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Kirov-Mariinsky Forsythe Program in DC, June 13-15


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#1 Helene

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:08 PM

The Kirov-Mariinsky is performing a Forsythe program from June 13-15, and both carbro and I just receive emails from the Kennedy Center, with a 20% discount offer for this program. To get the discount, you must use promo code "14515." The offer can be closed at any time, so to take advantage of it, you might want to order soon.

From the Kennedy Center website (from which tickets can be ordered)

WILLIAM FORSYTHE MASTERWORKS (JUNE 13-15)
William Forsythe's unique choreography both embraces and challenges the conventional ballet technique. Set to a fragmented recording of a Bach violin work, Steptext begins with the houselights up and the audience still conversing. Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude is performed by three women and two men to Schubert's Ninth Symphony. In the middle, somewhat elevated demands quicksilver movements from the dancers. And Approximate Sonata comprises a sequence of four duets. Through this stirring program, "it's not only clear that the Kirov can do Forsythe, but that the seriousness of their traditions are an advantage" (London's The Guardian).



#2 zerbinetta

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:17 PM

I got this as well. The Giselle tickets are still at the regular price, but I'd have to guess that the Forsythe programs are not selling as well.

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 07:52 PM

Tonight was opening night (the Forsythe program) and the house was not well sold, especially for an opening. I hope anyone who's on the fence about going to this one will go -- if Washington won't go see the Kirov, then I worry about the future of the ballet subscription.

This program is all-Forsythe -- four of his works made for ballet companies. It's a very good chance to see a lot of the dancers. The people who were there seemed generally happy, although I have to say I don't think the company looked its best. They're too calm for Forsythe and smoothed everything -- tempi, dynamics, steps -- out. But they got a good response.

I hope if others go you'll report.

#4 Helene

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 10:49 PM

Tonight was opening night (the Forsythe program) and the house was not well sold, especially for an opening. I hope anyone who's on the fence about going to this one will go -- if Washington won't go see the Kirov, then I worry about the future of the ballet subscription.

And any hope for the Mariinsky and Bolshoi to tour with anything but Swans and Don Q's...

#5 kfw

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 06:23 AM

Tonight was opening night (the Forsythe program) and the house was not well sold, especially for an opening. I hope anyone who's on the fence about going to this one will go -- if Washington won't go see the Kirov, then I worry about the future of the ballet subscription.

It will be interesting to see how well the Royal Ballet's mixed bill sells next week. Isn't it a bit unusual to have two companies back to back like this? I'm sorry to have to miss "Giselle" this weekend, but I'll be driving in three times next week for three or four performances. The Kirov comes to town every year, it seems. Not the Royal.

#6 Mike Gunther

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 10:35 AM

The people who were there seemed generally happy, although I have to say I don't think the company looked its best. They're too calm for Forsythe and smoothed everything -- tempi, dynamics, steps -- out. But they got a good response.

I hope if others go you'll report.


That's my impression too, Alexandra. they were just too civilized, especially during "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated." Needed more edge, more "attitude" (street attitude, I mean). Warm response but no S.O. I imagine Giselle will be more successful, artistically and attendance-wise.

#7 ami1436

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 10:45 AM

This is interesting - The Forsythe programmes in London last year didn't do too badly (although they weren't Swan Lake), and many people *loved* them.

I was not one of those many. Some of it was too 'neat'. And, unfortunately in my eyes, some dancers seemed so concerned with throwing their leg up behind their ears as often as possible that it actually ruined it - even for the high extensions seen in some of this work. Particularly, I hated how the front leg in grand jetes were thrown so high that the jump never seemed to take off and just landed flat - ka-clunk.

#8 koshka

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 11:05 AM

Isn't it a bit unusual to have two companies back to back like this?


Maybe at other venues, but the Kennedy Center ballet season is very "clumpy"--this year the performances were concentrated in (I think) Feb-March and the schedule was similar last year. I don't know why this is--maybe the Opera House has to be reconfigured somehow for ballet and it makes more sense to have the ballet companies in one right after the other.

#9 kfw

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:08 PM

The season is always clumpy alright, and perhaps one troupe has followed another the very next week and I just don't remember it because I haven't gone. But I'd think that this would keep some casual fans away. Also, if memory serves, weekday tickets for Forsythe's own company were discounted the last time it was here. And if that's so, it's a little surprising the Kirov were scheduled with his ballets.

#10 art076

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 06:48 PM

Ballet goes into the Kennedy Center Opera House based on the dates that the Washington Opera is not using it - I believe they are principal tenants similar to NYCB, the NY Philharmonic and the Met are principal tenants at their respective theatres in New York. Could be wrong. But the Opera does tend to stick to its established 'seasons' - a Fall and Spring season, so ballet falls in between there in concentrated 'clumps' when the opera house is not in use by the Opera or a touring Broadway musical (usually July/August).

As for programming the Kirov doing Forsythe - there's something to be said for putting on artistically interesting program, even if it doesn't sell. I believe this program switch occurred right after the raves arrived from London for the same program. The Kennedy Center can certainly shoulder a few under-sold houses, and its good that they risk that so that we can see it. One can always see Giselle, Swan Lake and Your Favorite Classical Story Ballet on the weekends.

#11 kfw

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 03:41 AM

As for programming the Kirov doing Forsythe - there's something to be said for putting on artistically interesting program, even if it doesn't sell. I believe this program switch occurred right after the raves arrived from London for the same program. The Kennedy Center can certainly shoulder a few under-sold houses, and its good that they risk that so that we can see it. One can always see Giselle, Swan Lake and Your Favorite Classical Story Ballet on the weekends.

I'm all for new and varied programming, and I certainly don't mean to second guess Michael Kaiser, but I would think that the Kirov has plenty to offer besides Forsythe and the classics.

#12 Natalia

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 06:18 AM

I went last night (Wednesday, June 14) and it was a dull, flat program. NOTHING like the sparkling two performances that I witnessed in London, one year ago, and in St Petersburg in '04 and '05. It is amazing how a switch in one or two dancers can 'kill' the energy of a ballet. For me, the 'first downer' happened right away with 'Steptext,' when kewpie-doll-faced Irina Golub batted her eyelashes and posed oh-so-carefully as if she were dancing 'Fairy Doll.' The edge was deflated -- like the puncturing of a balloon. Pavlenko, Sologub and Vishneva are miles, miles ahead of Ms Golub in this interpretation.

The second 'downer' was the over-careful (non-risk-taking) dancing of the three girls in 'Vertiginous Thrill.' The absence of Tatiana Tkachenko among the group was noticeable. Oh...and that was Svetlana Ivanova dancing in place of the absent Ekaterina Osmolkina, even though it was not announced to the public.

And what can we say about the 'hissy fit' thrown by Olesya Novikova at the start of the curtain calls for 'Thrill'? Did anyone else notice how all five dancers held hands at the start of the bows, began walking to the footlights, then Novikova angrily shoved Andrian Fadeev's (to her right) hand out of the way...prompting Fadeev and Sarafanov (to her left, still holding the other of her hands) to laugh out loud and visibly. Second curtain call, the entire group was smiling and laughing as Novikova kept a diva face. Hmmm...I don't care what happens backstage but, as an audience member, I should not be witnessing such unprofessionalism on the stage, methinks.

'Sonata' was fine, although Alexander Sergeev didn't come close to matching the greatness of Andrei Ivanov in the leading role of the 'first boy.' I was at the premiere of this ballet in St.P in March 2005 & also saw it in London. The entire gist of the ballet is that the first couple is 'too short & squat,' the second pair 'too tall & lanky,' the third are 'average,' and the fourth 'exemplary.' (Thus the word 'YES' -- or 'DA" in Russian -- lights up when the 4th pair begins to dance.) Sergeev, unlike Ivanov, is too tall and lanky for the leading role, thus upsetting the entire theme of the ballet: imperfectly-proportioned, hard-working dancers trying to exist in this often-cruel and unforgiving world of ballet.

I did not bother to stay to the last ballet, the evening was so flat and mediocre, compared to multiple London & St Petersburg presentations that I had so enjoyed. It's the first -- and hopefully the last -- time that I walk out on the Kirov-Mariinsky Ballet.

#13 canbelto

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:52 AM

Natalia, thanks for the very interesting review! The curtain call drama reminds me of the spectacle during the filmed Giselle with Mesentzeva, Zaklinsky, and Terekhova, in which Terekhova is thrown a HUGE bouquet of flowers. She has a HUGE smirk on her face, as Mezentseva gets a smaller bouquet. She smirks through the rest of the curtain calls. It's funny. The performance is set to be released on dvd -- check that out.

As for Novikova, did you notice any partnering mishaps that might have prompted the hissy fit?

Hope the Giselles are better ...

#14 Alexandra

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 08:13 AM

kfw -- an acute observation, as usual!

Natalia -- I had the same feeling, generally, as you, but Wednesday night was twice as zippy as Tuesday. :)

#15 Natalia

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 08:17 AM

....but Wednesday night was twice as zippy as Tuesday. :)


Yikes! :) That's scary.

canbelto - I'm assuming that it was a partnering mishap. The ballet is so speedy that I honestly don't recall where the mishap occurred. Most of the ballet involves solo, not pair-couples, work. All three girls were off -- trying to play 'catch-up' to the music.


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