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Miami City Ballet All-Balanchine (Program III)


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 06:51 PM

Going this weekend to the Arsht Center. (Miami goes last this time ah...? :tomato: . ) Will be reporting back...

#17 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 06:58 PM

It may have been a one or two time performance just for the festival, but I don't recall seeing at that time. I just can't imagine......

#18 carbro

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Posted 27 February 2008 - 08:39 PM

It may have been a one or two time performance just for the festival, but I don't recall seeing at that time. I just can't imagine......

I saw it and remember it as very inferior to the ABT staging. One reason, most likely, was the volume of "new" works the company was performing the season of that first, spectacular Balanchine Celebration. You can see a pic of Darci and Damian in NYCBallet.com's Repertory Index.

I don't know about leaving the audience "limp with laughter" -- it would possibly take a pie in the Odette's face to do that nowadays. But I would definitely say that Jennifer Kronenberg and Jeremy Cox were in the school of Darci Kistler and Damian Woetzel: "elegant and chic."

I don't think the relative heights of Darci and Damian create the short guy-tall gal contrast at all. On pointe, she was merely a bit too tall for him; she did not tower over him. The whole point of the movement was lost due to inappropriate casting, which, as I recall, was rampant in those days.

The ABT production dates from 1981. I don't know its history after that.

There is none. I don't think it lasted more than a single season. Perhaps two. :tomato:

#19 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 05:00 AM

It may have been a one or two time performance just for the festival, but I don't recall seeing at that time. I just can't imagine......

I saw it and remember it as very inferior to the ABT staging. One reason, most likely, was the volume of "new" works the company was performing the season of that first, spectacular Balanchine Celebration. You can see a pic of Darci and Damian in NYCBallet.com's Repertory Index.

I don't know about leaving the audience "limp with laughter" -- it would possibly take a pie in the Odette's face to do that nowadays. But I would definitely say that Jennifer Kronenberg and Jeremy Cox were in the school of Darci Kistler and Damian Woetzel: "elegant and chic."

I don't think the relative heights of Darci and Damian create the short guy-tall gal contrast at all. On pointe, she was merely a bit too tall for him; she did not tower over him. The whole point of the movement was lost due to inappropriate casting, which, as I recall, was rampant in those days.

The ABT production dates from 1981. I don't know its history after that.

There is none. I don't think it lasted more than a single season. Perhaps two. :thumbsup:


Thanks, Carbro,
And now we see that the Repertory Index sorely lacks a performance history.

#20 bart

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 05:09 AM

Does the effectiveness of the first part depend on the tall/short contrast?

This difference was more noticeable in MCB's second cast -- Spiridonakos and Wong -- who also suggested the tensions between a sophisiticated coed and a pesty younger boy. I actually preferred the more experienced pair of Kronenbereg and Cox, where height was not the major difference (though she is taller on pointe). The contrast there was one of movement style.

Although the tall-short contrast was part of Balanchine's original choreographic intent, is it necessary to retain it. Old jokes die fast. The choreography iteself is witty, though of the appreciative chuckle variety, not the belly laugh.

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 10:19 PM

Miami Performances:

OK, so this was a great week end. I went to see the Saturday 2nd. and Sunday 3th performances. I will subdivide my posts on the two days due to a lack of time. I’m sorry for this but I’m sure you’ll be all benevolent with this ballet amateur. Here... my two cents.

Saturday 2.
Serenade:
Considering myself a total novice (in progress, if IMO) on Balanchine, i went to the Arsht Center with great expectations and full of hope. For some reasons, i was particularly almost begging to the dance muse to get me a pleasant ballet night. Oh, she certainly sent my prayers to the miamian troupe and they took good care of things. So, i need to say it out loud and right away. They were marvelous!!!.
There was a full house last night, and i had a great orchestra seat. When the curtain rose, i couldn't help but gasp...The blueish ethereal vision of the female dancers in formation, perfectly symmetric arms dramatically raised against a bare backdrop was more than evocative. The ghostly images started moving to the First Movement of Tchaikovsky's score, "Piece in a Form of a Sonatina: Andante non Troppo" and then "Serenade" officially took over all of myself. I've always been a strong advocate of plots in ballet, so it's still challenging to watch something like this without trying to give the dancers and the choreography a story, a context. I know...this is Balanchine, and it's plotless, but while watching this first piece, i kept remembering how Mme. Alonso always remarked that that was something that Balanchine respected when Youskevitch and her interpreted "Theme and Variations" ...their choice to dance it with a love story quality feeling, and Balanchine himself being curious about it and finally approving it, although it wasn't his primary idea. So here i did the same and took the liberty to "see" things here and there. I guess that this is a personal choice, which i fully took advantage of, while getting immersed in the magnificent displays of lyricism of the female corps (sylphs, willis...?) under the moody ethereal light of the moon...(I think I'm going too poetic...let's keep this more "factual")
Something that i appreciate in "Serenade" was the opportunity to see a variety in the hierarchy of the dancers, dancing all together with no distiction (a challenging thing also for me, being an follower of the ballet star system tradition). So here, some Principals, some Soloists, and some Corps dancers impressed me with the extremely high level of their endurance, technical skills, focus, and versatility. It is imperative, i think, in a ballet such as Serenade, to be ever-so-airy and ever-so-dreamlike. Wow, these dancers had to switch tempo, mood, and physical and dramatic tension all the time. The girls constantly were breaking and re-forming into elaborated patterns, emulating the turns and leaps of one another, eventually forming a dynamic circle by the end of the first movement. The cast of choice here were beautiful Jennifer Kronenberg, Amanda Weihgarten and Mary Carmen Catoya, which was substituting Jeanette Delgado. The male leads were Principal Jeremy Cox (taking the place of the originally casted Soloist Yang Zou) and Corps dancer Neil Marshall as the “dark angel”
Mary Carmen Catoya was, as usual, all bravura and pure technique. She has always impressed me with her high jetes ,(and she gave us some of those here), secure turns and clean landings. She has a dramatic projection that contrast with her tiny little body. I’ve been following her dancing for a while now, and without a doubt she is nowadays one of the most prominent figures of MCB. If only there was a star system…(again with the same thing...? :cool: I know, time to shut up Cristian…) Anyways, she certainly stood up among the other four when “Temma Russo” started. Then there is Jennifer Kronenberg , who s getting more physically attractive every time I see her onstage. Somebody mentioned it before, and I couldn't help but smile at her offering of beauty. Her face is something that makes you feel distracted from her dancing. This is usually even more accentuated when she dances with her husband, Principal Carlos Guerra, which was a no show during the whole program. Still, she possess, as Catoya, a strong technique, although being a bit colder on her dancing. She was the girl that falls onstage, and her falling was carefully done , not to much risks taken…Then there was Jeremy Cox. He is one of my favorites , having the rare quality of looking very attractive onstage even being surpassed in height the most of the times by his female partners. He always attacks the choreography with defying attitude, and that really shows, specially on bravura segments. I remember that he did an excellent job in “Rubies” along with Tricia Albertson as the leading couple in the past. The fine lead casts also included on the second movement Jennifer Lauren, Sara Esty, Ashley Knox and kyra Homeres. Neil Marshal is kind of unknown to me…maybe some others here have seen him dancing before…? Finally, I was moved by the beautifully projected finale to “Elegy”. The image of the dramatic grand procession of the fallen Kronenberg being carried off was of incredible simplicity and beauty. A must to mention is the Orchestra. The Magnificent Tchaikovsky score was interpreted with excellence by Conductor Juan Francisco La Manna and his Opus One Orchestra. There were extremely lovely and sensual string solos and they received a well deserved part of the final ovation.”Serenade” was all that I expected and more…I would really like to see it again, (too bad they don’t do more than one weekend), as it has many layers and nurtures the soul with a quiet, but resonant quality. Haydee Morales recreation of the original Karinska's were very effective in conjunction with John Hall's elaborated lighting design.
Well done, Eddie...!!! :bow:
“Pas de Dix” and “Bouree Fantasque” coming next…

#22 bart

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:36 AM

Thanks for that wonderful remembrance of the Serenade performance, cristian. Looking forward to your thoughts (and feelings) about the rest of the program.

I've always been a strong advocate of plots in ballet, so it's still challenging to watch something like this without trying to give the dancers and the choreography a story, a context. I know...this is Balanchine, and it's plotless, but while watching this first piece, i kept remembering how Mme. Alonso always remarked that that was something that Balanchine respected when Youskevitch and her interpreted "Theme and Variations" ...their choice to dance it with a love story quality feeling, and Balanchine himself being curious about it and finally approving it, although it wasn't his primary idea. So here i did the same and took the liberty to "see" things here and there. I guess that this is a personal choice, which i fully took advantage of, while getting immersed in the magnificent displays of lyricism of the female corps (sylphs, willis...?) under the moody ethereal light of the moon...(I think I'm going too poetic...let's keep this more "factual")

I confess that I also like to imagine story elements to certain Balanchine ballets. Not plot so much as an emotional context for situations.

It's great to hear that there was a full house. In West Palm my impression that a significant part of the audience is made up of people who know these ballets from New York City or other northern locations, many of them (us) recalling them from the time that Balanchine himself was alive and creating new work constantly. What about Miami? Were you able to get a feel about the audience -- what attracted them to this program? how knowledgeable they were? is there a cross-over from the large audience that grew up with and continues to follow the fortunes of Cuban style ballet?

#23 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 10:26 AM

Thanks for that wonderful remembrance of the Serenade performance, cristian. Looking forward to your thoughts (and feelings) about the rest of the program.

I've always been a strong advocate of plots in ballet, so it's still challenging to watch something like this without trying to give the dancers and the choreography a story, a context. I know...this is Balanchine, and it's plotless, but while watching this first piece, i kept remembering how Mme. Alonso always remarked that that was something that Balanchine respected when Youskevitch and her interpreted "Theme and Variations" ...their choice to dance it with a love story quality feeling, and Balanchine himself being curious about it and finally approving it, although it wasn't his primary idea. So here i did the same and took the liberty to "see" things here and there. I guess that this is a personal choice, which i fully took advantage of, while getting immersed in the magnificent displays of lyricism of the female corps (sylphs, willis...?) under the moody ethereal light of the moon...(I think I'm going too poetic...let's keep this more "factual")

I confess that I also like to imagine story elements to certain Balanchine ballets. Not plot so much as an emotional context for situations.

It's great to hear that there was a full house. In West Palm my impression that a significant part of the audience is made up of people who know these ballets from New York City or other northern locations, many of them (us) recalling them from the time that Balanchine himself was alive and creating new work constantly. What about Miami? Were you able to get a feel about the audience -- what attracted them to this program? how knowledgeable they were? is there a cross-over from the large audience that grew up with and continues to follow the fortunes of Cuban style ballet?


Oh, you can tell there's two totally different type of audiences here in Miami, bart. When the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami perform, usually at the Jackie Gleason on the Beach, the house gets full packed mostly with cubans, the majority of them familiar with the technique, productions and choreographies from the Cuban National Ballet on the 60's and 70's. This people are generally baby boomers, and for what i can ovehear during intermezzos, they carry a powerful choreographic memory, and often compare the new defector stars with those from the past years, (Esquivel, Mendez, Pla, Araujo and so on....). It's also interesting that the most of these people don't live in South Beach, and they come basically from South Miami, where most of the cuban community lives, defying the horrible traffic and messy parking situation of South Beach. Now, i don't see this same people when the MCB performs at the Arsht Center. This is a totally different audience, the majority of them, in this case, wealthy americans and socialites from Bal Harbour and Coral Gables, along with a growing number of mixed younger people. During intermezzos i barely hear any ballet conversations around, and still, the house gets full...I also notice an increasing number of young couples and middle class families going this season to the MCB. At the Jackie Gleason you still hear the circus-like roaring and whistling when a great step is being done...at the Arsht Center, you hear polite but insistent round of applauses...

#24 iwatchthecorps

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 07:55 PM

I attended Friday, Sat, and Sunday at the Arscht Center in Miami. Friday's house was nearly full. Sat was packed (as Christian said). Sunday was nearly full. The audience on Friday and Sat were younger as Christian indicated. Saturday's audience was similar to the audiences that I have seen in West Palm and Ft. Lauderdale.

I must say that watching this program was an extraordinary experience. I am starting to stop looking for a story in the ballet and just "watch the music and listen to the dancing." I've already commented on the three selections in the program. This weekend reinforced all of my previous observations.

#25 Figurante

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 05:28 PM

Miami Performances:

Neil Marshal is kind of unknown to me…maybe some others here have seen him dancing before…?


I am assuming you saw Neil Marshall as "Elegie Boy" not Dark Angel (who is a woman) as you had referred to him. I understand there was a discrepancy earlier in this thread as to the correct name for this role.

Neil Marshall joined MCB this season from Pennsylvania Ballet. He also danced with Suzanne Farrell Ballet. I was excited to hear of his opportunity in Serenade this season after the programming was changed, though I was dismayed I could not see it in person. He has a lot of experience, and surely has a lot to offer to the company.

And what did you think of his performance?

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 March 2008 - 06:01 PM

“Pas DE Dix” and “Bouree Fantasque” coming next…

I need to apologize for my delayed posts on Program III, but when in Pediatric finals, i had to get over the temptation to be nearby the computer and Ballettalk...i go out and study in the Public Library...

[size=2]"Pas de Dix". Saturday March 1/08[/size]

PDD was also a first timer for me. Somehow i knew that this was going to be fine within my sometimes not to broad taste spectrum, due to its XIX Century feeling being one of Balanchine's three treatments of beautiful Glazunov's "Raymonda" themes . Again, curtains rose and there were the couples , the female dancers richly costumed with tutus by Haydee Morales after Karinska against a simple backdrop implying Ballroom environment. (I'm loving Morales' sense of tradition, bravo Haydee! :( ) This time Deanna Seay (I missed Catoya on the role, Jack! :mad: )and Rolando Sarabia were the white-clad soloists showing some precision work, much of it for Seay en pointe. It appeared to me that there was a dropped pointe derrière kick in one of the later sections; I've notice , however, that Balanchine's choreographies (at least what I've seen so far) are tricky and many times purposely off beats and off balances , so that it may be the viewer,(me and my too critical eye this case, even not being able to do a miserable plie myself) rather than the dancer, who’s off balance. Done with some demanding solos for the eight-dancer corps, as well, PDD was another easily-passed test of stamina for Eddies' troupe.

[size=2]The Dancers[/size]

Ms.Seay, a beautiful proportioned Principal ballerina, looked perfectly at home in her role . Being already 10 years as a Principal with MCB, she really stood out there with the sparkle and clarity of her dancing and with the lovely resiliency of her pointwork. (Again, the earlier technical observation maybe occurred only in my head...IDK). There was an appealingly sensual feeling on her solo variation and she really filled the stage with her radiance and apparent joy in dancing, though there were moments when her extensions to the back needed to be cleaner and more daring.
Her partner this time was my all time favorite Sarabita (aka Rolando Sarabia). Sarabita, as usual, as always , as just what i expected , was a standout with his perfectly projected "Danseur Noble" manners, his attentive dancing service to his ballerina and his always impeccable pirouettes and slowed down perfect endings . With no doubt, as he ages, even lacking his early years extreme flamboyancy , he has acquired a calm air that perfectly supports his clear classical technique and a style noticable for its confidence and airiness (even carrying a rather built up physique, as somebody mentioned earlier).
Note: I loved the chemistry between Seay and Sarabia. Both are experienced dancers who really know how to "get you" without struggling with extensions up to ears (in her case) . As for him, i just pray that he gets casted in Swan Lake next season... :beg:
The other four couples were Zoe Zien and Ezra Hurwitz, Jennifer Lauren and Daniel Baker, Kyra Homeres and Michael Breeden and Leigh Ann Esty and Daniel Sarabia, (Rolando's brother). I really need to mention them because they were perfectly coupled, and they were all smiles and joy through the whole ballet. Again, my reverence to Juan Francisco LaManna and his Opus One Orchestra with its magnificent interpretation of the Glazunov's music. The hungarian spirit was at ita full blast.
Bravo again, Eddie! :bow:

I am assuming you saw Neil Marshall as "Elegie Boy" not Dark Angel (who is a woman) as you had referred to him. I understand there was a discrepancy earlier in this thread as to the correct name for this role.

Oops! :blush: , yes, thank you for the observation. I just saw the clarifying post...

#27 dirac

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Posted 07 March 2008 - 02:56 PM

Thank you cubanmiamiboy, I enjoyed reading that (and the other reviews in this thread, of course). :wub:

#28 bart

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 04:26 AM

I'm glad that Seay and Sarabia worked so well together. Your comments Sarabia's style are very helpful. I've noticed the strange balance between calm, confident solidity as a partner and the ability to release suddenly into light leaps and airborne turns (with soft, beautiful landings). I'm glad you got to see him when he was very young and can give us an insight on the changes (and deepening?) with time.

Looking forward to hearing what you thought about the truly unfamiliar ballet in the program: Bourree Fantasque.

:angel_not: I know we have a number of MCB fans on BT. Was anyone else at the Miami performances? What were your reactions and thoughts?

#29 cahill

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 08:24 AM

Bouree Fantasque was a great closer to the program. Everything from the costumes, to the music and dancer's energy made it a great ending to the program. As Edward said in his talk, he is surprised that it is not performed anymore. I would love to see it again! Ditto on cubanmiamiboy's comments above about the Miami performances.

Does anyone know where to get the ballet music of Bouree Fantasque by Emmanuel Chabrier? I have tried Itunes (not usually a great source for ballet music) and Borders. Any ideas?

#30 Jack Reed

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Posted 08 March 2008 - 03:44 PM

I haven't noticed a recording of exactly that music, as a ballet suite, but I believe the pieces, all by Chabrier, are the Joyeuse Marche , Bourree Fantasque, Prelude [or Overture] to Gwendoline, and Fete Polonaise. I've never heard a recording of the Gwendoline Prelude, but I haven't looked for a while either. (I'd like to have this music to see what memories of the ballet it brings back. Is that perhaps also your strategy?)

There was a really superb 1965 recording by Ansermet and his Geneva orchestra (L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) of the first and last pieces on the London label (currently listed as 433720 at arkivmusic.com); he got the fragments tossed wittily around the orchestra in the first part of the March clearly presented in continuous phrases, for example. There's also a 1987 recording by Michel Plasson with the Toulouse orchestra which is much less clear, both as to recording and performance, but it has the three fast movements. John Eliot Gardiner has also recorded some of this music, but I find his conducting rather crude, sometimes to the point of violent.

I'm even less of a Paul Paray fan, but his CD has all four pieces, according to the photo of the cover on Amazon.com. (The NYCB site says otherwise, incidentally; too bad.) You could click on the ad at the top of the page, and BT will get a little payment. (There are some other recordings by artists I have never heard, or even heard of, so I can't comment on them.)

Edited by Jack Reed, 10 March 2008 - 07:40 AM.



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