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Ballet Austin in Dallas


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#1 Guest_balletbuddy_*

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 06:17 AM

Just wanted to make a few comments in regards to the Titas sponsored performances of Ballet Austin in Dallas on April 2 & 3. Let me preface this by saying that these are my personal opinions, others may disagree. No company should be at the mercy of one reviewer.

I saw the Saturday night performance. There were two ballets by Stephen Mills and one by Dwight Rhoden. I found all three pieces tedious. Mr. Mills suffers from a "step for every count" syndrome. After awhile it all becomes monotonous, there are no highs or lows. There are occasional interesting movements and some interesting partnering, but you become so numbed by a lack of dynamic that you tend to not really notice these few moments. There also seems to be no connection amongst the dancers themselves or with their partners. All very sterile. Oh, yes, they make "oowie, oowie" faces, but their is no real connection emotionally.

Mr. Mills also seems to have attempted to superimpose a "signature?" port de bras into his pieces which is contrived and annoying aside from having no relationship to the movement. Every now and then he seems to be trying out different "effects", but can't seem to settle on anything. Sometimes the imposition of an actual ballet step comes off as jarring at best and academic at worst.


Mr. Rhoden's piece had some great music, but it was not reflected in the choreography. His piece suffered from lack of dynamics as well. But it also suffered from poor structure. Very mundane, academic groupings and unison movement that wasn't very interesting or effective.

The dancers appear to be on the chunky side. I don't really have a problem with this if the dancers are really good, but some of these dancers were pushing the chunkiness especially considering how many ballets had completely bare legs.

In favor of the dancers I must say that they are accomplished performers and dance with great commitment to what is basically mediocre work. We see so much of that these days - dedicated artists dancing their hearts out to so-so choreography. The sad thing is that dancers don't even realize how trivial the work is because many of them have never danced or even seen really good work.

Mr. Mills is certainly getting his company's and his name out before the public. I think his real talent is marketing, not choreography.

#2 sdj3

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 01:24 PM

balletbuddy -

do you remember the names of these ballets? i may have seen them in austin, and, if so, might be able to add something.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 29 April 2004 - 01:58 PM

In favor of the dancers I must say that they are accomplished performers and dance with great commitment to what is basically mediocre work. We see so much of that these days - dedicated artists dancing their hearts out to so-so choreography. The sad thing is that dancers don't even realize how trivial the work is because many of them have never danced or even seen really good work.


That sure sums up the age!!!

Thanks for that report, Balletbuddy. I've only seen two of Mills's pieces, a "Midsummer," which I thought was very after-Balanchine, but quite acceptable as a small company version, and "Taming of the Shrew" which I thought was absolutely awful! (Non-funny jokes, simplistic, repetitive choreography.)


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