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Kings of the DanceA "3 Tenors" situation?


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#46 John in Sierra Madre

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:10 PM

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.ocregiste...cle_1005396.php
Also some rehearsal gossip and photos at
http://www.ocregiste...icle_993952.php
and
http://www.ocregiste...icle_994027.php
(If the link is corrupted, search for Kobborg)

#47 carbro

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 12:45 AM

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

#48 Giselle05

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 08:20 AM

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. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



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

#49 socalgal

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 08:55 AM

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.....

#50 drb

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 09:31 AM

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.c...ess3/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")

#51 Andre Yew

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Posted 23 February 2006 - 05:53 PM

I wanted to enjoy this show, but didn't. It didn't show why men should be dancing ballet by showing unique things that only the guys can do: their unique stage presence, gesture, etc. If this was a regular show, then it may have been OK, but to put together 4 guys who are billed as among the best male ballet dancers in the world dancing fairly mediocre choreography that had nothing to say (Wheeldon's "For 4" and Christe's "Wavemaker" for Steifel) about anything, much less male ballet dancing, showing a misogynistic relationship as the only partnering demonstration with women in the show ("The Lesson"), and having an amazingly convincing cross-gender dance ("Carmen") really does a disservice to the public image of the male ballet dancer. Show us why men should be in ballet in the first place. Only Kobborg's Faun, and to a lesser extent Corrella's solo, demonstrated this. I found the old videos of Baryshnikov, Nureyev, Dowell, Vasiliev, etc. being shown in the lobby far more compelling arguments.

I attended the Sunday OC performance with Tsiskaridze dancing the teacher.

--Andre

#52 zerbinetta

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 12:31 AM

While I cannot disagree about the mediocre choreography, I wasn't expecting any great choreography, only great dancing. And that we got.

The film started the evening off here as well, giving tempting snippets of Kobborg's beats, Tsiskaridze's jumps, etc. along with some "interview" type chatter with all four men.

The Wheeldon ballet is a Party Piece, but a good one, showing off The Kings, their similarities & their differences.

The Lesson was, indeed, a revelation for Corella's committed & intense performance. In fact, he was wonderful all night, keeping his razzle dazzle moves to a minimum & only one multiple floor turn doing its usual "tilt" because he went for one too many turns. This was in his solo, which was charming.

Ethan's solo was solid angst. I can only handle so much angst but it was danced beautifully.

Kobborg's Faun may be a good ballet but, tonight, it was difficult to tell between the dancer & the dance. He is such a gorgeous & musical dancer, he could make almost anything look good.

Tsiskaridze is totally back in shape now. Wonderful as he was this summer in Pharoah's Daughter & Bright Stream, he still had a bit of extra fleshiness above the waist. That's gone & he has as much "luft" as ever in his astonishing jumps. His Carmen solo had him in full ballerino form, Bullfighter, Zesty Temptress with a fan & despairing lover (who kiills himself!) all. It doesn't make much sense, but neither does Petit's morphing of Escamillo & Jose, so why not?

Great fun!

#53 Giannina

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 09:52 AM

Did Cojocaru perform with them?

Giannina

#54 TutuMaker

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 10:51 AM

Yes, Ms. Cojacaru was in every performance in O.C.

#55 Giannina

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 11:34 AM

Thanks, Maggie, but since Zerbinetta is from New York I assumed she was seeing the performances there and I wondered if Cojocaru had traveled with the production. Maybe I'm jumping the gun here.

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#56 zerbinetta

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 01:11 PM

No, Giannina, Cojocaru was not scheduled for NY. Gudrun Bojeson was the student here. A big, healthy girl & a strong dancer. More than Cojocaru the physical type called for in the play by Ionesco upon which the ballet is based. She was very good. Deirdre Chapman was the menacing pianist.

Of course, I still would have liked to see Alina.

#57 nysusan

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Posted 26 February 2006 - 08:22 PM

I bought tickets to all 4 of these NY performances when they were first announced because Jeune Homme is one of my favorite guilty pleasures and I didn't want to miss any one of these great dancers in it. With the substitution of The Lesson I regretted my initial enthusiasm a little but not entirely, because I could have watched Kobborg's Faun and Tsiskaridze's Carmen 100 nights in a row. I especially loved Tsiskaridze. I can see why he's so controversial, but he won me over completely. His line, his high, easy extensions, the expressive arms and back and above all his artistry really floored me.

I have some reservations about the program, but my overall response was very positive. I thought it was so interesting to see these 4 extraordinary dancers perform in works of their own choosing, pieces that in most cases were very different from what I’d guess they usually dance with their home companies.

Though I thought Stiefel & Corella were both wonderful I was most impressed by Kobborg & Tsiskaridze. I’d seen them both before, but only once or twice each and I always felt that the material I saw them in didn’t show the full range of their talents (Tsiskaridze with the Bolshoi last year in Pharaoh’s Daughter & Bright Stream, Kobborg with Cojocaru in the Royal’s Cinderella as well as in a couple of gala performances with her). Of course, the fact that their solos were much much stronger than Stiefel's and Corella's may have been a factor, too. Faun & Carmen were unforgettable, and really showed both dancer’s unique attributes to great advantage

I think The Lesson was a poor choice for this program. I understand that it was a last minute substitution and it may be fine on your average mixed bill, but when it’s the only narrative dance of the evening and the only piece to include female dancers the misogyny on view is pretty shocking. Despite disliking the material the differences in interpretation Kobborg, Corella and Tsiskaridze each brought to the role of the teacher was fascinating to watch. Kobberg's approach was the most naturalistic, you could tell that he had a strong theatrical background. His teacher was very nerdy, a real social misfit, and very, very scary from the start. He seemed barely able to look the student in the eye until he snapped. Corella was equally effective but different. This character is just such a stretch for him, so alien to his sunny persona that it was riveting watching him in the role. He was kind of like a cross between Snidely Whiplash and Peter Lorre - scary, but over the top campy at the same time.

Tsiskaridze danced it at the last performance and his approach was the least nerdy and the most sexual. His teacher was a misfit, but an arrogant, controlling one with uncontrollable desires- a lethal Svengali. In his bows he really bent over backwards to dispel the illusion he had just created as if to say, hey, I’m really a nice guy. A fan threw him a bouqet, which he split into 2 and gave to his 2 ballerinas. They kept trying to step to the back of the stage and let him take his bows but he kept grabbing them, hugging them and bowing to them. It seemed to be a very sincere and touching exhibition on his part.

I saw Bojeson a couple of years ago in La Sylphide - this was a very different side of her. As much as I would have loved to have seen Cojocaru again, I can’t imagine a more perfect “student”. Eager, innocent, yet stubborn and flirtatious and a wonderful, wonderful dancer. Deidre Chapman also made the most of her role as the pianist.

I was intrigued by the different interpretations Kobborg, Corella and Tsiskaridze each brought to the role of the maniacal teacher, and also really enjoyed watching Bojeson & Chapmen. Still, I had to force myself to focus on the dancers rather than the dance and would have MUCH preferred to watch them all in Jeune Homme or just about anything else. The audience gave The Lesson an enthusiastic round of applause each night, but when the lights came up there were lots of shudders and negative comments.

Stiefel was quoted as saying that he hoped this program would bring in a new audience. Although I found a lot to enjoy here I’m not sure what impression a new audience would have gotten from this program that included something as dark as The Lesson and completely ignored the classical variations that most of the world thinks of as bravura male dancing. The NY program did not include pre-performance archival footage or the encore that the California posters described. It ended with Corella’s solos and despite his phenomenal technique and charm, the end was anti climatic. The evening would have benefitted from some kind of ending that featured all 4 men dancing together, even if it was just brief encores.

#58 bart

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 04:42 AM

A wonderful and vivid account, nysusan. As were so many on this thread. I feel almost as if I were there. (And wish I had been.) Thanks to all.

#59 drb

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Posted 02 March 2006 - 03:37 PM

Just came upon these photos of the Four Kings, two of the Wheeldon ballet and one WOW! of Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in The Lesson.
From Playbill:
http://www.playbilla...ticle/3955.html

#60 dirac

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Posted 03 March 2006 - 05:10 PM

Thanks for the pics, drb. "WOW" indeed!


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