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#1 Mike Gunther

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 01:46 PM

I enjoyed the program a lot (Royal Ballet School "Galanteries," Paris Opera Ballet School "Soir de fete," School of American Ballet "Concerto Barocco," Bolshoi Ballet Academy "Grand Pas Classique from Paquita") and was enormously impressed by the Bolshoi Academy. When they started the Paquita variations I thought, "hey, this is pretty good." Then I thought, "hey, wait, this is just the School, not the Company. This is amazing!!!"

I wonder what kind of a system they have in the Bolshoi, that they can grow their students to such a level??

#2 vrsfanatic

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:29 PM

The system of schooling is called Vaganova. It is taught through out Russia, in all of the government schools as well as the former satellite countries. The history is vast. I could not find a link to the Bolshoi Academy but here is a link to the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. http://www.vaganova.ru/eng.html

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 04:01 PM

Thanks for starting off the thread, Mike. I went last night and this afternoon and was glad to see so many people in the audience -- and it was such a happy audience! I think this is one of the most important programs the Kennedy Center does and I am very, very glad to have the chance to see what's going on in the top schools.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 06:19 AM

What a delightful and satisfying program is this PROTEGES II! I too attended the Friday opener. It was a marvellously balanced program of four complete ballets performed by four of the world's leading ballet academies...practically every A-#1 ranking academy minus the Vaganova of St. petersburg but, as vrsfanatic pointed out, the 'Vaganova' system was represented by the Bolshoi....sort of.

Royal Ballet School- Galanteries (Bintley/Mozart)
The RBS commenced the program with a home run, IMO. This pure-dance work is one of Bintley's more felicitous creations, although the partnering becomes a tad too busy in sections. I wish that the printed playbill would have broken down the sections of the ballet and noted the specific dancers of each solo, pdd or trio...because they were all so wonderful, deserving name recognition.

Edited to update: Thanks to all of the people who, below, have helped to identify the soloists in the variations. This edit now includes the correct names.

1. Ensemble a beautiful long entree with the full cast of 4 female soloists, 4 male soloists and 4 corps girls

2. Brisk McMillanesque pas de trois for two guys and one mostly-airborne girl - sprightly dancing by Antoinette Brooks-Daw, Yoshihisa Arai and Andrew Peasgood

3. *gorgeous PDD adagio - a lovely tall brunette ballerina in the Deborah Bull mold with a tall dark-hared gent -- international competition laureate Delia Matthews with Dylan Gutierrez. both dancing in a very lyrical and refined manner. Bravi!

4. Brief pdd by 'short couple' into a very brief female solo - the short blonde gal again (Ms Brooks-Daw)

5. Mini solo for a 3rd female soloist I am guessing Dusty Button and Nicki Moffat, as they are the two remaining names on the top female soloist line. Whoever she may be, she has a face and style a bit reminiscent of Antoinette Sibley -- and is excellent!

6. Presto, normal-length female solo for a taller blonde soloist (again, guessing either Dusty Button or Nicki Moffatt)- this one was fantastic...multiple pirouettes, perfectly executed in both directions & stopping on a dime.

7. *****THE HIGHLIGHT of the piece: Male Solo - gorgeous line, brisk footwork, amazing control. A mid-height Latin-looking gent...James Hay. WOW! WOW! WOW!

8. Finale

In this and the other numbers, the heads/coaches of the academies come out for bows. For the RB, it was Gailene Stock and Gary Norman.


Paris Opera Ballet School: Soir de Fete (Staats/Delibes...music of La Source)


Surely this must be the US premiere of this celebrated, uniquely-POB rarity from 1925? Very frou-frou, champagne and lace. In short, a load of fun with some incredibly difficult petit-batterie sort of choreography. Here the playbill does identify the soloists, thank goodness. I am happy to report that the POB academy has a likely-future-etoile in lovely blonde Leonore Baulac, here dancing the leading 'girl in white' role that was created by the legendary Olga Spessivtseva over 80 years ago. What a toughie of a role...ditto the male lead, danced very well (if not perfectly on Friday) by Mike Derrua. Special kudos to the two 'Ballerinas in Blue' for their brisk footwork in unison -- Camille Chan and Melissa Patriarche. The entire ensemble was terrific! Many bravos for the academy's head, Elisabeth Platel, one of my all-time favorite ballerinas!!!

School of American Ballet: Concerto Barocco (Balanchine/Bach)


A beautiful, crisp rendering of this masterwork by Balanchine. Extraordinary line and lyricism in the dancing of the female lead #1 (who does the pdd in the 2nd mvmt), Megan Johnson, elegantly partnered by Mark Wax. The 2nd female soloist, Lydia Wellington, was also impressive. Spot-on corps...the most impressive of the night...yes, the Americans!!! Audience went crazy, granting SAB the deserved Applause-Meter Trophy of the night.

I recognized Suki Schorer among the two SAB coaches who took bows. Who was the other lady?


Bolshoi Ballet Academy: Paquita Grand Pas


Saving the most traditional 'tutu ballet' for last, the Bolshoi Academy's Paquita G-P provided yet another 'hit' with the very appreciative Kennedy Center audience. First kudos go to the corps de ballet, beautifully in unison...if lacking the melting lyricism that is more apparent in St Petersburg's Vaganova Academy. The differences are subtle but they are there...which did not matter one iota to the general enjoyment of the performance. The soloists were another matter.

First the best of the sexes: the men. Both of the Bolshoi guys were outstanding. Artyom Ovcherenko danced the male lead, Lucien (Paquita's man). He is not only a very capable partner -- dealing with a brash prima-in-the-making -- but is an incredible (and handsome) soloist with the jump and face of Rudolf Nureyev. WOW-WEEEE!!!!!! I can see this guy conquering the golbe a-la-Ivan-Vasiliev once he joins the main Bolshoi troupe. Almost as spectacular is the more compact Igor Tsvirko, a wonderful turner and jumper with lots of charisma.

The female soloists were mixed. One extremely outstanding and gorgeous Odette-in-the-making is Olga Barichka, who danced the 5th (celeste) variaiton. I also admired the elegance and pointework of Elizaveta Kruteleva in the 3rd (violin) variation, which is rarely performed nowadays. The audience loved the 6th (Jete Variation) of Takada Akane -- to my eye, punching the forward leg too high in her jumps but doing a great job in the middle section of pirouettes. The Paquita of the night, a 'twin' of Olga Chenchikova in looks and punching style, did not impress me as much..vulgar, vulgar, vulgar. Even her toe shoes were vulgar, sounding like the drilling machine that is excavating the Arena Stage Theater next to my home in DC!

What was up with the positively-horrendous arrangement of Minkus' music? Good grief, there was a snare drum and trumpet in every solo...even the gentle ones! The music director of the Bolshoi absolutely must ask Valery Gergiev to supply the original, far-more-gentle arrangement from Petersburg. Even the overly-sweet Lanchbery version used at ABT would beat the drums-and-bugles Bolshoi rendition!

Despite the ballerina and the brassy orchestration, the Bolshoi Academy scored a big hit. Their head, Marina Leonova, joined the dancers to accept the kudos of the appreciative audience.

#5 Memo

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 07:48 AM

What a delightful and satisfying program is this PROTEGES II! I too attended the Friday opener. It was a marvellously balanced program of four complete ballets performed by four of the world's leading ballet academies...practically every A-#1 ranking academy minus the Vaganova of St. petersburg but, as vrsfanatic pointed out, the 'Vaganova' system was represented by the Bolshoi....sort of.

Royal Ballet Academy - Galanteries (Bintley/Mozart)
The RB Academy commenced the program with a home run, IMO. This pure-dance work is one of Bintley's more felicitous creations, although the partnering becomes a tad too busy in sections. I wish that the printed playbill would have broken down the sections of the ballet and noted the specific dancers of each solo, pdd or trio...because they were all so wonderful, deserving name recognition. If anybody reading this can identify the individual dancers of the following parts, I would be eternally grateful!

1. Ensemble a beautiful long entree with the full cast of 4 female soloists, 4 male soloists and 4 corps girls

2. Brisk MacMilanesque pas de trois for two guys and one mostly-airborne girl - I am guessing (from photos in UK magazines I've seen) that the small blonde gal is Delia Matthews and the guys are Yoshihisa Arai and Andrew Peasgood

3. *gorgeous PDD adagio - a lovely tall brunette ballerina in the Deborah Bull mold with a tall dark-hared gent; this seems to be the leading 'tall girl' role of the ballet. Antoinette Brooks-Daw's name is first in the playbill...so is it she???? Is the tall guy James Hay? Both danced in a very lyrical and refined manner. Bravi (whoever they may be)!

4. Brief pdd into a very brief female solo - the short blonde gal again (Delia?)

5. Mini solos running into one another for two solo girls - I am guessing Dusty Button and Nicki Moffat, as they are the two remaining names on the top female soloist line.

6. Presto, normal-length female solo for (I think) Delia Matthews - this one was fantastic...multiple pirouettes, perfectly executed in both directions & stopping on a dime.

7. *****THE HIGHLIGHT of the piece: Male Solo - gorgeous line, brisk footwork, amazing control. A mid-height Latin-looking gent...I am guessing Dylan Gutierrez. WOW! WOW! WOW!

8. Finale

In this and the other numbers, the heads/coaches of the academies come out for bows. I am guessing that the lady was Gailene Stock (Director)...though I could have sworn that I saw the face of Leslie Collier, former ballerina of the RB. I have no idea who was the gentleman coach who took a bow.
.


OK so I am thinking that it was Delia Mathews (tall brunette) and Dylan Gutierrez (tall, dark haired) that did the Adagio PPD piece and James Hay (british) dark haired that did the Male Solo.
I have not seen it but my dk is in the piece so I will see what other names I can find out.
Gailene Stock and Gary Norman took a bow with them at the end.

Dylan Gutierrez and Dusty Button are the two Americans in the group.

Glad some of your saw it great to read the descriptions thanks.

Another correction: Its the Royal Ballet School (not the Royal Academy) they are separate entities.

#6 cygneblanc

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 08:02 AM

Thanks a bunch Natalia :dunno: I loved Soir de Fetes when I saw it, too!

Leonore Baulac is one of these pupils who left the National Conservatory of Paris after one year or two without graduating in order to enroll at POB's school.

#7 Bella12

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:14 PM

"OK so I am thinking that it was Delia Mathews (tall brunette) and Dylan Gutierrez (tall, dark haired) that did the Adagio PPD piece and James Hay (british) dark haired that did the Male Solo.
I have not seen it but my dk is in the piece so I will see what other names I can find out. "

.......and the 'small blonde girl' is Antoinette Brooks-Daw.

#8 Natalia

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:41 AM

Thanks for the clues to identifying the RB Academy soloists, memo and bella.

Delia Matthews was a blonde two or three years ago, when I saw her at an int'l ballet competition...already garnering prizes! Anything can change with ladies' hair colors, though.

#9 cygneblanc

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 03:31 AM

NY times review

http://www.nytimes.c...amp;oref=slogin

#10 bart

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 05:59 AM

Thanks, cygneblanc, for posting that Link to Macaulay's review. The following was really nice to hear:

You couldn’t doubt that each work expressed classic national characteristics nor could you miss that each school’s students had been admirably trained to exemplify those qualities.

So was the statement that there were performers who already demonstrated high-level professional abilities, with a couple of potential stars.

As a former New Yorker, it was also nice to hear from Natalia that S.A.B. got such a huge response from the audience.

#11 Memo

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 06:14 AM

Did anyone find the link to the Washington Post reveiw?

#12 Roma

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 06:15 AM

Artyom Ovcherenko danced the male lead, Lucien (Paquita's man). He is not only a very capable partner -- dealing with a brash prima-in-the-making -- but is an incredible (and handsome) soloist with the jump and face of Rudolf Nureyev. WOW-WEEEE!!!!!! I can see this guy conquering the golbe a-la-Ivan-Vasiliev once he joins the main Bolshoi troupe. Almost as spectacular is the more compact Igor Tsvirko, a wonderful turner and jumper with lots of charisma.


Natalia, thank you for a detailed report!
Actually, Ovcharenko and Tsvirko are both 2007 graduates and joined the Bolshoi last fall (they are listed on the company website). It seems a bit misleading of the school to present them as students. Ovcharenko won gold at Perm this year and has danced some major soloist roles with the company. (There is a video of his Fisherman from La Fille du Pharaon "out there".)

#13 Natalia

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 06:25 AM

Very interesting, Roma.

Here's the link to the Wash Post review by Sarah Kaufman:

http://www.washingto...=sec-artsliving

#14 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 11:40 AM

Per the Ken Cen Press Office:

The first variation [LAW: the trio] was Andrew Peasgood, Antoinette Brooks-Daw and Yoshihisa Arai.

The second variation was Dylan Gutierrez and Delia Mathews.

Dusty Button and Nicki Moffat also had solos.


By process of elimination, the male soloist was James Hay.

#15 Mike Gunther

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 01:00 PM

Natalia, thank you for a detailed report!
Actually, Ovcharenko and Tsvirko are both 2007 graduates and joined the Bolshoi last fall (they are listed on the company website). It seems a bit misleading of the school to present them as students. Ovcharenko won gold at Perm this year and has danced some major soloist roles with the company. (There is a video of his Fisherman from La Fille du Pharaon "out there".)


Thanks Roma, this answers the question I had (about how professional the Bolshoi "students" seemed!). Not that I minded the performance :)


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