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February 12, 2022


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Hey Haglund!

I was at the Swan Lake I program last night too and I agree about the one-act version. I turned to a friend after, who had never seen a full length Swan Lake, and asked for her impressions. She remarked that it seemed like what you would expect to see in a Las Vegas style abridged production. HOWEVER, the swan corps choreography was actually really interesting/refreshing for me to watch, but I could not figure out why the prince was hunting around icebergs...

Maybe I'm naive but I do not get how even the one act Swan Lake bill provides a more corona-safe evening than a full length evening? Either way, the full corps is exposed in Serenade and the lakeside scene...

Overall it was a lovely evening with Serenade, Andantino, and Tchai pas. I did love seeing an overall impression of Ms. Mearns's Odette and I wish I could see her in a full length production.

Doesn't the one-act Balanchine Swan Lake have to compete with the Martins full-length Swan Lake for the worst production award? I remember back in the 70's being in the lobby of the NY State Theater shortly before a NYCB matinee performance was to begin. A middle-aged couple walked in to see what was on the afternoon's program - the man looked at the list of ballets and called out to his wife, "Do you want to see Swan Lake"? My point here is that someone with little knowledge of ballet (which could have been this couple) would see Balanchine's Swan Lake and take away the idea that this is indeed what Swan Lake is. And this sort of thing happens all the time. I had an argument once with someone about a selection of music from Ben Stevenson's "The Snow Maiden" - I pointed out that it was the "Entr'acte" from The Sleeping Beauty, Act II; they insisted that it couldn't be (probably because they never saw a production that included it) and, anyway, it was clearly from Balanchine's "The Nutcracker." These things have an unfortunate cumulative effect.

Truth be told, I left before the one act swan lake because I agree with Haglund that it is just not a good production.

Tiler as always was lovely in Tschai Pas and Roman is making that one his own as well. I was happy that was my last impression for the evening, especially as the program started almost half an hour late because the lines to get into the theater around 7:45 stretched all the way to Geffen Hall!


ITA that Martins' Swan Lake is not good at all. Interestingly, it feels very rushed although it is actually 5 minutes longer than ABT's SL with its tragically truncated Act IV. (Not counting intermissions.)

Martins designed his Swan Lake for his audience, not the dancers, not history, not the art form. He knew the appetite of his audience and their expectations. He knew that they would not sit through hours of costume parading and pantomime. He was looking to make a full length that would make a lot money for the company, and that's exactly what he did. Do I attend? Rarely. But a lot of people do and come away feeling like they have experienced Swan Lake -- that in itself is a tragedy.

Rachel, those lines were worse than Nutcracker. It may be that people need a little reminder to show up earlier.

I thought that the Tschai PdD was lovely, but clearly was being danced very carefully. Again, flexibility in Tiler's back was a problem. Not only were the arabesques not at 90 degrees but we saw several obvious hip opening arabesque lines in order to crank the leg up. The attitude positions were not what they should have been. She is dancing as though she is still significantly injured, and that is very troubling to watch. Nobody ever again wants to see what the audience saw when Jenny Somogyi pushed herself into that very serious on-stage injury.

Washington Ballet just premiered a new "Swan Lake" - a wonderfully traditional production with a complete (post-intermission) Act IV. Just proves that sometimes there isn't much that needs improving or rethinking.

How was Tiler last fall and Nutcracker? I've been reading here and other places various worries about what she can and can't currently do this season but I can't seem to remember how the opinions were last time. I don't remember reading anything too worrying from those months (but I also have terrible memory so correct me if I'm wrong).

It seems like while flexibility and tentativeness in her back is a worry but the musicality, phrasing, steps etc is all still there so I'm hopeful this is just her working through old/new roles in what is now her "new normal" and once she knows what she can handle she will up the ante. I think this is her first Tchai Pas since 2019 and obviously has never done Rubies (except for Vail) and Mozartiana

The NYCB Orchestra has been sounding wonderful for the recent Swan Lake programs. Even if the narratively lacking Balanchine production isn’t your favorite, the orchestra is sounding the best they have in years.

Anon - I've really enjoyed the NYCB podcast which does a "See the Music" series. The concert master joined on the most recent episode about Swan Lake. I agree re the orchestra.

On a non-NYCB-related note, ABT announced its Don Q casting for the Kennedy Center which features a return of Daniil Simkin and debuts for Brandt (opposite Herman) and Hurlin/Aran.

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