"George Balanchine" tag
Sorella Englund in La Sylphide, from a 2015 visit to London.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Ulrik Birkkjaer and Royal Danish Ballet dancers – Bournonville Legacy bill – New York

★★★★✰   You can tell the Danes are in town by the fact that the Joyce Theater has been packed night after night this week.

Alyona Kovalyova and Jacopo Tissi in Diamonds.© Darren Thomas. (Click image for larger version)

Bolshoi Ballet – Jewels: Emeralds, Rubies, Diamonds – Brisbane

★★★★★   As you would expect Diamonds was the highlight of the three part Jewels.

Gary Avis in The Firebird.© Tristram Kenton, courtesy the Royal Opera House. (Click image for larger version)

Royal Ballet – The Firebird, A Month in the Country, Symphony in C – London

★★★★✰   Three short but densely packed ballets infused with a strong Russian flavour were at the heart of the Royal Ballet’s last bill of the season.

Sara Mearns as Titania in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.© Erin Baiano. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – New York

★★★★✰   For Balanchine, Shakespeare’s characters are two-dimensional types, exemplary but wholly unreal. They are shadows in a shadow-play, representing this or that quality…

Viviana Durante and Mbulelo Ndabeni in 8.38.© David Scheinmann. (Click image for larger version)

Viviana Durante Company – THREE/8.38/SEVEN – London

★★✰✰✰   The show at Wilton’s Music Hall, produced and directed by former ballerina Viviana Durante, was originally billed as The Seven Deadly Sins by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht…

Joseph Gordon and Ashley Bouder in Balanchine's Scotch Symphony.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – All Balanchine quad bill including Scotch Symphony – New York

★★★★✰   There’s a reason why New York City Ballet doesn’t do George Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony very often. It’s a strangely disjointed ballet…

Gretchen Smith and Indiana Woodward in Pam Tanowitz’s Bartók Ballet.© Erin Baiano. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Spring Gala: Bright, Bartók Ballet, Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3 – New York

★★★✰✰   In Bartók Ballet, which coexists but does not comment on the music, the dancers explore a huge range of steps and quotations…

Ivan Putrov in Ashton's Dance of the Blessed Spirits.© Elliott Franks. (Click image for larger version)

Ivan Putrov – Against the Stream – London

★★★★✰   Putov brought together remarkable performers whom we long to see again, and left us wanting more…

Abigail Prudames (Victoria) and Pippa Moore (older Princess Beatrice) in Victoria.© Emma Kauldhar. (Click image for larger version)

Northern Ballet – Victoria (Marston premiere) – Leeds

★★★✰✰   Where the ballet takes off is when there are only two or three major characters on stage and then Marston clearly shows intentions and emotions and the dancing becomes rich and telling, clever and gorgeous.

Marcelo Gomes & The Sarasota Ballet in Sir Frederick Ashton's Apparitions.© Frank Atura. (Click image for larger version)

Sarasota Ballet – Apparitions, Stars and Stripes – Sarasota

★★★★✰   As if an Ashton rarity weren’t reason enough to catch this program, there was also the presence of Marcelo Gomes, former much-admired principal dancer from American Ballet Theatre, to recommend it.

New York City Ballet in Liebeslieder Walzer.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Prodigal Son, Liebeslieder Walzer – New York

★★★✰✰   Liebeslieder Walzer is one of the most precious of all Balanchine’s ballets; within its fifty-minute span it seems to contain a world of emotion, both profound and infinitely civilized.

San Francisco Ballet in Millepied's Appassionata.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Divertimento No. 15, Appassionata, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – San Francisco

★★★★✰   A triple bill joining George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, the San Francisco Ballet premiere of Benjamin Millepied’s Appassionata and Justin Peck’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Tiler Peck, Indiana Woodward, Brittany Pollack and Taylor Stanley in George Balanchine's Apollo.© Erin Baiano. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Apollo, Orpheus, Agon – New York

★★★★✰   There has been a generational shift at New York City Ballet, that much was clear last night in a program of Stravinsky ballets that included two major débuts and several smaller ones…

Rosas in Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s The Six Brandenburg Concertos.© Stephanie Berger. (Click image for larger version)

Some Memorable Performances of 2018 – New York

Other years have been more exciting, I think, but this one has had its share of remarkable performances, including a few thrilling ones. Here, in no particular order, are the ones that really stood out, for one reason or another.

Tenzin Niles and Ines Gout in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.© Erin Baiano. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – The Nucracker – New York

★★★✰✰   Come hell or high water, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker will return to New York City Ballet, filling the theatre night after night. Balanchine made a ballet built to last, and it has not disappointed.

Mayara Magri makes her debut as Gamzatti in La Bayadere on 14th November 2018.© and courtesy The Royal Ballet. (Click image for larger version)

Interview: Mayara Magri, First Soloist, The Royal Ballet

Jann Parry talks to the recently promoted Mayara Magri at an important time – she is about to make her debut as Gamzatti in The Royal Ballet’s production of La Bayadere – her first major and leading role in the company she joined 6 years ago…

Polina Semionova in La Bayadère.© Yan Revazov. (Click image for larger version)

Staatsballett Berlin – La Bayadère (premiere of Ratmansky reconstruction) – Berlin

★★★★✰   In the last several years, the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky has developed a sideline to his main choreographic efforts: the reviving of ballets by Marius Petipa in a way that represents the original choreography with as much fidelity as possible…

Miami City Ballet in Serenade.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

City Center Balanchine Festival – Miami City Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Royal Ballet, New York City Ballet

★★★✰✰   It’s fascinating to see how Balanchinean charm and wit are interpreted by dancers for whom the Balanchine repertoire is more of a foreign language.

ABT in Jessica Lang's Garden Blue.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Fall Gala + Symphonie Concertante & Garden Blue 3bills – New York

★★★✰✰   The fall season is too brief, particularly because it always feels as though it takes the company a few days to warm itself up. The dancing at the gala on Oct. 17 was a little slapdash, but by Friday things had begun to settle.

English National Ballet in Forsythe's Playlist (Track 1, 2).© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Voices of America bill – works by Forsythe, Robbins & Barton – London

★★★★✰   Altogether, a cunningly judged programme that shows off the company at its most engaging…

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