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The Robbins programmeFancy Free, In the Night


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#1 Effy

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Posted 26 October 2004 - 10:53 PM

The intro matinee on sunday included a lot of talk, primarily by Frank Andersen and a few snippets. Marie Pierre Greve and Mads Blangstrup dancing the 2? pas de deux from in the night and the intro from Fancy free with three foreing dancers Jean Lucien Massot (probably the role Robbins did himselself), David Kupinsky and the new soloist Tim Matiakis. They all performed well, but I had expected Thomas Lund and Morten Eggert as the sailors. Ifthey should not dance that, what should they dance? But Thomas Lund may be part of Fjernt. (That can be the flipside of being the bournonville specialist. That you have to dance all Bournonville performances)

#2 jorgen

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 07:05 AM

Thomas Lund and Morten Eggert are casted in the second team in Fancy Free:

Premiere onsdag den 3. november:
1. sømand Tim Matiakis
2. sømand Dawid Kupinski
3. sømand Jean-Lucient Massot
1. pige Cecilie Lassen
2. pige Gudrun Bojesen
3. pige Haley Henderson

Torsdag den 4. november:
1. sømand Thomas Lund
2. sømand Morten Eggert
3. sømand Julien Ringdahl
1. pige Amy Watson
2. pige Femke Slot
3. pige Maria Bernholt

#3 jorgen

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Posted 27 October 2004 - 07:12 AM

Casting of "In The Night":

Premiere November 3:
1. pas de deux Marie-Pierre Greve og Mads Blangstrup
2. pas de deux Silja Schandorff og Kenneth Greve
3. pas de deux Caroline Cavallo og Peter Bo Bendixen

November 4:
1. pas de deux Gudrun Bojesen og Thomas Lund
2. pas de deux Caroline Cavallo og Mads Blangstrup
3. pas de deux Gitte Lindstrøm og Jean-Lucient Massot

Quite a few great couples I think!

#4 Effy

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Posted 28 October 2004 - 12:11 AM

I certainly wont argue with that casting. I am really looking forward to all three ballets. I was fearing that Fjernt might have been "undercasted" it being considered the lesser Bournonville ballet, allthough Frank Andersen declared it a special favorate of his. Lifeguard is undercasted especially regardung the younger farmers

#5 Effy

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 11:11 AM

I attended the premiere and had also decided to go for second night, but ended up not going. Well that sort of sums up my experience of a programme with fine qualities but quite boring. I cannot say that the dancers were not up to the task, because they were, but the combination of ballets did really nothing for each other and I recalled that I have sometimes been very bored at certain Robbins ballets.
Fancy Free is simply too much of the same thing. Yes we can enjoy three lively sailors, but the are too much repetition in drama and movement and the (man)handling of the first women is simply not-pc.

In the Night missed announcd star couple Silja Schandorff and Kenneth Greve (replaced by Amy Watson and Andrew Bowman) but I even doubt that they could have saved the piece. I miss some substantial choreography for the male dancers in this piece. And Peter Bo Bendixen was past the form, that was needed for the third dramatic pas de deux.

Far from Denmark and Life Guards are to similar to bring full enjoyment so soon after one another. Mads Blangstrup did a great job as Vilhelm, he can really body act, where to many of the others mimed rather than acted their part. Unlike Life Guards Far from Denmark has not been cursed with a new decor, but the costumes and wigs for the two cadets, played by female dancers, do not help them achieve the illusion of beeing men. On the contrary the uniforms and the chinese costumes in particular emphasized the female figure. It is has been custom that the main Cadet Poul is played with a blond wig, which looked odd on dark haired dancers like Diana Cuni and previous Petruskja Broholm (whose blond cadet partner Henriette Muus looked equally odd wih a dark wig). So instead of seeing a good boy imitator, you get an odd looking women in pants. Marie Pierre Greve was a lovely but frail Rosita. She and Blangstrup are becoming a very strong combination, also in In the Night. but we need more dancers to follow their example of strong dancing/strong acting.

On another note last month Kristoffer Sakurai was pushed forward as Gennaro and a soloist in Etudes. In this programme he is relegated to the minor semirole as Boatsman. It shows an inconsistancy of casting. Surely if he is good enough to be Gennaro and in Etudes, he should also trusted with a more substancial role in Far from Denmark. Likewise since he's been made a soloist, Nikolai Hansen has danced next to nothing. In this production he is one of four cavaliers in the Spanish number. Is he or is he not soloist material and a gifted Bournonville dancer? One would think by making him a soloist Frank Andersen beleived so. Why does he then have nothing to do in either Lifeguard or Far from Denmark? Instead we see young (foreign schooled dancers) struggling with the soloes. I cannot see talent management being used here.

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 04 November 2004 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for that, Effy, although it does sound like a dispiriting evening. (Talent management. What a lovely, and appropriate, phrase!

I think if the "manhandling" you write of in Fancy Free is the scene where the boys steal the girl's handbag and tease her, if it looks too much, that's the fault of either the staging/coaching or the dancers rather than the ballet. It didn't always look lilke that -- it was more like boys in the schoolyard, teasing a girl. But there was never any thought that they'd do anything more than tease her.

#7 jorgen

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 05:22 AM

I also went the second night. I agree with Effy about the Robbins pieces. Fancy Free more or less boring. In In the Night I like the beautiful first pas de deux, this time danced by Gudrun Bojesen and Thomas Lund, and not much else.

I love the decor of Far from Denmark, specially that of the first act. If M-P Greve is fragile, Gitte Lindstrøm is more filled with Latin passion. Andrew Bowman does not show the same dramatic talent as Mads Blangstrup. I agree that the two cadets look very girlish and cute, you never think of them as men. This time danced by Susanne Grinder and Christina L. Olsen.

Gitte Lindstrøm is having a great season. She dances everything and does it wonderfully. Like Anna Karenina, Louise in The Guardsmen, the ballerina in Etudes, Rosita in Far from Denmark and Palmyra in Abdallah.

#8 Alexandra

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 06:30 AM

Now I'm really curious about "Fancy Free" -- is it a piece that just doesn't travel well? Or is the problem in performance? It's not my favorite ballet, but I've never seen a performance that didn't work with ABT, even with a less than ideal cast. The audience always seems caught up in it and laughs.

Good to hear that Gitte Lindstrøm is having a good season. She'd been out for quite awhile with an injury, if I remember correctly.

#9 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 05 November 2004 - 07:30 AM

Now I'm really curious about "Fancy Free" -- is it a piece that just doesn't travel well? Or is the problem in performance?  It's not my favorite ballet, but I've never seen a performance that didn't work with ABT, even with a less than ideal cast.  The audience always seems caught up in it and laughs. 


I'd have agreed up until last fall, when I saw a performance at ABT that didn't get a single real laugh, for the first time ever in my experience. Everything seemed just slightly off timing, and the half hour ballet seemed looooong. But you're right, as skillful as the dancers may appear, if the ballet is boring it can't be getting a good performance.

As for the men and the woman with the handbag, I don't think PC is the point. The ballet isn't saying this is how young men SHOULD behave, it's saying this is how they DO behave. And it think there *is* a bit of an edge there, a kind of twitching tension (it's there throughout the ballet, finally breaking into a fist fight). It's that real-ness (if that's a word) that makes the ballet, in a good performance, really touching. I don't know, maybe it's a guy thing?

#10 fan

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 09:05 AM

I went to see the show last night and was pleased wit it , far from dk is not my favourite but the dancers surely did a good job.

It was nicw to see Diana Cuni back on stage , shes been abscent due to injury and i believe that this was one of her first shows back.

#11 Effy

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Posted 06 November 2004 - 11:35 AM

I have reseen the program, and second time around the man-handling did not apear as brutal, just stupid. I cannot speak for the whole audience, and some mayn really enjoy Fancy Free. It is not a bad ballet, but it does not really take flight. One reason could be the material,another that allthough the cast I saw was adequate, they were not strong enough dancers to be total virtouso. You never caught uourselves wandering, how did they do that? The same goes for parts of In the night, especially the thrid Pas De Deux. Peter Bo Bendixen is not on top of his game (some might say he never were) and can therefore not conceal his efforts. Instead of being surpised you see to clearly the working mechanics of a lifting man. In the night has won the finest review. I agree with Jörgen about the superb dancing of Blangstrup and MP Greve (have not seen Gotte Lindstrøm yet in either ballets). But in my eyes there are superb in both ballets. As a matter of fact it is ther versatality that I admire most. Blangstrup has wonderful qualities as an actor/dancer. He can perform ambigurity, which is so focal for Vilhelm (and James). He may not be the strongest virtouso in the company but as an artist
we currently pocess few male dancers at his level.

#12 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 07 November 2004 - 12:29 PM

Regarding Fancy Free, when that episode with the purse has worked, it's been counterintuitively because of the woman, not the men. If the woman does not act frightened, it blunts the potential violence of the scene. What seems to work best is if she acts irritated, but never as if she's lost control of the situation. Paloma Herrera caught the moment very well in recent ABT performances.

#13 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 13 November 2004 - 05:01 PM

Regarding Fancy Free, when that episode with the purse has worked, it's been counterintuitively because of the woman, not the men.  If the woman does not act frightened, it blunts the potential violence of the scene.  What seems to work best is if she acts irritated, but never as if she's lost control of the situation.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Exactly. She's a street-wise New Yorker.

#14 Effy

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 05:59 AM

I finally managed to see the second case, better dancing but the three chosen dancer are a bit too close in type. In the firt cast Massot is clearly older and more streetwise - and crueller - than the other two. Ringdal in the other case is equally young and innocent like the two others

#15 Paul Parish

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Posted 19 January 2005 - 06:49 PM

What needs to be there to make Fancy Free work is the feeling that the ballet takes place during war-time, and that the future of everybody rests on the strength of heart of boys like these, who're at this moment taking a break and can forget about dangers that they will have to go back to. It makes for a particular kind of nervous energy in them, and in everybody else-- if they weren't cocky, you wouldn't be able to imagine them actually doing any of the fighting that sailors will have to do -- so you have to cut them some slack, and the girls on stage are doing that for us..... And they've got to be sweet-natured at heart, for thousands of reasons..


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