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Dutch National Season 2003-2004


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#16 Herman Stevens

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 03:48 PM

Thanks for your response, Leigh. I'm sorry I was a little vague and rushed, earlier.

Marisa Lopez did Stairway (and I saw her twice, plus Larissa once). The fouettée &c solo was done by Yumiko Takeshima in the first cast, Enrichetta Cavalotti in the second, and by French demi soloist Charlotte Chapellier in the dress rehearsal (I believe she's 3d cast). I liked Charlotte the best; she's kind of small and lightning fast, while the other two are rather big dancers.* (Also: I really like her as a person.)

Back to Marisa. With slinky I guess I mean that with Marisa 'Stairway' came in one long juicy flow from the hips. Both times she brought down the house. Perhaps you know Marisa from San Francisco? She's whippet thin and ultra-flexible and she's got this great big smile. It was fast, it was happy and it came completely natural (it didn’t with Larissa IMO), even though those steps are all over the place.

So you’re going to the first night in Rotterdam? My guess is Larissa will do Theme again on that night.

*BTW I'm probbly being completely inauthentic here. One and Only was originally by Patricia McBride, wasn't it - and she isn't smallish, is she?

#17 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 06:39 PM

Herman, I'll see both performances in Rotterdam, and then NDT at Den Haag on May 1. This is my first time seeing DNB, so I am quite excited.

I don't know SFB well, this last visit (see www.danceviewtimes.com for my article this week) was my first time seeing them on their home turf.

Marnee Morris originated the solo to My One and Only. McBride's was Fascinatin' Rhythm and McBride was in fact small-ish (but was that a typo?). Morris was before my viewing, so I don't know more about her than that she was a natural turner. Nowadays at NYCB the McBride role is danced by either Jenifer Ringer, who does it sort of like a daffy cheerleader (it's wonderful) or Miranda Weese, who has razor sharp musical timing and wit and can stop or change direction on a dime. So it's been well cast here for a bit.

#18 Herman Stevens

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 03:59 AM

Well, unintentionally you have persuaded me to get to know those Gershwin tunes a little better so I can identify them now. Or was it the fact that 's Wonderful got stuck in my head?

Leigh, I am hoping you will post extensively about the shows you're going to see in Holland (the NDT, too, obviously). Of course the Rotterdam Schouwburg is not the DNB's home theater. The good thing is it's a little more intimate. The bad thing is it's a plug ugly early eighties structure.

Interesting that McBride looks bigger in the pictures than she apparently is (maybe because Villella whom she's often pictured with is no giant either). IMO she is one of Balanchine's most photogenic dancers. She always looks like having tons of fun.

#19 Herman Stevens

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 02:53 AM

Herman, I'll see both performances in Rotterdam, and then NDT at Den Haag on May 1.  This is my first time seeing DNB, so I am quite excited.

Hi, Leigh. Did you get to go to the shows you mentioned? I'd be interested to hear what you thought of them.

I went to the first DNB night, and enjoyed Theme & Vars immensily. Cedric Ygnace is my favorite DNB dancer for this piece. He gels with his partner (Yumiko Takeshima) in a way that pretty much blurs the he - she roles, particularly during the violin solo, with the his and hers pirouettes.

I recall Susan Hendl, who came over for the rehearsals, was very much taken with Ygnace, too.

I'll be going to another performance come Saturday - same couple.

#20 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 06 May 2004 - 03:35 AM

Herman, yes I did see them - just got home on Tuesday. I was on assignment so can't go on at length, but I liked DNB. They did a decent job.

I also liked Ygnace; he has an interesting body - a bit more sensual than the standard Balanchine look. The company tried fielding two casts in Theme for both corps and soloists. I thought that was a mistake - they didn't have them from what I saw.

Duo doesn't look like it does in NYC! Same steps, completely different feeling. And that was different from both casts. Igone de Jongh and Gael Lambiotte were more small-scale, almost cozy and Enrichetta Cavalotti was almost stereotypically Italian with Jahn Magnus Johansen (I loved her though).

The Dream looked in decent shape. I got Larissa Lezhnina with Boris de Leeuw. I liked him a lot - I wished I could have translated more clearly the interview posted about him in the theater - my Dutch is only what I can decode. I would have liked to see Lezhnina in Theme. In the second cast I found Ruta Jezerskyte very interesting - she's a "hot" Titania for a cooler Nagy - in the other pairing de Leeuw was warmer.

The Rotterdamse Schouwberg is a very dry house! All resonance gets sucked out of the music, the violinist in Duo practically had to saw her instrument in half to get sound from the stage.

#21 Herman Stevens

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 02:35 AM

I'm glad you saw some things you liked, Leigh. Obviously I saw the same Lezhnina / De Leeuw Dream - I remember being a little suprised at seeing De Leeuw in the audience right up to the second interval. He has got to be a fast dresser. I'm hoping to see Jezerskyte in Ashton tomorrow night. She is a very interesting dancer indeed. She does a lot of contemporary stuff - she's regarded as one of Krystof Pastor's muses, and I like it when she takes that I'm-making-it-on-the-spot sensibility to a classical ballet. Her Dutch Sleeping Beauty debut was very impressive, a couple of months ago. I was told she was Lithunia's Woman of the Year in 2003 or 2002. Of course she's the girl on the cover of the program bookie.

Boris de Leeuw's story is he quit dancing for a couple of years, just like that. I believe this is his first season of his second life as a dancer, and it has been rather spotty. He is a very powerful stage personality, though. You just have to watch him. Even at the start of Agon, when you're looking at four identical guys' backs, you cannot help watching De Leeuw's back, and no one else's.

I'm not surprised the NYCB Duo C is quite different from the ones out here; it's after all a piece for two soloists, so it's bound to take on the shape of the particular dancers more than, say, Theme. IMO the first De Jongh / Lambiotte performance wasn't quite on - and I like both dancers a lot (I've written interviews with both). Sometimes it seems like De Jongh is developing panda-like partnering problems. She went from Lambiotte to De Leeuw and now she's back to Lambiotte, but the combo didn't really sparkle that night.

Obviously Duo C a convenient piece between two biggish pieces like Theme and Dream but Duo C does perhaps err a little on Balanchine's "see the music" side, to my taste. Perhaps, however, I should see a NYCB perfomance, to get a better sense of the piece?

Herman

#22 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 03:51 AM

Re: Duo -

It's much, much more than music visualization. You don't put that last section into a ballet that's only the steps. My own prejudice, but the ballet needs to be cast with two very strong personalities; I'd say a muse and a poet, but were Mazzo and Martins those types? Not really, but I'm used to my generation's best in the part, and to me those were Boal and Kistler, though they rarely did it together (height mismatch).

You're kidding about De Leeuw! Please tell me you are. . . you've got to hate people who don't need to warm up. The interview in the theater lobby talked about his coaching with Anthony Dowell for the role (and a picture of him looking very handsome) - I wanted to know more about what he learned from Dowell and when and where he got the coaching.

I'm sorry we missed each other while I was there. It's always funny to realize you're in the same place with someone you know, but wouldn't know on sight!

#23 Herman Stevens

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Posted 07 May 2004 - 04:54 AM

You're kidding about De Leeuw!  Please tell me you are. . . you've got to hate people who don't need to warm up.  The interview in the theater lobby talked about his coaching with Anthony Dowell for the role (and a picture of him looking very handsome) - I wanted to know more about what he learned from Dowell and when and where he got the coaching.

I'm not kidding. BdL was having a drink in that awful lobby during the second intermission. Brinkmanship?

I'm afraid I cannot tell you about the interview in the theatre. I believe Dowell was at the opening night, but I'm not sure, as I didn't go to the party afterwards.

We've been very busy lately after moving house. I would have tried to contact you before Rotterdam, to see if we could arrange something along the lines of "I'm the guy with the carnation in his fedora", but as it happened I was offline for a full four weeks because of the address change.

De Leeuw and Dowell have been swapping steps before. When Hans van Manen took his Four Schumann Pieces to the DNB, Boris took the man-in-the-middle role which was originally created for Dowell. Recently, though, Gael Lambiotte was first cast in this part.

#24 Herman Stevens

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Posted 09 May 2004 - 12:21 AM

Duo doesn't look like it does in NYC!  Same steps, completely different feeling.  And that was different from both casts.  Igone de Jongh and Gael Lambiotte were more small-scale, almost cozy and Enrichetta Cavalotti was almost stereotypically Italian with Jahn Magnus Johansen (I loved her though).

The Dream looked in decent shape.  I got Larissa Lezhnina with Boris de Leeuw. [...] I would have liked to see Lezhnina in Theme.

Last night in The Hague I got to see Duo with Enrichetta Cavalotti and Jahn Johansen. It was indeed a totally different experience. The one I reported on earlier was dull, timid and didn't really make it across the lights (it took the scherzo before there was any applause). Cavalotti and Johansen were alive, wild and sizzling. Suddenly the steps were a real dialogue rather than steps. Those long limbs were flying.

The musicians were better too.

And I got Ruta in the Dream. I liked her just as fine as I did Larissa. The big difference was Boris de Leeuw, who brought a real smouldering bad mood to Oberon, which I thought was rather hilarious. Even his make-up was a lot blue-and-greener than Nagy's, last night.

Leigh, Larissa in Theme is obviously great. It's just her kind of material. However, in that case you would not have gotten Cedric, but Tamas Nagy, who was a rather impassive partner, the night I saw them. Besides, I think Yumiko Takeshima is really good, too, in Theme.

#25 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 11 May 2004 - 09:38 PM

I'm not kidding. BdL was having a drink in that awful lobby during the second intermission. Brinkmanship?

Maybe there's another explanation.

I reported this to a friend who responded that de Leeuw has a twin brother. Perhaps that is whom you saw?

#26 Herman Stevens

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Posted 12 May 2004 - 09:20 AM

I reported this to a friend who responded that de Leeuw has a twin brother. Perhaps that is whom you saw?

Hi Leigh,

excellent sleuth work! I called DNB staff and indeed Boris DL has a twin brother who happened to be at the Rotterdam opening night. (And I bet Boris pays him to stand in the lobby quaffing drinks, so that people like me think it's Boris. Just kiddink!)

You know, I have seen this a couple of times at this forum - people checking claims and getting closer to the truth. It's a very special thing on the internet, which, alas, thrives on rumor and hearsay.

BTW as I called DNB I also found out my favorite corps dancer, Rosi Soto, will be promoted as of August 1. It's like she's got three brains: one in the usual spot, and one in each foot. She's got the smartest feet in the entire company. I'm so happy for her.


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