Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jerome Robbins

During my vacation I managed to finish up Deborah Jowitt's Jerome Robbins: His Life, His Theater, His Dance, which I quite enjoyed. It's very focused on his work, as opposed to the nitty gritty of his personal life, which is great because the former is what I was interested in reading about. Also good because the writing about his work was handled more smoothly--sometimes when writing about his personal life Jowitt starts a thread and then doesn't really pick it up again. Anyway, I'd taken the book out of the library hoping it would help me get a handle on Watermill. It didn't but it was interesting to read it after the all-Robbins program I saw last Friday, just prior to going on vacation. The program was Dances at a Gathering, Other Dances, and The Concert and I loved it.

I think Dances at a Gathering is something I need to see again. It's so long and there's so much to look at that I think I missed things. It was my first (and sadly, last) opportunity to see Damian Woetzel dance, and he certainly doesn't dance like someone who is about to retire--he was fantastic and it's a shame I won't have a chance to see more of him. I also particularly liked Ashley Bouder and Sara Mearns. They're both just so enjoyable to watch dance. I also thought Yvonne Borree was lovely--she was my friend's favorite--although I do understand what Macaulay means when he describes her dancing as small. I liked her anyway. The other dancers I didn't notice specifically but I think that was probably because I was more focused on the whole than on any specifics in this first viewing.

The Jowitt book talked extensively about community within Robbins's ballets, particularly this one, and also the way in which he wanted dancers to make the movement look spontaneous. I'd very much like to see the ballet again with those things in mind.

I was looking forward to Other Dances because Julie Kent was guesting and I think she's just a fantastically beautiful ballerina. I'd only ever seen Gonzalo Garcia dancing with Ashley Bouder, and I think it's safe to say that she and Kent are just a bit different. I couldn't help but feel like I would have preferred to see her dancing the part with someone like Marcelo Gomes. I felt like the connection wasn't quite there with Kent and Garcia and they didn't quite fill the parts, if that makes sense. It must be difficult though, to come in as a guest artist and dance with someone one doesn't normally dance with and have everything be perfect right off the bat.

I loved The Concert. Sterling Hyltin was so much fun in the main role with her big hair all over the place. She was delightfully goofy and the ballet itself was so genuinely funny. Much more in line with Fancy Free than the other Robbins ballets I've seen this season.

Overall, it was such a nice night at the ballet and gave me three different ballets that I'd like to see performed again at some point in the future.

1 comment:

tonya said...

I saw the same performance and had the same thoughts about Julie and Gonzalo. I saw Julie dance Other Dances with Angel Corella at ABT and they had so much more connection. Not that Gonzalo and Julie were bad together -- I still enjoyed it overall -- but I did think Angel brought much more to the man's part and they worked together much better. I also want to see the whole of Dances at a Gathering again! I've seen parts of it many times but the whole thing seems to have a kind of structure that you miss only seeing the parts. I'm going to check out the Jowitt book -- from your description it sounds really good (and the opposite of Julie Kavanagh's book on Nureyev which is VERY focused on his private life...)