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Alicia Alonso


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#16 atm711

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 06:01 AM

I, too, finally succumbed and bought the Alonso tape. The Black Swan with Youskevitch was a great disappointment. I hate to think of people who never saw him perform live would judge him by this tape; (he was about 46 at the time). I have always admired Alonso's aristocratic manner in this pas; no trace of the Vamp here. She also performed Florine's solo from Bluebird with this same aristocratic manner. She was the only dancer I saw who performed it this way---and to this day I cringe when the Florine's get too cutesy. (I wonder, cubanmiamiboy--how is it performed in Cuba?) I can live without most of the tape. I never cared for her Cuban Giselles, and especially her partners, nor the Alberto Alonso choreography. A taste of the real Romantic Alonso comes through in the PDQ; it's the reason I bought the tape after seeing it on youtube. I am very pleased at the way she was captured in this performance. When she first started performing Taglioni she would alternate with Markova; and unfortunately picked up on an annoying (for me!) habit of Markova. When striking an arabesque the foot on her extended leg broke at the ankle and pointed upward--(or, the leg was east and the foot was northeast). I was so pleased to see that this did not occur in this recorded performance.

#17 Paul Parish

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 02:37 PM

I too am a fan of Alonzo's Pas de Quatre, everything about it, the head positions, the shoulders, the subtle changes in hte ribs, the arresting balances -- but most of all the POINTED FEET in jumps. her little cabrioles are the prettiest things anywhere, the ankles, insteps, toes have such alacrity to them....

#18 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:17 PM

Alicia Alonso was obviously an amazing dancer but when you think of the dancers who have come through her company and are adored world-wide for their technique and style you begin to realise her genius.


Absolutely true. I think that the Alonso phenomenom goes way beyond the ballerina herself. It is the school,(the biggest worldwide), the training method, the spirit and finally, the assimilation of the latin flavor by the public within the very euro-centered ballet world. That's what makes Mme. Alonso :) a genious.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 September 2007 - 10:42 PM

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :off topic: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:

[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=3]Mme.Alonso on Balanchine and the music/interpretation/pure dance issue:

"I remember the polemic discusions in United States, between those in favor of psichological/dramatic ballets, a la Tudor and Agnes de Mille, and then the tendency basically represented by Balanchine, in which form and music were enough reason, ojective and starting point. Some would criticize Balanchine for he would not create ballets with a story to tell, with an argument, to which he angrily answered "I create ballets to dance, not to suffer. To have that, i would rather go to a dramatic theater play!" In fact, his position wasn't as closed as it would appear, because in some ocassions he tried to create this "meaningful" type of works, althought he never achieved with them the success of his abstract and non-argument creations. With Balanchine i couldn't dance a ballet the way i was used to, for i had to go and interpret a score no by its melody, but basically by its rythm. Even though the dificulties, i totally enjoyed his choreographies. It really amazed me the fact that musically, he maintained a specific rythm, and that he would play with it due to an imagination that seemed to have not limits."

Mme. Alicia Alonso[/size][/font] :pinch:

#20 Dale

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 09:57 AM

This video will be released by VAI:

Giselle (Adam) VAI DVD 4391, $34.95
On October 31, 1980, a unique event in the world of dance took place at the Grand Theatre of Havana. Alicia Alonso, the prima ballerina assoluta of the 20th century, and Vladimir Vasiliev, the most distinguished Russian male dancer of his era, performed together for the first time. This video documents that unforgettable Giselle, presenting the two great stars accompanied by a first-rate supporting cast and the famous corps de ballet of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. (Please note: part of the original video master for this performance was lost; the version presented here was compiled from sources of varying quality. Though the final results are less than ideal, the video technicians did succeed in preserving a memorable performance that would otherwise be lost to posterity.)
DVD Bonus: “Encounter” – Alonso and Vasiliev in rehearsal for Giselle introduced by Anton Dolin (15 minutes). 110 minutes (plus bonus = 15 minutes), Color, Stereo/Mono, All regions.



#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 12:29 PM

This video will be released by VAI:

Giselle (Adam) VAI DVD 4391, $34.95
On October 31, 1980, a unique event in the world of dance took place at the Grand Theatre of Havana. Alicia Alonso, the prima ballerina assoluta of the 20th century, and Vladimir Vasiliev, the most distinguished Russian male dancer of his era, performed together for the first time. This video documents that unforgettable Giselle, presenting the two great stars accompanied by a first-rate supporting cast and the famous corps de ballet of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba. (Please note: part of the original video master for this performance was lost; the version presented here was compiled from sources of varying quality. Though the final results are less than ideal, the video technicians did succeed in preserving a memorable performance that would otherwise be lost to posterity.)
DVD Bonus: “Encounter” – Alonso and Vasiliev in rehearsal for Giselle introduced by Anton Dolin (15 minutes). 110 minutes (plus bonus = 15 minutes), Color, Stereo/Mono, All regions.


My old long time dream finally comes true... :) :yahoo: :yahoo:

#22 bart

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 02:09 PM

(Please note: part of the original video master for this performance was lost; the version presented here was compiled from sources of varying quality. Though the final results are less than ideal, the video technicians did succeed in preserving a memorable performance that would otherwise be lost to posterity.)

I'm impressed by their honesty about this.

#23 carbro

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 02:57 PM

Or you can take it as a warning that the final product is a jolt fest. :) :yahoo: :yahoo:

#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:29 PM

In any case, :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: for the Alonso/Vasiliev resurrection...!

#25 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 08:47 PM

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :clapping: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:.


[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=3]Mme.Alonso on Balanchine's Theme and Variations" staging with her and Youskevitch.

Alonso's variation:

"About my variation, i sill recall the intense rehearsals. Balanchine would take musically a tempo of four counts of repetitions of a given step and would ask me to dance 5 of them, and that was crazy, because i would listen to the music catching up while i was still turning! But then, he would establish a phrase system in which one,somehow, would connect the end just in time with the music. That was a hard mental and physical test for the ballerina. It was a divilish game between music and technique, very typical of Balanchine."

Mme Alicia Alonso[/size][/font] :clapping:

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 09:05 PM

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :) organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:


[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=3]Mme.Alonso on "Theme and Variations":

"In 'Theme and Variations" Balanchine kept testing me all the time, stablishing a kind of fight between my technical strenght and his choreography. So he would ask me, for instance:
G.B-'Do you think you could do [font="Arial Black"]entrechat-sixes[/font] here...?'
A.A-'I'll do them!'
...and then he would say...
G.B-'So, could you do now [font="Arial Black"]pas de chat en tournant[/font]..?'
A.A-'If you want to, i'll do it!'
...and so he would keep torturing me , adding new steps, new dificulties, to see if i would say 'No, i can't ', but i never gave up! That's why the version of 'Theme and Variations', as it was presented on the premiere, was technically and musically very, very complicated. When other ballerinas danced the role later on, some of them that were my friends-(among them Maria Tallchief, who was Balanchine's wife)-would tell me 'But Alicia, how did you let him put [font="Arial Black"] this[/font] ...?!, or[font="Arial Black"] that[/font] [b]...?!, now we are in trouble!', and I would answer: 'Well, it was Balanchine who put it there!...'Another thing that i can't forget is that with 'Theme and Variations' Balanchine made his debut as orchestra conductor, and aside for the importance of it, I will always rememer this because the tempo was madly fast. We all ended up breathless!"[/size][/font]

#27 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 08:03 PM

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :speechless-smiley-003: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go:


[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=3]Mme.Alonso on Balanchine and "Theme and Variations".
Youskevitch's variation:

"The variation that Balanchine made for Youskevitch, so celebrated by the critics, had its evolution during the stage phase of the work. Initially, i remember that he [B] created a variation very par terre, technically simple, based on positions and designs of diferent angles of [Y] body's line. Then he overheard that Youskevitch wasn't pleased with the variation, because he considered that i had too little technical complexities. B. acepted the challenge and said:
G.B: 'All right, we will do a variation based on three brilliant choreographic themes', and it resulted in what probably is the variation with the highest technical virtuosism among all those that he created for men"[/font][/size]

#28 Farrell Fan

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 08:41 AM

Thank you for your translations of these notes, Cristian. Let me say, as a long-time devotee of Ms. Farrell, how much I am struck by and admire your devotion to Mme. Alonzo.

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 11:53 AM

Thank you for your translations of these notes, Cristian. Let me say, as a long-time devotee of Ms. Farrell, how much I am struck by and admire your devotion to Mme. Alonzo.

Thank you for your aknowledgment...and it'is an honor and a pleasure to write them... :speechless-smiley-003:

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 20 September 2007 - 09:05 PM

I was recently reading an old program from Ballet Nacional de Cuba from october 2000, when Mme. Alonso :devil: organized a program called "Gala tribute to George Balanchine" during the XVII Havana Ballet Festival. The program notes is based in an interview in which Mme. Alonso describes some of her experiences working with Mr. Balanchine. I thought it would be a good idea to translate some of these notes . Here they go]


[font="Comic Sans MS"][size=3] Mme. Alonso on the staging of the White Swan PDD by Balanchine for her and Youskevitch:

AA- "I remember that it was Balanchine who made me realized of a characteristic thing of my dancing that i had for instinct without realizing. One day, after watching me dance the II act of Swan Lake, he said to me:
GB-'You, your arms...they dance the melody more than the rythm'
Youskevitch and I had the wonderful experience that the master personally rehearsed us on that II Act. Of all those rehearsals i haven't forgotten one little detail from him : the importance he gave to trying to keep inmaculate the ballerina's tutu. That means that, during the performance, one have to treat the costumes in a technical way which, in general, express the extreme attention that the partenaire should give to the ballerina."

Mme Alicia Alonso[/font] :bow: [/size]


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