Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Juliet

Don Quixote, Kennedy Center, June 22-26th

89 posts in this topic

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, ami1433 -- great stuff! :)

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks so much Jack- that's exactly what i was looking for!! :)

Share this post


Link to post

I was rewatching the pieces of the dream sequence excerpted in Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse last night and a couple of things occurred to me.

First of all, I am not a fan of dance on film as a general rule, as anything but a last resort. It is no comparison to the real thing. That said, there was fluidity, risk and life, even in the grainy, poorly shot film of Farrell dancing the dream sequence that simply wasn't there when I saw Ogden do the same sequence. It was technically perfect and, certainly, there was no doubt it was hard, but d'Amboise described Farrell as being "possessed" and dancing with "abandon," which isn't something I could see on the Opera House stage and, yet, I saw even on that rather muddy film.

Share this post


Link to post

Dance on film or video is never quite as effective for me as it is on stage if I have a decent seat, but sometimes qualities of performance compensate - or overcompensate - for the limitations of the medium. In other words, I can be more moved by a fair bit of film than by a real performance seen from a good seat. I also saw the Don Q clips in Elusive Muse recently, and I quite agree with your comments, Michelle W.

Not that I would want to see anyone imitate Farrell; that would be alien to the Balanchine way. (Indeed, Farrell danced differently each night, although her movement was recognizably, uniquely hers.) I gather from someone in the production that she shows Ron Matson (her Music Director) more than she does her dancers in order to have an expressive musical performance but to prevent her dancers from imitating her. I don't have all the details, but apparently, once the dancers have the steps and some general comments from her, it's largely up to them. In this connection, I remember once asking one of her principals whether she was perfecting her role, as I had seen several performances and they had been rather different. "Oh no," she exclaimed, "I hear the music differently each night."

Nevertheless, I might have liked to see a little more abandon, too, but I note Ogden is still listed as Soloist. If she - or anyone - ever becomes anywhere near as "abandoned" as Farrell, I expect they will look like themselves, not like Farrell or anyone else.

Share this post


Link to post

Farrell's rankings seem a bit arbitrary. Both Ogden and Kish were just promoted to principal level at NBoC.

Share this post


Link to post
Not that I would want to see anyone imitate Farrell; that would be alien to the Balanchine way.  (Indeed, Farrell danced differently each night, although her movement was recognizably, uniquely hers.)  I gather from someone in the production that she shows Ron Matson (her Music Director) more than she does her dancers in order to have an expressive musical performance but to prevent her dancers from imitating her.

One of the few -- but consistent -- criticisms of Farrell's staging of Scotch Symphony on the Kirov was how the company had picked up her idiosyncracies. To the degree that dancers learn by imitating, it is hard to avoid when everything is demonstrated. The dancers may not know how to distinguish between choreography and Farrell's personal style.
I remember once asking one of her principals whether she was perfecting her role, as I had seen several performances and they had been rather different.  "Oh no," she exclaimed, "I hear the music differently each night."

A very Farrellesque reply!

Leigh, because of the pick-up nature of her company, with dancers often having prevailing obligations elsewhere that limit their availability to her company (which usually includes a lengthy tour), I suspect that her rankings are determined in some ratio of number of performances to the level of their roles. Remember, her roots are deep in a company where rank, vis-a-vis rep, during the years she was there, was sometimes incomprehensible. :sweatingbullets:

Share this post


Link to post

First came Robert Greskovic's superb Wall Street Journal Review. Now in today's links, there's Robert Gottlieb's extraordinary one in the New York Observer. This review was so deeply felt, so much in tune with my own feelings about Balanchine and admiration and love for Suzanne, that it had me in tears.

Share this post


Link to post

I was not a fan of Don Q in 1965 and admit to skepticism about the Farrell revival before reading all the posts on this thread.

Gottlieb's review is so rich in thought and description that it got me to reconsider and hope very much to see this ballet after 40 plus years.

I found his placement of Balanchine's work in the history of our culture especially important:

QUOTE: "The lesson we learned in Washington is that although we didn't know we've been missing it since it vanished almost 30 years ago, Don Quixote does still matter, both for its own sake and because of its unique place in the Balanchine canon. WHEN YOU'RE DEALING WITH A SUPREME MASTER -- A SHAKESPEARE, A MOZART -- YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO REVISIT HIS ENTIRE CORPUS OF WORK. You need King Lear all the time, but every decade or so you also need Timon of Athens. Otherwise your understanding of a genius like Shakespeare --or Balanchine -- is diminshed, and so are you."

Way to go! :wink:

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the quote from Gottlieb, bart. I hope to read it soon.

I was so stunned by the beauty and variety of this neglected and much maligned work, that it forced me to remember how some of Mozart's operas, such as the glorious Cosi Fan Tutte lay unperformed through much of the 19th century.

If you can imagine hearing that music as it was being rediscovered, that's how I felt "discovering" Balanchine's Don Quixote. I thought it a triumph for Ms. Farrell.

...and I'm sure someone heard a warm chuckle from Mr. B, wherever he is.

Watermill

Share this post


Link to post
I thought it a triumph for Ms. Farrell.

...and I'm sure someone heard a warm chuckle from Mr. B, wherever he is.

I think Mr. B was right there, at the Kennedy Center, with Ms Farrell.

Share this post


Link to post

You know, I think so too. After all, didn't he go where he was wanted (and away from where he was not)? Early on, he worked in France, Denmark, England, but they didn't really want him there. More recently, - someone - at the New York State Theatre said into a TV camera, "This is the house of Balanchine!", and I thought, Yes, but Balanchine doesn't live there anymore. I think you're right, FF.

Share this post


Link to post

You all probably caught this article in Tuesday's NY Times by Gia Kourlas Is It Fusion or Just a Mishmash of 2 Forms? - which I thought was a great article for it's general theme.

Within the piece Ms. Kourlas wrote:

...At its core, contemporary ballet is regurgitation - with point shoes and bare legs - of the modern-dance aesthetic. What many of today's choreographers seem to overlook is that when an art form is transported to a higher level, the result has nothing to do with borrowing from the past but everything to do with courage of conviction and imagination. Still, many contemporary-ballet choreographers are creating their own limitations by using the same rulebook.

Strangely enough, Suzanne Farrell's masterly reconstruction of Balanchine's "Don Quixote," a ballet from 1965 performed in June at the Kennedy Center in Washington, turned out to be one of the boldest choreographic experiments in recent memory. Full of psychological twists and technical rigor, the ballet had nothing remotely old-fashioned about it, and it revealed a darker, more mystical side of Balanchine. "Don Quixote" is at once timeless and contemporary. It needs to be seen by New York audiences; the Lincoln Center Festival and the Brooklyn Academy's Next Wave series seem to exist for the sole purpose of presenting ballet of this magnitude.

Thought if anyone missed this, they'd appreciate it. :blink:

Fortunately, she doesn't end her article on this note but, instead, goes on to say it's important to remember that "ballet didn't die along with Balanchine". She mentions current choreographers of talent by name... And, finally, Ms. Kourlas finishes off by placing her bet on ballet's "dark horse" Brian Reeder to win.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks carbo - I couldn't seem to find it this morning but knew it had to be somewhere! :blush: :P

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0