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Exit Whelan

Wendy Whelan and Alexei Ratmansky in the studio. Photo by Craig Hall.
Wendy Whelan and Alexei Ratmansky in the studio. Photo by Craig Hall.

I wrote a little tribute to Wendy Whelan for the New Yorker’s Culture Blog. You can read it here. This picture is from one of the rehearsals for Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky’s new piece for her farewell performance, on Oct. 18. Wouldn’t miss it.

Something Old, Something New

Sterling Hyltin and Andrew Veyette with the company in Justin Peck's <I>Everywhere We Go</I>.<br />© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Here’s my review of the Saturday matinee at New York City Ballet, including débuts by Sara Mearns and Russell Janzen  in Balanchine’s Chaconne and my second look at Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go, from last season.

And a short excerpt: “[Everywhere We Go] begins well, with a striking duet for two men, or rather for a man and his shadow. This shadowing theme suffuses the rest of the ballet, particularly the complicated relationship between principals and corps. Peck constantly subverts the hierarchies of lead dancers and ensemble. Dancers melt in and out of larger formations; at times the shadow figures become the main event. Peck’s configurations for the ensemble are often asymmetrical, non-frontal, kaleidoscopic, but never less than clear.”

Ratmansky Unplugged

14ratmanksy2_span-articlelargeLast week, the choreographer Alexei Ratmansky sat down with Paul Holdengraber of the New York Public Library for an extended conversation about his influences, interests, taste, ideas about ballet, and a million other things. There is an audio file of the conversation on the NYPL’s website. If you’re interested in ballet, it’s essential listening.

The NYPL talk made me think of the various interviews I’ve had with Ratmansky while preparing articles on his Shostakovich Trilogy and his first season as ABT’s choreographer in residence. I put together some of his comments  for DanceTabs last year.

Ratmansky goes to the Pictures

An image from "Pictures at an Exhibition." Photo by Paul Kolnik.
An image from “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Photo by Paul Kolnik.

Last night was the première of Alexei Ratmansky’s new “Pictures at an Exhibition”—yes, set to that score—for New York City Ballet. And it’s a good one. You can read my review for DanceTabs here.

And here’s a short excerpt: “At the risk of sounding like a broken record, is there a ballet choreographer working today who is more imaginative, more wholly himself, than Alexei Ratmansky? The images that music awakens in him are often weirdly unexpected, and yet one is so thoroughly drawn into the worlds he creates onstage that surprise quickly turns into a kind of amazed fascination.”

Ratmansky, Amar Ramasar, and Sara Mearns in the studio. By Paul Kolnik
Ratmansky, Amar Ramasar, and Sara Mearns in the studio. By Paul Kolnik
Ratmansky and Gonzalo García. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Ratmansky and Gonzalo García. Photo by Paul Kolnik.