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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 5:12 am 
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Thanks, BalletMan. Here is a review of opening night:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Spaghetti Suppleness, Neo-Dada and a Toast in a Showcase of New Works<P>ANNA KISSELGOFF, NY Times<P>The showcase of new choreography that New York City Ballet calls its Diamond Project offered this season's first round of premieres on Wednesday night, and just when one expected the expected, the opening shot included a ballet with a creative difference.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/10/arts/dance/10DIAM.html target=_blank>More</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 11:29 am 
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And, oh, one more thing. I want to clarify that the only person who can terminate Gloria Govrin's employment as Associate Artistic Director of SFB School is Helgi Tomasson, who is AD of both SFB and the school.<P>I'm also led to believe that the rumors of her termination are unfounded.<P>I think it will take some time to see the fruits of her labor. It would seem unwise to change the helm of the school midstream.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited May 10, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 1:28 pm 
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Who exactly do you mean by SF media? Octavio Roca has been very supportive of Ms. Govrin's directorship. I haven't really read anything bad from the other papers in town. I never see anything on TV about the ballet school.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2002 3:57 pm 
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I suggest we keep this topic to NYCB. If further discussion continues on the SFB school, I propose starting another topic.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 3:12 am 
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Just wanted to say that I think this has been a very interesting thread - and I hope it keeps going!<P>BalletMan, many thanks for such detailed explanations and accounts - there's nothing like first hand knowledge. For several years, which is the length of my parental involvement with serious ballet, I've been hearing many echoes of what you've posted but never with such detailed backup. <P>In regard to the comments you made re Janie Taylor's expression, or lack thereof, I have to say that I often find a general blandness of expression on most of the dancers' faces during NYCB performances. Mind you, I am not suggesting that dancers need to have large grins plastered across their faces - but a little expression of feeling can go a long way. I actually did see Janie Taylor (I believe it was in Scotch Symphony) do, what appeared to me, a great job and with plenty of expression. Image Generally speaking, though, most of the principals rarely show much facial expression period. (Often I do spy, with my binoculars, a member or two of the corps - especially Stuart Capps - wearing an appropriate smile, etc.) Why is it that so few dancers in City Ballet show so little expression? Is it the nature of the ballets they perform? Jennifer Ringer can often be an exception ... but in general, there is a real lack. Is this a post Balanchine symptom? A lack of coaching????<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by BB (edited May 13, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2002 8:46 am 
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Anna Kisselgoff in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>The New York City Ballet has come up with some gorgeous dancing this season. There is a way to fool an audience that has remained loyal to the company for decades, and when it roared after recent performances of George Balanchine's "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" it rightly singled out Nikolaj Hubbe, powerfully carving his way through space: a passionate dancer.<P>Very different from this kind of complex "leotard" ballet is Balanchine's "Vienna Waltzes." Outfitted with Rouben Ter-Arutunian's dazzling sets and Karinska's period costumes, this five-part essay on waltz rhythms once seemed a lavish costume drama with a subtext about love in many aspects.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/14/arts/dance/14WALT.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2002 10:17 am 
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Deborah Jowitt in the Village Voice:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>New York City Ballet's spring gala celebrated the 10th anniversary of the company's Diamond Project. At this tribute to fundraising fervor, spectators could guess which new ballets might be keepers while scoping the crowd for the most elaborate outfit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><a href=http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0220/jowitt.php target=_blank>More</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2002 10:50 am 
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Jennifer Dunning writes in the NY Times:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Age triumphed over relative youth, unsurprisingly enough, when the New York City Ballet presented a Diamond Project revival by Kevin O'Day and repertory staples by Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine on Tuesday night at the New York State Theater. <P>Mr. O'Day's "Viola Alone," created in 1994, is steeped in the shifting edginess and near serenity of its Hindemith score for viola and piano. The ballet consists of a series of solos and duets, danced here by Alexander Ritter and Jeroen Hofmans, dressed stylishly in what look like old-fashioned boxers' trunks, and Jennie Somogyi and Carrie Lee Riggins, in short, close-fitting tunics, all designed by Holly Hynes. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/17/arts/dance/17VIOL.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Click for More</B></A><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 9:14 am 
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NYCB-Saturday, May 19:matinee and evening performance reviews<P>I ended up getting to Lincoln Center by 2:30, and got a ticket for what remained of the matinee. The 4th Ring at the State Theater is a long way up when one is a in a hurry!! I saw "Opus 19/The Dreamer" and "Symphony in C", both for the first time.<P>"Opus 19/The Dreamer", cheoreographed by Robbins to music from Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1 in D major, was the second ballet of the matinee With Woetzel and Whelan in the leads, the ballet was nicely perfomed, but it won't go down on my list of favorites. Woetzel seemed almost to relaxed in the role of the dreamer, bobbling slightly on the end of a pirouette that should have been no problem for him. I think Whelan and Woetzel work well together as they are both powerful, yet graceful dancers with lean, angular physiques.<P>"Symphony in C" amazed me-I think that. along with "Serenada", it is one of Balanchine's finest ballets-a real masterpiece. I could watch it many times, and each time find something different to focus on-the lead couples, the soloist couples, the corp, the patterns etc. etc.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 9:15 am 
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Sorry...this is the real thing!<P>NYCB 5/19 Matinee (partial) and Evening<P>After leaving Pennsylvania at noon, I ended up getting to Lincoln Center by 2:30, and got a ticket for what remained of the matinee. The 4th Ring at the State Theater is a long way up when one is in a hurry!! I saw "Opus 19/The Dreamer" and "Symphony in C", both for the first time.<P>"Opus 19/The Dreamer", cheoreographed by Robbins to music from Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No.1 in D major, was the second ballet of the matinee. With Woetzel and Whelan in the leads, the ballet was nicely perfomed, but it won't go down on my list of favorites. Woetzel seemed almost to relaxed in the role of the dreamer, bobbling slightly on the end of a pirouette that should have been no problem for him. I think Whelan and Woetzel work well together as they are both powerful, yet graceful dancers with lean, angular physiques.<P>"Symphony in C" <BR>Wow!!! I think that, along with "Serenade", "Symphony in C" is one of Balanchine's finest ballets...a real masterpiece. I could watch the ballet many times, and each time find something different to focus on-the lead couple, the soloist couples, the corps, the patterns... Each section has a lead couple, two demi-soloist couples and a female corps of 6-10 dancers.<P>After finally seeing this ballet, I can see why it doesn't work as well over at American Ballet Theatre. First of all, it takes a large (34 women), competent female corps that can handle Balanchine's fast footwork. I count 34 women in the NYCB corps, plus five apprentices. ABT is a slightly smaller company, so it must be a strain on resources to rehearse and put on this ballet to begin with at ABT.<BR>Also,the principal couples must be able to stand out, but also not take away from the corps. The patterns,interaction and dancing of the corps and demi-soloist couples in each section are as important as the the dancing of the principal couple. In this way, this ballet seems to define the very idea of the NYCB-a company without true stars, where all can be equal on the stage. At ABT, where there are defined stars, I think it's harder to have this blend on stage: the stars are used to standing out because the company markets itself on the talents of the stars. <BR>Getting back to the actual performance...The ballet was well performed, though the corps wasn't as tight as it could have been-either unde-rrehearsed or tired at the end of the week. The simple costumes allowed me to admire the nice lines of Philip Neal and Charles Askegard-Askegard seems well matched with the tall Maria Kowroski. <BR>The highlight of the ballet for me was Ashley Bouder and Antonio Carmena in the 3rd movement. He, though not tall, has light airy jumps and a delightful precise manner of dancing and she is a talented, fearless dancer. She appears to be taller than he when on pointe, and there was a sense of daring in the supported arabasque penchees (I believe this is the correct term). <BR>I also was very impressed by the men in the demi-soloist roles. They all were very much up to the challenge both alone and in partnering-and it speaks highly of the depth of the NYCB male corps. With dancers like Stuart Capps, Stephen Hanna, the Fromans, Craig Hall, Jason Fowler and Antonio Carmena, NYCB has a great male foundation. <BR>The grand finale of "Symphony in C" is simply spectacular with more than 30 corps women in their white tutus around the edge of the stage. Initially the corps was a bit scattered, but they got in back together for the rousing finale-how wonderful to see so much talent on one stage!<BR>As a final note, I want to mention the costumes. The tutus for this ballet are among my favorite-they are plain white with wide silk ribbon decoration for the corps, and narrower white silk bows for the principal women. Their beauty is in their simplicity, much like the white ballgowns in the finale of "Vienna Waltzes". The men are in all black, subly highlighted with a smattering of black sequins. At first the black costumes seemed jarring as they contrasted so much with the white tutus. However, especially on the tall men, the black served to throw the focus on the women by highlighting the white tutus. When the men were alone on the stage, the black stood out, but when they were with the women, the black provided a background for the women in the white tutus to stand out. <P>May 19-Evening<BR>The evening opened with "Prodigal Son". "Prodigal Son" is only being performed once this season, presumabley as a special favor to Helene Alexopoulos on her last night with NYCB. I prefer Damian Woetzel in the role, but Peter Boal was fabulous on this occasion. Woetzel and Boal both have the flexible, sinewy bodies perfect for the role, though Boal's interpretation is more controlled (Woetzel makes me a bit nervous as the Prodigal because he's so into character that he literally hurls himself around) And Helene was magnificent-all legs and sinister seduction. The Siren's signature balance on the Prodigal's shins went off without a hitch. <BR>"Viola Alone" cheoreographed by Kevin O'Day to Hindemith Viola Sonatas, is one of the better ballets to come from the Diamond Projects. Two men and two women, clothed in red shirts/black short shorts (men) and black/white dresses (women) dance to the music of a viola soloist (the GREAT Maureen Gallagher) and later on an onstage piano. Carrie Lee Riggins and Jennie Somogyi were well cast in the roles which require speed and precision. Riggins had one skiddy moment (slippery spot on stage?), but recovered nicely. However, I was most interested in the dancing of Jeroen Hofmans, who seems to be the invisible soloist. He's been with the company several years, and is a talented dancer, but I hardly ever seem him in the casting or read about him in reviews. He seems to have a great deal to contribute, and given the aging of his principal ranks, Martins can not afford to not nurture the talents of any of his soloists.<P>There are few dancers better suited to the "Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux" than Alexandra Ansanelli and Damian Woetzel-his bravura and her innate musicality are just wondeful. There was a slight glitch early on when they both seemed to momentarily forget where to go during the promenade, but they proceeded though it so smoothly, that a novice ballet goer would probably not have realized anything was wrong. Ansanelli also lost her center on the fouttes, but that's a minor quibble, given her lyrical, energetic performance. Woetzel was spot on-perfectly centered pirouttes and airy jumps. His tours were as good as they come, starting and landing in perfect 5th position. It's hard to believe that he turned 35 on Friday!<P>"Vienna Waltzes", ballet with many moods was even more emotional being the last dance for Helene Alexopoulos. The first waltz seemed a little underreahearsed-there was just something missing in the corps performance, but Meunier and Lyon were very elegant. I agree though with other reviewers that some adjustments need to be made so her costume is more flattering to her fuller figure. Ringer and Boal were also excellent in the 2nd movement, but again the corps could have been tighter. I could do without the polka section, especially since the corps again was not up to par. The last two sections, however were very well done. Helene was fabulous in her "woman in black" role n Gold Und Siber Walzer, and Charles Askegard was her equal, though appropriately understated. <BR>It was a treat in the final ballroom waltz to see Kyra Nichols back on stage. It's been years since I've seen her dance. She's still not in perfect dancing shape, but she shone in this role with Philip Neal as her "imaginary" dance partner. <BR>After the regular bows, the curtain rose to reveal Helene alone on stage. She recieved a boquet of roses from each of the Vienna Watlzes male principals, each a boquet a different color. She also was presented flowers by Peter Martins are her 8 year old twins. Confetti, mylar streamers rained down and many more boquets were thrown from the audience. It was a fine tribute, though I was a bit surprised that only the dancers from "Vienna Waltzes" came on stage to applaud her. Given her seniority, I'd have thought the rest of the company and perhaps former dancers would have come to congratulate her. Given the length of the evening performance, I wonder if they wanted to limit the onstage congratulations-I'm sure there was plenty of partying and congratulations afterwords!<P>One amusing note..we were startled to note that Bryce Corson, Ryan Kelly, Edward Liang and Alexandre Iziliaev were listed to dance in Vienna Waltzes! I'm sure they would have been just as surprised given that all four are no longer with NYCB (Corson at Arizona Ballet, Liang on Broadway, Kelly just left and Iziliaev at Penn Ballet) Note to Playbill editor-PROOFREAD!!!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 11:19 am 
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Thanks KSneds!! Good details and impressions. You mentioned Kyra Nichols as not being quite back in shape; is she back after an injury, or??? I LOVE Prodigal Son; it's one of my favorite Balachine ballets, and one of his rare "story ballets". The characters are so memoralbe, as are my images of the two Prodigals I have seen....Eddie Villella and Misha. A very exciting male role in a rep typically described as focused on the ballerina. Or as Balanchine himself said "Ballet is woman."


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 1:40 pm 
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Hi!<BR>Nichols, if I'm not mistaken, is just returning from maternity leave-and will probably be retiring soon. With Margaret Tracey and Helen Alexopoulos leaving this year, Nichols may be waiting for things to settle before deciding upon a date to formally retire. Also, I've heard that Kipling Houston will finally be retiring this year-he'll surely be missed.<P>In re: Prodigal...Boal and Woetzel are the only two "Prodigals" at NYCB right now. LaFosse has also performed the role, but not in recent memory. I've also seen Jose Manuel Carreno in the role at ABT. Carreno is a fine dancer and dance-actor, but to my eye is too solid for the role-it's hard to see him as the totally depleted, humbled prodigal crawling back to his father. <BR>Woetzel and Boal both are very sinewy and have no trouble looking weak and humbled (Woetzel might carry 150lbs on his 5ft10 frame, huge thighs included!). <P>BTW, in a recent Pointe Magazine article, Woetzel named Prodigal Son, Riff in West Side Story, Rubies and the hoofer in Slaughter on 10th Avenue as his favorite roles. Interesting choices for a dancer known for his bravura style and pyrotechnics. Having seen him in all of these roles, I can vouch that he can sing, act and tap quite well.<P>Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 3:30 pm 
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Wow, thanks for the wonderful impressions, Kate. As to your comment about the costumes for <I>Symphony in C</I>:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>As a final note, I want to mention the costumes. The tutus for this ballet are among my favorite-they are plain white with wide silk ribbon decoration for the corps, and narrower white silk bows for the principal women. Their beauty is in their simplicity...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I have to agree wholeheartedly. It is a spectacle without having to have overly gaudy costumes. The costumes make the dancers look very elegant and regal.<P>As for Kyra Nichols, I think she may last some time longer. She is a very strong dancer, no doubt getting her genes and talents from her mother, Sally Streets. Coincindentally, I saw a wonderful little ballet, <I>Bach Suite for Strings</I>, Streets choreographed orginally for Diablo Ballet but performed last night by Berkeley Ballet Theater. One wonders if Nichols will decide to take up choreography as well.<P>Finally:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Woetzel might carry 150lbs on his 5ft10 frame...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That's my height and weight! It seems to me he's skinnier than me!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 5:25 pm 
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Hi!<BR>I stand corrected....according to a NYTimes Magazine article some years ago, Damian is 5ft 11 and had trouble keeping 150 lbs on his frame. His sinewy figure may be somewhat deceptive, as muscle is heavier than fat. Then again, when passed him on the street between the matinee and evening performances, I was suprised by how slight he seemed.<BR>In the Pointe Magazine profile, Woetzel mentions that his nickname is "Kate"-as in Kate Moss-because, as he says "we both need to lose weight" Image)<P>As for Nichols-she's definately not back in real dancing shape, and her range of motion is not what it once was. She was gorgeous in the waltz, but I'm not sure she's up to much in toe shoes. Besides, with two kids now, she may be ready to focus on other things.<P>Kate<P>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring 2002 Season/Diamond Project
PostPosted: Sun May 19, 2002 5:31 pm 
Kate, I can't imagine NYCB without Kyra Nichols! She is still the greatest classical ballerina in the world in my opinion.<p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited May 19, 2002).]


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