley is interviewed in Part 1 and Sara in Part 2).

Diamonds Part 1 with Merrill Ashley
http://podcast.nycballet.com/episode-251-hear-the-dance-diamonds-part-1

Diamonds Part 2 with Sara Mearns
http://podcast.nycballet.com/episode-252-hear-the-dance-diamonds-part-2

EDIT:

One of my favorite stories in the Merrill Ashley interview was her Diamonds discussion with future husband Kivy (spelling?) [begins at 18:05].

K: That place right in the beginning where you have to leave the guy and walk upstage...
Ashley: I know, it's so hard to get up there in time.
K: "You just look like you're running for the bus or something. You have to present your back; you have to walk with grandeur. You just look like you're rushing to get to a place and stopping. You have to make it beautiful. Show your back off - we're looking at you!"

Among the many interesting bits in the Mearns interview - she reveals that she does no preparation to her pointe shoes for Diamonds because she is always worried about them lasting the entire ballet. So Mearns uses the PDD to break in the shoes. Which kind of makes sense given that it begins slowly with much walking about.

Edited by pherank
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On 6/6/2020 at 1:14 AM, pherank said:

For anyone who watched the Diamonds video broadcast, I highly recommend the podcast interview with Sara Mearns in which she gives a blow by blow of dancing Diamonds. (Merrill Ashley is interviewed in Part 1 and Sara in Part 2).

Diamonds Part 1 with Merrill Ashley
http://podcast.nycballet.com/episode-251-hear-the-dance-diamonds-part-1

Diamonds Part 2 with Sara Mearns
http://podcast.nycballet.com/episode-252-hear-the-dance-diamonds-part-2

EDIT:

One of my favorite stories in the Merrill Ashley interview was her Diamonds discussion with future husband Kivy (spelling?) [begins at 18:05].

K: That place right in the beginning where you have to leave the guy and walk upstage...
Ashley: I know, it's so hard to get up there in time.
K: "You just look like you're running for the bus or something. You have to present your back; you have to walk with grandeur. You just look like you're rushing to get to a place and stopping. You have to make it beautiful. Show your back off - we're looking at you!"

Among the many interesting bits in the Mearns interview - she reveals that she does no preparation to her pointe shoes for Diamonds because she is always worried about them lasting the entire ballet. So Mearns uses the PDD to break in the shoes. Which kind of makes sense given that it begins slowly with much walking about.

Merrill Ashley's husband Kibbe (that's the spelling from her book) gives her THE BEST ADVICE! I wish every ballerina had a husband like him. She says in her book that they agreed early on he should tell her any "notes" he saw in her dancing without worrying about how hard it might be for her to attend to them.

Edited by BalanchineFan
Kibbe Fitzpatrick is Merrill Ashley's husband
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Premiere on SPAC Facebook page on 7/14:

SPAC REIMAGINED! Tune in this week as we kick-off "Ballet Month" with a few sneak peeks of our new video series created with New York City Ballet dancers and featuring music from our resident companies, The Philadelphia Orchestra and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center... all in honor of SPAC's 2020 classical season.

Featuring dancers from New York City Ballet
Music: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center
Beethoven: Trio in D major for Piano, Violin, and Cello, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost” –
Michael Brown, Piano
Bella Hristova, Violin
Nicholas Canellakis, Cello
Creative: Emily Kikta and Peter Walker

 

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