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Kings of the Dance

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Are you kidding? American audiences are going to love it. It's better than Jerry Springer.

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It’s probably worth mentioning that according to Johan Kobborg’s website (http://www.kobborg.co.uk/diary/cal.html) Alina Cojocaru is only confirmed for the Orange County performances. For NY, the casting for the Student is still TBA. Could be because Cojocaru is supposed to dance Ballet Imperial with the RB on Feb 25.

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It’s probably worth mentioning that according to Johan Kobborg’s website (http://www.kobborg.co.uk/diary/cal.html) Alina Cojocaru is only confirmed for the Orange County performances. For NY, the casting for the Student is still TBA. Could be because Cojocaru is supposed to dance Ballet Imperial with the RB on Feb 25.

That's interesting information - considering that City Center's website has listed Cojocaru on the program for about a week now...

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Johan Kobborg's site now gives the casting for The Lesson. In California the Student will be Alina Cojocaru and the Pianist will be Zenaida Yanowsky. In New York they will be Gudrun Boejeson (RDB) and Dierdre Chapman, respectively. Since this is his production, I suspect he knows...

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Oooh. Nice casts. It's a nasty little ballet, but worth seeing on either coast for those dancers.

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Personally, I don't think the photo gallery is a very good advert for Kings of the Dance. Stiefel doesn't come across very well on these photos - especially not the last one of him - and neither does Tsiskaridze.

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A long article by Laura Bleiberg of the Orange Country Register gives material on the four Kings and Christopher Wheeldon, including a set of seven photos. They discuss the state of ballet in American culture, the preparation of the new Wheeldon ballet, and changing from Jeune Homme to The Lesson, including Kobborg's playing Cojocaru's role in rehearsal!

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/enter...icle_993952.php

A quote:

"After much agonizing, it was decided the classical variations made the whole show too physically exhausting; instead, they were videotaped this past week for broadcast during the performances."

Note that Orange County prices are half those in New York.

You may also want to click on "kings of the dance" in the article. It will give interviews with each dancer and four more photos.

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Oh my........I am still catching my breath. Just returned home after seeing the opening of the Kings of Dance. This was an amazing night for ballet. A program well planned and performances that will linger forever within me. I was expecting to see a typical 'gala night' type performance. There was more depth and care given to this programing than I had anticipated. I feel blessed to have seen Kobborg dance "Faun" and absolutely taken by Tsiskaridze, especially his version of "Carmen".

More comments later.....it's late.

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Oh, please post about it as soon as you can, socalgal and anyone else who saw it - I'm dying to hear!!!

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Was anyone else at the Kings of Dance performance last night at O.C.P.A.C.?????

Bravo to all involved in bringing these four incredible artists together and for creating a program that had true artistry and not merely a technical fireworks showcasing. My being was lifted away while watching Kobborg perform Rushton's "Afternoon of a Faun". This was worth the entire entrance fee. Also, my first viewing of Nikolay Tsiskaridze - this is a special dancer with enormous talent. His group of solos from Carmen were the surprise of the night for me. A must see. Clever, humorous and beautifully danced.

Act I......the program was rearranged from its first announcement, opening with Wheeldon's group piece for the four men. A musical working of Shubert's "Death of a Maiden" which show cased nicely each of these men's fine talents.

Much of the movement was quite contemporary and blended well with all of the dancers. Infact, these four looked amazing dancing together. And when they were together or interlacing movements with one another, there was a good feeling of community among them. Very satisfying.......especially to see four such fantastic dancers melding their talents together so seamlessly on stage.....that was a 'wow' for me.

Act II.......

The Lesson was performed by Kobborg as the teacher. (originally it was listed as Angel dancing the Teacher on this night.) It was as creepy as the reviews I had read. wonderfully performed by Kobborg and a treat to see Cojocaru as the pupil and Yanowsky as the pianist. A moody piece, but it did not put a damper on this evening of dancing, incredible dancing.

Even if you did not like this ballet, and there is alot to be repulsed by these characters, you could admire the dramatic talent within the work.

Act III....... was filled by four solos, one for each dancer. The ranges were vast in style and content which I am supposing was designed for programing reasons.

Ethan danced admirably in "Wavemaker" but the choreography went nowhere for me and there is so much more he could have been given to show his talent. Nikolay came next with his Carmen solos. This is a must see. Brilliant and humorous as well. It was the unexpected thrill of the evening for me. Until Kobborg danced "Afternoon of a Faun". Kobborg transported me to the forest and his creature like rendering was amazing and musically satisfying while listening to Debussy's tone poem. This is a performance I will never forget. Angel follows and does what I think Angel does best. Smile and jump and turn and be charming. Stanton Welch's "We Got It Good" was nifty theatrical Broadway type show piece for him and it was a ton of fun watching Angel in his tux pants, an unbuttoned white shirt with bow tie undone and hair fixed so it would move to the music. What a kick.

Ofcourse, they did an encore.....which was what one might consider typical for a night like this. But it was OK by me. These four dancers deserved to blow off steam after the great artistic work that came before.....

Go see this if you can........oh....and there is a wonderful film before the concert with rehearsal footage and interviews with each gentelman anda few of the choreographers. Bravo to the presenters of this!!! :tiphat:

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Oh, phooey; I had my el cheapo subscription ticket for last night (waaaaay up in Tier 3) but decided I'd save myself for my Sat. subscription ticket which is in a terrific location. Fearing a Las Vegas type of show I figured once would be enough. Looks like I was wrong. Corella was partnering Cojocaru; had it been Kobborg I would have gone. Live and learn. I'll be there Sat., and thanks to your review, socalgal, I'm looking forward to it a lot more than I was yesterday. Thanks!

Giannina

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:tiphat: So sorry you passed on last night............I am curious as to who exactly will be dancing the role of teacher in THe Lesson for the other performances. It is a complex work and seems that it would be tough for all of them to perform it at Kobborg's level for just one performance each.

Another interesting note on last night was the greatness of each dancer was coupled with distinct diversity in each man's dancing style and personality. And they all managed to be humbled by one another. The respect they each carried for one another was extremely visable, especially in the preperformance film.

I am going to try and go Sunday again.........

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Stiefel is scheduled to dance Kobborg's role in The Lesson Sat. night. I guess they all get a crack at it.

Giannina

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I went to Friday night's performance also. Certainly a fun night all around - though for me the real highlight was Johan Kobborg. While the other dancers (Stiefel, Corella and Tsiskaridze) were all good in their own rights, only Kobborg showed artistry. He acted as well as danced, and he had the virtuosity just as much as any of them. Perhaps it was the choreography he was given tonight, but I was most impressed by him. He was wonderful in "The Lesson" and it was also fantastic to see him create a character and a story arc in his vanity solo, "Afternoon of a Faun."

"The Lesson" was a real winner, with finely acted - as well as danced - performances from all three Royal Ballet dancers (Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru and Zenaida Yanowsky). A treat, as was said above, to see Cojocaru's brightness and easy way with technique and character up there on stage.

Corella wins the virtuoso award of the night, with flying leaps and never-ending spins. Steifel seemed the most popular, drawing the biggest cheers from the crowd just for appearing. Tsiskaridze was the classically tall prince, and certainly a show man with his solos from Carmen.

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Of course, Kobborg does have a big advantage over the other 3 dancers in The Lesson - his partner, his production - while the other three have had only a very short time to rehearse the work (what with all the casting and programme changes).

Did anyone see the Saturay night performance? Come on...I can't wait to hear about it!

Socalgal, I'm interested by what you say of Tsiskaridze's solos being the biggest surprise of the night - in what way? Choreography...impersonation...dancing...? And just by the way, can you tell me which piece/s of music it was from Carmen that he danced to?

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Regarding 'The Lesson", it would not surprise me if Kobborg did all performances of this ballet. I cannot figure how the others could have the time to learn a complex dramatic ballet on short notice. Kobborg did dance it last night again as Ethan S. bowed out due to 'knee injury' says the OC Register review today.

If I go on about my impressions of Tsiskaridze's "Carmen" I might spoil it for those who will see this program later. He takes on the roles of Don Jose and Escamillo as well as the title role from the Bizet score. Chris Pasles, critic of the Los Angeles Times, was not as enthralled with this piece(according to today's review) as myself. Maybe it is because I had never seen Nikolay dance before. Also,the night needed humor and Nikolay provided it and more. I personally thought Petit's choreographic staging quite clever. The role changes are done on stage with the use of props and a 'propman', neatly crafted into the musical pauses.

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Regarding 'The Lesson", it would not surprise me if Kobborg did all performances of this ballet.  I cannot figure how the others could have the time to learn a complex dramatic ballet on short notice.  Kobborg did dance it last night again as  Ethan S. bowed out due to 'knee injury' says the OC Register review today. 

The OC Register preview article cited above on Feb 14 tells of Kobborg teaching the role to the others; indeed, taking Alina's part before she arrived so they would have sufficient time to learn their role. Kobborg's website also has a lot of commentary by him on the group's preparations. Good luck to Ethan.

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Angel Corella was scheduled to perform in The Lesson on Thursday and was replaced by Kobborg. Ethan was scheduled to perform it on Friday and was replaced by Kobborg. Would love to hear if any of the other men do perform this piece......

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Ohmygoodness!

In spite of socalgal's glowing review I still went to Kings of the Dance Saturday night with trepidation.

Act I was OK, pretty much what I expected.

Act II. Corella danced in The Lesson. I had hoped to see Kobborg but I am SO glad Corella danced tonight. Corella is forever the cutesie pie pixie, handsome as all get out, a cut up with dazzling technique. In The Lesson he is deranged. Corella deranged! It was so unlike his usual persona that I couldn't take my eyes off his face. His partnering was top notch. I haven't seen Cojocaru for a while and had forgotten how wonderful she is. She dances part of The Lesson in ballet shoes rather than on pointe, which is not my cup of tea, but her feet are actually more beautiful in soft shoes than in pointe shoes. She looked great. Yanowsky was the very strange pianist! It's a shame we couldn't see her in a role in which she could show her tremendous talent but it was nice to see her anyway.

Act III was one of life's great surprises. Stiefel looked so good in his solo: a strange piece that you just interpreted in your own way. I've never seen him look better. It is difficult to discribe Tsiskaridze style. In Carmen he was both Don Jose and Carmen. I know the ballet Carmen very well; along with Alexandra, my love of Carmen is one of my secret delights. Tsiskaridze began as Don Jose and his long legs amplified every step. I couldn't believe it when he entered as Carmen (signaled by a red fan appearing from the side). Zizi Jeanmarie sensuous legs and feet in this ballet are not to be forgotten, and Tsiskaridze's feet are as articulate as Jeanmarie's. He injected comedy in his transistions from one section to another, which kept the performance itself from becoming a joke. Wonderful. Then, THEN....Kobborg in Afternoon of a Faun. I echo socalgal's sentiments; this was a performance that had to be seen. Kobborg was a revelation; he was mesmerizing as he played with a spotlight and discovered life and himself. Graceful, sensuous (that word again), emotional; I just can't describe it. I was in tears by the end and didn't want it to stop. But it did with a jolting contrast: Corella dancing Ellington. I knew it was coming and hoped it wouldn't be as jarring as I feared but it was. Corella was his old self; cute, lots of spins and mugging....good old Corella. The audience ate it up.

An encore and it was over. One couldn't help but notice the difference levels of applause as each dancer bowed. Corella was the winner, and I think sensational Kobborg came in last. I'll never forget Kobborg's performance tonight.

Giannina

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I was lucky enough to see Lesson (Enetime) with Johan Kobborg on Friday and Nikolay Tsiskaridze on Sunday, having seen it a few years ago in Copenhagen with Nikolaj Hübbe. I skipped Angel's performance on Saturday, I could not imagine him in this role, from Giannina's post it looks like I was mistaken.

Alina was the perfect student, not just a great dancer and the ideal physical type (young and delicate) for the part, she displayed a full range of emotion -- enthusiasm, apprehension, fatique, competitiveness, dedication, and fear (romantic love was simply not in the script). There was even some slapstick.

I preferred Johan as the lovesick Faun to Johan as the lecherous teacher. His dancing was supurb in both, but in the Lesson ("Enetime" in Danish) his character seemed two dimensional and was more comical than menacing. Nikolay was the most convincing, great dancing, but you could see and even feel his inner torment, at the beginning somehat obscured by insecurity and at the end overcome with shock.

After returning home, I found a TV trailer for Enetime, which I had downloaded several years ago from the Royal Danish website. The trailer inlcluded a couple of minutes of interview (in Danish, which I don't understand) with Hubbe, and a few clips of his rehearsal and peformance in Enetime. A great performance technically, and quite credible emotionally, but somewhat cold in comparision with Nikolay.

So I can count three recent performances of a forty year old classic (four including Angel, which I did not see), all very different, all quite satisfying, which just goes to show that there is still plenty of life left in Flindt's choreography, and that this will continue to challenge (and satisfy) dancers and audiences for generations to come.

As to the new works on the program (5 world premieres) I have little to add to the other reviewers in this forum, other than to say that each piece was even more rewarding when seen a second time, and that each piece was completely different from the others. All in all, a well constructed program that all concerned should be proud of.

PS

There was a photographer from the Orange County Register at the Sunday performance who was taking hundreds of photos with two different comeras, each with a huge lens. He tells me some of these should be appearing in Tuesday's paper, and will probably also be available for sale on the paper's website.

PPS

There is an honest and incitefull review of Thursday's performance at http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/enter...cle_1005396.php

Also some rehearsal gossip and photos at

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/enter...icle_993952.php

and

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/enter...icle_994027.php

(If the link is corrupted, search for Kobborg)

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Great first post, John! And thanks for the links!

For those who expected an answer to the question that kicks off this thread, there's Ethan Steifel on the very subject: "Why can't we do the same thing the three tenors did, but with dancers?" (from the "gossip" link :beg: )

I hope you'll stop by our Welcome Page, tell us a little about yourself! :D

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After returning home, I found a TV trailer for Enetime, which I had downloaded several years ago from the Royal Danish website.  The trailer inlcluded a couple of minutes of interview (in Danish, which I don't understand) with Hubbe, and a few clips of his rehearsal and peformance in Enetime.  A great performance technically, and quite credible emotionally, but somewhat cold in comparision with Nikolay. 

Could you please provide a link to this? I'd love to see it as well. :D

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I am so sorry I missed Nikolay's performance in 'The Lesson'! And glad to hear that the other 2 men gave satisfying performances as well. Can't wait to hear what the NYers think of this production.....

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The Kings are now in NYC. Johan Kobborg, writing from his hotel overlooking Central Park comments on how cold the weather looks from his window. He says the OC shows went very well and the dancers had a good time.

http://www.kobborg.co.uk/mess3/index.html

A quote:

"Chris's [Wheeldon] piece turned out really well, and the solo that Tim Rushton did for me seems to be a big HIT."

(don't be misled by the typo "20 Jan")

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