Coming to the Whitney Museum of American Art on the West Side of Manhattan is a new dance-focused exhibit of Nick Mauss works entitled Transmissions. From the Whitney:
For this exhibition, Nick Mauss explores the history of American modernist ballet, continuing a hybrid mode of working he has pursued for a decade in which the roles of curator, artist, choreographer, scholar, and performer converge. New works by Mauss—ranging from scores for a ballet to scenic design, décor elements, and live performance—will appear alongside pieces from the Whitney’s collection and those of other institutions.
That last point is important. The teaser on the website shows 1941 photos of Donald Saddler.
The exhibit opens March 16 and will run into an unspecified point in May. Haglund will report back after he attends the Members Preview Dates a few days before the opening.
There’s quite a bit of interesting, wide-ranging stuff to report.
New York City Ballet has completed its internal personnel investigation of complaints of abuse recently made by former employees against Peter Martins concerning incidents they described happening decades ago. The New York Times which helped the complainers cultivate their stories to make them more readable and click-attractive isn't happy with the conclusions of the investigation.
The good news is that it has now been verified that there was no physical or sexual abuse by Peter Martins as claimed by Mrs. Boal, the little Victor Ostrovsky, Wilhelmina Frankfurt or anyone else. The bad news is that The New York Times (and likely soon the Washington Post) continues to promote false claims in an effort to defame Peter Martins and push NYCB around like it is accustomed to doing to ABT. Sadly, the fallout is that NYCB lost its illustrious leader whom everyone but a handful of fired dancers and disgruntled journalists 🙄 highly respect and wish would return. The company needs him back at the very least in a coaching capacity. Tomorrow at the latest.
The New York Times should simply be told to go fuck itself. That's precisely what ABT should have told it when the paper came sniffing at Marcelo Gomes' private parts to see if they could expose them for their readers' delight. If someone wants to complain about abuse, let them sue or complain to a legal authority. But the NYT and WPO want nothing but to make as much money as possible off of these stories that they help create and they do it by blowing defamation through their megahorns.
There is no proof of any abuse at NYCB by Peter Martins. None. Period. The complainers had the opportunity to file complaints with the EEOC or sue in civil court or call the police, but they didn't. They didn't because they knew that nothing they experienced rose to the level of abuse. The complainers' only hope of getting money and revenge was to try to embarrass NYCB through the media so that NYCB would beg them to stop and do anything that NYT or WPO demanded.
The NYT is going to second guess every employer investigation that doesn't yield the conclusions it wanted and then claim that the investigation was rigged – just like Donald Trump. Just like him.
Here are Alastair, Gia, and Sarah Kaufman all rolled into one:
It sure is good news to our ears that NYCB will include Symphony in C during its residency at SPAC this summer. That bodes well for the fall season.
The SPAC season is creating a problem for us. In addition to our annual trip up there to see NYCB, do we want to go up there for the thrill of seeing National Ballet of Cuba's Wilis flying around under the moon and stars in Giselle or do we want to enjoy them a week earlier in the comfort of the Kennedy Center? About the same amount of travel time. About the same prices. The Gisellemobile is keeping her tires plumped up and will be ready to go either north or south as soon as the driver decides.
Down in Philadelphia, Angel Corella has announced that Pennsylvania Ballet's 2018-2019 season will open in October with Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Count me in. The rest of the season will be announced in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, we are pretty excited about seeing the premiere performance of Corella's new production of Swan Lake which is set to open on March 8th.
Alarm bells went off when Haglund read that Benjamin Millepied is putting together his version of Romeo and Juliet to Prokofiev's score which will be presented during the L.A. Phil's 100th Season and is a collaboration between his LA Dance Project and ABT. Oh Laaawd! Just how deeply has ABT tumbled into hell by signing on for more collaborations with Millepied? Maybe this R!J or R*J or R$J or R@J or R🤮J will only feature ABT's three most unwatchables.
During the second week of its winter season, NYCB soldiered on but with a few bruises that require bandages. Most of the leading dancers of the company have held their chins high and are striving hard to demonstrate their confidence in the current interim artistic management team. In some ways, the situation is like a large family whose beloved parent has been senselessly murdered and the members are praying that they will stay in the care of an older revered sibling rather than forced into the foster care of an untrusted outsider or handed off to some distant relative. On the other hand, there are a few dancers who are making things more difficult for everyone, either by not apparently caring about what they put on stage or are acting out their frustrations by intentionally pushing to the point of self-destruction without any regard for the effect it may have on the rest. Management has dealt with the first type, and now it must address the second.
Despite the ongoing controversies, a steady pair of hands guides the company. The season is progressing. Dancers are living their personal constitutions. They seem to know what matters most.
Over the past week we saw that Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15 could not be in better shape. Everyone rose to the occasion in this ballet. It certainly seemed to help everyone’s moods to be wearing Karinska’s most dazzling tutus of pale yellow for the principals and white & blue for the corps.
Likewise, Robbins’ The Four Seasons, set to music from Verdi’s operas, was as stunning as it has ever been. Again, the costumes designed by Santo Loquasto seemed particularly vivid at the first performance on Groundhog Day. Winter was just as beautiful as spring – so who cares what the groundhog said?
Indiana Woodward, Harrison Coll and Joseph Gordon made a case for loving cold weather. Sterling Hyltin (subbing for an injured Sara Mearns) and Jared Angle breathed fresh air into spring. Teresa Reichlen and Adrian Danchig-Waring radiated the warmth of summer. And Tiler Peck, Joaquin De Luz and Daniel Ulbricht torched the leaves of fall. Torched them to ash. Here was De Luz, another 41-year-old, knocking off a la seconde turns and jumps like he was entering a second spring season of his career. Part of it could have been that he wasn’t about to let the blazing Tiler Peck and crackling fast Daniel Ulbricht show him up. Whatever it was, the result was a burning delight.
But there was a Square Dance on Groundhog Day, too. Ashley Bouder and Taylor Stanley along with a vivacious corps of twelve found the lightness and play in Balanchine’s masterpiece to Vivaldi and Corelli.
Also on the program was Mauro Bigonzetti’s Oltremare, a ballet about immigrants in which we view their angst, anticipation, regret, and hopefulness about seeking a better life in a new homeland. Overly long and repetitive, Oltremare would be much better if it were edited down to 15-20 minutes. The angst & yank of the gymnodrama grates on the nerves quickly.
Saturday evening's repeat of Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, and Chaconne revealed the company’s strengths and weaknesses. The Four Temperaments was underpowered and disappointing. The two soloists assigned to Sanguinic (Savannah Lowery) and Choleric (Megan LeCrone), a juggling of cast due to Mearns' injury, seemed unready for their challenges — at least on this night. NYCB needs to strengthen its bench in 4Ts and search for a Sanguinic in the vein of Kyra Nichols and Jennie Somogyi. We think that Isabella LaFreniere is exactly what the role of Sanguinic could use right now -- and maybe Agon, too.
The happy discovery of the night was the growth in presentation experienced by Sara Adams in the Theme and the final section. She’s learning how to make us notice her by increasing the sharpness of changes in her head and focus. Everything she did looked more alive and interesting. It was as though she had an extra spotlight on her last night.
The HH Pump Bump Award is bestowed upon Joaquin De Luz for his blistering hot Fall in The Four Seasons:
Today both Punxsutawney Phil and Potomac Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Staten Island Chuck claimed that spring is right around the corner. Ya don't even know which groundhog to believe any more. It's pathetic. But down in the rich dirt of DC, a new flower pushed up to reveal its beautiful blossom this week.
Sarah Lane and Herman Cornejo debuted in Jerome Robbins' Other Dances. We've heard from some of the Haglund'eelers in the DC area. Whereas the earlier cast was panned , this cast was deemed by H.H.'s cognoscenti as truly sublime. We have pictures. Now, these pictures seem a little blurry for a good reason. They kind of have the quality of a command/shift/3 screen-print from a moving video. That's all we know. Don't ask questions. Don't pester us for details. If something turns up somewhere someday, you know Haglund will point you to it. In the meantime, let's hope ABT considers adding Sarah and Herman in Other Dances to the spring gala
Thanks much to our H.H. readers in DC for these treasures.