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Victor Ullate Ballet


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#1 Guest_Vitrichenko_*

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 07:06 AM

Hi!

I think that Victor Ullate Ballet is one of the best companies in the world. I love this company. Also, from Victor Ullate Ballet have left dancers as Angel Corella, Tamara Rojo, Joaquin Luz, Lucia Lacarra.... Anybody knows this company? Have you ever seen this Ballet? I recomended it :) What do you think about it?

Thanks,
Vitrichenko

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 June 2003 - 08:25 AM

Hi Vitrichenko and welcome to Ballet Alert!

The company isn't well known in America; it comes here only infrequently. I've only seen it once, in 1996 and I was impressed by the dancers and less fond of the choreography.

Have you seen them recently? Why not tell us more about what they're doing and who's in the company.

#3 Lovebird

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 03:22 PM

Well, they did Forsythe's the Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude recently B) . I would like to single out Ana Noya, who may not be well known outside Spain, but who is a most marvelous ballerina. :wub:

#4 dancersteven

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Posted 23 November 2003 - 05:04 PM

I saw them in the summer of 99 at the Vail Valley Foundation concerts. I do not remember it extremely clearly, I know that it was a mostly contemporary program, and was danced very, very well. In particular the men were impressive, mostly cut from the same cloth, tall, skinny, long arms and legs, all with a very fluid movement quality. I also had the opportunity to take comapny class, taught by Mr. Ullate, and was very impressed by the classical strength of the company, and Mr. Ullate's ability to structure his class to take into account the altitude and other difficulties. All in all I remember a very well rehearsed, talented company!

S.

#5 Grissi

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 01:56 AM

I saw them in the summer of 99 at the Vail Valley Foundation concerts.  I do not remember it extremely clearly, I know that it was a mostly contemporary program, and was danced very, very well.  In particular the men were impressive, mostly cut from the same cloth, tall, skinny, long arms and legs, all with a very fluid movement quality.  I also had the opportunity to take comapny class, taught by Mr. Ullate, and was very impressed by the classical strength of the company, and Mr. Ullate's ability to structure his class to take into account the altitude and other difficulties.  All in all I remember a very well rehearsed, talented company!

S.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Thank you for this thread.

I have followed Victor Ullate's company for many, many years as, in my opinion it was (may be is) the best company in Spain.

The company has obviously developped. It was new, at first, innovative in a lot of ways. In Spain, after the dictatorship of Franco, which lasted until 1975, the democratic government was in turn. As the Communist Party was legalized, and the Socialist party won the elections in 1982 (till 1996), the doors were opened mainly to Russian Ballet companies (although I was very little that time, I think I am not exaggerating).

Mr. Ullate started dancing with María de Ávila, in Spain, and joined Maurice Béjart's company of the XXI century for fourteen years. In 1979, the Spanish governement appointed him to found the first official ballet company in Spain (it was 1979 and we had not yet a ballet company!!!). He directed the company for four years, and afterwards he created his own group.

New times for Spanish ballet, thank God. Ullate's coreopgraphies: Arraigo, Arrayan Daraxa (my two favourites, absolutely top), Psicosis, Simun, El amor brujo, Jaleos, Ven que te tiente... Petit's Carmen, Balanchine's Allegro Brillante (I think the only Balanchine we saw in Spain for many years... It was 1994, and Tamara Rojo's feet were the only thing I saw on the stage), some Hans van Manen, some Rudi van Dantzig, some Béjart, Giselle, Don Q... Lastly, Mr. Ullate has permitted one of his former dancers, Eduardo Lao, to stage his own choreographies. Nothing to do with 'maestro', I'm sorry. Now, in Madrid, they are performing Al Sur, to music of the flamenco cantaor Morente.

His first female star (20 years ago) was María Giménez. She used an artistic name: María de Torvic (de Victor), and was the absolute technician. Her star partner was Igor Yebra. Igor perfomances made the same impression as Nureyev's: it was like seeing a sensual animal in the stage. The couple won the gold medal at Paris Young Dancers Competition. Nowadays, María (after dancing with Ballet de Cuba), has her own company: Arte 369. Not very good, but they are on the start. Igor Yebra is a free-lance dancer (Giselle, this January in Seville).

Those early years, in the corps, there were some dancers who attracted the audience attention: Tamara Rojo, Ángel Corella, Lucía Lacarra, Ana Noya (yes, Lovebird, she is now the principal), Joaquín de Luz, Rut Miró...

After the defection of his principal stars (they complained they couldn't dance classical repertoire), the company level was below zero. I attended a Soirée Béjart at Teatro Real, 2002: Firebird, Bhakti III, Seven Greek Dances and Webern op. 5 (in this one, Trinidad Sevillano was the soloist), and I was absolutely disappointed. I couldn't realize why they had become a 'local' company.

But, this autumn, I attended a perfomance at Teatro Albéniz, Madrid, and Ana Noya was incredible, she has matured and danced like angels. The corps have almost recovered its level. Difficult times. I know it is not easy... But I had a very good time.

#6 zerbinetta

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 02:02 AM

I remember Ullate with Bejart & he was wonderful. One of their better technicians. He also had a special something going for him.

#7 bart

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 05:33 AM

Thanks, grissi, for reviving this thread.

I saw the Ullate company in Madrid -- under the name Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid -- in 1998, the same year the Royal Opera House reopened after all those years of renovations. The program was Don Quijote, and it was probably the most exciting and well-produced version of this old warhorse I've ever seen. I mean the entire ballet, not just the bravura dance pieces, which are all that stand out for me in the various Russian and ABt versions.

I saw the same cast that performed at City Center later that fall -- with Rut Miro and Carlos Lopez wonderful as the romantic leads, and Carlos Pinillo brilliant as Cupid. In my files, I still have the Madrid program for July and the October NY Times review by Anna Kisselgiff (a very glowing review). Among her comments: "This is a 'Don Quixote' in which the dances shout 'Ole!' as well as perform passages of the standard choreography ... Nor does Mr. Ullate think twice about interpolating Spanish guitar music into Ludwig Minkus's 19th-century ballet score ..."

These performances stand out in my memory as great theater and excellent ballet. The dancers all seemed to be Spanish (Fernanda Diniz and Joan Boada were in the alternate cast in Madrid), and they were all wonderful.

Do they still perform this ballet?

Parenthetically, I hope Edward Villella -- who is preparing an elaborate Don Q for the Miami City Ballet for next season -- will be more influenced by this production and less by some of the dusty museum versions -- punctuated by flamboyant dance turns -- I've seen elsewhere.

#8 Grissi

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:24 AM

Thanks, grissi, for reviving this thread.

I saw the Ullate company in Madrid -- under the name Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid -- in 1998, the same year the Royal Opera House reopened after all those years of renovations.  The program was Don Quijote, and it was probably the most exciting and well-produced version of this old warhorse I've ever seen. I mean the entire ballet, not just the bravura dance pieces, which are all that stand out for me in the various Russian and ABt versions.

I saw the same cast that performed at City Center later that fall -- with Rut Miro and Carlos Lopez wonderful as the romantic leads, and Carlos Pinillo brilliant as Cupid.  In my files, I still have the Madrid program for July and the October NY Times review by Anna Kisselgiff (a very glowing review).  Among her comments:  "This is a 'Don Quixote' in which the dances shout 'Ole!' as well as perform passages of the standard choreography ... Nor does Mr. Ullate think twice about interpolating Spanish guitar music into Ludwig Minkus's 19th-century ballet score ..." 

These performances stand out in my memory as great theater and excellent ballet.  The dancers all seemed to be Spanish (Fernanda Diniz and Joan Boada were in the alternate cast in  Madrid), and they were all wonderful.

Do they still perform this ballet?

Parenthetically, I hope Edward Villella -- who is preparing an elaborate Don Q for the Miami City Ballet for next season -- will be more influenced by this production and less by some of the dusty museum versions -- punctuated by flamboyant dance turns -- I've seen elsewhere.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


No. The last time I saw Don Q. was in Madrid, 1998, Royal Opera House. No more performances that I recall. It was the same cast: Rut Miró and Carlos López. Eduardo Lao was the toreador and, yes, I was astonished when a Spanish pasodoble was mixed with Minkus music, all the dancers shouting 'Olé'. I didn't like it. I thought it was a freak. But I agree with you, the production was brilliant, and Rut Miró could be compared with the top ballerinas of the moment.

The company now is under the protection of the Comunidad de Madrid (Madrid regional government) and its name is Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid. It is better for the company's budget, I assume.

#9 bart

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 12:02 PM

It is astonishing the number of superb classical ballet dancers Spain has produced. But it's sad that there are relatively few chances for them to perform and have careers in their own country.

When I saw the Don Q in '98, I wasn't really focusing on the presence or absence of pure classical technique. Remembering how dreadfully provincial the arts were in Spain during the Franco erea, and how slowly they recovered after the end of the dictatorship, I was just thrilled to see such a beautiful, energetic, accomplished and world-class production. And the visit to NYC that fall seemed to bode very well for the future of Spanish performance on international ballet stages.

I am glad the Ullate company is again on the upswing. But it's a little sad to think of them taking the small-scale, largely contemporary route of Marsailles and so many other smaller ballet locations. Where will the Sevillanos, Corellas, Rojos, Lacarras, Jimenezes, Miros, Boadas, etc. of the future come from if their native companies do not provide world-class opportunities in the classics at home?

#10 Grissi

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 01:31 AM

Is obvious that we have a lot of problems with ballet in Spain. They are cultural, political or both. May be cultural problems lead to political problems. Or viceversa.

As I said, Mr. Ullate was first appointed to create and direct the first Spanish Ballet Company (contemporary influence, mainly), then came Maya Plissetskaya (pure classical, but dancers and politicians were not comfortable), finally Nacho Duato is in the lead (again, absolute contemporary style). Now, the company's name is 'Dance National Company'... Forget about 'ballet'. (If I may say so, the company is gorgeous in contemporary).

May be politicians wanted to run, to make a contrast with the dictatorship days, to be modern in tastes. Definitely, ballet is now considered old-fashioned. Lack of education, lack of depth... That's the reason why Spanish dancers go abroad to dance classical repertoire. And not only the above mentioned, but: Mamen Corella (ABT), José Martínez (POB), Amaya Iglesias (Ballet de Nancy), África Guzmán (Nederlands Dans), Marta Rodríguez-Coca (ABT)... Very sad, indeed. For them and for us, the balletomanes: we have to travel to see them.

#11 Joel

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 05:11 AM

I have seen this company perform a couple of times in the past and really enjoyed it. I was especially impressed by the quality of the male dancers. This is obviously a very disciplined, hard-working company. Ullate's choreographies may or may not be everyone's taste but there is quality and passion in the performances. In my opinion, professionalism is very important in ballet, and this company shows a lot of respect to audiences.

#12 bart

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 06:13 AM

Joel, thank you for your post. I appreciate your comment about "respect for the audience" as a big component of professionalism. I hope we will be able to get more of your thoughts about European companies that deserve (or don't deserve) more exposure outside their own regions. Thanks.

#13 Joel

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 04:52 AM

Thank you for your warm welcome, bart. I have discovered Ballet Talk recently and find it very interesting on many levels. I'm always happy to read about people's views on companies, dancers... so of course it is great to be able to share my own thoughts with other members on these boards.

Coming back to this thread, I couldn't agree more with your comments about the struggles that spanish dance companies had -and still have- to go through. It is also true that so many talented dancers have no choice but to move away from their native Spain in order to perform their art. This is part of the reason why I was moved to see such a dedicated and generous company: too often, european companies seem to take their funding and audience for granted and become very self-indulgent (in France, for example). Victor Ullate and his dancers are never sure if they're going to "survive" financial problems, but they really push themselves. They need (and deserve) all the support they can get.

#14 Grissi

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Posted 13 October 2006 - 03:13 AM

Thank you for your comment.

Update: I have recently read that Eduardo Lao (the second choreographer of the company) is working on a new version of Coppélia. A very new interpretation of the ballet: the attelier of Doctor Coppelius will be a cibernetic laboratory, specialized in robotics, where the main project is the creation of an android of feminine appearance (Coppélia). Franz is an amateur photographer who is in charge of the cleaning service of the laboratory... We will enjoy this ballet in Madrid at the end of October.

#15 CarolinaM

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 12:23 PM

Coppélia was premiered in Santander at the end of October and will be shown in the teatro Albéniz of Madrid from Nov. 30 to December 10.

I'm not sure yet if I will be able to travel to Madrid again (I was there last week to see the last work of Nacho Duato and a new piece of Wim Vandekeybus especially created for the Compañía Nacional de Danza which I love) but I would like to see this Coppelia soon very much.

If you like to see some photos about the making of, please visit: Eduardo Lao's Coppelia and a report will be issued soon.

Coppelia is Eri Nakamura the best ballerina in Ullate´s company at this moment, lovely, very good in technique and with a promising future. She was at the Vail Festival in summer this year.

Ullate's last work was SAMSARA, that will be performed in Barcelona next February and I will not miss it, for those interested in Ullate's works, there is a report about this piece in a former edition of fotoescena


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