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I was there last night too. I've seen Watermill several times, including the 1990 revival with Eddie Villella (who was in his 50's and still looked great), and then in 1991 when Bart Cook took over the roll. Although this ballet has grown on me -- partly because it's done so infrequently -- I agree that it could be significantly shorter. That said, the young dancers were superb, and Nikolaj
handled the non-movement of the ballet well. Plus it was a treat just to be able look at that truly handsome man! I also find find the music to be both hypnotic and lovely.


I think Robbins sabotaged his own work by drawing it out in such a prolonged way; it has all the elements of a masterpiece but like many masterpieces you can only look at it for so long. And the music has a lulling effect as well which doesn't make it any easier to stay awake.


I was hoping you would post on Watermill. I saw it on Friday night and at first was enchanted, but soon grew impatient, despite my best efforts to be carried away by the piece. Also the high pitched whistle was nearly unbearable for me. I was tempted to plug my ears. I found the rest of the music to be quite lovely, and the cast was wonderfully commited to their roles, but it really went on so long that I was also tempted to leave. So glad I didn't though! I thouroughly enjoyed my first viewing of the Four Seasons- espeically Ashley and Danny in "Fall". Talk about contrasting pieces!! Wow.


Hi Sandi, that whistle as pretty excruciating but as you say the rest of the musical score was impressive. I'm finding that visions of WATERMILL have stayed with me since seeing it. I wonder why Robbins felt the need to prolong the ballet to the point where he began to alienate viewers?


I think that Robbins sometimes became so carried away with his artistic vision (in the case of Watermill, a vision apparently resulting in part from a drug-related experience) that he ceased to care about how it affected his viewers. Defenders of WATERMILL can philosophize all they want about what it means or doesn't mean, but in the end, I still find the piece (I refuse to call it a ballet because I still believe that a ballet should have at least some "dancing" in it) to be interminable and (beyond the first 15 minutes) unwatchable.


I feel like Robbins was otherwise so "theatre-wise" that it's hard for me to believe that he could not sense the audience's alienation. Perhaps he wanted this to be the effect? Interesting Bob, that you say it resulted in part from a drug related experience. That does not surprise me. I also felt it was much more performance art than "Ballet" and would have perhaps reacted differently if I had been expecting that or had not bought a ticket to the NYC BALLET. ;-)


It was certainly one of the very few times I ever felt that I was about to doze off while watching my favorite dancers!


I just want to speak up that I thought Watermill was mesmerizing! I only remembered later that it has the reputation for being too long, but that isn't how I experienced it myself. I think the music and sounds especially drew me in. That high-pitched sound (which didn't bother my usually sensitive ears) reminded me of summer insects. Reading Eddie Villella's account of the ballet in his autobiography was very interesting, and from what he says, Robbins and he both were shocked by the amount of disapproval. I'm on the side of being entranced by the piece!


It's good that the work has admirers; our friend Laurel is also a big fan of WATERMILL.


I finally wrote my review of Watermill here: http://allwillknow.blogspot.com/2008/05/nyc-ballet-and-jerome-robbins.html

I was sort of in the middle of the road about it, but my mother really enjoyed it. To each their own, right?!?!?

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