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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 10:13 am 
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Noelani Pantastico is one of four Auroras for PNB's "Sleeping Beauty" coming up at the end of May through early June. See the PNB thread.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 6:55 pm 
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Hi!
Quick notes on Swan Lakes this week.

Somogyi's debut as Odile/Odette was excellent, especially given that (judging from the posted casting) there was a switch in her Siegfried from Martins to Askergard in the last day before her debut. Askegard is quite a bit taller than Martins, so it's not the easiest of switches. She threw several triple pirouettes into her fouette sequence-very impressive!

Ask LaCour was a very theatrical Von Rotbart, and as a very tall dancer, had a commanding presence. He's probably about 6ft 2 or 6ft 3, and in the two inch (or so) heeled shoes that Von Rotbart wears, was actually taller than Askegard. With his impressive height and the orange/black cape swooping around, he was very impressive to watch.

Ulbricht made his debut as the Jester on Wednesday. Wow! He gets such beautiful height on his jumps, and did a pirouette that went into passe, and kept rotating until he was cross-legged and almost sitting on the ground. All in perfect balance too.
Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 10:08 am 
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Quote:
For Martins and Adams, the Latest Pas de Deux

Roslyn Sulcas, NY Times

PETER MARTINS, the artistic director of the New York City Ballet, has been choreographing ballets to music by the American composer John Adams since 1988. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/arts/dance/11SULC.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 1:12 pm 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
May 7 and 8, 2003
"Swan Lake"

Last week, New York City Ballet continued its run of Peter Martins’ Swan Lake with new casts and stunning debuts. On Wednesday night, Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard moved into the lead roles, their exceptional heights bringing a new regality and elegance to the tragic lovers. Kowroski was a coolly regal Odette, notable for her remarkable extensions, and solid technique. Moving in his emotional portrayal of the conflicted and unhappy Prince, Askegard was exceptional in his solos, with beautifully balanced pirouettes and soaring, softly landed jetes. Together, Kowroski and Askegard were solid, the tricky shoulder lifts performed with smooth assurance. Both were impressive, if not spectacular in the Black Swan Pas de Deux.

Jennie Somogyi made her debut as Odette/Odile the following night, with Askegard a late substitution for Nilas Martins in the role of Siegfried. As both Odette and Odile, Somogyi was gripping, imbuing her dancing with fiery alertness and determination. This was an Odette deeply in love with Siegfried, and not afraid to stand up to her magical captor in order to see that love freely realized. Somogyi’s Black Swan Pas de Deux was stunning, marked by the breathtaking triple fouettes interlaced into the grand fouette sequence. The height difference between Somogyi and Askegard was marked, giving the high lifts a particularly soaring appearance. Askegard was particularly attentive in his partnering, smoothing over a few potentially rough moments in a rather last moment partnership.

A number of dancers made notable debuts during the two performances. On Wednesday, Daniel Ulbricht soared to new heights in his first performance as the jester. Barely taller than some of his boy jesters, Ulbricht was a hyperkinetic and giddy jester. Among his impressive display of bravura skills was a pirouette in which he proceeded to bend his knees until he slowed to a stop in a perfectly balanced, just barely off the floor cross legged position. Ulbricht’s dancing still is rough around the edges, with a tendency to get a bit wild, and his mime is not as nuanced as Adam Hendrickson and Tom Gold, but he’s a joy to watch and full of talent!

Thursday night, Ask laCour debuted as a highly theatrical and imposing Von Rotbart. A tall, lanky dancer, laCour with his heeled shoes, towered over even the 6ft 4 Askegard. The only Von Rotbart with this exceptional height advantage, laCour was truly imposing with the deep orange cape swirling behind him. In the final scene, he brought unique theatricality to his defeat, his face contorting as Odette’s love overpowered his magic. As the newest male corps member, laCour has just started to make his mark at New York City Ballet, and his future looks bright indeed. A new Thesius or Bottom perhaps?

Jonathan Stafford stepped into the Spanish Dance on Wednesday and into the Pas de Quatre the next day. Solid in both roles, Stafford was able to display his considerable classical skills in the pas de quatre. An elegant, long limbed dancer with beautiful carriage, he was smooth with nice ballon in his solos-a prince well in the making! Carrie Lee Riggins was in new in the pas de quatre Thursday, and though her solo ended off balance, her crisp, assured dancing was pleasing to watch. The same night, Lindy Mandradjieff and Megan Fairchild made wonderfully fresh debuts in the pas de trois, a youthfully energetic duo. They were a great match for Stephen Hanna, new this season as Benno, who dances with wonderful ease and technique-and a wonderful smile!

Also of note on Thursday were James Fayette and Alexandra Ansanelli is a stunningly sultry Russian Dance, with Ansanelli dancing with her trademark breathtaking abandon. Finally, kudos to Jason Fowler, for his refreshingly powerful and outgoing performance in the Hungarian Dance!!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 6:54 am 
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Thanks, ksneds, and here's the view from Anna Kisselgoff (hurrah for Jennie Somogyi):

Quote:
Making a Debut and Doing Double Duty as Well

By ANNA KISSELGOFF, NY Times

The New York City Ballet managed to sneak a mixed bill of ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins within its current "Swan Lake" marathon. But the big news was again Mr. Martins's production of "Swan Lake" on Thursday night, when Jennie Somogyi made a triumphant debut in the double role of Odette-Odile. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/13/arts/dance/13LAKE.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 9:08 am 
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Hi!
Here are my brief impressions on the gala...

Peter Martins' new piece was "previewed" and I was not impressed, at least on the first look. It looked under-rehearsed and didn't grab my attention in a way to make me remember anything in particular. Dancing were: Kistler, Soto, Millepied, Martins, Ansanelli, Taylor, Somogyi, Marcovici and Weese and Neal. Black/grey unitards for the men, solid colored long dresses for the women. The dancers entered and exited through blacked out openings in the backdrop.

Wheeldon's new piece however, was wonderful. Joth Lithgow's text and narration was delightful-the story is about a boy who falls asleep in the Museum of Natural History and dreams about the people he knows as animals. The characters are distinctly British, mostly obvious through the costumes, but the language was universal.
The costumes were imaginiative, and the sets mostly consisted of backdrops and some pieces of furniture.
It seemed like a ballet the dancers probably enjoy performing as much as the audience enjoys watching it!

Among the highlights:

Christine Redpath as the Swan, aka the little boy's aunt who attends the ballet and has always dreamt of dancing Odile/Odette. Absolutely lovely, touching solo (in high heels), showing off Redpath's ageless talent to the "Dying Swan".

John Lithgow, completely disguised at the Elephant aka the boy's rotund school nurse, in a hysterical pas de quatre waltz with the shortest corps guys as pink/white tuxedoed mice. The mice get one heck of workout dashing around, keeping the elephant upright and partnered. Adam Hendrickson was particularly amusing as one of the mice.

Jason Fowler, Ask laCour and others as the Hens & Cocks, aka the fussy parents of the boy's classmates. Some strutting like you've never seen on the NYCB stage before...

Arch Higgins as the Baboon, aka the frenetic piano teacher, complete with hairy body and LONG arms.

Yvonne Borree as the Kangaroo aka the timid librarian who comes out of her shell to become a mermaid complete with chorus line of fishes!

Corps guys and apprentices as the JackAsses aka the school wrestling team (who are always teasing the girls, but as they boy suspects, probably are rather interested in the girls), in grey wrestling singlets and enourmous donkey ears. They performs a funny dance, choreographed out of wrestling moves.

James Fayette and Kyra Nichols (replacing Jenifer Ringer) in another touching pas de deux, as the boy's parents aka the cuckoos, upset that their child is missing

Askegard was the school teacher aka the lion, and the ballet also included the school girls (birds), the boy's classmates (laughing hyenas), a corps of dancing pink dinosaurs, aka "the fossils" (think creaky).

And of course, SAB student & very red-headed PJ Verhoest as the boy. There was quite a bit of acting and dancing involved in the role, which required him to be on stage almost the entire time, and he was wonderful. Reminded me a bit of the actor who played Harry Potter's friend Ron in the Harry Potter movies.

Wheeldon did a great job of picking his dancers, who each seemed to really fit their role personality wise and dance wise. Much laughter from the dancers and students, and everyone else in the audience.

Definately a keeper, even if someone else may need to do the narration when Lithgow is not available.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2003 9:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2002 12:01 am
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Location: Totowa,NJ,USA
Thankyou Kate!! You've inspired me!! I can't wait to see this ballet!! I love Chris Wheeldon! I think he is sooo talented!!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 10:20 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Carnival of the Animals/Guide to Strange Places
New York City Ballet reviewed by HILARY OSTLERE for The Financial Times


Anyone looking for intricate choreography will not find it in Christopher Wheeldon's Carnival of the Animals to Camille Saint-Saens' well known suite, premiered by New York City Ballet on Wednesday. "It's not a children's ballet but a ballet that's choreographed for the child in everyone," explains Wheeldon, who joined NYCB in l993 from the Royal Ballet where he trained and performed. He has drawn on his recent experience as choreographer of the Broadway musical The Sweet Smell of Success and co-opted that show's star, John Lithgow, into collaborating as both writer, narrator and performer in this whimsical but never sugary ballet.

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 10:50 pm 
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Posts: 1780
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Fantasy Comes to Life in New NYCB Ballet

By JOCELYN NOVECK
Associated Press Writer

Quote:
NEW YORK (AP)--It's a treasured theme of children's literature: A child hides away in a huge and fascinating place overnight--a department store, say, or a museum--and has wonderful adventures before morning comes.

Christopher Wheeldon, resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet, has adopted this theme for a wonderful adventure of his own. His ``Carnival of the Animals,'' which premiered Wednesday night at the company's spring gala, could give ``The Nutcracker'' a run for its money: How often does a ballet come along that's a delight for both adults and kids?
click here for more


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2003 7:34 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Traversing the Underworld in Toe Shoes

By ANNA KISSELGOFF
NY Times

Peter Martins's "Guide to Strange Places," a premiere for the New York City Ballet that is part of Lincoln Center's two-month celebration of the music of John Adams, is a jarringly turbulent piece, channeling its energy into shifts of clashing colors, both visual and emotive. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/17/arts/dance/17GUID.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2003 8:16 pm 
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Posts: 3377
Location: Canada
Unfortunately, some potentially bad news at NYCB. After being seated for some time awaiting the last ballet, an announcement was made that there would be a five minute delay due to a dancer injury. Shortly thereafter it was announced that only the first Movement of Tsch.'s Second Symphony would be performed due to an injury to Robert Tewsley.
This was to have been Tewsley's second performance since returning from the injury sustained during a performance in the Winter Season.

I will post if any further information is released about his condition. Be aware that casting and/or scheduled ballets may change next week if Tewsley is unable to dance.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 8:45 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
A short blurb:

<a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/18/arts/dance/18KOUR.html target=_blank>Ballet When It's Beastly</a>
Gia Kourlas, NY Times

Also note the slide show on that page.

<small>[ 18 May 2003, 10:47 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 7:07 pm 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
May 14 and May 15, 2003

As the New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon has contributed a wide variety of ballets to the company’s repertory. At the 2003 Spring Gala, Wheeldon unveiled his latest ballet, Carnival of the Animals, a delightful adventure through the animal kingdom, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Oliver, the boy, is locked in the Museum of Natural History and during the night, all the people he knows come to life as various animals.

Based loosely on a story Wheeldon wrote while at the Royal Ballet School, the ballet is accompanied by narration written and performed by the actor John Lithgow. Lithgow’s rhyming prose combines the innocence of a child’s view of the world, with an adult perceptions and sophistication. Jon Morrell’s scenery is wisely simple, leaving the focus on the dancers and his delightful costumes, which subtly mix the human and the animal so that neither are lost. These are not humans dressed as animals, but humans with very animal like characteristics.

Wheeldon’s genius is apparent in both his casting and the choreography. He clearly knows the dancers well, matching the natural qualities and talents of each dancer to their role, human and animal. The choreography is a wonderful mix of classic dance, character dance and some fun romps, and using the natural humor and pathos of Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals.

P.J. Verhoest, a student from the School of American Ballet, is a red-headed and impish Oliver, excellent in a role than involves dancing and interaction with the various characters. Charles Askegard, as the school teacher, turned lion was notable for an impressive and dignified series of turns in second. His pupils, Oliver’s schoolmates, become weasels & rats, their fussy parents strutting hens and cockerel, played by the tallest members of the corps. Ask LaCour and Jason Fowler were notable as two of the cockerels.
The two elderly sisters in the park, danced with deadpan humor by Pascale van Kipnis and Rachel Rutherford, are reincarnated as turtles. With umbrellas as their shells, brightly colored bloomers peeking out, they dance the world’s slowest can can on their rolling benches.

Lithgow appears as the plump school nurse turned elephant. Clad in an enormous ball gown, she is escorted, supported and partnered in her waltz by a quartet of pink and white-tuxedoed nice, danced with mock seriousness by Antonio Carmena, Daniel Ulbricht, Kyle Froman and Adam Hendrickson.
The school wrestling team appears as jackasses, complete with huge ears, their choreography a series of stylized wrestling moves. Oliver’s piano teacher becomes a long-armed baboon (Arch Higgins), the nervous librarian, a kangaroo. In her dreams the librarian, danced by Yvonne Borree, becomes mermaid, complete with chorus line of fish (the backdrop of course, the famous blue whale).

Kyra Nichols, as Oliver’s worried mother, is a cuckoo, fretting about her missing son. She is comforted by James Fayette as the father. In the final scene, Christine Redpath, a NYCB ballet mistress, is elegant and touching as Oliver’s Aunt who has always dreamt of dancing Odile/Odette. To the strains of the Dying Swan, she dances her swan solo, her white gloved arms becoming the swan’s wings. Redpath, with her natural elegance and fluid arms, made the solo memorable and poignant

In the end, Oliver is reunited with his parents and a joyous finale ensues. Sophisticated yet simple, this is one of the best new ballets to enter at NYCB in recent years. A deft mix of storytelling, dance and theatre, it leaves one eager for Wheeldon’s next treat.

Natasha Katz lit the ballet, and Andrea Quinn conducted.

Peter Martins’ new ballet, Guide to Strange Places, which previewed during the gala officially premiered the following night. Set to the John Adams composition of the same name, Guide to Strange Places is Martins ninth ballet to music by Adams, and part of a month long celebration of Mr. Adams’ music at Lincoln Center. The preview, conducted by the composer, also marked the United States premiere of the score.

Julius Lumsden’s grey, hazy backdrop contrasts and blends with Catherine Barinas’ striking costumes. The men, Sebastian Marcovici, Benjamin Millepied, Nilas Martins, Philip Neal and Jock Soto wear grey unitards, a slightly lighter shade at the ankles and chest, the women are clad in brightly hued dresses, the tops of their tights dyed to match the dresses. Both men and women appear and disappear through blacked out doorways in the backdrop.

Martins’ edgy choreography is swirling and powerful, pulsing to Adam’s driving score. In the beginning, the men raise their partners into twisting lifts, soaring and dropping with the ebbs and flows of the music. For both men and women, the working leg often in attitude derriere. The central section of the ballet is a series of pas de deuxs, with each couple dancing a a brief solo, the backdrop hue changing to match the woman’s dress. Jennie Somogyi was often sideways in Nilas Martins’ whether being rolled, spun or lifted., Benjamin Millepied & Alexandra Ansanelli and Janie Taylor & Sebastian Marcovici were given more vibrant, and youthful choreography, which they danced with elegant energy . Philip Neal and Miranda Weese were sleek and sophisticated as the fourth couple.
In an extended, sensual pas de deux, Jock Soto began by lifting up the sides of Darci Kistler’s long skirts, tying them around her neck. Having freed her from her previous existence, they engaged in a tangled, passionate pas de deux, Soto poised over Kistler’s prone body, limbs intertwined, which concluded with the release of her skirts.

In the end, all five couple lined up on stage, hand to hand, the line changing to Adam’s dissonant brass chords. Danced with more precision and tightness on Thursday, Guide to Strange Places has moments of interest, but is ultimately limited by John Adam’s music. Driving and often atonal and dissonant, the music becomes increasingly difficult on the ear and seems to elicit little emotion in the cast. Though the ballet is powerfully danced, with fully involved performances by all the dancers, for it to really succeed, the music needs to be as pleasing as the dancing.

Thursday’s performance also included Hallelujah Junction and Symphony in Three Movements.

Mark Stanley lit the ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 5:54 am 
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Location: Sussex, WI USA
The Today Show just showed part of Wheeldon's new ballet. It is done, apparently with narration, to introduce children to dance.

Karin


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 6:30 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks for the info, Karin. And thanks for the review, Ksneds. Here's one from the NY Times:

Quote:
Tracing the Outlines of Cathedrals in the Air

By JACK ANDERSON
NY Times

Fine choreography by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins received unusually fine performances by the New York City Ballet on Tuesday night at the New York State Theater. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/22/arts/dance/22IVES.html target=_blank>more</a>


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