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Stars of the RDB in Newark


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 08:14 PM

I just got a phone report from a friend -- sounds like you had a stronger cast in the Napoli excerpts than we got when the company brought the full ballet here! Reports, please.

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 09:17 PM

Production aspects aside (and heaven only knows who danced what, these are my guesses from previous viewings), I'd say it was an evening worth trekking across the Hudson for.

Because Caroline Cavallo was at NYCB, we got Gudrun Bojesen in her roles (and also Silja Schandorff's). I first saw Bojesen do the Sylph (the same section, the pas d'action from Act II) in '99 at the Bruhn competition. She's grown marvelously as a dancer in the interim in security, projection and even footwork. It was a lovely sylph. For the record, she also did the pas de trois in Konservatoriet (the cast list was the usual disaster)

I would have rather have seen Thomas Lund do Konservatoriet than the William Tell pas, I think it exploits him and boxes him in as wee and adorable. I don't think that shows his true nature. Mads Blangstrup could have done the William Tell pas and given it force. Lund is a fine dancer, airy and supple, but he doesn't fit into many boxes. He's small but weighty and lyric rather than punchy. If the Danes did Petrushka, I'd give it to him even Balanchine's Orpheus, but neither exploits his other virtue, line.

Hubbe did Big Star Bournonville as James. It's clean and it projects, but it's very forceful and relies on presence. Still, he makes you believe in him as a Big Star, so what the heck.

I found the Rushton pieces undistinguished. Good bad or indifferent, the world does not need one more dance to Arvo Part's Fratres and if you're going to use Bach, please show me something about the music. If you're not going to delve into a Bach score, consider using other music. Bach ain't wallpaper.

Napoli was done as the Canadians did it last February, with Flower Festival appended to the front. Amazingly, I've now seen Flower Festival three times in two weeks (Lund/Bojesen guesting at NYCB, Carmena/Bouder and Kristoffer Sakurai and Diana Cuni here). Sakurai was very promising; he's fast and buoyant. Cuni's lovely, my only regret is we saw less of Tina Hojlund, who is marvelous and I would have liked to see her in one Bournonville lead.

It was a strong cast - The women I recognized in the pas de six were Bojesen, Amy Watson and Hojlund. It was a strong and lively performance. I wondered if Hubbe had a hand in ballet mastering it; it looked and felt like his settings for SAB and NBoC and he showed up introducing the Tarantella instead of Gennaro (Lund did that dance with Cuni as a stand in for Teresina, but it's misleading to speak of those roles in a concert version, the Danes don't give us Gennaro and Teresina when they excerpt). Watson did a flirtatious reading of a variation; she eats space avidly. More than anything else, I love the structure of the dance as it's evolved over the years; how dancers wander in and out to take up the skein of a Tarantella or exchange partners in a duet. You can really see the episodic life of a village.

Alas, this did not sell well - the two upper rings were closed off. Is it ballet that is a hard sell or NJPAC?

#3 carbro

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 10:01 PM

Bach ain't wallpaper.

You're being generous, Leigh. I think Rushton used him as a doormat here. :angry:

The casting of Lund and Watson in the William Tell pdd was strange. They seem to be about the same height, and Watson is a substantial woman for a dancer. Not fat, but large-framed. I agree that Blangstrup would have been better in the Tell, Lund in Konservatoriat.

Bojesun is a delight! Cavallo's absence from this program (which she appeared to have been scheduled to dominate) made a terrific opportunity to savor the delicacy of Bojesun's weightless, vinelike arms. She also has very strong pointe technique for a Danish dancer.

Sakurai is one of the most musical "new" dancers I've seen in a long time. What a joy he is! I love, too, the way he devours space in the low-to-the-floor steps. Wonder how long it will take Peter Martins to recruit him to NYCB? HINT! HINT!

To judge from this crew, this is no Golden Age for the Royal Danish Ballet. So be it. :shrug: Most of them radiate the joy we expect from Bournonville. I'm glad I went.

Oh, and Leigh -- this was my fourth or fifth trip to NJPAC -- always for ballet. I always buy the cheapest seats, but I have never sat in them. The ushers have usually moved me from the Fourth to the Third Tier. Tonight (as you know), I was sent to the second. It is a shame the houses don't sell, but I wish that City Center would make a similar policy of selling the cheapest (2nd balcony) seats, regardless of demand.

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 06:11 AM

Thanks for the reports. Actually, it sounds as though you did get the same casting that we had in DC, with the addition of Hubbe as James. I'd agree with Carbro -- it's not a golden age :flowers: Although I think that some of the dancers -- Bojesen, Hojlund, Lund, Blankstrup, Cuni -- are world-class, or could be, and yet still very Danish.

Leigh, I'm not sure one can draw any conclusion between the Flower Festival preceding Napoli III in Canada and the way it was done with the soloists group. It's not a consistent company tradition (although the Inge Sand troupe used to do a Suite Italienne). Also, I think when Danish dancers do a concert version or an excerpt, rather than drying it out, they pour the whole ballet into the segment to try to give the whole flavor of the ballet in ten minutes. I've seen lots of Napoli pasde6+tarantellas that looked like the full version, minus the sets and crowds, of course, but definitely a wedding celebration, with Teresina and Gennaro as the center.

I hope we'll have more reviews! (I'm still trying to find out who did Terpsichore in Atlanta.)

#5 Dale

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 06:37 AM

I think NJPAC is a great place for ballet and they've always done a nice job getting interesting companies and groups, but the attendance in the past few years has not come close to matching the first season, when the house was full for a Stars of the Kirov night and a weekend run of Cinderella by ABT. I'd like to say scheduling might have something to do with it, considering this group performed at two other local venues, meaning those from the New Jersey suburbs or New York City didn't have to go to Newark to see the group. And it was scheduled during NYCB's season. But, I'm sad to say, the attendance wasn't that great in October for Suzanne Farrell Ballet. I hope they keep bringing in ballet.

#6 atm711

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 11:12 AM

From what I have read of Cavallo, I was looking forward to her replacement in 'La Sylphide'---hoping for Schandorff, but pleased with Bojeson---it was a tantalizing bit. The William Tell casting of Watson and Lund (she looked like a country girl) would have b een fine if only I could have stopped thinking of Darci Kistler. I, too, wish NYCB would acquire Kristoffer Sakurai--he was fine in 'Flower Festival' but could use a bit more polish; his left foot could be more sharply pointed, and his fifth positions tighter. (Oh, we can be so picky :flowers: ) Tina Hojlund made 'Triplex' worth watching; a very alive dancer with a good command of the stage. Back to the confusing program which listed the same three dancers in 'Nomade' (although there were only two principals) and 'Triplex'. I am assuming I saw Hojlund in 'Triplex'--but did I also see her in the lead in 'Nomade' :shrug:

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 01:21 PM

Picky is good :wink:

Did anyone sort out who danced which solo in the pas de six? (Maybe they should have given door prizes for the best guesses....) It's not important; I'm just curious.

#8 Nanatchka

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 03:41 PM

  Back to the confusing program which listed the same three dancers in 'Nomade' (although there were only two principals) and 'Triplex'.  I am assuming I saw Hojlund in 'Triplex'--but did I also see her in the lead in 'Nomade'  :shrug:

That's a very good question. The whole deal with the program was a DISASTER. It was either assumed by the people who drew it up that we knew everyone already, or that we didn't care. Leaving aside the issue of actually listing the actual performers, and crediting solo variations, how hard is it to post pictures of the dancers in the lobby, as the Payl Taylor Dance Company does, or sell a little pamphlet?(Assuming there is no space in the actual program for pictures of the dancers.) I didn't think the house was poorly sold. Those upper tiers probably sell out for pop music concerts. (Large spaces often have been planned with arrangments to adjust the space for the type of entertainment, particularly when the auditorium has a function as a kind of civic center, which this one most certainly does, to its great credit.) I thought it was an excellent enaged interested diverse and intelligent audience with an exceptionally nice house staff. I didn't see gaps in the front half of the house, but I would attribute any to the cold weather before anything else.

#9 bingham

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Posted 31 January 2004 - 02:25 PM

I enjoyed the program very much esp the excerpts from Napoli.Even w/out the scenery, the choreography is such a joy to watch.Even without the help of list of dancers in the excerpt, T Lund stood out among the men.I'll leave the technical descriptions to others but his performing of the steps are so "clear".It was unfortunate that he had that not very attra :wink: ctive costume for the William Tell PDD.
Among the women, G Boesen(?) made me want to see her in the whole La Sylphide.T Holjund was also a standout in Triplex(if it was her).It would have been nice to see her in FlowerPDD.
It is a pleasure to go to the NJPAC( A bit of commercial from a NJ resident)The staff is very helful and pleasant and parking is cheap(compared to Lincoln Center). The main floor was almost full.I hope they continue to book ballet there.
Joe

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 11:23 AM

In response to several questions asked earlier: I got a confirmation on Monday from the RDB press office that it was Caroline Cavallo who danced Terpsichore in Atlanta -- several people had wondered.

Silja Schandorff did not dance at all on the Stars of the RDB tour; she was injured in Washington.

I've gotten about three different versions of the casting of the pas de six in Napoli in Newark. We may have a post later from someone who can sort this out -- watch this thread!

#11 carbro

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 12:42 PM

Someone who saw the group in both Brooklyn and Newark mentioned that the roles were cast differently throughout the program.

Amy Watson danced Teresina's part, such as it was, in Napoli.

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 12:44 PM

Yes, I think that's true, because in Newark they were without Cavallo and they brought Bojesen in to do both Cavallo and Schandorff's roles, and things had to be shuffled around. I think there may have been some injuries by that time as well -- whatever the reasons, they could have announced the changes.

#13 Alexandra

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 09:24 AM

This is a casting update; a colleague of mine in Copenhagen checked this for us.

Cuni was the woman in Flower Festival (with Sakurai)

Newark -- pas de six in Napoli:

Amy Watson
Gudrun Boejsen
Tina Hojlund
Claire Still

That's in order of solos, and would mean that Tina Hojlund was the "Teresina." I don't have the men yet; I hope to post an update on that.

#14 Alexandra

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Posted 11 February 2004 - 10:24 PM

Old news now, but the men in the pas de six in Newark were:

pas de six: Morten Eggert and Nicolai Hansen

Thomas Lund - first solo

Morten Eggert -- second solo

Kristoffer Sakurai -- third solo (Gennaro's solo)


(Diana Cuni and Sakurai did Flower Festival, and then the Teresina and Gennaro roles in Napoli)

#15 Anna_onpointe

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Posted 19 February 2004 - 06:13 PM

Leigh Witchelís comment above about Caroline Cavalloís absence from the program in Newark because she was performing with NYCB made me surprised (in a way) that more hasnít been said about her debut with the New York City Ballet in Swan Lake at this forum somewhere. Also, I saw that Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund danced with City Ballet earlier in the month. Is that correct? Did anyone see that? I may have missed some of the discussion because I saw something about the press release from City Ballet about Cavallo but couldnít find it again. Since she was taken from the Newark program at the last minute to dance with City Ballet, Iíd like to make a few comments from my own perspective however late it may be. Several friends of mine, a former staff member and subscribers to the ballet, have described it as excellent as it was unbelievably extraordinary. To fill in the lead part in a full length ballet, that, by the way, I donít think she has danced in 5 or 6 years, with one dayís notice and one rehearsal is no less than fantastic. Not only that, she did it with the exquisiteness of a truly professional ballerina in grand style. According to my friend who also attended her Piano Concerto performance she was beautiful and brought true emotion to the parts. She received ovations from the audiences at all three performances and received superb reviews by critics. The buzz at the ballet is that she was cheered on and congratulated by City Ballet staff and dancers also. True to every performance of hers that I have seen ( Iíve seen many in Copenhagen) , the audience was thrilled and loudly appreciative during the ballet and at the curtain calls at the end. Only a true ballerina could have danced her way into New York City in such a magnificent fashion.

I had the privilege of seeing her at the Kennedy Center and at the Fox in Atlanta and now regret that I did not see her at the New York State Theater. In Washington, her performance in Napoli was excellent and Etudes was a work of art both technically and stylistically. The audience at the Saturday matinee loved it, applauding throughout the ballet, and gave her and the company an extended standing ovation afterwards. A fact that seems to have been ignored by some reviewers who have lost sight of the fact that in all reality ballet is an art to be enjoyed by dance lovers. Cavallo has always managed to touch the hearts of the majority of the audience. It is obvious to most that she puts her soul into every part and to say that she is bland or pallid is far beyond the belief of most people who see her dance. There have been few if any critics in Copenhagen describe her as dull. Iím sure the audience would agree with The New York Times review that said that emotion is what Miss Cavallo brought to Swan Lake and regality to Piano Concerto.


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