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Everything posted by Drew

  1. New Company Roster

    Atlanta Ballet's new roster has been announced. The website still has not been updated with the dancers names--at least not as far as I could find. When the company does update it (anyone from Atlanta Ballet reading this?), I hope they put "company" (the list of dancers with photos and bios) as a menu item on the website's homepage: one currently has to click "about" to get to the dancers. See article below for the updated roster though: http://www.accessatlanta.com/events/performing-arts/atlanta-ballet-announces-new-company-and-new-season/JUFE8WnwYVPrKd6nOxgHEO/?ecmp=ajc_social_twitter_2014_atlarts_sfp
  2. Lunkina is now a Canadian citizen:
  3. Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut

    Unfortunately I have only see Zakharova a handful of times. I will say that I found that the young Zakharova sometimes used her ultra long limbs in rather undisciplined ways--almost like a gymnast--a flaw that also made her seem unmusical at times (for example, as Aurora with the Mariinsky). In these videos there is nothing of the gymnast about Kovaleva, though she certainly has beautiful long tapering limbs and can extend them outward and upward. It may be she isn't as ultra flexible as Zakharova, so she isn't tempted in that direction but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Either way, in these particular video bits, Kovaleva isn't going for super high extensions at every moment and flinging her legs in the manner of the young Zakharova -- and that is to her credit. Obviously I haven't seen video of the Act II adagio. To be clear--I don't mind high extensions per se. Indeed I've come to like them on certain dancers (those who don't have to distort their line) even in a few parts of nineteenth-century ballets, especially Swan Lake. What I dislike are extensions that are undisciplined, undifferentiated, and come across as flexible for the sake of being flexible. I also think Zakharova has developed a lot as an artist since her Mariinsky days--and even when young had a lot of charm and charisma. From everything I read I thought I would not care for these videos at all, and there is quite a bit to criticize. Still, these are debuts and watching these snippets, I was also pleased by some things--Speaking as an amateur, I think Kovaleva might develop just beautifully (Lilac Fairy anyone?) and I would definitely like to see her live. I'm curious though--how did she PROJECT in the giant Bolshoi theater? That seems an important piece of the puzzle that one can't judge in video of this kind.
  4. Alyona Kovalyova Swan Lake Debut

    This is VERY true. Something to remember about live performance ... and also just one of the reasons why the "youtube" examples of dancers can be misleading. I don't live in a city with much in the way of ballet and my travel budget is limited, so I'm grateful to youtube and the people who post videos there, but...I can't help but be aware of the problems. So much of the joy of ballet is a "live" and living joy.
  5. I don't think you can go wrong--thought depending on which ballet I might marginally prefer one or the other cast--at least judging ahead of time. If Les Sylphides is the ballet you care about most I would recommend matinee (Osmolkina/Stepin) but honestly I think the leads in the evening performance (Skorik/Parish) are also likely to give lovely performances. Still, Osmolkina is an exemplary Mariinsky ballerina... For at least one other ballet on the program, Scheherazade, I might give the preference to the evening performance. Kim seems to me likely to be much more exciting than Askerov. Umm...I don't know which ballets on the program most interest you though.
  6. Yulia Stepanova

    I didn't have much luck on the website. Do you know how the prize is determined? Is there a jury or is it just a director's or the 'board's' decision etc.?
  7. 2017/2018 season

    Thanks for the updates. The Vikharev Coppelia is wonderful--I am glad the Bolshoi still plans to stage it. And I hope that staging has a long, long, long life on the stage of the Bolshoi. Other theaters too!! I also very much hope Nureyev does get a fair showing--and, ideally, a showing at the historic theater, not the new one, as that was what was originally intended. But I will not be holding my breath. CANCELLING the Petipa celebration? It can't be done without Vikarev?? At the least, the best way to honor Vikharev's legacy is to go on with "The Great Petipa." Other stagers were always to have been involved and perhaps there are Vikharev stagings, or excerpts from them, that could be featured as well. Petipa's 200th-anniversary should be celebrated! And even if the Bolshoi considers its Grigorovich productions of Petipa to be more than adequate "Petipa" and that, therefore, they are "celebrating" Petipa all the time...still, wouldn't it make sense to do something special -- even if nothing more than a gala of highlights with a few less well-known bon-bons thrown in? Oh well.
  8. Thanks for this. I have never seen the English National Ballet, but if my summer plans pan out, then I may try to see the Sleeping Beauty...
  9. 2017 Spring Season

    I remember finding Spectral Evidence very compelling and I found Fairchild and Peck (in the cast I saw) just amazing -- I don't applaud difference for difference's sake, and I love NYCB's regular repertory, but given how interesting I found the ballet and the performances it elicited I also appreciated how different it was from much (if not all) of the company's other repertory.
  10. RB 'Alice' rehearsal

    Thanks for the heads up. I tried to see this ballet with National Ballet of Canada when they brought it to D.C., but ran into practical problems. I do hope to see it at some point in future.
  11. 2017 Fall Season

    Though I think Fairchild's departure from the company is a big deal, I don't see the necessity of scheduling Duo Concertant last, especially since he is not retiring and hasn't even been dancing much with the company for the past couple of seasons. If they do schedule it last...well, lovely. But if they don't...well, still lovely. (Of course people need to know if they can't stay for the whole program.) But I will add that, though Duo isn't a blockbuster, 'dessert' closer, it is-in other ways-a very poetic way to end a ballet program.
  12. 2017 Fall Season

    Internet is back in time for me to read this news. Hope it holds (the internet, that is, not the news)-- I think Fairchild's departure from a classical ballet career is a big loss for New York City Ballet, a big loss for American Ballet, and a big loss for ballet period. I wish him great success whatever he does. He has earned it....but the ballet world isn't exactly overflowing with fabulous male dancers with his special qualities. So, as a ballet fan, I am bummed.
  13. Daniil Simkin Joining Staatsballett Berlin

    Simkin has done very well at ABT--he certainly has glowed there--and been dancing all across the repertory from major classics to world premiers. He may prefer Berlin's rep or prefer Berlin for other reasons (personel, family etc.), but from an audience-member point of view he unquestionably has flourished at ABT. I'm glad he speaks positively about the company even as he is off to join a new one. One notable feature of his ABT career: Simkin has created any number of roles in Ratmansky's ballets. I was able to see him in three of the roles he 'created' -- the boy in Whipped Cream, Shostakovich Piano Concerto No 1, and Ariel in The Tempest. Each ballet drew on and developed his talents in different ways. (I didn't see him in Ratmansky's Serenade After Plato's Symposium, but that was another major role he created in a very different kind of ballet.). Those three Ratmansky roles, along with his performance as the son in Ashton's A Month in the Country, were the finest work I saw him do at ABT. I hardly imagine that his performance in Whipped Cream or Tempest will be bettered--and I think I even preferred him to Wayne Sleep in A Month in the Country! Sleep, as some will remember, created that role. (People may be surprised that I mention Simkin's performance in The Tempest. It was an uneven ballet, but had absolutely remarkable passages: I'm sorry it's considered a dud and unlikely to be revived. Ratmansky was genuinely doing something different with it and when it worked--not always--it was very powerful.) Still, I wish ABT would/could develop some more properly danseur noble types in their male ranks....and strong partners in the Nagy, Gomes tradition. The company was right to develop Simkin as they did, so I'm not complaining--he's a rare talent--but still a very sui generis dancer. When it comes to other, smaller men at ABT, I regret that Gorak's progress has stalled--I don't know why or what can be done, but he seems to have enormous potential ...and is no longer a kid. I think I am about to lose electricity and other mayhem is threatening -- so computers off!
  14. Daniil Simkin Joining Staatsballett Berlin

    Simkin may have good reason to make the move--sounds like Berlin has a lot to offer him--but I'm not surprised his statement re ABT is a warm one. ABT has given him a lot of great opportunities from creating roles in new works to dancing major classical roles that some other companies might have denied him.
  15. Natasha Osipova on Her Future (Recent)

    Tereshkina has spoken candidly about how difficult she finds dancing Ashton's Sylvia -- which gives you an idea of just how challenging it must be! It is not absurd to suggest a choreographer works with the talent he has, though a great choteographer also develops and pushes that talent...but I think posing this as a matter of lesser or greater technique is not, certainly in Ashton's case, a helpful way to understand these differences. God knows Ashton wanted something different than Grigorovich, but easier? I don't think so...especially not if it is done right. With Ashton transitions in particular (or lack thereof), quicksilver changes of direction, and sheer speed are among the things that dancers not used to the choreography may find a chalkenge--to say nothing of the distinctive 'twisty' upper body. Tereshkina, for example, spoke of the smaller number of prepatory steps leading into jumps in Sylvia (smaller than what she is used to) as an example of what makes it hard. I happen to love many Russian dancers and, over time my taste has come round to twentieth-first-century technique in many ballets--as long as it doesn't devolve into sheer gymnastics. But I think it's a mistake to miss the distinctive and specifically technical demands Ashton places on today's dancers. Think of it as a different technique... Off topic, but...I happen to think Macmillan's popular long narrative ballets looks best on dancers with excellent classical skills--even if they ostensibly don't showcase those skills-- but if I wanted to point to a British choreographer's works seeming to make allowances for mediocre classical technique that could be compensated for by other gifts (stage chemistry, remarkable dramatic skills, production values etc.) Macmillan's full length story ballets would come to mind. However, perhaps Macmillan's afficianiados might explain to me what I'm missing and I suppose the partnering counts as technique too--and that does require skill. (From this view of Macmillan's full length narrative ballets I probably exempt his -- admitedly not at all popular -- Prince of the Pagodas which was created for Bussell. The final pas de deux counts among my favorite pieces of Macmillan choreography or that's how I felt when I saw it long ago. I am aware this is not a much admired Macmillan ballet, but I wish someone would at least revive the pas de deux which I remember as genuinely neo-classical, not swooney acrobatic.)
  16. Natasha Osipova on Her Future (Recent)

    I think a great dancer--even one coming in from an alien tradition--always contributes in substantial ways to the artistic life or "health" of a company. (I prefer the term "life" to "health.") I imagine many ballet fans would have lot to say about which dancers' departures would most impact their favorite companies too. I don't think the Royal needs Osipova or, in the past, "needed" Guillem. But having a remarkable external talent also has an impact on a company. In fact, I should think it's likelier to be a healthy impact when the company has talent from within its traditions that are keeping those traditions strong. But the days seem long past when everyone at the Royal had uniform training and backgrounds -- in that context, bringing Osipova always seemed to me a rather imaginative gesture that has added to the company's life. And based on what I have seen, she certainly has shown the Royal's influence in her dancing. Obviously, I operate from the premise that Osipova is a great dancer and a serious artist. Her being a "star" means (I think) that she has a lot of charisma--something I must admit I never hold against a dancer . (I am puzzled by the Royal's importation of Yana Salenko. But not having seen her dance live, I may not be doing her justice.) Do I like everything Osipova does equally well? No...Just to be crystal clear I don't think she is above criticism: I thought her Giselle with the Mikhailovsky in NY fell a wee bit short of what I had seen her dance at ABT; it seemed a touch less spontaneous, and she added a jumping detail that seemed strange to me during her Act II entrance as well -- folding her legs up underneath her skirt. It did make her look as if she were flying through the air on an invisible magic carpet and yet I'm not sure the artifice of the jump wasn't too apparent. She also had less chemistry with her partner than I had seen her have with Hallberg. With the Royal in New York the wildness of her Titania seemed to me very true to Ashton's vision (more so than the Victorian Picture postcard I've seen from other ballerinas in the role) but at least one of the performances I saw was something much less than polished. Anyway, as I wrote above, I'm sure every ballet lover has their own ranking of the dancers that could LEAST be spared from the companies whose aesthetic(s) they care about....But I am hard pressed to see how Osipova isn't playing a key role in today's Royal -- alongside Morera, Naghdi, Hayward etc.
  17. Daniil Simkin Joining Staatsballett Berlin

    I think Berlin has also been the scene of some struggles over just how classical/contemporary the company is going to be. I saw Simkin give some fantastic performances, but I found it very hard to believe in him as a leading man for the major nineteenth-century classics. I almost might prefer him in contemporary repertory, though I'd miss the quality he brings to particular classical roles, especially the contemporary-classical roles created for him by Ratmansky. I agree, though, that both Simkin and Cirio were excellent in Whipped Cream. For my taste, Simkin captured the fantastical tone of the piece best and also had a more airy quality--almost magical--in his dancing. It's a role to which he brings a very special quality. To say the least, I was sad to miss Cornejo in this ballet--broken-hearted would be more like it; he was injured the day I was supposed to see him.
  18. 2017 Fall Season

    Both Kowroski and Whelan have done it. I am not sure if you are only asking about recent runs or about its longer history, but retired dancers who have danced it include Darci Kistler, Monique Meunier, Miranda Weese, Jenifer Ringer...well, probably quite a few others since the production has been around for a while.
  19. Houston Ballet: hurricane and flooding?

    I was very intrigued when I read Houston Ballet was taking on Mayerling. I certainly hope they can perform it -- and people are able to attend! But it must be a very tricky ballet to mount properly under the very best of circumstances. Edited to add: I found this regarding changed company schedules/venues: https://www.broadwayworld.com/houston/article/Due-to-Hurricane-Harvey-Houston-Ballet-Announces-New-Dates-and-Venue-20170907
  20. For anyone who wants to see the discussion under the topic "Mariinsky" (casts too):
  21. Hello!

    Welcome mtthwbrehm -- I'm in Atlanta and planning a trip to see the Mariinsky in D.C. as well. If the casting holds as announced, it appears you will get to see several of your favorites .
  22. Building New Ballet Audiences

    Reminding me I must go tape it now...
  23. 2017/2018 season

    I was hoping Hallberg would appear with the Bolshoi at least a few more times...even if only as a kind of token that he is back from injury.
  24. 2017 -- 2018 Season

    Nice to hear Pavlenko being cast in a nineteenth-century classic...I don't think that has happened much lately. I wish her success.