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November 17, 2017


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Hard to imagine that Wheeldon is the same person who choreographed Polyphonia, one of my all-time favorites. I remember the days when I liked him and Ratmansky about equally... :(

I'm curious as to why de Mille's ballets aren't revived more frequently? I'm dying to her Rodeo (ditto for Fokine and Tudor ballets). Had ABT put it on, I might have attended at least one performance from their Fall season.

It would be a shame if her choreography gets lost because they go unperformed and newer choreographers just place their "stamp" on her ideas by modifying them.

I agree, yukionna. Agnes de Mille's choreography for Brigadoon is clearly superior to what Wheeldon has revised for the musical. But her estate doesn't seem to have the initiative to protect her work the way the Balanchine Trust does or the way Wheeldon protects his own. It's unlikely that we'll see choreographers ever "placing their own stamps" on Wheeldon's work and call it their own.

I was a first-year ballet student in 1963 when my parents took me to see the revival of Brigadoon at City Center. My most indelible memory of the show was the sight of a furiously angry man in a kilt, flying through the air around the stage. When I was older I understood that what I’d seen was Edward Villella, performing coupé jeté en tournant en manége. It was the first time I’d seen ballet performed live on stage, and Edward Villella became my inspiration and touchstone and my ne plus ultra in ballet.

That was what I was looking for at last night's performance of Brigadoon, and what I didn't see. And actually, I didn't care. The Encores mandate is to recreate the original sound of the score and songs, not the original staging or dancing. Because the Encores orchestra is always seated on stage, the performance space becomes very shallow, and the dancing reduced in scale. Some choreographers are better at manipulating that small space than others, and I thought Wheeldon did a good job in this production. Performers may migrate on and off stage for no discernable reason, but the show keeps moving! That first act seemed to go on forever. I wish I could remember more of de Mille’s original choreography, but I’m not a Lerner & Loewe fan and avoid revivals of their work. Maybe I’m being too kind to Wheeldon, but I assume de Mille’s work was bowdlerized at least in part due to the space issues on stage. The most successful parts of the show for me were any time Robert Fairchild and Patricia Delgado appeared on stage. Both were outstanding, and I found Delgado’s brief solo wonderful. I’m still deeply saddened over Fairchild’s retirement from NYC Ballet. I think he is a spectacular interpreter of Balanchine, and that is where he belongs, not on a Broadway stage. But if he does appear on Broadway again, I will not miss it.

Ditto yukionna. I adore Fall River Legen but ABT seems to only bring it around briefly once every 10-15 years. Why??? It's a crime.

In the same vein, I was looking forward to seeing Rite of Spring in the spring, until I saw that McGreggor was reinterpreting it. It’s as if ABT’s spring programming is designed to keep me from spending money on ballet.

Not unlike Gower Champion (HELLO, DOLLY!) and Jerome Robbins (WEST SIDE STORY), I believe Agnes de Mille is part of the contractual billing for any production of BRIGADOON.

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