Balanchine's Concerto Barocco

There are a few examples of NYCB's Concerto Barocco online and you can see all manner of ballerina's in the iconic roles.  My favorite is Patricia McBride who was filmed dancing the lead in an awful cut filled with strange, choppy edits.  But it didn't diminish the work of Mcbride or Martins and the rest of the company.  I think I've read that Balanchine did not cast McBride in this role and her big leap into the ballet was due to Farrell leaving the company in the early 70's.  I'm not sure why Balanchine hesitated to use her, perhaps because he envisioned the role for tall dancers.

I've posted a short clip of State Ballet of Georgia dancing a wonderful rendition of the ballet.  They paid a great deal of attention to stylistic detail especially since Balanchine was Georgian.  In essence they have a great deal of the NYCB polish but still true to their own ballet heritage.  It makes me wonder if they are an affiliated Balanchine company.  Because I watched their Youtube channel and they featured a lot of Balanchine works in their company seasonal advertisement.  Whatever the case, they are truly wonderful in this video.

Another clip is of a very young Suzanne Farrell dancing with Conrad Ludlow.  I always thought that I would love Farrell in this role.  But honestly I don't.  This role requires a certain amount of polish, a bit of classicism that LeClerq and Mcbride had in spades.  At the time, Farrell lacked this polish.  Instead she goes off on wild tangents and follows her own ideas on how the steps should be phrased.  She exploits over extensions, if a step requires the dancer to be a bit off balance...Farrell actually falls off pointe, she uses retardando in her dancing in surprising ways.  I'm surprised how much Balanchine allowed her to experiment in this role.  I mean, to the point where in many cases her ideas just don't jell and she looks physically ugly.  However she is always fascinating to watch even if I prefer other dancers over her.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,