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December 06, 2019

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I LOVE Daniel Ulbricht's dancing! He is at the top of my list of favorite male dancers I've seen in the last (almost) 50 years. He toured to Kansas City a couple of times recently and danced with Megan Fairchild (who was lovely!) I hope he returns soon with his wonderful group of NYCB dancers! It is on my bucket list to see him and Megan and the NYCB in NYC!

Georgiann, Ulbricht's touring group creates a lot of good will for ballet. His master classes for kids are amazing. He's going to be an outstanding director for some fortunate company someday.

Hi Haglund - interested about your mention of Nutcracker tickets on TDF. How do we find these tickets? Is it all matinees? I'm heading into the city and planned to buy tickets for Thursday evening, but if there's a matinee I could snag on TDF I would absolutely love that in order to see it twice. Thank you!

Hi, Krystin.

To get the TDF tickets, one must belong to TDF. That's the Theater Development Fund; info is available at TDF.org

NYCB tickets disappear almost as soon as they go up on TDF. Right now there are matinee tickets for Wed 12/11, but they will surely disappear quickly.

I agree with on retiring roles. Nobody wants to see Granny Sugarplum out there. I have long resented Whelan for whining about a role she should have never had in the first place - she was no ideal Sugarplum even at her best. But I guess in this day and age of complaining and ever-present outrage, she saw how she could use it to her advantage. It’s a shame when art has to suffer.

I wonder if the constant guesting these dancers do during Nutcracker season is (at least partially) to blame for some of the fatigue you noticed. I think Maria and Tyler have done a number of guest appearances for other productions in the past few weeks, at least according to their instagrams.

I am not arguing that dancers age out of roles... they obviously do, but perhaps if one wants to continue to dance demanding roles like Sugarplum, you have to balance your NYCB performances and your guesting appearances.

I continue to enjoy (and seek out) watching Maria dance in so many roles, and have not seen her as SP in a few years. Just a thought!

Having dancers retire roles is definitely something Stafford and Whelan will have to learn how to do. I know Whelan talked about that talk with Martins like it was some kind of natural disaster, but even in her account Martins was firm and professional about it. It's not a fun talk, but ADs shouldn't spoil their dancers. Likewise, any professional dancer should be able to navigate this situation gracefully and accept it, harsh as it may feel at the moment. Though I bet there are some who would come running to the NYT when something doesn't go their way.

Is there more grand allegro in SPF than in Diamonds and Mozartiana? I missed this year's Jewels, but I thought Maria was still dancing Diamonds beautifully? Perhaps that is why she was still cast as SPF this year. But, I do remember some of her turns in Mozartiana being being a little wobbly.

Yeah, I think the grand jetes and the run up the diagonal of the stage to jump onto Tyler's shoulder - twice - was a lot more effortful than it should have been. Even the fast little extended pointe tendu movements in the first solo seemed to lag and not completely stretch. But Maria can often start slowly in a series of performances. Perhaps by the last performance she will not only be up to snuff, but in fabulous shape for the winter season.

Haglund, thanks again for the TDF tip--today's Wednesday matinee had much to recommend it. Reichlen and Ask la Cour were wonderful. Tanner Quirk (little Nutcracker & little Prince) is to the manor born. Lauren King's Dewdrop was virtuosic. Brava, diva! And to think that a certain incompetent is a principal at ABT when there is dancing like King's available to be appreciated in NYC.

All was not sunshine and daffodils, however. A woman a few seats to my right in the row in front of me filmed much of the second act. The light from her phone (and let's not talk about the illegality of what she did) pulled me and others near her from the performance. She was too far from me for me to remonstrate, but after the calls, I spoke to her. She professed not to understand English. I asked her what language she understood; answered, I dredged up my remaining Russian and told her that what she had done was impermisslble on many levels. A woman who heard me turned to me and said, in plain American, "Thank you for telling her off." This selfish woman's behavior rancidified what may be my one Nutracker of the season. What can we do to stop this?

Thanks for the great report on Lauren King's Dewdrop. This is a dancer who came into the company at the same time as Sara Mearns and Tiler Peck - two dancers who soon began eclipsing everyone and getting everyone's attention. But Lauren has never stopped working diligently and steadily to smooth out her edges while carving out a unique sense of artistry. Whenever she was on stage in the corps, one's eye was immediately drawn to her. As a soloist, she sparkles like a principal and oftentimes out-dances the vaunted principals on stage--such as in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. I'm hoping that we'll see her featured a lot more in the winter and spring.

As for your problem with the Russian lady filming--the ushers are supposed to stop it. I've seen ushers in the upper rings spot someone in the orchestra with a light on and communicate it swiftly to the ushers downstairs. One time two ushers went to the row and shined their own flashlights in the face of the perpetrator to make him stop. It not only caused a ruckus and humiliated him, but it reminded everyone anywhere near him never to try to video a performance. In Russia, of course, nobody gives two hoots and a pryanik if someone videos a performance--that's why we get to see such fabulous clips on YouTube.

I would have gotten up (yes, in the middle of the act) and notified an usher.

Greetings, Haglund and Solor--Thank you for your advice about getting an usher which I will do in future if I am able. However, I was in the last row of the orchestra yesterday afternoon and the woman filming in the penultimate--neither row visible to ushers in the balconies, I would reckon. Also, there is no central aisle in the back rows of the State Theater (yes, I am old) for an usher to have easy access without disrupting the performance further. Believe me, I looked for an usher but saw no one whom I could flag.
What an advertisement for the benefits of an aisle seat! All said, I got to see Lauren King give a hell of a performance...that makes up for a lot.

Maria K announced on her IG that she was bowing out of dancing Sugarplum at today’s 5pm Nut to take a breather and prevent further injury.. sounds like she’s been managing an injury. Glad she is taking good care and hope she is well soon!

Oh dear. It's a very hard role which does not represent Maria's strengths or her artistry at its best. I hope that she will rest and recover until the opening of the winter season. It would be such a shame if we didn't get to see her in Stravinsky Violin Concerto this January.

Obscene price gouging by NYCB. Some forward dates have mostly empty 3rd Ring seats. Yeh, 'cause they're trying to get $135 per. This crap couldn't happen before the internet and its "dynamic ticket pricing." Given The Nutcracker is the introduction for most people into ballet it's also a stupid practice if NYCB has any interest in developing future interest in ballet.

I agree. The gouging is dampening enthusiasm for going out and seeing the company. Forgive me, but NYCB doesn't deliver a performance to the 3rd ring that is worth $135. It just doesn't. Maybe to the orchestra level, but not to the 3rd ring.

This is depressing, Haglund. I find my enthusiasm for NYCB dampening. Certain entitled dancers whose performances I cannot support with a ticket buy are off the table. That never happened in the past and we always had our favorites and non-favorites.

ABT? I'll pay to see Ratmansky and a few of the dancers, but in general, I'm off the bandwagon.

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm supporting the Bolshoi. Next time they or their dancers come to town, I'm going.

I hope that this Winter season turns out better. I was a bit disheartened this past fall after a disappointing performance of Symphony in C.

There's also only a handful of shows that interest me in the spring. Why so little Balanchine and Robbins?! The first three weeks only have four shows that feature Balanchine. I probably won't be attending much until the 2nd half of that season.

True, yukionna, we used to get a greater number of programs and a greater total of Balanchine works during the season. It's a rather inelegant stretch of the truth to refer to either Wheeldon's DGV or Peck's premiere or Rodeo as NYCB "Classics." In other words, NYCB is pronouncing Peck's premiere a "classic" before it lands on stage. The hyperbole leaves a very bad taste.

I can understand the marketing of dreck and substandard work as "new" and "ground-breaking" but classics? Please.

I can also understand pushing people like Lauren Lovette, and Gemma Reisen... any performing art has to attempt relevance. I get it. So, why don't they pair these new kids on the block with some of the women greats of the past?

I can think of a bunch of ballets by Bronislava Nijinska that cry out for revival. Not the NYCB style? That's what they said about the Bournonville, and they were performed brilliantly.

Nijinska is a treasure house of great theatrical style, movement, and all around old world craft. If NYCB were to revive one of her works and package it with Reisen and Lovette, I would go. Or are they scared that the genius of one would expose the shallowness of the other(s)? I wouldn't think that way. I'm generous to neophytes. Everyone's got to start somewhere.

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