Leigh Witchel

2007 Erik Bruhn Prize

38 posts in this topic

Would love to hear your thoughts - those of you who were there - on what you saw!

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I second Marga's comment. I've been going to Dance Teq on and off for over 4 years. I also wanted to add that they have some wonderful pianists as well, that make taking class there a real pleasure. I've mostly taken class with Kevin Pugh, Cindy Macedo, and Martine Lamy. Each have really different teaching styles, but all are excellent. It's a great environment because the classes are a mix of adult students, professionals, and everything in between and no one is competitive at all. Let me know if you have any more questions about the studio.

Well, I went to Dance Teq on Sat morning 11-1230. It was a wonderful class and i enjoyed it very much. Thanks for the recommendation.

-goro-

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Thanks for th results!

Could somebody please simply post the names of the competitors - 1 man and 1 woman representing each of the 4 or 5 ballet troupes? For example, was Yao Wei the representative of the Royal Danish Ballet? (I had heard possibly yes...in which case, I'm amazed at anyone who could have bested her, as she is extraordinary.)

Congrats to the winners!!!

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Competitors:

American Ballet Theatre:

Misty Copeland and Jared Matthews

The National BAllet of Canada:

Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano

(originally Bridgette Zehr was scheduled to compete, but withdrew due to injury)

The Royal Ballet:

Yuhui Choe and Fernando Montano

The Royal Danish Ballet:

Yao Wei and Ulrik Birkkjaer

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Just quickly, a few of my impressions:

The standout performance last night, for me, was "Petite Mort" hands down. Misty Copeland and Jared Mathews are both lovely dancers, but their Sleeping Beauty pdd just didn't do it for me. But when they came back in the contemporary round I was really blown away!

I was also very impressed with the Royal Ballet couple. Fernando Montano in particular has gorgeous lines and epaulment in all his jumps. Wonderful stage presence also.

As for the NBoC dancers, Hirano's entrance was so daring it commanded everyone's attention. His performance was confident and clean-- he looked better than I have ever seen him. What happened during the coda is very unfortunate. I hope he will be back in time for the spring season. Depending on how serious the achilles injury is, it can take months (Rex mentioned that he had a similar injury recently).

I have always been a fan of Tina Periera, since her first soloist part in Monotones I. It was nice to see her back, and performing so well despite the circumstances.

The young dancers from the RDB were both excellent and after all the Petipa, their "Flower Festival" pdd was a nice change of pace. Also, these two dancers seemed to have the best rapport/partnership on stage. I quite liked Opus as well, although it was a bit generic. I'm not crazy about the music (Valentin Silverstrov), but the choreography highlighted the dancers' lyricism and expression. Both Yao Wei and Ulrik Birkkjaer will be ones to watch in the future.

And yes, Voluntaries was good except for some syncronicity issues in the corps. In terms of the principals, it doesn't get much better than yesterday's cast: Greta Hodgkinson, Aleksandar Antonijevic, Xiao Nan Yu.

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Competitors:

American Ballet Theatre:

Misty Copeland and Jared Matthews

The National BAllet of Canada:

Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano

(originally Bridgette Zehr was scheduled to compete, but withdrew due to injury)

The Royal Ballet:

Yuhui Choe and Fernando Montano

The Royal Danish Ballet:

Yao Wei and Ulrik Birkkjaer

my impressions:

ABT: The Beauty Pdd was ok but felt very flat to me. Misty seemed to be holding back or not really committing herself; at times (eg., chainee turns) she even seemed tentative. I felt like Aurora wasn't really a good role for her. Jared felt almost totally flat until his jetees en manege when he suddenly came to life.

The Le Petit Mort was unbelievable, though. On Pdd's, I generally watch the male dancer, but in this case, Misty just totally entranced me and i totally lost track of Jared. I'll agree that it was the highlight of the evening.

NBoC:

Pereira looked very good and Hirano was amazing. From the moment when he ran on, saut de chat'd, and took his position, he took control of the stage. Huge jumps, but jumps with an ethereal quality and a such undeniable beauty. He was poised to win this but for theinjury. One thing i did note, htough, was that in hs variation, when he did his double saut de bas, it seemed like he pulled back on them; then on the final chainees (prior to the ending double tour), i noticed that he was chainee-ing in place instead of travelling. Just foudn that bit odd.

It was amazing how good the Romeo and Juliet was all things considered. I assume that Guillaume Cote and Tina Pereira had danced this together before but still...

Royal:

Bluebird pdd looked and felt (to me) like they were not really interested in it. Yuhei Choe was good though the Swan Lake arms affectation (which i hadn't seen before in Bluebird) seemed out of place. While Fernando was powerful with beautiful feet and legs, he lacked the lightness that i like in Bluebird. His beats felt a bit more muscular and less "bird-ish" for my taste. I don't know if it was my angle or him, but during the brisee voles, i couldn't really see a distinct beat in the volees.

He seemed like a totally different dancer in the ROmeo and Juliet, though, and that was much more engaging and beautiful. Still, it seemed like the two lacked a touch of chemistry. Very nice.

Danish:

Flower Festival of Genzano was a delight. Most notable was the stage chemistry of the two. the performance part (as opposed to just the technical) really brightened the theatre and i caught myself smiling often. I found myself watching Yao Wei with delight. Such a gorgeous dancer. they really depicted young love perfectly.

Opus' biggest challenge was in following the tremendous Le Petit Mort. It was in stark contrast as it played FAR more intimiate with the single pianist (on stage) with the pdd. A few moments where the choreography felt awkward to me, but mostly, i really enjoyed it.

Note that Opus was a premiere of a new choreography (as was to be the Hirano/Pereira piece).

IMO, Yao Wei deserved the Prize for the women. I understand that the circumstances were quite difficult for Tina Pereira but still i felt that overall, Yao Wei was more polished and had better presence.

The men's side is much harder. If Hirano had finished i think he likely would've won. But i probably would have given it to Ulrik Birkkjaer also.

Wonderful evening overall and i'm still in a great mood because of it.

-goro-

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IMO, Yao Wei deserved the Prize for the women. I understand that the circumstances were quite difficult for Tina Pereira but still i felt that overall, Yao Wei was more polished and had better presence.

The men's side is much harder. If Hirano had finished i think he likely would've won. But i probably would have given it to Ulrik Birkkjaer also. ....-goro-

Thanks for the report, evilninjaX! I have heard the same from others -- wondering if the prize to Pereira was more of a 'best trooper award.' Also, I heard that, in this competition, with only four ballet troupes represented, it is a 'no-no' to give both gold medals to dancers of the same troupe. [Has it ever happened, in the history of the Erik Bruhn prize, that both golds go to dancers of the same troupe?] Ulrik's winning of the gold among men was almost the 'kiss of death' for Yao Wei, among women.

It is an unwritten rule to 'spread the wealth.' This philosophy also applies in the larger-scaled competitions (Varna, Jackson, etc.), although it is not so apparent....judges agree, behind closed doors, to 'barter' the medals -- Bolshoi dancer wins this category, so Kirov dancer will get the other category...or....country-X sacrifices its man so that its woman gets a gold.

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Dancers from the same company have won before (Jaimee Tapper and Johan Persson from NBoC for example- don't know if that's the spelling.)

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The Prize has been won by members of the same company twice, 1995 (Persson and Tapper) and 1999 (Guennadi Nedviguine and Vanessa Zahorian)

http://www.national.ballet.ca/performance....ason/erik-bruhn

Past Erik Bruhn Prize winners:

1988 Errol Pickford of the Royal Ballet and

Rose Gad Poulsen of The Royal Danish Ballet;

1989 Stephen Legate of The National Ballet of Canada &

Silja Wendrup-Schandorff of The Royal Danish Ballet;

1993 Johan Kobborg of The Royal Danish Ballet &

Julie Kent of American Ballet Theatre;

1995 Johan Persson of The National Ballet of Canada &

Jaimie Tapper of The National Ballet of Canada;

1999 Jhe Russell of The National Ballet of Canada with

Guennadi Nedviguine of San Francisco Ballet &

Vanessa Zahorian of San Francisco Ballet;

2002 Friedemann Vogel of Stuttgart Ballet &

Michele Wiles of the American Ballet Theatre.

I managed to get tickets to the dress rehearsal last Friday and had an opportunity to see Sabrina Matthew's "Veer". It is a phenomenal piece, pure choreographic genius on Matthew's part and jaw-droppingly performed by Hirano and Pereira! In my opinion, there was nothing else like it in the competition. Do make a point of seeing it if it pops up in NBOC's program. :clapping:

More 'behind the scenes' coverage from the Star today...

http://www.thestar.com/article/188496

M

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Thanks. So only once have all the gold medals gone to one troupe. Not very often. ;)

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The Erik Bruhn is a very prestigious competition, with specific criteria, and the Artistic Directors of each company (who adjudicate the competition) must all be in agreement.

Perhaps in amateur competitions, they give "best trooper" awards, but highly unlikely in a competition of this calibre. Clearly that would be an insult to the late Mr. Bruhn!

Lets give Jack his jacket.

M

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i wanted to also add that the acoustics in the new Opera House are absolutley amazing. My friend (who is a bit of an architecture nut) told me that they used brand new software to model the acoustics of the stage and notably in VOLUNTARIES, there were a few moments when the orchestra stopped playing that we could HEAR THE DANCERS BREATHING! phenomenal... almost TOO good acoustically!

and (not to brag), but the seats I got, Row N, 19,20,21 were absolutely incredible. The seat 20 was the center seat, apparently, and row N was perfect as our eyes were very nearly at Dancer's Eye-level. For (say) SWAN LAKE it might not be perfect, but for the PDD's i can't imagine a better seat. Being able to see the expressions on the dancer's faces (sans binoculars) and yet being able to take in the whole stage was sublime. So take note, for the next erik Bruhn Prize, if you can get Row N seat 20, do it!

-goro-

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The National Ballet of Canada's website has a short interview with prize-winner Tina Pereira.

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