Sunday, January 25, 2009

Four Voices @ NYCB

I had planned on going to the ballet Friday and just picking up a ticket when I got there. Then I was so enjoying the book I started on the subway ride to Lincoln Center that I almost turned around and went home so I could keep reading. (I bought the two John Williams books I didn't already own the other day--I figured if I'm googling interviews with him at 4 o'clock in the morning it's probably a sign I should read more of his books--and I just started Augustus.) Anyway, I did end up going because I very much wanted to see Concerto DSCH, but while sitting through the first couple ballets I seriously questioned that decision.

Well, I questioned that decision while not busy thinking about how my hands smelled like bleach and how sad it was to be thinking about that rather than enjoying what I'd paid to see (during Chiaroscuro) or how I really wished I hadn't worn stockings because my left foot was itchy and I couldn't itch it properly (during Papillons). I'm not, as a general rule, opposed to seeing things I dislike, but I found myself feeling a slight bit resentful when it came to these two. I mean it's one thing to see a new piece that isn't good. Or to see something that just isn't to your taste. Or even something that fails in an interesting way. But I'm just baffled as to why these first two ballets were revived: It's not that they're awful, it's just that they're bland and somewhat tedious. And since the audience didn't seem particularly full and the applause was tepid compared to what the other ballets received I can't imagine it was the huge audience demand either. Well, so it goes. I'm sure there are people who enjoyed it far more than I did.

I was glad then, that it was all uphill from there, and particularly that I liked Concerto DSCH as much as I did. I love that the dancers are shown as normal people, in a way; they're doing incredible things but they're not elevated. And while many people have already noted this, it's a treat to watch the community Ratmansky creates on stage. And the dancers look like they're having a great time. Who knows if that's actually the case--not I--but the impression makes it fun for me as a member of the audience. I also enjoyed the variation of tone over the course of the ballet. And getting to see Wendy Whelan who, solely by chance, I haven't seen that much of but always enjoy when I do see her perform. I feel a little Vienna-ed out between the Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet and Vienna Waltzes. The last movement with Sara Mearns and Amar Ramasar was a blast. So the night at least ended on a high note. 

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