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August 11, 2016

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Just spent my heatwave afternoon drinking iced coffee and reading this review and clicking on all the Ashton video links I could find. Thank you Haglund, for lifting my mood immeasurably.

I loved that you enjoyed the enthusiastic expressions of the dancers. While I was glad for Macaulay's very positive review of the show, he disliked the sunniness and more direct audience engagement of the company (and used the phrase 'unspontaneous charm,' which seems a little harsh). It was so nice to get a different opinion, especially since I've seen my fair share of unchecked (by critics) cheese among our big NY companies of late. The innate desire to poo-poo this fantastic company was obvious in many reviews I read this week.

So upset I had to miss this show and I hope they bring it back! Your Valses Nobles description sounded like it was worth the whole price of admission.

Thanks, Zoot.

The Joyce Theater is far from ideal for presenting ballet. The absence of an orchestra pit means that the audience is way too close to the dancers. One ends up seeing too much effort and detail. Who needs to see the seams on the costumes or the floss holding the ribbons to the pointe shoes? These Ashton pieces were made for much bigger stages and that's how they've been set, including the facial expressions. Macaulay should have known that. Keep in mind that he has a caligynephobic aversion to beautiful female dancers. They make him very uncomfortable (especially when they engage the audience), and he often reacts with the same criticisms in which he complains about their smiles or assesses them as being too full of themselves.

I'm very glad that the Joyce Foundation has started to partner with the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center to present visiting ballet companies. The outcomes are so much better than when companies like Pennsylvania Ballet or Tulsa Ballet try to squeeze themselves onto the Joyce stage.

I just saw the show yesterday and I loved the company. There were times I thought I was watching dancers from the Fonteyn era.

I do agree the stage is too close an experience. Where it is nice to be so close, practically onstage. It is quite another experience to see muscles quivering and the sweat of effort dripping off faces. Hopefully Sarasota will create enough of a following that it can come to NY to a bigger stage at some point in the future.

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