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Week 1 NYCB Rep Performances


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#1 abatt

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:24 AM

Wendy Whelan was sublime in Chaconne. Durign the initial pdd w. Philip Neal, she seemed to be floating on air. I also thought Abi Stafford did a good job in the Four T's w. Jared Angle. Lots of angularity and attack. Jared, as always, was a wonderful partner. Marcovici was pretty bad, in my opinion, in Meloncholic. He has little flexibiliy in his back, and not much stretch in his upper body. He looked like he was just going through the motions. I guess I've been spoiled by seeing the same role performed by the excellent men of SFB recently, and also by the many performances I recall of Peter Boal in this same role. Tess was fantastic in the Choleric section. Albert Evans wobbled quite a bit in the section of Phlegmatic where he must balance on one foot while holding his other leg. However, the rest of his performance was very well done. Ben Millipied shot around the stage like a rocket in Voices of Spring. Borree did a respectable job, although there were some rocky moments. Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle (looking very gallant) were delightful in the Tales from the Vienna Woods section. I decided to leave after Voices of Spring due to the impending rain storm. Will catch the full Vienna Waltzes later this week.

#2 balanchinette

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 09:52 AM

I agree that Wendy was great in the initial Chaconne pdd. Just ethereal! It's the first time I've seen her that I've been reminded of the Suzanne Farrell clips I've seen (esp with her hair down). Her "swimming in air" steps were breathtaking, and kudos to Philip Neal for some very smooth low lifts that had Wendy just skimming across the floor. Neal was really on his game last night, with multiple turns and beats. I thought Wendy handled the faster bits (turns etc) in the second pdd really well. I hope Maria is just as good in the fast parts when she does it. Erica Pereira subbed for Ana Sophia Scheller and was very, very good. She must be one of the company's best turners, just consistent, full, beautiful double turns throughout. Her partner was a little rough with her at first, it seemed -- maybe they didn't get that much rehearsal time together.

The 4Ts was much better than I'd been expecting -- very sharp and musical. Apart from an accidental slip on the floor, Jared Angle was great. If only he were a bit taller, he could be the next Chuck Askegard, partner supreme! I thought all the women looked really strong, and Abi Stafford gave one of her best performances. Albert Evans is looking more streamlined this season - a definite plus. Marcovici did better than I thought he would (I last saw him as a lumbering, rough Cavalier in the Nutcracker). He actually has decent leg extension. The standout of 4Ts was Tess Reichlen -- she has great stage presence now, wow! I want to see her do TP2 again, like, now! Why, why, why is she not a principal??

Vienna Waltzes received a decent performance. The biggest surprise was Yvonne Borree in the waltz that I'd last seen Miranda Weese and Damian do. While she was no Miranda, I was shocked at how well she was dancing -- I was bracing myself for the trembly arms but they were nowhere to be found! And she actually jumped pretty well and even did a decent double pirouette. I kept checking my glasses to be sure it was her (I've never seen her dance over the last 5 or so years where she wasn't all but overcome by the shakes). Benjamin Millepied seems like a good influence on her -- he looked happy to be jumping around on stage last night, too. The most disappointing thing about Vienna Waltzes last night was Darci Kistler (ick) -- she has zero flexibility in her back and every gesture seemed too exaggerated and mannered -- when she lifts the tail of her gown up it has to be higher than every other woman, to the extent that that the dress is bunched up around her calves! Yuck. I last saw Kyra Nichols do this, and what a difference. As always, the final waltz is just breathtaking, with all those beautiful dresses and all the handsome men in tails! (Chuck Askegard, as always, was the consummate partner. I felt he was wasted on Darci). I'm hoping that someone else other than Darci will be dancing the "woman alone" role this season....

#3 abatt

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 10:06 AM

Thanks for your thoughts. I too was surprised that Borree could muster an respectable performance in VW. I think I have come to expect a very low standard where she is concerned, so when she does an adequate job I'm impressed. As for the final section of VW, I have been going to NYCB for over 10 years, and I don't recall ever seeing anyone other than Nichols and Kistler cast in the lead. Now that Kyra is gone, I fear that this role will become the exclusive property of Kistler until she finally decides to retire. Wendy was soooo good in Chaconne I may have to make a return visit on Thurs. just to see that performance again!

#4 DeborahB

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 11:55 AM

Vienna Waltzes received a decent performance. The biggest surprise was Yvonne Borree in the waltz that I'd last seen Miranda Weese and Damian do. While she was no Miranda, I was shocked at how well she was dancing -- I was bracing myself for the trembly arms but they were nowhere to be found! And she actually jumped pretty well and even did a decent double pirouette. I kept checking my glasses to be sure it was her (I've never seen her dance over the last 5 or so years where she wasn't all but overcome by the shakes). Benjamin Millepied seems like a good influence on her -- he looked happy to be jumping around on stage last night, too. The most disappointing thing about Vienna Waltzes last night was Darci Kistler (ick) -- she has zero flexibility in her back and every gesture seemed too exaggerated and mannered -- when she lifts the tail of her gown up it has to be higher than every other woman, to the extent that that the dress is bunched up around her calves! Yuck. I last saw Kyra Nichols do this, and what a difference. As always, the final waltz is just breathtaking, with all those beautiful dresses and all the handsome men in tails! (Chuck Askegard, as always, was the consummate partner. I felt he was wasted on Darci). I'm hoping that someone else other than Darci will be dancing the "woman alone" role this season....


I was also there last night (and will be there tomorrow for the same program). I won't comment on much of this (as I think it's been covered enough). One thing -- Jared Angle is a much better dancer than Chuck A, even if he's a little shorter). One thing that I do find appallling - the Darci bashing in this post. Okay, she's not as good as she was when she was a kid. However, she's deserves (and has earned) respect; those of us who have watched her since she was 16 tend to make allowances (at least I do). Saying "ick" about Darci? Disgusting! The cast is listed in advance -- I suggest NOT going to her performances if you are going to
be so very disrespeciful. And just for the record -- Darci shows her love of dance during her performance. We can't say that about some others.
As for the comments about Yvonne -- also over-the-top (and not in a good way). Don't go if she's cast! (so you won't have to look for the negative. There is a reason for her shakes by the way, but she perserves -- good for her!).

#5 balanchinette

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:13 PM

I was also there last night (and will be there tomorrow for the same program). I won't comment on much of this (as I think it's been covered enough). One thing -- Jared Angle is a much better dancer than Chuck A, even if he's a little shorter). One thing that I do find appallling - the Darci bashing in this post. Okay, she's not as good as she was when she was a kid. However, she's deserves (and has earned) respect; those of us who have watched her since she was 16 tend to make allowances (at least I do). Saying "ick" about Darci? Disgusting! The cast is listed in advance -- I suggest NOT going to her performances if you are going to
be so very disrespeciful. And just for the record -- Darci shows her love of dance during her performance. We can't say that about some others.
As for the comments about Yvonne -- also over-the-top (and not in a good way). Don't go if she's cast! (so you won't have to look for the negative. There is a reason for her shakes by the way, but she perserves -- good for her!).


I think we're all entitled to our opinions of the dancers we see. And just because I'm not fond of one of the dancers in a ballet doesn't mean I won't go see the ballet. I would argue that your post is much more disrespectful in its way than anything I said above. I would hope that the moderators of this forum don't condone the bashing of other posters and calling them "disgusting", as you have written above. If anything is going to discourage people from posting, then it's calling other posters names. I am not alone in having observed Yvonne Borree's issues on the stage. I am not privy, as you appear to be, to any of the reasons for them, all I am commenting on is what I see in the performance. And in case you hadn't noticed, I was actually commenting on how well she danced last night.

#6 abatt

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 12:19 PM

At ABT it is easy to avoid dancers you don't want to see because ABT primarily does full length ballets. It's difficult to avoid the dancers you don't want to see at NYCB because there are usually multiple works from the rep on each program, and a mix of principals. For example, for those in the audience who prefer not to see Darci, that would mean skipping all performances of the All Balanchine program consisting of Chaconne, the 4Ts and VW, Darci is cast every night in the same role. Same for Borree in VW- she is cast in every performance this week of that program. (Fairchild gets the role next week for the one night only show in honor of SAB.) Isn't the point of this board for people to discuss and share their thoughts and observations, even if they are sometimes negative? You also intimate that there is a medical reason for Borree's shakes. While we can sympathize with any physical difficulties and challenges that are faced by performers, that doesn't mean we can, or should, shut our eyes to the effects on the performer's abilities on stage,or pretend that there is no effect on their performances. (Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson disease, had to basically end his acting career because of the shaking caused by the disease. ) Personally, I didn't see Darci at the apex of her powers, since I started going to NYCB about 10 years ago. I'm sure lots of people will never forget how great she was, but that doesn't mean that we have to turn a blind eye to the quality of her current performances, does it?

#7 Helene

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 02:09 PM

[ADMIN BEANIE ON]

Ballet Talk policy is very clear: we are a discussion board, and as long as the posts remain respectful -- i.e. no bashing of personality or physical attributes like the size of someone's nose -- we welcome criticism as well as praise.

Policy is also very clear that discussing the discussion is off-limits, and if anyone has a problem with a post, the appropriate action is to use the "report" button, to PM a moderator, or to send email through the "Contact Us" link. It is the Moderatos' responsibility to determine if a post has crossed the line.

We are not a fan board, and if what appears here is too harsh for individual members, then they are encouraged to skip threads that, from experience, are likely to offend them.

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#8 richard53dog

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 02:14 PM

As for the comments about Yvonne -- also over-the-top (and not in a good way). Don't go if she's cast! (so you won't have to look for the negative. There is a reason for her shakes by the way, but she perserves -- good for her!).


Deborah, it's fine to have a positive attitude and all, but I don't agree with your assessment of the "harsh" and "mean" and "oot" criticism of NYCB and some of it's dancers. I think it's legitimate to criticize.

And you oversimplify on the casting. Trust me, I advoid Borree like the PLAGUE. I know there is no point in my going to any of her performances. Other posters have commented on the trickiness of avoiding individual dancers in mixed rep performances. Let me point out too the dreaded cast changes.
I went to a Nutcracker and was very unpleasantly suprised to have the program list Borree instead of Bouder as SPF. I understand dancers need to be replaced and all but I did my best to avoid Borree and got to see her anyway. And sorry for the negativity but she was awful. Not just the shaking and wobbling but she was unable to complete many of the trickier steps. And I've seen many of these same mistakes in the SAME role before. She simply doesn't belong on that stage.

Not to gang up on you or anything......

#9 carbro

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 03:30 PM

We are not a fan board, and if what appears here is too harsh for individual members, then they are encouraged to skip threads that, from experience, are likely to offend them.

I would go further and point out that this board has a feature that allows anyone to IGNORE posts. Go to your Control Panel (the link is toward the right side near the top of the screen). When you get there, see the Menu along the left side, and towards the foot, under Options, you'll see Manage Ignored Users. You can enter the user name of anyone who regularly offends you. Presto! Not an issue! :jawdrop:

Of course, that cuts down on the respectful and lively give-and-take that makes BalletTalk, under the best circumstances, so stimulating.

On a personal note, I will be missing the excellent program altogether because of the presence of one or more dancers whom I consider "must avoid".

#10 DeborahB

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:30 PM

We are not a fan board, and if what appears here is too harsh for individual members, then they are encouraged to skip threads that, from experience, are likely to offend them.

I would go further and point out that this board has a feature that allows anyone to IGNORE posts. Go to your Control Panel (the link is toward the right side near the top of the screen). When you get there, see the Menu along the left side, and towards the foot, under Options, you'll see Manage Ignored Users. You can enter the user name of anyone who regularly offends you. Presto! Not an issue! :jawdrop:

Of course, that cuts down on the respectful and lively give-and-take that makes BalletTalk, under the best circumstances, so stimulating.

On a personal note, I will be missing the excellent program altogether because of the presence of one or more dancers whom I consider "must avoid".


I never called "Balanchinette "disgusting", but the comments. I stand by that.
In the meantime, I'll take a break from this website for a while. The comments are often too negative and I find that depressing.

#11 DeborahB

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 06:59 PM

As for the comments about Yvonne -- also over-the-top (and not in a good way). Don't go if she's cast! (so you won't have to look for the negative. There is a reason for her shakes by the way, but she perserves -- good for her!).


Deborah, it's fine to have a positive attitude and all, but I don't agree with your assessment of the "harsh" and "mean" and "oot" criticism of NYCB and some of it's dancers. I think it's legitimate to criticize.

And you oversimplify on the casting. Trust me, I advoid Borree like the PLAGUE. I know there is no point in my going to any of her performances. Other posters have commented on the trickiness of avoiding individual dancers in mixed rep performances. Let me point out too the dreaded cast changes.
I went to a Nutcracker and was very unpleasantly suprised to have the program list Borree instead of Bouder as SPF. I understand dancers need to be replaced and all but I did my best to avoid Borree and got to see her anyway. And sorry for the negativity but she was awful. Not just the shaking and wobbling but she was unable to complete many of the trickier steps. And I've seen many of these same mistakes in the SAME role before. She simply doesn't belong on that stage.

Not to gang up on you or anything......


No worries here. I'm not made of glass. Also, we are all entitlted to our own opinion (and as a NYCB goer of 30 years I have a pretty good frame of reference. Plus I'm connected to the media,
and am a bit of a NYCB insider, so I'm no novice). That said, I often find there's too much negativity about certain dancers (and the company) on this board, and I'm just not as interested in reading these opinions as I once was (thus my bowing out, at least for now). Happy New Year all!

#12 bart

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 08:05 PM

Since the topic has shifted a bit .... I'll chime in. Although I am no longer able to attend NYCB performances, I did so for decades and am quite familiar with the phenomenon of dancers I'd rather not have to watch but who were, by some whim of the casting gods, ALWAYS THERE when I had tickets.

I understand the feelings of those who like to describe inadequacies in detail and name names. Dancing at one of the world's top companies does create high expectations. It also exposes you inevitably to criticism of the most exacting kind.

However, my own feeling is that, when posting about such performances, I'd rather focus on the dancers I did like and was interested in -- and why. Those I consider to be clunkers can be passed over for the most part.

Carbro, I'm fascinated to find that there is an Option to "Manage Ignored Users" by, I assume, zapping them into invisibility. I didn't know this.

On one hand, it's a wonderful tribute to those who designed this Board -- you've thought of EVERYTHING !!! On the other hand, I have never actually read a post that made me feel strongly enough to do away with the poster. (Violation of Board rules are the exception.)

If I used this Opinion, I'd always worry that -- by missing the person's NEXT POST -- I'd be depriving myself of something interesting, informative and useful. :)

#13 Helene

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Posted 07 January 2009 - 08:54 PM

If someone on your "ignore" list is quoted, the "ignore" feature doesn't suppress the quote :)

#14 BSS

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 05:46 AM

I just finished reading the times review of NYCB opening night for the winter season by Mr Alastair Macaulay he says “Chaconne” pas de deux, the WOMAN seems to want to revolve faster than her partner allows: an image of endearing impetuosity. For years this critic has made fun and sometimes been extremely NASTY to many in the art of dance. That being said his statements about the pas de deux were fine. I just want to point out to him that he is not perfect like he makes himself out to be. I love the part where he says THE WOMAN maybe if he looked at his insert in the program he would have seen that THE WOMAN was Erica Pereira. To Mr Macaulay next time you review a performance and there is an insert in the program maybe you should look at it. Nothing like having all the facts correct when you are writing a story MR MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#15 EAW

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 06:55 AM

I just finished reading the times review of NYCB opening night for the winter season by Mr Alastair Macaulay he says “Chaconne” pas de deux, the WOMAN seems to want to revolve faster than her partner allows: an image of endearing impetuosity. For years this critic has made fun and sometimes been extremely NASTY to many in the art of dance. That being said his statements about the pas de deux were fine. I just want to point out to him that he is not perfect like he makes himself out to be. I love the part where he says THE WOMAN maybe if he looked at his insert in the program he would have seen that THE WOMAN was Erica Pereira. To Mr Macaulay next time you review a performance and there is an insert in the program maybe you should look at it. Nothing like having all the facts correct when you are writing a story MR MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I suggest you go back and reread the article. In the sentence you mention, Macaulay is describing the choreography, not the performance, so it is appropriate for him to say what the woman always does at this point as opposed to what a particular dancer did that night. Whatever you think of Macaulay as a critic, you do yourself no favors by broadcasting your misunderstanding here.


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