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Lucia Lacarra

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#46 katharine kanter

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Posted 11 February 2002 - 09:32 AM

Disrupting the technical coherence of the scheme underlying classical dance, that is what this faddish sort of dancing adds up to.

Let us return to the business, discussed earlier on this thread, of the développé.

Again, imagine that one is standing on the flat foot, and does a développé devant. Then take that leg, and move it to la seconde, and then move it to arabesque, in what is called in some "jurisdictions", "grand rond de jambe". In the classical scheme, THAT LEG MUST REMAIN AT THE SAME HEIGHT THROUGHOUT, because devant, à la seconde, en arrière, is a single, coordinated, motion that simply happens to shift through different configurations.

The leg does not go to 110-120 degrees devant, then whooosh up to 180 à la seconde, than collapse down to 110 en arabesque, or any other dipping-and-bobbing combo of degrees. IT MUST REMAIN THROUGHOUT AT THE SAME LEVEL. It also happens to be a major choreographic feature.

Now the human body is so made, that no-one on the planet, not even Mlle. Guillem, can do a développé devant so that it touches the nose. Therefore, under no circumstances whatsoever, can the développé à la seconde be allowed to go higher than the one devant.

Again, think calm, think strong, think stable. And think COHERENT.

This is an iron law. We can of course break such laws, and the crowd will roar in approval...but in every crowd, there is SOMEONE, who knows.

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: katharine kanter ]

#47 atm711


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Posted 11 February 2002 - 10:05 AM

When I started this topic about Lacarra I was looking for comment on an article that appalled me...here was a critic giving his views in a very partisan way and them admitting that he had never seen her complete "Swan Lake". That said, the discussion turned into the proper height of an extension. The height of an extension is not an issue for me--it's the way it is executed. I favor the slow unfolding of the leg that uses up the entire musical phrase until the extension is achieved. Not for me the ...one...two bang I'm there...and hold the position until the musical phrase ends. Yes, I am a Makarova fan.

#48 Manhattnik


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Posted 11 February 2002 - 11:15 AM

Getting back to the topic at hand, I must say that I found the original comments about Lacarra to be a bit out of line, regardless of one's opinion of Lacarra's artistry or lack thereof, particularly when, as you mentioned, ATM, the writer in question seems to have only limited experience of Lacarra. I'd much rather know what's going on in a writer's head than what said writer thinks is going on in the corps dancers'. Such writing is more than a little self-indulgent and mean-spirited.

Also, an important point is getting lost in this discussion which will soon, I fear, call for the permanent attachment of spirit levels and plumb lines to dancers' thighs and calves. It's not so much whether a Guillem, Lacarra or Balanchine, makes changes, even drastic ones, in the accepted practice of an art form, but rather whether in changing that practice, gives back to the art as much, if not more, than what's been "taken away." In the case of Balanchine, there can be no doubt. I haven't seen enough of Guillem and Lacarra to say, other than to say I haven't found Lacarra freakish in the way I've found, say, Zakharova.

#49 leibling


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Posted 11 February 2002 - 01:42 PM

The many different opinions on this thread only show that there is room for many different dancers. One ballet can accomodate a range of talents- it must in order to survive. I have a personal preference for dancers who display an intelligent artistry, and leave you with something to think about, but I also enjoy the dancers who can scratch the ceiling with their toes- I only ask that they do it nicely. When I see a dancer with a combination of intelligence and physical ability, well- that is ideal. Of course.

#50 Alexandra


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Posted 11 February 2002 - 03:49 PM

I finally got my Ballet Review today and read the article that started this thread. It's a long, long review of the San Francisco Ballet, with a bit of Mark Morris snuck in at the end.

I didn't find the remarks about Lacarra troubling or off-balance. I read the comment that "It is as if she herself confuses Odette and Odile and can't tell the difference" not a review of a performance that he didn't see, but a comment on what he called her "unrelenting seductiveness" in roles like Odette and Aurora. He was quite clear not to say "ballets like Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty" and if one sees a dancer perform the white swan pas de deux (which I'm assuming that he's seen at SFB galas), one has seen her Odette.

I haven't read much of Paul Parish's writing, but I do know he's a long-time San Franciscan who's been watching SFB for years. There's more than a column of praise for Lacarra (not that that really matters; I don't think one has to scrape around for a few good points when writing about a dancer one feels doesn't meet the mark). But I didn't read Parish's remarks on Lacarra as an attack at all, but within the larger context of his first paragraph: "At this point San Francisco Ballet is ast its gretest strength ever, ands yet it's farther from having a company stile than I can remember. The repertory is extremely eclectic, and the big personalities of several years ago have gone."...."

I enjoyed the article very much. I found some of Parish's descriptions of dancing dazzling, including this one of Lacarra: "In The Cage, in Symphony in Three Movements, she is flat-out magnificent. Although she's unmusical, she can count, and in Symphony in Three her double manege of pique turns as the corps zigzags all around her--perfect pique turns, two big circles of the stage, amid all that hubbub--is a tremendous feat of sang-froid, like flying a spaceship through an asteroid belt. Her cool-hot seductive manner is perfect for such roles, and her astonishisng flexibility extends the effect of her one-in-a-million proportions to levels of fascination I've never experienced before."

I'll spend a day or two trying to figure out what he means that she has "a back so flexible she can do an arabesque that looks like a bobbypin," but I'm glad to read someone who thinks that way.

The article discusses several other of SFB's ballerinas: Berman (and he makes the best case for this dancer, whom I've never found interesting, that I've ever read), Feijoo and LeBlanc, especially. He makes you realize, I think, that spending a whole season watching SFB might be very interesting, and a whole lot of fun.

The question he raises about company style is a good one, for me. I think the complaint about Lacarra is less about her as a dancer (he's writes about some performances that he thinks are stunning, others he feels are in the wrong key) but that the company as a whole is an odd amalgamation of styles, interesting dancers brought in from all over, but no specific company accent.

[ February 11, 2002: Message edited by: alexandra ]

#51 Dale


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Posted 12 February 2002 - 12:35 AM

Re: The article. I just finished reading it as well, and although I don't like when a review guesses at a performance rather than seeing it, I thought the article was essential bemoaning the loss of the "San Francisco style," as Alexandra point out. It's probably the same thing that people watching the Royal Ballet or a certain segment of ABT's followers cry about. Is it better to have less brillant dancers and have a uniform style or just to amass as many talented dancers and work on making them fit. I've only seen SFB when they've visited New York, so that's not much. And I've gotten an additional view of Lacarra the past three years at the ballet gala held in February, so I don't feel comfortable judging either the company or the dancer. I was, however, impressed with the dancers. I remember thinking during the opening night gala of SFB's last visit to City Center that the company had a very varied and talented roster. I really loved Muriel Maffre and Tina LeBlanc and I never felt that they didn't fit in with the rest of the company, despite not training at the SFB school. Does anybody know what is up with the company school that so many of the principals did not train there?

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