Above: from Claudia Schreier's ballet HARMONIC; photo by Lindsay Perry
Claudia Schreier's award-winning ballet HARMONIC is now on YouTube. Watch it here.
Originally created for Columbia Ballet Collaborative and later staged for Craig Salstein's Intermezzo Dance Company's performances at Vassar, HARMONIC comes to us in this video from the 2014 Breaking Glass competition for female choreographers. Nicole Graniero (ABT), Edward Spots, Nadia Vostrikov and Amber Neff are seen dancing to a magical score: "Motion" by Douwe Eisenga.
HARMONIC won the 2014 Breaking Glass award which provides Claudia with an opportunity to create/present a full evening of dance, to take place in Summer 2015; details of that performance will be forthcoming.
More of Lindsay Perry's images from HARMONIC as performed at the 2014 Breaking Glass Project:
Saturday September 27th, 2014 - The first subscription concert of the New York Philharmonic's 2014-2015 season featured a new clarinet concerto by the Korean composer Unsuk Chin and Mahler's symphony #1. The Mahler evoked one of the most vociferous audience responses I've experienced since I started going to the Philharmonic frequently.
A pre-concert mini-lecture-demo by Maestro Gilbert - with Mr. Kriikku giving some examples of the techniques called for by Unsuk Chin in the clarinet concerto - was somewhat spoilt by the distraction of late seating. Once the concerto proper started, all was well and the audience showed great attentiveness as this new sonic experience unfolded.
Mr. Kriikku's mastery of his instrument was beyond impressive; the clarinet truly became an extension of the artist. He showed an ability to sustain two tones at the same time, to make the ebony resonate at the faintest of volume levels, to wheeze and to squwak, and even to sustain long phrases seemingly without drawing breath.
Ms. Chin draws from aspects of Asian folk music, overlain by textures of sound that are beyond contemporary. These layers are dense but drawn out by the Philharmonic musicians with sterling clarity. A vast array of percussion instruments are called into play, including a wine glass, a washboard, and two fishing reels. The soundscape veers from eerie near-silence to outbursts of intense shreiking from Mr. Kriikku.
Overall, I felt the work (which seemed a bit too long at times) was more impressive than actually pleasing or meaningful. Surely it affords the player an opportunity to extend his range far beyond what might be considered to be in the realm of possibility. But, like much new music these days, neither the heart nor the soul were engaged.
The Mahler 1st, which premiered in Budapest in 1889, is classically referred to as "the Titan"; and while a programme note admonishes the listener from attaching that label to it, surely the final movement is a titanic experience.
Back in 1889, the symphony had five movements instead of the four which we experience today. The composer deleted the original second movement - Blumine ('Bouquet of Flowers') - after the premiere, leaving us with the first movement in which Mahler represents "the waking of Nature after a long Winter" followed by a Scherzo ("The wind in my sails"). In the slow movement that comes next, solo double-bass sets forth the theme based on the French nursery song 'Frère Jacques' (hearing it caused a rustle of appreciation among the audience): the movement depicts "The Hunter's Funeral" with its vision of a hunter's last cortege, the coffin drawn by animals. And at last we reach the epic graudeur of the finale which Mahler called "Dall'Inferno" - From Hell": an outpouring of despair coming from a deeply wounded heart.
These programmatic references in the end seem only to reflect Mahler's desire to connect with the more conservative elements of his audience. The symphony is pure music, from start to finish, whatever allusions one might draw on hearing it. The orchestra gave a huge, glistening performance of the work, with the final movement being particularly magnificent. As the final chord resounded, the audience rose their feet in unison and commenced a long, loud ovation which Maestro Gilbert and the players truly deserved.
Above: from Pontus Lidberg's FAUNE; photo by Nir Arieli
Photographer Nir Arieli has sent me some images from Pontus Lidberg Dance's recent performance at Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate at Pocantico, NY. The Company danced there on August 8th, 2014, in beautiful outdoor setting.
Above: Adrian Danchig-Waring and Georgina Pazcoguin in an excerpt from WITHIN (Labyrinth Within)
Above: Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside in a work-in-progress: a new duet scheduled to premiere at Fall For Dance on October 18th, 2014.
Above: Adrian Danchig-Waring and Nadja Sellrup in TACTILE
Above: Pontus Lidberg Dance in TACTILE
Above: Pontus Lidberg Dance in TACTILE
UPCOMING: Pontus Lidberg Dance will perform Pontus's atmospheric Debussy ballet FAUNE on Saturday October 11th at the Hudson Valley Dance Festival. And on October 18th and 19th, Pontus's duet for Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside will premiere at the annual Fall For Dance Festival at New York's City Center.
Above: at a New York City Ballet rehearsal; photo by Craig Hall
Wednesday September 24th, 2014 - An impressive line-up of favorite dancers in familiar roles, the music of Tchaikovsky, the choreography of Balanchine: what better way for me to start a new season at New York CityBallet?
Under Clothilde Otranto's baton, the four Tchaikovsky scores were nicely served up by the NYC Ballet's intrepid musicians. Tonight was probably considered an 'easy' night for these players: scores they have played dozens of times. They always deserve their spot-lighted 'curtain call' at the end of the evening, and it was good to hear a warm swelling of applause for them tonight.
Ms. Otranto seemed to be favoring fast tempi in SERENADE tonight; the musicians assured that the emotional colours of the music came thru, and the dancers took it all in glorious stride. From curtain-rise, the corps provided an endless panorama of beautiful faces, forms, and personalities. It's funny that I still find myself looking for people like Amanda Edge and Pauline Golbin among these ice-blue-gowned angels: and where's Amanda Hankes tonight? Ah, well, they have danced into other phases of their lives - gone from this stage but never forgotten.
For present loveliness, we have a delectable quartet of demi-solistes: Faye Arthurs, Alina Dronova, Meagan Mann, and Mary Elizabeth Sell. And Gwyneth Muller always moves me as the consoling maternal figure at the end of the ballet.
This was a blondeSERENADE: Sara Mearns, Sterling Hyltin, and Teresa Reichlen all looked sumptuous, especially when their hair came down for the final movement. Sara's luxuriant dancing was given noble grounding by Jared Angle, ever the ideal cavalier. Sterling - her lingering balances spot-on - found just the right mixture of elegance and vivacity, catching the many musical moods in which her 'character' finds herself. Tess was divine lyricism personified, and Adrian Danchig-Waring seemed to have come down from Mount Olympus. The sight of Adrian and Tess crossing the stage together, raising Sara from her dream, and Tess's marvelous slow-turning supported arabesque summed up everything that is SERENADE. The audience responded with a deeply resonant ovation; I am sure there were people in the audience seeing SERENADE for the first time, and I'm sure they will want to see it again.
The quiet radiance of Maria Kowroski's Preghiera in MOZARTIANA showed the great ballerina at her most communicative: the lovely passage with her hands in prayerful attitude was especially evocative tonight, as was the gentle silence of her pin-point bourrées. Later, as the ballet's mood becomes more expansive, Maria's swirling turns and trademark extension were woven into the music with queenly assurance. I couldn't take my eyes off her. Tyler Angle was on fine form, his dancing marking the first of three displays of male virtuosity which had the audience cheering this evening. Maria and Tyler have formed an impressive partnership and I look forward to their future endeavors. The ever-excellent Daniel Ulbricht maintained the elegance of the ballet with his stylish dancing - his Gigue has become a signature role - and the Menuet was graciously performed by Marika Anderson, Megan Johnson, Emily Kikta, and Gwyneth Muller.
A rousing rendition of the TCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX caused the audience to shed any trace of decorum and yell lustily as Ashley Bouder and Gonzalo Garcia traded technical fireworks in a vivid and smile-inducing performance. After a graciously musical adagio, Gonzalo gave an astonishing performance of his solo - some of the best dancing he's ever done - nailing the myriad turns at the end before a final brilliant combination to the knee, expertly timed. The crowd went wild. Ashley then swept thru her own dazzling display of danced coloratura, tossing in spicy little pauses and teasing us with her technical savoir faire. Another roar went up as her solo's final fantastical turns stopped on the proverbial dime. Now with the audience squarely in the palms of their hands, these two magicians of dance swept thru a blazing coda - Ashley's deluxe fouettés yet another savorable moment - and brought down the house.
In the haunted ballroom setting for the Élégie of TCHAIKOVSKY SUITE #3, Rebecca Krohn and Ask LaCour brought tears to my eyes with their poetic evocation of an ideal found...and lost. Rebecca's restless, almost feral allure was captivating to behold. And Ask is so perfect here: covering the space with questing leaps in pursuit of his elusive muse. Their performance moved me deeply, their parting and Ask's sinking back into a reverie of heartache drawing up so many emotions.
Abi Stafford and Justin Peck sustained a mood of mystery in the Valse Mélancolique, Justin's innate sense of drama nearly drawing the coolly captivating Abi into his world. Yet it is she who prevails: at the end he backs away from her, completely under her spell. Abi and Justin are among my favorite dancers to watch; having them cast together here was a very nice gift.
In the Valse, a particularly appealing trio of diverse beauties - Olivia Boisson, Lara Tong, and Claire Kretzschmar - looked fetching in one of the ballet's many featured corps passages.
In a bewitching performance, Erica Pereira spun marvelously thru the plentitude of pirouettes Balanchine demands of her in the Scherzo; her lustrous black hair and shimmering silver-white tulle flowing as she traced a comet-like trajectory around the stage. Antonio Carmena matched Erica's spinning flourishes with his airy leaps; they fly off in opposite directions at the end.
And now we come to the grand finale: Theme and Variations. The recently refurbished costumes for this ballet seem to glow as Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz set forth the elegant opening Theme. Moments later, in her first solo variation, Tiler displayed her epic perfection as a classical ballerina with some truly glorious dancing. The audience showered her with a torrent of applause. The ballet progressed - with excellent suppport from the corps - as Tiler and Joaquin moved continually from one peak of perfection to another. Joaquin's marziale variation was thrillingly executed, the devilishly handsome dancer basking in another avalanche of cheers, the iconic de Luz smile justifiably lighting up. The ballet swept forward, buoyed not only by the two spectacular principals but by a very impressive quartet of demi-solistes: Lauren King, Brittany Pollack, Mary Elizabeth Sell, and Lydia Wellington. Their cavaliers in the finale were Daniel Applebaum, Allen Peiffer, David Prottas and Andrew Scordato.
As Ms. Otranto guided the evening to its triumphant close, the audience burst yet again into a passionate ovation: Tiler and Joaquin - and indeed the entire Company - were saluted at the end of a great evening...a great evening for dance, for Tchaikovsky, and for the enduring magnificence of Mr. B.