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Kistler's Farewell


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#1 Drew

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 07:09 PM

I have been hoping all day to read about this performace on Ballet Talk. Anybody?

#2 carbro

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Posted 27 June 2010 - 11:25 PM

I had planned not to attend but to slip in to catch a bit of the presentations at the end, but alas, I miscalculated and arrived to see a nearly deserted auditorium, and on the cleared stage, a few dancers and perhaps staff or family members, a photogapher taking last pics of Peter Martins hugging his Swan Queen. An usher chased the dozen or so stragglers out before I had a chance to identify anyone else on the stage, which by then had been swept nearly free of confetti.

With a same-day review, the Post seems to be the first one in.

#3 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 06:08 AM

I thought the performance got better as it went on. I thought she looked very tense the whole time, which I suppose isn't surprising (but contrasts with Alessandra Ferri and Kyra Nichols who looked totally carefree at their farewells).

Anyway, Monumentum and Movements looked tentative, and so all of those arabesques where the ballerina pulls herself off balance looked to me like mistakes instead of intentional movements. And the ballets as a whole didn't have the same crisp impact they did with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in DC a couple of weeks ago.

Midsummer Night's Dream was sweet and charming, as it always is. I was sad to see that Kistler cheated almost all of the arabesques (secabesques), and I'm not sure why since her extension to the back was fine in Movement/Monumentum.
Funny to see Henry Seth switch roles from Bottom to Rothbart in Swan Lake.

I liked Danses Concertantes, which I had never seen before. It's kind of a compendium of ideas and themes that he explored more fully and more effectively in other, greater ballets. But it's a lot of fun to watch -- and the costumes are gorgeous. Good fit for Megan Fairchild.

Swan Lake was gorgeous. This is where Kistler finally came alive. I'm not a huge fan of Martins's SL in general, but I do think the final act is very effective. And the ending -- the backlighting as the sun rises, and then Odette and then other swan corps bourréeing back off into the wings -- was absolutely beautiful and a wonderful, fitting way to end the performance and her career as a principal. I am very happy to have that memory as my final image of Darci's dancing.

(I do have to comment on Rothbart's costume though. Has the cape always been orange like that? And orange streaks in his hair? I don't remember him looking like someone dressed in a cheap Halloween devil costume in the past. Maybe I just blocked it out?)

The goodbyes at the end were quite sweet. Albert Evans, Jock Soto and someone else I'm 90% sure was Bob LaFosse came back to present her with roses, as did Yvonne Bourree. Maria Korowski, Ashley Bouder and Kistler's partners from the evening (Charles Askegard, Jared Angle, Sebastian Marcovici). They came out individually, while the younger principals came out as a group. Kistler's mother and brothers were there as well, which was nice. And Peter Martins and Talicia, of course.

Overall it was a wonderful afternoon.

#4 kfw

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 11:23 AM

Thanks for posting, cinnamonswirl, and thanks for that lovely image of Kistler boureeing off at sunrise. carbro, I remember that you decided long ago not to attend Kistler's final performance because you wanted to remember her better days. I'm sorry that you missed the celebration afterward, but thanks for that little glimpse. I've been marking the retirement here by rewatching recordings of her dancing.

#5 Helene

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 09:46 AM

Okay, mea culpa, I am as guilty as anyone, but it's time to bring the topic back on course: Darci Kistler's retirement. Edited: on second thought, I've created a new thread to discuss "Farewell Performances and Criticism":

http://ballettalk.in...t=0#entry269621

I've moved all of the posts about his criticism of Ms. Kistler's retirement there, for further discussion of the general topic of criticism with regard to farewell performances.

The purpose of these forums is to discuss performances seen. Did anyone else see the performance?

#6 Dale

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:07 AM

I attended on Sunday. I am one of those people who chose not to attend many Kistler performances of late. I agree with the description of Kistler's early dancing in the NY Times review. I cherished her dancing up until about 1995. Some of my favorite performances were her early Symphony in Cs, that crazy, electric Elegy from Suite No. 3. I remember one perfect night of ballet - I went with my mother. I think our seats were the last in the 4th ring. Lopez in Firebird, Kistler and Zelensky in Swan Lake and then Kistler and Zelensky in the final movement of Vienna Waltzes. So wonderful. Kistler had this ability to just lose herself in the choreography and become this essence. And then there was that golden halo of light that just seemed to follow her around. I treasure her Dance in America perf of Serenade with Nichols and Calegari. Those three dancers - that video is like a merging of them at maybe their career best (1990). In fact, Anita Finkel wrote a prophetic essay about those three in the late 80s. In it, she pointed out weaknesses in Kistler's dancing that only become apparent to me around 1998 -- the mannerisms, the growing tendency to indicate steps with her arms rather than dancing them with her legs, the eccentricities. Instead of letting that golden halo find her, she seemingly sought hungrily for it.

But that's in the past. I went to give my tribute - to stand and clap and shout Brava. There's no doubt in my mind that she loves ballet, loves Balanchine and I hope she continues to spread that around to her students at SAB. Her farewell was well planned and executed - although maybe I wouldn't have chosen M/M. The ending was perfect. She performed well in the Swan Lake. She has always had maybe some of the most beautiful bourrees. They were lovely as she, for the last time on stage, found that golden light and rode it to the end.

#7 papeetepatrick

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 10:18 AM

the growing tendency to indicate steps with her arms rather than dancing them with her legs,


That is precisely what I was often seeing in Serenade in 2004, but not ballet-literate enough to articulate it. There was a somewhat matronly feel to it, but I still enjoyed her lilt, she always has that.

#8 jimmattimore

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 01:05 PM


the growing tendency to indicate steps with her arms rather than dancing them with her legs,


That is precisely what I was often seeing in Serenade in 2004, but not ballet-literate enough to articulate it. There was a somewhat matronly feel to it, but I still enjoyed her lilt, she always has that.


I have always loved Darci, even in the 90s and 2000s, but obviously at 46 she no longer had the chops to do all those roles.

Yes, I think she was tense until SL, when she shone beatifully.

I love/hate these farewells, but yes Allesandra and Kyra were much more relaxed.

I 've met her many times at SAB and she is a wonderful and kind teacher.

Jim Mattimore


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