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Apollo -- which approach? which dancers?


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#16 carbro

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:13 AM

Carbro, are you sure that was Thomas at Summerstage? I went to the 2004 Summerstage performance and don't remember him there. I just saw him recently and thought it was the first time I'd seen him. He really impressed so I hope I'd have remembered his Apollo. I just checked my Summerstage program for Tues & Wed 7/27/04 & 7/28/04 and it lists Duncan Cooper as Apollo. Of course there could have been a substitution one night or the other (I only went to one but I don't remember whether I went on Tues or Wednesday).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

There was only one performance, Susan, the first having been cancelled for rain (the second being a very close call). You're probably right about the casting. Apollo-gies* to both Messrs. Thomas and Duncan. I was in the throes of personal crisis at the time, with my dearest friend succumbing to cancer and my oldest suddenly dropping (temporarily) out of sight. Could have exacerbated my usual level of confusion.


*Whoops! Can't seem to help myself. :pinch:

#17 sandik

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 12:39 PM

This is one of those roles that seems to support many different interpretations and approaches, which makes it such fun.

Nureyev was close to the end of his dancing life when I saw him in the role, and he turned the ballet into an essay on death and transfiguration rather than birth and development. It was certainly an unusal performance, but a fascinating one, and in retrospect, quite moving.

With Pacific Northwest Ballet I've seen Jeffrey Stanton and Stanko Milov in the role. (I believe Olivier Wevers was originally scheduled to perform -- he was the Apollo in the poster -- and with his acting skills he would likely have done a fine job). Stanton was very serious -- it was all about being schooled, learning how to control the muses and be a god. Milov was more boisterous (in a review I compared him to Elvis in the "strumming" moment) -- part of what he was learning to control was himself.

With both of them I was very interested in seeing how their Terpsichore's meshed with their characterizations. Stanton performed with Louise Nadeau, whose quickness (especially at the beginning of a phrase) seemed a sparky contrast with his more andante style. Milov was paired with Patricia Barker -- her cool competence made her into a teacher.

#18 Ostrich

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Posted 21 January 2006 - 05:49 AM

While I haven't seen enough Apollos to really be able to talk along here, I would like to mention Kenneth Greve's interpretation. Seeing Hubbe on one night and Greve the next enabled me to make a very direct comparison between the two. Hubbe was lighter, more versatile and playful, but at the same time emotionally shallow(IMO). He was born a God in the full use of his powers - there was no growing into it, as in Greve's interpretation. Greve, less agile and more statuesque than Hubbe, gave the ballet a serener, more "sculpted" feeling. Personally, I prefered Greve's Apollo to Hubbe's, although plenty of people were not in agreement with me.

#19 whitelight

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 07:56 AM

I haven't seen a lot of Apollos either, but I love this ballet. Unfortunately, I have never been wowed by the dancer playing Apollo (I wish I'd seen Boal's!)

Is there anyone else dancing now who "shouldn't be missed" in this role?

#20 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 01:39 PM

I haven't seen a lot of Apollos either, but I love this ballet. Unfortunately, I have never been wowed by the dancer playing Apollo (I wish I'd seen Boal's!)

Is there anyone else dancing now who "shouldn't be missed" in this role?


I've had the good fortune to see at least a dozen different Apollos (both versions) over the years. Igor Zelensky remains my favorite, although I don't know if he still dances the role. The word I found myself using to describe his Apollo was "feral" -- a quality which others may or may not find appropriate to the role, but which I think fits it very well. I'm probably in the minority on this, but I prefer Hübbe to Boal ...

#21 Dale

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 01:47 PM

Zelensky just did Apollo for his gala during the Maryinsky Ballet Fest. I agree with you, he's one of my favorites, too, in this role. He didn't get to do the long version at NYCB, but does do it with the Kirov.

#22 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 01:54 PM

It's up earlier in the thread, but among Apollos still doing the part, I'd say my current favorite is Gonzalo Garcia at SFB. Kathleen, if you like Hubbe's wilder approach, you might like Garcia as well.

#23 carbro

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 02:00 PM

Zelensky's Apollo, when he first visited New York with the Kirov, was just gorgeous. I can only imagine it is more finely honed now. I'd love to see it.

#24 Helene

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 02:03 PM

I liked Rasta Thomas' Apollo (long version), but I think it might be a little on the goofy side for many. The opposite approach, and one of my favorites of current performers' renditions, was Astrit Zejnati's at Ballet Arizona.

I would love to see Olivier Wevers' take on the role. Sadly, the ballet won't be part of the "Stravinsky 125" program that will end the 2006-7 PNB season. I'm also sorry I missed Zelensky in the role.

#25 drb

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 02:54 PM

I've had the good fortune to see at least a dozen different Apollos (both versions) over the years. Igor Zelensky remains my favorite, although I don't know if he still dances the role. The word I found myself using to describe his Apollo was "feral" -- a quality which others may or may not find appropriate to the role, but which I think fits it very well....

Igor is currently dancing Apollo with Nina Ananiashvili's company in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he learned ballet in Vakhtang Chabukiani's class. He has danced both versions, but says in an interview in "Georgia Today" that he prefers the one without the beginning birth of Apollo scene. He has danced it at NYCB, and especially admires the way it is danced there, and the coaching by Peter Martins for this role. Perhaps the association with Martins explains why he feels the role suits him well: "A blond, tall guy surrounded by three muses," and he feels that he is trying to choose one of the three, which is an interesting take on the ballet (perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek?).
He takes what I would consider a very Balanchinian view when he says

“every time you do it, it’s a different piece. You modernize it, you grow with it. There are so many details in it, and I think it’s great that Balanchine left a margin for each dancer to do it his way. His choreography is just a framework, and it’s fascinating to watch that every dancer does it differently. The piece has its plasticity, its technique, and you just breathe a new life in it. Besides, every dancer has a different body and that also an important factor.”

He has danced about 30 Balanchine ballets and finds that "work on each one was never the same. With time he was growing as a person and as a choreographer."
His fans might be interested in the reaction to his performances in Georgia: "Igor Zelensky almost stole the show last weekend, when his Apollo literally lit up the stage and proved that his great jump, excellent stage presence and partnering skills are not just words." He also made it clear that he feels a part of Nina's company and wishes to dance with them frequently.
The entire interview:
http://www.georgiato...ls.php?id=1289#

#26 bart

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 04:26 PM

Thanks, drb, for the article. Zelensky's comments about the ballet are thoughtful and insightful. Like you, I was impressed by the paragraph that includes the following: "Balanchine left a margin for each dancer to do it his way."

Your post motivated me to take another look at what all the posters on this thread have written. As I re-visited the posts, I began to think that Apollo may be to male ballet dancers what Hamlet is to serious actors: a pinnacle among male roles, something that all the great dancers ought to face, demanding great charisma and technique, while allowing the performer a certain leeway to make his own artistic choices (within limits).

Hamlet has at times been played by women. Is it possible to imagine a female Apollo (with, I suppose, a trio of male muses)????

P.S. I was also struck by Zelensky's tribute to the way that Peter Martins, "a person who knows how to coach," helped him to develop and grow into the role. A very nice thing for Zelensky to remember -- and to insert into his discussion of the role.

#27 papeetepatrick

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 07:10 PM

I saw three Hubbe Apollos in 2004, and, like one of the people said about Boal 'I didn't notice who the Terpsichore was.' Peter Martins, though, was always stunning decades back and still on the videos. I just read about the 1984 gala where Nureyev danced it with Suzanne Farrell. Kisselgoff talked about his 'added choreography' but it must have been a fantastic moment. I wonder if it was the only time they danced together.

#28 Farrell Fan

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 08:25 PM

papeetepatrick: Thanks for giving me another chance to refer to "Holding on to the Air." The Apollo performance with Nureyev was a gala for the Pennsylvania Ballet. Suzanne says that after that she learned the he also wanted to dance "Mozartiana." That didn't happen for various reasons. Then he was interested in dancing with her in Paul Mejia's "Cinderella," but "it became apparent that Nureyev had his own very specific ideas about the role of Prince Charming, and the project was abandoned." Of the "Apollo,"she says "Despite our different ideas about the ballet, our relationship was both cordial and professional."

#29 canbelto

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 06:09 AM

I have two Apollos on video, both with Martins and Farrell as Terpischore. One is from 1968 and it is the long version, and one is the truncated version from 1982. I must admit I much prefer the longer version, with Apollo walking up the steps.

#30 papeetepatrick

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 07:34 AM

Farrell Fan--thank you for that interesting information. This makes me remember when Dance Magazine wrote up the 'Cinderella' opening in Chicago about 1982, and I hadn't been able to see it. However, what I had adored was Farrell in 'Romeo and Juliet.' That's Mejia's, isn't it? I hadn't ever seen the Tchaikovsky 'Romeo and Juliet' danced to, although it must have been done a good bit. I think it was this Farrell performance that most completely swept me away first. The whole program (Beacon Theatre, 1980) was wonderful--Patrick Dupond, Cynthia Gregory, many others--but Farrell's performance was so overwhelmingly musical in this for me that I couldn't keep my head from moving around with her movements, they were that powerful. It may have been embarassing, so I tried very consciously thereafter to control all this getting carried away. Recently I have been watching the video of 'Tzigane' a good bit, and am disappointed that I never saw her do this live. In this performance, I think that I see the way Farrell always vibrated with the smaller rhythmic values, so that when she comes to rest the musical line is never disrupted. When I worked with Nadia Boulanger, she introduced me to this way of always hearing the next-smallest rhythmic value--at least--and this made the line flow both accurately and be able to bend with rubatos as well; since then, I've worked to hear ever more micro-rhythms, so it could be that Farrell just does this naturally without ever having to think about it as such. Anyway, when I watch 'Tzigane' it is very much like actually seeing a musical instrument. I suppose I always look for this in other dancers, which is not quite fair, even though I love many other dancers. Surprisingly, in a different way, I find Nureyev to be extremely musical as well, although perhaps not always equally so: someone mentioned on the Royal Ballet post how beautiful was 'Les Sylphides' on the 'Evening with RB' tape, and his performance in this is one of the most elegant and understated I've seen. All of it has an extraordinary sensitivity not only to Fonteyn but also to Chopin.

Regarding Hubbe in 'Apollo', I thought since posting above about the remark that he started as a god rather than becoming a god. This is surely an important point. I wonder whether, in his case, that might not be almost more difficult than anything, through no fault of his own except having that much glamour.


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