Drew

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Everything posted by Drew

  1. His arched feet won't change, but his ability to use them might -- and they have been missed now for over two years. But my guess would be that Macauley (and others) are fussing about the number of entrechats at this recent performance because they seemingly offer vivid concrete evidence Hallberg has worked through his foot/ankle injury. Otherwise Hallberg could have opted not to do them. That said, I am often puzzled by responses to performances that fixate on one particular technical challenge with little attention to anything else--however iconic that challenge has become. As part of a bigger picture -- sure: Baryshnikov's brisees, in his earliest post-defection Albrechts, were fleeting images of pleading and desperation. One could hardly talk about his Albrecht and NOT mention them. But I think it happens partly because it's hard to convey dance in words. Much easier to say 'he did x number of entrechats.' It does also happen because certain moments start to be seen almost as tests by some ballet goers. I don't necessarily think it's the dancer's fault though. There are people whose first question about a Swan Lake will always be about the number of fouettés...I am not saying they don't matter at all, but big picture? You can do 32 of the fastest most brilliant fouettés imaginable and still not be a great Odette-Odile. (I've seen it.) To return to Hallberg--I'm thrilled he is back and very sad I won't be able to see him dance this season. I also hugely admire the grit it took him to get back. As for the attention his return is garnering--in addition to his qualites as a dancer, Hallberg played a small role in ballet history when he was invited to join the Bolshoi. Particularly for older fans, those who vividly remember the era of defections from Russia etc, that's notable. (Never saw Hallberg in Balanchine--which Vipa mentioned--but as Oberon in Ashton's Dream, the role created for Anthony Dowell, he seemed to me the one post-Dowell dancer I had the chance to see--including Gomes--who came closest to capturing some of what Dowell did.)
  2. In April, Lane and Murphy both danced Giselle with ABT in Oman. Very enjoyable to read about these performances.
  3. Ballet travel can be harrowing when things go wrong. Hope you make the second act safely and the performance is beautiful...
  4. Thanks for the reports. I would like to have seen these performances!
  5. Listening to Whelan discuss Pictures at an Exhibition and her experience with it makes me want to see the ballet all over again...
  6. You can find chunks of Hero of Our Time on youtube -- including, I think, almost all of Princess Mary which is the final act of Hero of Our time (and, i think, the most successful overall). Since each act tells an entirely different story about the "hero" Pechorin (who is also danced by a difference dancer in each Act until they all come together at the end) you also get to see a lot of different Bolshoi featured dancers in just one evening. I saw the live Bolshoi broadcast and found it quite interesting...and absolutely wonderfully performed by the company.
  7. Absolutely...And I would underline that I found it choreographically rich. It is a splendid pageant, but with dancing (and mime) that is witty and beautiful and strange and at times quite complex and challenging (for viewers and dancers). And, yes, a love letter to Petipa--even as what it offers is Petipa for the 21st century. I will add, too, that I thought casts made more of a difference to the tone and, in some cases, effectiveness of the choreography than I expected in such a spectacle. To be more critical -- the ballet is a wee bit long in sections and a little oddly organized -- perhaps because of the music? -- but I found it just wonderful.
  8. Of course, it is great to see from different places in the theater, but I actually thought Act I 'read' better from upstairs. Act II not sure ... I may have liked parts better from downstairs. Altogether I saw it three times with three (mostly) different casts. Ratmansky said in an interview he wanted to create a ballet feerie--and he has...I can imagine it's not for everyone, but of its kind I think it's wonderful. On first viewing I did find the balance a little odd--as the ballet is rather front-loaded dance-wise with more pantomime and slapstick in the second act. With multiple viewings, I was altogether won over, and I found something new to enjoy in the choreography ... and the designs ... and the music ... every time I saw it.
  9. The proposed Trump budget calls for an appropriation of 42 million dollars for the "orderly closure" of the NEH. (I'm on a tablet and can't set up a link.)
  10. I'm hardly an expert, but I am pretty sure 'pop' music has both a customary and professional usage that is more specific. It is not just any popular music. At least, if I remember my American Idol watching days correctly, judges made quite a point of distinguishing 'pop' voices (and songs) from 'rock' or 'country' or 'hip-hop' or 'Broadway.' It's a genre so to speak. To take a different example, a radio station that plays 'pop' exclusively does not play 'hip-hop' and vice versa. I suspect some people still use the term as a catch all -- especially if they don't follow these genres -- but I don't think people who follow a lot of this music are that casual. But I remain very sympathetic to the idea that Kennedy Center -- whatever else it does and however they judge it best to build audiences -- should be leading the way in support of performing arts traditionally labelled as 'high.' We desperately need institutions in this country that support ballet, opera, and concert music and that do so in a way that respects their histories. (NOT placing those histories beyond criticism which is something different and turns them into so much ideology.)
  11. I'm not sure contemporary/eclectic dance works are necessarily any more challenging in an absolute sense than ballet (classical or neo-classical). Both can be mediocre and both can be challenging. In a relative sense people may be challenged by what they aren't used to...but that's not a value in and of itself. Or, rather, it's only a limited one. I feel as if I should be on the side of more experimentation, but find I'm not exactly. There are very few venues where good and great ballet can be consistently presented and Kennedy Center is one of them. So, in whatever way, shape, or form, I would never want Kennedy Center to move away from its commitment to ballet as an art form. But one "ballet across America" featuring cross-over or contemporary/modern work is hardly a sign of that (I hope)--and mixing it up with the ballet programming may be a good thing. But Kennedy Center should overall support ballet the way it supports symphonic music or opera. It's also true, as Sandik, writes, that ballet companies have long presented contemporary/modern inflected work and even outright contemporary/modern dance choreography. But versatility only goes so far. At a certain point great ballet depends on dancers and choreographers who are focused on ballet and ballet has gotten more exciting in the last few years less because of cross-over work, than because of choreographers who have emerged from the ballet world and are developing ballet and its traditions. (And God knows, a lot of modern dance loses much of its impact when danced by ballet dancers.) Up to a point, I am in favor of trying to cultivate young audiences, but I am less convinced than I used to be that older audiences mean an audience is dying out altogether, as I've met people who came to the performing arts later in life. I wonder if that isn't also an important slice of any traditional 'arts' audience. I'll reiterate though that I think Kennedy Center has presented a lot of great ballet and great dance of other kinds too. Just getting the Mariinsky every year has been a pretty extraordinary coup. (I know a donor -- albeit a somewhat feckless donor -- was behind that originally.) I wish they would consider every few years doing a kind of Mariinsky "jubilee"--with a two-week season and multiple programs. Edited to add: Copeland has also danced at La Scala and worked with Prince...
  12. Siobhan Burke, uneasy at depictions of violence against women in Ratmansky's Odessa, takes up the issue more generally in a recent critic's notebook in the New York Times. I haven't seen Odessa and am not altogether sure what I think about her various ways of posing the issue--but certainly found the essay worth mulling over. (She doesn't mention McGregor--but McGregor is one choreographer who came to my mind.) Any thoughts? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/arts/dance/no-more-gang-rape-scenes-in-ballets-please.html?_r=0
  13. I also am glad it's not a serious injury. Kind of heartbroken I will miss him though. I see Cirio is then dancing the lead Tuesday night and Wed afternoon...that seems pretty intense.
  14. Thank you BIrdsall and MadameP for these reports. I was mildly surprised not to see Stepanova down for a Diamonds performance during the NY tour.
  15. I can't imagine he will. Martins has taken massive criticisms his whole directorial career. Has he ever cancelled a scheduled ballet for reasons other than injury to dancers or some such? If I were inclined to worry, then I would be more worried about Ratmansky's reaction. But should critics be expected to self-censor? I don't know that I agree with any number of things Burke wrote, but I do not think she was irresponsible. As for audiences: controversy is likelier to drum up interest than anything else. (To take an extreme example: sales and rentals of Last Tango in Paris are said to have gone up when details recently came out about how the rape scene was filmed keeping the actress in the dark about key aspects of it as the director wanted her to show 'real' humiliation on camera. I hardly know how to comment.) Burke explicitly says that she might react differently to Odessa when seeing it in future -- which makes it pretty clear that she expects to do so. I do understand why people involved in the creation of the ballet may feel it got hijacked for this debate, but I think it needs to be emphasized that nothing in the article suggests this ballet or any other should be repressed. The article is calling for choreographers to think differently about what they are doing in some cases. But it's only likely to have any impact as part of a larger series of events/conversations by critics, dancers, and choreographers themselves including discussions of women choreographers etc.
  16. I wrote above that Lee was 'retiring as a dancer' --that's incorrect. She is retiring as a ballerina with Atlanta ballet. As reported on a different thread she is one of several Atlanta Ballet dancers moing on to form a new Atlanta company devoted to contemporary choreography 'Terminus Modern Ballet Theater'.
  17. Below is a link to a feature in the AJC on Tara Lee who will be making her final performances with Atlanta Ballet in the upcoming run of Helen Pickett's Camino Real (as indeed will a number of dancers). As per the article: "As the oldest company member, Lee was at a different place in her career trajectory [from other dancers who had decided to leave]. She knew, and had informed Nedvigin, that she would retire at season’s end to devote more time to choreography and other pursuits. Nedvigin has since has commissioned Lee to create a new ballet, slated for a premier next April:" Lee has been one of the company's leading ballerinas for a long time. The article mentions that she had always wished to dance Kylian's Petite Mort which entered the repertory this season. Though not knowing that, I thought her performance in it last month was one of the most compelling of the evening and one of the most compelling I've seen her give: http://www.myajc.com/entertainment/arts--theater/camino-real-tara-lee-retire-from-atlanta-ballet-amid-farewells/4jv5cehJyksRquDG7KPDHJ/
  18. Oh dear. I consider Cornejo one of the finest male dancers dancing today -- probably THE finest. I am thrilled every chance I get to see him dance, and I have tickets to see him next week. Reading Abatt's and Hyacinthhippo's reports on his withdrawal at the end of Don Quixote is deeply distressing. But whether or not he is able to dance next week, I hope this is not a serious injury or problem...and that he is back on stage soon!
  19. The Atlanta Ballet is starting a new "training" company. The Atlanta Ballet II dancers (like other such 'secondary' companies around the country)) will also appear with the main company for big productions--which answers one question I had about how the company was going to put on Don Quixote next year: http://www.ajc.com/entertainment/arts--theater/ajc-exclusive-atlanta-ballet-new-training-ensemble-will-debut-this-fall/yzvWcdITvF8vM1QJmsyh7N/
  20. Doesn't dynamic pricing impact any performance that is selling well...and I vaguely thought also most performances as one gets closer to the performance date? (And thanks for all of the reports on Don Q performances.)
  21. A little to the side of your question, but concerning "interior psychological states:" I love Ratmansky including some of his 'portraits' of women. For example, the final pas de deux for the Prince and Cinderella in his version has a moment showing Cinderella suffering what seemed to me a brief episode of PTSD amidst her otherwise happy ending. It perfectly fits the agitation of Prokofiev's score at that moment, and I found it a rather daring touch--part of Ratmansky's modern/ironic approach to the fairy tale story of the girl who finds her prince -- or whose prince finds her. (I suppose it's possible I misunderstood, but I can think of other examples I have really enjoyed and admired--including a lot of humor in his portraits of both men and women.) But I do not think that the fact that a scene of violence against women represents "an interior psychological state" simply does away with the question of how/why violence against women is being depicted. (Same for violence of any kind, but just to stick to issues Burke is raising...) To speak in the abstract since I haven't seen this ballet: a dream or daydream of violence would still raise questions for me, e.g. whether it was a revealing meditation on the psychology in question or a throw away excuse to show a woman being manhandled or, for that matter, neither of those but something entirely different that might carry with it a compelling artistic vision on the one hand -- or an exploitative one on the other, That is, I don't think saying "dream sequence" in and of itself does away with Burke's concerns.
  22. This both does and doesn't belong under "Atlanta Ballet" I suppose. Several recently retired and departing dancers from the company are forming a new Atlanta based dance company "Terminus Modern Ballet Theater." They are John Welker (who retired after Nutcracker season), Tara Lee, Rachel Van Buskirk, Christian Clark, and Heath Gill. It's been in the works for a while, though I just learned about it today. Here is a short publicity video about the new endeavor and, below, a short piece in the AJC. http://artsculture.blog.ajc.com/2017/05/18/former-atlanta-ballet-dancers-form-new-dance-company/?ecmp=ajc_social_twitter_2014_atlarts_sfp
  23. Good God! I think that's one of the most appalling thing I've ever heard ... in the world of the arts anyway. And not just on the dance end.
  24. I thought Balanchine and Robbins were included as one of thirty "founding Legends" -- and the first inductees were in addition to those founding figures. Was there a brouhaha about that... or is there another part of the story I don't know about? It's not really something I followed. http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/columnists/linda-winer/on-lincoln-center-s-performing-arts-hall-of-fame-and-more-1.11409116 Ballet has benefited from programmers and impresarios who weren't themselves artists, though they were immersed in the arts world. (Sandik mentioned Diaghilev; I guess that's the most spectacular example.) To have artists, and younger artists at that, occasionally play this role seems interesting, but also a little gimmicky--another way to drum up publicity by bringing in high profile names. But perhaps I'm selling them short... Whoever organizes overall dance programming at a big performing arts institution like the Kennedy Center (overall programming as opposed to one-off events) presumably should have a wide-ranging and historically knowledgeable vision and, as far as ballet goes, ideally look at it from the inside of its traditions as well as from the outside--or consult with people who can do so. (But I have to add that I don't think Kennedy Center has done too badly on the ballet front. At least I have quite envied Washingtonians much of the ballet and dance they get to see; I even recently became a friend of Kennedy Center with the idea of trying to get to D.C. more often to see performances there.)
  25. I'm quite intrigued by the debuts (Ball in Square Dance and Woodward in Tarantella).