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Something Old, Something New

13Lilac_Leo Smillier

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty:  A Gothic Romance / New York City Center / October 23 – November 3, 2013 Matthew Bourne, who has changed classical ballet into sheer—often outrageous, often delicious—entertainment, has just brought to New York the last of his three works based on the glowing inheritance from the nineteenth century.  Having tackled Swan Lake, with its deeply touching corps of male swans, and a Nutcracker that has changed many an audience dad from a guy reluctantly doing his duty toward his kids into an engaged spectator, he … [Read more...]

Enterprises that Require New Clothes

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New York City Ballet / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / September 17 – October 13, 2013 On September 19, with considerable fanfare in the media, the New York City Ballet gave its Fall gala.  The orchestra was raised on a platform, liberated from the pit that is its usual home, to let the spectators ogle the musicians.  The downstairs portion of the audience, many of them clearly one-percenters, was outfitted in expensive-date-night costume.  Plenty to look at without a dancer yet in sight.  Then the musicians charged the air … [Read more...]

Glimpses #13: Sara Mearns Away from Home

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Sara Mearns, studio portrait Sara Mearns, the object of fervid admiration as a principal with the New York City Ballet, is paying a visit to Fall for Dance.  This annual event, which showcases bits of every kind of dance imaginable (something for everyone, so to speak, and at a reasonable price), is sheltered at City Center and often sells out—to an audience of both newbies and old hands. In this year’s opening program, the audience got to see a ballerina who doesn’t conform to any of the usual types we view nowadays:  the lyrical, frangible … [Read more...]

A Cheated Flight

New York City Ballet / David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / September 17 – October 13, 2013 The New York City Ballet opened its fall season at the David H. Koch Theater with a week of Swan Lakes—broken only by a trio of new works for the gala on September 19.  The version was Peter Martins’s, which, typically, illustrates the choreographer’s adamant conviction that “less is more.”  Needless to say, the stubbornly “clean” edition is likely to make a newbie viewer wonder what, indeed, this legendary piece is about.  In its more … [Read more...]

Onward

Wendy Whelan knows how to make her “sunset years,” so to speak, work well as a much-admired principal dancer—a veteran of over a quarter-century with the New York City Ballet.  With this company, astute technique has become an essential—indeed the foremost—of a star dancer’s attributes, competing only with musicality, which is not Whelan’s primary forte.  And, at the age of 47, some of this ballerina’s technical prowess, which was distinctive as she displayed it, is naturally failing her.  Anatomy is remorseless. Of late, presumably … [Read more...]

Youth in Bloom

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To call the School of American Ballet “selective” is an amusing understatement.  It’s the training ground in the U.S. for potential professional classical dancers (who must, of course, begin on the path as children) and the alma mater of a majority of the performers in the New York City Ballet. School of American Ballet Workshop Performances:  Jordan Miller and Alejandro Ocasio in George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 Photo:  Paul Kolnik The academy draws students who show basic potential for the trade to which they aspire in anatomy, … [Read more...]

Keeping Count

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In Creases does well enough as a title for Justin Peck’s latest work for the New York City Ballet because you understand the reference to arithmetic in the punning title.  And Peck—on whom the company may be pinning its choreographic hopes—keeps to his subject matter doggedly by manipulating his eight dancers.  Grouping and regrouping, they make you pay keen attention to the shifting clusters’ numbers.  Still the ballet’s title doesn’t arouse much excitement or joy; neither—alas—does the choreography. Robert Fairchild in Justin Peck's In … [Read more...]

Dvorovenko Moves On

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Irina Dvorovenko as Polyhymnia in George Balanchine’s Apollo Photo:  Marty Sohl On May 18, Irina Dvorovenko gave her final performance with American Ballet Theatre as Tatiana in John Cranko’s Onegin.  She plans to continue dancing elsewhere as a guest artist. Portrait of Dvorovenko Photo:  Gene Schiavone Interestingly, she probably has a higher rating for good looks than any—except, perhaps, for Julie Kent­­—­­of the illustrious ballerinas who have danced with the company in, say, the last decade.  This just proves, once again, that in … [Read more...]

On Balanchine’s “Ivesiana”

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“I don’t have to tell you that Mr. B is with Mozart and Tschaikovsky and Stravinsky,” Lincoln Kirstein announced to the New York City Ballet audience, exactly 30 years before the company’s April 30 opening night this season.  The program, which inaugurated City Ballet’s three-week American Music Festival attracted a good house and fervid audience enthusiasm for two big pieces easy on both eye and spirit:  Who Cares? to Gershwin songs (their lyrics unsung, but engraved in popular memory; Tiler Peck at her familiar finest) and Stars and Stripes … [Read more...]

Onward

NYCB principal dancer Wendy WhelanCREDIT: David Michalek

Wendy Whelan knows how to make her “sunset years,” so to speak, work well as a much-admired principal dancer—a veteran of over a quarter-century with the New York City Ballet.  With this company, astute technique has become an essential—indeed the foremost—of a star dancer’s attributes, competing only with musicality, which is not Whelan’s primary forte.  And, at the age of 47, some of this ballerina’s technical prowess, which was distinctive as she displayed it, is naturally failing her.  Anatomy is remorseless. Of late, presumably conforming … [Read more...]

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