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SERBA, and other regional festivals...


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#1 Allegro

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Posted 24 April 2001 - 02:31 PM

Hi. I was just wondering if any of you have attended any Regional Dance America festival. I attended SERBA, and was curious to know if anyone else has. I am sort of wanting to talk about the evening performances...Sorry if this post isn't appropriate for this board! Thanks!

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 24 April 2001 - 06:22 PM

Allegro -

I'm afraid I didn't see SERBA (who did, come on, speak up!) but discussing ballet performances is definitely on topic. Please tell what you saw; for a lot of us, this would be our only exposure to the regional ballet festivals.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 24 April 2001 - 07:51 PM

Yes! Very few of us get to see these festivals. If you're wanting to talk about the evening performances, we're sure interested in hearing about them.

#4 Allegro

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 12:01 PM

Thanks for giving me the go-ahead! :)
I attended SERBA with my regional ballet company, and had a great time! I liked the classes, but as always, the performances were the best! I can't remember ALL the performances, so I will just say the ones I really liked.
On the Emerging Choreographer's night, I enjoyed a piece ("Sweet Sorrow") that was danced by Louisville Civic Company. The choreographer won the Monticello (An award to the best female emerging choreographer) and it was danced by four girls with a woman playing the harp on stage. I also liked a really cute piece called "Down" that was danced by Gwinett Dance Ensemble. It was a humouous ballet about a plan crash. Alabama Dance Theatre did a piece called "Indigo", which was set to (I think ) Louis Armstrong's music. The closing piece was Atlanta Ballet Centre Theatre (I think that's the name, but I do know it was formerly Atlanta ballet II) and they did a really pretty classical piece, with gorgeous tutus and great technique.
The next night, Friday, wasn't all that memorable, but Ft. Lauderdale Ballet Classique did a nice to Moonlight Sonata. They had three soloists who did a good job, and the corp was very strong.
Our company was second to last on the Gala, so I didn't get to see much of the Gala night. We (Appalachian Ballet company) did a piece called "Glennies," choreographed by Alan Hineline, set to the music of the deaf percussionist, Evelyn Glennies. It went well, and the audience really seemed to like it. But I did a piece right before ours called "Diamonds," danced by Gwinett Ballet Theatre, and choreographed by Thom Clower. It was really good, but SO hard! At one point, the corps was doing laps around the back of the stage! They all were running on in the upstage left wing and running diagonally downstage right, then running behind the curtain to do it again!!!
Alabama Dance Theatre did Balanchine's Valse Fantasy, and I wanted to see it SO bad! But it opened the show, so I couldn't watch.
Thanks for listening to my review!

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 12:05 PM

Thank you very much for posting your review! I hope others were there and saw this and will add their comments. You really saw a good slice of American ballet -- it sounds like a good experience.

These festivals very rarely get covered even in the dance fest, so it's great to hear about them. More, please :)

#6 Allegro

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 02:41 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by alexandra:
[QB]You really saw a good slice of American ballet....

I just wanted to say that I couldn't agree with you more. One of the things our ajudicator said when he came and saw us, was the importance of Regional Dance America. And the more I think about it, the more I agree with him. If REgional Dance America wasn't in operation, small town ballet wouldn't prosper and flourish as well as it is doing today. Festivals bring all these small companies together, give them the chance to keep in touch, give them a chance to improve by taking classes, give them a chance to show their talents (both dancing and choreographically) and give them a goal to work towards every year. It benefits all those who participate in festival, but it has far reaching consequences, also. Professional companies are also winners, because they are able to hire dancers who have already been exposed to high levels of technique and precision. If REgional Dance America wasn't in existence, then they would depend solely on dance academies (with some exceptions) to provide the dancers for their companies.
Regional DAnce America has built American Ballet to the higher level that it is at today, and it will continue to make it even better. Think about other countries, like Russia. Unless I am mistaken, they do not this nationwide program that we Americans have put into practice. WE are quite lucky!

#7 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 25 April 2001 - 03:14 PM

Allegro -

I think the RDA system is a benefit to American dance; it allows regional companies to interact and find out what others are doing, and it helps professionalize them. It's a good thing. I'm not sure, however, that I would go so far to say that it gives us an edge over other countries in training. I think even without a Russian Regional Dance Association, they've produced some at least passable ballet dancers! :)

Good to see you're doing Alan Hineline's work, didn't he set that on your company at some point last year? Who were your adjudicators? Finally, will most of the companies be able to perform these ballets before a general audience as well as at the festivals?

[ 04-25-2001: Message edited by: Leigh Witchel ]

#8 Allegro

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Posted 30 April 2001 - 06:49 AM

I don't think I made myself as clear.... I really wasn't saying that we had a leg up on the Russians (no pun intended.) What I was intially saying is that the organization of RDA is something to be proud of, and I know, from my experience, that our company wouldn't be at the level we are at without RDA.
I'm glad we did Alan Hineline's work also. It was great to be able to work with him and have him set a ballet on us. It is nice to have him now before he is out of our reach. I have a feeling that he will be very successful. His piece was really cool. It was very challenging, and different from anything I have ever done. There are three movements, (all to percussive music) and between the first and second and second and third, this other girl and I run out in the silence and do a duet in the silence.
And yes, to my knowledge, all of the other companies in SERBA dance their pieces at other venues than SERBA. We did all the pieces we ajudicated in previous shows.
And our ajudicator was Richard Dickinson.

#9 ScottieGDE13

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 02:03 PM

Hello-
I can't agree with everything that Allegro said simply because I didn't see a lot of the pieces because the company I'm in, the Gwinnett Dance Ensemble, performed two of the three nights. It was my first time performing at SERBA and I really enjoyed it! I only got to watch the last four or five dances on the Emerging Choreography night because we performed "Down" as the opener to the second act. I really enjoyed most of what I saw that night, especially a piece by the Gwinnett Ballet Theater that was on pointe (maybe Allegro can help me with the name... I don't know where my program is). It was very modern/contemporary and they were just very clean, which always impresses me. I also enjoyed Atlanta Ballet Centre's piece, however they did a piece very similar on the Gala performance. Both pieces were on pointe and the choreography was good and they had a very large corps that was very strong. However, it bothered me that both of their pieces only seemed to show off their high leg extensions and multiple turns. I would have liked to see more... perhaps artistry (I'm not sure if that's the word I'm looking for...) It just seemed a little monotonous, although I was impressed.

I didn't see any dances on Friday night because we were second to last dancing our modern/ballet piece called "Chant," and, as far as I know, the piece and our company seemed to be appreciated and people seemed to be impressed.

Gala night really was very impressive, a great mix of classical ballet, modern, contemporary ballet, and then some other stuff. It was very enjoyable! I must say- I really enjoyed Glennies- big compliments to Allegro. She told us she danced in silence but her and the girl with her danced that perfectly, it was all synchronized and their was no time where they were not together. The pointe-work (sp?) I could tell as a dancer was very difficult and to be able to be so together without music just really impressed me.

Overall- from what I saw the pieces were great!
Scottie

[ 05-03-2001: Message edited by: ScottieGDE13 ]

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 03 May 2001 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for that, Scottie, and also to Allegro for your additional comments. It's very good to be able to read about these groups and choreographers -- anyone else go?

#11 Pizza9

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Posted 09 May 2001 - 10:20 AM

My company's not part of SERBA, but we're in RDA's pacific region...we're leaving for festival (which is hosted by Utah Regional Ballet) noon today (wednesday). After I get back, on sunday, I'll post a review of how the performances went. Our adjudicator was Deborah Dobson.

#12 Allegro

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Posted 09 May 2001 - 12:09 PM

WOW! Pizza9.... I am very sure that a ballet company from Utah is doing the exact same piece that we did for SERBA. Look for it. It will be second to last on the Gala, and it is called Glennies, and it is choreographed by Alan Hineline. HE originally choreographed it for us, but then went and set it for I believe, Utah Regional, or something like that. He added a pas de deux and a male solo, but other than that, it is the same. Look for two girls en pointe that do 2 duets in the silence. That is what I did, at our SERBA, which BTW, was on the gala and was second to last, just like Utah.

#13 Pizza9

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Posted 13 May 2001 - 10:58 PM

Allegro- yes, Utah Regional did do the piece Alan Hineline choreographed- it was really cool. Everyone loved it- should have been Gala closing. The choreography was interesting and untraditional, and the dancers were great (of course, they ARE a professional company). Anyways, Alan Hineline won the award for the best choreographed piece, or whatever it's called.
Utah Regional, after the opening speech, performed Balanchine's Serenade. Of course, the dancing was very good.
Other favorites- some dancers really liked Long Beach Ballet Theatre's "Atmadja" which was an emerging piece- it definitely had it's strong points, but the beginning pas was done with the couple in the center, dancing on top of a large piece of chiffon(with 4 corps girls on the side holding the sides and making waves with it). It reminded me of Arabian in the nutcracker. I thought the chiffon was unnecessary, it didn't add anything to the dance and it caused the couple to trip and make a couple of mistakes. For the most part, the dancing was good, nice and clean, but then they threw in a section where this one guy did a roundoff back flip and 2 guys did russian leaps and it got too flashy and gymnastic-y.
Columbia Dance Ensemble's "Fly Right" was amazing! It was one of my favorite pieces. The music was by Nat King Cole (Straighten Up and Fly Right, Orange Colored Sky, Almost like being in love, thou swell), and it was really cute. The couple- Kristin and Spenser were so cute dancing together, and not only was the choreography good (fit the music very well), the dancing was clean and simple. It was kind of jazzy. It was in the workshop performance, but it got bumped up to chamber credit.
Bay Area Youth Ballet closed gala with Balanchine's LaSource. It was clean and everything, but there just wasn't the kind of excitment that some other pieces exuded. [sentence deleted]
The classes were pretty good, but one classroom at Utah Valley State College was freezing cold, and when I was rehearsing in there, I absolutely couldn't breathe (partially because I had a hard time adjusting to the altitude...I live practially at sea level...). The basketball courts where they put down marley was a sprung floor but fairly hard. It was frustrating having to wait for buses to take us from the college back to the hotel, which the ride took about 5 minutes, 15 to walk, and to BYU which was about 20 minutes away.
Oh, and one last thing, before the gala performance, the announcer said a prayer...it was just really strange for me...I'm not Mormon and I'd bet a lot of the dancers aren't either...it was kind of offensive to me, but then again we were performing at BYU.

[ 05-14-2001: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#14 Allegro

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Posted 14 May 2001 - 09:49 AM

At our SERBA we also had problems...the director who was hosting SERBA liked to talk about God a lot. Which generally, I don't mind, because I am religious, but it just wasnt the time or place, especially in light of everything that was going on. BTW, lots of people thought we should have closed GALa, but oh well. And for some strange reason, they didnt' give out the "best choreography" award that they give out every year, and is put on the national register, but I think our piece would have gotten it. And that is so cool that Utah danced it, being a professional company, after it was made on us! I feel so special.... :)

#15 Alexandra

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Posted 14 May 2001 - 11:56 AM

Hi! I, and I'm sure others, have really enjoyed reading these posts about the performances, but to avoid conflict, I think it's best that we not characterize companies (their behavior, training, etc.) and use the rule for dinner parties: avoid discussion of religion and politics :) Please stick to the performances :) Thanks!


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