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Aspen Santa Fe BalletSeeking info on Aspen Santa Fe Ballet


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#1 YouOverThere

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 10:03 AM

Is anyone familiar with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet? They're going to be in Boulder, CO in a few weeks, but my piggy bank isn't real full right now. If anyone has seen them, I'd appreciate their opinion before I spring for tickets.

#2 dufay

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:15 PM

I saw them last year in Princeton. It was not what I was expecting, so I was somewhat disappointed. I love contemporary ballet, and at least a few of the pieces were of the more modern than ballet vintage. The dancers are excellent, and athletic, but don't expect pointe shoes for all (or even many) dances, if my experience is similar.

#3 bart

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:49 PM

They will be in West Palm Beach for 4 performances at the end of February. The publicity describes them as a company of "classically trained dancers" and the photo shows a woman on pointe. They perform, according to this source, "a sophistiacted and eclectic repertoire that explodes on stage, shifting seamlessly from one movement style to another."

I'm going, but I gather that will be after the Boulder engagement, so I can't tell you what any of this means in reality. Good luck with your decision.

#4 zerbinetta

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:11 AM

Having seen them often in Santa Fe, I'm quite fond of the company. It's a small company, maybe 12 dancers. & they are all well trained & very much an ensemble. Joyous & energetic.

The choreography doesn't always hold up but you may get the Edwaard Liang ballet, which would be worth a viewing.

Can you tell us what the program(s) is/are? Perhaps that would help.

#5 YouOverThere

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 05:39 PM

Having seen them often in Santa Fe, I'm quite fond of the company. It's a small company, maybe 12 dancers. & they are all well trained & very much an ensemble. Joyous & energetic.

The choreography doesn't always hold up but you may get the Edwaard Liang ballet, which would be worth a viewing.

Can you tell us what the program(s)  is/are? Perhaps that would help.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


"Left Unsaid" - Nicolo Fonte, choreographer
"Noir Blanc" - Moses Pendelton, choreographer
"Like A Samba" - Trey McIntyre, choreographer

#6 zerbinetta

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 10:33 PM

The McIntyre is delightful; the Pendleton is a major crowd pleaser (I found it fascinating for about 2/3 of the work but overlong for what it was) & haven't seen the Fonte, who choreographs a piece a year, I think, on the company.

They are a joyous & athletic company. Each dancer seems to have a strong interest in another rigor (skiing, rock climbing, yoga) which balances a career in a company which doesn't perform all year round.

Too bad they aren't doing the Liaang.

#7 YouOverThere

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 09:57 PM

"Left Unsaid" - Nicolo Fonte, choreographer
"Noir Blanc" - Moses Pendelton, choreographer
"Like A Samba" - Trey McIntyre, choreographer

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I ended up going to this performance. I'd give it about a B-, though I think that my date, who is somewhat of an artist, would likely give it a little higher grade. I had my impressions all typed in, but then I decided that since I know so little about dance I'm really not qualified to post a review. A more knowledgeable person (such as any other member of ballettalk) might have gotten a significantly different impression than I did.

#8 carbro

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Posted 14 February 2006 - 10:11 PM

Please reconsider, You. While it is true that the more you see, the better you see, there are no wrong opinions. I hope you saved your review. If not, can you throw some thoughts together for us?

Many thanks!

#9 bart

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Posted 15 February 2006 - 08:22 AM

Please tell us more, youoverthere. I'm going soon and am one of those people who loves to read reviews and hear from others before I see any performance, especially a group new to me. That includes negative or so-so reviews.

It's one of the appeals of Ballet Talk to me that so many different points of view, and levels of expertise, are available here. I, personally, learn from all of them.

#10 YouOverThere

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 11:59 AM

Please reconsider, You.  While it is true that the more you see, the better you see, there are no wrong opinions.  I hope you saved your review.  If not, can you throw some thoughts together for us?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


By popular demand, though I feel really pretentious in posting this:

The first dance, "Left Unsaid", was the standard modern dance piece about lack
of communication that seems to be in every modern dance performance; the kind
of piece that you feel like you've seen before even though you've never seen
that exact piece. I really don't know how to evaluate modern dance. The
dancers all looked good, with proper posture and definitive movements (though
individual movements don't seem to carry the same depth of meaning as they do
in ballet). My date claimed that she noticed several of what she thought were
mistakes by one of the dancers. I would guess that people who like modern
dance would enjoy this piece.

"Noir Blanc" was really entertaining. Very novel "choreography"; maybe it
would be better to describe it as "movement to music" rather than "dance". It
must have been a real blast to put together, with lots of light and dropscreen
effects and dancers suspended by wires floating thru the air in a very
ethereal manner. It was the only memorable part of the show for me, and reason
enough to attend.

"Like a Samba", which was the only piece in which the women danced en pointe,
didn't impress me. IMHO, the choreography didn't fit the music. There was one
song in which the singer was singing about a girl deciding whether or not she
liked a boy but there was a woman dancing with two men
without ever looking at either of them. If you're the type of person
who watches the dancers rather than the dance, you probably
would have enjoyed this piece more than I did, since the dancers
did show some impressive (to me) "chops".

My overall impression was that the dancers had a lot of talent but were
limited by weak choreography. I'd like to see what they could do in a
"heavier" work. But IMHO it was worth going to, especially since I didn't have
to spend too much for the tickets.

The Denver Post's reviewer had a little more positive impression than I did
(he usually is more positive about performances than I am).
http://www.denverpos...ment/ci_3510472

#11 bart

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Posted 24 February 2006 - 08:49 PM

I agree with just about everything you said anbout the program, YouOverThere.

It just opened a 3-night run in West Palm Beach. Bassed on a post-curtain talk by the two directors, this is a company with serious artistic ambitions -- and an outreach extending far from Colorado and New Mexico. So I think they deserve serious discussion on Ballet Talk.

This is a young and very physically beautifully company. At one point I thought, so THIS is where the Abercrombie and Fitch models go for their ballet lessons. Nothing wrong with that! At the post-curtain, one female dancer commented that she was not considered to have the proper body for a completely classical career. And she was a stunner.

I would like to see this company again, perhaps in a different program, and certainly on a larger stage than the tiny second stage attached to our opera house. One of the directors noted that they had elminated pointe-shoe rep from this tour because of the limited size of the Rinker stage in here in West Palm.

The program here was slightly different from the the other they are touring. Instead of the Trey McIntire piece, we had Tharp's Sinatra Suite (the shortened version of 9 Sinatra Songs danced by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Elaine Kudo on PBS in the 80s) and Edward Lliang's very short (7 minutes?) ballet, Flight of Angels.

The Tharp piece was the weakest in the program. The two dancers were not smooth movers and seemed uncomfortable with the ballroom conventions. I was suprrised by the stiffness -- but not by the hum-along-with-Sinatra effect that the piece had on the audience. Having seen how wonderful Miami is in 9 Sinatra Songs, I wished this group had picked something else.

I enjoyed looking at the Pendleton "Noir Blanc." Sitting up very close, I was able to see the method(s) used to move the dancers through the air, and wires were (I think) not involved. The visiual illusion was much simpler than that -- but very, very effective. Oddly shaped white figures move across the stage in a vast variet of positions -- sometimes collidling -- and coming together to form beautiful white patterns against the black background for the finale. This was actually quite moving. The piece, created for Aspen Santa Fe, was later expanded by Pendleton into Lunar Sea, now in the Momix rep.

"Left Unsaid" was indeed typical much contemporary dance, as YouOverThere says. The interactions between the dancers were all approach-avoidance/ warm-cold/ hold me-hurt me.

The music is a very slow and lugubrious Bach solo violin piece that seemed to have nothing at all to do with the dancing: fast steps, much flexing of feet and darting around the stage, bursts of action, a big quota of falling or being thrown down on the floor, complicated lifts, a certain amount of acrobatics.

Is it possible that some contemporary choreographers consider the movement to be some sort of ironic CONTRAST to the music rather than a complement? A kind of anti-music? Could this be this intentional?

On the plus side, there were some striking and even tender movements, and the dancing was fine, but the lack of connection with the music made it seem arbitrary and unlovely.

Liang's "Flight of Angels" -- a pas de deux set to religious chant by the 16th century English composer John Taverner -- was promising and could be expanded into something significant. Lots of lovely interaction between the dancers. But that old devil "lugubrious" was on the loose again, as were several of the constradictions (especially hold-me/let-me-alone) that filled "Left Unsaid."

#12 YouOverThere

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 06:01 PM

"Left Unsaid" was indeed typical much contemporary dance, as YouOverThere says.  The interactions between the dancers were all approach-avoidance/  warm-cold/  hold me-hurt me.

The music is a very slow and lugubrious Bach solo violin piece that seemed to have nothing at all to do with the dancing:  fast steps, much flexing of feet and darting around the stage, bursts of action, a big quota of  falling or being thrown down on the floor, complicated lifts, a certain amount of acrobatics.

Is it possible that some contemporary choreographers consider the movement to be some sort of ironic CONTRAST to the music rather than a complement?  A kind of anti-music?  Could this be this intentional?

On the plus side, there were some striking and even tender movements, and the dancing was fine, but the lack of connection with the music made it seem arbitrary and unlovely.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


There was a link in the Links forum to a review of another ASFB performance in "The Post and Courier". Referring to Left Unsaid, the reviewer said that it "showed off the dancers' classical background". Was Left Unsaid "classical"? Is any modern dance "classical"? I always thought that when referring to dance, "classical" was synonymous with ballet.

#13 bart

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 06:00 AM

YouOverThere, re your question: I found this discussion (started in 1999) very helpful when I first came upon Ballet Talk:

http://ballettalk.in...?showtopic=3017


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