Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Founding Choreographers II and Short Stories

In the past couple weeks I went to a couple of programs at the New York City Ballet, the first consisting of Ballo della Regina, Davidsbündlertänze, and Glass Pieces and the second consisting of Swan Lake, The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Romeo and Juliet, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. So no more Vienna, happily. I'm not sure that I was in the mood for any more of that.

I was particularly interested in seeing Ballo della Regina again because although I've seen it before it's always been with ABT on the smaller City Center stage. It was a pleasure to see it with more room to spread out. And Davidsbündlertänze was beautiful although something I need to see again while Glass Pieces was so energetic and felt so much, for all it's Egyptian whatever, like a ballet born from New York. 

I think though, that the program was something that would have been more enjoyable from, well, somewhere other than the cheap seats. It doesn't normally bother me--hey, you get used to your spot--but for this particular program I think the lower angle would have been nice. Partly because I would have liked to see Davidsbündlertänze from closer and partially because I think it would have made the silhouette effect in Glass Pieces nicer. Also, I really need to find my little opera glasses. They're in a bag somewhere in my apartment (much like most of my possessions) but I certainly have no idea where.

I enjoyed the Short Stories program rather less for the most part. I like Maria Kowroski fine, but didn't particularly love her as Odette and I didn't like the corps that much either for all that the choreography they've been given isn't the problem. The way they used their arms felt sort of perfunctory to me and didn't quite create that poetic feeling that Swan Lake seems to call for. And then you've got The Steadfast Tin Soldier which is a nice little bit of fluff and the Romeo and Juliet pas de deux, which was bland through no fault of the dancers. I was glad I went though, because Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was a lot of fun. I'd never Robert Fairchild dance before that I can recall but I thought he was great tapping away. And I'm always happy to see Sara Mearns who I think is wonderful (not exactly a controversial opinion there). I normally think of her as being the perfect dancer for romantic roles and parts that call for a smooth, flowing quality of movement, so Slaughter isn't really something I would expect her in. Yet she was fantastic in it. 

Speaking of dancers doing well in unexpected things, it's something that Macaulay touched on briefly in his season wrap-up of NYCB. But it's mostly other things he wrote that are stirring up the discussion. (A few links to commentary about it:  Turned InSwan Lake Samba Girl, Dancing Perfectly Free.)I don't necessarily disagree with his comments about several of the dancers--in fact I agree with most of them--but I do wish that he'd used the space to write about things he hasn't written much about previously, rather than returning to that well again. Anyone who reads the dance criticism in the New York Times regularly knows how he feels about those dancers. I'd rather not be bored. 

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