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New York City Ballet 2021 Season


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On 3/6/2021 at 6:38 AM, BalanchineFan said:

Joseph Gordon works on the male solo variations with Kathleen Tracey and his jumps and comportment are just to die for! I've always thought he lands his jumps like butter, and that is very much in evidence here.

And Gordon's phrasing is so complete and organic and begins and ends in the right places. Something that's often missing when dancers try to get in all the details and speed through their delivery rather than concentrating on each phrase.  You can see the loss by comparing the 2016 NYCB video of "Divertimento #15" on Youtube with the 1986 performance that John Clifford has posted on his channel with Maria Calegari, Kyra Nichols et al.

There was a tutorial of T&V with Alicia Alonso, now seemingly only available through Alexander Street, where AA talks about the intimacy and tone of the partnership – about which parts the couple keeps between themselves and which ones they present to the audience. Kirkland's performance seems very much out of character with Alonso's described one.

Edited by Quiggin
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I finally got around to watching the T&V coaching session. Much better and more interesting than the one for Prodigal Son, IMO. I look forward to the Stravinsky Violin Concerto coaching session tomorrow night. Thanks canbelto for posting that footage of SVC. The pas de deux with Ramasar and Krohn is amazing. Krohn has such an incredible physique and lithe way of moving it's hard to take your eyes off of her. I still have the postcard NYCB sent out announcing Krohn's retirement, with a photo of her and Ramasar from the pas de deux. Propped up on a bookcase, I keep meaning to have it framed. Mr. Cobweb and I have been hunkered down in California for months, and sometimes I wonder if we'll ever make it back to our former lives, but after watching the coaching session and the pdd from SVC, Mr. Cobweb says he's looking forward to getting back to NYC. Sounds good to me!

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16 minutes ago, canbelto said:

Stravinsky Violin Concerto was wonderful!

Agree. Excellent performance and a reminder of what a masterpiece the work is. The two arias are endlessly fastening. 

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Posted (edited)
On 3/6/2021 at 1:09 PM, canbelto said:

John Clifford has very negative things to say about the streamed T&V. I don't agree with him. SInce it's public-facing I'll quote it:

 

Canbelto, in response to what John Clifford has written here,  I would like to say that George Balanchine's Act II Divertissement Duet from A Midsummer Night's Dream, for instance, as performed by Allegra Kent and Jacques D'Amboise, is one of the most beautiful "lyrical" works I'v even seen (admittedly on a rather blurry video) as is their dancing. 

See Canbelto's March 6 post as the quote doesn't expand here.

Also, in the current showing of Stravinsky Violin Concerto, I consider Sterling Hyltin's dancing to be very pleasantly lyrical and both her's and Ask la Cour's performance to be beautifully expressive poetically.
 

 

 

Edited by Buddy
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On 3/7/2021 at 12:33 PM, canbelto said:

There;s actually a rather blurry video of Krohn in Violin Concerto:

 

I love Rebecca Krohn in this role. Her hips are so off kilter in those first moments of the Aria, everything is done to the nth degree, every movement completely fulfilled.

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Finally had a chance to catch up with the Stravinsky Violin Concerto--just under the wire too. I had, maybe not exactly reservations but questions about one or two elements in the second aria, but overall enjoyed it very much. Of the three featured Balanchine works they have shown, this is the one I've seen least (by far) in the theater, and for that reason I was especially pleased they included it in the digital programming...I also watched the 'behind the scenes' feature and was interested in hearing what Krohn and Mearns had to say about Von Aroldingen and her roles...

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12 minutes ago, Drew said:

Finally had a chance to catch up with the Stravinsky Violin Concerto--just under the wire too. I had, maybe not exactly reservations but questions about one or two elements in the second aria, but overall enjoyed it very much. Of the three featured Balanchine works they have shown, this is the one I've seen least (by far) in the theater, and for that reason I was especially pleased they included it in the digital programming...I also watched the 'behind the scenes' feature and was interested in hearing what Krohn and Mearns had to say about Von Aroldingen and her roles...

I've forgotten - was the behind the scenes interview part of the same video, or was it a separate video? For some reason the interview has been removed from YouTube (makes more sense to leave those up indefinitely).

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3 minutes ago, pherank said:

I've forgotten - was the behind the scenes interview part of the same video, or was it a separate video? For some reason the interview has been removed from YouTube (makes more sense to leave those up indefinitely).

It was a separate video. It does seem to be down now...

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On 3/18/2021 at 9:41 PM, Drew said:

It was a separate video. It does seem to be down now...

The interview videos began on Tuesday and ran for a week. The performance videos started on Thursday and ran for a week. The dance films that NYCB released last fall seem to still be available on their website, however. I sometimes watch the Justin Peck "Thank you, NY" when I'm feeling low. It's a huge pick me up.

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=745082016093012

Also, the broadway dancers/singers who sang Let the Sun Shine for the recent inauguration. Major uplift if you ever need it. It's off-topic, but Charlotte D'amboise who is featured in the last part went to SAB, I'm sure.

 

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On 3/27/2021 at 10:34 AM, Buddy said:

We interrupt this program for a quick advertisement.

This is a direction in dance style that I'd really like to see a lot more of. With Wendy Whelan at the helm in this department, maybe it might happen.

Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall -- "After The Rain" -- by Christopher Wheeldon

Starts at 14:10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8D316-KMBU8

The PDD is danced by everyone. There was a film of Yuan Yuan Tan and Damien Smith dancing the PDD by the seaside that was popular.

You might find it interesting to know this about Whelan:
According to Wheeldon, the pas de deux was created within three rehearsals. The female dancer wears flat shoes instead of pointe shoes, which Whelan was initially "miffed and confused" about as she had never been off pointe in any New York City Ballet performance, and she later recalled thinking Wheeldon was making her "walk like an old lady", but later realized "exactly the opposite of that. It has so many images that are meaningful to me. It's so simple, and yet there's so much love in it." Wheeldon encouraged dancers to interpret the pas de deux in their own ways, and said the worst thing dancers could do is to "act" it.
[Wikipedia]

I didn't realize that the original PDD 2nd cast was Sofiane Sylve and Edwaard Liang.

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54 minutes ago, pherank said:

The PDD is danced by everyone. There was a film of Yuan Yuan Tan and Damien Smith dancing the PDD by the seaside that was popular.

You might find it interesting to know this about Whelan:
According to Wheeldon, the pas de deux was created within three rehearsals. The female dancer wears flat shoes instead of pointe shoes, which Whelan was initially "miffed and confused" about as she had never been off pointe in any New York City Ballet performance, and she later recalled thinking Wheeldon was making her "walk like an old lady", but later realized "exactly the opposite of that. It has so many images that are meaningful to me. It's so simple, and yet there's so much love in it." Wheeldon encouraged dancers to interpret the pas de deux in their own ways, and said the worst thing dancers could do is to "act" it.
[Wikipedia]

I didn't realize that the original PDD 2nd cast was Sofiane Sylve and Edwaard Liang.

Here's another quite recent and very lovely interpretation from the Mariinsky's Maria Khoreva and Vladimir Shklyarov. I think that it's principally Maria Khoreva that you want to watch. What do you think of it ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=az4IZUTtm2c

She's quite remarkable, especially at her very young age, for being able to put a very fine and often very original, yet totally appropriate, personal imprint on everything including ballet moves that seem codified in stone for several hundred years.

I still consider the performance the personal property of Wendy Whelan. She once mentioned how Christopher Wheeldon came to her with it and she immediately began trying her own 'this's and that's' making it somewhat her own.   

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2 hours ago, pherank said:

The PDD is danced by everyone. There was a film of Yuan Yuan Tan and Damien Smith dancing the PDD by the seaside that was popular.

 

 

In regard to the Maria Khoreva and Vladimir Shklyarov performance you may enjoy what the rather distinguished audience had to say. This is a Google translation of what a friend in Russia sent me. The 'audience' comments are from Zvetlana Zakharova, Diana Vishneva, Farouk Ruzimatov , Denis Matvienko....  

"In the video, the guys are congratulated on a wonderful performance. The presenter said that not only the two of them were on the stage today, but there was a quartet on the stage, today there was a piano, Victoria Mulova performed brilliantly the solo, this is a famous violinist, our legend, it was such a synthesis of love, melody and it was amazing. The presenter watched this number not for the first time, she said that this number is performed in concerts and gala concerts and that she herself always wanted to dance this number, but so far she has not succeeded. When she watched their number, she discovered so many new things for herself. they have brought in so much new from themselves. They thanked Svetlana for such warm words, although it was generally difficult for them to imagine how it would work at all, how to practice and teach order by zoom. They thought that Christopher would rehearse with them more rigidly and strictly follow the details of his choreography, but he said that many couples have already danced this duet and it must be a special story. He told them the story of how the first couple danced, it was the departure of the famous dancer from the stage and it was a farewell act for him and he said that each couple must find their own story. The presenters asked what story they found, they replied that they had found their own, but they would not like to tell what he thought he danced about and Masha danced)
The presenter suggested that they found a story about how two artists became close during this project and stopped being shy of each other and finally opened up.
Now is the time to hear the jury
Farrukh: The most important thing is that for me this state is valuable on stage, a secret dissolution both in music and in choreography and, accordingly, between each other. In my opinion, you create such things that we will then remember for a long time. My congratulations
Alexey: The number is very famous, a lot of great dancers danced it, very musically staged and you danced it beautifully, there was such a fusion with music, Volodya's drama was built more accurately, more visibly, and this is understandable, you will certainly find a wider palette for performance of this number and I hope you will dance it. Maria, today your elastic bands on soft shoes bothered me very much, they stood out very much, look what Volodya had, they practically did not differ from the body, this was very distracting me from both music and performance, so you need to follow up on this too. Thank you
Denis: I am still in a trance from your performance, Masha's eyes were a little lacking, perhaps, some kind of look, these are not even claims to you, but to your age, you are not yet able to plunge into your inner world during time to dance and forget that the audience and the jury are sitting and enjoy the music without even creating your own story, but just send everything to hell and dive into everything that is happening here, at the moment. I wanted to ask you: "Are you just thinking during rehearsals, when you went through rehearsals, during today's performance?"
Masha: "Volodya says to me, don't tell me now (everyone is trying to persuade her!) In fact, for me After the rain, this rain can just be nature, but you can use the rain as a metaphor that there was some kind of storm, some kind of splash, a surge of emotions, events, and after the rain it is harmony, tranquility, but still some remnants of the past excitement still hover in the air ...
Denis: "For me you were under water, you did it, I congratulate you
Diana: "Let's talk about trance, let's continue,
She says that this is the best production of Christopher and many dancers (she lists) she saw in this issue and believes that this is a duet for an internally mature artist and it is not just about age, but about the ability to feel music and life. Therefore, it is important here how an artist understands what he is investing, how he invests himself in this music, and Thank you Volodya, because your performance is exactly the caliber that I told you about, and Maria just needs to continue
Grades (the presenter recalled that Vladimir is taking part as a partner) - everyone put 10 except Diana (9) and she said that it was a pity that Vladimir was not participating in the competition)
Project completed
Volodya said that in this project they discovered new qualities in each other not only as artists but also as people
And Maria will be left with the amount of knowledge and energy that Volodya gave her."

Added: After reading this over I still feel, contrary to some of the very distinguished 'audience/judge's' comments,  that Maria Khoreva's 'character portrayal' and dance were quite outstanding. In spite of some of their reservations, they still praise her highly and award her all 10s (the highest grade) except for Diana Vishneva, a 9, which kind of surprised me, being the exceptional 'expressionist' that Diana Vishneva's become.

Edited by Buddy
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1 hour ago, canbelto said:

Well that's interesting. Can anyone identify all the dancers? There's an introductory video on the subject here (in German):

https://www.ndr.de/orchester_chor/elbphilharmonieorchester/audio_video/Strawinsky-probt-Apollon-musagete,strawinsky166.html

Could that be Karin von Aroldingen as Leto?

Edited by pherank
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On 4/8/2021 at 6:23 PM, canbelto said:

Jacque d'Amboise is Apollo

Suzanne Farrell is Terp

Gloria Govrin is Calliope

Patricia Neary is Polyhymnia

Karin von Aroldingen is Leto

Thanks Canbelto!
Any idea about the "handmaidens"? (Castings pretty much never list their names.)

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Getting back on topic...

NYCB - When We Fell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8A9xFs31rg

A visually arresting work. The look is kind of mid-century modern in greyscale. I like it as an art film.

The "balcony" viewpoint camera position is initially effective in this particular piece, but I never recommend sticking with that for too long. Front camera and occasional side views are added as dancers are added (Claire Kretzschmar is joined first by Taylor Stanley, and then perhaps Jonathan Fahoury?). But that doesn't last long. The angled overhead viewpoint returns, and gets to be tiring, imo. But that viewpoint does give me the impression I'm looking down at sculptures on a museum floor. In the 2nd section of the ballet the camera view switches to a more standard front positioning - although the camera is now looking up slightly at the dancers - as well as an overhead positioning. In the 3rd section (a PDD with Lauren Lovette and Stanley) we get a simple lighting effect and a return to the front position camera. Here the overhead spot creates long shadows from the dancers bodies and that too reminds me of sculptures displayed in a museum.

I need to rewatch this piece to have something to say about the choreography. I was neither thrilled nor bothered by what I saw - it may well grow on me. I did like the initial section of the choreography - the slow, deliberate movements. Everything very pensive. Villarnini-Velez's partnering of India Bradley was however, a bit clumsy looking. He just didn't move about her in a grounded, graceful manner. And there was too much effort being shown in the holds. That 'group' section of the piece was rougher looking in general than other sections, and simply felt under-rehearsed.

Edited by pherank
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The first time I watched When We Fell, I kept thinking of Merce Cunningham, at least in the opening section set to Morton Feldman's 1957 Piece for Four Pianos, but in a very smooth legato mode. (Feldman had done the music for Cunningham's 1958 Summerspace which City Ballet recently revived.) Feldman's tempo marking on the Four Pianos score says "Durations are free. Slow. Soft as possible." The notes seem to come out of nowhere, one by one, footprints for the dancers to step around and occasionally onto. I thought less of Cunningham in the second and third sections. The mood is cool but not cold, the grays of 16mm motion picture film are long and softly gradated, and the dancers all seemed finely atuned to the choreography.

Edited by Quiggin
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