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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:03 am 
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"Russian Treasures"----Indeed !

February 16, 2008


For Me Another Especially Wonderful Evening !

Where to start? Maybe at the beginning. I could probably write a book.


"Serenade"----Darci Kistler----Who could do it better !

I was informed by the very nice folks sitting next to me, who have been attending NYCB performances since the early 1940's, that nothing could compare to Darci Kistler dancing as a 16 year old prodigy. This may well be true, but the Darci Kistler, that I saw dancing tonight, seemed to put everything she had into this performance and I thought it was great ! At the end she reaches to the sky and I'm sure that Shakespeare was smiling.

Special mention must go to the towering Charles Askgard, who lifted Darci Kistler so high above the stage that she appeared to be a heavenly object. The entire cast danced this work as if they owned it. It looked like a 100% effort on home ground and I for one loved it.


"Mozartiana"

What could be more beautiful to listen to than Tchaikovsky paying homage to Mozart? Apparently, according to the program, the lovely Tchaikovsky music that opens "Serenade" is also an homage to Mozart.

And yes there was also dancing.

Wendy Whelan----wonderful. Again a performer obviously on home ground----beautiful dancing, feeling for the music and involvement with the poetry of it all. It was not European like Mozart, but it did seem to be an excellent take on a superb George Balanchine translation.

The four little girls surrounding Wendy Whelan----wonderful with there joy of life and excellent dancing. Whoever said that you should never perform with children on the stage because they will steal the show knew a lot. Fortunately the adults held their own with their heartfelt and exceptionally beautiful effort.


"Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2" ('Ballet Imperial")

Even the lady next to me, who has been viewing this work since the 40's thought that this was a wonderful performance. I was so busy talking to her during the intermission before that I forgot to double check who was dancing. Usually I have this information memorized. So out comes someone who looks to me like Sara Mearns and starts to dance very nicely. According to the program she was Savannah Lowery. Then out comes another women, I don't recognize at all, who completely takes over the stage. She was great, but who was she? I decided to assume that she was the unknown Cinderella taking over the ball and I left it at that and just admired her excellent dancing and her commanding stage presence. "Who is that?", I whispered to the lady sitting next to me during an applause. "That's Ashley Bewder", whispered the lady. "Bowder!" said her friend next to her in something more than a whisper.

So indeed it was Ashley "Bouder" ! I'd seen her before during the week and have read about her for months, but I didn't recognize her. Tonight she was indeed the person that I had read about. Everyone I've read seems to love her for one reason or another, but the enthusiastic praise is the same. I had formed the impression that she's a technical dynamo, which I'm sure she is, but tonight she was more than that. She was an enchanting presence as well as an exceptional dancer.



Faye Arthur, who I commented upon several nights ago, never escaped my attention all week. She was generally doing supporting work or dancing in the corps (usually prominently). Someone in the management obviously knows that she's there. If she ever wants to do something different I sincerely believe that she should definitely give the Kirov a try.


So Much Wonderful Beauty Tonight ! So Much More To Talk About.

This Is What Beautiful Dreams Are Made Of.


[Ashley Bouder's first name corrected above]


Last edited by Buddy on Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:02 pm 
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This is my last day in New York for awhile and I wanted to make a few more brief comments.

Today I saw "Matters Of The Heart" for the second time and Darci Kistler's performance in "Davidsbundlertanze" really touched me. Like yesterday in "Serenade" she once again seemed to put everything that she could into her performance----and for a short while today she actually seemed to become Ageless. This was a joy to see.

Everyone of the other lead women also did very well. Sara Mearns was at the same high level as she was several nights ago. She did an extremely fine solo towards the end of the program. Abi Stafford and Janie Taylor I thought did very well. I do like Janie Taylor's long, graceful and committed look very much.

Still, when I saw all of them dancing together, I really enjoyed Darci Kistler. She had a very developed and sympathetic approach to what she was doing and a sort of relaxed calm and grace to her dancing, which I could probably describe as being maturity and understanding in the very best sense.

I was a bit more familiar with the "Raymonda Variations" today and was able to focus more one each of the wonderful dancers in the long list of top NYBC performers. Ashley Bouder was just fine with some very impressive technical elements. Her last night's performance in "Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2" still remains her highlight effort for me because of her overall very compelling presence. All the dancers today were distinctively right on.

Megan Fairchild and Daniel Ulbricht ("The Steadfast Tin Soldier") and Wendy Whelan ("The Nightingale and the Rose") were as equally impressive today as they were a few days ago.

I do hope that Maria Kowrosky is able to return to the stage as soon as possible. She is so beautiful and so talented.

There are so many fine dancers here with so many different personal qualities. It is really a pleasure to watch them carry on the legacy of George Balanchine and also see them display their own distinct abilities in other directions as well.


Bravo And Thank You Very Much New York City Ballet For Such A Wonderful Week Of Entertainment, Artistry And Heartwarming Beauty !


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:32 pm 
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Alastair Macauley reviews the "Matters of the Heart" program in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:52 am 
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Jennifer Dunning reviews the "Russian Treasures" program in the New York Times:

NY Times


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:33 am 
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Joel Lobenthal reviews both the "Matters of the Heart" and the "Russian Treasures" programs in the New York Sun:

NY Sun


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:54 am 
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FYI, for folks who don't normally read the Ballet in Europe forum....

It's been announced that Nikolaj Hübbe will make one final appearance with NYCB during their London tour. He'll be dancing in Zakouski on March 18 only.

Very lucky for London dance-goers, though I think it's a bit anti-climactic to have such a huge farewell in NY and then to join the company for a final performance. But, perhaps appropriate to give European fans a final farewell, and convenient since he'll presumably be in Denmark at that time anyway.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:21 pm 
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I've seen a lot of comments about Darci Kistler on the internet these last few weeks. I would just like to say that I probably wouldn't have written my final post at all if I hadn't felt that I owed it to her to express how wonderful I thought she was the last two nights that I saw her in Serenade and Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:00 pm 
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For some moral support for my above praise of two of Darci Kistler's performances I would like to post a comment by Sarah Kaufman, Washington Post (article cited at several forums), about a recent NYCB performance in Washington DC.

"Darci Kistler's streaming legato was the keystone of "Serenade." At times she borders on melodramatic, but she isn't afraid of passion. Her expressiveness is as full and daring as her dancing; the way she scoops up Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings" in her arms, or lives those hair-flinging moments of despair at the end as if she were 14 and just lost her first love, is something to see. What I admire most, however, is how she takes up space; tall, broad-shouldered, not sylphlike in the slightest, she seems to push the walls back when she moves."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03921.html

Possibly the photo included with the Sarah Kaufman review will add some more support. My comments about Darci Kistler's performance of "Serenade" had no real qualifications, but somewhat different from Sarah Kaufman I saw Darci Kistler's final moments as being hopeful and inspirational.

"At the end she reaches to the sky and I'm sure that Shakespeare was smiling."


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:32 pm 
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In the Washington Post, Sarah Kaufman reviews the second program of New York City Ballet's appearance at the Kennedy Center: Christopher Wheeldon's "Carousel (A Dance)," Peter Martins' "Zakouskie," Balanchine's "Agon," and Jerome Robbins' "The Concert," plus some added commentary on an alternate cast performance of the first program ("Serenade," "Moves," "Symphony in C"):

Washington Post


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