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A Month in the CountryLes Biches et al


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#16 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 12:34 AM

Carol - I discuss it at length on my blog.

http://www.leighwitc...balanchine.html

I saw both casts. I'm afraid I was not at all pleased.

#17 carolm

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 01:46 AM

Carol - I discuss it at length on my blog.

http://www.leighwitc...balanchine.html

I saw both casts.  I'm afraid I was not at all pleased.

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If you did not like this performances count yourslef lucky that you did not see the Royal do it a few months ago.<s> I take in what you said in your blog but I still go back to my point that not being that familar with the Balanchine style, I thought the Tuesday performence excellent. Is it a case of "ignorance is bliss"?
Carol

#18 atm711

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 04:36 AM

Leigh---who, if any, from the 'Balanchine Trust' staged and rehearsed them? :smilie_mondieu:

#19 sylvia

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Posted 09 June 2005 - 10:14 AM

Happen to still have my cast sheet on me :smilie_mondieu: Symphony in C staging was by Christopher Carr and Grant Coyle.

Looking at The Dream's principal coaching, Jonathan Cope is included. He's never danced Oberon although he expressed a wish that he wasn't too tall to dance it a couple years ago. It makes me curious if he danced any other role in Dream, (though dancing a role doesn't appear to be a pre-requisite for being able to coach it here) - I'll have to ask around!

Carol, I preferred the casts for Symphony in C a few months back myself :) - Roberta Marquez, Darcey Bussell, Deirdre Chapman and Tamara Rojo/Sarah Lamb. Sarah reprised her role in the 4th movement last night and stood out for me the most. I've never seen NYCB or POB live on stage sadly - will need to rectify that somehow, someday!

#20 ami1436

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 01:40 AM

Sylvia - the cast you saw a few months back is the one I saw as well, and I really enjoyed them.

Cope's been doing a lot of principal coaching lately - for Dream, Ondine, R&J, etc.... and it seems to be paying off rather well, I think....

Anyways, this is off topic, and I'm not seeing this bill til next week... so will keep reading until then!

#21 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 06:20 AM

I felt Balanchine would be very disappointed had he seen them dance in an unruly style. 

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carolm - just one final point of information - Balanchine was known to actually like what might be considered an unruly style! He liked it when dancers fell, if they fell because they were moving to the fullest. Also there's a famous quote about gardens - I'm going to mangle this because I'm posting from Beattie's basement cafe in Brum (the things we do for affordable Internet access!) He said in essence that English gardens were clipped and manicured but that Russian gardens were long and wild.

#22 carolm

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Posted 10 June 2005 - 07:14 AM

carolm - just one final point of information - Balanchine was known to actually like what might be considered an unruly style!

I guess I was putting my thoughts in his mouth.<s>
Carol

#23 nysusan

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 06:04 AM

carolm - just one final point of information - Balanchine was known to actually like what might be considered an unruly style! 

I guess I was putting my thoughts in his mouth.<s> 
Carol

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Hi carolm! This is :flowers: , I know, but I still have to throw my 2 cents in here and elaborate a little on Leigh’s post. I actually chuckled a bit when I read your comments about Jewels in the NYCB forum. As someone who saw the NYCB frequently in the 70’s when the master was still around, and then took a hiatus from the company until 2 years ago, let me say that the first thing I noticed when I started watching them again was how much more cohesive the corps had become. That was one of the things that really put me off the company back in the day. There’s a quote about Balanchine’s corps that I ran across in one of the forums here “24 girls doing 24 different things at 24 different times”. I don’t recall which poster said it, and if they were quoting someone else - but it sums up my memories of the old NYCB perfectly. I found it unbelievably jarring but I guess that was the way he liked it. Of course,it’s not as if all the NYCB had to offer was a wild, unruly corps of model-thin needle head girls - there was also Balanchine’s genius & amazing performances by the likes of Farrell, McBride, Kent,Villella, et al. I remember some astounding evenings - the first time I saw Concerto Barocco, Apollo, Symphony in C, etc. - but in the end I just couldn’t get past that unruly corps & spent the bulk of my time & money at ABT.

By the way, I love the RB and have really enjoyed reading all of your posts here. I fell in love with Symphonic Variations when ABT did it, even though I didn’t think the ballerinas they cast did it justice. I’m so jealous of you all, and disappointed that they’re not bringing it to the U.S. on their tour next year.

Susan

#24 carolm

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 09:44 AM

carolm - just one final point of information - Balanchine was known to actually like what might be considered an unruly style! 

I guess I was putting my thoughts in his mouth.<s> 
Carol

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Hi carolm! This is :flowers: , I know, but I still have to throw my 2 cents in here and elaborate a little on Leigh’s post. I actually chuckled a bit when I read your comments about Jewels in the NYCB forum. As someone who saw the NYCB frequently in the 70’s when the master was still around, and then took a hiatus from the company until 2 years ago, let me say that the first thing I noticed when I started watching them again was how much more cohesive the corps had become. That was one of the things that really put me off the company back in the day. There’s a quote about Balanchine’s corps that I ran across in one of the forums here “24 girls doing 24 different things at 24 different times”.
Susan

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I really had no idea that Balanchine was not that bothered about the corps. And here I was criticising the NYCB while all along they were doing just what was expected! And...even though I now know that Mr. B. would approve--I still do not.<s>
Carol

#25 carbro

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 01:23 PM

There’s a quote about Balanchine’s corps that I ran across in one of the forums here “24 girls doing 24 different things at 24 different times”.  I don’t recall which poster said it, . . .

That would be me.

. . . and if they were quoting someone else - but it sums up my memories of the old NYCB perfectly.  I found it unbelievably jarring but I guess that was the way he liked it.

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Most of the time I enjoyed it very much. But the only reason I can say that is that I went so often. If I attended three or four times a year, if I didn't go often enough to know every single corps dancer, I don't think I would have liked it. And if I lived in a place where NYCB was just passing through on tour, it would have driven me crazy.

But one of the great joys of the RB in the old days was the magnificent cohesion of the corps. The viewer hardly saw 24 girls at all, but rather a single organism sharing a single breath. While NYCB's corps has become tamer, the RB has been moving in another direction. (One reason for that may be relaxed height restrictions.)

#26 NNatalie

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Posted 11 June 2005 - 05:24 PM

I have not been impressed with the way the company performed Symphony in C this season but I do think that the Royal can dance it better than this. To be fair to the dancers, Symphony in C was likely not given priority during rehearsals and the dancers were probably not coached in this ballet as intensively as they should have been. After all, the focus of this season has been on Ashton, as well as other important revivals like McMillan’s Rite of Spring, which are new to most of the dancers in the company. I think Symphony in C is the only Balanchine ballet that the Royal stage and rehearse themselves (as far as I can remember last season Agon and Prodigal Son were staged by Patricia Neary) and this may be where the problem is. Perhaps they would benefit from having someone from the Trust coming over. But all in all, I would refrain from making a general statement about how well (or badly) the Royal can dance Balanchine based on this season’s performances alone.

#27 ami1436

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Posted 12 June 2005 - 04:19 AM

I agree with NNatalie here, and also wanted to pick up on carbo's comment on the RB corp. While the heights do vary, I actually think the corps has really cleaned itself up in the past few years (under Mason), and this might be in relation to/due to their performance in intensive corps pieces, such as Les Noces and the current Rite of Spring... I thought they were fabulous in the last act of the last Swan Lake I saw as well, and as the fairies in Dream. This is a huge improvement from the messy shades scenes of a few years ago. That all said, the new Bruce ballet (Three Songs, Two Voices) sees a chaotic corps - I don't like the choreography for the corps at all in this, but they performed it messier, but energetically. I don't know if this was intended or because it was new, but I do wonder how that 'look' would work with some of the Balanchine works.

#28 Becca_King

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Posted 19 June 2005 - 11:26 PM

'Looking at The Dream's principal coaching, Jonathan Cope is included. He's never danced Oberon although he expressed a wish that he wasn't too tall to dance it a couple years ago. It makes me curious if he danced any other role in Dream, (though dancing a role doesn't appear to be a pre-requisite for being able to coach it here) - I'll have to ask around!'

Do you think Cope is moving particularly to coaching taller dancers, perhaps regardless of role to a certain extent? He coached Pennefather in Month (so did Dowell - how I would have liked to sit in on those rehearsals!) and I think that both Watson in Dream and Pennefather in Month had an air of...I don't know - confidence? I'm pretty sure he coached Watson in R&J as well.

#29 sylvia

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 12:52 AM

Do you think Cope is moving particularly to coaching taller dancers, perhaps regardless of role to a certain extent? He coached Pennefather in Month (so did Dowell - how I would have liked to sit in on those rehearsals!) and I think that both Watson in Dream and Pennefather in Month had an air of...I don't know - confidence? I'm pretty sure he coached Watson in R&J as well.

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I hadn't thought of that but it's an interesting thought. I get the impression from interviews, books etc that some/most principal dancers have a coach that works with them for most ballets. (A question for the next insight day!) Darcey Bussell's written her principal coach is Donald Macleary. So I'll be curious to see if Cope has a continuing role in Watson and Pennefather's development.

I agree 100% about Watson and Pennefather's confidence in Dream and Month! I've said somewhere else that having seen Watson dance a number of somewhat passive roles - Romeo, Palemon - it was thrilling to see him dance Oberon so commandingly and with so much vigour. Likewise for Pennefather, he made the role of Beliaev belong to him. I thought both performances were infused with little details that must have come from many hours in the studio.

#30 Becca_King

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Posted 20 June 2005 - 04:41 AM

It's certainly heartening that as Cope begins to drop roles from his dancing rep., he adds roles to his coaching rep. He's been in the Royal Ballet institution almost all his life (and probably knows ballets that he hasn't actually danced just from years of watching rehearsals, and performances from the wings) and I'd hate to see him just disappear, but thankfully it looks like that isn't going to be the case.


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