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Spac 7/10 (NYCB at Saratoga)

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Brrrr. If you come up, bring a sweater. Our always unpredictable upstate weather showed true colors again last night, with a gorgeous but mighty cool evening. Of course by tomorrow we could be roasting again....just be advised.

Vintage Balanchine, brand-new Evans, and anachronistic Robbins were the order for the second night of NYCB at SPAC.

I respect, if I don't love, Raymonda Variations, for the incredible difficulty, especially for the demi-soloists' variations. Very well done last night, with a few little slips here and there, notably one from Ashley Bouder (!). Glenn Keenan does have lovely pointe work as was indicated recently by one poster, but I did miss Eva, because I like her so much. In rehearsal yesterday afternoon, Glenn had to do her variation twice. OUCH. In my eyes, Jenifer Ringer can do almost no wrong--I disagree totally with Gottleib on this and would love to find time to post my opinion of his article-- she is secure and radiant in this part. I love the turning duel between Ashley and Abi too--and I vacillate between the two in terms of the "winner".

I don't even know where to begin to talk about Haiku because I saw it in NY and wasn't too impressed. What a difference a few weeks makes! Or maybe the difference lies in where I was sitting. As much as I treasure my membership in the 4th Ring Society and truly enjoy sitting there, some things just don't come over well up there. Don't get me wrong--I liked but I wasn't keen on seeing it again. Eating those words now! I caught the rehearsal and I knew that I would love it with the addition of lighting, which is ingenious, and those lovely deep red costumes.

The intricacies of the choreography didn't come across to the 4th ring, but did they ever from just a few rows from the stage. A few things that I did notice in both perfs--Albert uses silence very well. He is not afraid of it, rare I think, especially for a new choreographer. Anyway, I bless NYCB for bringing it to SPAC, and I do feel that it is a keeper, one of the gems that does arise from the Diamond Project. Changed my mind completely!

Not going to say too much about Fancy Free except that in my mind it is dated, completely non-PC (not that I am such a freak for political correctness), and doesn't show male attributes in a positive light. It was well-danced, but I don't like it and don't feel the need to see it ever again. Bring me Dances at a Gathering, In the Night, even Brandenburg if you want to bring me Robbins. Don't bring me this nonsense. Wow--I didn't expect to put that across quite so strongly. I guess I have never like FF, but haven't put it into words before.

Matinee and evening today. Gotta go!!

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Thank you so much for the report -- I could not agree with you more about Ringer in Raymonda Variations. She has been breathtaking in this role every time I have seen it -- Radiant and Lyrical, and dancing big -- with sweep and amplitude. It is a role that suits her perfectly.

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Thanks again, rk. As to Fancy Free, some years ago, when I first had my "consciousness raised," I began feeling about this ballet the way you do. The three sailors regarded the women (or girls, as they would have been during World War II) as mere sex objects. When they started throwing around the first woman's purse, their teasing stopped being funny and became a clear-cut case of sexual harassment. The women were portrayed as brainless, and ready to fall for any good line. I'm not much bothered by any of this anymore, and I'm not sure why. For whatever reasons, I succeeded in placing the ballet back into the context of its times, "when girls were girls and men were men," as Archie Bunker had it. It seems unfair to apply today's standards of behavior to past realities. I don't know if Lincoln Kirstein's 1970 statement that Fancy Free "remains the sturdiest characteristic national work" still applies, but it has certainly proved a durable one -- and lots of fun.

Enjoy your NYCB doubleheader.

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Although I'm a committed feminist, Fancy Free has never struck me as being offensive. The sailors are very young and, as Farrell Fan says, this was a different time. But NYCB dancers have never seemed to catch the proper tone of this ballet—they have always made the sailors' behavior more loutish than playful. Arlene Croce once suggested that this tough quality comes from the dancers' living in New York, where life has a certain brutality. ABT dancers do this ballet much better, and I think it's a mistake for NYCB to dance it (even if it was Robbins himself who imported it).

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I received another rave review of Haiku today - this one from my daughter who is up there attending NYSSSA's program. She said via Instant Message that it was the most amazing thing she'd ever seen! :) That Aesha Ash was incredibly good and really wowed them! :DAnd, I've also been told that we "have to" go see it!

Raymonda V. and Fancy Free were also thought to be good too. :)

So there is another person who really enjoyed last night's performances!

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