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Hold on...I know MM is going to every single performance this week and that we will have news soon...


I will be at SPAC tomorrow night, so I'd be happy to share some thoughts here over the weekend. I'm anxious to see The Nightingale and the Rose in the outdoor venue. Hopefully the beautiful animation will be working and/or visible. It added so much to the ballet. I haven't seen Damian all season, so that should be a real treat. And casting for The 4 T's looks superb.


Evan, I will be very grateful to have your comments here after your visit to SPAC.


Here I am....counting down to the close of a phenomenal season. Traditionally the third week is our busiest and most tiring--and I don't even dance! Imagine how exhausted the perfomers are.

It seems that everyone who hasn't had NYCB on their radar suddenly realizes that the residency ends this week, so our audiences get larger. If only....if only we had a fourth week so that we could keep building.

My family and work colleagues barely see me during this period, and I have realized that I need to post here early in the morning before I start running around trying to fit everything in. So thanks for your patience-- and here goes! And I'll look forward to seeing what Evan thinks--thank you in advance for coming to Saratoga.

The big ballet this week was Jewels, last seen here at least three years ago, and looking (at least 2/3 of it) quite spectacular.

EMERALDS. Most of the time this section is my personal favorite (I think my own mood at any given time can change that). No exception to that rule this time. We had two principal casts: Bouder, Ringer, JAngle, JStafford, Dronova, Suozzi, Scheller on Wednesday night and Rutherford, Mearns, Hanna, laCour, Laracey, Carmena, LeCrone Thursday mat. This is another ballet that, when done well, is atmospherically perfect at SPAC. Inside NYST, there is almost too much green, but in our forest it is a delight. The dancers appear in a grotto, the dreaminess and peace pervades all.

Both casts did a wonderful job, but Wednesday night's performance was as close to perfect as I seen. Only Balanchine could choreograph a couple WALKING so exquisitely.

RUBIES isn't looking quite as perfect. The technical prowess is there for the most part, but I'm looking for the spirit and joy that was missing from a few of the principals. DeLuz an exception--here his infectious grin is totally appopriate. Tess Reichlen was born to dance the second girl and she is certainly the one to see-- I would like to see some new dancers tackle the principal girl (oh and Ashley Bouder too--she wasn't cast in Rubies here).

DIAMONDS--sometimes I feel it is too long, with too much promenading. Not this season. It's looking very good indeed. Maria Kowroski has been gorgeous in everything and took my breath away in Diamonds. Other than a few minor unison problems with the corps and demis on Wed (which were resolved on Thurs), it was another near perfect performance.

Last night opened with our final Serenade. This ballet is so extraordinary that at the conclusion I feel that I could leave the theater at that point, completely emotionally satisfied. (I am glad to say that I did not do so however).

I had many people ask me at the end..."but what is the story? what was happening there?" People seem to want to have a concrete story there, no matter how many times it is stated that Mr B insisted that there was no story--so I say just compose your own. And for me it is a different story each time I view Serenade, depending on where I "am" at any given time.

It had rained a good part of yesterday, by evening curtain the rain had stopped but it was humid and foggy and the forest mist on either side of the stage added to the atmosphere. NYCB should do some photo shooting here.

JEU DE CARTES with a new cast: this is just an exhausing experience, especially for the ballerina who has to dance with all three men. Choreographically it doesn't compare favorably to Rubies, and there are so many similarities in the choreography and the music. The corps costumes are cute but the principal costumes aren't especially attractive. Well danced, but a minor work in comparsion with the other Stravinsky pieces we have had--the masterpieces of Apollo, Agon and Sym3Mvts.

A repeat of Aurora's Wedding with the young up and comers of Bouder (WOW!) and Stafford in place of the veterans Ringer and Neal as the only casting changes, ended a glorious evening.

Tonight is the program I have been waiting for: Balanchine masterwork (4Ts), Robbins' best (DAAG), and beginning with Wheeldon's intriguing Nightingale.

I will post a conclusion and season wrap-up as soon after tomorrow night as I can--as I dry my tears.....


I'm glad to see that Suozzi and Carmena were dancing - they both seemed to go missing during the final week or two of the NY season...



Thank you for another fine review. What a great cast you had for Emeralds on Wednesday evening! As for Diamonds, I think that Maria reached new heights in that ballet this year. In her prime, Darci was wonderful in Diamonds and Philip might want to amke a case for Wendy in the role (though, as marvelous as she is, she never moved me in Diamonds) but in my opinion, Maria is the best in the role since Suzanne. She clearly ascended to the highest rank of ballerinadom (did I just coin a word?)this year. Your comments on Ashley gave me an idea - perhaps she should now change her name to Ashley Bouder-Wow!, because that is what one says anytime she dances. I am so sorry I missed her as Aurora - if I had known she was going to dance the role (as you said, she was not originally scheduled)I would have made the four and a half hour drive up to Saratoga and back just to see her. I am so sorry you missed her in Rubies - she was absolutely dazzling in the role in New York and won special accolades from Alastair Macauley for her performance.

I look forward to your conclusion and SPAC season wrap-up.


Yes, I think that Wednesday night's Emeralds was truly out of this world, as trite as that might sound I did feel transported to another realm. Very special.

I should have added that I missed a good part of Rubies because of an emergency situation near where I was, so perhaps I am not in a position to speak much about it.

As for Ashley Bouder--I think she is the one who could beautifully do all three sections of Jewels--perhaps not in the same night though!


What a brilliant idea - Ashley Bouder in all three sections of JEWELS! I don't know if it could possibly be done in one night but if anyone could do it, it would probably be Ashley.


The shortest three weeks of the year are over and the fans are depressed! NYCB brought us a feast for our 2007 season. The mood in Saratoga shifts dramatically now, with the opening of the race track tomorrow. At least we have the Philadelphia Orchestra and a fantastic chamber music series to look forward to, starting next week.

I cannot recall another NYCB/SPAC season that was so successful artistically. While NYCB is always wonderful here, this season the dancing seemed to find a new level and the programming was stellar. The orchestra sounded fabulous in a challenging and varied repetoire.

The new works presented were received enthusiastically. Audiences went mad for R+J- with two completely different interpretations from two very gifted casts there was something (and someone) for everyone. If the production itself has flaws, the artistry of the perfomers didn't.

The audiences also raved about Wheeldon's offerings: Carousel, only at the gala--was an inspired choice. Nightingale haunts me still.

Most valuable player was Charles Askegard who stepped in at a critical moment and soared in a new role. He was a busy guy as the partner of choice for Maria Kowroski who showed a new depth and breadth in Diamonds and Apollo.

4Ts looks great, with an impressive debut for Craig Hall as Melancholic. He demonstrated a beautiful fluidity in his movement and his exit after the solo took my breath away. All of the couples doing the themes were clear and well articulated, and showed each theme as a separate entity. In the last performance Tyler Angle stepped in for an apparently injured Seth Orza (in what was to be his last performance, sadly), partnering Megan leCrone, who has grown dramatically this season. Albert Evans is in a class by himself-- what a nuanced and intriguing Phlegmatic.

Jewels is also looking excellent--both principal casts in Diamonds were knock-outs as was everyone in Emeralds--Rubies need sharpening and definition.

Sorry to say that Dances at a Gathering also needs some attention. The steps were there (for the most part) but the feeling of community and connection among the participants was not, and the most exciting moments fell short. With the Robbins anniversary approaching, I hope care is taken with this very precious and important work.

I hope that for the next season there will be more consideration of matinee vs evening conditions re lighting and mood of the ballets--and that there will be much more marketing. SPAC made some strides this season, but everything is localized. Why is there nothing about SPAC in the national media--except when disaster strikes? Where are the critics? They come to the Pillow, they can come here too. With the loss of Mae Banner this year, there was even less local coverage of the ballet than in previous years.

I know that Saratoga is not unique in having to reach out to get the public's entertainment dollars. But Saratoga IS unique as the only permanent summer home for a major ballet company in the United States. This must be preserved.

See you next year!


Thank you, MM!

I am really glad to read your comments about Craig Hall. For the past few years Craig has been one of the most exciting dancers at NYC Ballet; his increasing mastery of the art of partnering and the power and beauty of his stage persona have had fans in NYC buzzing.

It's too bad Seth Orza had to miss his own final performance! What an unlucky turn of events.

Charles Askegard and Albert Evans are the gods of the Company and how good to read of their successes at SPAC. And Maria K certainly went beyond the beyond this season...I'm still thinking about her dancing in DAVIDSBUNDLERTANZE, BUGAKU and DIAMONDS.

I can see that the new Wheeldon had the same effect on you as it did on me; it provided Wendy Whelan with yet another opportunity to expand her seemingly limitless range.

Interesting to me that you singled out Megan LeCrone because we have been watching her with increasing admiration after she bounced back from a long injury hiatus.

Believe me, I know the letdown that comes when a NYC Ballet season ends. Luckily here in Manhattan we have had the connection extended by the showing of David Michalek's SLOW DANCING films at Lincoln Center. I was thinking that it would be a fine idea if this programme could be shown at Saratoga next summer. What do you think?


I think the idea is brilliant and will begin to work on it posthaste. The only question being--what kind of venue is needed? SPAC does have large screens inside the theater and on the lawn. But I'm thinking that this needs to be shown BEFORE the ballet season, to inspire ticket sales and build excitement for the residency. Maybe in the spring? Hopefully when SPAC is informed about this idea, they will grab the ball and run with it! Thanks for the idea-


My thanks as well, MM! I wish I could have have been up there at Saratoga for a full three weeks and gone to virtually every performance. It's interesting that the audiences loved R & J. As you know, it received only lukewarm (at best) and negative (at worst) reviews in New York. However, the audiences at Lincoln Center seemed to like it a lot and the Saratoga audiences apparently were even more enthusiastic. While I still think there is not enough dancing in R & J (which is true of every production of the ballet ever staged), the fact is that I did like it - in fact, I still like it after having seen it four times (two dress rehearsals, including the one at Saratoga, and two regular performances). I will probably go to see it again during the Winter Season at the State Theater (especially if Callie Bachman, the young SAB student who was Martin's original choice for Juliet, is cast in the role for one of the Winter Season performances - I would also go to see Kathryn Morgan again as Juliet and Erica Pereira, whom I did not get to see in New York). As for Rubies and DAAG, don't worry too much about them. I'm afraid you didn't get to see the "A" casts in either - Ashley Bouder, in particular, injected tremendous energy, virtuosity and excitement into the lead female role in Rubies. She is wonderful in Emeralds as well but I don't know why Peter did not cast her in Rubies even once in Saratoga. Bouder, Kowroski and Stafford were also outstanding in DAAG in the performance I saw in NY.
Question: was Tiler Peck injured? She had a terrific Spring season in NY but I didn't see her cast in anything in Saratoga.


I promised that I would share some thoughts on NYCB’s Friday evening performance at SPAC, so here they are: The first time I saw Wheeldon’s Nightingale, at the NY State Theater, I fell in love with this hauntingly beautiful and very sad piece. At SPAC, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time, but something was lost because of the lighting. It was first on the program, so at 8 PM it was still pretty light outside. I remember there being a greenish-blue glow to the stage at NY State Theater in Wendy Whelan’s opening solo, but that lighting was either not used or not visible at SPAC. The animation was projected on the backdrop, but not on the wings. At any rate, the dancing was still superb. I was particularly impressed with the Red Roses – the men – and their ability to seamlessly pass Wendy from one to the next. And of course, she was a perfect nightingale – I got the chills. I really hope this piece stays in NYCB’s repertory, but I doubt anyone will be able to perform the nightingale like Wendy.

Although I am not a huge fan of Robbins’ DAAG, I was really looking forward to it for a few reasons. First, Damian Woetzel was performing, and I hadn’t seen him all season. He was such a joy to watch (especially his opening solo), making everything look effortless. There is something really casual and care-free about his dancing, almost like he is just rehearsing it. But you know he is giving 100%. Second, I was looking forward to seeing Jeni Ringer as the girl in pink, but unfortunately, she was replaced by Yvonne Borree. I know Yvonne was getting a lot of criticism in the city, and then some people said she was looking great at SPAC. I was pretty disappointed in her performance. She looked very weak, and her arms tended to shake a lot, especially in the partnering. I tried not to focus on her arms, but unfortunately my eyes were continually drawn to them. By the end of the ballet, she looked very tired. Megan Fairchild’s footwork was superb in the speedy section for the girl in yellow, and I thought Abi Stafford was wonderful to watch. I also enjoyed seeing Amar Ramasar and Sara Mearns dancing together. There was no real sense of community among the dancers in the ballet, which I think is an important aspect of it, but I commend them all for their solid performances in this very long ballet.

The Four Temperaments was amazing! The last time I saw it was about 10 years ago, so it was great to see this again, and performed so well. And the Hindemith music! I forgot how beautiful it is. I was humming it in my head for the rest of the weekend. Faye Arthurs and Adrian Danchig-Waring were quite stunning in the first section of “Theme”, and as many people have pointed out, Megan LeCrone really stepped out this season. I hope to see a lot more of her in the future. Of the variations, Tess Reichlen was certainly the standout. She performed “Choleric” with incredible speed and sharpness. Honestly, I cannot think of a performance when Tess didn’t “wow” me. Overall, it was a really great night at SPAC. And I commend Amar Ramasar for his excellent dancing in all three of the evening’s ballets!


Thanks for the review, Evan! It sounds like you & I had a similar reaction to the Wheeldon. I am looking forward to seeing it again, as often as it is presented. After looking at rehearsal photos on The Contact Sheet site I concluded that Janie Taylor might be Wendy's cover in the ballet. Of all the dancers, Janie is one who I feel could possibly follow Wendy in the role and hold her own.

No one has commented on the reported policy of permitting drinks in the theatre at SPAC this season. Was anyone distracted by clinking ice cubes?


Bob: regarding Tiler Peck, I did have the feeling she was injured near the end of the NY season. She was announced for performances but replaced each time.


Philip, I agree that Janie Taylor would perform Wendy's role very well. A few seasons ago she performed Wendy's original role in Wheeldon's Polyphonia, and she was really beautiful. I have a feeling Janie could take on a lot of Wendy's current "signature" roles, but hopefully Wendy won't be letting go of them any time soon.


Mainly I feel that we need to get Janie back & dancing again on a regular basis...

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