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Everything posted by Drew

  1. Likely people who follow the Royal Ballet are aware of this, but in case not -- and for anyone interested in Kenneth MacMillan's choreography -- the Royal Opera House has held two "insight" evenings on MacMillan in conjunction with the upcoming multi-company celebration of MacMillan's choreography to be held there. These events were live-streamed and have now been archived on youtube. The occasion is the 25th anniversary of MacMillan's death. I have mixed responses to MacMillan's oeuvre and nonetheless I found these quite compelling. I especially appreciated the chance to see rehearsals of ballets I have only read about or seen in photos (if that). One of the evenings also included some film footage dating back over 50 years of early MacMillan ballets with, as I infer, their original casts -- the Burrow with Lynn Seymour and a rehearsal of House of Birds with Doreen Wells and Christopher Gable. The festival's entire focus is on one act MacMillan works--which seems to be a fantastic idea. It is also great to see dancers from a number of different British Companies. After watching the second video, though, I must just say....Melissa Hamilton!) Here are the links: And the second--which doesn't get underway for a couple of minutes:
  2. MacMillan "insight" evenings

    Thanks for this very informative report. The Macmillan work I would most like to see again is the Faure Requiem...which was certainly emotionally ambitious though it could not be considered ‘gritty’...Unsurprisingly perhaps, my happiest experience of Macmillan in recent years has been Song of the Earth which, at any rate, has never fallen out of the repertory and seems at no risk of doing so. Unfortunately, the only genuinely ‘pure dance’ Macmillan I have seen —several times when young—is Concerto. And, honestly, I remember being bored to tears by it. (Elite Syncopations also seemed very thin to me even with its original cast.) So it’s intriguing to read Ashton Fan making the case for the ‘pure dance’ part of his oeuvre. I do remember how compelling I found the (neo)classical pas de deux at the end of Prince of Pagodas, so in the unlikely event I get the opportunity, I will be very happy to find out if there are Macmillan ‘pure dance’ works that speak to me more compellingly than Concerto did. After so very many years, it is possible my reaction to Concerto itself might change... On the realism versus artifice front: a former Sadlers Wells (or BRB) dancer in the Insight evening spoke about rehearsing the Invitation with Macmillan and how after rehearsal he came up to her NOT to see if she was emotionally okay, but to say two words, ‘it hurts’, which, as SHE explained it, was his way of conveying that she had to really feel the pain of the rape. This anecdote did not exactly make me feel better about Macmillan’s occasional taste for sexual violence and sexual coercion in his ballets. Um...sort of the contrary. On a very different front: Rather unexpectedly I have tickets to see Macmillan’s production of Sleeping Beauty as danced by the English National Ballet this June. So, if my trip goes as planned, that will be my ‘live’ Macmillan celebration. And I am looking forward to it.
  3. 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
  4. Nutcracker Casting

    That was the first role I saw her dance...when she was just underway in her career. What wouldn't I give to see her dance it now! Will look forward to your report.
  5. I'm not sure these links make a convincing case regarding Hollywood being a whole new Hollywood when it comes to romantic leads. But it would be nice to think I am out of date. (I wouldn't speculate about Fairchild's motives or issues. There are a million reasons why he could have changed his mind about his social media uploads. He IS a great and truly distinctive and utterly charming dancer with tremendous charisma--and since I care about ballet more than I care about Broadway or Film or even other kinds of dance, I would be thrilled to see him land back in a ballet company! But of course I wish him all success whatever he does. And if he can be a ballet ambassador to other art forms--so much the better.)
  6. Hope your travels are smooth and that you have a great time. I really enjoyed Chudin's dancing on tour a couple of years ago, and hope he is not out for long.
  7. They aren't really known as romantic leads or fantasy fodder for magazines.
  8. Thank you. I especially loved seeing Villella. I saw the movie many years ago, but mostly just remember liking the Heather on the Hill song and thinking Harry was justified in his fury and .... not much else. Do stagings always have the bride more or less swoon when Harry kisses her (as in the tv version)? That moment in the recording caught me a little by surprise.
  9. I thought it was ABT who blocked their Sylphides because ABT had bought exclusive U.S. (or North American) rights to the ballet? How to balance repertory on these tours does seem a conundrum. In days of yore, the company did tour with some interesting mixed rep -- including Blood Wedding with Antonio Gades which was rather a highlight. Also something to feature the men--maybe Dolin's Variation for Four? Which is an older work. (The last time I saw them was in 2001 for a mixed bill of excerpts/highlights from standard classics lovingly danced--Coppelia, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Don Q--and Valdes', who was unknown to me, balancing to end all balances with complete classical calm in the latter--but they also included another work that Alonso herself had choreographed. I just looked it up--it was Gottschalk Symphony. I don't think critics would line up to praise it--but I enjoyed it as a showcase for the dancers. Edited to add: perhaps this was the Magia de la Danza program CharlieH mentioned above...) I am sure presenters are concerned about what people -- and not just ballet-fan-people -- will go to see. And the choices seem to narrow more and more (News of Lincoln Center Festival's demise is not heartening on that front.) But, not having seen the National Ballet of Cuba in 16 years I would LOVE to see them in Giselle or Don Quixote and will eagerly await people's reactions.
  10. POB 2018 US tour cancelled

    Hoping for the best. But worried.
  11. Copeland/Bolle Romeo & Juliet from La Scala

    I will look for that!
  12. St Petersburg - November 2017

    Petrov has been invited to choreograph a new work for my local company (Atlanta Ballet) this coming season. Atlanta has fine dancers, some of whom I like a lot, but of course not remotely in the same league as the Mariinsky dancers—it may prove interesting to see what Petrov comes up with when creating for dancers so different from those at his home company. I admire Prodigal Son, especially the integration of the Rouault designs with the choreography — exactly the sort of thing Balanchine later rejected (usually) — but I have always admired it more than I actually like it, so I can very much understand it not being to someone’s taste. I would though be very happy to see Kondaurova’s Siren (!) . And the Pimonov sounds excellent. There is youtube video of an excerpt and I had thought it looked appealing, though it was a little hard to tell how much of that was the dancers (Tereshkina and, I think, Yermakov).
  13. Copeland/Bolle Romeo & Juliet from La Scala

    I wonder if ballet companies should try to issue DVDs with "extras" -- as happens with films. The dancers or choreographer (if the are alive) offering commentary etc. Or special backstage features or ballet history features to be included with DVD. Imagine the Ratmansky Swan Lake with a little featurette on Stepanov notation, interviews with the leads, and maybe a "stager's commentary" that you could turn on or off while watching. Not realistic I suppose, but...well, I'd be interested. And things like the commentary presumably could not be easily included in a youtube upload...
  14. St Petersburg - November 2017

    Thank you for the review. The performance sounds terrific, and I also would love to hear about other ballets you see. In addition to reading about Novikova in particular, I was especially pleased to read your impressions of Lukina. Queen of the Dryads is a real challenge—ideally it calls for a bona fide ballerina not just a good dancer. I hope that is what Lukina is becoming. I wish I could return to St. Petersburg...not in the cards right now. I keep wondering when they are going to close the historic theater for renovation as I would love to return before that happens.
  15. Ballet 101 program

    This sounds unbelievably interesting....
  16. 2016-17 season

    As KBarber has said that was not a review but a feature piece on the Kudelka Cinderella. I think it's fair to say they are rarely critical. This one includes comments by Kudelka himself. (A search of "Kudelka" on the ABT forum here will quickly turn up the various reactions fans on this site had to Kudelka's Cinderella when ABT danced it. ) I think all ballet directors today are under unbelievable pressure to solve financial problems. I am sure it leads to some decisions that are not purely artistically motivated. And I haven't seen enough of Binet's work to have an opinion whether he is undeserving of the opportunities he is being given at National Ballet of Canada or not--God knows there are few enough gifted choreographers in the ballet world at any one time. But perhaps it should in fairness be noted that when the New York Times reviewed Binet's ballet for New York City Ballet, The Blue of Distance, they by no means viewed it as a "turkey." The ballet got a mixed, but respectful and in key ways positive review as part of a mixed but overall positive review of an entire program of premiers. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/02/arts/dance/review-new-york-city-ballet-gives-a-dance-form-a-makeover.html?_r=0 I saw the ballet twice and though it used the New York City Ballet dancers beautifully and in ways I hadn't exactly seen them used before. As a premier by a young choreographer--I found it at the very least intriguing.
  17. Tiler Peck on Ellen

    Love her!
  18. I first read about this on another online forum (Dansomanie). Here is the Reuters report: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-bolshoi-hoax/bomb-threats-force-evacuation-of-moscows-bolshoi-theater-hotels-reports-idUSKBN1D50UI?il=0
  19. Re-posted by the Cunningham Trust:
  20. 2018 Met Season

    I would give Cirio-Lane a chance if it ever happens again. Did Simkin have chemistry with Lane (or really, with anyone) when he first joined ABT? I remember seeing a peasant pas de deux with Lane where he hardly seemed to acknowledge she was on the stage. Even the sheer mechanics of the partnering was off. As I remember, other people complained about it on this website too. And yet in the past couple of years, I read people saying they do have chemistry. Tastes differ, but sometimes, too, partnerships mature, and chemistry requires a little experience.
  21. The Cunningham Trust sent out several tweets which I only just saw this moment. I only knew him through his writings...which I admired and enjoyed. Sad news--may he rest in peace. And condolences to all who cared about him.
  22. I'm inclined to separate the search for muses and multiple marriages from other kinds of erotic behavior that might, for example, be viewed as more exploitative. I thought that made me the old-fashioned one! But say you are right that these behaviors are all on a continuum in Balanchine's life--that cuts both ways. On the one hand, what looks emotionally and otherwise exploitative in the Frankfurt story (the one that concerns me here) is really inherent to Balanchine's art and part of his search for inspiration, but on the other hand .... perhaps the search for inspiration that fueled his art got a little exploitative. And both can be true. That's part of the complexity of the situation. It is also true that Balanchine did extraordinary things for his dancers and gave them many intellectual/artistic gifts. His place in the pantheon of dance history is secure, and a good biographer's job includes helping one understand what possibly motivates her/his subject. But that's not quite the same thing as saying that genius or art somehow grants carte blanche. That kind of aristocracy I don't believe in any more than I believe in droit de seigneur. I don't think marriage was the process for Balanchine either. It just made made me smile when you wrote he wasn't interested in short term goals and then added that that was one reason marriage wasn't for him. I do realize you were not intending to claim marriage is a short term goal.
  23. 2018 Met Season

    I would love to see the Ratmansky Harlequinade, but unfortunately the dates don't mesh with times I can travel to New York. Osipova/Hallberg Giselle would be exciting to see as well, but I think I won't be able to see that either. In an ideal world, I would also like catch up with some of the company''s newer principal dancers and soloists. And I own to a teensy bit of curiosity about how the McGregor Rite will turn out. But unfortunately, this looks as if it is going to be an ABT-less summer.
  24. Well, I guess there are continuities across Balanchine's life, but I'm surprized by the word "courtship" applied to the scene Frankfurt describes. She is visiting Balanchine in the hospital to get advice on a role, and he gets her drunk and makes a pass at her. I do consider Balanchine's life story, as it is known to me, to involve a lot of what I would call "courtship" (Zorina!), but I kind of want to make some distinctions too. I would have thought that not every pass a person makes qualifies as "courtship," especially when it's a person who holds all the psychological cards (which Frankfurt's piece suggests Balanchine did in her case) and many of the career cards as well. Even if one thinks that sort of thing is no big deal, and even if one allows Balanchine at that time was at death's door, not altogether himself, and presumably dealing with all kinds of difficult emotions....well, courtship seems a decidedly chivalrous word for something I'm disinclined to consider chivalrous however human one finds it. (That Balanchine's ballets include some of the most poignant portraits of chivalry ever created--THAT is certain.) For the rest, based on what I have read of Homans' writing, I am not at all worried that she will "tear down" Balanchine. Edited to add: I always thought marriage was about long term goals--and process--not "short term" ones .