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kwanfan1818
09-26-2011, 10:05 AM
I had to work hard not to nod off during Ask LaCour's Phlegmatic. What a blah blond pup. (He is related to Peter Martins in some way, isn't he? Nilas may be history, but I sense more nepotism here!)
Ask LaCour is Nilas Martins' half-brother: they share the same mother, Lise LaCour, Peter Martins' first wife, who danced for Royal Danish Ballet and has been a ballet mistress and in administration for years. His father is conductor Frans Rasmussen.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/arts/dance/bangin-sid-ballet-dancers-remixed.html?_r=1

One of the reasons why there is so much of what seems like nepotism in North America is that in the big state companies -- Royal Danish Ballet, Mariinsky, Bolshoi, Paris Opera Ballet -- before they choose kids at a young age, they screen them for body type, and to be the child of a dancer, or, even better, the child of two, is a big plus. Those companies are filled with family members, through blood and marriage. Martins grew up in that tradition and brought it with him.


The final piece was Union Jack, which I hadn't seen in a very long time. Mostly it irks me. It's so....martial. Ballanchine created it to honor the British heritage of the US....for OUR centennial. Did the US ask him to come up with something to pander to the UK in 1976? We are not part of the Commonwealth, and on July 4th we celebrate our independence from the UK. Hmph.
Balanchine was a firm believer in roots :). His "Agon" may still be the most radical neoclassical ballet of all-time, but he always thought of himself as Petipa's ancestor.



Wendy Whelan looked pretty snappy in the MacDonald of Sleat section, which surprised me as I never thought this was her sort of thing. And isn't she about 50 years old by now?
She's 44, born in 1967. MacDonald of Sleat is one of the best things in the ballet, choreographed for Karin von Aroldingen, one of Balanchine's favorites.



This piece must have set a record for dancers losing parts of their costumes onstage, I counted 2 hair ornaments and one sporran. I wish one of the dancers would kick loose parts offstage when this happens, it's very distracting, wondering if someone is going to trip.
I hate when that happens, on stage or on the ice.

emason
09-26-2011, 03:27 PM
Marge, Marge, what can I say? I think our ballet friendship is over.

Union Jack is my all-time favorite Balanchine ballet. In fact, I'm pissed that I don't get to see it this Thursday when I go to see Ocean's Kingdom or whatever it's called. Everyone else seems to have gotten Union Jack but I'm getting West Side Story Suite and La Sonambula. LS I like, but WSSS irks me no end; it's never done with the right attitude. Maybe it will be different this time.

As for Four Temperaments, I saw it back in the spring. It was the best thing on the program (in fact, I don't even remember what else was on the program) and it's my favorite Balanchine black and white ballet. Love the music especially and have never felt the need to take a nap.

What else have you got on your subscription?

ETA: The last time I saw Union Jack the donkey bolted for the wings early leaving Nilas Martins and partner onstage to improvise. I've also seen a lot of costume mishaps over the years - Damian Woetzel losing one of his gaiters and someone else lost a hat once, right in the middle of the most regimented section of the opening. I remember Peter Martins leaning over to pick it up in passing without missing a step.

Rob
09-26-2011, 04:27 PM
I'm afraid I am with Marge on Union Jack. But I love 4Ts - everytime I see it, I marvel over how contemporary and fresh it looks. One of my all time faves, along with Serenade.

kwanfan1818
09-26-2011, 06:24 PM
Marge, Marge, what can I say? I think our ballet friendship is over.

Union Jack is my all-time favorite Balanchine ballet.

:lol:

It's in my top three, with "Liebeslieder Walzer" and "Symphony in C".

Marge_Simpson
09-26-2011, 06:29 PM
Marge, Marge, what can I say? I think our ballet friendship is over.

What else have you got on your subscription?

No, don't say that! We can just agree to disagree. But not if you like "Stars and Stripes". I find it even more annoying than "Union Jack" :lol:

I'm seeing "Jewels" on Oct 7 and the Robbins thing on Sept. 30.
I'm also attending ABT's Works and Process at the Guggenheim on Oct 17, and seeing ABT at City Center on Nov 11.

kwanfan1818
09-26-2011, 06:35 PM
No, don't say that! We can just agree to disagree. But not if you like "Stars and Stripes". I find it even more annoying than "Union Jack" :lol:

I really like "Stars and Stripes", but I think it suffers greatly from Hershey Kay's sugary, saggy orchestrations, and I've always wished Balanchine used a real band for the Sousa. So the strings have one ballet off.

Rob
09-26-2011, 06:37 PM
No, don't say that! We can just agree to disagree. But not if you like "Stars and Stripes". I find it even more annoying than "Union Jack" :lol:

You must be my twin.

emason
09-26-2011, 09:59 PM
No, don't say that! We can just agree to disagree. But not if you like "Stars and Stripes". I find it even more annoying than "Union Jack" :lol:

I'm seeing "Jewels" on Oct 7 and the Robbins thing on Sept. 30.
I'm also attending ABT's Works and Process at the Guggenheim on Oct 17, and seeing ABT at City Center on Nov 11.

Sorry, I love Stars and Stripes also. However, I am open to agreeing to disagree. What an uninteresting world it would be if we all liked the same things. We would have nothing to snark about.

VALuvsMKwan
09-26-2011, 10:37 PM
I appreciate all of the postings here, since I know next to nothing about ballet.

I do get the vibe, however, that ballet queens (of whatever gender) are even more picky (and more pissy) than opera queens. :eek: :scream:

ETA - and make most skating fans seem positively comatose in their responses and preferences.

Some or all of you, of course, might take that as a compliment. ;)

Marge_Simpson
09-27-2011, 05:45 AM
Oh, rubbish, everyone knows I am all talk and not fond of :drama:
Just don't insult my man JMC. :lol:

emason
09-27-2011, 04:03 PM
No, don't say that! We can just agree to disagree. But not if you like "Stars and Stripes". I find it even more annoying than "Union Jack" :lol:

I'm seeing "Jewels" on Oct 7 and the Robbins thing on Sept. 30.
I'm also attending ABT's Works and Process at the Guggenheim on Oct 17, and seeing ABT at City Center on Nov 11.

Well, I'm seeing Ocean's Kingdom on the 29th, ABT on the 10th and Works and Process is sold out for the 17th, so for now we just have to snark here about what we see, as there is nothing in my ticket budget for future purchases at the moment.

OT, but at least I got to BAM last week to see Atys. I love Baroque opera and this production and singers were just fabulous. However, it broke my ticket budget for quite some time.

emason
09-30-2011, 10:00 PM
Well, I'm here to snark about last night at NYCB:

1) Ocean's Kingdom - the new Peter Martins/Paul McCartney collaboration - a total soporific snoozefest. Plus Sara Mearns as Honorata wears the most unflattering costume ever for the lead ballerina; it really made her look like a fireplug. Amar Ramasar was enjoyable as the villain, King Terra; my eyes kept going to him every time he was on stage - which leads me to

2) La Sonnambula - this was my favorite of the evening, but it was not without its problems. Ramasar appeared in this also, and I felt he was phoning it it. I think he gave everything he had to Ocean's Kingdom and just showed up to collect a paycheck for LS.

Wendy Whelan was the sleepwalker and I felt she rushed her entrance too much. She just came on too quickly and the sense of pathos and ethereal otherness was missing. This led to laughter in all the wrong places when the poet and the sleepwalker were together. A woman sitting behind me felt it was all Peter Martins' fault; that he is pushing "playing for comedy" in rehearsals. I enjoyed LS, but it was not the poignant drama that I remember from years past.

3) West Side Story Suite - my least favorite treatment of this material. Just don't like it. Never feel it has the right attitude to it; dancers, please, gang wars and rumbles should not look this genteel.

Also, dislike that some of the dancers sing, but the ones who can't have singers on the side singing for them. In this case, it was Chase Finlay as Tony, who couldn't sing. I wish they would drop the singing all-together and just for dance.

Note to Marge Simpson: I saw Chase Finaly as Apollo last season. He has talent and promise, but he was another one who so did not command the stage. Definitely underwhelming as Apollo. Tony is a better role for him, but this kid is not a star yet.

Marge_Simpson
10-01-2011, 06:51 AM
There was an unexpected bonus for me tonight: the presentation of the Jerome Robbins award. The presenter was Chita Rivera (she looks fab) and this year the recipients were 24 former NYCB ballerinas. 18 (I think, don't quote me)appeared on stage, among them Violette Verdy, Kay Mazzo, Lourdes Lopez, Allegra Kent and Gelsey Kirkland. (Gelsey looked spaced out)
So that was the reason for the private party going on down on the concourse. I was higher up and naturally went and snooped, but I only recognized Peter Martins and Heather Watts from the 3rd ring. At the time I thought it was odd to see Heather in his vicinity, because I was under the impression they had an acrimonious divorce.
Anyway. The first piece was "2 & 3 Part Inventions" which I'd never seen before. I adored it. The music, the choreography, dancing, were all sublime. I really liked Anthony Huxley, even though I normally dislike short male dancers, and he makes Joaquin DeLuz look gigantic. He was light and airy and has beautiful feet.

The 2nd piece was "In memory of..." which I've seen before and like a lot, despite the rather depressing music. The 3 leads were Wendy Whalen, Charles Askegard and Jared Angle. I know I snarked on Wendy's age last week, but perhaps that was mean-spirited, she is actually my favorite lady at NYCB. Wendy seems to get better as she gets older, she was really lovely here. I always mix up Jared and Tyler, they could be twins IMO, but must say that Jared is a beautiful partner. Askegard acquitted himself much better here than in "Apollo" last week. I liked him when he was with ABT, and I was honestly puzzled when he announced his retirement this season ... he still seems to be on top of his game. I just read in TimeOut NY that he is forming his own company (with Michele Wiles from ABT) so hopefully we will see him dancing again. (Trivia note: he is married to Candance Bushnell, who is quite a bit older than he is)

The 3rd piece was WSSS, and I agree with emason: NYCB just doesn't pull this off properly. No attitude, no fierceness. I won't name names, but one of the Sharks was so miscast I had to work hard not to laugh out loud whenever I saw him. There's no way he would join a gang, he might mess up his hair. Or his makeup. :lol: Jenifer Ringer was a saucy Anita, however.

All in all, though, this didn't hold my attention. During "America" I was trying to recall the lyrics I wrote to this song for my "Rink Side Story" parody I did for our Big Brother contest several years ago.
(Tony, the leader of the Athletes, fell for Mario, one of the Arteestes. At one point the Arteeste's girls sang a tribute to their coach, Tarasova, to the tune of "America". "I like to skate for Tarasova, Lifts level three with Tarasova, Judges say "whee" to Tarasova, Very big fee with Tarasova"

Random snark: with the exceptions of Joaquin (muy guapo!) and Gonzalo, NYCB's men have nothing on ABT's in the looks department. And a good percentage of them should consider joining Hair Club for Men.
That is all. ;)

Marge_Simpson
10-17-2011, 04:43 PM
You can watch ABT's "Works and Process" at the Guggenheim tonight at 7:30 PM, it will be shown live here:

http://www.ustream.tv/worksandprocess

Casting is never announced in advance, but they always bring some of the principal dancers along.

beepbeep
10-17-2011, 06:01 PM
I watched the live transmission of Bolshoi's La Esmeralda on the movies two weeks ago (should have posted sooner, but I couldn't find the thread :D ).
http://www.bolshoi.ru/en/season/press-office/pconf/archiv/index.php?id26=1939

Maria Alexandrova was Esmeralda, Ruslan Skvortsov :smokin: as Pheobus (sp? I don't have the listing with me...) Krysanova as Fleur de Lis, Diana and Acteon performed by Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin.

Just spectacular!!!! Interpretation, dancing... baby goat and all.

One thig I missed: the Esmeralda variation. I was so sure it was going to be there, but apparently not. Why is it called the Esmeralda variation if it's not on "La Esmeralda" (ignorant minds want to know...:P)

Thanks for the tip Marge, will try to check it out ;)