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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 6:34 am 
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Wheeldon is certainly getting attention:

Quote:
A child's fantasy comes to life in a new ballet

By Jocelyn Noveck
Associated Press, in the Philadelphia Inquirer

NEW YORK - 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. <a href=http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/5915767.htm target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 6:38 am 
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A feature on Christopher Wheeldon:

Quote:
A Whirlwind of Daring, of Dances and Ideas

By ANNA KISSELGOFF
NY Times

Just when it seemed there would be a dearth of major young ballet choreographers at the dawn of the 21st century, up popped Christopher Wheeldon. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/23/arts/dance/23WHEE.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 12:33 pm 
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Iris Fanger discusses the collaboration between Christopher Wheeldon and John Lithgow in the creation of "Carnival of the Animals" in the Christian Science Monitor:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0523/p18s01-almp.html


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 6:37 am 
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It's now been officially confirmed so...

Alexandra Ansanelli was promoted to principal dancer just prior to the Saturday matinee of "Coppelia" in which she made her debut of Swanhilda. Cogratulations!

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 8:33 am 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
May 24, 2003: 2pm
Coppelia

Based on Charles Nuitter’s happier version of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s dark tale, “Der Sandmann”, Coppelia is the lighthearted story of two young lovers, Swanilda and Frantz, whose courtship is briefly interrupted by a doll and a misunderstanding. George Balanchine’s production, drawn partly from Petipa’s original, is set in a Middle European country village, brought to life in pastel colors by Rouben Ter Arutunian. The equally colorful, detailed costumes were designed by Ter Arutunian and Karinska.

On Saturday afternoon, Coppelia was given a newly youthful and vibrant feel with the debut of Alexandra Ansanelli as Swanilda. This was a special occasion for Ansanelli, as it was not only a major debut, but also her first performance as a principal dancer.

The youngest couple to take on the lead roles in recent years, Ansanelli and Millepied were a delightfully effective Swanilda and Frantz. Since his debut in February, Millepied has clearly worked on fleshing out the detail in his characterization. His Frantz has a not-so-innocent mischievousness, with intelligence lurking behind his dark eyes. Ansanelli, too, gave her character an unusual bit of intelligence. Dancing with her usual élan, Ansanelli was a cheeky, free-spirited Swanilda, her emotions playing, unrushed, across her expressive face. Together Millepied and Ansanelli seemed to have an easy rapport, their dark-haired good looks and shorter, slender physiques an excellent match. Frequently paired in other ballets, they appeared to be comfortable in even the trickier pas de deux sections.

The first act dances by Coppelia’s friends appeared under-rehearsed, with several obvious timing problems during the brief duos. However, despite the slightly rough beginning, the large group sections were danced with well-timed zest. Megan Fairchild stood out as the youngest of the friends, notable for her precise dancing and delightful mime. The character dances were energetic, with proper attention paid to the details of the complicated steps. It was a shame however, that many of the men’s boots still seem to be very poorly fitted. It’s a small detail, but the boots stand out in an otherwise well-costumed ballet.

Robert LaFosse’s Coppelius is a eccentric toymaker, slightly stooped and just a little bit sinister. In Act Two, he seems to truly believe that he can bring Coppelia to life with Frantz’s “life essence”. It was in this act that Ansanelli really shone, bold and mischievous in her actions. Her Coppelia was suitably doll-like, but with more curve in her stiff arms than often seen. Some timing mishaps caused her Spanish and Scottish dances to be slightly rushed, but Ansanelli darted through the steps with a punchy speed. More experience will allow her to slow down just a hair, and bring out the character of these dances a bit more. Ansanelli was a particularly delightful as she created havoc in the workshop, pausing just a moment before each toy to plot her toy-toppling approach. This Swanilda clearly enjoyed being naughty!

In the third act, the students from the School of American Ballet, were as always, beautifully rehearsed and a delight to watch. Abi Stafford, as Dawn, gave a technically solid performance, but needed to relax into the role and invest more emotion in her dancing. Amanda Edge in the Waltz of the Golden Hours and Pascale Van Kipnis as Spinner danced with elegance and precision. Dana Hanson’s Prayer was especially beautiful, with Hanson using her long limbs to accent the flowing choreography. The jingling jesterettes were springy and cheerful. Discord and War, led by the powerful and high flying Aesha Ash and Adam Hendrickson, was especially well danced.

In the Peace pas de deux, Ansanelli and Millepied brought a youthful innocence to the beautiful choreography. The frolicking lovers of the first two acts had clearly gained a new maturity as husband and wife. The adagio section was especially touching, despite the distraction of a loudly crying child in the audience, with careful, but nuanced and flowing dancing. Millepied seemed at ease with Ansanelli, partnering her with care and tenderness. Ansanelli’s balances were excellent, and she did not rush the choreography, slipping off pointe just once. Millepied was a bit under-rotated in the series of tours landing in second plie, but soared in his assembles and jetes en circle, his ballon airy and his landings light. Ansanelli was just a bit cautious in her solos, but her dancing had a wonderful light, precise and delicate quality. It was a youthful performance, but auspicious, hinting at wonderful performances from both Ansanelli and Millepied.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 9:49 am 
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Thank you so much Kate for your reviews and views of NYCB and ABT. I used to rely on Dance Magazine to hear what was going on in NY, now I have you. Thanks again, I feel as if I am back on the Lincoln Center Plaza.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 11:50 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Kate! Thanks so much for your thorough and insightful reviews! When I lived in New York (many years gone by) I saw the NYCB MANY times. This was back in the days when "Mr. B" was still around. I think I must have seen every ballet in the rep. Growing up in New Jersey, the Nutrcracer was the first thing I saw NYCB do; I can still see that growing Christmas tree! Anyway, thanks again for bringing these ballets to life for criticaldance; they've brought back many memories for me, too! We appreciate it! :D

<small>[ 26 May 2003, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: trina ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 6:29 am 
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There is a beautiful photo of Ansanelli in the article:

Quote:
A Coppélia With Untraditional Attitude

By ANNA KISSELGOFF
NY Times

Those who care about 19th-century ballet classics that speak to a contemporary audience will have an especially grand time with Alexandra Ansanelli as a new and electrifying heroine in the New York City Ballet's "Coppélia." There is one more performance tomorrow night. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/28/arts/dance/28COPP.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2003 6:39 am 
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Quote:
Dancing Saves the Day

by Tobi Tobias
Village Voice

Meanwhile, across the plaza, the New York City Ballet began its season (New York State Theater, through June 29) with new work from its artistic director, Peter Martins, and its resident choreographer, Christopher Wheeldon—both prolific guys. <a href=http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0322/tobias.php target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 2:18 pm 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theatre
May 27, 2003
"Coppelia"

On Tuesday night, the New York City Ballet's Spring Season performances of George Balanchine's Coppelia continued, with several changes in the lead and divertissement casts. The most significant change was that of Adam Hendrickson, who debuted as Dr. Coppelius in February, taking over the role from Robert LaFosse. With Alexandra Ansanelli and Benjamin Millepied continuing in the lead roles, the production had a joyously youthful and energetic feel.

The first act variations for Swanilda’s friends were decidedly improved over earlier performances, with much greater attention to timing and a more relaxed feel to the dancing. The first act also brought unexpected problems for both Ansanelli and Millepied, for Ansanelli, an apparent bloody nose, and Millepied, a de-velcroed butterfly that fell to the stage before he could catch it in his net. Both dancers handled the surprises beautifully, demonstrating comfort in these very new roles. This comfort was even clearer in their elegant third act pas de deux. Though excellent in her debut, Ansanelli has clearly grown even more confident in the role. She appeared much more assured in the choreography, adding speed to her powerful, yet delicate and precise dancing. Millepied matched the drama in her dancing with his own high flying variations, his astounding ballon and panther-like landings most impressive.

The youthful feeling continued with Adam Hendrickson’s moving performance as Dr. Coppelius. Though barely half as old as Robert LaFosse, the other current Coppelius, Hendrickson displayed a surprising maturity in his detailed and well though out characterization of Coppelius.
While LaFosse has settled on a humorous, slightly cantankerous approach to the role, Hendrickson takes a much different tack. His Coppelius is a gentle, energetic soul, full of tender affection for his creations. The depth of Hendrickson’s characterization was apparent in his attention to all the little details, including the very tender manner in which he repositioned the dolls after chasing out Swanilda’s friends. He gently lifted the acrobat back onto his cushion, stopping to pat him on the had before moving on, and softly stroked Swanilda’s hair when he brought her out. Bestowed with hands that are unusually full of expression, Hendrickson also stood out for his clear mime. His interaction with Ansanelli was solid, despite a few glitches-this was their first performance together. Hendrickson, does however need to keep Coppelius’ age in mind, and remember not to dart so quickly across the stage.

In the third act divertissements, Lindy Mandradjieff, with a sparkling smile, was was appropriately delicate in the Waltz of the Hours. Adding extra nuance to the role, Dena Abergel shone as Prayer, and Carrie Lee Riggins was a delightfully precise and fleet footed Spinner. Ellen Bar and Seth Orza had the proper power in Discord and War, though occasionally not quite in synch with eachother.

Maurice Kaplow conducted, the orchestra offering a solid performance of Leo Delibes score.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2003 11:01 pm 
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The Unbearable Emptiness Of Truly Bad New Ballets
by Robert Gottlieb for The NY Observer

Tolstoy may be right about happy and unhappy families, but in ballet it works the opposite way: All good ballets are different from each other and all bad ones are alike, at least in one crucial respect—they’re all empty. We’ve had more than enough proof of that these past weeks as American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet have bombarded us—or do I mean suffocated us?—with emptiness. Nature, we’re told, abhors a vacuum. So do dance critics.

Without question, Worst in Show goes to A.B.T.’s two-part yawnathon, HereAfter, which took two choreographers to unload. In Part I, "Heaven," the curtain goes up on a spectacular construct—platforms, ladders, runways, stairs—which accommodates tiers of singers halfway up the Met space. There’s also a big, round contraption—a hamster cage out of The Matrix?—that lowers Ethan Stiefel onto the stage, and not a moment too soon for my nerves. Ethan Stiefel is The Man. Marcelo Gomes is Death.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2003 11:01 am 
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New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
Saturday, May 31, 2003: 8pm

At the halfway point of the 2003 Spring Season, New York City Ballet offered up an inspired night of dancing that included the premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy, sparkling young talent in Balanchine’s Tarantella and moving performances by NYCB veterans in Robbin’s evocative In the Night.

George Balanchine’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, an exploration of Maurice Ravel’s music, with dances to the Prelude, Forlane, Menuet and Rigaudon, highlights the corps de ballet. There are no principals or soloists, just two eight-dancer quadrilles who mirror and echo each other’s movements. With no solos, the focus is on the patterns formed by the groups and the intricate steps. The ballet was well danced, especially in the final Rigaudon, with proper attention placed on the spacing between and within the quadrilles and the details of the steps. Of special note was the nuanced dancing of Kyle Froman, Henry Seth, Jonathan Stafford and Dana Hanson.

A sharp contrast after the fairly sedate opening, Tarantella, with rousing music by Louis Gottschalk, showcased the bravura talents of Daniel Ulbricht and Megan Fairchild. Ulbricht and Fairchild, who replaced Alexandra Ansanelli and Benjamin Millepied, possess a youthful impishness and energy just perfect for Tarantella’s playful antics. A bit restrained in her debut during the winter season, Fairchild appeared much more comfortable in the quick, precise choreography, moving with more assured speed and incorporating the tricky tambourine taps seamlessly into her dancing. Simply sensational, Ulbricht soared high into the air in the jumps, his feet scissoring crisply in the beats and his facial expressions catching the mood of the ballet perfectly. His ménage of grand jetes en circle was blazingly fast, finished with an ultra-cheeky swagger off stage. Already outstanding in the ballet, it will be even more fun to see Ulbricht and Fairchild as they continue to explore all the facets of Tarantella. Karinska’s brightly colored costumes completed the performance.

The centerpiece of the evening was the premiere of Liturgy, the latest ballet by resident choreographer Christopher Wheeldon. A pas de deux for Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto, Liturgy is set to “Fratres”, a work for violin, strings and percussion by Estonian composer Arvo Part. “Fratres”, with Colin Jacobsen as the violin soloist, is delicate, with a hymn-like quality and sometimes purposely disharmonic. A perfect score for Wheeldon’s contemplative pas de deux, “Fratres” provided emotion without overwhelming the simple setting.

Mark Stanley’s dim lighting provided the only set for the ballet, performed with a plain backdrop and simple costumes by Holly Hynes. Attired in a dark red unitard (Soto) and grey leotard with deeply curved side cutouts (Whelan) appeared out of darkness. Mostly comprised of partnering, with little solo work or jumps, the ballet was an intriguing exploration of movement, as the name implies, a rite of some kind. In a choreographic sequence seen several times, both dancers lifted their arms up into a graceful high fifth position, then without pausing dropped their arms down as their hands moved up as if to cup their chins. It was unusual and gave the impression of prayer or meditation.
In a pas de deux filled with innovative and tricky partnering, Wheeldon chose wisely in selecting Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto. Soto, a solid and strong partner, and Whelan, a highly musical and flexible dancer were stunning in the deliberate and striking choreography. In a particularly moving lift, Whelan, one leg between Soto’s knees, was supported in a horizontal position, both their arms stretching freely out. Other lifts also capitalized on the wonderfully assured partnering, Whelan often stretched out in unique positions. Both dancers were powerfully committed in their dancing, adding to the overall impact of the ballet.
The piece ended with the dancers standing, repeating the previously mentioned port de bras sequence in silence as darkness slowly enveloped them. Unique in choreography and the use of a composer new to the New York City Ballet repertory, Liturgy is a fascinating and moving piece that demands to be seen again to explore all its facets.

Jerome Robbin’s In the Night returned to the repertory, also marking the return of Jenifer Ringer from a recent injury. In Anthony Dowell’s deeply colored, frothy dresses and elegant jackets, three couples, representing three different glimpses into love, dance against a backdrop of twinkling stars (by Jennifer Tipton). As the slow dancing first couple, perhaps representing the delicacy of young love, Rachel Rutherford and Arch Higgins perfectly matched the ebb and flow of the music with their slow, arching, curving lifts, . Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard were cool and elegant in the middle section, using their longs limbs to accent the sweeping choreography. A more distant couple, they represented a more mature, perhaps even fading love. The highlight of the ballet was Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette in the turbulent final pas deux. A couple off the stage, Ringer and Fayette have a wonderful, electric chemistry together, which added poignancy and passion to the fiery relationship of the third couple. There was an electric tension in the air and powerful connection between Fayette and Ringer that seemed to bring them together in the end. This was real love, with all its ups and downs, and peace in the end.

Peter Martin’s Symphonic Dances, powered by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s triumphant score and Santo Loquasto’s vividly colored costumes, provided an upbeat ending to the evening. With Janie Taylor and Sebastian Marcovici as the lead couple, the ballet was given a newly powerful and energetic feel. Taylor’s central woman was cool and driven, with long sweeping moves and a dancing full controlled abandon. It was clear why Marcovici’s man was so infatuated, but yet unable to control this woman. Marcovici led a quartet of impressive men, including Ask la Cour, Jonathan Stafford, Seth Orza and Sean Suozzi, in Martin’s high flying choreography.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 6:43 am 
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Quote:
A Spiritual Journey Evokes Mysticism Informed by Complexity

By ANNA KISSELGOFF
NY Times

At the end of "Liturgy," Christopher Wheeldon's wondrous new duet that had its premiere at the New York City Ballet on Saturday night, Jock Soto and Wendy Whelan rippled and swung their arms while rotating their torsos. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/02/arts/dance/02LITU.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 10:24 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Animal Magnetism
Christopher Wheeldon’s delightful new ballet takes off from The Carnival of the Animals but makes it a West Side story; Peter Martins skims the surface of a John Adams score. By Laura Shapiro for New York Metro

Ever since the seventies, when ballet companies across America realized they had to grow up and operate in a more businesslike fashion if they hoped to survive, the search has been on for a spring Nutcracker. Income from the holiday perennial keeps many companies afloat, but alas, there’s only one Christmas per calendar year. How about . . . Cinderella! Or Sleeping Beauty! Or anything at all with a castle and a lot of dry ice! But no fairy-tale ballet has yet emerged with precisely the combination of delight, substance, and magic that will guarantee an overflowing box office season after season. Maybe it can’t happen outside the charmed environs of Christmas. Or maybe it’s that until now, nobody put Christopher Wheeldon and John Lithgow on the case.

Wheeldon, the New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer, first worked with Lithgow on the Broadway musical Sweet Smell of Success and discovered at that time that the actor had another life as the author of children’s books.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 11:23 pm 
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Impressions of a recent show…

5/31/03
Saturday evening
New York State Theater

Programming an evening of ballet must be one of those truly unsung, heroic tasks probably exceeded in thanklessness only by punishments like hosting the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Faults are everywhere explicated with all the nuances of graduate studies and found virtues are sparing … which leads me to:

Who programs an ensemble piece, a firecracker pas de deux, and a world premiere ballet all before the first intermission? The first part of Saturday evening began with a quick overview of the varied historical modes of the classical ballet—an homage to the neo-classical past, a circa 19th century virtuoso blast, then a modernist piece from a would-be iconoclast.

“Le Tombeau de Couperin” (Ravel/Balanchine)

Perhaps I’ve recently watched too many one handed Soviet style lifts or plunging fish dives but I found something especially pleasing about the courtly ensemble manners of Balanchine’s “Tombeau.” Set to 4 of the 6 movements of Ravel’s work of the same name, “Tombeau” is essentially homage to an older ballet world that privileged grace, comportment, and proportion over the angst and passion ridden world familiar to us from the Russian Imperial inheritance – an older world measured by alexandrines and terza rima rather than the vers libre or automatisms of the pre-modern and modern age. Not Byron or Keats but Dryden and Pope. Not Gauthier, Petipa, or Tschaikovsky but Vestris, Noverre, and Couperin.

Even in – or particularly because of – the modern age dominated as it is by the existence of matrices of suprastructural control beyond human ken, there is something comforting in “Tombeau’s” evocation of a world knowable through the civil discourse of courtly movement. It is a community built upon the proper execution of ensemble choreography. No principals or soloists, just 2 quadrilles of corps dancers(each quadrille of 8 dancers). A bowed reverence, a supported attitude on pointe, judicious phrasing, etc. An entire community—civitatus—built upon adherence to ideal forms of the dance. [note—if my Latin is off, don’t hesitate to correct me…I don’t pretend to know any]

As usual, Deanna McBrearty and Amanda Edge catch my eye. My only real critique is that I think I would prefer the original solo piano score to the orchestration. I think the solo piano catches the delicacy and careful proportion better than the more varied symphonic sounds of the orchestra. Andrea Quinn conducted.

After a pause, “Tarantella” burst in like fireworks. Who is this round faced little girl with the blue eyeshadow (Megan Fairchild substituting for Alexandra Ansanelli)? Who is this bouncy fellow like the proverbial barrelful of monkeys (Daniel Ulbricht for Benjamin Millepied)? The score by Gottschalk orchestrated by Hershy Kay is instantly forgettable but I can still see Ulbricht bouncing through the air and can hear the audience go wild. Balanchine has just brought the audience forward 100 years and through what Susan Leigh Foster might call an epistemic shift from a balletic world dominated by the discourse of social structure to one dominated increasingly by the exigencies of professionalism and celebrity.

After another pause, Christopher Wheeldon’s “Liturgy,” a pas de deux set to “FRATRES for Violin, Strings, and Percussion” by Arvo Part for Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto. This extremely high concept piece requires further study. The Royal Ballet toured Wheeldon’s impressive “Pavane pour infante defunte” to California a few years ago, but “Liturgy” is quite something else. Where “Pavane” reworked the traditional balletic vocabulary while retaining its theatricality, “Liturgy” with its concentration upon untraditional port d’bras (sometimes voguish, sometimes semaphoric) appeals to an essentially dramatic aesthetic. I sense a tension between Wheeldon's classicism and an impulse towards innovation. Holly Hynes costuming seems closer to high fashion swim wear than dance wear and Mark Stanley’s high contrast lighting says “no sense of humor allowed.”

The evening switches gears at 1st intermission for more conventional programming …

“In the Night” (Chopin/Robbins)

Everytime I see this ballet I feel privileged. It reveals more and more. This time I wonder if somehow “Night” is Robbins answering a challenge held up by the sense of romance and nostalgia breathing so subtly in the very bars and notes of Chopin nocturnes—to give us a history for that ineffable thing called ‘love.’ The 1st movement shows us dreamlike passion for love. To the opening strains of the Opus 27 Nocturne, Arch Higgins and Rachel Rutherford enter the stage, slowly and carefully stepping backwards as if they were balancing on some fantastic high wire. He catches her up and carries her across the stage in a lift. At times it has an intensity that is almost like drowning. Rutherford beautiful in clouds of violet tulle and Higgins in his satiny waistcoat ebb and flow with the piano melody evoking the rhythm of tides with its strength and inevitability. The balance is as precarious as nocturnal reveries are tenuous.

The 2nd movement, the Opus 55 No. 1 nocturne, shows us courtly love. This time I realize where I’ve seen that martial bearing, almost a march or a promenade. Those high steps, those titled miens, the front forward presentation, the little slap on the thighs—Countess Sybile and the King of Hungary from the ballet “Raymonda.” Robbins didn’t mean that literally, of course, but doesn’t the language of love often appropriate the language of Castiglione or of the Elizabethan courtier? Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard render the audience perfectly silent.

The 3rd movement, the Opus 55 No. 2 shows Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette as lovers of much more quotidian mold—they fight, implore, advance, retreat and all for love. At one moment, Fayette reaches for Ringer who runs off the stage. At another, he runs off the stage leaving her. After more struggles, both run off into the wings leaving the stage bare for several bars. But, both soon return. Ringer approaches Fayette tentatively. She caresses his face, touches his shoulders, his waist, his knees. She lays before him. Fayette takes her hands as Siegfried had taken Odette’s and lifts her high before dropping her into his arms and stepping from view as the nocturne ends.

The 4th and concluding movement to the Opus 9 No. 2 nocturne shows the couples meeting each other almost as if by accident. They nod to each other and seem as if they are going to talk, but in “In the Night” the language of love has no words and the ballet ends with each couple drifting into the wings in their own private reveries.

Floating as it were on Chopin’s sublime nocturnes, “In the Night” performs several kinds of love—a romantic passion intense and almost blind, a courtly romance of chansons and medieval tapestries, and a puffing, blustery kind of romance (that in the modern age would be filled with phones slamming and dishes thrown). "Night" is certainly beautiful in an almost indescribable way -- but, there is something in “Night” that makes me worry a little.

At the end of each movement—from the first nocturne, the Opus 27 to the concluding Opus 9—and no matter what the relationship or the form of love—the women never leave the stage on their own ... or even on their feet. Each woman is carried from the stage in some sort of ballet lift.

Higgins holds Rutherford arched backwards over his head; Askegard carries Kowroski reaching forward; Fayette cradles Ringer in his arms. More than just emphasizing the lightness and ethereality of the ballerina or taking her towards some sort of aerial pedestal, it is as if in the ballet’s ideal image of love, the feminine agency is always passive, carried by the male. The ballerina held aloft is without foundation, divorced from the earth and without foundation except for what the male provides. What it might mean, I don’t pretend to know.

I was extremely pleased to see almost the same cast on Saturday as had appeared in Santa Fe last October: Rachel Rutherford and Arch Higgins (rather than Sebatien Marcovici), Maria Kowroski and Charles Askegard, and Jenifer Ringer and James Fayette. Cameron Grant played the solo piano.

“Symphonic Dances”

The evening concluded with a Martins-Balanchine-Petipa style, meaning big. I’d like to give this one another viewing. My first impression was a kind of bugeyed gah … Corps women in bright candy colored costumes like from some sort of woodcut … or comic book – bright green skirts and blue bodices. Triangular tiaras like the old Russian shapes (?what are they called?). Corps men in loose fitting Slavic blouses of light blue color. Soloist women in paler green skirts and blue bodices with reddish trim and no tiaras. Soloist men in paler green or blue, loose fitting cowboy shirts. Janie Taylor was costumed in a flattering yellow farmer’s daughter dress and Sebastien Marcovici was in a silvery green Slavic shirt.

I couldn’t decide whether the first and last movements were pastiche or parody of the classical divertissement … Slavs as slavs then more slavs … followed by … you guessed it…

Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici were standouts though. The central pas de deux had that Balanchine style chase and never-quite-catch quality. Janie Taylor all cool glamour not yet hardened into crystalline chic like Maria Kowroski but with an edge already showing. With a decorous passion, Marcovici chases the woman, beautiful and alluring but always just beyond reach (metaphorically, not literally or the partnering would look somewhat odd).

It's getting late so final comment: despite starting with what seemed an odd mixture of ballet textures and tastes, it ended with traditional values. Though I was again moved by the artistry of “In the Night,” for me it was the world of little “Tombeau de Couperin” that (as of today) I would most like to visit again sometime soon.

<small>[ 03 June 2003, 01:55 AM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


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