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  2. Executive Director position description

    Their former, long-time executive director, Michael Scolamiero, will take over at Ballet West this fall, after a stay at Miami City Ballet: http://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2017/09/20/ballet-west-hires-a-new-executive-director/
  3. Yesterday
  4. 2017 Fall Season

    I run hot and cold on story ballets myself. I like the ones that tell a good story well — Bournonville's La Sylphide, for instance, or Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream, or Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardée. I'm less enthusiastic about the ones with nonsense plots that seem mostly to be vehicles for bravura effects, lavishly costumed pageantry, and exotic locales — although I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone their enjoyment of them. (As someone who relishes every silly minute of Spectral Evidence, I can hardly throw stones ...) Mime isn't strictly necessary, but when it's done well (and when you've learned even a little bit of the language) it can be absolutely beautiful. A few years ago, The Dutch National Ballet produced a lovely mime "explainer" to accompany its new production of Sleeping Beauty and it was a real eye opener for me, at least. Alas, it doesn't appear to be available online (it's on the DVD). PNB has a nice subtitled excerpt from Giselle. And this is just plain fun. What I've finally wrapped my head around is the fact that an evening-length story ballet needs the changes in texture that mime, divertissements, and pageantry all offer.
  5. Yulia Stepanova

    The prize winners are nominated by the ballet and opera artistic directors and the company pedagogues. The award for Stepanova is a visible proof that Vaziev and some top ballet people in Moscow have a VERY HIGH opinion of Stepanova. Vaziev, in particular, was tremendously impressed by Yulia’s debut in the «Legend of Love».
  6. Wednesday, September 20

    Ballet West hires a new executive director.
  7. Wednesday, September 20

    Matthew Bourne's "The Red Shoes" comes to Southern California. The Los Angeles Times EW
  8. Wednesday, September 20

    Amar Ramasar adds film to his list of extracurricular activities.
  9. I haven't yet had the time to click on the interview but I intend to. Thanks for posting this.
  10. 2017 Fall Season

    I saw Swan Lake live for the first time last night. (I had previously been 0/3 in my attempts to see it and had been crossing my fingers all day there wouldn't be a storm/subway fail/etc.) I thought Sara was absolutely incredible and I loved both white acts and the ballroom act as well. The first act has been rightfully panned above/every time I read SL reviews and I can't understand why they don't replace those horrible costumes. I agree it felt like "City Ballet dances a swan-themed ballet," but this is why I loved it! I'm not crazy about story ballets -- I find mime to be rather boring and the stories generally contrived. This was beautiful music and beautiful dancing. I thought the orchestra played wonderfully. Sara had minor technical issues but her characterization and fluidity were even better than I had expected and I had high expectations. I felt real emotion at the end of Act IV. I was shocked. Sara was that compelling.
  11. New Company Roster

    At last, more information on what has been going on: New dancers, fresh energy at Atlanta Ballet http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/arts--theater/new-dancers-fresh-energy-atlanta-ballet/uCfq712oHikQxnqWn3RDsO/ "Nedvigin also made plans to expand the company. Word got out. Hundreds of inquiries came in, and Nedvigin invited a few to audition. Last February, he gave a New York audition, which attracted about 180 dancers. Nedvigin then joined about a dozen artistic directors in Barcelona, Spain, for a Grand Audition, where dancers could vie for spots in several ballet companies during one weekend. Nedvigin worked with Sharon Story, dean of the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, to form a training ensemble to groom young dancers for the company."
  12. 2017 Fall Season

    It does. Martins is not a natural storyteller, and the pace at which the company is inclined to take his version of Swan Lake - compounded by his enthusiasm for stripping out anything that isn't dancing doesn't help. He seems unwilling to let this ballet breathe. He seems to have left La Sylphide pretty much alone, for which we should be grateful. (But that set ... )
  13. 2017 Fall Season

    https://www.nycballet.com/Ballets/R/The-Red-Violin.aspx Dale, I think you may be looking at the original cast of Red Angels, not Red Violin.
  14. 2017 Fall Season

    I was hoping for some debuts in Square Dance, say, Indiana Woodward and Harrison Ball. It's looking like probably not. Probably next week will be Ashley Bouder or Abi Stafford. What is "The Chairman Dances"? I was picturing something with Peter Martins in some new piece... hoping not!
  15. Summer 2017 Marriages

    Thanks for the clarification re Pereira and "Craig Hall." I was surprised.
  16. 2017 Fall Season

    Original cast: Darci Kistler, Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, Peter Boal
  17. 2017 Fall Season

    Based on the way the casting is listed, it seems that Unity Phelan is doing the lead role in Red Violin - the role created for Jennie Somogyi.
  18. 2017 Fall Season

    Interested to hear how LeCrone performs in her Red Violin and Chairman Dances debuts. I saw her Dark Angel once and was absolutely taken in-- interested to hear how she stacks up in these pieces.
  19. 2017 Fall Season

    Casting is up for Week 3. Lots of debuts in Polyphonia. Of course, Red Violin has been out of rep for so long, the entire cast is new. It's been so long I can't recall what I thought of Red Violin. Maria K is debuting in In Memory Of. Not surprised - they frequently use "older ballerinas" in this one. Most interesting, no Robbie Fairchild in The Times Are Racing - a signature role for him, created on him, that does not require a ballet body. Ashley Isaacs is doing R. Fairchild's role. Tiler Peck is cast in her usual role in this ballet. Draw your own conclusions. Added: I looked at Mearns' instagram, and she says there are many things she needs to work on for her upcoming SL performances. She knows last night's show was not her finest as O/O.
  20. 2017 Fall Season

    The quickness of the music, the abstract setting (with no lake whatsoever) and the garish & non specific costumes for everyone except the swans all contribute to creating a distance from the narrative and the characters. However, I find NYCB's rendition of the music very powerful and emotional, as compared to ABT's which is somehow very flat. I also find the final lakeside scene to be really moving, with a heartbreaking end that always gets to me. So despite its faults, and the need to tough it out through the first scene, this production always leaves me with the cathartic feeling that you get from a great Swan lake. DEFINITELY not saying that this is a great production, just that in this case the end and the music justify the production. Although last night the music certainly was played way too fast. Perhaps the pace, compounded by adjusting to a new partner, contributed to what I felt was not a performance from Mearns at the level of her earlier O/Os. Though she was still pretty great, and I'm glad I went. By the way, the Washington Post recently published an article called "This is your brain on art" that explores the relationship between art and the brain and uses Swan lake as an example. There is some great footage of Mearns and Jared Angle from 2013 interspersed throughout, as well as footage of former ABT corps member Nicole Graniero and her partner Corey Landot Click here to see it.
  21. 2017 Fall Season

    The problems relating to Litton's brisk pace are that positions could not be fully stretched or held, and feet were sometimes not pointed. The dancers were rushing around madly trying to keep up. I'm using these as examples, but I'm sure others could expand on it. I'm not advocating the funereal tempo we sometimes encounter at ABT, but I think all of the performances would have been better with a slower tempo. This is NOT Allegro Brillante. I looked at the schedule, and it appears the Mearns/Angle cast is getting Litton as conductor for every one their three Swan Lake shows. Added: The one place where the tempo worked best was the pas de quatre in Act III. Since that choreography is pure Martins NYCB, the fast tempo looked great and everyone kept up well. The briskness did not work well elsewhere.
  22. 2017 Fall Season

    I wonder if the quickness of the music negatively affects the pacing of the ballet as a whole. The last time I saw the Martins Swan Lake, I felt as if things moved along so quickly that there wasn't really time for character development, expression of emotion or detailed storytelling. It felt more like "City Ballet dances a swan-themed ballet," if that makes any sense. And, of course, I think the sets and costumes appeal to virtually no one. I also felt as if the pacing and structure of Martin's Sleeping Beauty were really odd, but in a different way, because of the cuts he made, the music he applied to transitions between scenes and the way he divided the acts. There was a disjointed quality; not sure how to more accurately describe it. I was really torn about whether or not to go this season, given the great casting, but for me, a great Swan Queen still can't save this production. I still may suck it up at some point for the chance to see Mearns in this role.
  23. No, not him. I wonder if I'm really thinking of Edward Stierle from the Joffrey. Stierle was 23, a rising star, and the Joffrey was still based in NYC at the time (1991), so maybe that's why I was thinking it was a dancer with NYCB. I saw him dance and he was incredible. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/03/09/obituaries/edward-stierle-23-a-leading-dancer-with-joffrey-ballet.html?mcubz=3
  24. 2017 Fall Season

    Yes I wondered whether the music was a little fast in places, although so thoroughly engaging. I noticed at the end of one of Ullbricht's solos, he kneels down and raises his arm on the last note, but this gesture was a second after the music stopped. And I too meant to give a shoutout to Brittany Pollack--her performance was exquisite.
  25. Casting for Week 2 should be coming shortly, but, in the meantime, Jonathan Porretta is out of Week 1 of Rubies; James Moore will dance both the matinee and evening performances, with Leta Biasucci and Angelica Generosa respectively. https://www.pnb.org/season/17-18/jewels/ Here's a link to the revised Week 1 spreadsheet: Jewels Casting Week 1 19_Sep_17.xlsx Here's a video with Jerome Kaplan with some footage of the costumes and images of his drawings. He also speaks about the differences between costume design and fashion, although "Twirl" spans both:
  26. NYCB had posted on its facebook page during August the following: "Congratulations to all the Company's newlyweds -- including Sarah Villwock & Giovanni Villalobos, Silas Farley (and wife Cassia Farley), Lydia Wellington (and husband Antoine Gobin), and Erica Pereira (and husband Craig Hall). Best wishes to all! " There are photos of each of the couples on facebook, but I could not copy the photos. By the way, the Craig Hall who married Erica is not NYCB's Craig Hall. Congrats to all.
  27. 2017 Fall Season

    I thought the conducting was much too brisk, and resulted in diminished performances from a number of dancers who were just battling to keep up with the music. I thought this was also an issue with Mearns' performance, especially during the second act. The last act was brilliant and left me emotionally spent. I counted 25 or 26 fouettes in Act III, although I don't recall doubles. Mearns was traveling forward a great deal, in a more or less straight line. I think Mearns' performances with Jared Angle were more intimate; she and Tyler seems to be still working out some of the details. I suspect that her next two SL shows with Tyler will be even better. Kudos to Ulbricht, Gordon, Pollack, Isaacs, King, Huxley and Woodward. Almost all the secondary cast was utterly stellar.
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