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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:14 am 
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I don't usually look at FB, but I was advised that NYCB's FB page has an excerpt from the pas de deux from Soiree Musicale referenced in the above review. That's not all it has.

Awhile back I wrote that although they don't look at all alike, for a variety of reasons Lauren Lovette reminds me of Suzanne Farrell (with an additional aura of youthful innocence). I've also compared Chase Finlay to Peter Martins.

The excerpt from the pas de deux is not the best of it, but it's a good clip that gives a flavor of the dance - and more importantly a opportunity to see Lovette/Finlay on stage. But there's also an image on the FB page of Farrell/Martins. I don't know whether the Farrell/Martins image was uploaded to emphasize the connection that I've been making, and that others see as well. But regardless, it's a great opportunity to compare images of Lovette/Finlay with an image of, and memories of, Farrell/Martins, and to see what I've been writing about.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 12:10 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Wednesday, May 8, 2013 Spring Gala performance for the New York Times.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:04 pm 
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Deborah Jowitt reviews the May 8, 2013 Gala for Arts Journal.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 6:18 pm 
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In the New York Times, Brian Seibert reviews an all Peter Martins program on Tuesday, May 14, 2013: "Calcium Light Night," "Barber Violin Concerto," "River of Light" and "Fearful Symmetries."

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2013 1:38 pm 
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Robert Johnson reviews "Ivesiana" for the Newark Star-Ledger.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Sat May 18, 2013 12:15 pm 
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Brian Seibert reviews the Thursday, May 16, 2013 program of Peter Martins' "Sophisticated Lady," "The Infernal Machine" and "Purple," plus Jerome Robbins' "West Side Story Suite" for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Robert Gottlieb reviews the Peter Martins repertory for the New York Observer.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 11:57 am 
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In the New York Times, Gia Kourlas reviews the Tuesday, May 21, 2013 performance of Balanchine's "Serenade," "Tchaikovsky Pas de deux" and "The Firebird," plus Ulysses Dove's "Red Angels."

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 4:49 pm 
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In Broadway World, Rhys Loggins reviews the Friday, May 17, 2013 performance of Benjamin Millepied's "Two Hearts," Christopher Wheeldon's "Soiree Musicale" and "A Place for Us" and Peter Martins' "Hallelujah Junction."

Broadway World


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:30 am 
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New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
New York, New York

May 19: Sophisticated Lady; The Infernal Machine; Purple [from Ecstatic Orange]; Hallelujah Junction; West Side Story Suite
May 24: Serenade; Ivesiana; Tarantella; Firebird
May 25M: Fancy Free; Carousel (A Dance); West Side Story Suite

-- by Jerry Hochman

It used to be accepted wisdom that New York City Ballet was a choreographers’ company, known more for its famous choreographers than its dancers (a company without stars, as Lincoln Kirstein famously said), as opposed to American Ballet Theatre, which was considered a dancers’ company, known more for its star dancers. This distinction was wrong when I first started seeing ballet, in the Stone Age, and it is wrong now.

With respect to NYCB, few programs demonstrate this more convincingly than the three I saw last week. While the ballets may or may not be classics, the programs were notable for their execution by the NYCB dancers, and in particular the quality of NYCB’s current crop of soloists and young principals. While I’ll discuss the ballets and performances in relative performance order, the highlights for this viewer were Lauren Lovette’s New York debut in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance), for which the word ‘stunning’ would be an understatement; Ashley Laracey’s striking performance in Peter Martins’s The Infernal Machine; Erica Pereira’s outstanding effort in George Balanchine’s Tarantella (opposite Daniel Ulbricht at his best), and all of Sterling Hyltin’s performances, including her debut in Balanchine’s Serenade and her 'routine' performance in Jerome Robbins's Fancy Free.

The final program in NYCB’s three week American Music Festival consisted of four pieces (one of which was an excerpt) created by NYCB’s Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, and one by Robbins. Aside from West Side Story Suite, which I had seen and previously reviewed, two pieces by Mr. Martins that I had not previously seen were particularly impressive.

Mr. Martins has endured years of dismissive critical comments about his choreography. Whether and to what extent this criticism may be valid, it cannot be disputed that he has not yet created masterpieces to match those of his predecessors. That having been said, either I’m getting used to Mr. Martins’s choreography, or the fact that it wasn’t Balanchine or Robbins got in the way of giving it a fair evaluation in prior viewings. Or perhaps it was the performances: those I saw at the May 19 performance were eye-opening.

The Infernal Machine was created by Mr. Martins in 2002 to music by Christopher Rouse (from the trilogy “Phantasmata”, composed in 1985). It is one of those angular, plotless, and seemingly purposeless pas de deux for automatons in motion that show the many ways in which a dancer’s body can be manipulated, and that used to make me wonder why I bothered watching. But this piece was different. It was still stark, angular, and ice cold, but in a different way – it was demonstrating something. It was a mating ritual for overheated [perhaps ‘infernal’ – as in ‘inferno’] sleekly beautiful androids; a Bugaku for the digital age. And as performed by Ashley Laracey and Amar Ramasar, each of whom was extraordinary, it was like watching lightning bolts mate.

Mr. Ramasar is a known quantity, and I have often referred to him as one of the most underrated of NYCB principals. He seems able to partner anyone, and to dance anything, and moves with the controlled explosive force of a panther. But Ms. Laracey is another matter. Perhaps I just missed prior performances in which she was individually featured, but since her promotion to soloist at the end of last season, and as she demonstrated earlier this season in Ivesiana, Ms. Laracey has sparkled with previously unseen brilliance. She can look vacant at times (like Janie Taylor, in a way – who originated the role in this piece), but The Infernal Machine doesn’t call for extraneous facial emotional displays. Whatever emotion is inherent in the piece – and it’s there -- must be transmitted through the execution of the steps alone. Ms. Laracey’s execution was not only flawless: it was delivered with power beneath the serene, sleek surface. Every line and angle and curve was crisp and clear; every move had force behind it, even when the movement became a pose. If Ms. Laracey were a machine, in this piece she was a humanoid Ferrari.

Hallelujah Junction was originally created by Mr. Martins in 2001 for the Royal Danish Ballet, and premiered the following year with NYCB. Choreographed to a 1996 composition of the same name by John Adams, it is a Martins black and white ballet that takes as its inspiration the interlocking music emanating from two pianos positioned above and to the rear of the action, and performed live, with the pianos and pianists partially hidden from view. [Mr. Adams’s piece reportedly was inspired by the junction of two highways at a truck stop in California called Hallelujah Junction.] Led by a principal couple in white and a third, male, dancer in black, they are joined by four women (in black) and four men (in white) who eventually pair up and surround the leads, at times reflecting their movements and at times moving independently. The beauty of the piece is the varied movement quality - slow, fast, jazzy, explosive. Led by Ms. Hyltin, Gonzalo Garcia, and Mr. Ulbricht, it is constantly moving and visually stimulating. The eight supporting dancers who breathed exceptional life into the piece were Lauren King, Ms. Lovette, Ms. Pereira, Brittany Pollack, Daniel Applebaum, Allen Peiffer, Troy Schumacher, and David Prottas. [I’ll discuss one of Ms. Lovette’s other performances later, but I have frequently written that I could not yet judge her ability to handle NYCB-style speed, having never seen her in a role that required it. With Halleljah Junction, now I have. No worries.] The two superb pianists were Cameron Grant and Susan Walters.

Purple is an excerpt (the Second Movement) from Mr. Martins’s Ecstatic Orange, created in 1987 to a commissioned score by Michael Torke. Perhaps I’ll warm to the full piece when I see it again at some future time. For now, however, it had an important function at last Sunday’s performance – it marked the return of Jennie Somogyi after a long recovery from a serious dance injury. Partnered attentively by Jared Angle, she looked, and danced, wonderfully. It’s good to have her back.

The program opened with a repeat performance of Mr. Martins’s Sophisticated Lady, with a smashing Maria Kowroski as the lady in red, and concluded with West Side Story Suite. Andrew Veyette, Mr. Ramasar, Chase Finlay, Ms. Lovette, and the entire supporting cast reprised their superb performances, but this performance was the first time I saw Georgina Pazcoguin as Anita, and she was spectacular.

It’s hard to believe that Sterling Hytin had not yet performed the central role in Serenade, but that seeming oversight has now been corrected. Hers was an auspicious debut in the opening piece on Friday’s program, marred only by a somewhat overly melodramatic entrance. Particularly for a debut, it was an intelligently conceived performance (as Ms. Hyltin's performances always are), with more nuance and character added to a role that is usually played stoically or with extreme and inexplicable pathos. Ms. Hyltin smiled at times (not inappropriately), was a wounded bird, and then a rising angel. Very nicely done. She was abetted by Megan Fairchild, Jared Angle, Adrian Danchig-Waring (replacing Ask la Cour) and Megan LeCrone, each of whom was very good as well (except that Ms. LeCrone added certain smiles to her role at a very wrong time, while as the ‘angel of death’ – though this may have been an unfortunate reflex response while she was being rotated en pointe).

Following a performance of Ivesiana, which I previously reviewed with the same cast (except in this performance Mr. Ramasar partnered Teresa Reichlen in the 'In the Inn' segment - and Ms. Reichlen added far more character and charm than I’d seen in the role the week before), and before the evening concluded with a fabulous performance by Ashley Bouder in Firebird (a friend accurately observed that it looked as if Ms. Bouder had melded with, and emerged from, the Chagall set), the audience was treated to Ms. Pereira and Mr. Ulbricht in Balanchine’s Tarantella pas de deux.

Although by this point Mr. Ulbricht probably can do the male lead role in Tarantella in his sleep, he never phones it in. With Mr. Ulbricht it’s not just athleticism and acrobatics, it's refined artistry. The surprise, however, was Ms. Pereira. I’ve seen her in this role before, and she is always good. Friday night was a watershed for her. She has grown both in confidence and maturity, and she was superb. She not only held her own with Mr. Ulbricht, she played off his ebullience with a performance of exquisitely executed understatement, a surprisingly sensual coquette to balance Mr. Ulbricht’s nearly over-the-top stallion. The two of them, understandably, brought the house down.

Yesterday afternoon’s performance was notable for a delightful rendition of Robbins’s classic Fancy Free, led by Mr. Ulbricht, Tyler Angle, and Andrew Veyette, each one wonderful and each one touchingly hilarious (Mr. Ulbricht a hyperactive puppy dog, Mr. Angle the sweet sailor boy, and Mr. Veyette a would-be latin lover). But for this viewer the star of the piece was Ms. Hyltin as the ‘second’ girl. I’ve seen the role danced more brashly (for example, by Ms. Pazcoguin earlier this season), but Ms. Hyltin was sweeter and more real. Never haughty or dismissive, she was the classy-looking girl who turned out to be the girl next door. Ms. Hyltin’s well thought-out interpretation and execution converted what might normally be considered a secondary role to one of equal importance to the three sailors.

The performance concluded with a repeat of West Side Story Suite. Faye Arthurs as Maria did a good job, but seemed more distant and less dramatically involved than others I’ve seen.

But the story of yesterday afternoon’s program was Ms. Lovette’s debut in Carousel (A Dance). I had previously seen the piece with Tiler Peck and Mr. Veyette, and because my expectations for the piece were unfulfilled, I wasn’t thrilled (despite superb performances). I see the dance more clearly now on second view, and although I don’t love it, I can appreciate the inventive stagecraft and the way it awakens memories of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical with a minimum of plot references. What makes the piece (aside from the creation of the ‘carousel’ by the dancers, which I've described previously), is the central pas de deux – one of Mr. Wheeldon’s finest. And what made the pas de deux were the performances of Ms. Lovette and Robert Fairchild.

Mr. Fairchild was marvelously in character throughout the performance as he always is when characterization is called for (although the character - not specifically identified but it's Billy Bigelow - is relatively, and appropriately, wooden), and partnered Ms. Lovette to perfection, as he partners every ballerina with whom he shares the stage. He knew when to be there for her, and his gallant performance helped make hers as successful as it was. But Mr. Fairchild also knew it was Ms. Lovette's show. And it was.

The best romantic pas de deux, when performed by dancers who are able to transmit more than the emotional force that may be inherent in the steps alone, transcends the proscenium and brings the audience in. For example, a pas de deux such as the balcony scene in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet can be, and I think must be, a subjective as well as objective experience. Audience members don’t only admire the dancers’ skill, they feel the passion, and share the passion with the dancer. As I’ve described previously, when the balcony scene is danced to perfection, no one watching moves – the connection between the audience and the dancer is so strong that no one stirs in their seat until the cathartic release at the pas de deux’s conclusion. Until it ends, you can hear a pin drop.

Though it doesn’t have the pyrotechnics of the MacMillan pas de deux, the pas de deux in Carousel (A Dance) requires a broader range of emotional display for the ballerina. In addition to passion and joy, she must also communicate awakening, growth, apprehension, and resignation for the audience to believe it’s real - Julie Jordan's full panoply of emotions in a nutshell. Ms. Lovette’s performance not only clearly transmitted these emotional qualities, it went a step beyond – she conveyed the sincerity and believability to bring the audience in. It wasn’t just the nature of the choreography; it’s more – it's something about the way she delivers it (or as I’ve previously written, something in the way she moves). A credible luminosity. And she does this, intentionally or not, in every performance that requires transmittal of character. In what seems like a very long time ago, this viewer observed that Ms. Lovette transmits dramatic and emotional force with every step she takes, full to the fingertips. So she did with Carousel (A Dance). And throughout the pas de deux the audience was dead silent. You could hear a pin drop. When it ended (in this piece, the pas de deux doesn’t as much end as it segues into the next ‘scene’), the audience’s release of tension was palpable. For this viewer, it was as if I had to relearn how to breathe.

Except at some galas and some premieres, NYCB audiences don’t do standing ovations. During the exceptionally enthusiastic but stereotypical NYCB sitting ovation that greeted the cast, and particularly Ms. Lovette, at the performance's conclusion, I saw several audience members separate themselves from the seated mass and stand, with upraised hands applauding this magnificent performance.

Ms. Lovette has a long way to go yet (no full length roles, to date), and can’t yet do – or hasn’t been asked to do – what NYCB principals routinely can. But there’s no doubt that she already commands a following. For a choreographer’s company, a company without stars, NYCB now has another.

edited for typos and removal of an ill chosen word on 5/28
and then found another typo


Last edited by balletomaniac on Tue May 28, 2013 6:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:42 am 
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Jerry, you're at least as prolific as Gia Kourlas (NY Times, Time Out NY). Have either of you missed anything this season? I'm trying to keep up with both of you in my reading. 'It ain't easy.' Thanks a lot and keep the reviews and comments rolling in.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Tue May 28, 2013 6:45 am 
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Thanks again, Buddy. It's good to know someone actually reads this.


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 7:49 pm 
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Alastair Macaulay reviews the Tuesday, May 28, 2013 performance of Jerome Robbins' "The Cage," "Andantino" and "Interplay" plus Balanchine's "Western Symphony" for the New York Times.

NY Times


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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 5:35 am 
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Thanks, Jerry, for yet another fine and totally comprehensive review. I was particularly interested in your enthusiastic description of Lauren Lovette in the pas de deux (duet) from Christopher Wheeldon's "Carousel." As I've said before I've had very little chance to see NYCB perform and, based on what you've been writing, I truly look forward to seeing my first Lauren Lovette performance.

I totally agree with you about the power and beauty of the "Romeo and Juliet" balcony (garden) duet and I would include the Russian version(s?) and the ballroom (terrace) and bedroom duets (Russian and MacMillan?). I can only recall seeing one Christopher Wheeldon duet live, although I've seen several on the internet, and they *Captivate* me. I certainly look forward to seeing this one.

The one that I did see several times live was "Liturgy" performed by Miami City Ballet ballerina Haiyan Wu, an absolutely lovely dancer from the National Ballet of China, who left MCB after several years for the Oregon Ballet Theatre. This once again brings up thoughts of lyrical beauty. For me she was the lyrical gem that rounded out the company's more 'animated' Balanchine feel beautifully. I think that there is a definite place for dancers like her in the world of Balanchine. I've written about this before in commenting on how well I like the way that the Mariinsky is interpreting his works. I was able to see two NYCB performances of Peter Martin's "The Sleeping Beauty" last February and a dancer who really stood out in my mind was Ana Sophia Scheller (in the lead) because of her similar quality in her beautifully lyrical Act I performance.

You also often mention Sterling Hyltin. I've only seen her once, years ago, performing "The Lady with The Little Dog" and I way very impressed with how she was able to dance the very physically demanding choreography and still be able to be so beautifully expressive.

[several minor changes made for clarity]


Last edited by Buddy on Fri May 31, 2013 5:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: New York City Ballet 2012-2013 Season
PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 8:55 am 
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Jerry, as an addendum to your depthful description of the duet from Christopher Wheeldon's “Carousel: A Waltz” I just found this May 30 article describing how he likes to create. (I'm not sure where this was first posted, but thank you)

"Later, the British-born Wheeldon (now based in New York) explained that other than the counts, he does little advance work for his ballets.

“I used to drive myself crazy over it — I would think I should have it all planned,” he said. “But that’s just not the way I do it. I like to create the movement on the dancers, because they all look different and they all move differently. I’m not too interested in being in a studio on my own, making movements that work for my body.” His process starts with the notebook, then moves to the studio and with the dancers “trying as hard as possible to lay out a structure, as quickly as possible, so I can then go in and start to really work it and play with the ideas and shift the movement and layer it.” "

Also, I really wanted an excuse to include this.

"He’s also developing a Broadway musical which he will direct and choreograph “in the next two years.” (Wheeldon declined to name the project, saying it hadn’t been officially announced, but The New York Times reported last summer that it was a new stage version of the Gene Kelly movie “An American in Paris.”) "

Wow ! :D

http://mobile.seattletimes.com/story/to ... ack-.-.-./


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