Ashley Bouder's Absolute Gem of a "Ruby"

Okay, this has to be short and sweet because I have about five briefs to write before I go to bed tonight, but I just got back from seeing my second production of “Jewels” at NYCBalletgo here for my post on seeing this wonderful ballet for the first time. (By the way, I just started flipping through Terry Teachout‘s book on Balanchine and noticed he signed it and wrote, “To Tonya, in honor of her first Jewels.” Aw!!) This was my first time seeing ballerina Ashley Bouder in the main role in “Rubies,” as her debut in the part took place just last night (which explains what Alastair Macaulay was doing sprinting back and forth across Lincoln Plaza last night — if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here, for my post on last night. Hehe, I hope I’m not revealing anything I shouldn’t be :)Arlene Croce said she used to do the same thing… and it does show how happening the NY dance scene is right now if the critics are running all around like mad people trying to see everything at once.) Anyway, as I said, Macaulay did not seem to have been successful in getting into Jewels last night, so I do hope he went back today because Ashley Bouder IS NOT TO BE MISSED IN THIS ROLE!!!! Oh my gosh, she completely knocked me out! She is such a powerhouse, just wizzing around stage in those turns this way and that, traveling at lightning speed and changing directions like there’s nothing to it. But she is not just an athletic, virtuostic marvel — she is known for that after all — artistically she was brilliant as well; she really brought to this role exactly what Balanchine must have had in mind when he created it. She perfectly exemplified the sexy, jazzy, sassy, flirty American with showgirly flair. She really brought Rubies to life for me, in other words. I can’t help but still love Diamonds best — just watching all of that beautiful partnering, the stage filled with couples at the end, the gorgeous pas de deux and the Tschiakovsky music… it just makes me nearly cry — but Ashley’s performance today almost made me reconsider my favorite “jewel.” It’s really too bad that today marked the end of the NYCB season (a lot of endings this weekend), but when they bring it back, you MUST go see this one in Rubies! You must!

I loved Emeralds just the same — it’s probably my least favorite of the “stones” but I think it’s slowly growing on me. And I’m loving Rachel Rutherford — last time I went on and on about her beautifully expressive wrists, this time I couldn’t get over her lovely en pointe tiny-stepped pas de bouree couru turns. Is she dancing the role that Balanchine originally choreographed on Violette Verdy I wonder? I’d love to see what Verdy looked like, not to compare, but just because the former history grad student in me wants to know. Philip, who accompanied me today, handed me his binoculars when Robert Fairchild took the stage! (He knows how much I like him :) ) We were sitting near the front of the orchestra!! I said, I don’t think I need them to see him that close up! And Maria Kowroski was stunning again in Diamonds, as was her very leading-manly partner Charles Askegard (who I forgot to mention last time). Oh dear, I almost called him Charles Bushnell… Speaking of which, Candace Bushnell (his wife, and “Sex and the City” lady), was right when she told him he was tall for a ballet dancer. I usually sit in the fourth ring, where everyone looks a lot shorter, but sitting up front, as I have been lately, you can really see people’s real sizes!

Oh, also, Philip and I met up with some of his friends, Monica Wellington and her beautiful daughter Lydia (who is currently a student at the School of American Ballet, run by NYCB), and, at intermission, they took us to the patron club, called The Green Room. This was the first time I’ve been in there and it’s really lovely. It looks just The Green Room at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, so called after 19th Century artist / designer / writer / philosopher William Morris. It looked like it was perhaps decorated with his wallpaper designs… Beautiful!

Oh, last note, happy Gay Pride day, everyone :)

3 Comments

  1. AMEN to everything you said about the performance of Jewels today – all I would add is that Ashley Bouder is not to be missed in ANY role she dances! She is really dancing on another planet these days. I think I hinted at this in an earlier comment when I said that Diamonds has always been my favorite of the three “jewels” but when Ashley is dancing the lead in Rubies, how can you not be tempted to vote for that as your favorite? I will get to see her one more time this summer – in Stars & STripes on July 4th (perfect, right) at Saratoga Springs. And yes, that other goddess at NYCB – the divine Maria – was also spectacular today in Diamonds (as she was in DAvidsbundlertanze on Friday evening at the Kyra farewell).

    As I mentioned on Philip’s blog tonight, I did see the two of you on the Promenade during the second intermission but you were engaged in conversation with other people and I really felt it would be rude to interrupt. There will be other opportunities in the future, I’m sure.

  2. It was so much fun to meet you at the NYCB yesterday afternoon. I am loving your blog! What a treat to see your photos of Alessandra. (And how do you get those fantastic seats?!) I’m so sad the NYCB season is over, but it was a fantastic finale performance!

  3. Oh it was so great meeting you and your daughter too, Monica! I’m glad you recognized Philip! And thank you so much for your very nice comments on my blog :) Bob, you must have seen us all before we went down to the Green Room! I’ll definitely have to see more of Ashley. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll get much of a chance to go to Saratoga but will be interested in what others have to say about it.

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