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Comments

Sandi

Phillip, it was great to meet you and Wei! I enjoyed the evening very much. Highlights for me were finally seeing Darcey live (wow), Sterling and Gozalo's "spring" and the company's "merry making",and the mesmerizing "Fool's Paradise" which I thought was beautifully danced and embodied by all involved.
So glad I was there.

Philip

Hi Sandi, it's too bad you had to move further down the row! We had a great time and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Sarah

Philip... I can't believe it happened either! I am still trying to process it all but the following points are secure in my mind...

1. I loved how Wheeldon came out to introduce the company and to thank all of the contributing companies who lent the talent for the evening... very endearing.
2. I absolutely adored the first piece and loved seeing so many of my favorite NYCB dancers on the stage.
3. I was elated to see Darcey Bussell on the stage. Marvelous!
4. I had enough pas de deux by the time "Slingerland" ended, but I was glad to have sat it out to get to the adorable "Dance of the Hours" (I LOVE Ashley Bouder!).
5. The closing piece was very interesting. There were some amazing moments where the dancers appeared to be making living sculpture and it was beautiful to behold.

Sadly, the entire night was somewhat undone by the terrible sight lines at City Center (which I knew coming into it). I had seats in the mid-mezzanine, which is particularly awful, and the missed moments began to add up due to the large heads in front of me. (My apologies to anyone whose head size I've just insulted.)

That's what I can think of for now. I should have walked around to see more people (clearly you saw a bunch) but I did get to see Sean Suozi and two dance legends, Suki Schorer and my absolute favorite, Jacques D'amboise (sorry if I butchered the spelling).

Alrighty, back to work, sad that I won't be able to attend the rehearsal today, but I will be back in the Mid-mez on Sunday!

Philip

Sarah, I am still thinking about about all the images and the music from last night. I just ordered a CD of Joby Talbot's "Dying Swan".

City Center is not a very felicitous place to watch dance, nor to wander about during intermissions...we ended up in the outer lobby to avoid the crush. (Let's all try to meet in the outer lobby on Sunday.)

Christopher might want to look at the Skirball Center down on Washington Square for future NY seasons.

Bob

Philip, I wish I could share your degree of enthusiasm for the Wheeldom program at City Center but in all honesty, I cannot. That is not to say that I did not find some redeeming value in it. I did in fact like There Where She Loved, especially the pas de deux "Spring" with Sterling and Gonzalo (I agree - he's a great addition to NYCB), Ashley's solo, the pas de quatre with the two Ashleys, Sterling and Gonzalo, and Maria (whom I too love) in the last piece. I also loved Dance of the Hours (looks like the beginning of a great partnership with Ashley and Gonzalo). However, in spite of the glorious and gorgeous Darcey Bussell, the Tryst Pas de Deux left me absolutely cold. I hated the music (?) and found the choreography to be nothing more than an exercise in moving body parts. The Prokofiev Pas de Deux was OK and I won't comment on the Slingerland because that is actually Forsyth's choreography (although Wendy and Edwaard did wonders with it). As for Fools' Paradise, I did find parts of it somewhat powerful and haunting and enjoyed Maria and Edwaard's pas de deux as well as the opportunity to see Aesha Ash again (the program notes indicated that she is now a free agent - if I were Peter, I would be begging her to come back)but ultimately the ballet grew tiresome for me. I know you saw uniqueness in each of the ballets and of course, they are in reality each somewhat unique but at that point in the program, the feeling of "sameness" swept over me and I had had enough. In fairness to Wheeldon, I would give Fools' Paradise a second viewing and probably see more in it the second time around but at that point it was just not working for me. I still admire him greatly and he is undoubtedly the most original ballet choreographer on the current scene but I am not ready to join in the "worship" that so many people seem willing to bestow on him.

Philip

I certainly don't worship Christopher but I do admire his work and his courage in starting a new enterprise. The programming was not to everyone's liking and in future he will probably re-think the structuring of his presentations.

It's always interesting to see how differently people react to a given ballet; I thought the music for TRYST was fascinating, it had a sort of percolating under-rhythm and I thought as an "excercise in moving body parts" it showed Bussell off pretty nicely.

I'm looking forward to Sunday's programme.

Bob

I'll grant you that TRYST did show Darcey Bussell off very nicely but as beautiful as she is, I still need more than that from a ballet. Ah, the subjectivity of human perceptions of a work of art (or anything else for that matter) - what an amazing mystery.

I won't be able to make it to this weekend's Morphoses program so I look forward to your comments on Round Two.

Evan

Dance of the Hours seemed like a mockery, no? Some of the lifts (Ashley upside down with her leg in passe) were borderline cheesy. Although it was choreographed in 2006 for the Metropolitan Opera, I felt like Wheeldon was making it very clear that he wants to do contemporary ballet, not showy, sparkly classical ballet. Perhaps he included it on the program to show the difference between the two? Did anyone else think it was his way of making a point about his intentions to have Morphoses be a strictly contemporary company?

Philip

'Dance of the Hours' is a choreographer's nightmare: a dirty job but someone has to do it, at least as long as there are dramatic sopranos who want to sing the "Suicidio!". Because people associate Ponchielli's ballet music with the hippo-ballerina of FANTASIA and the silly lyrics of "Hello mother, hello father" the music is always going to provoke a wave of chuckles, as it did at City Center. Chris puts a non-classical slant on it but Bouder's tutu keeps it from being overtly 'modern'.

I understand that Christopher was originally asked to stage the entire opera (GIOCONDA) for the Met but he rightly demurred saying he was a choreographer and knew nothing about moving contraltos and choristers around on an opera set.

The piece was added to the City Center rep very late in the day, most likely because it was recognized that the programme had very little 'classical' music and hardly anything colorful or the least bit fun.

Interestingly, at the gala the couple sitting in front of us got up after 'Slingerland' and walked out muttering something about "...this isn't ballet!" If they'd stayed a few minutes longer, they might have enjoyed 'Hours'.

One of the reasons I was particularly happy to see Martine van Hamel at the performance Thursday was that I had just pulled out one of my rarities, an off-the-air video of GIOCONDA from San Francisco 1979. This was the famous performance when Renata Scotto and Luciano Pavarotti were having a massive feud all night and Scotto refused to hold Luciano's hand during the curtain calls. van Hamel was cast as Venus in Margo Sappington's sexy send-up of the ballet along with Christian Holder as the Lord of Night and Gary Chryst as Harlequin. I love Martine in this and I watch it every so often to get a van Hamel fix.

At the Met, prior to Wheeldon's staging of the ballet for the 2006 revival, 'Hours' was restaged several times. In the 1966 premiere run of the Beni Montresor/Margherita Wallmann production (when Tebaldi & Corelli blew the roof off the New Met), Zachary Solov was the choreographer and such ballerinas as Sally Brayley, Nira Paaz and Tania Karina danced the lead; in 1975 Allegra Kent appeared and there was also a Violette Verdy/Conrad Ludlow pairing.

Since GIOCONDA is one of my favorite Italian operas, I saw multiple performances of every revival the Met has offered and so I have seen 'The Dance of the Hours' a zillion times and I love Christoper's take on it.

Bob

Hey, I think "Dance of the Hours" should be added to the NYCB repertory - I loved it!!

Philip

Another 'colourful' ballet I'd love to see at NYCB is Tom Gold's MASADA which was given at the Miller last year with Bouder and Suozzi.

Bob

Yes, I remember seeing Gold's ballet at the Miller last year and thinking the same thing. So add my name to the petition!

tonya

I think Evan has an interesting point.

tonya

I mean, regarding Evan's point again, I felt Dance of the Hours was a mockery too, though I couldn't figure out what of, and said so on my blog. But everyone told me I was wrong to think of it that way. So, now I see I wasn't the only one. Thanks Evan! And thanks for giving me some insight into what he may have been trying to get at!

Philip

Have either of you - Tonya or Evan - seen FANTASIA or heard the goofy "Hello mother, hello father" song? Perhaps you are both too young (!) to make these associations but for many people, the music of Dance of the Hours is something of a joke in itself.

Ed

I just went to the launch of a new edition to the book "Your Move" and we talked about modern ballet and the retirment of Darcey Bussell. She must be one of the all-time greats. I shall miss her.

Philip

Bussell looked incredible dancing with MORPHOSES. It is hard to think of her as 'retired'!

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