Friday Cat ReadingArticle in NY Times
Posted 08 January 2006 - 06:17 PM
Posted 08 January 2006 - 06:57 PM
By the way, are there some feline roles in ballet, besides Puss in Boots and his partner in "The Sleeping Beauty" ?
For those of you who did not have the pleasure of seeing "Musagete" at NYCB, a ballet that dredged Balanchine's life in "tribute," there was a role for Mourka herself, played by Wendy Whelan.
As I mentioned earlier, I did see the Cat Theater/Circus, just before it closed. It was quite an experience. The cats seemed to enjoy themselves very much, and, as you all seem to be quite intimate with felines, you know that it is very easy to see if they are or are not happy with what they are doing.
Some of their tricks involved (and all, of course, perfectly timed)
jumping out of a little bird house to a specific spot. Climbing quickly up a rope-covered pole to return into the little house,
pushing a little carriage with one, two or three of their buddies in it (including a small dog),
doing a HANDSTAND in the palm of Mr. Kuklachev's outstretched hand,
crossing the stage multiple times on a "tightrope" (a pole) on their feet, or just hanging from their front legs,
jumping from box to box,
popping out of a box,
feigning anger and attempting to scratch,
accompanying the clowns into the audience, to be petted by many delighted audience members, yours truly included.
Had I known this was going to be a topic of discussion, I would have taken notes!
I tried to get people to come with -- but no one wanted to. Their loss! It was lots of fun.
Posted 08 January 2006 - 06:59 PM
About other cat roles: word had it that the Washington Ballet's Nutcracker had a cat in Mirliton. The WB Mirlitons are cardinals. The cat was not in the show last year and <heavy sigh> I did not get to see it this year.
Now, about the Kuklachev Cat Theater...Sadly, I was not able to actually _see_ the Nutcracker, nor did anyone I know. I can't remember if I spotted a poster about it or saw it listed on their website or what. In any case, according to the info on their website now (English part exists but isn't working), the music is Tchaikovsky and viewers see how cats save the prince and princess from the Rat King.
Kuklachev was trained as a clown and starting training cats by chance, it seems. Apparently they're not all that hard to train once they see that there are treats and attention in it for them.
As for what the cats do: I can't say they do much in unison. But they do walk on tightropes, crawl along tightropes, ride on little perches on a bicycle with Kuklachev, etc. One cat does a most impressive handstand (pawstand?) on Kuklachev's palm.
I highly recommend the show either here or in Moscow. The theater in Moscow is great--there are portraits of the leading cats in the lobby just as other theaters have portraits of the actors/singers/dancers.
The website's main page gives an accurate flavor of the zaniness of the place:
The Repertoire page lists the Nutcracker show
Cat Theatre Repertoire page--note cat in handstand
The "Artists" page has a part for those without tails and those with tails...
Page about the artists with tails
Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:08 PM
After reading Koshka's note about the website, I checked my link (on "Favorites") and lo! A MIRACLE:
"MOSCOW CATS MOVE UPTOWN to LAMB'S THEATRE on FEBRUARY 3rd
After an extended sold-out run at Tribeca Performing Arts Centre, Gelfman International, the producers of MOSCOW CATS THEATRE, announced today that the international family smash hit from Russia will transfer to the Lamb's Theatre (130 W 44th St) for an open-ended run beginning February 3. Tickets are available now through Telecharge.com, 212-239-6200. "
I recommend against Ticketron.
Here's the link - in English: http://www.moscowcatstheatre.com/
Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:13 PM
My experience with this kind of service is extremely limited, so I really don't know.
But thanks for posting about the extended run. Sounds well worth seeing!
Posted 08 January 2006 - 07:17 PM
so: be up close, front and center, tho not in the first row.
and I have to emphasize that the clowning is very basic, and much of it is geared for children. So quick, become a child!
Posted 08 January 2006 - 08:21 PM
Estelle, you and your husband are deeply, even mystically, attuned to cat mentallity. Your imagined cats corps is perfect -- which is probably why the Cat Theater doesn't do much "in unison," as koshka says.
It's wonderful that their site links to ASPCA animal rescue and a NYC cat rescue organization.
Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:28 AM
Regarding the Moscow Cat Circus, below is a link to an article that ran in the NY Times when it came to town, profiling Yuri Kuklachev and how the circus was founded.
Another item, with a picture of Kuklachev and Marusa:
Posted 09 January 2006 - 11:36 AM
Posted 09 January 2006 - 05:58 PM
Suddenly, my cat jumped down off the chair and started looking and sniffing around! Every time I repeated the action, she got all excited and looked for the "other cat!"
And I didn't think that meow sounded real. But then, who am I to judge?
Posted 10 January 2006 - 07:05 PM
According to Julie Kavanaugh's biography of Ashton, Secret Muses, Ashton said: "All my life I've hated them and been surrounded by people who adore them. Constant [Lambert] used to have dialogues with stray cats in the street."
Apparently, however, Ashton admired the grace of cats (from a distance). Towards the end of his life he choreographed 'Die verwandelte Katze,' also known as 'La Chatte,' to miscellaneous music by Offenbach. Merle Park was cast as a cat-woman "whose feline habits and arch motif of splayed claws, accompanying a snooty, Les Biches-style walk," corroborate Ashton's dislike of the species.
The ballet was apparently done for a matinee at the Vienna Staatsoper in homage to Fanny Elssler, one of whose famous roles had been the cat in Jean Coralli's ballet 'La Chatte metamorphosee en femme.'
Appaarently La Chatte is revived occasionally. Has anyone ever seen it?
Posted 11 January 2006 - 03:20 PM
Appaarently La Chatte is revived occasionally. Has anyone ever seen it?
Not me, although I would love to.
His ear was chewed of and he had lost an eye in a fight but in spite of his humble background and pathetic appearance he was the gentlest, sweetest, loyal cat I have ever had. He loved music, we have an old vinyl record player and when we placed a record on, or were changing records he'd sit next to it, wagging his tail and purring.When the music sounded he'd miaow along with the tune.
I once acquired an old tom who was obviously a veteran of many battles – he was missing parts of both ears, a chunk of tail, and was heavily scarred and almost toothless to boot. Apart from cat versus cat bellicosity, however, he was a sweetie pie. I deprived him of his manhood, although it pained me to do so, because I didn’t see how he could take much more and his appetite for combat was quite unaffected by age and arthritis. He loved to watch dancing on TV, doubtless because of the movement, and he wouldn’t get bored after a few minutes; he’d sit in front of it for long periods, watching raptly.
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