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July 06, 2021


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Thanks, Haglund. Gotta say...”Let Me Sing Forevermore” sure is getting a lot of mileage these days!

Yep. Handstands, swinging ponytail, imitation Tharp/Stroman choreography, and Tony Bennett are what the crowd is screaming for.

Somewhat related, as it's ABT...

Did anyone else attend (virtually) last night's ABT Spring Celebration Gala on the AfterParty platform? It's for a worthy cause but there were a couple of disappointments:

1. After having been promised, in ads, three new ballets (by Farley, Pickett and Whiteside), we saw only shortish excerpts of each. And THEN...

2. What we saw kept freezing. Ugh. Sometimes it froze for such a long time that the screen-saver came on..."stay tuned! ABT's Springtime Celebration will come back on!" (or something to that effect) Oh, well. Hopefully the film will be made available for viewing in the coming days.

Hi, Jeannette.

I didn't go to ABT's virtual gala on the AfterParty (woohoo!) platform last night. Too bad that it seems to have turned out to be a typical ABT experience.

What I did do last night was watch all the Instagram clips of Skylar Brandt taking ownership of the Don Q PdD and the Le Corsaire PdT in Italy as part of a Roberto Bolle & Friends performance. She danced the Don Q with Simkin -- at this point in time, all other ballerinas should just sit down. Just. sit. down. The Le Corsaire, equally impressive, was with POB's Francesco Mura and La Scala's Nicola del Freo. Regrettably, she's already well into her mid-career time period, and we're just now seeing what she can do. Can't blame that on COVID.

I also had nothing but trouble streaming the ABT Gala last night and simply gave up. However, later on did receive an email from ABT apologizing for the technical problems and supposedly the full performance is available to watch now. I haven't tried yet. What I did see was disappointing.

Right, Christina. I got the same email. The film is available now via Afterparty, for those who registered...BUT they’ve decided to also make it available via the ABT YouTube channel as of 10pm tonight.

Ok, I finally watched the 1hr/16-min ABT show without interruptions on YouTube:

Among the self-congratulatory fluff pieces and wokeness are excerpts (about 8 mins ea) of three mighty-promising new ballets, two overtly classical (Farley & Whiteside) and the other (by Pickett) more modern-abstract but still with traces of classicism. Sorry, Haglund, but I’m all in for Whiteside’s City of Women, full of Balanchinean quotations...even a bit of Stars & Stripes in the midst of a lyrical corps section that also quotes Serenade. Look for the cool quotes! Oh...and there’s some Serenade among Silas Farley’s male angels in Collage & Creed.

I’d be chasing after the Ballet Across America trucks and buses if these three new works would be programmed in full...far superior to the Tony Bennett Sing Forevermore silliness.

Hi, Jeannette.

I sort of watched it. The bad thing/good thing about having it on YouTube is that one can skip through as interest wanes. I skipped through most of the speeches and gave the three pieces a look but wouldn't pay to see them again.

I'll give Farley credit for trying -- too hard. At first I thought that maybe he had pulled a "Twyla" and actually choreographed the steps to totally different music before setting it on the Arvo Part hymns. The steps went with the counts but not the music. I found it pretentious although I do understand that it was part of a bigger work. Perhaps everything that led up to this excerpt (which we didn't see) warranted the holiness and white convent-like stiffness in the dancers.

Helen Pickett's dance called "Desire" initially totally fooled me. I kept thinking "I really like these dancers and this music is compelling, but something is not working here." Then I realized that the music was derivative of the same composer's music for Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's scorching hot dramatic tour de force A Streetcar Named Desire. Funny how Pickett named her piece "Desire", too, and used the same composer. In my view, the content was lacking unless one is a fan of arm-waving, anguished looks, and "wait, stop, we have to insert a ballet step here" choreography.

ABT should perform Ochoa's Streetcar with Blaine Hoven as Stanley Kowalski and Cassie Trenary as Blanche. The woke world would blow itself up in protest. What a freaking good time we'd have. https://youtu.be/WSWPa0EDlDg

Whiteside's piece was as precious as could be -- the final lady-fists cringeworthy. As the dancers were waving their arms around, I could almost hear Whiteside saying, "More chi-chi, ladies." I did, however, appreciate the costume design and also seeing Sierra Armstrong featured. I wish she had stayed at SAB and followed that natural path. As a whole, though, I found Whiteside's dance an affected bore.

Speaking of affected and precious, could Jennifer Garner be any more? Can she no longer get a serious acting job?

Ouch, Haglund...but LOL to “more chi-chi, ladies!” I really loved this, though...even with Woke fists at the end.

I have to mostly agree with Haglund's review of the ABT stream. Too much talk and not enough dance. I skipped through about 2/3 of it. I didn't like any of the new works, especially the Pickett whose work I've never appreciated. The Farley work was the least objectionable; if only one could see more of it. Ditto the Ratmansky/Bernstein. I don't dislike Garner at all and would rather listen to her speak than many of the others, especially Boylston. Not fair to criticize a dancer's voice though is it?

I'm so glad it was free. I found the entire presentation boring, too much arm waving, twirl twirl,flail flail and gyrating unpretty movements for my taste. And the ABT is taking wokeness to new levels. Every venue was prefaced with an apology to every native american who ever lived on land in NY State. What that has to do with ballet is beyond me.

You’re right about those Woke-idiotic apologies to native Americans. After so much apologizing before every Jacob’s Pillow stream last year, the place still burned down...sorry... 😢

Wondering if, say, the Alaskan ballet companies apologize to Russians who were driven out?

I’m sorry but as much as I love Bennett, that Lang piece is overcooked at this point. Plus it’s more Broadway then ballet IMHO. And if I wanted something like this I’d rather go to Broadway and get the full experience!

It didn't come off very well tonight at Damrosch Park either. Lang is a far cry from Stroman, Tharp, Robbins, and anyone else she is trying to imitate.

Not surprised and why I worry about the fall season with more of the same.

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