Best "Balancing Acts" You've Seen??
Posted 06 June 2010 - 04:17 AM
Posted 06 June 2010 - 02:03 PM
Appropos of that, I saw them do Swan Lake a few years ago, and during Black Swan pdd, she balanced so long, they were getting severely behind the music, so Angel had to poke her (v.subtly of course) to come off pointe and continue the dance.
My favorite memory of great balances was Jennifer Gelfand of Boston Ballet in Sleeping Beauty. She was also a prodigious turner.
Posted 06 June 2010 - 11:59 PM
Posted 18 August 2010 - 11:38 AM
And now...thankfully, someone just posted her OUT OF THIS WORLD Rose Adagio..!! Have to be seen to be believed...(particularly the last set of balances... )
Posted 18 August 2010 - 12:06 PM
Posted 18 August 2010 - 06:20 PM
There are some things I miss from the versions of the RA that I'm most familiar with, though, and I'd be very interested in seeing what this dancer would do with them. I'm very fond of the series of port de bras that Aurora does downstage center while bourreeing in place, with the music roiling underneath her -- they have a lovely renverse quality that is echoed later in the dance with a true renverse -- in this version that is replaced with a series of lifts crossing the stage. They are quite pretty, and done very well, but I miss the other, simpler, sequence.
Changes like that one might connect to the conversation elsewhere on the website about virtuosity. I don't think anyone would argue that Valdes' use of balance here is not an act of virtuosity -- an impressive example of heightened physical ability used within an aesthetic framework. But there are places where that kind of heightened ability is misused, displayed for its own sake rather than to support the overall effect of the dancework.
Posted 19 August 2010 - 08:09 AM
Thinking of other Auroras, I can't recall anything like the way Valdes handled that last set of balances. She really makes them a climax rather than just the end of a series of combinations. Each prince extends his hand as soon as he is next to her. This (it seemed to me) was rather assertive, even brusque, as in "I'll help you, lady.". Instead of taking the hand, she raises her arms in couronne for her extended balance. No weakness or submissiveness about THIS princess. She has grown in stature right before our eyes.
Thanks, Cristian, for this link. Ballerinas like Valdes need more exposure on BT. There appears to be a distinct "Cuban" combination of virtuosity and artistry that we need the chance to see more of. As sandik writes:
Posted 19 August 2010 - 08:47 AM
What I loved about the performance was how Valdes maintained a sense of modesty throughout the glitz and the big moves, with details like the one that bart describes of making the flowers part of the choreography, the way she took a longish look at her parents after putting down the flowers, and engaging with all of the princes. In terms of virtuosity, the height for me was the way she went quickly, without hesitation, with a quick step-step, into the first of the final attitude balances, and the first prince started to promenade her a beat after her supporting pointe hit the ground. That was fearless.
Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:05 AM
Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:44 AM
I had real mixed feelings viewing this clip; some were issues with the version used and other with Valdes' uneven execution of them. Overall the tempo is very slow and this drains the scene of some of the energy it should have. I miss very much, like Sandik, the sequence where Aurora bourres with the port de bras (the lifts put in their place are sort of cheesey and NOT very classical) and I miss the other sequence where Aurora does a series of penchees along a diagonal line of kneeling pages. Some versions have Aurora putting her hand on the pages shoulder and others have her keeping her hand in place instead but I prefer either to how the sequence is done here with the princes.
It's very true that Valdes has outstanding balances and I liked the second sequence with the promenades better than the first but at the end she leaves the world of viruosity and crossed the line into the are of showing off for showing off's sake. She simply omits the fourth promenade. With regards to consistency and sense of musicality and line she's weak, the sequence where she collects the last set of roses has her taking each rose the a prince , doing a developpe and continuing to the next prince , something very traditional to me. But the first two developpes have her raising her leg to about 90 degrees but the last two have showgirl type kicks up to about 165 degrees. Shouldn't they be consistent?
And throughout, Valdes does not have a very striking sense of basic movement. She's a true virtuoso but not much of a classical ballerina.
Virtuoso can also exist in more subtle forms such as infusing the steps with energy and radiance. Also real excitement can be created but taking all the sequence and connecting them into a seamless whole. A very different type of virtuosity is shown in the clip I'm posting, there are no long balances (although I've seen Fonteyn do some very impressive ones in this scene, most notably in her very last Aurora in NYC around 1973-74) but there is a tremendous energy and sweep, an exhilarating rush that build up to a terrific climax. And throughout her sense of line and musicality remains a touchpoint for me.
Unfortunately the clip only has the second part of the scene starting with the bourres but I really prefer this version to Fonteyn's other filmed RAs. And notice how far the princes are from her in the final promenades, this is deliberate, Fonteyn
wanted to increase the audience's perception of of the risks she took.
Virtuosity can take many forms, indeed!
Posted 19 August 2010 - 10:10 AM
Posted 19 August 2010 - 07:14 PM
Comparing the two, Valdes' version does seem tailored to highlight her special talent for balancing, making that the focus of the performance.
Fonteyn's performance has much more in the way of visual dynamics. There's an arc that seems to build in intensity through the final balances and towards the final supported pirouettes (and then the lovely curtsy).
Valdes' music, on the other hand, seems to slow down for the awesome final balances. The final pirouettes came across (for me at least) as rather anticlimactic.
It's amazing how tempo can completely change the energy level and visual focus of a performance.
Posted 19 August 2010 - 08:01 PM
Agree, agree. agree and agree. This is precisely why I posted Valdes clip under this "Best balancing act" thread...
Now, about the "Best interpretation of the Rose Adagio's pathos, either musically or balletic", no doubt that many other versions and interpreters can come across as better choices.
Posted 19 August 2010 - 09:11 PM
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