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New York City Ballet 2021 Season


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9 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

ETA: I just took a quick stroll through some 1970's era photos of Ib Anderson, Bart Cook, Adams Luders, and Peter Martins and I'm pleased to report that their hair was long, free flowing, and most definitely not shellacked into immovable pompadours. 

I agree completely that this looked much better. Moving hair enhances the kinetic quality of a dancer's movement. More voluminous hair is also better at disguising perspiration.

It's also obvious that facelift buns weren't always standard for women. Recently I came saw a video of a different company dancing a black-and-white ballet, and the gleaming, immovable French twists almost made it appear that the women were wearing racing helmets. A figure-eight bun at least looks like a bun, not like a part of an elongated cranium. I do appreciate that a dancer wants to be certain her hair will stay put while she's turning. But I'm very open to a rethink.

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4 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Glass Pieces -- ... 3rd movement mens corps could have been cleaner, sharper, and more energetic. A lot of these men (boys!) were very young corps members who missed over a year of performing experience, so I'll cut them some slack. But not the best showcase of NYCB male dancing. 

Have to agree with this (from seeing the program Thursday night). The men were lacking in the weighted, angular, dynamic quality it should have. The second batch of men who come out were particularly un-impactful. 

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4 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Management needs to say something about the hair. Why are they letting this slide? Sam Melnikov's bob was particularly awful and so was the overgrown hair on another young man (I think Victor Abreu?) Call me old fashioned but I expect certain grooming and aesthetic standards onstage at the ballet!

The thing is, aesthetic standards regarding hair in particular changes over time. This is what NYCB's male dancers looked in the 70's and early 80's (apologies for the lo-res images ...)

Adam Luders ... more Luders

Ib Andersen ... more Andersen

Bart Cook ... more Cook

Peter Martins ... more Martiins

Bonus! 

Jean-Pierre Frolich as Apollo ... and, Jean-Pierre Frolich with Debra Austin in Symphony in C (Gosh, she's gorgeous ...)

I don't know when it was that the standard for the men's hair changed. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I miss those long, free locks.

 

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9 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

or other solos Debra Austin danced with NYCB?

If you go to Youtube and type in "ballo della regina ballet," the first listing should be a marvelous performance where Debra Austin is one of the soloists and comes in at 6:01. I just love her in this. 

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2 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

I agree completely that this looked much better. Moving hair enhances the kinetic quality of a dancer's movement. More voluminous hair is also better at disguising perspiration.

It's also obvious that facelift buns weren't always standard for women. Recently I came saw a video of a different company dancing a black-and-white ballet, and the gleaming, immovable French twists almost made it appear that the women were wearing racing helmets. A figure-eight bun at least looks like a bun, not like a part of an elongated cranium. I do appreciate that a dancer wants to be certain her hair will stay put while she's turning. But I'm very open to a rethink.

For women, there is something called a Balanchine bun. He had a preference, in certain roles, for buns that were placed kind of where I high pony tail would go. They create a long neck look in profile in a way that a low bun, or even a French twist with voluminous long hair, does not.

 

Or this:

 

2 minutes ago, cobweb said:

If you go to Youtube and type in "ballo della regina ballet," the first listing should be a marvelous performance where Debra Austin is one of the soloists and comes in at 6:01. I just love her in this. 

Oh! I have seen that. I may even have the video. Thank you for the reminder.

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18 minutes ago, BalanchineFan said:

She IS gorgeous. I think I saw Debra Austin dance in the corps, but I never saw her in Symphony in C. This looks like the 3rd Movt, the jumping girl and boy. Does anyone else have a take on what role this was, or other solos Debra Austin danced with NYCB?

 

7 minutes ago, cobweb said:

If you go to Youtube and type in "ballo della regina ballet," the first listing should be a marvelous performance where Debra Austin is one of the soloists and comes in at 6:01. I just love her in this. 

This variation, choreographed on and for Austin, is often referred to as the Jumping Variation.

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8 minutes ago, Helene said:

This variation, choreographed on and for Austin, is often referred to as the Jumping Variation.

Here she is!

And ... if you stick around for the rest of the video you'll see Robert Weiss tossing around a head full of long, dark locks 😉

ETA: Note how low the women's buns are. Do they still wear them this way for Ballo?

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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1 hour ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

ETA: Note how low the women's buns are. Do they still wear them this way for Ballo?

I don't think so. There is video of Megan Fairchild doing the role and her bun seems higher. The costumes and headpieces seem to be different as well.

 

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9 hours ago, JuliaJ said:

Glass Pieces -- . . .  3rd movement mens corps could have been cleaner, sharper, and more energetic. A lot of these men (boys!) were very young corps members who missed over a year of performing experience, so I'll cut them some slack. But not the best showcase of NYCB male dancing. 

I love Glass Pieces and saw all three performances this week. Thursday was a mess, including some flubs from the orchestra in the 1st movement. (This is the danger in listening to the CD of the complete score Robbins used hundreds of time!) A few stumbles by corps men. That improved greatly Friday and Saturday.

One of the few perks of the pandemic was the release of recordings we never had access to before. Pieces was never released on DVD or TV, just little promo snippets. Now we have the complete Paris Opera and the Pennsylvania Ballet recordings! The walking in the first movement is so significant. It's best when it is determined, ferocious, but still dancers, as the women are doing now at NYCB. The men walked like ordinary mortals, slouched, lumbered, but were a disappointing contrast with the women this week. Perhaps they were told: just walk fast, but that doesn't cut it. The POB dancers don't get the New York vibe, but with a different problem -- they are too pristine, precise, sterile. 

Edited by California
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On 9/24/2021 at 3:52 PM, nanushka said:

Jeez, a guy doesn't have a full head of hair so we can't accept his dancing in a non-narrative neo-classical tutu ballet?

The dance world has (mostly) gotten used to other ways, equally irrelevant to actual dancing, in which dancers were previously thought to "not look the part" (e.g. skin tone). Maybe over time we'll all get a little more used to this too and find the lack of a full head of hair to be less distracting?

I certainly found Angle's former fake hair to be pretty distracting too.

I agree!   I find it puzzling that there's one camp of ballet lovers who find the bald head distracting, and another who find long hair distracting.  I didn't even know Angle was wearing a toupee, and  the shaved head won't bother me at all if i see hin in performances in October.  I know quite a lot has been written about hair since the topic appeared.  Someone posted links to great long haired dancers of the 70s & 80s; that was terrific and something I had thought about doing too.  I was remembering the wonderful film of Tschai PdD on YouTube with McBride & Baryshnikov, in which his hair is bountiful and flying.  Then there's the  question of why women are held to more rigid standards.  I don't know the answer.  I think it may well be distracting to see 24 women with 24 different hairstyles.   Surely there have been short haired ballerinas other than Bouder & Osipova? 

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Wendy Whelan had a bob for a while in the 90s. Simone Messmer had short hair when she was at ABT. Jennifer Ringer had a bob. Sofiane Sylve had short hair. Lauren Lovette has   had short hair also. I seem to remember that Stacey Calvert (NYCB) and Cynthia Gregory (ABT) did too. I think it's not as unusual with principal dancers as in the lower ranks, but they generally have had to look like they had long hair except in some contemporary works.

NYT article from way back on the subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/arts/dance/ballet-dancers-hair-bun-or-bob.html

Also, I think that the longer/bigger mens' hairstyles in the earlier post were just the general style at that time.

Why would it be more distracting to see women with different hairstyles than men with different hairstyles?

 

 

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FPF said

Why would it be more distracting to see women with different hairstyles than men with different hairstyles?

Maybe it wouldn't be more distracting. I only say that because there seem to be more variations in hair for women than for men. Maybe in the corps de ballet women, 24 variations in hair would not look as lovely as 24 bunheads. Don't know.  But I'm open!  True about the short haired women you mention, and Makarova with Baryshnikov in Other Dances has short hair.

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I attended the opening Robbins/Bigonzetti/Ratmansky program on Wednesday September 22.  

Opened with Opus 19/The Dreamer which was a lovely performance in all.  Tiler Peck seemed joyous and thrilled to be once again onstage.  She enjoyed contrasting the dreamy lyrical portions of the choreography with the more sparkling allegro sections.  Gonzalo Garcia was a wonderful partner for Tiler - attentive, engaged, supportive - and had beautiful port de bras.  However his solos were kind of underdanced with some unfinished steps and he ran out of steam a little bit.  He is retiring this season and has also been out of commission for a year and a half.

"Amaria" is the new Mauro Bigonzetti pas de deux for soon to retire principals Maria Kowroski and Amar Ramasar set to music by Scarlatti.  The title is a conflation of their two first names and it seemed an occasional piece for two veteran dancers, no more.  It was short - only about ten to thirteen minutes - and mainly was there to show off Kowroski.  If you saw Bigonzetti's "Oltremare" at NYCB this was a similar style - lots of lifting and turning of the woman who does contortions with a sort of adagio dancing sexual tension going on between the male and female dancer.  Maria was getting down on the floor a lot and being lifted up by Amar and doing wide splits, etc.  She has still got great flexibility.  Maria was in a below knee length dress and wearing ballet slippers, no pointe work required.  Amar was in a light colored linen shirt and pants.  Amar was a great partner but didn't have much to do himself.  Both looked good in a work tailored to show off their current strengths.  You have seen it before but it was very well done. 

The final piece was Ratmansky's "Russian Seasons" which I have seen before and didn't like much.  The dancers I saw on Wednesday were very engaged in the work and brought a lot of specificity and humor (typical of Ratmansky) and I liked it much better this time.  Megan Fairchild as the woman in green was very energetic and the modern choreography let her work her way into it more easily - I saw no technical limitations and lots of artistry.  Unity Phelan was radiant as the 'Spring Bride" figure and Georgina Pazcoguin was all passion and abandon as the woman in red.  Wonderful work from Adrian Danchig-Waring as the boy in orange.  Lauren King brought a lot of freshness to her dancing as usual.  Kristen Segin made a strong impression in a supporting role.  Jovani Furlan replaced Aaron Sanz and danced very well.  The folk touches in the choreography, the mixture of humor and foreboding and the variety of movement were all beautifully realized and I wasn't bored this time.  "Russian Seasons" seemed lighter and more upbeat in general.

 

Edited by FauxPas
clarity
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Went to three nights at the New York City ballet in a row this week, starting with opening night. What a wonderful week!

I did notice a name missing from the corps roster - Eliza Blutt. She is a lovely young dancer who was doing some choreography as well. Does anyone know why she left,or where she went? I did not notice any other dancers' names missing from the previous corps.

 

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2 hours ago, sunsteph said:

 

I did notice a name missing from the corps roster - Eliza Blutt. She is a lovely young dancer who was doing some choreography as well. Does anyone know why she left,or where she went? I did not notice any other dancers' names missing from the previous corps.

 

I just did some digging around--she is now on the NYCB alumni list. And she seems to be listed as a production assistant for the Southhampton Arts Center. https://www.southamptonartscenter.org/team

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On 8/13/2021 at 9:09 AM, Chballetfan said:

Yes to Laracey and Indiana Woodward. 

 

I don't see her name mentioned on here often but I am totally enchanted my Laine Habony. I find her musicality and quality of movement very special. and her recent piece for Indiana Woodward and Harrison Coll (to be found on Instagram) was very special. 

 

Mira Nadon could do with a few more years in the corps. I would worry about promoting her this early. And I'm not sure about Hod.

Agree, agree, agree.

What an amazing week - they are back!  I was able to see both shows yesterday !  I loved the cast for Russians Seasons - Mearns, Laracey, Hyltin, Habony, Maxwell, Woodward!  I also think Laine Habony is very special - has incredible musicality, movement ... she is a natural Balanchine ballerina which is why she looked so strong in Ratmansky.  She pulls off Robbins (yesterday's Glass Pieces). She has some serious feminine strength like Mearns.  Let's hope the next year provides her better opportunities to cultivate her.  And let's hope Laracey and Woodward get a much deserved promotion.  Laracey might have missed a window with the loss of Martins, the transition years and Covid.  My heart goes out to the lost generations of the NYCB.

Regardless - they are BACK!  What a week!

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13 hours ago, FPF said:

I just did some digging around--she is now on the NYCB alumni list. And she seems to be listed as a production assistant for the Southhampton Arts Center. https://www.southamptonartscenter.org/team

Eliza Blutt is, indeed, no longer with NYCB. She is still on Instagram and you might find more news about her activities there. https://www.instagram.com/elizzzzaaa/

 

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Tonight’s Pulcinella Variations served as a terrific showcase for the dancers. Young new corpsman KJ Takahashi got a burst of applause after his solos. Emma von Enck was a ferocious bolt of energy during hers. Unity Phelan carries herself like a principal, nothing less. I look forward to seeing her in many great ballerina roles. For me the highlight was seeing new soloist Chu Wai Chan. First impression: EXCELLENT!!! Super clean, good height in the air, partners Miriam Miller with aplomb, and an irresistible smile, confidence, poise, all of the above - charisma. Glad to see him here!

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34 minutes ago, cobweb said:

Tonight’s Pulcinella Variations served as a terrific showcase for the dancers. Young new corpsman KJ Takahashi got a burst of applause after his solos. Emma von Enck was a ferocious bolt of energy during hers. Unity Phelan carries herself like a principal, nothing less. I look forward to seeing her in many great ballerina roles. For me the highlight was seeing new soloist Chu Wai Chan. First impression: EXCELLENT!!! Super clean, good height in the air, partners Miriam Miller with aplomb, and an irresistible smile, confidence, poise, all of the above - charisma. Glad to see him here!

Nice to hear Cobweb. I have to admit I avoid Pulcinella Variation because of the costumes! I just find them so distracting and IMO they don't at all enhance the movements of the dancers. Thank you for the report!

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5 minutes ago, vipa said:

Nice to hear Cobweb. I have to admit I avoid Pulcinella Variation because of the costumes! I just find them so distracting and IMO they don't at all enhance the movements of the dancers. Thank you for the report!

You must see the new soloist and tell me what you think. (I already know we’re on the same page about the other imported soloist Jovani Furlan.) Agree about the obnoxious Pulcinella costumes. I kept looking at that half tutu and thinking, would it have been so awful just to put the other half of the tutu on there? The costume is fanciful enough already, why hit us over the head with zaniness, just put on a regular tutu so the eye can rest and move on to the actual dancing. 

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