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ABT at Kennedy Center - Mixed Bill, 2/3-5/2004


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#16 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:14 PM

tho i haven't been to washington for these performances, i have seen the costumes and i have to agree, they're not very nice!

#17 Roma

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:25 PM

If the the pictures in the spring season brochure are any clue, the full-length Raymonda promises to be, well, blinding. :o

#18 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:32 PM

i haven't seen them, roma, are any of them on line? i'll check abt's site.

#19 Natalia

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:52 PM

Hey, hey, 'Mme. Hermine' & 'rkoretzky'!! Good to hear from you.

I really, REALLY do hope that Anna-Marie will be staging something very close to the 'Soviet Kirov' version, which is a masterpiece! Hopefully, the corps will be drilled like crazy in Vaganova Stylistics between now & then, too. One can hope... Before then, they have 'Bayadere' here in DC, beginning tomorrow. I'll keep fingers and toes crossed. Going to the opener, tomorrow...Michele Wiles as Gamzatti should be interesting, not to mention Paloma's Nikiya and Sexy Carreno as Solor. Wheeee!!!

#20 Roma

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 01:55 PM

I couldn't find the same photo on line. Raymonda's tutu is bright lemon with lettuce-color piping and white ruffles, and Abderakhman's getup has to be seen to be believed. :o

#21 carbro

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 02:29 PM

Abderakhman's getup has to be seen to be believed.

You mean this?

At the Works and Process session at the Guggenheim, Kevin McKenzie explained that most of the story will be enacted at the side of the stage while the dancing is going on. I have no idea how this is going to work. :o It sounds like an attempt to mount their own version of Raymonda Variations, except since ABT is ABT, it's a full-length version. :dry: Hoping for the best, though.

#22 Natalia

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Posted 05 February 2004 - 02:37 PM

Ooops...it appears as if this Raymonda has already been staged in Finland. Doesn't seem to be anywhere close to the Soviet Kirov version...story on the sidelines & dancing in the middle? Nope - not Kirov. We'll keep open minds, though.

As for the wild costumes - It could be worse. Kevin might take a cue from Janet Jackson & have Raymonda bare a breast. [I am just joking...really.]

#23 corrival

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 08:43 AM

Well, after all these knowledgeable people talking about the ABT, I feel a bit stupid making my review but here goes...

ABT - Mixed Bill
Opera House, Kennedy Center
Thursday February 5th, 2004

I also saw the open rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon and in the cast was different.
There was a buzz going round the crowd about the provocative review by the Washington Post writer Sarah Kaufman. From the sounds of the audience around me during intermissions and at the end, they did not wholly agree with Ms Kaufman's scathing review.

Raymonda Divertissements (Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, after Petipa. Music by A Glazounov)
I found the choreography to be less than inspiring. The bright spot was Xiomara Reyes, she sparkled and danced as if she were in the most glorious ballet. Ethan Stiefel, on the other hand, looked stiff, and when dancing with Reyes he leaned way away from his partner (as if he really didn't like her). In the open rehearsal Marcelo Gomes danced Jean de Brienne and did a lovely job.
In the Grand Pas Hongrois, Sascha Radetsky danced beautifully he demonstrated how I would think a real Hungarian csarda would dance - elegant, cocky, fluid and strong. But his partner Sasha Dmochowski tried a bit too hard and her movements were too quick, making her arms and especially her head movements rough.


Without Words (Choreography N Duato. Music by F Schubert).
This piece was very enjoyable, a beautiful combination of modern and classical movement. Even the costumes (flesh colored) were designed to not detract from the dancers' bodies. The piece opens with 3 dancers, but it features relationships between 4 different couples dancing to music that originally were songs. The couples sometimes break up or combine to form different groupings with different dynamics.
When I saw the open rehearsal Ethan Stiefel danced in the final couple and was wonderful. Last night Maxim Beloserkovsky danced that part and I may have appreciated him more if I had not seen the open rehearsal. Irina Dvorovenko danced with Maxim and though she danced well, her part looked almost too rehearsed, she didn't really look like her movements were in response to him.
Overall a very nice piece combining modern and classical movements to create an intriguing series of relationships.
The dance was also very well received by the audience.


Within You, Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison
The costumes for this, at least, were mostly just jeans. Nice colors! I did not get to see this in rehearsal.

"Something" (choreography by S Welch)
Angel Corella - Wow! He did a super job with the sometimes frenetic choreography. And, I am sure people will think I'm crazy....something in the way he moves...reminded me of Baryshnikov.

"I Dig Love" (choreography by N Weir)
I did not care for the choreography of this piece, it did not gel. It seemed too disjointed. That said, Marcelo Gomes was extremely good. Gillian Murphy and Herman Cornejo did the best they could with the choreography, but were not as effective as Marcelo.

"While My Gutiar Gently Weeps" (Choreography A Reinking)
Again I did not care much for the choreography, a little too dramatic and emphatic. But again Sascha Radetsky was so fluid. And again his partner, this time Sarawanee Tanatanit, looked a little forced and too quick. It made me wonder what it is of his style and form that is so fluid and supple, that it contrasts his partner so that in two totally different dances, with totally different styles, the effect was the same. Is this a bad thing for a dancer in a company of this size to have a negative effect on the dancing of his partner by being apparently so much better?

"Isn't it a Pity?" (Choreography S Welch)
Dark set at first, slowly becoming brighter. Enjoyable but not very exciting or particularly interesting.

"Within You, Without You" (choreography N Weir)
I wondered how someone would choreograph this song, and Natalie Weir did an interesting job, but what made it work was Marcelo's dancing. I could see how someone else might run into trouble and have it look just a mess. But Marcelo made the choreography his own and he really became the song. What a wonderful dancer, everything about him, his presence, his form and his movement is a joy to watch. For me this was the highlight of the whole dance (and this is not one of my favorite GH songs!).

"My Sweet Lord" (choreography D Parsons)
Just a parade of dancers doing their thing. Not bad, not great. Fun but innocuous.

Overall an enjoyable evening and, perhaps because I sat up in the 2nd tier and did not pay a whole lot of money for my ticket, I did not feel cheated. But one of the advantages for me is that, especially with more modern choreography, the balconies are a better vantage point to see the patterns.

#24 koshka

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 10:27 AM

OK, my $0.02:

Raymonda

I thought Steifel and Reyes were a very good couple, and that he was a most gallant partner. Haven't seen (or, OK, don't ever remember seeing) the Sergeyev version, so I can't make comparisons in that regard.

There were some rough spots, most noticeably in the men's pas de quatre.

I did not think the Hungarian costumes were any more unflattering than others of their type.

Without Words
Overall, I thought the dancing and the costumes were exquisite, and I am not necessarily a fan of contemporary works. I described the costumes to one of my friends as "Vera Wang-type unitards". Beautiful.

Within You/Without You
Just not my cup of tea at all. Even if it had been "good", I doubt that it would have been appealing to me.

#25 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 10:37 AM

Thank you, corrival and koshka. Corrival, please never think you're "un-knowledgeable" -- you know what you saw and whether or not you liked it or thought it was good! And koshka, thank you for your 2 cents :) (I agree -- I think WIWO is one of those pieces that you either like, or you don't!)

Corrival, I'm glad to learn that people were talking about the Post review. The opening night was a different cast, and also, some of the problems could have been corrected with rehearsal and coaching.

#26 DancingGiselle

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 11:46 AM

I have not yet posted in this forum since I registered in the fall although I have been more or less keeping up with a number of the threads. However, after attending the ABT program on Wednesday night and then reading your reactions, I was motivated to add my opinion as well.

I only started following ballet about three years ago, so I have not seen a large amount of performances but I have tried to see every ballet/dance company that has performed at the Kennedy Center since. I have especially become infatuated with ABT, so I realize that I had a preexisting bias prior to Wednesdayís performance . . .

Raymonda
I loved Marcelo Gomes in this piece - he seemed to fit his role perfectly (I havenít seen Raymonda, so I suppose he fit the role as I would imagine in since I donít know what the role actually entails). I have also loved Paloma Herreraís dancing in classical roles - she has such beautiful feet - and I thought her variations were good, but she seemed less comfortable when partnered by Marcelo. To me, they looked better dancing separately; I hope they improve on this since they are scheduled together for a number of ballets in the following months. Nonetheless, I enjoyed Paloma and Marcelo - but I always do . . .

The corps, however, was a different story. The Hungarian dance was fine (led by Karin Ellis-Wentz and Jesus Pastor) but really nothing spectacular - a little too mechanical perhaps. The corps in the grand pas classique did look like they could use a serious brush up on their classical technique - this was a surprise to me, coming from ABT dancers! Some of the men struggled during the lifts (Iíve had partners lift me more easily, and believe me, I weigh more and have much poorer technique than the ABT girls), and neither the ďmirrorĒ solos nor the pas de quatre dancers seemed to be in sync at all times.

I had no bones to pick with the costumes - I actually loved the white and did not see anything unflattering about the character costumes.

Without Words
As was the case with the other two on the program, it was my first time seeing the piece. I really loved it - but I do tend to like strange modern choreography that others see as too cold or even ugly. In my eyes, the dancersí beautiful bodies and fluid movements (continually in motion!) created a great depth of emotion. Perhaps Nacho Duato does borrow a lot from other choreographers (as one of you suggested in an earlier post), but I guess I have not seen enough to be able to tell. My favorite part was Ethan Stiefelís dancing, which always sends chills down my spine. He internalized the choreography so well - much better than Xiomara Reyes, his partner. I donít have anything to say about Xiomara, for in this piece she was quite a non-descript dancer - the kind that Ashley Tuttle (also in this piece) has always seemed to me. She did the piece, she did it without mistakes, but thatís it. I must add, however, that Stella Abrera in the opening pas de trois was quite forceful, and I canít wait to see her Gamzatti Saturday night!

Iíll leave the George Harrison piece for later . . .

#27 Alexandra

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Posted 06 February 2004 - 12:04 PM

What a lovely debut! :) Thank you, DancingGiselle. I hope we'll read more of you. Do take a breath, and then come back and tell us about the Harrison -- and if you see Bayadere, I hope you'll post about that, too.

#28 corrival

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Posted 07 February 2004 - 12:35 PM

DancingGiselle: Jean Battey Lewis in the Washington Times also really liked Ethan Stiefel's "Without Words"
""Without Words" reached its apotheosis in Mr. Stiefel's transcendent solo. A dancer with finely burnished technique, he brings a feral alertness to everything he does. This combination of intensity and refinement made for a riveting performance."
I saw his performance of this in the open rehearsal and agree completely that it was 'transcendent'. I think that is why when I saw his performance in "Raymonda" I was so disappointed.
I also thought Marcelo Gomes was wonderful too. Such stage presence.

#29 paolo

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Posted 28 February 2004 - 06:59 AM

I found the programming of the mixed bill in DC quite odd. Two rather similar pieces (Duato and Harrison) and the awkward Raymonda. Should have had more variety. As for the Harrison piece, it was purportedly, at least in part, an effort to encourage younger audiences. But, anyone who really remembers the Beatles has to be at least 50, not exactly the truly younger audience ABT should be attempting to attract.


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