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Balanchine Triple Bill, Nov. 2004


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#16 GWTW

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Posted 22 October 2004 - 06:13 PM

Hmm, I can only go to a matinee. On the one hand, I've never seen Ochoa - on the other hand, I don't want to miss Lorenzo. Perhaps I shall have to find a way to go to both!!

#17 purelyballet

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Posted 29 October 2004 - 02:27 PM

I just got tickets for Wed night, the Thurs night Gala and Saturday Matinee. Can not wait.....

#18 sdj3

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 02:05 PM

:) I'm only in town for a day, and I'm going to miss Rio in Agon! I remember watching her in awe from the studio doorways at Harid and Boston Ballet School years ago.

well, I can't be too upset - I feel so lucky PAB is actually performing while I'm in Philly. Does anyone know if they give student discounts?

#19 lillianna

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Posted 01 November 2004 - 08:06 PM

According to PA Ballet's website, they offer student rush tickets. The tickets are available 1/2 hour prior to each performance. Valid Student ID is required and the tickets are just 1/2 price. Sounds like a great deal. Just remember to take your ID with you and hope that it is not totally sold out.

I am planning to attend the Saturday and Sunday matinees. I'm really looking forward to seeing them.

#20 Dale

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Posted 03 November 2004 - 10:28 PM

Riolama Lorenzo is out with an injury and will not dance Agon. But I enjoyed opening night, with excellent performances all around (can't say more, see Dance View Times next week). Anybody else see the first night?

#21 Ray

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 09:07 AM

I saw the performance on Wed., generally excellent all around. Some of the tempos were very fast--I heard they had very little orchestra rehearsal, the norm these days--and the dancers handled them so well. I think Zachary Hench was technically excellent, though I imagine some might fault his (too?)- calm demeanor. Amy Aldridge was very good, although her back attitudes and arabesques were sometimes droopy. The pas de deux in Agon was technically good, though it lacked an fullness of movement at times. The orchestra really flubbed a few spots, notably the male duet where one trumpet missed many bars of music--turning a canon into a solo. The audience noticed none of this, clapping, it seems, after every "hard" step. (I know, I should be HAPPY viewers express enthusiasm, esp. on a Wednesday night!)

Did anyone read the review in the Inky? SO many innacuracies and passages that belie a lack of viewing/listening experience. For instance, the writer says that Ballo is "set to outtakes from Verdi's opera Don Carlo"--outtakes!--and for another, "the music often has too much pomp for this light and pretty ballet." I think this betrays a lack of experience with ballet music; think of other "pompous" music in Sylvia, Copelia, etc.--music that is resonant for thinking about Verdi and Don Carlo since Don Carlo was composed for the Paris Opera. Did the writer consider that the "lightnees" she identifies relates to Ballo's"Frenchness"? Or did she see the "swimming" gestures that allude to the "underwater" setting of the ballet in the narrative of the Opera?

P.S. Do Philadelphians know that this it the ballet in which former PB director Robert Weiss tore his achilles (doing brises voles)? In 1981 or 2, I think. That was a harrowing performance (insert toothless greyhaired long-bearded smiley face)--Merrill did *everything* by herself, including that pirouette that stops w/a developee a la seconde; then that leg bends, in staccato stops, as she kneels (eek I hope that makes sense!) .

#22 socalgal

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 03:27 PM

Yes, Rio Lama is injured :) Wishing her speedy healing of foot!

I viewed Thursday nights cast and was impressed by the program as a whole.
Attendence was great and full of enthusiasm, especially for a Thursday evening :blush: I would love to write more when time permits........Arancha was stellar and what a super addition to the company are Hench and Julie Diana dancing Agon at this performance.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 09:27 AM

I went to the Saturday night performance -- a 'DELIGHT' all around!

BALLO DELLA REGINA

'Ballo' is a perfect program opener with its classical mode and majestic Verdi score. The long-legged Amy Aldridge tackled the demands of the ballerina role with ease; her 1000-watt smile was infectuous! Like Ray, I noticed a bit of back-straining when she tried to sustain arabesques...on the other hand, her jetes and fillligreed pointe work -- esp. the 'four corners' solo -- were fantastic! Zachary Hench was a magnificent bird with his quick-paced leaps! The demi-solo ladies were also very impressive, especially Heidi Cruz' jetes. The corps ladies were crisp & in synch. The orchestra was quite good on Saturday; they must have 'fixed' the opening-night bloops.

AGON

A true masterpiece of Balanchine among the three ballets performed tonight...and done justice by the Pennsylvania Ballet, IMO. The highly-charged -- 'HOT!' whispered a guy seated beside me -- central pas de deux, by Aranxta Ochoa and Meredith Rainey, is now firmly enshrined in my "Greatest Moments in Ballet-Going Life" list!!! Finally I see and understand the erotic tension of this pas de deux, as it must have been for the 1957 audience seeing Diana Adams and Arthur Mitchell. [The Darcey Bussells and Darci Kistlers, with their respective partners, never did it for me...just went through a series of impressive gymnastic stances...Ochoa & Rainey had the tension in their bodies -- rather than faces -- to make us go 'Wow!' Interestingly, this is the first time that I see this pdd 'live' in which the lady is significantly shorter than the man...and Rainey appears to be VERY tall...making some of Ochoa's movements necessarily a bit more strained than those I've seen before, at NYCB, the Bolshoi, and elsewhere. ] The rest of the ballet was decently danced but that pas de deux was THE highlight.

I was tempted to leave the theater & savor the memories of the Agon pas de deux right then & there. Luckily, I decided to stay on for the silliness of that Balanchinean trifle:

SLAUGHTER on 10th AVENUE

It was cute - it was fun - the audience adored it (as it did the two previous ballets). Most importantly: Had I left earlier, I would have missed the socko performance of Julie Diana, so thin, flexible, slinky & having the time of her life. On the other hand, Philip Colucci was not the funniest of hoofers I've ever seen -- but he was funny enough. The corps seemed to be enjoying themselves almost as much as we in the audience. What a boisterous -- City Center-style -- audience we had at the Philly Academy of Music, last Saturday night. They were the icing on top of the cake!

- Natalia Nabatova
Washington, DC

#24 GWTW

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 11:49 AM

I went to the Sunday matinee - what a fantastic program. The dancers seemed to be having a great time and that made it the experience extra enjoyable. All the ballets were new to me so this is a very rough review.
Ballo della Regina was beautiful - a wonderful world of mermaids. Is it really very short or was I just enjoying it so much? All the dancers were very sharp. Arantxa Ochoa breezed through the Merril Ashley part with so much grace. Heidi Cruz is an audience favourite but I wasn't that impressed with her in this ballet. The problem may be her tights that are quite unflattering. She seems to wear the same tights as the 'white' girls and that cuts her line, as there is a sharp difference between her arms and her legs. The costumes were gorgeous but I couldn't understand why the soloists were in pink. After reading the program notes, I suppose they were pearls??
Agon - what can I say, I'm just a sucker for 20th century modernism :blush: I haven't been blown away like this since the first time I saw The Four Ts. Seriously though, it's completely different - Agon is more formal and yet more playful. It looks like a ballet about dancing - the way the dancers bow and acknowledge the audience after some of the sections, the dancers clapping to each other's solos, the catch-me-if-you-can canon sections - so the tension between Ochoa and Rainey (as Natalia said, very hot) in the Pas de Deux is erotic without being menacing.
Slaughter was very light weight and IMHO Robbins does this better. I suppose this way the audience can leave humming a tune (unless you're tone deaf like myself and then you can only hum the Three Blind Mice bit from Slaughter). That said, it was laugh out loud funny at times and well executed. In fact, the two ladies next to me left at the end of the 'ballet within the ballet' as it really seemed that the curtain was coming down... Aay Aldridge was the Stripper and I have never seen a costume make such a difference in a performer: In the white dress she was a ballet dancer pretending to be a stripper and I was bored. The second she came out in the black dress, she was a sexy cabaret dancer having the time of her life.
Now that I've seen the PA Ballet giving Balanchine all they've got, I'm really looking forward to them doing Ashton (La Fille mal Gardee) in March.

#25 Amy Reusch

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Posted 08 November 2004 - 01:34 PM

'Wow!' Interestingly, this is the first time that I see this pdd 'live' in which the lady is significantly shorter than the man...and Rainey appears to be VERY tall...making some of Ochoa's movements necessarily a bit more strained than those I've seen before, at NYCB, the Bolshoi, and elsewhere. ] The rest of the ballet was decently danced but that pas de deux was THE highlight.


Just a footnote: I don't remember Meredith Rainey as being unusually tall in real life... tall, but not VERY tall... it must have been very effective casting. He always was wonderful in Agon. I think last time I saw him in it he was opposite Leslie Carothers (who is fairly tall herself -- with the line to match). It must be interesting to watch a dancer improve over the years in a role. I can believe he really "owns" it now.

#26 purelyballet

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Posted 10 November 2004 - 06:12 PM

I just returned from my trip to Philly where I was fortunate to take in four performances of this Balanchine series (and saw both casts) I have to say this was certainly PABallet at its finest. After seeing Swan Lake at the end of last season, I did not think the company could look any better...but they proved me wrong. They were so amazing in the three pieces. I have to agree with the others Phillip and Julie were both amazing in Slaugther (Julie reminded me so much of Suzanne Farrell in this role and I found myself totally captivated by her) Amy Aldridge was also exceptional in the part. In regards to Agon, I have to say I think this was Arancha at her best...she totally amazed me.....Last but not least, Balo was fabulous and the corps really shined in this piece. .....Thanks PABallet for some of the best dancing I have seen in years. With the latest additions both Zach Hench and Julie Diana it is obvious that PABallet is making it move up the ladder to be noted as one of the finest companies in the country. Kudos to the entire company and artistic staff. :D

#27 socalgal

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 07:45 PM

Finally back and catching up .......
PABallet's opening program was great fun. I enjoyed all three ballets which were certainly an entertaining mix of Balanchine and his unique multiple talents. I have never seen any of these ballets 'live' so it was an extra thrill for me this time around.
:grinning-smiley-001:

Ballo Della Regina was brightly danced by a radiant corps that kept perfect time. Lovely ports de bras and clear clean footwork. Soloists Keating, Amiss, Cruz and Smith did a nice job at their solo roles. Amy Aldridge and Zach Hench captured the mood with inspiring performances. I also liked Arantxa Ochoa and James Ady in the lead roles as well. This piece served the company well and I thnk it is a nice addition to their rep. It is not a big important work, but serves as a wonderful diversement .......a juicy morsel to whet the appetite for what is to follow!

Agon is a brilliant work. I love the way Balanchine works with this score which is complex. But he seems to break it down to seem simple and fun with unexpecting twists. Arantxa Ochoa and Meredith Rainey did delight in their duet. You could sense a relationship between them that became taut and competitive with sensual undertones. The entire cast was engaging to watch......I really loved this ballet :thumbsup:

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue was a great romp and the dancers seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. I guess I am a sucker for vaudevillian humor like the sweeping up the slain mobster or the bartenders' cigarette routine. Both Julie Diana and Amy Aldridge alternated the role of the Strip Tease Girl and each had the gams and the moves for the part. Phil Coluci brilliant as the Hoofer. A very talented young man. Jonathan Stiles also did a good job alternating with Phil in the Hoofer role. This ballet certainly shows another side of Balanchine that kept me smiling and tapping out of the theatre!

It was a good night at the ballet. I not only look forward to see them dance La Fille later in March but also Robbin's The Concert (April), after watching the humorous personalities in Slaughter. :hyper:

#28 purelyballet

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 03:56 PM

[PB: I deleted your post above that was just a quote - Alexandra]

I think I hit the wrong button on my last reply, but in any event, SoCalGal, I could not agree with you more.....PABallet was fantastic in this series. I can not wait to see their upcoming productions. The rep seems to be very diverse so I think all in all it should be a very enjoyable year for the PABallet patrons.

Edited by Alexandra, 16 November 2004 - 06:58 PM.


#29 lillianna

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 06:39 PM

I had the privilege of seeing the 2 matinee performances. I think what struck me the most was the corps. Often companies focus on their principals and the corps looks poorly rehearsed. This is not the case with PA Ballet. The corps looked wonderful. They worked well together and looked very comfortable with the choreography. The principals were wonderful also, so a very exciting ballet package.
I have seen Ballo before and it is not as exciting a number as many other Balanchine numbers. My impression this time was that it is a "pretty"ballet. The dancing was lovely and the costumes seemed to work well with the number.
Agon has always been one of my favorites, especially the Pas de deux. I had never seen Arantxa or Meredith dance before. They did a wonderful job, very enjoyable to watch.
I am not a great fan of Slaughter. I guess that it is not dancy enough for me, but it was fun and I left humming the songs. I look forward to seeing more of this wonderful company. I'm hoping for a trip east to see Nutcracker.

#30 GWTW

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 07:37 AM

Lillianna, I second your comments on the corps both with regard to this year's Ballo and last year's Concerto Barocco, especially as it seems to be a very young corps. I assumed that some were trainees or students as not all the dancers in the program are on the company list.


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