I got an email from the Massachusetts Review announcing that Mark Franko is writing about NYCB again. His article dated today starts with a discussion about current leadership, then to Orpheus and the question of content vs. performance:
It pains me to read about the decline and fall of Orpheus because when I used to see it, lo! these many years ago, it was still wonderfully effective, though not often done. I'm trying to remember the cast. It may have been Martins and von Aroldingen, but I wouldn't swear to it. It's Stravinsky's most beautiful ballet score as well, for me.
I appreciate Franko's point about the need to revive the "modernist," experimental aspect of Balanchine's work from its current "smothering...in classicism." I wonder if another part of the problem is that dancers share in the general ignorance of our time, and perhaps take Balanchine's emphasis on abstraction too narrowly, forgetting his many dramatic ballets. Probably neither dancers nor audience are familiar with the Orpheus myth at all. I suspect his Don Quixote, if revived today, would fail as well. Maybe it's happening to A Midsummer Night's Dream too? I don't think the power of these ballets can be communicated without a direct or indirect understanding of the myths they represent or the stories they tell. Perhaps dancers who worked with Balanchine himself didn't need to read the stories because he was there to communicate their meaning to the dancers through the choreography. But now at third or fourth hand, that method doesn't seem to work. I hope it's not too late to bring those ballets back. I'm glad they have advocates like Franko.
In 2 weeks I see Washington Ballet's new Sleeping Beauty staged by Kent/Barbee. Then in April, Wash Ballet presents 3 world premieres:
Choreography Clifton Brown, Dancer/Choreographer
Music by Gioachino Rossini, Cello and Bass Duet
Choreography Gemma Bond, Corps de Ballet, American Ballet Theatre
Music by Henry Purcell, Sonatas and Songs
Choreography Marcelo Gomes, Principal Guest Artist and Choreographer
Antonín Leopold Dvořák, American Quartet
NYCB is at KenCen in April. I am seeing: Easy (Bernstein/Peck) In the Night (Chopin/Robbins) The Runaway (Muhly, West, Jay-Z, Blake, add. artists/Abraham) SOMETHING TO DANCE ABOUT Jerome Robbins, Broadway at the Ballet (Bernstein, Bock, Gould, Rodgers, Styne/Robbins, direction and musical staging by Carlyle)
Then Mariinsky Corsaire:
Medora: Ekaterina Kondaurova
Conrad: Andrei Yermakov
Gulnara: May Nagahisa
Ali: Vladimir Shklyarov
Lankedem: Philipp Stepin
After that, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Miami City Ballet share a week long engagement. Each company performs alone 2-3 times, then they share 1 night. I have tickets to DTH, but I would like to see both.
If anyone is looking at a trip to DC, first two weeks in April you could see Wash Ballet, NYCB, and Mariinsky.
Ryan speaks more about gymnastics than figure skating, but there is some about skating. Riesinger and Boylston talk a bit about Sergei Polunin, and Kreisinger overestimates his importance as a dancer, IMO.