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  2. Colorado Ballet did four performances this weekend and has three more next weekend of its final show of the season at the Caulkins Opera House. For ballet lovers, it's by far the best program of the year. I went to all four to see the different casts. As I suspect few on this site will be in Denver next weekend to see the final three, let me say a few things about the ballets chosen. Yuri Possokhov's Firebird was a great programming choice. I was not crazy about his Optimistic Tragedy for San Francisco Ballet last month, which was too often gimmicky, but this was accessible for lots of audiences with plenty of interesting choreography, especially for the leads. He uses the shorter Firebird Suite and the story was clear and easy to understand throughout. This was apparently one of his first pieces after retiring as a dancer, with an early version in 2004 for Oregon and then in 2007 for San Francisco Ballet. I like the minimalist sets, mostly colorful drops, with a few pieces of hanging scenery. It wasn't as overwrought and pretentious as Ratmansky's version a few years ago. And it had several fun touches and surprise elements, which work with an audience not as familiar with classical ballet as others. The middle piece on the program was Kylian's Petite Mort. I have seen this programmed for a lot of companies in recent years. I first saw it at PNB, paired with Six Dances, which also uses Mozart, Mozart-ian costumes, and the black dresses with a life of their own. It's a work-out for the dancers and they seem to love it, but Mort just seems to stop when the music is over, without any sort of finale or closure that made sense. Colorado showed it with two completely different casts, 12 dancers each, so almost all of the professional dancers got to perform this one. Others have pointed out that Kylian is expensive, so perhaps that's why nobody else performs the pair of works together, which is a shame. (This company has 26 dancers on contract, plus five apprentices, and a large studio company.) The program opened with Serenade. It amazes me that I never get bored with this, no matter how many times I see it. I always marvel at the genius of the choreography -- moving large groups of dancers around stage in interesting and surprising ways, e.g. But I also always think of what it must have been like for Balanchine in 1934 with the odd assortment of dancers he had to work with. I don't mean to suggest that this is an "easy" ballet for anybody, but so much is accomplished with the visual tableau of poses, positions, motifs, etc. that are not as technically demanding as other ballets, at least for the corps. I must note that Maria Mosina, who is retiring at the end of this season, joined the Serenade cast for the Sunday matinee as Russian Girl - of course! What a treat, especially with the symbolism of the ties to Russia of both dancer and choreographer. (She also did Firebird Friday and Saturday nights, partnered by Alexei Tyukov.) At the Vail Dance Festival this summer, the Colorado corps will do Serenade with principals from NYCB. As I have said before, regional companies like Colorado perform such an important role in showing live ballet (with live orchestra) in cities where the big companies like ABT and NYCB never tour. They provide paid professional employment to a wonderful group of dancers. And the orchestra with 46 musicians (!) is always superb.
  3. Just posted to YouTube - Theresa Ruth Howard's keynote address on the subject of "diversity" from the Position Ballet conference:
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  6. Such great news! I was surprised not to see Maxwell and Kretzschmar on the list, but I agree they will be soon as well. My only wish would be Ashley Laracey promoted to principal.
  7. Fabulous news! Especially happy to see Sara Adams -- sometimes it seems as if she's been rather underutilized in the corps, so it'll be great to see her with more opportunities. Also really happy to see Emilie Gerrity promoted -- while there's not as much "name recognition" as with Unity Phelan, Indiana Woodward, et al., she's really developed a lovely magnetism on stage within the past few years. BalletontheRocks, I was a bit surprised as well, but there's such a depth of talent in the corps that it may take a few cycles to get all of the future soloists moved up. My guess is that Ashley Hod, Alexa Maxwell, and Claire Kretzschmar will be part of the next "batch" (perhaps with Miriam Miller as well, though perhaps she'll be moving on her own trajectory). What a great time to be in the City Ballet audience!
  8. LOL. At least they are not able to speed up the credits to a blinding pace, as is so often done with normal TV shows. I was just reading Macaulay's review of this presentation - I like this bit: "Above all, the “Walpurgisnacht Ballet” captures what for some years has been the single greatest ballerina performance of our day: Sara Mearns in its lead role. She has dramatic flair and heroic voluptuousness within technical brilliance. She embodies the music’s seductive diablerie." I pretty much agree. It's the closest we get to experiencing a Violette Verdy or Allegra Kent -type dancer in the present day.
  9. The subject of chapter 11 of Dr. Melissa Klapper's "Pirouettes from the Past" podcast is "The History of Dance Teacher Organizations in the US" can be downloaded from iTunes or on an Android device or found here:
  10. Great find, thank you. I'm glad these "ballet world leaders" are getting a chance to talk together, share experiences and brainstorm.
  11. Thanks for the report, Quiggin. The Onegin comparison makes sense. Anne Murphey (for the Mercury News) seems to agree with your assessment: "The questions: Is it new? Different? Daring? The answer: sometimes. The first image of the production is arresting. On the drop curtain there’s a giant skull viewed from the side, a spinal cord and what appears to be a trachea at a disturbing remove from the spine. When that curtain rises, a three-act, nearly three-hour, visually compelling but choreographically flawed ballet starts unfolding."
  12. Rebecca King and Michael Sean Breeden interviewed Doug Fullington about "Baiser de la Fee" for their podcast, "Conversations on Dance":
  13. I'm surprised to not see Ashley Hod's name among the promotions. She, Unity Phelan, and Indiana Woodward joined the company close to each other and have debuted many of the same roles.
  14. I just got back from watchinng Smirnova in SB - we receive the broadcasts later in Puerto Rico - and I loved it. I enjoyed Olga Smirnova a lot - and indeed way more than I expected. She is not a typical Aurora either, but she makes it work in her favor more than Zakharova does (in my humble opinion). You can tell she and Chudin dance a lot together, she trusts him and lets go. I hope their dance partnership continues to grow. Stepanova was as beautiful, graceful and protective as I expected her to be in her role of Lilac Fairy. I went with a friend who had never seen a full length ballet. She enjoyed it and left wanting to see more ballet.
  15. Thanks so much for this link -- between this conference and the recent Dancing in the Cold War program at Barnard/Columbia I'm doubly frustrated that I don't have a big travel budget!
  16. Enjoyed seeing this more than I thought I would. Narrowly focused version of Frankenstein. Some Oneginish traces. At times it seemed like the revenge of Victor Frankenstein's Id, or dark side – at others only that some worrisome past indiscretion was the problem. But beautifully dressed and danced and dramatically effective in parts. Hinged on the personalities of Joseph Walsh, Frances Chung and Angelo Greco to hold things together so nicely throughout. Score very smoothly done, heard bits of Ravel and Stravinsky Violin Concerto in the last act waltzes, someone said Prokofiev Cinderella in the bordello scene – never know if that's a plus or a minus anymore.
  17. Especially when a station or network shrinks the credit roll so that they can run other promotional stuff at the same time!
  18. This is often true for dances trained in modern/contemporary styles as well.
  19. Congrats, and well deserved all around!
  20. You've asked a complex question -- while different eras and styles have valued different elements in ballet technique, "plastique" has sometimes been used to indicate the indescribable. And I think almost everyone here has certain dancers or certain moments that they feel exemplify a kind of kinetic modeling that exists between positions or beyond correctness. For me, I tend to use the term when I see a sense of contrapposto, usually starting in the torso and extending through arms/legs/head. It's usually about the getting from place to place, rather than a static position, though some shapes imply that process. Though she thought of herself as outside the world of ballet, Isadora Duncan is probably one of the clearest examples of this for me.
  21. I had a list of people I thought would get promoted and I got all the corps members right ! I'm sort of excited because I'm new to the ballet world (2 years), so I guess it means that I have an okay eye and that I am approaching and "appreciating" this wonderful art form correctly ! I'm very happy for all the dancers who got promoted. I saw most of them in Saratoga and I was blown away by their talent. Congratulations !
  22. If I had been living in a co-op instead of a condo, the co-op board might have booted me from the building after the commotion I made early in the morning when I learned that Shizuka Arakawa won the Olympic gold medal in 2006 ;) Congratulations to all of the dancers I got to see some of them on Opening Night last Fall.
  23. One of the problems with television is that you can't pause, rewind, etc. ;) At least with the online videos it's possible to look over the credits carefully.
  24. We've lost the original 2017 Winter Season thread, and apologize to all who posted their impressions. If anyone received email notifications that a new reply was posted -- they should include the text of the post, and even if deleted from your Inbox, they may still be in your deleted items/trash folder -- we'd appreciate it very much if you would forward them to us at We can try to recreate the thread the best we can.
  25. I watched Dans2Go last night and had a very enjoyable evening all-together. The highlight of the evening was definitely Starpov's Beginning and Ending which I loved almost everything about. I thought it was a moving story that the choreographer had wrapped in great costumes and embraced with lovely music, his pas de deux's especially were sublime, both the PDD between the fiancee and the writer and later, the PDD between the writer and the guardian figure. Sebastian Haynes as the writer was a sight for sore eyes, the elements of dancing that the writer had were wonderfully executed and the sheer emotion that he poured into the character was palpable, visible, too, when at one point he seemed to be truly crying on stage. As the fiancee I thought Elenora Morris made a commanding, dramatic presence and as the guardian angel, Stephanie Chen Gundorph was just so amazingly beautiful and striking, especially in the mentioned PDD. I was personally in love with Heather Dunn as the forest queen who was so lovely and gentle to watch as well as the three deers, Silvia Selvini, Caroline Betancourt and Matteo Di Loreto that made an interesting and entertaining trio amidst the many formations and pairs. The ghost couple that seemed to mirror the writer and the fiancee was wonderfully danced by Viktoria Falck-Schmidt and Jon Axel Fransson. Although some of the scenes dragged on a little too long for my taste, mostly Starpov succeeded through his ability to move his formations around the stage in a very interesting and unique way. Only a few times did it seem too crowded, mostly - as in the final scene where the writer takes command over his many creations - the formations were precise and made sense, as well as how they were moving and beautiful to look at, though I myself found that I enjoyed how he worked with the pairs more than with the groups. The ghost couple, the writer and the fiancee and the writer and the guardian had incredibly poignant and forceful choreography to work with, not only step-wise, but in the sheer emotion that was required to show the characters fully, something everybody did to the fullest. As well as the PDD between the writer and the guardian angel, the scene where the writer sees all his creation march out in line in front of the backdrop like silhouettes was amazingly striking to look at as well as the final moment of that same scene where everybody strikes a still pose and fade into black silhouettes before the audience's eyes - that was just goosebumps-worthy! Starpov is undeniably a new big name on the RDB stage when it comes to choreography and as far as firsts go, this was a very solid, well-thought out and well-performed one, everyone gave it their very best and it fully deserved the standing ovation it got afterwards. My only regret was the cluster of colors, with both the costumes and the lighting being in bright and vivid color, I would maybe have preferred for the backdrop to be either in white or black to not confuse my eyes quite so much - but I'm sure there's a reason it was in color and it was definitely not so hard on the eyes that I couldn't concentrate on the rest of it, the beauty and the drama. Everything had a clear red line running through it. The first part of the evening was more good than great. Mostly I had a very tall man sitting right in front of me, blocking my view of centre stage pretty much constantly, so that took some of the joy out of it for me, but what I could see was good and entertaining. I don't personally think that the idea of updating Conservatoire is a bad one, the concept is interesting and very now, but the dancing wasn't the finest I've seen from the RDB, I think it might have been an off day. Neither Camilla Ruelykke Holst or Lena-Maria Gruber truly seemed to command the stage for me as Elisa and Victorine, though I thought Gruber's choreography was the more interesting one to watch in general. Alexander Stæger as the balletmaster was great to watch, but I only caught about half his dancing due to the big head in front of me. What I did see, though, I liked. All in all, I thought the men did really well with some great dancing from Eliabe D'Abadia, Tobias Praetorius and Liam Redhead - and especially from Alexander Bozinoff who had a solo that took my breath away at the end, it was amazing! For once, I also really enjoyed the ballet children on stage and there was one girl in particular, at the front row, that did so well, I was really impressed. So, all in all, Conservatoire yesterday was a day for the men and the children in particular and although it wasn't the best I've seen the RDB dance, it was interesting and the concept did work for me which was a relief. Last, but not least, I saw Ida Praetorius and Marcin Kupinski in Other Dances and although this choreography will never become a favourite of mine, I enjoyed the music and I thought both dancers did very well where especially Kupinski managed to bring out the spontaneity and the aspect of making it seem like he was "making up steps as he goes along", whereas Praetorius brought a lightness and a playfulness to the choreography that made up for how she didn't always seem as spontaneous as Kupinski. They both especially aced their first solos, Kupinskis first solo was a masterpiece, a masterful show of power and play with Praetorius' first solo ending on the most brilliant and the fastest note imaginable. Along the way after this point, they lost some steam and although they danced really well all way through, most of the true force and bravur feeling happened throughout the first half of the choreography. All in all, it was a very, very good piece to get to see, even if I won't go out of the way to see it again, and both Kupinski and Praetorius looked amazing in their costumes. There was only one major glitch throughout this evening where each section was introduced in interviews on a big screen - when Beginning and Ending was up, the technology had a mishap that caused the audience to sit in darkness for some time, but fortunately it was fixed at the end and we got to see interviews with Starpov himself as well as with the two main role dancers, Andreas Kaas and Sebastian Haynes. A great evening!
  26. Yaaayyy I just clapped and my roommate was all surprised and wondered what the hell happened! I am thrilled for all, but mostly for Unity, Indiana, Joseph and Harrison. These are not surprising and they were a long time coming. I am thrilled to see them finally happen!
  27. Russell Janzen was promoted to principal. Sara Adams, Harrison Ball, Emilie Gerrity, Joseph Gordon, Unity Phelan, Troy Schumacher and Indiana Woodward moved to soloists.
  28. A very short video on this conference.
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