Kennedy Center PerformanceNovember 22-27, 2005
Posted 28 November 2005 - 05:56 PM
It is also true that once one sees a lot of major ballet companies one realizes that loud point shoes are a recurring problem and sometimes, contrary to expectation, the greatest companies can be the worst. (A lot depends, too, on where one is sitting and the theater acoustics etc.) It's not ideal, but most ballet lovers come to overlook it. This forum actually had an entire thread devoted to the subject recently! I can't do links, but you could probably track it down.
I have always found La Source delightful--it's meant to evoke an earlier, lighter style of classical dancing (French nineteenth-century rather than Russian), but certainly not meant to be a parody. In a musical performance, the second soloist can seem as if she is riding on air. Obviously, I haven't the faintest idea why it struck you the way it did, but I would echo what others have said about the dangers (and unfairness) of making judgements based on rehearsals. I would particularly emphasize that Farrell's company is something in the nature of a laboratory rather than an institution: it doesn't have a long performing season or a school. These dancers aren't rehearsing roles they have known for years or even been watching others dance for years. So watching a rehearsal may be a little like tasting fruit that isn't quite ripe (as opposed to watching a skater "run through" a program without jumps). I assume that makes Farrell's rehearsals all the more fascinating for some watchers--those who are curious about the process of developing the performances--but it may make them less approachable for others, especially if they haven't seen much ballet to begin with. Of course, I'm just speculating--but I thought you sounded sincerely baffled by the gap between your experience and that of others, so I thought I would give it a try.
Posted 28 November 2005 - 07:06 PM
Posted 28 November 2005 - 07:14 PM
Another experiment you might try if you can is to see different casts in the same program (when I did this, it quickly sensitized me to qualities of performance) even though it might seem a little extravagant in comparison with seeing two different programs once each. I notice you're quite engaged, I mean involved, with what you see, and that's good. I'd say, experiment as you can, whatever way seems promising at the time, and something will come of that engagement.
I was at the Tuesday rehearsal, too, and noticed quite a lot of "marking"; sometimes a sequence danced full would be followed by one "marked" and then another one full, or one dancer would mark while their partner danced full. You didn't say whether you'd seen many rehearsals, so maybe part of it was not adjusting to all these changes and differences.
Getting the right distance from the stage matters, too. (Now I'm going to indulge myself a little more and relive seeing the last performances while seated at my computer.) What a difference five rows can make! From this much closer to the stage the program seemed so much better on Sunday night. The biggest improvement for me came in Duo Concertant; it's not a ballet I expect to be ravished in, but Magnicaballi's deliciously clear and supple dancing made it that, and I enjoyed Du's admirable combination of articulation and flow in La Source much more than on Tuesday, too, not to mention his quiet landings. I think the subtle virtues of these two dancers just don't carry well. Shannon Parsley was triumphant - large, full, gleaming - in the principal role in La Source, with Pickard's superb demi. (There was nothing tentative about Pickard in the principal role at the matinee.)
I enjoyed the fun of Clarinade yet again, and noticed that Matson, not Mahoney-Du, cues the musicians, contrary to what I thought I had noticed. (Oops!) And La Valse just seemed more present, for the most part, as it would be from the right distance; as for Ansanelli, her tendency to draw attention to herself and her little novelties (and away from what she is dancing) was the more visible, too.
Cheryl Sladkin note: In a display case in the foyer of the Eisenhower Theatre, along with Holly Hynes's costume for the principal woman in Tzigane were some small photos of Farrell's company, including one of Sladkin in "The Unanswered Question" from Ivesiana. Back home now, I don't find her name on the MCB roster. (Another oops.) But remember Google.
Posted 29 November 2005 - 03:43 PM
Posted 03 December 2005 - 08:07 AM
Posted 05 December 2005 - 12:50 PM
Posted 05 December 2005 - 01:14 PM
Posted 05 December 2005 - 02:51 PM
Dale, we can hope. I thought the camera work was fine when Miami City Ballet performed Rubies for Villella in '97.
And I say this with expentant dread, the more corps to a peice, the more the camera men try to get cute or artisitic. That's why it's always best to do a pas de deux at these things -- it keeps it simple for the director who fears everybody is going to turn their TVs off during the ballet.
Posted 25 December 2005 - 06:45 PM
As for the Thanksgiving-week peformances, I agree that La Source was a good choice for the reason Bill gives; if I felt the ballet was a little under-realized in the main roles, especially as early in the run as Tuesday, it's probably because - I'm sorry if this comes across as boastful, when I only intend to say where I'm coming from - I saw several performances of it under the choreographer's supervison, with Violete Verdy in the principal woman's role. The ballet was, and remains, one of my favorites. And similarly for the principal roles in La Valse. Thanks for your post, Bill, it's the kind of thing that helps me to believe what I saw really happened, although you put things a little differently, from your different perspective.
Posted 26 December 2005 - 02:10 PM
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