NYC Ballet Fans, part 2

emason

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Thanks - I’ll check them out if I have time. There are not enough hours in the day; I honestly don’t know how I had time to go to work.

City Ballet tonight: Square Dance, La Valse, Cortège Hongrois. Three pieces I particularly like; I loved the evening.
 

Jubak

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There was a Facebook thread on which one of her uberfans* encouraged her to fight, and she posted something about having already given her blood and wasn't fighting anymore. There was also an article in Russian in which she was allegedly quoted saying that originally her schedule would be reduced next season and then "Swan Lake" was pulled from her.

*I believe this is the same person who was threatening to organize a protest to disrupt her last performance.

Most people assumed this was McKenzie's doing.
I was able to speak with her recently and she said she was tired of the politicking. I don't think she was forced out, per se, but obviously she was not on the same page as KM. I don't doubt that her schedule was probably reduced as Kwanfan said. I feel really badly for her as it seems like ballet has been her life completely & she doesn't have much lined up yet. She just seems very sad. As brilliant as she is, I have heard she is a difficult partner. I just hope she can find a good place to go and continue her life in ballet.
 

emason

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Quick update before I head to Union Station to go back to NY:

La Bayadere at Kennedy Center with the Mariinsky - saw Kondaurova/Askerov/Batoeva on Thursday night and Tereshkina/Kim/Matvienko on Friday.

Highlight on Thursday was Batoeva as Gamzatti. She was fabulous. The other principals - not so much. Askerov was the most boring nothing of a Solor I’ve ever seen and he and Kondaurova had no chemistry. A total zzzzz. Also, not to body shame, but Kondaurova’s rib cage was seriously scary looking even from the back of the First Tier where I was sitting.

Friday night was a whole other experience. Tereshkina, Kim, and Matvienko hit it out of the park.

Costume snark: one of the variations in the garden scene (sorry, don’t know the name) is a trio; the middle girl dances with a water jug on her head. She has a blue crop top with lots of silver sparkle on it and a handkerchief skirt of red and white stripes. In DC? Seriously, she looked like a dancing Stars and Stripes. Somewhere an ice dance costumer is crying in his/her beer that he/she didn’t think of it first.
 

Rob

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Resurrecting this thread for a devastating reason. Former NYCB Peter Frame apparently jumped to his death from his apartment a couple of days ago. I am so sad. He was such a joy.
 

kwanfan1818

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Peter Frame was a beautiful dancer, and through his weight training classes at SAB touched a generation of male students. His death came with Paul Taylor's, who died at 88. Frame was coached by Taylor in a revival of Taylor's solo in Balanchine's "Episodes," originally choreographed in a Balanchine-Graham collaboration for NYCB.
 

skatesindreams

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kwanfan1818

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Rest in peace, Arthur Mitchell.

The NYT has an article with clips. Sadly, the second has about 10 seconds of Mitchell's Puck in a 10-minute video, and it was one of his greatest roles (and made for him) but the whole Agon Pas de Deux is in the first clip.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/19/arts/dance/some-essential-arthur-mitchell.html

Here are some more:

Balanchine changed this variation in his Nutcracker (here, rearranged for the TV broadcast on CBS) to a female solo (for the great Gloria Govrin) 10 years after the premiere:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=69&v=mxaAUdYu9Ig

"In the Inn" (with Patricia Neary) in the now rarely-performed "Ivesiana":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXlSHfUOlZs

(Here's a link to "Ivesiana"):
https://youtu.be/Ctbjfo_8tg8?t=27m24s

As Phlegmatic in "4T's":
https://youtu.be/Tnj95tNGJ6c?t=18m37s

Mitchell interviews from the Visionary Project
On starting Dance Theatre of Harlem:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIQlmtaTAaw

The Fallacy of Blacks and Ballet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLoPWiXrmHM

Pas de Deux:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foDSr0_ZBe0

America's Racial Future:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJdHJ-0bj5w
 

missing

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I saw Arthur Mitchell dance in the Jerome Robbin's ballet "Interplay" when I was in high school, in the early 1960s. My recollection is it was on the same program with Maria Tallchief dancing "Firebird."

I loved both ballets so much I became a lifelong fan of the New York City Ballet. "Interplay" was all about youth and was especially appealing for a teenager. It left me with great fondness for Mitchell and even greater respect for his pioneering work with Dance Theatre Of Harlem.
 

DannyCurry

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I'm not lucky enough to be in NYC at the moment, but tonight I saw Ohad Naharin's DECADANCE at Paris' Palais Garnier. A mix of sublime, WTH and playful moments. Overall I loved it, as everyone else in the audience (probably). I've seen quite a few ballet productions and I've never seen the crowd reacts as cheerfully as tonight.
 

emason

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Paging @kwanfan1818 and @Marge_Simpson and anyone else who is interested:

Fall for Dance at City Center: I skipped programs 1 and 2, but so far have seen 3 and 4 and am going to 5 tonight. Program 3 was a miss for me, but 4 was a stunner. Absolute highlight was Lil Buck (Petrushka), Tiler Peck (the Ballerina) and Brooklyn Mack (the Moor) in Jennifer Webber's modern take on Petrushka. Lil Buck has no bones in his body, I swear; he is just liquid personified. I don't know how he does what he does, but he's amazing, and it's not just his dancing: he produced real pathos in this role. Then came the complete contrast of Mack: gorgeous physique, classical training, explosive jumps. I could go on and on. My seat was a mixed blessing: way down front, 5 rows from the stage, so up close and personal, but the seats are not staggered there and there is no real raking, so my view really wasn't great. Thank you very much to the person in front of me who didn't show up, so I got a good view of one part of the stage at least. I have seen Lil Buck before and, of course, Tiler Peck many times at City Ballet, but this was my first time seeing Brooklyn Mack. OMG his jumps, his explosiveness - more please!

The other big highlight was Cornejo and Cojocaru in excerpts of Ashton's Rhapsody. What can I say? Of course they were great, but way down front up close and personal was not the place to be confronted by Cornejo's costume. White tights? God no, men should not be wearing hospital white.** Top was a vey pale color, sort of a very bland cafe au lait or very pale off yellow with a lot of bling on it: copper, gold, silver, ruby accents: it was hard to tell from my obstructed view exactly what the colors were. Farther back would have been much, much better for this piece.

I also really enjoyed the Lucinda Childs piece, Canto Ostinato, performed by INTRODANS. It was very repetitious, but very hypnotic at the same time and I thought the dancers were superb and really pulled the piece off.

I also enjoyed the excerpts of Rennie Harris Funkified by Rennie Harris Puremovement, but I didn't love them. I had seen RHPM a few seasons ago at FFD; that program was amazing: no sets (that I can recall), minimal costuming and just straight up high energy street dancing. This year's piece is high energy and all that, but too overproduced for me: lots of costume changes, various backdrops, musicians on stage getting into the act, different style of dancing and so on. I liked it but didn't love it.

** This goes for you, too, Platov, Ovsiannikov, Sikharulidze and any other skaters we care to mention. No white ice cream suits for you.

Meh Program 3 was Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian doing Reclamation Map, Balamouk with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Midnight Raga with Nederlands Dans Theater 2 and National Ballet of China with an except from The Crane Calling. This was a seriously unbalanced program. NBoC could have been interesting if 1) they weren't put last on the program after all the modern pieces that came first and 2) they had included some hint as to the story behind the full piece. My favorite of the night was Balamouk; it was high energy entertainment that should have been last on the program. The other 2 pieces had great dancers but I just couldn't get into the concepts or choreography.

After I see 5 tonight I shall report if I think anything is worth talking about.

OK, that's my no teknik review.
 
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kwanfan1818

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It's so great to hear about Brooklyn Mack, @emason! I've heard such wonderful things about his dancing, and I'm glad you got to see him and describe it.
 

Marge_Simpson

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@emason L’il Buck is featured in “Les Bosquets”, one of the videos that accompanied the JR exhibit on the LES recently. The exhibit has closed but YouTube has it.
I was at FFD on Friday, definitely a mixed bag.
 

emason

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Friday, tonight Friday or Friday last week? I was there tonight. Program 4, seen on Wednesday, was definitely the highlight for me. 3 was the loser for me and 5 tonight was somewhere in the middle.
 

emason

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Paging @kwanfan1818 and @Marge_Simpson again. Thursday night was my subscription night at NYCB and yesterday was the De Luz farewell.

kwanfan, I have to tell you I do not agree with your folks over at ballet alert! They may be raving about Joseph Gordon's Afternoon of a Faun on Saturday, but they surely didn't see what I saw on Thursday night: he was lackluster, unprepossessing, underwhelming - take your pick. He had no sense of authority or command of the stage; there may be promise there, but I am shocked he's been promoted to principal. I don't see it, and neither did someone else in my row. We were sorely disappointed; I could allow, I suppose, that it was an off night for Gordon, but he hasn't stood out to me in anything else I've seen this season either. Also not good was Gonzalo Garcia in Other Dances; this is another dancer who hasn't always stood out to me, at least not in a good way. He has a certain looseness in his upper body; it makes him look very casual. He kind of just strolls along when he should be striding with authority. The Women 2, the Men 0 on Thursday.

Where I do agree is on the wonderfulness of Taylor Stanley. My eye is drawn to him every time he is on stage. I sit in the Second Ring and don't use opera glasses, so I can't always tell who is who on stage, but with Stanley there is no mistaking him. He just moves like no one else and he did indeed dance rings around J. Angle, la Cour, and Veyette. Yesterday afternoon belonged to De Luz, of course, but Taylor Stanley gets MVP.
 

Rob

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I've watched Brooklyn Mack since he joined Washington Ballet, its a real blow that he is no longer in DC. Not sure why they could not reach agreement with him - bad move on their part. I have really liked what Julie Kent was doing with the dancers as the technique has noticeably improved, but now she's bringing in multiple guest artists.
 

emason

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Rob, I was truly thrilled to finally get a chance to see Brooklyn Mack; I hope he gets more guest gigs up here in NY. That Petrushka and the Cornejo/Cojocaru Rhapsody selection were the highlights of the 3 FFD programs I saw.
 

kwanfan1818

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@emason I've never seen Gordon, but I've loved Staley in every snippet I've seen and in the Abraham solo footage. I hope they do give him Apollo: I'm sick to death of the tall blonds, which Serge Lifar was decidedly not. And they won't, but they should restore the opening and closing: the un-swaddlimg scene and first solo makes the transformation that much more.
 

Rob

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Rob, I was truly thrilled to finally get a chance to see Brooklyn Mack; I hope he gets more guest gigs up here in NY. That Petrushka and the Cornejo/Cojocaru Rhapsody selection were the highlights of the 3 FFD programs I saw.
I can't imagine that ABT wouldn't pick him up at the next opportunity if that is what he wants. But I think he likes the smaller company where he has more performance time. If he was in a contract dispute with WB, he might not want to start as a soloist. Misty likes him so maybe she'll prove to be a good contact.
 

emason

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Dance reports from last week and this:

So The Trocks are in town and last week I saw Program B and last night I went to Program A. B was Chopiniana and the revival of LaFosse's Stars and Stripes Forever. According to the bios buried in the back of the programs, Takaomi Yoshino (Varvara Laptopova/Boris Dumbkopf) joined the company in August of this year; my guess is to take up the Chase Johnsey slack. Laptopova's solo variation in Chopiniana was THE highlight of the night; this guy is so good I thought I was watching a rising ABT soloist here. Major talent!

MVP of that night, however goes to Helen Highwaters (Duane Gosa); A+ for the dancing AND the baton twirling in Stars and Stripes Forever.

A was Swan Lake Act II, Pas de Deux from Harlequinade (someone's been to ABT and decided they needed satirizing), La Trovatiara Pas de Cinq (Verdi music, pirates on the Barbary Coast pastiche), The Dying Swan, and the underwater act from The Little Humpbacked Horse. Ida Nevasayneva (Paul Ghiselin) has left the company so I thought they wouldn't do The Dying Swan, but Olga Supphozova (Robert Carter) graciously agreed to perform; MVP for this goes to whoever packs that swan costume with all those feathers that keep moulting. I've seen this Dying Swan I don't know how many times and that costume has never run out of falling feathers. The divine Olga also appeared in the most gorgeous light teal costume and tiara as the Queen of the Underwater in The Little Humpbacked Horse. Let's face it: Carter is well into his 40s and can't dance like he could 10-15 years ago, but Supphozova stills drips attitude and star quality from every pore. It was a great, fun evening.

Sandwiched between these two performances was a trip to the Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center on Wednesday. Alistair Macauley was presenting the second of his two programs on 200 Years of Petipa. OMG, there were two solid hours of archival footage from the 40s on up of Don Q, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Raymonda. Don Q: sensational clip of Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev from 1973. Sleeping Beauty coverage was extensive and included Frederick Ashton's mesmerizing Carabosse facing off against Beryl Grey's Lilac Fairy. The hits just kept coming and coming; the announcer even joked that they were starting on time for once because they had so much to show. Macauley could have been babbling on about anything and I wouldn't have cared - just more footage, please! Macauley, however, was really interesting and during all the extended mime scenes he kept up a running translation; it was like having subtitles under the dancing. This afternoon gets a big thumbs up.
 

emason

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Nederland Dans Theater 2 was at City Center last week. Dancers were wonderful and the quirky modern dance vocabulary of the pieces was really interesting, but IMHO it was a mistake to bring 4 pieces by the choreographic team of Sol Leon/Paul Lightfoot; there was no change of pace, no palate refresher, so to speak. The 20-30 somethings in the audience loved it all; I was suffering Leon-Lightfoot fatigue by the end of the evening. That’s all she wrote.

Tomorrow night I’m off to City Ballet for Apollo, Orpheus and Agon, IIRC. That program, with significant debuts, should be a total score.
 

emason

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OK, not quite a total score. A thrilling, exciting Apollo and a very good Agon were sandwiched around a dull, dismal misfire of an Orpheus.
 

kwanfan1818

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That's too bad about "Orpheus." It's such a difficult one to pull off. I'm not sure it translates well in the 21st century, without any institutional memory of that kind of drama-without-acting.
 

emason

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Orpheus:

To the best of my recollection this is only the 3rd time I have seen it; the two previous times were Peter Martins and Karin von Aroldingen. I have no memory of ever seeing any other cast. The first viewing was sensational: Euridice twining herself around Orpheus begging him to look at her, Orpheus' struggle as he fought against looking at her and the heartbreaking moment when he tore his eyeshades off and Euridice vanished in an instant - and I do mean in an instant. The second Martins tore those shades off von Aroldingen vanished under the white curtain. That performance remains one of my City Ballet highlights. The second time I saw Orpheus, which was not the same season, but a few seasons later, the impact was not the same. It was good, just not the stunner it had been the first time. Last night was a nothing, just a nothing. Boring, of no interest and of no impact at all. Euridice did not vanish in a heartbreaking instant; she lay on the ground for a moment, Orpheus cradled her in his arms and then you could see someone's arms come visibly out from the white curtain to pull Euridice under. Meh! Just did not work for me. Others' mileage might vary. I would say the audience was lukewarm; people sitting to my left were definitely also of the meh persuasion and audience applause was polite but nothing special.

Agon: was fine, nothing really to report of any interest but certainly no negatives either.

Apollo: absolutely top notch. I've seen Apollo any number of times; enough in fact that I can't even name any specific casts. I just know I've seen many over the years. This is the first Apollo where I actually saw characters and not just dancers; I believed I was seeing Apollo and some of the muses. There was an energy and liveliness on stage that I never experienced before; I saw playfulness. Taylor Stanley was "on", engaging and creating a character before my eyes and the muses were more than up to the task of matching Stanley's performance. I saw story as well as dancing; I believed in the interaction of the characters. I expect the raves to pour in and judging by the audience response they surely will, but again, the mileage of others might vary.
 

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