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Hubbe and Friends, Copenhagen, September 18,21,22

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Hubbe and Friends was five nights made up of two programs: the first, a Balanchine Night, consisting of Mozartiana, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Harlequinade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Who Cares?; the second being a Balancine/Robbins mixed bill of Apollo, In the Night, and Interplay.

I saw the first program on the 18th and 22nd, and the second on the 21st.

Both were excellent, although the final show was attended by Queen Margrethe of Denmark, which seemed to cause some jitters and missteps in the first half of the show.

Hubbe himself is in top form - he's in great shape and I have never seen him dance better. Clearly, he enjoys dancing in Denmark, where he is a huge celebrity, and this was really his show, playing to his strengths and featuring some of his best numbers. (He also did everything possible to promote it, with hunky photos and up-close-and-personal interviews in every woman's magazine in Denmark: I now know more about his cooking skills and love life than I ever wanted to know.) At any rate, he was well rewarded, with good crowds and standing ovations at all three shows I attended. He also seems to UNDERSTAND Apollo more than he once did, but maybe I was just caught up in the general excitement.

Jennie Somogyi was another highlight - I think she's a tremendously underrated dancer, and there's no one I enjoy watching more. Her fluidity, spontenaity, and athleticism are such a joy to watch - she looks as if she's making up the dance as she goes along, and having a grand time doing it. To me, she is a truly American ballerina - confident, intelligent, strong, yet wonderfully graceful, particularly her hands and upper body. In these shows she appeared in Harliquinade, Who Cares? and Apollo, and the crowd loved her.

Wendy Whelan also did a fine Mozartiana, accompanied by girls from the Danish Royal Ballet School, and Tom Gold made a suitably grim gigue (and, was, in fact, grim in every other dance he was part of - something is clearly on Tom's mind). Ben Millepied was a top-flight Harlequin - what a wonderful jumper. Unfortunately, when he took off his Harlequin cap for Who Cares? (a wonderful "Liza") it was revealed that he badly, badly needed a haircut, so badly that it actually distracted me from his dancing. Maybe one of those Danish women's magazines would like to work on Ben next time.

Maria Kowrowski, sadly, was a disappointment. You can't argue with her beautiful proportions, and technically she's fine, but the longer she dances, the more she becomes a beautiful blank. Contrasted with Jennifer Ringer, whose technique can be iffy but whose warmth and showmanship is never in doubt, Kowrowski comes up dull, a sort of moving oil painting.

Ringer, by the way, was lovely in Who Cares? and In the Night, both times dancing with her husband, James Fayette. Fayette is not my cup of tea - I find him workmanlike, but colorless - but Ringer is obviously wild for him, making her marriage part of her official biography and posing for a (lovely) program photo of she and her husband staring into each others' eyes. I left New York before Ringer got a chance to make much impact, but now I can see what people are so excited about. She's a likeable and accessible, a warm and positive stage presence.

Of the other soloists and corps members, Rachel Rutherford had a memorable turn in Harlequinade, and Adam Hendrikson stood out in Interplay. Still, it was rather sad to see the pint-size Hendrikson standing next to Gold as the company took bows - he's a fine dancer, but you can't help wonder if his career will be as limited by his size as Gold's has been.

All in all, three nights of wonderful performances of wonderful ballets.

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Thanks for the report, KayDenmark.

One thing I don't find surprising is your report of Hubbe looking in top form. To me, it's almost more fascinating when there's total agreement on someone as when there's a range of opinions, and it seems like everyone is saying that this happens to be his year.

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Just out of curiousity, who is Hubbe's girlfriend? I wish magazines over here would pay more attention to ballet dancers!

I may be mistaken, but I think Hubbe's performances in recent years with NYCB have been limited from time to time by injuries-especially a bad knee injury some years back. Also, I suspect that he was somewhat distracted from his dancing at NYCB during the period when he was in the running for the artistic director position at RDB. He's also a member of the permanent faculty at SAB.

I do wish I could have seen the film about Hubbe that was made by his friend (and former NYCB dancer) Ulrik Wivel, which was shown last year (??) in NYC.

I am very glad to hear that he is having a great year dancewise. One of my favorite memories at NYCB is of him in "La Sonnambula, which I saw in dress rehearsal and performance. And it was a delight to see him in "Who Cares" this past spring.

I definately think James Fayette's great talent lies more in his partnering skills than his solo dancing, but he and Ringer have a magical connection when they dance together. BTW, from all that I've heard, Fayette is a wonderful person off-stage-as caring off the stage as he is with his partners on the stage.

FYI-in researching for my SAB website, I've seen the websites/dancer bios for just about every balllet company in the US, and dancers almost always mention the fact if they are married to another dancer in the company.

I'm sure Millipied is enjoying his last weeks with the wild 'do before it has to be cut for the NYCB winter season.

I've wondered about Adam Hendrickson's future, especially with the influx of talented shorter dancers like Ulbricht & Carmena (and now Carreno). However, I think he's well on his way to a solid career. He's not that short-he's cast in the corps of many different ballets. Also, he seems to have made his mark on certain roles-he's my favorite Puck, and Martins has used him in several new ballets.

And I don't think it is just height that has kept Gold as a soloist. I really like his dancing, but somehow he seems to lack something (which I can't put my finger on) essential to make the jump to principal. I do hope that whatever was on his mind is not serious...


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According to what he has been telling the Danish ladies’ magazines, his love interest is "Jan, a 46-year-old architect." He also says he likes to cook “any combination of things from the refrigerator – that’s my specialty”; that his Manhattan apartment is too small for a television, so he has not seen “The Osbournes” (big in Denmark now); and that he feels “most masculine when I am dancing, exhausted and covered with sweat.”

Believe me, after you read a few of this type of interview, you’ll be happy to hear dancers stick to talking about jetés.

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Kay -- Did they use live music at the Tivoli performances? Also, Did they perform the entire Who Cares or just the Pdds and Pdt's? As I remember it, that Ballet in its entirety may call for a big corps de ballet. Thanks for your reports. Michael

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Hi, Michael!

The Tivoli music was taped, but the sound quality was a vast improvement from last summer's gala - at which, if I recall correctly, Hubbe performed.

Last summer the music sounded like it was coming through a transistor radio propped up against a microphone, but this year it was about as high a quality as taped music gets.

Who Cares? was performed without a corps - just the eight couples. I was impressed that Hubbe was able to bring so many corps members along, however. It was a fairly big company for a gala.

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Just to fill in, Julian Thurber, a wonderful pianist played live for In the Night and was much appreciated by the public.

Hubbe’s Apollo was an absolute revelation to me. He was divine. Both of the nights of the Hubbe and friends program were pure enchantment (yes and did not miss the articles in Alt, etc). He was absolutely right to bank on promotion/publicity, he did produce the show after all. On the first night I had a very lovely distinguished lady – a total stranger- sitting next to me who kept going on about how “gorgeous” he was …”and so very handsome too” , the man surely does have a following ! Yes indeed he is in top form, so much so that I would have loved to see him in everything ( he was in Mozartiana, Violin Concerto and Who cares ? in Prog 1 and “merely” in Apollo in Prog 2)!!!

Was great to se him dance in Copenhagen, where to he is apparently returning in November to be in the Flindt’s Lesson, this time at the Royal Theatre (http://www.kgl-teater.dk/dkt2002/ballet/frame.htm) though. ( Seeing the performances at the Tivoli – a sort of attraction park, a world of its own with it’s concert hall, theatre, lake, ship, stalls ..; etc was by the way something of an experience, fireworks after the show, Kid Creole doing a concert on Saturday night… quite a change from the solemnity that accompanies a post ballet performance. ) Oh, and terribly sweet too, for both of the premières, 2 tiny sweet Tivoli guards (little boys dressed as the Queen guards in red coats and bearskin hats) came to present a huge “bucket” of red flowers –on the first night they couldn’t really get the thing to stand erect, it kept tipping over and it was rather endearing to see them do their best, battling with those imposing hats that kept getting in the way. Even Nikolaj was laughing , but who wouldn’t be, the final Who cares ? had brought the house down, and it was pure standing ovation. A mega triumph, totally deserved.

Ringer and Lafayette were beautiful to watch as the third couple in In the Night, ( the backdrop of the constellated night and the wonderful piano playing added so much to it all) the passion was so there, though I suppose I could have done without Interplay, but at least it had the advantage of introducing us to a host of corps members full of vitality. On the fourth night, after Interplay, the dancers kept trying to coax Hubbe from backstage and when he finally did appear to make a timid entrance on the side & share the ovation, already dressed in jeans, black sweater and white trainers, he was looking very shy. Easier to accept the applause when still in character ? Yvonne Borrée remains a bit of a mystery to me, beautiful legs and all but there’s something about the shoulders or neck, can’t really make it out, but don’t know her really well (she was lovely in the Wivel film –by the way it is available on video in the central library and at the videothek of the Danish film institute if you happen to go to CPH, unfortunately it is not for sale / could not find it in the NY Library of Performing Arts though ) so do not want to be unjust. Can anyone tell me more about her ? Otherwise Somogyi and Millepied (okay his hair was a bit “princely” but couldn’t have minded less) were delightful, could not keep eyes off them. Harlequinade was all sweet kisses and glee. Whelan was no surprise, up to her usual high standards. I do agree having been slightly disappointed by the beautiful Korowski who had moved me to bits in the Midsummer Night’s dream in June, nonetheless amazing technique.

KayDenmark, was there anything special on the last night ? I was already on my flight home by then … By the way, apparently Hubbe is doing a gala in Rome in Octoberhttp://www.tourome.com/costanzi.htm in on of the ballets on the programme : Schehérazade, Jeux, and Sacre du printemps – anybody knows which ?

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