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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 9:51 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
'Liturgy' Worthy of the Dance World's Worship
Christopher Wheeldon and the City Ballet add a divine new work to the repertoire
By Sylviane Gold for Newsday

The streak continues. With "Liturgy," which had its world premiere Saturday night at the New York State Theater, Christopher Wheeldon brings to nine the number of utterly distinct, fully mature, brilliantly executed ballets he has given the New York City Ballet audience.

But what were they thinking on Saturday? Yes, they applauded, and released an occasional "Bravo!" But a gift of this magnitude deserved a roar - at least the volume of cheers that had just greeted ensemble members Megan Fairchild and Daniel Ulbricht after they subbed magnificently for two sidelined principals in George Balanchine's showy, difficult "Tarantella."

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:31 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
Classical Style Applied to Folk Formations

By JACK ANDERSON
NY Times

George Balanchine had choreographic fun playing stylistic games in two works offered by the New York City Ballet on May 28 at the New York State Theater. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/03/arts/dance/03MORP.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:02 am 
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Posts: 3373
Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theatre
June 3, 2003

On Tuesday night, in a program that featured ballets by three different choreographers- ballets that were modern and classical, that involved large casts and small casts, and that used the talents of young dancers and ballet veterans- the New York City Ballet once again demonstrated its astounding range and talent base.

Opening the evening on a youthful note was Jerome Robbins' Interplay, with an exuberant cast of Ashley Bouder, Glenn Keenan, Carrie Lee Riggins, Carla Korbes, Antonio Carmena, Stephen Hanna, Adam Hendrickson and Andrew Veyette. Robbins’ choreography mixes playful competition with steps from social dance and traditional ballet, and the energetic dancers seemed to revel in the free-spirited nature of the ballet. In the central, slow pas de deux, Carla Korbes and Stephen Hanna mixed tenderness with superb technique, never losing youthful feel that makes the ballet so unique. Also of note was Antonio Carmena’s infectious enthusiasm and nicely finished dancing. The final competition of double tours lost some of it’s punch because not all of the men were able to do the right number of turns, but the women picked up the slack with a barrage of crisp, fast pirouettes. The appropriately simple and brightly colored costumes were by Santo Loquasto, with Morton Gould’s giddy music, Elaine Chelton on the piano.

Switching from youth to mature experience, Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux was the next treat. Dancing together with the superb technique and rapport that made their Swan Lake so breathtaking, Wendy Whelan and Damien Woetzel offered up a memorable performance. Always spectacular in bravura choreography, Woetzel was exceptional on this night in his soaring assembles, which seemed to hover in midair and were landed with a panther-like lightness. Whelan was elegant and fluid, and their partnering was smooth especially in the breathtaking final passage of syncopated leaps into fish dives.

Vespro, Mauro Bigonzetti’s contribution to the 2002 Diamond Project, provided a dramatic leap from classical to modern, both in style and music. Bruno Moretti, the composer of the commissioned score, was the good natured pianist, the patient recipient of Benjamin Millepied’s disharmonious intrusions onto the piano. Millepied, as the hyperkinetic central figure, alternately watched and insinuated himself in the two central pas de deuxs, danced by Maria Kowroski and Jason Fowler and Alexandra Ansanelli and Sebastien Marcovici. The choreography is characterized by frequent arm movements, with the outstretched arm of each woman silently blocking her partner from approaching. Though the women are picked up and contorted by the men, but they have the real power. Of particular interest was the opportunity to see Jason Fowler in a central role. One of the tallest men in the company, he is a solid partner and Bigonzetti’s choreography highlights his flexibility and taut, powerful technique. Among the small corps, the nuanced and powerful dancing of Craig Hall stood out from the rest. The black, red and white skin tight costumes were by Julius Lumsden.

Elegance ended the night, with the dancers swirling across the stage to music of Johan Strauss II, Franz Lehar and Richard Strauss in Balanchine’s Vienna Waltzes. In Karinska’s intricately detailed pale pink ballgown, Rachel Rutherford was just stunning in the first movement. Gliding across the stage, she radiated a perfect combination of maturity and youthful joy. James Fayette was her gallant and tender partner. Miranda Weese and Peter Boal ate up the air in the leaping Fruhlingsstimmen Waltz, their partnership one of solid, mature technique. In a particularly energetic and precise Explosions Polka, Aesha Ash and Arch Higgins were the bounding leads Jennifer Ringer has yet to achieve the mysterious aura that befits the leading lady in Gold Und Silber Waltz, but was properly elegant with Charles Askegard. In the moving Der Rosenkavalier waltz, Darci Kistler was smooth, but never really evoked the necessary poignancy. The high swoops of her dress, which revealed leg all the way up to the leotard underneath, seemed inappropriate to the dignified character of the waltz. The final waltz, a symphony of dancers in black and white is a powerful sight, a scene that leaves an indelible mark in one’s memory. Each couple is different and unique, yet a part of a stunning whole. New York City Ballet always is impressive in this finale, and it provided a wonderful last impression to close out a lovely night of ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 am 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
June 7, 2003: 8 pm

On Saturday evening, New York City Ballet celebrated the choreography of George Balanchine, presenting a program of four ballets from the last decade of his life. Le Tombeau de Couperin, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Ballade and Vienna Waltzes were all choreographed in the five years between 1975 to 1980, yet are fascinating in their stunning variety, which include everything from the abstract to the children’s story.

In Le Tombeau de Couperin, one of Balanchine’s “black and white ballets”, the dancers are arranged in two eight-person quadrilles, each mirroring the steps of the other. The choreography walks a delicate line between energy and dignity, with the restraint slipping away as the Ravel’s music progresses from the proper Prelude to the joyous Rigaudon. While the choreography is based on older dances, its seems also to hint at the steps and rhythms of the square dance. When the dancers face each other in two long lines, one couple dancing in the middle, it is eerily reminiscent of the Virginia Reel, a traditional square dance. The experienced cast, especially Dena Abergel, Aesha Ash, Dana Hanson and Stephen Hanna, proceeded through the tricky steps with aplomb, exuding energy without blurring the choreography and finding a perfect balance between being too eager and being too somber. The frequent smiles conveyed a sense of confidence and joy in a job well done without becoming cloying or giddy.

In her first performance of The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Alexandra Ansanelli demonstrated yet again the impressive talents that earned her a recent promotion to principal dancer. Ansanelli and Woetzel, stunning together in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel, were technically and emotionally breathtaking in the poignant story of doomed love between a paper doll and a tin soldier. Woetzel, who seems re-energized since his return from a long injury layoff, gave one of the best performances of the role in many years. Every movement was perfectly in character, every jump fully rotated with effortless height and spot on landings-a near flawless performance. At thirty-six, Woetzel seems to be entering one of the best periods in his dancing career so far. Her face alive with expression, and her dancing precise and giddily energetic, Ansanelli was an ideal choice for the role of the paper doll. Delightfully shy in the beginning, she was joyfully love-struck before her exuberance led to tragedy. Ansanelli’s technique was excellent, one especially memorable moment being the rock solid promenade with her flex-footed leg in second. Woetzel was a supportive and emotionally connected partner, his solitary salute in the end made more poignant by the electric performance that proceeded it. Georges Bizet's music and David Mitchell’s set and costumes completed the performance.

One of Balanchine’s last ballets, Ballade is a dreamy interlude with dancers in Ben Benson’s frothy pink and lavender costumes floating across the stage to the strains Gabriel Faure’s Ballade for piano and orchestra. This dream-like atmosphere was a perfect setting for Wendy Whelan’s delicate and musical performance. Exploring every nuance of Faure’s music, Whelan placed every step, every bend of the wrist, every turn of her head placed perfectly in the context of the muisc. It wasn’t just dancing to the music, it was feeling and dancing totally with the music. Balanchine’s choreography doesn’t provide much for the male dancer, but Philip Neal made the best of the role. Never overwhelming, he provided just the right touch in his partnering of Whelan, supporting and adding to her performance. The corps looked elegant and orderly, with neat footwork and delicate port de bras.

Concluding the tour of Balanchine’s later works was a repeat performance of Vienna Waltzes. Replacing Miranda Weese in the Fruhlingsstimmen waltz, Alexandra Ansanelli was again in top form. Appearing slightly tired in the beginning, she seemed re-energized by Peter Boal’s high-leaping and gracious performance. In particular, Ansanelli’s final sequence of sparkling pique turns was wonderfully precise and speedy. In the saucy Explosions Polka, Amanda Edge and Tom Gold could have been more precise in the footwork. However, their dancing was giddy and energetic, the outrageous choreography seeming to be as fun to perform as it was to watch. The grand finale was again breathtaking, a reminder of the enormous impact that Balanchine’s ballets continue to have, even twenty years after his death.

Maurice Kaplow and Richard Moredock conducted, and Mark Stanley provided the lighting (after the original lighting by Ronald Bates in all but Ballade).

<small>[ 08 June 2003, 01:53 PM: Message edited by: ksneds ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 12:18 pm 
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I won't be formally reviewing the Saturday matinee, but felt that it deserved some comments...

First of all, major kudos to the men of NYCB. They have all been dancing at a very high level, and it's a real joy to see the final of "Vienna Waltzes" in which all but one (who I belive is injured or ill) the male members of the corps perform. How many companies can boast of twenty male corps members and a handful of male apprentices who are all have such wonderful technique and style. Bravo!!!!

Janie Taylor and Sebastien Marcovici deserve extra kudos for their performance in "Symphonic Dances". During one their duets, her foot become entangled in his belt, partially tearing it off. He was able to untangle her and throw the offending belt into the wings with such smoothness that several people near me (in Row D of the orchestra) did not realize what had happened.

Also, kudos to Maria Kowroski for recovering from an early slip and fall in "Sonatas and Interludes" and performing otherwise flawlessly in the rest of the pas de deux.

Christopher Wheeldon's "Carousel (A Dance) get's better each time it is performed. He's taken out the image of the ferris wheel, and made some minor changes in choreography, all for the better (one of the great advantages to having a resident choreographer-the ability to have the person around to fine tune his/her ballets). It now opens with the dancers slowly dancing behind a scrim as the strings of multi-colored lights slowly illuminate.
Alexandra Ansanelli and Damian Woetzel were just stunning, both giving 110% to their roles. She was just flying into is arms, and dancing with total abanson, both of their feelings clearly written across their faces and in every step. The pas de deux has an earthier, more passionate feeling than when Ansanelli performed it with Millepied. Different, though not necesarily better or worse.
The corps was also solid, with the carousel effect very well done. It is a must see!

I think that Brahms-Schoenberg was well performed, but needs a couple more performances to really come together. It was needless to say, a high quality cast. Somogyi and Neal were good in Allegro, with Ringer and Fayette gorgeous and emotional in the Intermezzo.

Pauline Golbin's unfortunate fall (I think the falls are probably attributable to the energy of the dancing and possibly slippery stage-maybe all this rain/huidity is doing things to the wooden stage)seemed to jarr the audience a bit. Ringer and Fayette have such a wonderful chemistry and looked thrilled to be dancing together.

Ben Millepied and Janie Taylor were excellent in Andante, well matched and both exciting to watch. His high flying solo was one of the highlights of the ballet, with light landings and beautiful positions in the air.

And our course Nichols and Woetzel on the Rondo alla Zingarese...spectacular. She may not be the fastest dancer in the company now, but was more than adequate in the part, and Woetzel just soars in the role, playing every moment for all it;s worth. He looked unusually focused in his partnering of Nichols-she's obviously a treasure worth taking extra care of!

Bravo!


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 2:52 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks, KSneds. BTW folks, please check out the Reviews page for published versions of KSneds' reviews along with photos courtesy of NYCB.

<small>[ 08 June 2003, 06:17 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 8:33 am 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Quote:
The Versatile Balanchine, Charming, Jazzy and Romantic

JENNIFER DUNNING
NY Times

There was magic onstage Tuesday night at the New York State Theater. <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/12/arts/dance/12BALL.html target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 1:28 pm 
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Comments from Jeffrey Gantz on NYBC (among others):

ABT’s Romeo, NYCB’s Balanchine, Boston Ballet’s press clippings


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 8:45 pm 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Pen Sketches:

It was a killer program Thursday night, with my personal highlight being Christopher Wheeldon's "Carousel (A Dance)," to a Richard Rodgers score. It covered a full arc of feel-good cheer, poignant romance, and resounding finish (which without the SAB-infused precision would have been less than pretty to watch).

Other personal highlights:

- Alexandra Ansanelli's technique, beauty and expressiveness (NYCB could use with more expressive dancers) in the Wheeldon work and in Robbins' "Piano Pieces." What a presence on stage;

- Damian Woetzel's jumps, stylishness, and plain boyish exuberance in "Carousel" and the fourth movement of "Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet." This senior dancer is dancing like it's his first time. I have to say his dancing made it hard to to watch Kyra Nichols -- I had more fun watching him;

- The Corps male dancers who danced principal roles, including Seth Orza ("Carousel" and "Piano Pieces" and Stephen Hanna ("Piano Pieces");

- Corps dancer Megan Fairchield in "Piano Pieces."

<small>[ 13 June 2003, 11:28 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:31 pm 
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Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
Once again, the corps of NYCB is what makes this company stand out among its American counterparts. Tonight's performance of Balanchine's "Walpugisnacht Ballet" especially underlines this fact, with the corps roles danced by the young dancers coming into the company (I understand from KSneds, some of them were apprentices).

Other highlights:

- Yet another Christopher Wheeldon ballet, "Liturgy," a stylish and moody pas de deux to Arvo Part, danced by Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto;

- Maria Kowroski and Damian Woetzel in the third movement of Balanchine's "Western Symphony," even if she missed a couple things.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:45 pm 
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Location: Canada
Hi!
Yes, there was at least one apprentice and a number of brand new corps members in the corps of "Walpurgisnacht Ballet". Two apprentices apparently received corps contracts in the last few days, but I'll wait until the company posts them on the roster to mention them here.

I didn't notice any missed steps from Kowroski, but then again I think this was the first time I'd seen "Western Symphony".

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2003 8:57 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks for the info, Kate!

I've seen Western a million times it seems... There were two things that I believe Kowroski missed, one of which were the pirouettes at the end. Notice how Woetzel's kept going on and on but Kowroski's seemed shortened. If anything, hers is supposed to be more spectacular than his; that's the place usually for the biggest applause for this ballet. But NYCB dancers are pros at recovering!

And having said the above about Kowroski, I believe she is the best of all the dancers currently performing the Western's third, mainly for the technique in combination with the stage presence.

<small>[ 14 June 2003, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2003 8:43 am 
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Location: Canada
New York City Ballet
New York State Theater
June 12, 2003

With just a few weeks left, the current season has been one of great success and renewed energy for the New York City Ballet. No dancers have better exemplified this resurgence than Damian Woetzel and Alexandra Ansanelli. Woetzel, who returned in May from a nearly three month injury layoff, has been dancing with a newfound joy and enthusiasm, his technique at a stunning level. Ansanelli, recently promoted to principal dancer, has also come to the forefront, imbuing every role with a youthful joy and displaying her sparkling technique.

On Thursday night, Ansanelli and Woetzel combined for a powerful performance of Christopher Wheeldon's Carousel (A Dance). This ballet has benefited greatly from Wheeldon’s continual adjustments in set and choreography, demonstrating one great advantage of the presence of a resident choreographer. The most obvious change is the elimination of the Ferris wheel image in the beginning. In a more moving opening, the dancers now appear behind a scrim, slowly illuminated by the strings of multicolored lights.

From their first encounter on the dimly lit stage, the connection between Ansanelli and Woetzel was obvious, and soared to a stunning emotional peak in the dramatic central pas de deux. Both dancers’ total investment in their roles and Ansanelli’s complete trust in Woetzel combined for a feeling of thrilling emotional abandonment. The soaring lifts and skimming dips were in perfect harmony with the ebbs and flows of Richard Rodger’s poignant music. Rachel Rutherford, Pascale van Kipnis, Arch Higgins and Seth Orza, in the demi-soloist roles much improved and the corps soared in Wheeldon’s challenging and intricately timed chorus line-esque choreography, making it vibrant and moving.

Ansanelli also appeared in Jerome Robbins’ Piano Pieces, a collection of balletic vignettes set to solo piano compositions by Tschaikovsky. To a dancer, the piece was danced with a sparkling freshness and affectionate attention to detail. As the central male soloist, Benjamin Millepied tied the various sections together with his festive, high flying and crisp dancing. It was a performance went beyond technique, with his perfectly suited facial expressions adding a new dimension and sense of character to the role.
Seth Orza and Stephen Hanna stepped up from the corps to partner principals Jennie Somogyi and Maria Kowroski in two of the pas de deuxs. Both duets were wonderfully danced, with a unexpected tenderness underlying the technically impressive performance from Orza and Somogyi. Hanna was nicely attentive in his partnering of the very tall Kowroski. Sebastian Marcovici and Alexandra Ansanelli were youthfully elegant in the Troika, Marcovici powerful and precise in his brief solo. Ansanelli and Somogyi were both outstanding in their respective solos, Somogyi setting not a single foot out of place in her whipping turns and Ansanelli gently energetic in the Barcarolle. The whole corps, especially Megan Fairchild and Lindy Mandradjieff in the delightful pas de trois with Millepied were excellent: Faye Arthurs, Alina Dronova, Glenn Keenan, Sarah Ricard, Antonio Carmena, Adam Hendrickson, Kyle Froman, Craig Hall, Jonathan Stafford and Sean Suozzi. Ben Benson’s costumes, pastels for the soloists and red edged white for the corps were appropriate and attractive

Woetzel returned in the attention grabbing Rondo alla Zingarese section from Balanchine’s Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. The ballet, comprised of four very different movements to Arnold Schoenberg’s orchestration of a Brahms piano quartet, requires a cohesion of very different balletic styles. Jennie Somogyi, caringly partnered by Philip Neal, captured the right mix of delicacy and power in the Allegro, with Dena Abergel in a excellent debut as the female demi-soloist. Building upon their previous performance in the Intermezzo, James Fayette and Jenifer Ringer delivered a passionate and soaring performance, their deep emotional connection bringing out new meaning and depth in the roles. Ringer was also impressive in the unusual turns in second position
.
In the Andante, Janie Taylor was solid in the pas de deux with Benjamin Millepied, her extended, multi-positioned balance appearing especially secure and Carrie Lee Riggins was crisp as the central demi-soloist. However, the section again belonged to Millepied and his spectacular solo. In one of the most emotionally powerful parts of Brahms’ score, Andrea Quinn set a dauntingly fast tempo for Millepied. Unphased, Millepied soared through the air, each step clearly accented, and every landing easily secure. It was a complete performance, with accomplished technical skill, emotion and musicality. Bravo!

Kyra Nichols and Damian Woetzel brought the ballet to a festive conclusion, their Rondo alla Zingarese danced with a flair perfected over years of experience. A little shaky in some of the quicker turns, Nichols, the most senior dancer in the company, more than compensated with a solid presence and knowing attention to all the details in the choreography. Woetzel, however, gave a commanding performance that simply demanded all the attention-dancing with a joy and gusto and putting on a display of bravura skill that simply stole the show. One couldn’t help but to share in his obvious and total enthusiasm. When the two company veterans were center stage, it was touching to see the very young corps watching with such rapt attentiveness, observing up close a performance that sets a standard for what they can hope to achieve in their ballet careers. The wonderful costumes were by Karinska, her loving attention to detail ever apparent.

The evening also included a debut by Amanda Edge in Balanchine’s A Steadfast Tin Soldier, set to Bizet’s charming score. Edge’s performance was nicely detailed, if a bit restrained. Appearing very focused on executing the tricky, stiff legged steps, which were done with just the right stiffness, Edge didn’t seem to fully develop the character of the doll. Yet it was a wonderful debut, and with more experience, the details that create the journey from innocent, tentative love to full out giddy, joyous love should find their way into her performance . Tom Gold was a crisp, energetic tin soldier, but Edge’s greater height on pointe made it difficult for him to provide proper support in the promenades on pointe.

Lighting for all ballets was by Mark Stanley, except for Piano Pieces which was lit by Ronald Bates.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2003 11:49 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks for reminding me about the lighting design, Kate. One of the joys of watching NYCB is Mark Stanley's lighting. It's so good that you forget about it; it's seldom overpowering. And he also excels when there is a need for the lighting to be theatrical, as in the Sunday matinee performance of Robert Schumann's "Davidsbundlertanze", which, besides the dancers' ability, was only one of a few things I like about this Balanchine ballet.

"Davidsbundlertanze" ran on the long side for me with not enough "entertainment" reward (snoring could be heard in one corner of the theater). It was nice to see "veterans" like Darci Kistler, Kyra Nichols, Charles Askegard, Peter Boal, Nilas Martins and Jock Soto in one ballet but the subtlety of the choreography was lost on me as well another seasoned audience member, whom I overheard apologizing to her companions.

However, two crowdpleasers bookended the program. The afternoon began with fanfare with a sassy Who Cares? (Balanchine) and ended with a pulsating Glass Pieces (Robbins). What a thrill to see three stylish dancers in Jennie Somogyi, Ani Stafford and Janie Taylor in the former and the icy cool pair of Maria Kowroski and Sebastian Marcovici in the second movement of the latter.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet Spring Season 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2003 12:24 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
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studio 54 lives again at New York city Ballet. From style.com (my favourite magazine)

Despite a preponderance of Travolta-style white suits, the scene at the New York City Ballet’s Monday Night Fever fundraiser was less Tony Manero than just plain tony. “I haven’t seen you since Capri,” one guest boomed across the Lincoln Center roof terrace at aviator-shaded designer Michael Kors. Hotelier Jeff Klein, meanwhile, was celebrating the coup he had orchestrated as one of the evening’s hosts.

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