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Ballo della Regina


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#1 silvy

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 06:27 AM

I remember reading in Merrill Ashley's book "Dancing for Mr. B" how excited she was when Mr. B created "Ballo della Regina" for her. As I have not seen it, I would like to have your opinions on that ballet, and on her performance (either on video or live)

Thanks so much
silvy

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 07:55 AM

It was like watching a series of flash cards of ballet steps danced perfectly in slow motion. She was wonderful in it! Balanchine made it for her crisp, clear style, and her amazing footwork.

The most famous story about Ashley's performance is that, years after the premiere, her partner was seriously injured during a performance and she finished the ballet without him.

#3 Helene

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 08:35 AM

It's also available on VHS as part of The Balanchine Library, along with The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Patricia McBride and Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Elegie (1st movement of Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3 with Karin von Aroldingen and Sean Lavery.

#4 Ari

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 09:13 AM

When Ballo was first premiered, it seemed pleasant but insubstantial, a piece d'occasion (it was made, rather quickly, for opening night of the company's winter season) designed to show off the company's newly promoted ballerina. But as time went on, many regular ballet goers began to find a lot more in it than seemed initially to be there. (This isn't unusual with Balanchine.) And it's held up very well over the years, surviving cast changes and transferring beautifully to other companies. San Francisco Ballet gave a lovely performance here a couple of years ago, and I believe Miami City Ballet recently added it to its repertoire. While the crystal clarity of Ashley's dancing is an almost impossible goal for others to achieve, I've enjoyed performances by other ballerinas, and the danseur and demisolo roles have also proven meaty parts for dancers.

#5 silvy

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 10:30 AM

I quote Ari:

many regular ballet goers began to find a lot more in it than seemed initially to be there. (This isn't unusual with Balanchine.


You know, this is something I have realized myself (having seen Balanchine "live" at the NY State Theater only one ocassion in my life, for 3 performances). When I first saw "Diamond" I saw Wendy Wheelan, and it was outstanding: I could see how cleverly Balanchine had quoted ballets such as Swan Lake, Don Q (yes I see Don Q in the passe promenade!!!), Raymonda (hand over the bun), Nutcracker (developpe a la seconde, back to the audience) but that was it. Then I got the tape with Farrell, and could see so much more: the subtleties in his looking (or not) at his partner, her playing with balances. And I hope to see much more still

Silvy

#6 perky

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 06:16 AM

Hops on pointe are one of my favorite ballet steps and watching Ashley do those amazing hops Balanchine made for her in Ballo makes me grin like an idiot everytime :(

#7 glebb

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 06:53 AM

The premiere performance was quite exciting. Ballo was fresh, optimistic, musical, pastel and romantic. My imagination placed these dancing creatures in a kingdom at the bottom of the sea. The dancers looked as though they were very much enjoying the choreography which was quite witty. Then, near the end of the ballet when Ms. Ashley performed a series of fouettes en de dans, the level of astonishment in the house seemed to blow through the roof.


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