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NYCB 2-22 evening

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It's late (very late), so just some quick notes...

A typo in the program had more than few eyebrows raised when Fayette appeared on stage in "Concerto Barrocco" rather than the listed Askegard. But, just a typo. Solid performance.

Fairchild made her debut, and Ulbricht his State Theater debut in "Tarantella". Ulbricht really pushed all out, and got gorgeous height, and was delightful with his impish "mugging". Fairchild looked a little nervous, but was well-matched with Ulbricht and danced with a zesty zip. She's definately well suited for the role, and I think both of them will be even better with more rehearsal and performances under their belt. I do agree though that Ulbricht does have a tendency to push the bravura-I love seeing him leap, but lately I've been missing the crispness that makes his dancing so special. He seems to be getting a good number of roles, but bravura alone won't "fill" his casting schedule. He's got oodles of talent and I look foward to seeing him in the years to come.

Wheeldon's Carousel has been slightly re-choreographed, but is still a pleasant piece to watch. Millepied debuted in Woetzel's role, and he & Ansanelli were superb in the central pas de deux. She danced with abandonment-had me holding my breath to see if he would make it in time to catch her in one of the "swoons". I almost like these two better than Woetzel & Ansanelli-Millepied is well matched with Ansanelli, and with nice ballon.

Reliquary was fine. Kudos to Dana Hanson who looked great, after having a scary fall in the role last time I saw it performed.

"Who Cares" with Askegard, Ringer, Van Kipnis and Somogyi was simply fabulous (best perfomance of it I've ever seen) and it was a shame that the whole middle section with the various demi-soloist pas de deuxs was cut (otherwise it wouldn't have ended until close to 11pm-as it was things ended at 10:40). All three of the female soloists pulled out all stops, with Ringer & Askegard especially moving in their pas de deux. The whole cast seemed energized-how different from the last performance of "Who Cares" that I saw.

All in all, a great night!


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That's strange that all the demi-soloist parts were cut. I've seen that in the chamber version of the ballet, but never at State Theater. I think it would have been still to cut the section due to time constrants - I don't think after 1 pm on a Saturday night is too late. I've walked out of the theater after 11 after NYCB.

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It may have had more to do with union rules than not wanting to keep the audience really late. There's probably someone here who know more than I do, but it may be that the company has to get the dancers out of the theater by a certain hour on Saturday night in order to have them dancing in the Sunday matinee.

In anycase, three hours would have made for a long night. It was over an hour before the first intermission.


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I also thought Ansanelli and Millipeid were better together. It ws more beleavable that they were in love. She is so young looking so an Ben too. They were fantastic.

Who Cares? was great. All of them have personality, and that is the whole point of the ballet. They are all hard variations but the key is to have the who care's attitude through out and I really feel they did. Somogyj has less innate personality than Ringer and van Kipnis but turning is so easy for her so she just looks like she is saying "this is no big deal" and then it's over. It was great. I love how the Who cares? pas de deux is done with that in mind. They may be flirting and romantic in the beginning but then they go back to being individuals, dancing seperately, and just they are just having fun. van Kipnis and Askegard acomplish this very well. Besides, it is his third girl.

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Well, I was there for most of it.

Barocco: At this point, I think I could see Yvonne Borree hailing a cab on the street and feel my shoulderblades clenching. I'd rather dreaded seeing her tackle this most serene of ballets, and, while I saw none of the trembling and botches that have marred so many of her recent performances (well, the first bit in the adagio with Fayette, where he slides her along the floor then hoists her into arabesque rather like he's rasing a sail, was a total miss, but that was as much Fayette's fault), from her first entrance it was the visual equivalent of fingernails dragged across a blackboard. As a TV icon of my childhood would've said, "Oh, the pain, the pain!" Such tightness, such fear, such backing away from the beat like it's a wolf waiting to gobble her up. What happened to the woman who was so brilliant and aggressive in Square Dance only a few years ago (I couldn't bring myself to see her dance it this season)?

What made it doubly sad was that Borree clearly had a decent grasp of the role, and was trying, oh so hard, to make it work. Too hard. There was one repeated bit in the adagio where she was supposed to balance on one foot, and hold onto Fayette's arm, I think, while leaning away from him in what should've been a pretty cambre to the back -- instead, she moved with such tension, fighting herself all the way, that it looked like she was working out on one of those fiendish pull-down weight machines at the gym. Not pretty.

Somogyi was fine, although I can't help but wonder why she hasn't been given the lead yet. The corps was strong and, for the most part, together, although they were more dutiful and correct, and less fiery, than I'd like to see here. Wonder of wonders, Andrea Quinn conducted with patience and sensitivity, giving both the dancers and choreography time to breathe.

In Tarantella, Ulbricht was even more ebullient and airborne than at his debut in Saratoga last summer. His leaps brought gasps and cheers from the very full house, and he's strong and confident enough to play with the role. Fairchild was cute and cautious, content to turn in a respectable performance in a role in which if you don't go for broke, you might as well not set foot onstage.

Carousel, well, I'm beginning to wonder if there's a reason why Wheeldon loves his ballets to be dimly, excuse me, atmosphericly lit, and behind a scrim this time, no less. There are some nice bits here, and the music's heavenly, but I don't think Wheeldon gets Americana as well as he gets, say, ersatza Balanchine. The concept here was fine (boy meets girl at County Fair, I guess), and there were many lovely bits executed with his usual sure hand, but nothing really gels, and the whole's a lot less than the sum of its parts. I did like parts of the long duet for Ansanelli and Millepied (they both danced wonderfully, she with her usual mix of vulnerability and reckless abandon, and he with his increasingly apparent heroism), but I also began to wonder if Wheeldon was recycling maybe a bit too much. Americana heroine in a bright yellow dress? Now when have we seen that before, and just across the plaza? I was daydreaming about Ansanelli's wonderful Firebird of a year or so ago, then realized it was because up on stage they were doing Firebird. Very odd indeed.

Would that Martins had tapped Wheeldon for Reliquary -- he can do better ersatz Balanchine in his sleep than Martins can do wide-awake, apparently. And, no, I didn't see it this time, but took refuge in the lobby. I think this ballet's title speaks volumes about Martins' attitude towards the priceless repertory of which he's appointed himself the steward, and explains why he's done such an indifferent job at it. Feh.

Who Cares was a joy. Why on earth wasn't Askegard doing this years ago? He's absolutely perfect, and his charming hamminess makes him just perfect in the d'Amboise repertory. (The only thing hammy about Nilas Martins is his ... oh, nevermind. I can't bring myself to say it but you all know what I mean.) Ringer just absolutely owns McBride's roles in The Man I Love and Fascinatin' Rhythm. She's a nice girl who's perhaps had a few rum-and-cokes too many and is playing at being down-and-dirty for an evening. In Fascinatin' Rhythym she's practically doing a bump-and-grind out there, and loving it as much as we do watching her. Now if only she'd revive some of the missing tricky bits that McBride used to do so well. Somogyi is really blossoming in the Marnee Morris part; she's made it suit her strong, yet oddly retiring, persona. I felt in the duet that she was dancing as much for herself as for Askegard (although a somewhat romantic duet, it's no surprise that Somogyi turns her cheek to his kiss at the end). And such dancing -- her turns in attitude, alone and supported, could've made the show all by themselves, although her ferocious and dead-on rendition of the killer "My One and Only" solo was probably the high point of the evening for me, after Ulbricht's aerial exploits, that is. Not only didn't she bail on the fouettes, but the were single-double all the way through, like she was nailed to the stage. And she nailed all the other tricky travelling turns and quite rightly got brought back for an extra bow by the screaming audience. Van Kipnis was joyful, kittenish and playful, overcoming her slightly weak technique (where has her jump gone?) with some effulgent selling. But she's one dancer at City Ballet who always looks like she's happy to be dancing; if only she could bottle some of that and sell it to, say, Borree and Martins.

I don't know why they cut the demis (Peter doesn't return my phone calls fro some reason), but it sure seemed like there was some urgency to getting us out of the theater before eleven. I guess nobody's bought Quinn that Tivo yet, and her lickety split tempi in the ensemble parts of Who Cares?, particularly the finale, were almost unbearable. Regardless of one's opinion of the state of City Ballet's corps these days, they are all professionals, and it's painful to see their increasingly glazed smiles as they struggle to keep up with Quinn's oblivious time-keeping. It's not just that the dancers are suffering; it's Balanchine's work, too. Does anyone see? Does anyone care?

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Unfortunately, I have seen truncated versions of "Who Cares?" at the State Theater. Once was on an opening night, when the ranks of the begowned and tuxedoed presumably wouldn't have known the difference. But I'm pretty sure I've seen the demi-soloists eliminated on at least one other occasion as well. This cuts the heart out of he ballet, in my opinion, with no buildup to "The Man I Love." I'd much rather see a different, shorter ballet than a maimed masterpiece.

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Had an argument during the first intermission with the gentleman in the seat next to me. I mentioned that it was Fayette who had just danced and he insisted that it was Askegard. I guess if it's in print, then it must be true! (I'm glad they weren't subscription seats!). Ulbricht was totally amazing in Tarantella, and Who Cares was gorgeous. The entire cast danced it beautifully. And as far as Jennifer Ringer .... Wow! I could not take my eyes off her!

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Ah the tempi of Ms. Quinn. I think there is a school of thought that goes the increased tempo makes for a better attack and dancing. I don't think that is the case. Do you think she realizes that there are dancers on the stage that have steps to fit into the beats? There is only so much quickness that is humanly possible to maintain and to still retain the art of ballet in the steps. I wonder if she ever looks up at the stage? All I can imagine is that when she left the Royal Ballet (that was where she was before hand right?) the dancers must have been breathing a sigh of relief. No more races.

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Isn't it a stagehand union thing that makes them try to end things before 11pm? 11pm+ leads to OT pay, doesn't it?

I know I haven't posted much lately (I think I have caught every bug going around NYC this winter... spring cannot come soon enough), but last night (sat) was just the medicine I needed. From Somogyi's utterly gorgeous Barocco (I'm less surprised by Somogyi not doing the 1st violin as I am by her not being given Square Dance to perform) to Ulbricht's go for broke approach and sheer joy, I had was on a high all evening (well, I did sit out Reliquary).

I enjoyed Fairchild in Tarantella, although she doesn't quite seem ready to dance with the abandon and fun the female needs to even come

close to *rivaling* the male. But, she does have a solid technique and charm. And, great, intelligent eyes.

The one negative for the night (I draw a blank on Borree's Barocco) was that I desperately miss Ashley Bouder. At times like watching Tarantella, I feel almost pained by not getting to see her in the role. Tarantella has her name written all over it. Not just for the technique, but for the musicality that would end up sending chills up the audience's spine. I so wish I could have seen her in Saratoga do the role. I have to overcome my prejudices when watching Fairchild, as she is being given roles that Bouder has and would have done. It is a tribute to Fairchild's talent that I could still enjoy her performance. But, still, please, oh, please, let Bouder be back in the Spring.

This was my first time viewing Carousel (which I saw, again, this afternoon in a ballet replacement). As I have mentioned before on this board re: *modern* ballets, I have major issues with modern dance arms movements seemingly thrown in for no reason into modern ballets. I just find it contrived and distracting. That said, I was in the mood for the swooning and swooning and swooning of the pas de deux and adored Ansanelli's complete abandon in the part. As already mentioned above, both Taylor and Ansanelli dance with much abandon, but somehow, as oxymoronic as this sounds, Ansanelli's abandon in this piece seemed perfectly in control. I didn't fear she'd get hurt, as I often do with Taylor (who did take a spill in Sinfonia on Friday night). Corps-wise, there were many replacements (as in Symp. in C today), and Sterling Hyltin (one of the unlisted replacements) stood out for the passion in her dancing (she was the small blonde with wavy/curly-ish hair. My eyes kept finding her.

Programming-wise, I think putting Barocco, Tarantella, and Carousel all on together before a full intermission was just too much. I felt utterly overwhelmed (one of the reasons I sat out the 2nd act). Too much to process. Too little time to relish the previous performance. As cargill (I think) said to me, they could have had the intermission after Barocco and done without Reliquary (and, perhaps, kept the soloist sections of WC).

Now, WC.... After my highs of last season of the Hubbe/Ringer/Somogyi/Taylor cast, I didn't dare hope of reaching similar heights. But, boy I was wrong. Askegard was charming and graceful at the same time. I'm a sucker for Hubbe, so I still missed him. But, this performance belonged to the women. While Apollo is in charge in that piece, the lead male in this performance of definitely was 2nd fiddle (4th fiddle?) to his 3 ladies.

Time stops in the Man I Love with Ringer. I wanted to cry out-- it was almost painful, in a way, at how exquisite she was... that such beauty exists just for a few ephemeral moments (or minutes). I wish I could bottle those moments (well, I'd be happy with a video of the perf). And, of course, Ringer is a sex kitten in Fascinatin' Rhythm. Going back to the Man I Love... it's one of my faves, if not my favorite pas de deux. When done superbly (as it was at this perf.), it's more sexy and heartbreaking than any scene I have seen in a movie. I know spouses and SOs often get jealous seeing their loved ones in movie love scenes. I'd be jealous watching my loved one in the Man I Love.

Fortunately, my high did not end with Ringer. van Kipnis was the best I have seen her in this role... and now my favorite in this role ever. She was an independent woman, while still maintaining a feminine, sexy air.

Somogyi... She's not a *personality* dancer, but she connects with the audience and her partner, all the same. The way she uses her neck, shoulders, and upper back (in whatever she does, really) reveals a vulnerability that, combined with her power, makes her completely captivating to me. She was rightly brought out for an extra bow, after her solo (though I thought they all deserved it).

The finale, as already mentioned, was incredibly fast, certainly ending the ballet with a big pow. wow.


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The company's statement was that she was sick and that they look forward to her rejoining them. We'd really prefer there was no further speculation on the board - we have no better information than that, and gossip isn't the point of the site. But trust me, we're all looking forward to seeing her back onstage again.

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