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About volcanohunter

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, former dancer, self-loathing (ex-)New Yorker
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  1. Perhaps his lip-reading abilities extend to identifying Brooklyn or Provençal accents.
  2. Leaving aside for the moment the fact that it's a fundraising pitch, company dancers, immigrants and lifelong Canadians alike, profess their love for Canada on the eve of 150 years of Confederation. (They did forget the Francophone element, though.)
  3. Cranko and Kurt-Heinz Stolze deliberately avoided Tchaikovsky's most famous pieces. You may recognize selections from The Seasons, and the final scene is based on Francesca da Rimini. The first-act duet is based on the unfinished "Romeo and Juliet Duet" (bedroom scene), which was completed by Taneyev. There are several selections from Cherevichki.
  4. Yes, these ticket prices are about three times higher than what they were for the POB's season five years ago. And in that case the company brought three programs and a larger group of dancers. I also suspect that six performances of The Taming of the Shrew are too many. New York couldn't really be described as a Maillot-loving sort of place.
  5. For what it's worth, Richardson typically runs corps rehearsals. The principal roles are usually rehearsed by Magdalena Popa or Rex Harrington. Perhaps Fischer is relieved not to be under her mother's watch now! I spent a year in my mother's classroom, and I spent most of it being ignored. I also completed a couple of university courses taught by my father. He was a mortifying parent on more than one occasion. It might really be better for Binet Sr. to step down from the company board for his son's sake. However, this is also not the first instance I've encountered of a dancer's parents being board members or major donors to the company that employs their child.
  6. Lindsay Fischer and Mandy-Jayne Richardson don't "run things" at the National Ballet of Canada. They're ballet masters, so they "run" rehearsals. Fischer also "runs" a community outreach program that utilizes the company's apprentices. I don't think it's unusual for graduates of a company-feeder school to want to join the company the school is feeding. Given her physique, I'm not surprised Hannah Fischer was accepted by the National Ballet School, though I don't know whether anyone there seriously considered the possibility of rejecting her. But the children of ballet dancers often inherit their parents' physical abilities. Juliette Hilaire joined the Paris Opera Ballet when her father was still chief ballet master there. There is precedent for this kind of thing. If the objections to the casting of Fischer, Saye, Hawes and Gerty stems from a sense of offended justice (i.e., outrage at worthier dancers being passed over for roles), then I understand this perfectly. I'm sure it's soul-crushing for the dancers who don't get the roles and/or tours they deserve. Tragically, it happens a lot in the ballet world, and if there is one thing that I find truly repulsive about the way ballet functions in the real world and one thing that makes me want to spit on it and walk away forever, this is it.
  7. We'll have to disagree about that.
  8. Surely it's not unusual for children to follow into their parents' line of work. There are plenty of second- and third-generation dancers out there. I understand the point mom2 is making. It might really be easier on Hannah Fischer to work elsewhere. But is anyone seriously suggesting that she is completely lacking in talent or ability?
  9. Williams' plays deal with sordid subject matter, and sex often plays a particularly important role. I don't like his plays, but they are incredibly potent, and each time I am forced to acknowledge his greatness as a playwright. In the play Stanley's rape of Blanche is hinted at, albeit strongly. Ballet is a different medium, and in many ways pas de deux choreography lends itself easily to depictions of sexual violence. There are plenty of examples in the works of Kenneth MacMillan. No doubt audience attitudes in 1947 New York and 1983 Stuttgart would have been different, too, and I'm sure that Neumeier's intent was not to sensationalize the violence, but rather he was determined not to euphemize it. What Stanley does to Blanche is horrendous, and it leads to her very real mental breakdown. I am a little surprised that National Ballet of Canada audiences would be shocked. I mean, the company's production Swan Lake includes a scene of gang rape and a mass of misogynistic imagery, and the company doesn't even tell people to keep the kids away, as it did in this case. My comment about emotional flatness was intended more generally. For example, I saw Guillaume Côté and Heather Ogden perform as guest artists with the Hamburg Ballet in Nijinsky before the ballet premiered in Toronto, and they were very, very pale in comparison with their Hamburg alternates, Alexandre Riabko and Hélène Bouchet. In fairness, those were among their first performances of the ballet, and in any case Côté was never likely to be able to match the performance of Riabko, who is a) a very great dancer and b) had been performing the ballet for more than a decade by that point. I've asked people in a position to compare whether Côté's performance had improved with time, and they said that it had. However, I still haven't been to see the National Ballet production because I have a nagging feeling that it just wouldn't measure up to what the Hamburg Ballet does with the piece. In another case when I saw the Hamburg Ballet perform The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler, I found myself weeping uncontrollably by the end. This genuinely surprised me, so I took another look at the POB film of the ballet which I'd seen previously, and this emotional layer was absent. It simply wasn't there. The pristine beauty of the POB's corps and soloists was no match for the burning commitment and emotional wallop the Hamburg Ballet was able to deliver.
  10. The National Ballet of Canada first performed Neumeier in the early 1970s when it acquired his Don Juan. (During that period he was more closely associated with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which performed his non-Christmas, ballet-history-geek Nutcracker for many years.) Nearly 20 years passed before the National Ballet performed his Now and Then. In recent years there has been an uptick with The Seagull, Nijinsky and now A Streetcar Named Desire. Neumeier has a vast catalog of evening-length narrative ballets, which conventional wisdom tells us are easier to sell to audiences than mixed bills of plotless, one-act ballets. It's been my observation that it's vastly preferable to see his ballets performed by the Hamburg Ballet, whose dancers perform Neumeier as though their lives depended on it, or by the Stuttgart Ballet or Royal Danish Ballet, which are almost as deeply steeped in his work. When danced by other companies, the works can come across as emotionally flat. Given that Neumeier studied English literature and drama at university, it's not surprising that he often draws on literary sources, especially Shakespeare. The visual aspect of his works is often very striking. Some of his works could use pruning, but given that Streetcar clocks in at two hours including an intermission, that's not really a glaring fault in this instance. It does perhaps break with conventional practice in that the second act is longer than the first.
  11. This is John Neumeier's version from 1983, originally choreographed for the Stuttgart Ballet as a vehicle for Marcia Haydée and set to music by Prokofiev and Schnittke.
  12. I never meant to suggest that you did.
  13. There are no slave market scenes in Byron's version. Just about the only plot element that remains from Byron is the bit about Conrad gaining entrance to Seyd's palace with a ruse. The Bolshoi's staging alludes, but only slightly, to Conrad being tortured in Seyd's dungeons when he appears in the last act shackled and wearing a torn and bloodied shirt. When Byron's Conrad sets fire to the palace he realizes that there are women inside and sets about trying to rescue the harem, and that's how he's caught. Ultimately it's Gulnare who rescues Conrad, by murdering Seyd in his bed. Conrad's wife Medora never appears on the other side of the Aegean. She spends the entire story at home, eventually despairs of Conrad's return and commits suicide. There is no character named Birbanto and no pirate mutiny over booty. There is also no one named Isaac or Lankendem or Ali. Verdi's Il corsaro is a lot closer to the original story. In any case, I don't think we can explain away anything we dislike about Le Corsaire by appealing to Byron.
  14. Yuri Grigorovich's The Golden Age, filmed at the Bolshoi in October 2016, is being released on DVD and Blu-ray by Bel Air Classiques. The North American release date is July 7, 2017. Rita: Nina Kaptsova Boris: Ruslan Skvortsov Yashka: Mikhail Lobukhin Lyuska: Ekaterina Krysanova Compere: Vyacheslav Lopatin http://www.belairclassiques.com/english/dance/the-golden-age/ This is not to be confused with a Russian television documentary titled Yuri Grigorovich: The Golden Age, released on the same label.
  15. opening program Yuri Grigorovich / Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker Final Adagio Nina Kaptsova, Ruslan Skvortsov, corps de ballet August Bournonville / Herman Severin Løvenskiold, La Sylphide Pas de Deux Anastasia Stashkevich, Vyacheslav Lopatin Marius Petipa / Cesare Pugni, Le Corsaire Danse des forbans Agrippina Vaganova / Cesare Pugni, Esmeralda Diana and Acteon pas de deux Daria Khokhlova, Artemy Belyakov Yuri Grigorovich / Aram Ilitch Khatchaturian, Spartacus Adagio Anna Nikulina, Mikhail Lobukhin Marius Petipa / Léon Minkus, La Bayadère Drum Dance Yuri Grigorovich / Dmitri Shostakovich, The Golden Age Polka & Tango Denis Medvedev, Anna Nikulina, Mikhail Lobukhin, corps de ballet Kasian Goleyzovsky / Valery Zhelobinsky, Don Quixote Gypsy Dance Kristina Karasyova Alexander Gorsky / Peter Ludwig Hertel, La Fille mal gardée Pas de deux Daria Khokhlova, Artemy Belyakov Yuri Grigorovich / Alexander Glazunov, Raymonda Panaderos Anton Savichev, corps de ballet Mikhail Fokine / Camille Saint-Saëns, The Dying Swan Ekaterina Shipulina Alexander Gorsky / Léon Minkus, Don Quixote Act III: Grand pas Svetlana Zakharova, Denis Rodkin, Anna Leonova, Anna Okuneva, corps de ballet Edit: opening gala link: http://www.medici.tv/en/others/moscowballetcompetition-opening-ceremony/