Villella & Dancers: Works & ProcessGuggenheim Mus., Jan. 23 and 24, 2005
Posted 06 April 2005 - 04:13 PM
Villella noted that only two of his dancers attended SAB, and most have come through Soviet-influenced training. He has hired dancers who are amenable to Balanchine's style, i.e., who have demonstrated musicality (which he defined as "the ability to speak to us musically"), an ability to move and a willingness to go beyond their achievements. He sees his job as creating a sense of security for his dancers, so they will not be afraid to take chances.
Villella doesn't see Classicism as a static thing; his job is to pass on to his dancers the choreographer's original intent.
Gottlieb noted that Villella started to build a repertoire around a core of Balanchine (who is now represented by 30-35 works. Classics, including Giselle and Coppelia have been added over the years, as have works by other choreographers, including Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. Villella credits the dancers' ability to succeed in that range of ballets to the solidity of their Balanchinian background.
Villella said that an unwillingness to let Balanchine into the body is defensive, which is why providing a sense of security for his dancers is so important.
Gottlieb asked about training teachers in Balanchine technique -- whether it is better to bring them here, or to send emissaries out. Villella said the Trust should do both. The place to start is by getting teachers to acknowledge that Russian technique is a building block, and not an end in itself.
Villella noted his disapproval for competitions, in which prizes are given for tricks. You can do the tricks three times (as in Diana & Acteon pdd), but it isn't as moving as a good Apollo.
Interspersed within the conversation were the following excerpts, all choreography credited to Balanchine except Nine Sinatra Songs (Tharp) and Neighborhood Ballroom (Villella). Throughout, the dancers proved true Gottlieb's assessment at the program's opening.
The dancing was as follows.
Stravinsky Violin Cto./Aria I: Katia Carranzo and Renato Penteado
Ballo della Regina/PdD + Male & Female Vars: Mary Carmen Catoya and Mikhail Illyin
Agon/Male Var fr.1st Pas de Trois: Jeremy Cox
Nine Sinatra Songs/One for the Road: Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra
Symphony in 3 Mvts/pdd: Katia Carranza and Jeremy Cox
Diana & Acteon pdd: Mary Carmen Catoya and Luis Serrano
Stravisky Violin Cto./Aria II: Jennifer Kronenbert and Carlos Guerra
The Neighborhood Ballroom/Three Smokers: Renato Penteado, Luis Serrano and Jeremy Cox
Emeralds/Solo (Verdy's): Mary Carmen Catoya, [Walking] pdd: Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra
Nine Sinatra Songs/That's Life: Katia Carranza and Renato Penteado
Syvia pdd (in full): Mary Carmen Catoya and Mikhail Ilyin
Posted 06 April 2005 - 04:36 PM
carbro, on Apr 7 2005, 12:13 AM, said:
One of the great and infectious qualities of this company, IMO, is conveying joy. They're always game. No bored corps members here. And no walk-through solos. Great effort apparently goes into making it all appear effortless, a quality I appreciate a lot.
As to Villella's comment that only two of his dancers came from the School of American Ballet. The program lists 5 principals and principal soloists who "trained" at SAB, whatever that means. 3 are from Cuba and one each from Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, China, Brazil, and the North Carollina School of the Arts. Two recent principals, no longer with the company, were from France.
I wonder how this compares with other regional companies around the US?
Posted 06 April 2005 - 07:42 PM
bart, on Apr 7 2005, 07:36 PM, said:
It was one of the most enjoyable and instructive of these Works and Process lecture-dems, and I wish you'd been there, too, hockeyfan!
Posted 07 April 2005 - 12:41 PM
But doesn't this post rate a link over from the Balanchine centennial forum?
Posted 07 April 2005 - 03:21 PM
Jack Reed, on Apr 7 2005, 08:41 PM, said:
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