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Lucia Lacarra


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#1 atm711

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 11:09 AM

My fall issue of "Ballet" arrived today and I still can't believe the candid remarks of Paul Parish in writing about SFB style. I have never seen Ms. Lacarra dance and can't add any comment of my own, but his following observations rankled me...

"Lacarra has imposed her image, her will and her perverse intelligence on SFB and became a prima ballerina of a Company she cannot inspire"

"....her lines are simply unbelievable (it looks like she demoralizes the Corps, who know full well they do not look like that and no amount of training will make them look like that).

I guess Mr. Parish is also a psychic.

There's more:

"Her dancing is unmusical by American standards to an astonishing degree--perhaps because it is so premeditated".

"Lacarra is not interested in movement, but in imagery....while half the audience is swooning, I find myself thinking, Oh there's that leg again, wait, no it's the other one, she's not dancing, I'm bored".

He goes on to criticize her Swan Lake:

"Lacarra's unrelenting seductiveness seems to me not only out of place, but also diametrically opposed to central aspects of the role--it was as if she herself confuses Odette and Odile and can't tell the difference"

But--a couple of paragraphs later he says:

"I have not seen Lacarra in a complete Swan Lake, only the white swan PDD, but I found myself so upset as she 'worked' the role that I had to look away"

Good Grief! when did he see enough of her Swan Lake to render an opinion?

Apparently, he did see The Sleeping Beauty"

"In The Sleeping Beauty, without doing anything objectionable, she created no world; in fact everybody else looked like furniture (they also danced rather badly). The fairies, the suitors, her parents...only Prince Desire drew any energy from her. She held her balances, her positions were sumptuous, but the feeling, such as it was, was all wrong--elegance, but no ease, no high spirits. Aurora should have a glorious mind, like a heroine in Shakespeare or Tolstoy, and be the hope of her people, not a trophy.

Aurora as "Anna" or "Viola"? Nah.

I have never seen Lacarra dance but the photo of her accompanying the article is exquisite. She has the physique of a Nadezha Pavlova. I would like some comments from people who have seen her dance, and especially those who have seen her and also read the complete article.

#2 linsusanr

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 11:51 AM

I just saw SFBallet's Opening Night Gala last night and Lucia Lacarra was cast in the excerpt from Light Rain, a very tribal/primal modernish piece. She was well cast for it, since she really is the sensual, I-can-bend-in-any-direction ballerina. She really captures the audience; I noticed that the applause was greatest for that number the entire evening (besides the Stars and Stripes Finale). I think that she has unfortunately been somewhat typecast in the earthy, gorgeous femme fatale role, however. I saw her in Agon as well a few years ago, when she had just joined the company. I remember being really impressed, and that was after seeing Darcy Bussell dance it, too!

Since then, however, I have been somewhat concerned to see her bring the extremely fluid lines and over-extensions into more traditionally classical works (Giselle). I just didn't think that they fit at all! She seems to always have that very intense, primal look in her eyes. (I haven't seen her in Sleeping Beauty, though ... so I can't comment about that one!) All in all, however, I think she is very unique and is very captivating -- in the more modern roles.

One dancer I think can really distinguish between femme fatale and fragile Odette is Yuan Yuan Tan. She is amazing!!

#3 katharine kanter

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 12:18 PM

Two or three years ago, Miss Lacarra was at Paris, in Roland Petit's grim "Coppélia". I sat through it. The sole event of that evening that has remained in memory, was meeting a charming vaudeville actress sitting in the box next to me, dressed in a mock tiger-skin. Each and every time that ubiquitous leg went up and clove to Miss Lacarra's ear, a roar of approval from the audience made it quite possible for us to hold a discreet conversation without disturbing anyone. I did - to reassure you - keep an eye on the stage throughout. Had anything of interest occurred there, trust me, both eyes would promptly have turned their gaze !

Miss Lacarra has a very extreme physique, that distorts the classical line, whether in attitude, in arabesque, in developpé, and so forth. It is of course not her fault that she was born with that physique. Had I been her teacher, I do believe I would have discouraged her from entering the profession. It is most certainly a lack of taste in her professors, and in the public, to push her in a direction from which I fear that she is now too old to extricate herself.

[ January 31, 2002: Message edited by: katharine kanter ]



#4 BalletNut

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 08:18 PM

Unfortunately, I have seen enough of La Lacarra to agree wholeheartedly with everything Parish has written. I also agree with linsusanr; Yuan Yuan Tan is a far superior ballerina in all respects.

[ January 31, 2002: Message edited by: BalletNut ]



#5 Drew

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 09:35 PM

Gee -- I've only see her in nonsense choreography at a gala, but dancing nonsense I thought she was ravishing -- where someone else might have been a bore. Of course, since I have not seen her in a substantive role, I'm not in a position to defend her as a ballerina, but the Lacarra I saw was riveting, at once lyrical and intense. She may not be right for all repertory, but she is not, in my opinion, in the wrong profession.

#6 katharine kanter

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 04:32 AM

The issue raised by Paul Parish ("Lacarra is not interested in movement, but in imagery") is of course a more general one. It may be useful to consider what Josephine Jewkes, a former principal of the English National Ballet had to say a couple of years back on this precise topic:

"More generally, we dancers believe that the trend nowadays is for a more aggressive style of movement (taken to the limits by Forsythe in ballet and DV8, Jeremy James and Per Jonsson to name but three in the contemporary world), but the human body meanwhile has not greatly changed; simply that those with less extreme facility are being challenged further by the examples of a few with acrobatic flexibility which was previously labelled 'unclassical'. This is now becoming the norm. (This is known as 'progress'.)"

The same public that goes to ballet, may well have spent hundreds of hours in their life, looking into films of the ilk of "Crash", or "Silence of the Lambs". The public has been conditioned, over the last three or so decades, to crave titillation. And, in the ballet, there is an extreme type, well described by Miss Jewkes, that will produce virtually the effect of a heroin rush, an orgiastic experience, on the spectator.

I say this for all of us: if we are to appreciate with true sensitivity and awareness, the efforts of those artists who CANNOT and WILL NOT produce the RUSH, we have got to go cold turkey on sensationalism in all its forms.

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: katharine kanter ]

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: katharine kanter ]



#7 Michael

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 08:07 AM

To Arms, Ballet Roundheads and Cavaliers! Down with the Six O'Clock Penchee. To the Stake with Sylvie Guillem too. Up with Leave it to Beaver. Call George W. Bush while we're at it -- It appears there are Evil Dancers about, who are capable of possessing Evil Steps and Dangerously Flexible Backs.

[ February 01, 2002: Message edited by: Michael1 ]



#8 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 10:04 AM

I have only seen Lacarra in a few roles, but I find her an interesting dancer. As the Novice in Robbins' "The Cage", I thought she was phenomenal, giving a real star performance. She seemed so suited to that, both temperamentally and physically, that I wondered if she could do anything else. I liked her in Bugaku (though not quite as much as Tan) and, although I didn't like her very much in Symphony in C (second movement) I didn't think she was bad, but for me, too flexible; there was no tension in her dancing, it was like watching a master do yoga. Having seen her in that, I wouldn't think of her as an Aurora, although I was very sorry to miss her Giselle.

It's interesting to hear the views from San Francisco. It does make a difference if you see a dancer in every role -- I will say I think it's healthy for a company to have leading dancers that provoke strong reactions. Fans fought over Camargo and La Salle -- perhaps Lacarra and Tan are re-enacting the San Francisco version of that ancient conflict smile.gif

ATM, by "Ballet" do you mean "Ballet Review?"

#9 linsusanr

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 11:39 AM

For more remarks on Lacarra, check out the link posted today for the SF Chronicle's review of the Opening Night Gala. Dance critic Octavio Roca comments on her "insolent extension" and "sensual calligraphy" of her line ... After all, the piece "Light Rain" was also described as comprised of "torrid sexual partnerings" -- yikes! Just thought this might be of interest!

Personally, at the Gala, I wished that the biggest applause didn't go to Light Rain, but to Maffre's Dying Swan. She was lovely. What a treat!

#10 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 12:34 PM

Aha, you've given us another clue smile.gif Although critics hate to be pigeonholed as much as dancers do, it seems we have Parish (a neoclassicist) and Roca (an expressionist), and that may explain the divide. Like the comments here, it seems that people are seeing the same thing, but differing on whether what they're seeing is good, bad or appropriate.

[ February 03, 2002: Message edited by: alexandra ]



#11 Manhattnik

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 01:02 PM

I've seen Lacarra three times, I think. Once in The Cage, where all I remember is that she looked good. Once doing the White Swan pas de deux at one of those silly Valentine's Day galas here, and then at another doing Light Rain.

I loved her White Swan. I really adored, not just her tremendous range (yes, she's certainly supple), but also the gorgeously modulated way she linked each arabesque, each promenade, each developpe together into a seamless whole. I found it entrancing and breathtaking, and called it a "long, white taffy-pull" of a performance, or words to that effect.

As for Light Rain, well, it's a late-Seventies piece of Gerald Arpino silliness, and I think she danced the bejeesus out of it. I'd certainly put watching her into the "guilty pleasure" category. Given that this is her repertoy, I think she does it proud. It would, after all, be rather difficult to imagine Margot Fonteyn in this.

#12 LMCtech

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Posted 01 February 2002 - 04:39 PM

Lacarra is a rubber band. She can barely do a clean double pirouette, but partnered she looks amazing. She is best in the contemporary repertory. Her Aurora was emotionally blank and the classical lines were pulling into the contemporary realm, but physique is beautiful. As the bride in Petit L'Arlesienne, she was surprisingly animated and emotionally deep. I really felt for her. I haven't seen her Giselle, but I suspect her Act II is better than Act I. She can definitely pull the diva act at times. Like refusing to do any Nutcrackers (are they beneath her?). She has a devoted following all over the world though. She is quite a creature.

#13 ileana

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 02:26 PM

Hello everybody !
I live in Paris and i'm new here. I have just discovered Lucia Lacarra in a the film "Violette ans Mister B." which has been released in France for a month or two.
In this film Lucia Lacarra is dancing
"Lieberslieder Walzer" with Cyril Pierre and she is positively gorgeous ! So i'm surprised and sad to read here so many bad things on her !

#14 Lovebird

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Posted 02 February 2002 - 06:40 PM

I am afraid I am about to give a very biased opinion here,but I think Lucia Lacarra is one of the best ballerinas I have ever seen.There are no words to describe how lovely her White Swan is.I especially like watching her in the ballets created for her by Gerard Bobotte,Liebestod and Adagio for Strings.Not only is her technique wonderful,she makes even a simple thing like a releve an exciting occasion,she is also a true artist and a beautiful person.Her acting is incredible and she truly brings out all the nuances to her characters,always you end up sympathizing with them.She is the only real star at the San Francisco ballet.I believe she is right up there with Tamara Rojo.

[ February 02, 2002: Message edited by: Lovebird ]



#15 cargill

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Posted 03 February 2002 - 11:01 AM

I think the article in Ballet Review hit on several issues we have been talking about--company style and what is a ballerina, and I enjoyed his comments (another way, I suppose, of saying I agreed with him!) I have only seen Lacarra in a few things. She was very good in The Cage, but I have never seen a bad performance of The Cage, or one that convinced me that the ballet is anything more than ballet's shabby little shocker. I did see her white swan in one of those galas, and I must say it left me absolutely cold. It is hard to dance out of context, but I never got the feeling she was trying to convey real human feelings, or that that body was human at all. To me, it was just exaggerated shapes with no sense of impending tragedy. As a human rubber band, she is certainly effective, but a whole company of dancers modeled on her, would, it seems to me, not be at all interesting. I think that was partly what the article was saying.


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