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Talespinner

Odette/Odile

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Has anyone heard who will be dancing Odette/Odile this season? I presume Yuan Yuan Tan and Tina LeBlanc. I hope for Loreno Feijoo as well. But does anyone know for sure? I have Wednesday night season tickets and we often get 3rd and 4th string casts. (Like Kristin Long in Giselle ... ugh!) Any news appreciated. TIA!

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The Company has not yet announced the casting for Swan Lake. If you want to check it yourself here is their web address... www.sfballet.org I suspect Lorena will be one, as she is dancing the black swan pas in the Company's Gala earlier the week of the opening. Lorena's sister is with Boston and a couple of years ago they did Swan Lake. Lorena flew out to Boston to perform with her sister. One was to dance Odette the other Odile. The plan had been to bring their mother from Cuba to see them dance together. Unfortunately there were visa problems and mother could not get into the country on time. Perhaps they could arrange a similar thing in SF during this run of Swan Lake. That would be somethnig to see!

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Casting has been posted:

Swan Lake Opening Night

Saturday, January 28, 2006 8 pm

Conductor: Martin West

Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia*

Swan Lake Matinee

Sunday, January 29, 2006 2pm

Conductor: Gary Sheldon

Kristin Long^, Joan Boada*

Swan Lake Evening

Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8 pm

Conductor: Martin West

Lorena Feijoo^, Davit Karapetyan*

Swan Lake Evening

Wednesday, February 01, 2006 7:30 pm

Conductor: Gary Sheldon

Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets^

Swan Lake Evening

Thursday, February 02, 2006 8 pm

Conductor: Gary Sheldon

Kristin Long, Joan Boada

Swan Lake Evening

Friday, February 03, 2006 8 pm

Conductor: Martin West

Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia

Swan Lake Matinee

Saturday, February 04, 2006 1 pm

Conductor: Martin West

Lorena Feijoo, Davit Karapetyan

Swan Lake Evening

Saturday, February 04, 2006 8 pm

Conductor: Gary Sheldon

Yuan Yuan Tan, Tiit Helimets

Swan Lake Matinee

Sunday, February 05, 2006 2 pm

Conductor: Martin West

Tina LeBlanc, Gonzalo Garcia

*Denotes premiere in role

^Denotes premiere in Tomasson’s version

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Thank you for that, tessdixon, and welcome to Ballet Talk. :)

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Interesting casts. My season tickets will get me Yuan Yuan and the new guy Tiit Helimets. I saw him in the Nutcracker and he seemed quite good (and nice to look at, too). I may try to see one of the other casts as well, if I can get decent tickets. I'd love to see Lorena Feijoo.

But I do wish they had used someone other than Kristin Long as the 4th Odette-Odile. I just can't warm up to her. She was dreadful in Giselle. I was very pleasantly surprised by Vanessa Zahorian's Juliet last year, so she might have been a better choice. Muriel Maffre would have been lovely to watch in Act 2, though I guess she is too darned tall.

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I'll be in San Francisco for a few days, and will be able to attend only one of two performances of Swan Lake: Friday evening Feb 3 (LeBlanc, Garcia) or Saturday evening Feb 4 (Tan, Helimets). I have never seen any of these four principals. Can anybody give me some advice regarding which one of the two performances I should attend, as well as "pros" and "cons" on the principals, especially the two Odette/Odiles?

Thanks!

Ilya.

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Without any hesitation I would go for the LeBlanc Garcia night. LeBlanc is a perfect technician but beyond that , she IS the character. Tan is lovely but is not an actress, in my opinion. She often seems as if she is annoyed by her partner. When I watch a story ballet many times, I finally understand the story when I see LeBlanc perform it. Garcia is a wonder so you shouldn't miss him either.

Since the LeBlanc/Garcia night is first, see them. Then if you really love it, you would have the chance to go the next night. Buy a standing room ticket for a few dollars the second evening and see both shows.

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Thanks lillianna, this was very helpful!

Anyone else?

(To be more precise about what I am looking for, I might mention that Odette is more important to me than Odile. If a ballerina leaves me cold as Odette, the evening is ruined for me long before she gets to the fouettes.)

By the way, I would definitely go to both performances under ideal circumstances. However, my schedule cannot be worked out to accommodate this, unfortunately. So it's either LeBlanc or Tan I'm afraid. :)

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I would second lillianna's comments. Tan is a wonderful dancer and an incredible technician but no actress. She does not bring much more than her dancing (incredible though it is) to a story ballet role. She does not get into the character.

Tina LeBlanc on the other hand really seems to become the character. I say her last year in Giselle and she was magical. The mad scene with (the great character dancer) Anita Paciotti as her mother was breathtakingly poignant. I saw several Giselles last year and Tina was most certainly the most outstanding. If I only see Swan Lake once it would be with LeBlanc and Garcia (I already have tickets for Firday night but might get standing room to see Lorena and Davit). Garcia has been working with LeBlanc for awhile now and the pairing has really helped him improve as a dancer (here is a link to a story about them from the SF Chronicle, http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c...sn=001&sc=1000).

As far as the Odette/Odile dicotomy, of the two you are considering, I think Tina would bring the most to the characters.

Enjoy

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Although Tan does seem to lack in chemistry sometimes, it may be interesting to see her dance with Tiit Helimets, another new principal.

Alas, I'm having a bit of trouble picturing Kristin Long as Odette, although she may be an interesting Odile.

Keep in mind, too, that the supporting cast can also add to a performance. Unfortunately, there's no way of figuring out who that is beforehand from the casting lists on the SFB website.

I'm going to start a separate thread for reports from those who are seeing Swan Lake, and keep this one for discussion of casting and related issues. :)

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Tan CAN act -- she was to my mind a fantastic Desdemona, she made the role fascinating to me (and I don't much like the ballet) by doing it heroically -- she was Othello's match in bravery, not a fragile little thing who had a sad end.

If she connects with a role in that way, she can really deliver emotionally-- and she can do it when the "creature" is more abstract, such as the girl in mauve in Dances at a Gathering, which -- especially in the mazurka sections-- had a wonderful poetic sadness to it -- and she was tremendous in the thunderous section towards the end.

She was GREAT in Helgi Tomason's "Nanna's Lied" (not a great ballet) -- and had a completely new fluid way of moving onto and off pointe I've never seen her use before or since --

The older classical roles don't seem to invite her to 'inhabit' them. I wonder if modern roles give her more emotional freedom.

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Tan CAN act -- she was to my mind a fantastic Desdemona, she made the role fascinating to me (and I don't much like the ballet) by doing it heroically -- she was Othello's match in bravery, not a fragile little thing who had a sad end.

Ilya, I don't know if you have time to be able to find the DVD of Lar Lobovitch's Othello, but Tan's Desdemona was captured on film. It will give you a sense of what Paul is describing.

She was GREAT in Helgi Tomason's "Nanna's Lied" (not a great ballet) -- and had a completely new fluid way of moving onto and off pointe I've never seen her use before or since --

Wow, and I thought Nana's Lied wasn't revived after Loscavio left SFB.

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Thanks, Helene --

Did YOU feel this from the DVD? Maybe I did, but the performance that blew me away was at the opera house, in 3D.

As I recall the DVD, I don't think the camera did her any favors -- it was in the live performance that I felt this, her torso and whole body was as expressive, all the way to the back of the house, as a face can be in a close-up, and i was really moved by that performance.

I think Parrish Maynard ran away with the DVD.

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I thought the DVD gave a sense of what she might be like live, but not the whole picture. Maybe it was unfair to recommend the DVD.

I think the whole ballet was a set up for Iago/Parrish to steal the show. The character would have done the same in The Moor's Pavane, if there wasn't room for Emilia to be portrayed as Lady MacBeth.

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Although I've not seen Tan dance, I thought I'd pass on her take on preparing for and dancing Odette-Odile, from the new Dance Magazine (Feb. 06).

The various dancers quoted seem to have been given the choice to discuss any aspect of the role, and Tan focuses on the technical. Here are some excerpts:

QUOTE: "Before the performance, I just calm down, get quiet, and visualize my bird. I try not to think too much because it will mess me up. Onstage it just happens, because of the muscle memory. But you have to think of the details -- the swan-like neck, your fingertips as the tips of the wings. The entrance is always the hardest moment. After all the dry ice disappears, you have to do glissade, pique, arabesque, and then hopefully I can stay on that arabesque. I need to rehearse more and more for that. If I can do the step well I can open up to the role."

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Danilova used to tell her students to "throw away their technique" when they got onstage. I wonder if Tan ever had a teacher to tell her that.

But -- but -- but --

you never know what the editor took out of the article. She may not be someone who wants to put into words her feelings about the character, situation, music, and if she said something about it, it may not have been the moment when her thoughts about those things were clear. Interviews have their own chemistry. I haven't seen it; who was interviewing her?

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Interviewers for the whole group were Elena Kunikova and Wendy Perron, but they don't say who talked with whom.

The intro to this section says: "Dance Magazine went to some of the ballerinas who are known for their portrayals of Odette/Odile. We gathered their experiences and advice for young dancers just starting to learn the part -- and for those who dream of performing it someday."

Some of the respondents sseem to focus on the technique (eg. Tan, Anderson). Others on the emotional involvement in the role (eg. Dvorovenko, Lopatkina, Hart, Whelan) . And others on both (eg. Kain, Zakharova, Gregory).

(I realize that others might categorize these responses a bit differently.)

Reminds me of a long thread on technique/v./personality in the 2002 archives:

http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.php?showtopic=8616

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I'm looking forward to seeing LeBlanc. I'm inclined to agree with Talespinner about Kristin Long, I'm sorry to say.

ballet nut writes:

Keep in mind, too, that the supporting cast can also add to a performance.

True, but Swan Lake really does stand or fall on the toe shoes of one ballerina, doesn't it? Reminds me of what Maria Tallchief says in "Six Balanchine Ballerinas" about the role of the ballerina (not specific to Swan Lake) -- something to the effect that people don't always realize the great responsibility of the first dancer -- "if I was no good, the ballet was no good."

Paul Parish writes:

She was GREAT in Helgi Tomason's "Nanna's Lied" (not a great ballet) -- and had a completely new fluid way of moving onto and off pointe I've never seen her use before or since --

Very true, Tan was unexpectedly good in that, although it's no masterpiece, to be sure.

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Thank you all for your very interesting and informative responses!!

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Danilova used to tell her students to "throw away their technique" when they got onstage. I wonder if Tan ever had a teacher to tell her that...
If not it may be a good thing... I've not been impressed by her technically (or dramatically, for that matter).

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