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Sarah

After attending an open rehearsal of Dances at a Gathering last week, and seeing the promise of the performances, I bought tickets to see Saturday's program which was identical to the one you saw on Tuesday.

All I can say is you hit the nail on the head about the performances. Your review is beautifully written and I couldn't have said it better myself. Antonio Carmena and Ashley Bouder's PDD stood out for me on Satruday, especially because they kept up with Susaan (the pianist's) tempo without missing a step, and Susan was playing faster then I have ever heard her play!

I loved it so much, in fact, that I am contemplating getting a standing room ticket for tomorrow night's show just to see it again with Jenny Ringer instead of Yvonne Boree!

Philip

Sarah, I am very much wanting to see the 'second cast' most especially for Ringer, Sara Mearns & Adam Hendrickson. But this week and next are so full of performances and other stuff that I am not sure I'll get a chance. Hopefully it will be back in the Winter season and these dancers will again be involved.

You're right, Susan Walters really gave Tonio & Ashley some brisk tempi but they seemed to revel in the speed of it all.

Antonio Carmena is for me one of the brightest lights on that stage right now; I would love to see him get more & more opportunities and I have on my wish-list to see him dancing with Scheller.

Another partnership I would like to see developed is Bouder & Ramasar; they did a really classy NUTCRACKER pdd together a couple years ago. Amar and Jennie Somogyi also have a great chemistry.

This Robbins evening is one programme where the block-scheduling really is a bummer. I could see GATHERING 2 or 3 times but you're always stuck with I'M OLD FASHIONED. Later in the season we have two of my favorites, RAYMONDA & STRAVINSKY VIOLIN CONCERTO with the dreary DYBBUK in the middle.

Susan

Hi Philip - I didn't see you there last night, sorry to have missed you! I agree, Dances was a real treat. In fact I enjoyed the entire evening (I stayed for Old Fashioned) but agree that this program was not well served by the new block programming system. While I find each of the 3 pieces enjoyable they are just too much on the same program. I'd really rather see each of them in some other combination. And as much as I love SVC putting Dybbuk smack in the middle of that program will almost surely keep me away...

Philip

Susan, I had moved to 5th Ring before the show due to 'talkers' in my area...you know how that is!

I'm trying to convince myself that I can sit thru DYBBUK again just to see the other two ballets but so far I have not bought a ticket for any performance of that triple bill.

Bob

Sit through Dybbuk again? No never, you might as well ask me to sit through Watermill again! But I do think you should have stayed for I'm Old Fashioned last night. I actually like the ballet, although I think that's due in large measure to the emotional Astaire connection. I never tire of seeing that opening film sequence of Astaire and Hayworth (was she not one of the most beautiful actresses ever and she could actually dance too!)dancing to "I'm Old Fashioned" and the finale to the ballet when the NYCB dancers mimic the steps of Astaire and Hayworth (dancing above them on the large screen) and then stop and just look up at them and wave and acknowledge the beauty of what they have done. But I did try to focus more on the actual Robbins choreography last night and I was surprised at how inventive some of his variations actually are. However, the main reason you should have stayed was because it was so splendidly performed last night. Marvelous performances by Maria and Philip (who were also so exquisite in their pas de deux and solos in In G Major), Jeni and Stephen, and Rebecca and Tyler. They made certain parts of the ballet come alive for me in a way that I had not previously experienced. Still, I'll grant you it's not one of Robbins' masterpieces.

AS for Dances at a Gathering, what can I say? When I first saw the ballet many years ago, I thought, as some people (including my wife) still do, that it was very good but too long. In recent years, however, I have concluded that BAlanchine was right to have encouraged Robbins
to keep making more dances for the ballet. I do believe that it is one of Robbins' two greatest ballets (the other being Afternoon of a Faun)and it was so brilliantly danced last evening - Bouder, Kowroski, Woetzel, Hubbe, Carmena, Ramasar were all in peak form and the others Abi and Jon Stafford, Borree and Rutherford were also strong. Yes, I'm biased, to be sure, but I agree with you that when it's danced well, there is almost nothing that you would want to follow Dances at a Gathering. If I could somehow manage it, I would go in to see it again this week.

And oh yes, three Marias in one evening - it's almost enough to make one believe in a God!

Philip

The cast for I'M OLD FASHIONED really looks great but I have been thru this before: thinking that Dancer X or Ballerina Y was going to 'rescue' the ballet for me. And I end up dozing. I think the film clip is a gimmick and the music is shallow. The Broadway/Hollywood style never really attracts me, though I can enjoy WHO CARES? from time to time. But then...that's Balanchine!

Bob

Call me shallow but I do like the Jerome Kerns' music for the song "I'm Old Fashioned" - after I hear it again, I start humming it to myself for several days afterwards. The problem, I think, is more with Morton Gould's music for the balletic variations, which leaves much to be desired. Still, I must confess to enjoying the Broadway/Hollywood thing, especially when it's as well done as it is in Who Cares?, which is one of my favorite Balanchine ballets (I know - there are so many, but Who Cares is definitely in my top ten). As for the film clip, sure it's a gimmick but what a delightful gimmick!

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