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Gottlieb on DTH and Farrell Ballet

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#1 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

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Posted 12 October 2001 - 08:37 PM

Robert Gottlieb hangs his review in the 8th October "New York Observer" on the peg of contrasting the directions two Balanchine alums have taken with their companies: Arthur Mitchell's DTH has presented Balanchine "pumped up with inappropraite smiles and other cutenesses - they've been selling Balanchine rather than dancing him. This season there's no Balanchine at all"; although he thought van Heerden's "Passion of the Blood" "had solid virtures", he complains of the absence of a convincing DTH aesthetic.

Farrell's programs could hardly be more different: "What Ms. Farrell understands completely is how energy at the service of music is the source of the Balanchine look: focused energy, not febrile energy, like so much of Harlem's. ... Her principals were a disparate lot - none of them really distinguished, [I'm sure he saw only some pre-Boal performances] but all of them giving everything they had. ... "Movements for Piano and Orchestra" ... was particularly strong. Canada's Jennifer Fournier lacks amplitude but her cool, precise attack worked well here. Runqiao Du held his own, and the six corps girls were flawless. ... "Duo Concertant" was rescued on the second night by Natalia Magnicaballi and Ben Huys, ... the hero of the whole event. ... He's another guy whose talent Ms. Farrell has unlocked; she did it for Philip Neal last year. Again and again, she makes dancers we know look better than they've looked before. ...
Ms. Fournier's cool came across as toughness in "Slaughter" ... the corps was out there prancing up a storm, the comedy came across, and Mr. Huys hoofed charmingly. ...
"Chan Han Goh [is] a soft, appealing dancer whose effect is consistent but small. ... "Sonnambula was helped by the strong, vibrant Coquette of Christina Fagundes, the dazed and dazzled poet of Mr. Huys and, again, the vivid dancing of the corps. .... Best of all, the live music, conducted by Ron Matson, enhanced every ballet ...
"In the last several months, the Kennedy Center has presented the Farrell company, Engalnd's Royal Ballet and Miami City Ballet, none of which will perform in New York this year. Is our capital city becoming our new dance capital as well?"

The whole review is about half a page; I thought it's well worth reading, allowing for his early departure from Washington and even though I don't quite agree completely with everything in it, I post these excerpts because we get most of the reviews here via links but not, usually, Robert Gottlieb's. "Tough", unflattering term that it is, is the word I was trying to find for Fournier's Strip-Tease Girl. It fits. If she eventually learns even a little of Farrell's combination of innocence and sensuality in this part, it will help.

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