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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...]

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...]

Making It New

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New York City Ballet:  Premiere of Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit / David H. Koch Theater. NYC / October 5, 2012 Old-time followers of the New York City Ballet used to yearn for “another Balanchine”; today’s fans are more realistic.  They count themselves lucky to discover “another Christopher Wheeldon”—an astute practitioner of the classical craft even if he doesn’t regularly fire the imagination.  At 25, Justin Peck, a member of City Ballet’s corps, stands out in the crowd of aspirants to that status and has already achieved far more.  … [Read more...]

Preview from Seattle

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Works & Process:  Pacific Northwest Ballet / Guggenheim Museum, NYC / September 9 & 10, 2012 The dance programs in the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process series, each a 90-minute presentation that shunts between dancing and talking, are viewed, live, two or three times, in the museum’s tiny theater, and telecast simultaneously from sea to shining sea.  Most often, these lecture-dems serve as preludes to a run in New York; in harsher words the company that’s featured is shilling for its upcoming shows.  The tough practicality of … [Read more...]

Wunderkinder

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The School of American Ballet’s Workshop Performances / Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Lincoln Center, NYC / June 2 matinee and evening; June 5, 2012   School of American Ballet’s Workshop Performances:  Austin Bachman in Peter Martins’ Les Petits Riens Photo:  Paul Kolnik Students at the School of American Ballet and the in-group that cares about it call it, simply, The School, as if it had no equals.  So far it doesn’t, at least in the States.   It’s the training academy of the New York City Ballet, which skims off the cream—according … [Read more...]

Starry Night

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American Ballet Theatre:  Gala / Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, NYC / May 14, 2012 The 15 items presented in American Ballet Theatre’s gala opening night program proceeded, one after another, like items on a To Do list.  The individual numbers, most of them familiar (at least half of them overfamiliar), provided many an occasion for multiple fouettés for the ladies, kamikaze feats both old and startlingly new for the gentlemen, and crises of passion for the couples.  The show fulfilled its ostensible purpose of presenting every … [Read more...]

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