What did you think of the season as a whole?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 05:06 PM
What did you all think of the season as a whole? Favorite ballets? Favorite dancers? Dancers to watch? An overview of the company -- was this a good year? A transitional year?
Posted 30 June 2003 - 07:13 PM
This year I was able to attend the All Balanchine program last October. Scotch Symphony was a delight. The audience gasped as the curtain opened revealing these beautiful women in pink with their partners in kilts. It was stunning. Bugaku was also danced with great style and brillance. I have only seen this piece once before on SFB with Lacarra dancing the principal role. I felt that PABallet captured the essence of the piece far better than SFB. Apollo was also danced on this program and was well done.
Nutcracker is Balanchine's version which they perform with the quickness and clean footwork that is required. I love this version's waltz of the flowers but always find it strange the way in which the sugar plum and cavalier's pas is arranged, with the lady's variation at the beginning of act II. All in all, a fine showing as Nut's go. Balanchine knew how to incorporate children and keep it interesting.
I was glad to be able to see Neenan's "Le Travail" which was choreographed in response to the wonderful Degas exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The sets and costumes were a beautiful palette of colors from Degas' paintings. The music was an original score for the ballet and worked well
with the intent of this piece which was not a literal translation of Degas' paintings but more about these dancers during this time period. I found this ballet to be thought provoking while also a visual pleasure to watch both the choreography and colors on stage. Butler's 'Carmena Burana" was also on the program and I found it exciting for the most part but must admit some of the choreography a bit dated. The company performed with expression and ofcourse the live chorus was a delight to the ears.
"Cinderella' (Ben Stevenson's version) was something I was not planning on attending actually. I am glad I caught this production. The story was told well and was made interesting. There is not as much dancing for the company as in other story ballets. But what there is happens to be lovely. Again, the principals shined and even the corps (including a few apprentices) danced the season variations with extreme polish and elan. I was impressed.
Firebird and Concerto 488 closed the year. Firebird was indeed a spectical of a ballet. The sets were awesome and the costumes strange but spectacular in the theatrical sense. It was a splashy piece to close the year but i must admit that I was not enthralled by Kudelka's choreography in the least. Iwas expecting much more. Lila York's "Concerto 488" was danced well but it did lack excitement and adventure for a modern piece to Mozart that is pure dancing for dancing's sake.
I am looking forward to next season and especially to Wheeldon's "Swan Lake" This is a wonderful gift to this company who deserves an inspiring version of this ballet classic. I really love watching ballet at the Academy of Music. It is a gorgeous old theatre with an aura of American history.
It is great that there are others here on BA that are viewing this lovely company. Can't wait til next season!
Posted 30 June 2003 - 08:05 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 10:08 PM
Posted 30 June 2003 - 10:32 PM
Posted 01 July 2003 - 02:48 AM
Posted 01 July 2003 - 08:13 AM
Others have said that Mr. B, like you said, wanted to give the Sugar Plum Fairy an early highlight, so moved her solo to the opening of Act II, causing an imbalance in the pas de deux that removing the male solo helped solve. He also removed the Cavalier entirely in a version performed in the 50s, having the Sugar Plum partnered by a group of cavaliers.
socalgal, thanks for reporting on Penn Ballet - it's a company I plan to see more of next season, beginning with their October program and including the Nutcracker.
Posted 30 July 2003 - 08:00 AM
I always enjoy watching the dancers -- they really seem to enjoy their work and communicate that to the audience. Arantxa Ochoa is absolutely incredible regardless what she is doing, and I'm looking forward to Valerie Amiss returning from her maternity leave. Both women emote beautifully.
I empatize with socialgal's travel schedule, when our daughter was dancing in Texas we had a similar situation, although we only had to go half-way 'cross the country instead of coast-to-coast. I'm so enjoying having her only two hours away now.
I too am looking forward to the new season. Although I've heard Dracula is more theater than dance, but I've never seen Taming of the Shrew and the new Swan Lake is an exciting prospect.
Posted 30 July 2003 - 12:49 PM
Also love Arancha Ochoa's dancing and will be so happy to see Val Amiss back on the performance roster next season!
We are looking forward to the Balanchine 40th anniversary program in October which includes Concerto Barocco and The Four Temperments. See you there !? :rolleyes:
Posted 03 August 2003 - 10:03 AM
Posted 03 August 2003 - 10:27 AM
Posted 03 August 2003 - 02:46 PM
I wonder if you might have read Francis Mason's interview with Christopher Wheeldon in the Spring 2003 issue of "Ballet Review"? There's a discussion between the two of them on pages 60 and 61 about his doing a Swan Lake for them... Wheeldon says he's not sure how much of it he'll choreograph and how much he'll take from elsewhere, admitting that for him "the ultimate production, which is the Ashton production for the Royal Ballet" is one he'd like to draw from...such as the "white acts" but he seems to be concerned that "the Pennsylvania Ballet will not have enough swans to do that." To which Francis Mason responds:
I'm looking forward to hearing more from you all on this upcoming season, and I hope to make it down for at least one performance this fall.
Posted 03 August 2003 - 06:28 PM
I am excited about the prospect of the Royal version in the 'white acts' and am very curious to know how he will treat Acts I and III as well. It is all very exciting
Posted 03 August 2003 - 08:23 PM
re that Ballet Review interview with Christopher Wheeldon by Francis Mason -- Mason himself lived in Philadelphia as a teen-ager and went to Philadelphia Orchestra concerts religiously, every Friday night, he told the Dance Critics' Association only a month ago -- so his jaunty remark (I'm paraphrasing) that Philadelphia ought to be able to train enough swans, this is Swan Lake! is I'd bet expressing admiration for hte way Philadelphia (home of that famous orchestra) rises to an occasion like this and will do things right.
PS I really wish I could see that company -- and sure would like to see Company B. IT's a great ballet; I think it will be around for a long time. SFB danced it for several seasons. Joanna Berman was the Rum and Coca Cola goddess of the islands, Ashley Wheater was O Johnny, Christopher Stowell was the Bugle Boy. Grace Madduell was heartbreaking in "There will never be another you," and Eric Hoisington was over-the-top astounding in Tico-Tico. It was spectacular dancing, and it was also really disturbing. That's been at least 5 years now, they're all gone now......
I'm absolutely ready to see it again.
Posted 03 August 2003 - 08:43 PM
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