Helene

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  1. "Encores" casting info from Moira McDonald's article about Carrie Imler's and Batkhurel Bold's pending retirement, in Friday's Links: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/42625-friday-may-26/&do=findComment&comment=381570 Imler and Bold will dance the "Theme and Variations" excerpt and "Black Swan Pas de Deux." Bold will dance Kent Stowell's "Cinderella" Act III PDD with Lesley Rausch Imler will dance with Jonathan Porretta in "Something Stupid" from Twyla Tharp's "Nine Sinatra Songs" and in Kiyon Gaines' "'Folie' a deux" (to music by Glass).
  2. A photo of Angelica Generosa and James Moore rehearsing Lopez Ochoa's "Before After":
  3. Part 1 of the press release: PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET PRESENTS Featuring PNB premieres of works by GEORGE BALANCHINE – JEROME ROBBINS – ALEXEI RATMANSKY June 2 – 11, 2017 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall 321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center Seattle, WA 98109 June 2 – 3 at 7:30 pm June 2 at 2:00 pm June 8 - 10 at 7:30 pm June 11 at 1:00 pm SEATTLE, WA – For the sixth program of its 44th season, Pacific Northwest Ballet presents the PNB premieres by three of the most significant names in ballet: George Balanchine’s classical La Source is a hybrid work, drawn from several earlier ballets and first presented as a showcase for the legendary dancer Violette Verdy. Opus 19/The Dreamer, by Jerome Robbins, is a much darker work, an emotional and physical marathon with enormous awards for audience and artist alike. PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal performed Opus 19/The Dreamer for most of his career as a dancer with New York City Ballet, and he will be staging it along with La Source for their PNB debuts. The evening comes to a close with Alexei Ratmansky’s ravishing Pictures at an Exhibition. Like the ever-changing Kandinsky watercolors that set the stage, ten dancers move in varying combinations to display a plethora of emotion, from raw and wild to solemn and soulful in this work, which will be staged for PNB by the acclaimed former NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan. PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION runs for seven performances only, June 2 through 11 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30. For more information, contact the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org. The line-up for PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION will include: La Source (PNB Premiere) Music: Léo Delibes (excerpts from La Source, 1866, and Le Pas des Fleurs, 1867, arranged as Naila Waltz, c. 1880s) Choreography: George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust Staging: Peter Boal Lighting Design: Ronald Bates, recreated by Randall G. Chiarelli Running Time: 24 minutes Premiere: November 23, 1968, New York City Ballet George Balanchine loved the music of Léo Delibes, considering him one of the three great composers for ballet, along with Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Balanchine returned to the music of Delibes throughout his career. La Source is a hybrid work, drawn from several earlier Balanchine ballets and first presented in 1968 as an extended pas de deux for Violette Verdy and John Prinz. The legendary Verdy was a seasoned artist with piquant technique and theatrical flair, while Prinz was just coming into his own as a dancer. In 1969, Balanchine added dances for a second ballerina and eight women from his 1965 Pas de Deux and Divertissement (which itself was an extension of his 1950 Sylvia: Pas de Deux) and a revision of his “Naila Waltz,” choreographed in 1951 as part of Music and Dance, a presentation by the National Orchestral Society at Carnegie Hall. Reminiscing about La Source, Verdy wrote, “Mr. B’s idea of France in La Source was almost a platonic ideal of the French. It was France through the eyes of an educated person from St. Petersburg who remembered how much France and Russia had in common and how much France brought to Russia with Catherine and the tsar and all the artists that came to St. Petersburg—Petipa, Didelot, the builders, and the constructors. The city is built like a beautiful theater, like Paris is a theater. …For me, dancing La Source was being home once more. The movements Mr. B gave me and that music—they are like family, they are in my genes.” The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of George Balanchine’s La Source is generously underwritten by Bob Benson. The works of George Balanchine performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet are made possible in part by The Louise Nadeau Endowed Fund. Opus 19 / The Dreamer (PNB Premiere) Music: Sergei Prokofiev (Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major, Op. 19, 1915-1917) Choreography: Jerome Robbins Staging: Peter Boal Costume Design: Ben Benson Lighting Design: Jennifer Tipton, recreated by Perry Silvey Running Time: 23 minutes Premiere: June 14, 1979, New York City Ballet Jerome Robbins choreographed Opus 19/The Dreamer for Mikhail Baryshnikov in 1979, at the end of the single season the famed Russian dancer was a member of New York City Ballet before becoming artistic director of American Ballet Theatre in 1980. The double title refers both to the ballet’s music—Prokofiev’s first violin concerto, composed on the eve of the October Revolution—and its moody protagonist. The score is haunting, dreamy, and ethereal. The dance recalls the atmosphere of earlier Robbins ballets, Facsimile (1946) and Age of Anxiety (1950), both with music by Leonard Bernstein, which explored the psychology of the human experience and whose companions walked a grey line between reality and imagination. Baryshnikov, who partnered ballerina Patricia McBride at the premiere, has suggested an autobiographical tone for Robbins’ dreamer: “He’s a bit of an outsider, a bit of a loner, a bit of a thinking man; there’s a bit of action, a bit of unrealized romance, which is very much Jerry’s life.” Peter Boal danced the role of the Dreamer and chose the ballet for his retirement performance at New York City Ballet in June 2005, partnering Wendy Whelan. He remembers, “Jerry and I worked for endless hours on Opus. The ballet was very dear to him and he entrusted it to very few after Misha. During rehearsals, he spoke of the ethnicity of the music and, in turn, the choreography, referring to Russian peasants and Slavic folk dances. The movements were at times grounded and tribal and alternately manic and meditative. I felt I always gave 100% in everything I danced, but for Opus Jerry wanted more—a level of physicality and commitment that was almost beyond human ability.” The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Jerome Robbins’ Opus 19/The Dreamer is generously underwritten by Marcella McCaffray. Opus 19/The Dreamer is performed by permission of the Robbins Rights Trust. Pictures at an Exhibition (PNB Premiere) Music: Modest Mussorgsky (1874) Choreography: Alexei Ratmansky Staging: Wendy Whelan Costume Design: Adeline André Lighting Design: Mark Stanley Projection Design: Wendall K. Harrington, using Wassily Kandinsky’s Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles (1913) Piano Soloist: Allan Dameron Running Time: 35 minutes Premiere: October 2, 2014, New York City Ballet Alexei Ratmansky is quickly becoming the most prolific and diverse choreographer working in classical ballet today. From his painstaking reconstructions of 19th-century classics by Marius Petipa to his revitalization of Soviet-era story ballets to his growing repertory set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich to his collection of works made for American Ballet Theatre (ABT, where he is artist in residence), New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and elsewhere, Ratmansky is everywhere. Any given night might see performances of his works by two or three or more companies around the globe. Pacific Northwest Ballet has three of them: Concerto DSCH (from the Shostakovich set), Don Quixote (a Petipa classic), and now Pictures at an Exhibition, an utterly unique dance made for New York City Ballet in 2014 and set to Modest Mussorgsky’s signature work in its original version for solo piano. Writing in The New York Times after the ballet’s premiere, critic Alastair Macaulay stated, “‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ is surely the most casually diverse work Mr. Ratmansky has created, but it gathers unstoppable momentum. The 10 dancers—five women, five men—started out in informal home-theater mood, almost as if they were playing charades. Some dances, including the first solo, had a wild, improvisatory, part-stumbling, part-inspired quality. (The tailor-made nature of the ballet’s solos reflects one of Mr. Ratmansky’s greatest gifts: Dancers are vividly, individually, intimately revealed.) In certain numbers the dancers—here on all fours, there gesturing—seemed to enact or refer to private stories. Other sections shifted toward a classicism of long lines and academic steps. Some ensembles were largely about camaraderie; others about geometry, harmony, meter.” Dance writer Michael Popkin explained further: “Not just a rendition in dance of Mussorgsky’s famous work of the same name, the ballet was also functionally a tribute and apotheosis for NYCB’s retiring star, Wendy Whelan” (danceviewtimes). Pictures at PNB marks Whelan’s first project as a répétiteur, or stager, the individual who teaches an existing ballet to a new cast. She will have worked with PNB’s dancers for a total of three weeks heading into the Company premiere on June 2. Ratmansky himself, on a brief break from ABT’s New York season, spent two days coaching the ballet after it had been taught. In addition to Whelan, Ratmansky’s team of collaborators includes renowned projection designer Wendall K. Harrington, whose visual musings on Wassily Kandinsky’s watercolor, Color Study. Squares with Concentric Circles, provide animated counterpoint to the dancers’ moves. Fashion designer Adeline André’s costumes echo Kandinsky’s colors and shapes, while Mark Stanley’s lighting joins all of these components to create a unified whole. Popkin continues: “The ballet tracks the score’s scenario, its action unfolding as a suite of dances before vibrantly colored backdrops. In this 1874 composition, Mussorgsky commemorates the premature death of a friend, the painter Viktor Hartmann, in a tone poem depicting a stroll through a gallery of his pictures. The music, in 16 short sections, alternates tone pictures of some canvasses with a repeating march—labeled ‘Promenade’—that recurs in different musical meters and lets you imagine that you’re strolling from picture to picture. As the promenades segue from conventional to elevated over the course of the entire piece, the composer’s emotion becomes evident: The work is increasingly shot through with his love for his friend and the artistic resolution of his grief.” The 2017 Pacific Northwest Ballet premiere of Alexei Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is generously underwritten by Patty Edwards. Notes by Doug Fullington.
  4. I just received the press release (emphasis mine): PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET presents BEYOND BALLET A Town Hall on the State of Ballet and Diversity 7:00 pm, Wednesday, May 3, 2017 The Phelps Center 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center Seattle, WA 98109 SEATTLE, WA – On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) will host BEYOND BALLET, a Town Hall-style conversation which will investigate aesthetics, diversity, equity, and the efforts to redesign arts institutions. PNB, Spectrum Dance Theater, and Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet (MOBB) invite attendees to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences in a Town Hall format. Ballet—its aesthetics, lack of diversity and equity—is the springboard from which we begin to examine these issues in the theater and arts at large. This forum will be an open study group for organizations participating in the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Racial Equity Learning Cohorts, part of the Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI), the City’s commitment to eliminate racial disparities and achieve racial equity in Seattle. BEYOND BALLET will take place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at PNB’s Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street at Seattle Center. This is a free event, however space is limited and registration is required at PNB.org/BeyondBallet. Panelists for BEYOND BALLET include Peter Boal, Artistic Director of PNB; Donald Byrd, Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater; Erica Edwards, Director of Community Engagement at The Joffrey Ballet; Kiyon Gaines, former PNB soloist and PNB School faculty member; and Andrea Long-Naidu, ballet instructor for Dance Theatre of Harlem and CityDance Conservatory. The evening will be moderated by Theresa Ruth Howard, founder and curator of MOBB. While the format of the program will allow for diverging conversations, perspectives and stories from the field, planned topics for the evening include: · The History of Blacks in Ballet: A Legacy as Long as America · The Aesthetics of Ballet: What do Classicism and Tradition “Look” Like? · Teachers and Administrators of Color: Why They Are an Essential Component of Diversification BEYOND BALLET is an important part of PNB’s ongoing work in the area of racial equity and inclusion. This community event is made possible with generous support from Bank of America. TICKET INFORMATION This is a free event, however seating is limited and subject to availability: Advance registration is required at PNB.org/BeyondBallet. ABOUT THE PANELISTS (For complete bios, visit PNB.org/BeyondBallet.) Theresa Ruth Howard (moderator) began her professional dance career with the Philadelphia Civic Ballet Company at the age of twelve. Later she joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem where she had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Africa. In 2004 she became a founding member of Armitage Gone! Dance, and was a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s 10th Anniversary season. Ms. Howard has been a member of the faculty at the Ailey School for over 18 years. As a writer, she has contributed to Pointe andDance magazines, among others. Her articles about body image prompted her to create mybodymyimage.com, which endeavors to help build positive body image through respect, acceptance, and appreciation. Ms. Howard launched MoBBallet.org, the digital archive for Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet. One of MOBB’s first projects was to help organize and facilitate the first-ever audition for Black Female Ballet dancers for major ballet organizations at the 2015 International Association of Blacks in Dance conference. Peter Boal was raised in Bedford, New York. At the age of nine, he began studying ballet at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. Mr. Boal became a member of NYCB’s corps de ballet in 1983 and became a principal dancer in 1989. In 2005, he retired from NYCB after a 22-year career with the company. Mr. Boal was also a full-time faculty member at the School of American Ballet from 1997 to 2005. In 2003, he founded Peter Boal and Company, a critically-acclaimed chamber ensemble. In 1996 Mr. Boal received the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000 he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance in Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness. In 2005, upon his retirement from NYCB, Mr. Boal became Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Director of PNB School. Donald Byrd‘s career has been long and complex and his choreographic and theatrical interests are broad. The New York Times describes him as “a choreographer with multiple personalities…an unabashed eclectic.” Mr. Byrd, a Tony Award-nominated (The Color Purple) and Bessie Award-winning (The Minstrel Show) choreographer, became Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater in 2002. From 1978 to 2002, he was Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically-acclaimed contemporary dance company - founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York - that toured extensively, both nationally and internationally. He has created over 100 dance works for his own groups as well as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), PNB, The Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and many others. His non-dance company work has been with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the US, including New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, and more. Erica Lynette Edwards joined The Joffrey Ballet after being one of the first dancers in the Arpino Apprentice program in 2000. She trained at the Salt Creek Ballet School where she performed major roles in their pre-professional ballet company. Ms. Edwards believes that it is important to share the experience of dance with others, and she does this by teaching at various community, school, and outreach programs throughout Chicagoland. In 2001, the Chicago Sun-Timesspotlighted her as a “Black History Maker,” and in 2002 she was The Joffrey’s nominee for the Princess Grace Foundation Award. In 2003, Ebony magazine featured Ms. Edwards as a Young Leader of the Future in the Arts. She retired in 2014 after a 15-year career as a ballerina and is now The Joffrey’s Director of Community Engagement: She is responsible for managing all Joffrey arts education programs through Chicago Public Schools and the community to increase access, awareness, and appreciation for the art of dance. Kiyon Gaines is from Baltimore, Maryland. He trained at Baltimore School of the Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, the School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He joined PNB as a member of the corps de ballet in 2001 and was promoted to soloist in 2012. He retired in 2015 and currently teaches on the faculty of PNB School, works with PNB’s DanceChance program to bring classical dance training to the students of Seattle Public Schools, and has been program manager of PNB’s annual NEXT STEP choreographers’ showcase since 2012. Mr. Gaines is also an established choreographer: Since creating his first work in 2001, he has made ballets for PNB, PNB School, New York Choreographic Institute, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Cornish College of the Arts, and Spectrum Dance Theater. Mr. Gaines has been resident choreographer at Ballet Arkansas since 2015. Andrea Long-Naidu was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trained with Pennsylvania Ballet School, the American Ballet Theatre School, and School of American Ballet, and began her career dancing with New York City Ballet where she remained for over eight years before joining Dance Theater of Harlem. She has received critical acclaim dancing the works of George Balanchine, Robert Garland, Dwight Rhoden, Jerome Robbins, and others. Internationally renowned following thirteen years as a principal dancer at DTH, she continues to inspire in an arduous profession. She has danced as a guest artist with many regional ballet companies, and is considered an exemplary and demanding ballet instructor. Ms. Long-Naidu sees a growing respect for the art of ballet in popular culture and joins in encouraging such groups as Aesha Ash’s The Swan Dreams Project, with a goal to increase minority participation in ballet. She is married to Laveen Naidu, former Executive Director of DTH, and now Artistic Director of BalletNova. The couple continue to support the development of Dance Theatre of Harlem. For complete bios, visit PNB.org/BeyondBallet.
  5. Margaret Mullin interviewed Theresa Ruth Howard before the panel discussion for her podcast "Beyond the Barre." I was shocked to notice the running time, because time flew by for me listening to it: http://www.premierdancenetwork.com/season-two-interview-with-theresa-ruth-howard/
  6. Wendy Whelan on "PIctures at an Exhibition":
  7. That's usually an issue if the ballet is performed after intermission.
  8. The original Prodigal was Serge Lifar, and Balanchine choreographed "Prodigal Son" in 1929. Villella wasn't born until after Balanchine moved to America.
  9. A fantastic photo of Batkhurel Bold:
  10. Please discuss professional reviews in the "Writings on Ballet" forum -- the company forums are for discussing what you see.
  11. And it's clearly been updated since I posted. I've updated the link in the original post. Here's a screenshot of the current cast list:
  12. You are so right, and Moore and Pantastico are dancing all three performances of "Opus 19: The Dreamer" opening weekend Casting is up -- as always, subject to change -- and the casts are the same for all three performances. There are going to be some tired dancers come Sunday, June 4! https://www.pnb.org/season/16-17/exhibition/ (scroll to the bottom) Link to downloadable spreadsheet -- edited to add, updated, since it's been updated on the website: Pictures at an Exhibition -- Week 1 23 May 17 (2).xlsx
  13. Funk is a quite different genre. If this is meant to be shorthand for something else, it's not welcome in this discussion.
  14. Hip hop as a rule relies on complex lyrics and rhythmic interaction between the musical beat and lyrics. Many hip hop lyrics would put opera librettos to shame and is the equal to the lyrics of many "high" art songs. I think conflating hip hop and pop music is not accurate.
  15. You may be right; on my monitor, the dancer longer more elongated than Moore, although I was thinking that role would be perfect for Moore.
  16. Just like clockwork: after a couple of days of sun and warmth in the last few months, Seattle seems to have jumped from winter to summer, and: I just got an email from PNB to say that Nutcracker tickets are on sale today, and PNB subscribers get 20% off. (I suspect they had already chosen the on-sale date, but part of me wonders...)
  17. Dylan Wald is front and center, with Steven Loch James Moore in the back left, and, at the end, Benjamin Griffiths to the right:
  18. From PNB's Facebook:
  19. I don't see anything about "high art" in the mission statement. And I look at the Kennedy Center Honors site, and the list of honorees is hardly lacking representatives of popular culture. I suspect the Eagles would laugh at being called high art.
  20. Plus people talk to Copeland. She's had a far more diverse exposure than Peck, for example, as a spokesperson, in classes, through outreach programs, and in public appearances. She's also a force on social media. A comfortable and unchallenged audience is not what I think the country's self-proclaimed arts center should aim for.
  21. I can't say how much Nunez is indicative of Royal Ballet style/training, but while I wouldn't call her a Balanchine dancer, she did not have the mannerisms and imposition of a dominant style that I've seen from other companies, particularly the exaggerated backs and uber extensions. While "Diamonds" might be "Swan Lake"'s cousin in the pas de deux -- and "Raymonda"'s in the final movement, with its character dance influences -- it's neither of those ballets, and that is often the default when non-Balanchine companies do it, and that's often most evident in their casting. (In general, Kitri's need not apply.) I particularly appreciated that everything was controlled by and radiated from her center, and she didn't break the axis or the line, which is rare in general.
  22. Everything Marianela Nunez did was from her live core. That she added a whiff of Black Swan to the end of the pas de deux as she boureed away at the end was too delicious. She and the four Demis, Claire Calvert, Tierney Heap, Yasmine Naghdi, and Beatrix Stix-Brunell, put me in such a happy place, that spending three hours in the dark on a precious sun-filled Seattle day and knowing I've got work to finish when I get home can't put a dent in it. Nunez is Da Bomb.
  23. The Royal Opera House is encouraging us to tweet our impressions. I don't think they really want me to, apart from really liking the corps and the pianist. As Tall Girl, Melissa Hamilton really shone in the last movement, where the choreography is non-stop. The challenge of Tall Girl in the first movement is the same as in Flamenco: you have to be able to nail something and increase the energy when you're still. Steven McCrae did what Rubies men do when they don't get that energy from their partners: he projected forward. The key to the leads, especially in the past, is that it's a conversation, and you have to feel the electricity between them. Sigh.
  24. It's first intermission at Sundance cinema in Seattle. Stix-Brunnel's arms were lovely in the Verdy role. Laura Morera was stunning in the Mimi Paul role . Both of the women in the trio, Emma Maguire and Helen Crawford, were superb. The taller of the two, did the second solo like I'd never seen it before. On the whole, the performances were individual, very well thought out, with details galore, and there was terrific energy in Emeralds, which can often drift off into vapors. Patricia Neary is a force of nature. Balanchine would have been surprised to learn that he trained and danced in France.