Nat. Ballet of Canada at Kennedy CenterJan 17-22
Posted 21 January 2006 - 12:11 PM
In Kudelka's production, each one of the princesses has her chaperone, and each has his own personality and relationship to the princess. That relationship plays into the way the princess plays to the court, and how much she is interested or appearing against her own will, and what their strategy is for winning. ("Don't touch until you've paid" vs. "Get a good look.") If I'm remembering correctly, in the Russian dance, the princess is distant and proud, and her handler is very protective of her, in a patriarchal sort of way.
In my opinion, what this does is two-fold: it puts von Rothbart in the same context, which makes dramatic sense, and it is a set-up for the emotional range that Odile acts out to capture Siegfried.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 07:41 AM
Posted 23 January 2006 - 07:52 AM
Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:42 AM
I guess the gang-rape was so tasteful, I missed it. I must have been looking upstage.
I had forgotten one detail: when Siegfried is about to be forced to choose, all four princesses are lined up in a row, on their stools. Siegfried pushes one of them off -- I can't remember who is at the downstage right end -- and as she and her handler leave the stage in a huff, he replaces her with Odile. I guess this act of rudeness signifies his complicity with corruption.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 12:54 PM
The corps was ill-served by the choreography. A lot of times especially in the first scene, it first seemed that they were drastically out of sync, but gradually we realized that it was unevenness in the choreography that made it look that way. Actually the dancing throughout was fine.
During the court scene, Siegfried left the stage during most of the second and third divertissements - or perhaps it was the third and fourth ? - so the ladies were performing to an empty chair. (Stool, actually.) Since no other posters have mentioned this, I suppose it must have been some technical or shoe-type problem on that evening.
I for one liked the scenery of the lakeside reeds and rushes and hay bales. It looked like the southern end of Lake Winnipeg and fostered an interpretation of Rothbart as protector of nature.
Posted 23 January 2006 - 03:12 PM
There were moments to enjoy in this production, but they didn't come in the expected places. Nan Wang's Benno was nobler of line and bearing than Patrick Lavoie's Siegfried. Tanya Howard was a fine wench. Still, the queen picked her imperious way down to the dock not a moment too soon. By all means send the lad on his way! High time!
After a first act of three-by-three-by-three repetitive dancing by the prince's ostensible pals, the differentiated choreography for the princesses was welcome. Their handlers/hucksters/ambassadors also took individual approaches to their task, and the members of the court reacted differently to the succession of princesses. For example, whispering and knowing smiles greeted the Spanish princess. (Julie Hay brought an un-Iberian porcelain prettiness reminiscent of Moira Shearer to the role but danced with appropriate spirit.) As soon as she finished, the male members of the court promptly sat down again.
A small but pleasant touch was the drifting movement of some subgroups of black swans, which was subtly avian. Still, most of the Kudelka interpolations--the skip added to the swans' entrance, the bourrees added to the cygnets' dance--hardly seemed improvements.
It would be very interesting to know how Kudelka explained this production to the dancers, how they feel about it, and how Karen Kain feels about it. She will surely be very good for the company. I look forward to seeing the National Ballet of Canada again in a different program. (Another opportunity to see Suzanne Farrell's production of the Balanchine Don Quixote would be particularly welcome!)
Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:00 PM
Ginny Kanter, on Jan 23 2006, 07:12 PM, said:
Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:12 PM
Helene, on Jan 23 2006, 11:42 AM, said:
It actually WAS upstage; I made a braino in the review and that ghastly editor didn't catch it Also, Kudelka's one-act ballet mentioned in passing is "The Contract" not "The Contract." (both errors have been corrected in the review now on line.)
The quotes from Canadian reviews are all very positive -- "triumphant production!," that kind of thing, bart.
There's another review on DanceView Tiimes, by George Jackson, called:
Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:11 PM
bart, on Jan 23 2006, 08:00 PM, said:
It has generally been considered a man's Swan Lake as well as James Kudelka's personal statement (whatever that may be -- lots of juicy gossip has passed through balletgoers' lips).
Perhaps Kudelka was given carte blanche when the revision was funded, based on his status. I don't think he had to show anyone anything in advance, and the powers-that-be who fund the NBoC may not have had enough ballet knowledge to protest. As for it being sent abroad, all I have to say is that serious Canadian balletomanes are embarrassed that this production has been taken on tour. Who's big idea was this?
Posted 24 January 2006 - 09:28 PM
Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:09 AM
I was totally wowed by the company. I would be happy to watch them just walk around and spend an entire evening doing arabesques (one reviewer somewhere said that the choreography was repetititve and had too many arabesques, which reminded me of nothing so much as the line in the movie "Amadeus" where Salieri says a piece by Mozart has "too many notes".)
That said, I can definitely see the points made by the posters here who already know the company and were more focused on the production, which was rather odd.
All in all, I would probably have been happier to see them in a traditional Swan Lake, although (plot aside) I loved the extended male corps work in the first act, probably because it's so very rare to see so much good dancing by a male corps.
Posted 25 January 2006 - 05:54 AM
I tend to see myself as being with sparklesocks on this. I love dancing, and am willing to put up with a great variety of production and interpretation, unless it's really out of line. And I'm glad to read koshka's tribute to the NBofC dancers, who sometimes have seemed tarnished by the same brush used against Kudelka. Or -- sadder -- -hardly mentioned at all.
Maybe this should be a topic on another thread: in a classic like Swan Lake -- or any ballet, for that matter -- which matters most to you, the production/interpretation/etc/ or the dancing?
Posted 25 January 2006 - 06:01 AM
Posted 25 January 2006 - 09:15 AM
I know that in Seattle, I loved nearly all of Kent Stowell's full-lengths, but not so much his one-act ballets. Perhaps Kudelka's strength is the opposite.
Regular NBoC-goers, please weigh in.
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