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About Birdsall

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  1. Actually, I just went to the Mariinsky website and casting is finally up for the new Paquita. Here is the info about the production which apparently is using the parts Petipa choreographed. It might be pretty good after all! Music by Édouard Deldevez, Ludwig Minkus and Riccardo Drigo Libretto by Yuri Smekalov Choreography: Yuri Smekalov Reconstruction and staging of Marius Petipa's choreography (Act III Grand Pas): Yuri Burlaka Production Designer: Andrei Sevbo Lighting Designer: Konstantin Binkin Costume Designer: Elena Zaitseva Conductors: Valery Ovsyanikov, Gavriel Heine Music edited by Yuri Smekalov
  2. The Paquita is the most intriguing work on Baden-Baden's playbill, since it sounds like an interesting idea.....using the original music but newly choreographed by Smekalov, I believe. I have liked some of what he has created, but at the same time if it is not Petipa it might just be "nice".......but maybe not worth a trip to see.
  3. Apparently, December 2017 has the Mariinsky doing Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, and the new Paquita in Baden-Baden. I don't think I will go. I have interest in the new Paquita (not a reconstruction supposedly), but somehow the mix of ballets do not excite me. I would go if I could see Swan lake and Paquita and then visit my friends. I have decided if I go to Baden-Baden again, I will stay in a hotel for a few nights and see a few performances and then visit friends. It is to tiring to jump on trains the whole time.
  4. She was terrific in Who Cares? today at Miami City Ballet (her last performance in West Palm....she will dance in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale in this program in the next couple of weeks). Her Fascinating Rhythm solo was sexy!
  5. I will try to write down some thoughts about last night and today's matinee. I enjoyed both performances more than I thought I would. Divertimento No. 15 is one of the "classical" Balanchine ballets, and I love it. The series of variations followed by a mini-duet for each couple (using two of the men twice) is beautiful. However, each exiting couple causes audience applause for the exiting couple as each entering couple comes on-stage. I have never minded applause in ballet during the music except in this ballet. It is a beautiful adagio moment, and the exits as another couple enters is gorgeous, so the applause is annoying. Usually applause happens during bravura moments in ballet when the music is loud and fast and you never feel like you are missing an important mood, but in the case of this ballet, it ruins the mood, in my opinion. I have always hated the applause in opera when the curtain goes up and the audience applauds the sets basically (sets are usually much more three dimensional and opulent than in ballet). But overall, except for the ends of arias during opera the music is viewed as so important that very little is applauded until the music stops. With that said, in my opinion, the stand outs on Saturday night were Nathalia Arja and Jeanette Delgado. I love their spicy personalities even in a fairly demure ballet. It occurred to me that I would love to see what Arja could do with the role of Kitri one day. Today Jennifer Lauren was the standout. I saw Arden Court once before when the Taylor company toured Florida, and I remembered liking it, but I couldn't remember much about it. This time I felt like it is a very playful piece with bodies becoming either obstacles to jump over or clear a leg over, or attempts at avoiding a touch, etc. It looks like ballet, but everything is fresh and different. Very unique versions of lifts, turns, pas de chats, barrel turns, brises voles, etc. Interesting balances too for the men. It is almost like how ballet might turn out in a parallel universe. The MCB audience loved the work both days and seemed to give it more applause than the other works. Who Cares? is hard not to like. Most of the Gershwin songs are so well known, and the dancing is classical ballet vocabulary. It may look modern and sound modern (for ballet), but the dancing itself is very classical to my eyes. On Saturday night I loved Kleber Rebello, who I think has the best arms in the company. He is always technically great, is handsome, and very elegant. Jennifer Lauren wowed me during her "Fascinating Rhythm" solo. But then at the Sunday matinee I thought Patricia Delgado had a sexier charisma during that solo and her pas de deux with Renan Cerdeiro. Both are wonderful dancers, and I will miss Patricia Delgado since she is moving to NY (I assume to be with her boyfriend Justin Peck). So maybe that caused me to want to see Patricia Delgado as the more exciting dancer, because I actually think Jennifer Lauren was wonderful too.
  6. Tonight I went to MCB's Program 4 at the Kravis in West Palm Beach. It was a great mixture of classical ballet and modern dance. Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15 was mostly classical with a few modern combinations of steps. Then, Taylor's Arden Court was more like modern dance doing an homage to classical ballet. Finally, Balanchine's Who Cares? which uses classical ballet vocabulary danced to Gerschwin songs with jazzy touches to the dancing. It was a great night. I will report more tomorrow after I see a matinee. Having drinks with a friend.
  7. Apparently not. I don't know all the details of each person and whether they had multiple offers. But Vaganova grads, I believe, dream of dancing at the Mariinsky. That is why they want to go to Vaganova. In my opinion, the whole situation is a complete tragedy.
  8. Yes, I totally agree.
  9. If Fateyev does not offer a contract or spot to graduating Vaganova students, some good ones have no other choice than to accept other offers.
  10. Too bad about the pigeon. I think on Friday it flew back into the wings and they sent it off again and it landed upstage. Part of me loves when animals have minds of their own, so it is hard to be disappointed. LOL That quote of Ashton's does describe Scenes de Ballet well........and I have it on dvd and actually thought it was boring the first time I watched it, but I watched it a couple of times before attending Friday's performance, and I fell in love with it and how the steps match the music so well. So seeing it live was nice. Logan Learned has been really great in everything I have seen him in. I loved his Alain in La Fille mal Gardee and as the Blue Boy in Les Patineurs. His dancing is phenomenal. I think the only reason he doesn't go to a bigger company is that his size probably limits his roles and so he would probably not be a principal anywhere else, but he deserves that title in Sarasota!!!! Glad he stays put. I wonder if Sarasota will ever stage Ashton's Cinderella. That would be nice.
  11. Yes, the Sarasota dancers give their all. I think Victoria Hulland held her own with Marcelo Gomes on the first night. Both acted well and danced well. I wanted to stay in Sarasota and catch the 2nd cast and maybe the 2nd night with Gomes/Hulland, but I had to get back to Gainesville. Great to hear the dancers were even better the second evening. I meant to clarify above that the four males (soloist and corps) in Scenes de Ballet had minor issues, BUT they were still good especially for how young they looked. Didn't mean to be negative about them. It looks like difficult roles with lifts and turns, etc. They were sweating a lot, because what they were doing was hard. It was Opening Night, so I am sure they ironed out the very slight partnering of turns, etc. I have actually seen worse partnering of turns by a male dancer at the Mariinsky who is raved about all the time. So I do think Sarasota Ballet does a WONDERFUL job and they are providing opportunities to see Ashton in Florida of all places!!! Did the 2nd pigeon fly to the chair in the second evening? I hope so! That is uncontrollable, so I don't hold it against the company at all, but it makes the ending all the sweeter. Anyway, I do "like" the ballet. I just don't love it, whereas Ashton's La Fille mal Gardee is something I charming.......
  12. I read the liner notes in the program/booklet (Sarasota gives out a big glossy magazine type overall full season booklet and then a smaller brochure for that night's casting and other info) that you are right. It was sort of an homage to Sleeping Beauty because they discuss it. I didn't even read it or know that when I made my comments, so Ashton apparently succeeded b/c you can see it sort of without really knowing. I like the idea that it is a story about redemption. It makes it a better story for me. I did like the final pas de deux, and I overheard one person say it was the best ballet he ever saw, so I am probably in the minority. I enjoyed it, but I have to say the gypsy shimmying their chests and the pigeon arms (even though they are a metaphor and shows humor in the first act and sadness in the final) just do not do it for me. However, there is plenty of terrific choreography to off-set it, and Marcelo Gomes and Victoria Hulland were great. They were more playful with each other in Act 1 than in the Royal Ballet's recent dvd where the Artist was too angry all the time. Also, Logan Learned brought down the house as the soloist gypsy in Act 2. He is always amazing.
  13. Tonight's program started with Ashton's Scenes de Ballet. On the surface the ballet looks modern (costumes with geometric patterns and a back drop that reminds me of De Chirico's surreal paintings). However, on closer inspection it is a traditional pas de deux with traditional ballet vocabulary. The choreography follows the music wonderfully. Danielle Brown and Ricardo Rhodes were the leads, and they gave their all. To me the female soloist seems like a modern Aurora even having a sort of rose adagio without the roses! Despite a few sloppy landings and partnering by the four males who join the lead male, the company did a very admirable job and danced this short ballet like they loved it. The Two Pigeons is a ballet I have a hard time liking because the two main characters are not very likable. The artist is sort of a jerk, and the woman is a doormat. But Marcelo Gomes made the artist as likeable as he could. He made his interest in the gypsy seem spur of the moment. His dancing was exciting but his acting made the ballet more enjoyable than usual. Victoria Hulland danced beautifully and gave her all also. She made the silly pigeon arms seem more fun. I find Ashton's choreography for the gypsy women to be silly and almost embarrassing with the shimmy, but this performance played up the fun so it was less annoying. I am not sure why the Two Pigeons is one of his more famous ballets. So many others are SO wonderful. I think The Two Pigeons sort of has over the top silly moments (pigeon bobbing and arms, gypsy shimmying their chests) coupled with syrupy sweet sentimentality. However, Sarasota Ballet dancers did their best to make it fun and less dated due to their exuberance. I had fun, but The Two Pigeons will never be a favorite. In contrast, I have fallen in love with Scenes de Ballet! At the end of the ballet the second pigeon failed to join the first one. Of course, that doesn't matter and made Sarasota Ballet's efforts all the more charming.
  14. The Miami Herald announced MCB's 2017-18 season today. The big news is a new production of George Balanchine's Nutcracker by Cuban American designers Isabel and Ruben Toledo. This is a co-commission with the Music Center of Los Angeles. It will apparently premiere in Los Angeles first and then at the Arsht Center in Miami. The previous version was pretty similar (some differences) to the NYCB Nutcracker. I suspect this new version will be quite different (costumes and sets). The season will open with Jewels. Other Balanchine works during the season will be Theme and Variations and Apollo. There will also be a program devoted to Jerome Robbins for his 100th birthday ("Circus Polka," "Other Dances," and "The Cage"). Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH and a Brian Brooks new work will also be featured.