Happy Tutu Tuesday!

“Aurora means “dawn.” When the princess enters, she comes like a sunburst — flooding the stage with beauty, charm and pre-adult energy.”

– Alastair Macaulay on the role of Aurora, Meet Aurora of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’: Her Native Language Is Classical Ballet, The New York Times, February 8, 2017

Video Break…

Love this performance by Sara Mearns! ❤

“In “Walpurgisnacht,” Ms. Mearns gives the single greatest ballerina performance of our era —hurling out fantastically bold, amazingly precise, rivetingly complex dance coloratura with musical blaze and rich colors. I say “hurling out” — this is exultant, space-filling dancing, with a strong element of swagger — but I don’t underestimate the twinkling wit of Ms. Mearns’s delivery, the driving impulsiveness of her self-contradictory turns to right and left, the subtleties of her unexpected pauses.”

–  Alastair Macaulay, Sara Mearns, in Her Prime at City Ballet, Inspires Debate and Awe, The New York Times, June 25, 2015


Summer (Ballet) Love

Wedding Midsummer Night's Dream 14
Image by Rachel Hellwig.

Great commentary on the wedding divertissement pas de deux from Balanchine’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”…

“In this midst of all this prettiness lies a pas de deux of startling transparency. A man and a woman travel across the stage with excruciating slowness, executing the choreographic equivalent of a melody sustained on a single breath. He partners her with the lightest of touches as she turns slowly, lowering and raising one leg; or he lifts her so that she travels – or rather floats – backward through space. At one point, they glide in a diagonal, their arms gently pushing one against the other as if to propel each other forward. Every image adds up to the same idea: eternity, balance, trust.”

– Marina Harss, May 29, 2016, “New York City Ballet – Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Balanchine demonstrates the ideal of Romantic love: two anonymous dancers at the wedding divertissement dance to Mendelssohn’s string symphony No. 9. The music is high, sweet and tender; the dance seems timeless, and suspended. The opposite of the “Pyramus and Thisbe” amateur-dramatic show that Shakespeare provides at this stage in the drama, it floats above the ballet’s plot like the moon”

– Alastair Macaulay, May 23, 2016, “Love Two Ways: Ashton and Balanchine on Romance

Midsummer Ballet 7
Image by Rachel Hellwig.


The Eyes Have It…

Three recent New York Times pieces by Alastair Macaulay have critiqued the use of eye makeup by different New York City Ballet dancers. It’s an interesting topic and fair game for reviews since it’s an artistic element…

“As the Sylph, Ms. Hyltin’s only shortcoming is that she could use slightly stronger eye makeup. Her head looks particularly beautiful in the sylph headdress, but, though she certainly uses her eyes, their outlines are almost invisible.”

Review: New York City Ballet Performs Bournonville Classics at Spring Gala,  May 9, 2015

“Ms. Laracey should revise her eye makeup, which emphasizes the line of her eyes in closure but not their shape when open; few ballets make this matter more.”

Review: ‘Liebeslieder Walzer’ and ‘Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3,’ Balanchine Couples Baring Their Souls, Oct 2, 2015

“In most roles, she wears more eye makeup than any other dancer onstage. This works for her: Her eyes aren’t large, but she uses them well — her audience is seldom left in any doubt where her gaze is directed, and that gaze often seems to smolder or even burn. That strong use of maquillage is part of the striking element of Romantic self-dramatizing in her stage personality.”

Sara Mearns, in Her Prime at City Ballet, Inspires Debate and Awe, June 25, 2015

Do you think of eye makeup as an integral part of a dancer’s artistic presentation? If you’re a dancer, how do you do your eye makeup? Would you change your style of makeup if a reviewer suggested you should?