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October 10, 2023


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We saw Sara Mearns on 10/4, and our whole family was left silent. My son said he will never forget that performance. He's 14 and only moderately interested in going to the ballet (prefers opera), but he said it changed his life. We saw her a few days earlier at the Fall for Dance Festival, and it really highlighted how incredibly versatile she is to see those two performances just days apart. She commanded the stage in both places with an unforgiving power.

Watching her makes you wonder if she's now at the peak of her career. That confidence and time have left you thinking she's going to go into her late 30s and early 40s blowing away the younger dancers with something you can't quite name.

Echo so many of your sentiments, Haglund - and thanks for this review. Let me not start on the fact that the NYTimes basically doesn't cover ABT and NYC Ballet seasons anymore......

Added to the "magic" that was Tiler on Sunday is that she did this performance knowing that she was going to literally race out of the theater to visit her very ill father in hospital. She notes on IG that she was dancing for her dad, but I applaud not only her immense artistry, but her force of will in being able to dance like that with something like a father's health weight on her.

I was blown away by the whole Apollo cast of Chan, Nadon, Kikta and LaFreniere - I couldn't believe (even if I knew it to be true) that they all made their debuts in those roles two nights earlier. Chan has such a beautiful classic line and face - to me he was perhaps the most Greek-statue looking Apollo since Martins.

Thought Alexa Maxwell as the sleepwalker was great - she was a woman/spirit on a mission during her entrance. The corps man that danced the Jester/Harlequin(?) was also a standout to me from that cast. I've only seen La Sonambula a few times - is there a reason the divertissment women have their hair down when they come out when the Poet is killed?

Very much echo your wonderful review, Haglund! And it's all the more appreciated given the paper of record seems to have little interest in reviewing NYCB's and ABT's seasons.

Tiler was a marvel in PC2, and her performance is all the more impressive given PC2 was moved up in the performance order so that she could rush to make a cross country plane to be with her father in hospital. She dedicated her 2 PC2 performances to her father. It's a testament to her formidable artistry and will power that she was able to perform at that level under that level of stress.

The Chan, Nadon, Kikta, LaFreniere Apollo cast was dynamite - so hard to believe they all debuted in those roles 2 days prior. Chan looks like a statue carved out of marble - maybe the most classic looking Apollo since Peter Martins.

I also agree with you about Alexa Maxwell's debut as the sleepwalker. She really darted out of the tower with her bourrees and commanded the attention of the poet (not to mention the audience). The male dancer that did the Harlequin/Jester was also a standout. Random question - why do the divertissment ladies take their hair down before coming out to witness the Poet's death?

I look forward to your reviews of this last and final week of the Fall 2023 season. There's a lot of great ballet left to see and we're only a third of the way through the season!

Hi, Rachel.

The Harlequin in La Sonnambula was the young corpsman Cainan Weber. Incredibly talented.

I honestly don't know why the divertissment ladies take their hair down before coming out to witness the Poet's death. Hopefully, some readers out there have an idea or two about that.

And apologies to all here for the duplicate comment!

No problem. Sometimes it takes me a few hours to get to them.


Just wow! So happy to hear that your young son was thrilled by the ballet. Music to our ears. And for someone so young to also appreciate opera -- well, he must have blue ribbon parents.

I have attended a total of six shows this season (thank you 30f30) and it has been an extraordinary experience. I'm glad to hear about Mearns on 10/4 because unfortunately on 10/6 she appeared a bit out of control onstage. A little more restraint would have served the performance better for myself. I would have liked to see Ms. Peck in the role, and I think her professionalism in the face of personal tragedy should serve as a role model to her peers. She is a generous artist and person.

Unity as Terpsichore was extraordinary. I had the good fortune of being seated on the sides of ring and the way she effortlessly would bend into her penches (with both legs perfectly turned out) was beautiful to behold from that angle. Also, in my opinion, Unity was quite good in the 10/1 Agon.

I had never seen Stars and Stripes but it was so much fun. Megan Fairchild deserved all the applause for her balances.

Also, I missed the mark not commenting on the last post - but how fun would it be for Mira Nadon to tackle all three Jewels roles in one performance? She conquered Rubies and Emeralds and she will certainly excel in Diamonds. Ekaterina Kondaurova performed all three roles in a 2013 performance to celebrate her promotion to prima at the Mariinsky. Hopefully a similar celebration could occur for Ms. Nadon!

Last: shoutout to the wonderful audiences at most performances this season. We've had some dancers come out for three curtain calls because of the enthusiasm. At the 10/6 show, it was lovely to see so many dancers from ABT (Calvin R, James W, and Christine S among the principals there) presumably studying PC2 for their run of Ballet Imperial as well as Houston Ballet's Yuriko Kajiya in the front row.

Zachary, it would be awesome to see a one-off performance where Mira Nadon or another capable ballerina danced in all three Jewels. Not sure who else besides Mira could do that -- perhaps Isabella LaFreniere. And in the foreseeable future perhaps Alexa Maxwell and Ashley Hod, if we can keep them healthy. We haven't even begun to see what A&A have to offer.

I can’t agree with you more, Haglund! I traveled from my home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, just to regale in Balanchine and these fabulous dancers since Thursday’s Fall Fashion Gala…culminating in tonight’s 75th Anniversary! RAH, RAH, RAH, NYCB and Mr B!!!

Hi, Jeannette! Glad you could make it!

Last night there were a lot more variations in Theme & Variations than there should have been (corps women running into one another, mis-timed or missed badly or just plain quit on the double tours by some of the men, demi pairs out of sync, glowering, laughing at mistakes, unpointed feet in the men's white shoes). Oy, time for a re-set. Call in Coach Hackett to do something with the offensive lines.

Serenade was lovely. Very impressed with Miriam Miller's growth in her Dark Angel role. Davide Riccardo was superb in his debut but for a slight difficulty maneuvering three partners at a time. Indiana was delightful and a joy to watch. Sara offered big drama with little attention to upper body form. Her match up with Taylor Stanley works well in Stravinsky VC, but not in Serenade.

Orpheus was a snooze except for when two or three guys got caught on stage when they shouldn't have been there after Ashley Laracey got dragged under the curtain--she was absolutely lovely but her talent wasted in this Balanchine effort to mimic Martha Graham. Thank goodness Miss Graham never tried to mimic Balanchine!

Let's wait and see what happens this week and hope for the best.

Just want to add to the above comment that Savannah Durham was on fire in Serenade. This woman is dancing at an all time high after struggling so long with injury. She would be extraordinary as the Waltz Girl or Russian Angel. Hers is a thrilling comeback, to put it mildly.

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