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Everything posted by Birdsall

  1. I think I read that the Bolshoi really wanted Smirnova and had a plan for her career. I think the very little movement and slow movement in ranks (with rare exceptions) at the Mariinsky would give any budding ballerina pause to think......
  2. I don't think any of that (don't think things should be that way), and thought I made that clear. I think women are screwed in every profession, and unfortunately have to have a 20 page resume full of qualifications and still lose the position against a totally unqualified male with zero experience. That has been proven to the world. Unfortunately women have to be 100 times better than a man just to get a chance. That's the unfortunate reality.
  3. An 80+ woman I know who had rocks thrown through her windows when she fought for the ERA told me once, "Nobody gives you power. You have to take it!" This was a short 80 year old who walked up to politicians and gave them what for in Tampa and people ran from her. I was shocked when she told me her height because she struck me as 6 feet tall so powerful was she! She was also always dressed to the nines and had the Scarlett O'Hara Southern drawl. I am not saying women should have to just jump up and grab power (people should respect women and sit down and listen even if the woman is not aggressive), but I agree with her. Nobody in a position of power simply hands it over. You must be aggressive and take it. Most people in positions of power view someone else gaining power as taking some of their power away (whether that is a correct assessment or not...power can be shared). Men are always going to try to maintain their "majority" of power, in my opinion. Always. They are never going to simply hand it over, and I am rejoicing in how women seem to be the majority who are leading many marches and events around the country. That is how it is done. You just do it and take it and keep on and become relentless. That wise 80 something told me also that she was shocked at how when she taught at a community college without a PhD during a meeting she could tell all these men with PhDs to get to that side of the room and these others go to this side of the room, etc. She said you just walk into a room, use an authoritative voice and take charge and people tend to go along, but you have to be willing to be called names and be seen as aggressive and get rocks thrown through your window. Should it be this way? No. Is it this way? Yes.
  4. I think Ashton is putting Sarasota on the map, but they do other things as well. They have done Ballets Russes programming, Balanchine, Robbins, De Valois, Tudor, highlighted one of their own dancer's choreography, etc. But, yes, Ashton does seem to be what is getting them "buzz" around the nation (and possibly world), and I have enjoyed the Ashton ballets I have seen there. I think Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri care deeply about Ashton and strive to do justice to his ballets. I am not sure putting all your eggs in one basket usually works, and that is why companies try to have a variety. I think specializing in one area but also doing other ballets is the "safe" thing to do.
  5. I have seen it with a different cast and enjoyed parts of it. You might like to do a search online for "Hero of Our Time" to get an explanation. The synopsis on the Bolshoi website is also confusing.
  6. I personally do not boo, because a singer or dancer has so much to contend with. Even when I am disappointed in a performance I never forget that is a human being on stage attempting to do a good job. With that said opera in Italy can be a blood sport, and it could be argued that if you put yourself out there for the applause you should also be willing to get booed as well. So philosophically I think people have every right to boo. However, I do not boo, because I don't get up there on the stage and do what they do with all the problems that can occur. They bare their souls for us and 99.9% of the time do not ever deserve booing. If a performer came out falling down drunk or some other ridiculous behavior maybe then he/she might deserve it. It would depend on the situation. I do understand booing a production if it is purposely trying to shock for no good reason (many opera productions can be crazier than hell). However, I would more likely leave if disgusted by how a favorite work has been desecrated than to stay and boo. Despite my personal dislike of booing performers I don't think an incoming director should tell an audience not to boo. Would he tell them not to applaud?
  7. 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.
  8. I would also think there are people throughout the company who care about him. If I were to talk trash about my parents, relatives and even some close friends due to my own problems, they are likely to forgive me and know I lashed out because I was going through a lot. Some may not forgive and forget. Some would. There are no black and white ways to react when dealing with relationships even business relationships.
  9. True about how they are trying to get people to turn off phones and they are emphasizing that and giving up on other faux pas! LOL I forgot that sometimes opera lovers mess up too...during operatic concerts or recitals the audience tends to applaud after every "song" even if the songs go together. Ideally, for something like Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder you do not applaud until all 4 songs are over. But what can you do? Like you say we can only hope no cell phones go off, although one always does at every performance nowadays!
  10. Since ballet music is often lightweight and not usually symphonic (in most classical ballets), it doesn't bother me when the audience applauds a manege or great combination of steps during music, but when it is Mozart and so lovely and such a quiet, slow piece it is upsetting. Opera fans tend to be better in this respect rarely interrupting the music although a new production or especially nice production gets applause (to my dismay) the second the curtain goes up. People applaud at the end of an aria but for the most part music (including the singing) is the most important part. In contrast, the most important part of ballet is the dancing and choreography so the music seems to take a back seat.
  11. No idea. Sarasota always has a big season booklet with lots of info about each ballet of the season (and a separate smaller program for the specific show you are attending with casting info). The season booklet had Apparitions in it because I am sure it is too costly to reprint the season booklet. It is like a thick magazine but the pages are much thicker than magazine pages. The website often has bare minimum info.
  12. This news report is over a week old, but it gives the reason for the postponement (which apparently is a postponement):
  13. Apparently, she has had some injuries that kept her from dancing much in recent times and it sounds like she might go into coaching. Jeanette Delgado will take a year leave also but stay on the roster.
  14. I rarely read any reports about the Mariinsky's Baden-Baden tour here on BA, so this is a long shot.....anyone else going? I will see the first four shows: a Fokine mixed bill (Chopiniana, Firebird, Sherezade), Giselle, and 2 Swan Lakes. Since I am visiting friends in Mannheim, where I studied 25 years ago, I have to divide up the time between Mannheim and Baden-Baden and trying to keep the trip down to 6 days so I have time to relax the following week before starting work again......if anyone will be at those shows, let me know. Below is the casting for the shows I will see. I will try to post reviews while I am there. Fokine Mixed Bill Dec. 21 • Valery Gergiev Dirigent Chopeniana Seventh Walz Yekaterina Osmolkina Mazurka Maxim Zyuzin Prelude Xenia Ostreikovskaya Eleventh Walz Yana Selina Firebird The Firebird Yekaterina Ivannikova Ivan-Tsarevich Alexander Romanchikov Kashchei the Immortal Vladimir Ponomarev The Princess of Great Beauty Viktoria Brileva Schecherazade Zobeide Diana Vishneva The Golden Slave Konstantin Zverev Shah Shahryar Soslan Kulaev Shakhezman, his brother Islom Baimuradow The Odalisque Viktoria Brileva / Yulia Kobzar / Zlata Yalinich The Chief Eunuch Anatoly Marchenko Giselle Dec. 22 Giselle Oxana Skorik Count Albrecht Philipp Stepin Berthe, Giselle’s mother Elena Bazhenova Bathilde Yulia Kobzar Hans, a woodsman Islom Baimuradow Sword-bearer Alexey Nedviga The Duke Vladimir Ponomarev Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis Yekaterina Chebykina The Wilis Xenia Ostreikovskaya Yana Selina Pas de Deux (Act 1) Renata Shakirova Vasily Tkachenko Swan Lake Dec. 23 Odetta-Odille Viktoria Tereshkina Prince Siegfried Xander Parish The Reigning Princess Elena Bazhenova Prince’s Tutor Soslan Kulaev Joker Yaroslav Baibordin Rothbart Konstantin Zverev Prince’s friends Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva / Philipp Stepin Sygnets Yana Selina / Svetlana Ivanova / Tamara Gimadieva / Anastasia Lukina Big Swans Viktoria Brileva / Diana Smirnova / Zlata Yalinich / Yulianna Chereshkevich 2 swans Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva Spanish dance Yulia Kobzar – Maria Shevyakova / Andrey Solovyov – Alexander Beloborodov Neapolitan Dance Anna Lavrinenko / Alexey Nedviga Hungarian dance Olga Belik / Boris Zhurilov Mazurka Xenia Dubrovina-Elena Androsova- Maria Lebedeva- Zlata Yalinich / Eldar Yangirov- Nail Yenikeyev- Vadim Belyaev – Alexander Romanchikov Swan Lake Dec. 25 Odetta-Odille Yekaterina Kondaurova Prince Siegfried Danila Korsuntsev The Reigning Princess Elena Bazhenova Prince’s Tutor Soslan Kulaev Joker Vladislav Shumakov Rothbart Roman Belyakov Prince’s friends Renata Shakirova / Yekaterina Ivannikova / Ernest Latypov Sygnets Yana Selina / Svetlana Ivanova / Tamara Gimadieva / Anastasia Lukina Big Swans Viktoria Brileva / Diana Smirnova / Zlata Yalinich / Yulianna Chereshkevich 2 swans Yana Selina / Nadezhda Batoeva Spanish dance Yulia Kobzar – Maria Shevyakova / Andrey Solovyov – Alexander Beloborodov Neapolitan Dance Anna Lavrinenko / Alexey Nedviga Hungarian dance Olga Belik / Boris Zhurilov Mazurka Xenia Dubrovina-Elena Androsova- Maria Lebedeva- Zlata Yalinich / Eldar Yangirov- Nail Yenikeyev- Vadim Belyaev – Alexander Romanchikov
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Yes, I totally agree.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.