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NYCB — Into The Future

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In addition to the continuation of its fine George Balanchine heritage (including works by Jerome Robbins) and other fine projects, I’ve been hoping for more of  this sort of thing to happen at New York City Ballet as well. What will the future tell ?

Marina Harss from DanceTabs:

“I was even more surprised by how moved I was by the final piece on the program, Wheeldon’s The Two of Us, for Sara Mearns and David Hallberg….I’ve never seen a more sincere, open-hearted, grounded work from Wheeldon. Or such natural performances from these dancers, particularly Hallberg.”


Wendy Whelan

“Wendy, the associate artistic director of @nycballet, where she was formerly a principal, isn’t sure how performing will fit into her life. But she knows this: “If time works for me, moving is the best thing,” she told the #nytimes dance critic @giadk.

“I just want to feel good….”

(see video)


Christopher Wheeldon-Wendy Whelan — “After The Rain”

(Start at 14:10)


I'd like to mention some more at another time.

Edited by Buddy
introduction changed and last sentence added
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As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve long envisioned a more 'dreamlike' sort of Wheeldon-Whelan aesthetic emerging at NYCB in addition to the great George Balanchine heritage and beyond. This might also be in keeping with such Balanchine works as the wonderful and ethereal Divertissement Duet from George Balanchine's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream." Ever since the first time that I saw video clips of Wendy Whelan performing “After The Rain” I was embraced. From what I’ve read Wendy Whelan worked through its creation with Christopher Wheeldon, adding her elements of physicality.

Now that she’s NYCB’s Associate Artistic Director (also in charge of new works, I believe) this seems more possible than ever. As she says in the above Instagram glimpse, she wants to continue  dancing as well as creating. Why not do the both together as she did with Christopher Wheeldon ?

And again from Marina Harss about the NY Fall for Dance 2020 program:

“I was even more surprised by how moved I was by the final piece on the program, Wheeldon’s The Two of Us, for Sara Mearns and David Hallberg….I’ve never seen a more sincere, open-hearted, grounded work from Wheeldon. Or such natural performances from these dancers, particularly Hallberg.”

I watched the video of this performance (over and over) and I absolutely agree !

** It reached a new level of natural honesty, for me **

It’s a quality that all performers and creators should strive for and would certainly be something to be encouraged in NYCB’s artistic future. (By the way, does anyone know where I might get a copy of this video ?  It’s a gem ! )

One more idea. How about encouraging Edward Villella’s input into NYCB’s artistic future. Although at times controversial, he gave the Miami City Ballet a Balanchine-NYCB related spark that was outstanding. The Miami City Ballet had a world class quality along with a youthful aliveness (hope that it still does) that was perhaps unequalled and Edward Villella also sought out new directions and works that were very effective and impressive. As a believer in the Mariinsky’s untouchable status as perhaps the world’s finest ballet company, the Miami City Ballet with Edward Villella was possibly an equal favorite.

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Wendy Whelan spoke at a donor breakfast before the last performance of the recent winter season. 

Someone asked if she felt inclined to put toe shoes on again, and she responded with an emphatic no.

Christine Redpath was also there, speaking about creating the role of the Swan/grandmother in his Carnival of the Animals, and Wendy didn't cast herself into that one either. Sara Mearns was just lovely and moving in the role.

I'm not sure what might entice Wendy Whelan to perform again, but I tend to think that she's changed her mind and her dancing now is a private matter.

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On 3/7/2024 at 7:55 AM, BalanchineFan said:

I'm not sure what might entice Wendy Whelan to perform again, but I tend to think that she's changed her mind and her dancing now is a private matter.

I guess that it’s possible that she has her hands full at the moment running the company. Yet, if I’m not mistaken, she’s also in charge of new works and this is where her own essence and talent could be very valuable.

I’ve seen her perform more contemporary works and the brief Instagram glimpse posted above is perhaps the nicest. Her beautiful, ballet ability and sensitivity are very evident here. I would hope that she has the time and interest to do more of this. In any case, she can always try to impart this into the new works and the company in general. She probably has one of the finest levels of sensitivity that I’ve seen at NYCB. And again, her own dancing, whether private or on stage (which would be nice), could be fine in itself or could be helpful in shaping new works as it apparently was when she worked with Christopher Wheeldon.

Since I mentioned Christopher Wheeldon, maybe the company would be interested in staging his “The Two of Us,” which I mentioned above and thought was an exceptional effort. In addition, his presence at the company could be a very worthwhile one. A Wheeldon/Ratmansky collaboration on some works might also be very exciting.

And one more plug for an Edward Villella input at the NYCB. Not only could he impart his remarkable Balanchine background, but also the high quality, aliveness, relaxed virtuosity, sense of family and creativity that existed at the Miami City Ballet when he was running the company.

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This is kind of interesting. It’s an email announcement sent out by the New York City Ballet. It seems rather excited about a NYCB and Miami City Ballet connection. I’ve thought about this sort of thing here. I tend to doubt that there’s any Edward Villella input involved, however.

“Principal casting for A Midsummer Night's Dream includes Sara Mearns, Unity Phelan, and Miriam Miller as Titania, Anthony Huxley, Joseph Gordon, and Daniel Ulbricht as Oberon. Plus, as a special 75th Anniversary treat, guest artists Taylor Naturkas and Brooks Landegger from Miami City Ballet will be performing the Second Act Divertissement.”


The Second Act Divertissement (I assume Duet), for me, is one of the most beautiful and important works in all of ballet. It’ very interesting about the excitement here that two Miami City Ballet dancers will be performing it. Does anyone know anything about them ?

I saw Jennifer Lauren and Renan Cerdeiro perform this for the MCB in Miami, May 2016. He was very good. She was absolutely lovely.


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All roads lead to Rome. After just mentioning liking very much Miami City Ballet’s Jennifer Lauren (with Renan Cerdeiro) eight years ago, here they are again (4 years ago) with the soon-to-perform-the-same-role (MCB at the NYCB, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Act II Duet), Taylor Naturkas (seen here with Erick Rojas).

This video begins with Jennifer Lauren and Renan Cerdeiro (MCB Principals), then Taylor Naturkas and Erick Rojas. Taylor Naturkas joined the Miami City Ballet as corps de ballet member in 2020, and was promoted to soloist in 2022.

World Premiere: “A Dance For Heroes” It’s dedicated to Cristian and others like him. Hope that you’ve seen it, Cristian. (dancing starts at 2:10)


(Posted May 11, 2020 by the MCB)

This work and the video to follow show an interesting side to today’s MCB, which I like. It’s a lyrically graceful and quiet work from the MCB, which in the days of Edward Villella, I used to consider to be the ‘rock n roll’ company of classical ballet. I did enjoy this back then, perhaps as much as my favorite, the Mariinsky.

This might again point in the direction of the quieter, Wendy Whelan-Christopher Wheeldon aesthetic that I think might be an interesting one for the NYCB to further develop. Miami City Ballet seems to already have more integrated this style.

Again, Taylor Naturkas (second to enter, first to solo) with Ella Titus and Jordan-Elizabeth Long. All have the somewhat ‘jazzy,’ relaxed aliveness, that characterized the company when Edward Villella was there. Nice to see. I like all these young ladies. Taylor Naturkas, with her youthful spark and prowess, will be an interesting contrast to the ethereal magnificence of Allegra Kent with Jacques d’Amboise, who, for me, set the standard in performing  George Balanchine’s remarkable “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Act 2 ‘Divertissement Duet.’

“Spring Vivace”



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