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Cullen Series


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#1 Old Fashioned

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 11:18 AM

Two articles on the Cullen series in the Chronicle: The pointe is to be edgy and Houston Ballet pushes the envelope with Cullen Series

The New Zealand-born [Adrian] Burnett, a resident choreographer for the Australian Ballet who's also worked with New York City Ballet, says that just being here for the first time is edgy for him.

"It's completely unknown territory. You turn up, see (dancers) in class, watch a few performances, pick people and hope you click with them."


What bothers me about this is the short period of time the choreographers get to work with the dancers and familiarize themselves with the company, and the amount of time they're actually given to choreograph. It all sounds too much like the Diamond Project, perhaps even worse.

Then comes Glentzer's review.

Yes, it's the week of Halloween. But all those dark silhouettes in Houston Ballet's Cullen Series are not ghouls ... unless your idea of a ballet is limited to safe, classic fare like Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Shadows figured prominently Thursday in three edgy premieres


Wow, she makes ballet sound all so boring.

Silhouettes aren't new -- George Balanchine utilized them about 60 years ago -- but the Cullen Series is a choreographer's playground, a venue where artists are encouraged to push the envelope.

The edgiest ballet today is European.  Mrozewski's spent time there, and The Great Attractor shows it...It's a neo-Balanchine leotard ballet with a fresh attitude.

Pointe shoes and leotards give way to street clothes and European dance socks for the Second Movement...

A woman in a white gown (Kim Wagman), trailing a long net train, runs frantically on and off in a huge circle, very Pina Bausch-like.


How is this "pushing the envelope" when the choregraphy can be so easily compared to those of others?

Wagman wears a more cumbersome dress in [Welch's] Blindness, an intriguing piece about relationships...The dance unfolds as an elegiac ritual for The Woman, who ends up without her dress, blindfolded. Her baroque costume and that of The Man who controls her in the end harken to the Johann Sebastian Bach music.


Just what the dance world needs, another masochistic ballet. Yawn. Been there, done that.

Thank you Glentzer, for before reading your overly glorifying review, I had actually considered going to see the Cullen Series this afternoon. I, the ever closed-minded and unsophisticated balletomane, sit impatiently and wait for the Nutcracker to roll around.

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 30 October 2004 - 04:32 PM

OF - please consider turning your post here into a polite letter to the editor and to Houston Ballet. Start off by emphasizing that you're a longtime viewer and that the company is very important to you. Also make it clear that you don't hate all new ballets (or else, you'll just be one of "those")

They need to hear that not everyone thinks that new is automatically good.


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