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New Works


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#1 Helene

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 09:48 AM

PNB has published a video about its upcoming "New Works" program (6-16 Nov) on You Tube, and it appears on the PNB site:

http://www.pnb.org/s...n/newworks.html

The subject is Kiyon Gaines' newest work, "M-Pulse". In addition to rehearsal scenes and comments from the dancers, Gaines speaks about his choreographic process for the work and how he got its score.

#2 SandyMcKean

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 01:24 PM

Interesting that Kiyon seems to be pretty much the same person on and off stage (to use the dancer's most frequent word in this video: energy).

#3 Helene

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:06 AM

Casting is up for the first week:

http://www.pnb.org/s...works-cast.html

A Garden (Morris): six women, six men. Same cast for all four performances, with the exception of Nadeau and Korbes sharing a role.

M-Pulse (Gaines): five men, five women. Same cast for all four performances.

3 Movements (Millepied): eight men, eight women. Same cast for all four performances.

One flat thing reproduced (Forsythe): six women, eight men. Two casts.

#4 bart

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:40 AM

I like the little film on the Forsythe piece, which starts with the announcement that, at its first performances last March, an average of 10 people per performance walked out, while thirty complained to management. So, the video tells us, PNB has decided to do it again. :)

Controversy has been banished from most ballet companies' repertories in the U.S. for many decades. Good luck to Boal and PNB for making a move in the opposite direction.

#5 Helene

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Posted 29 October 2008 - 05:08 PM

Thanks for noting the new (additional) video, bart.

I think I'm going to like this, but crack me up over this quote:

Forsythe compares "One Flat Thing..." to Balanchine's "Symphony in C" . He says, "It's the exact same principles except we're no longer dealing with that classic symmetry. These alignments have been distributed evenly throughout the entire field of vision...a cloud of alignments.


I thought one of the main principles of "Symphony in C" is classic symmetry.

#6 sandik

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:23 PM

Thanks Helene for getting this up -- I'm looking forward to the program, particularly the Morris and the Forsythe. I was at a showing for the Seattle Dance Project this afternoon and heard Heidi Vierthaler (hope this is the right spelling -- I'm too lazy to check it right now) speak (she's making a work for their January show). She worked with Forsythe as he made the shift from Ballet F to his own company and had lots to say about his working practices -- I want to watch One Flat Thing with her comments in mind.

#7 SandyMcKean

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 05:32 PM

Heidi Vierthaler (hope this is the right spelling)....

Yes, that is correct.

#8 Helene

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Posted 06 November 2008 - 03:16 PM

Week 2 casting is up:

http://www.pnb.org/s...works-cast.html

and with the nice surprise that three of the apprentices will make their debuts in featured roles:

Andrew Bartee and Kyle Davis, in "A Garden" (Thurs-Fri, 13-14 Nov)
Margaret Mullin, in "3 Movements" (Fri, Sun, 14, 16 Nov)

along with Thomas, Foster, Lowenberg, and Postlewaite in "A Garden", Rausch in "M-Pulse", and Anspach in "One Flat Thing Reproduced".

#9 pikaia

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 01:35 PM

A nice interview with Benjamin Millepied about his piece for this rep: Millepied Interview

#10 olddude

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 04:43 PM

...
The subject is Kiyon Gaines' newest work, "M-Pulse". In addition to rehearsal scenes and comments from the dancers, Gaines speaks about his choreographic process for the work and how he got its score.

I was lucky enough to see this in rehearsal last week. Yes, it is energetic(!), but it's also very good, at least to my eye. Hard to tell a lot from a studio rehearsal of course, but it connected with me more than the Morris portion that we also saw. I liked the continuity, the way it keeps moving, and the way the connection with the music is always there. Looking forward to the performance and curious to see what the critics have to say.

#11 SandyMcKean

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Posted 07 November 2008 - 05:18 PM

I'm a big fan of Gaines's choreography. I predict big things will come from him over the years. One day we will remember that it started here in Seattle.

P.S. I go tonight! Yea!

#12 Helene

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 10:11 AM

This will be first impressions. My head was still in "Dr. Atomic" from the morning when I attended yesterday's matinee, and attending the opera and getting out of Pacific Place parking made me miss the first half of "A Garden". (Note to self: park in one of the surface lots to get out quickly.)

Two things struck me most about "A Garden": the amount of pointe work and the amount of petite allegro, the most I've seen in any new work in an age. The odd thing was how static the work was for the upper body during it, with the arms in first much of the time. Oh, but the emphasis on those feet, and what beautiful feet these dancers had.

I can't quite put my finger on what the music for the first movement of Kiyon Gaines' "M-Pulse" reminds me of -- something rock-like contemporary -- but it was firmly rhythmic. Composer Christina Spinei's second movement was like light, jazzy soundtrack music, and the third sounded to me like a cross between Michael Torke and Leonard Bernstein. I'm not sure I heard an original voice, but I did hear fine orchestration, particularly in the second movement's strings and woodwinds, and I think she could write a mean soundtrack.

The Torke-ishness in the music wasn't the only association I made with many of Peter Martins' works. I realized by the third movement that the phrasing reminded me also of Martins' choreography to Torke (and Adams): a regular length of phrasing and an immediate response to the music, without much overall structure that I could see. Maybe I'll see that in the choreography when I see the program again next weekend. Where Gaines' choreography is nothing like Martins' is in its directness and energy and its lack of faux sophistication, and the dancers -- all of them, not just the central principals -- look fantastic. Ice Dance choreographers should beg PNB for a copy of this work: the costumes by Mark Zappone for the women and many of the lifts would be great for skating.

Lindsi Dec was a standout in the pas de deux, partnered by Karel Cruz: her legs sing and her energy is infectious. There was an extended solo for Kaori Nakamura, with which I had trouble, because while accomplished, she was so out of this world in Tharp's "Afternoon Ball", a role and a work I found much richer. I couldn't make the transition to seeing her in something less "big picture".

I'm not sure I saw structure, per se, to Benjamin Millepied's "3 Movements", set to music by Steve Reich's "Three Movements for Orchestra", but I saw a lot of patterns and a great use of the stage space in all dimensions. It also had a superb central pas de deux for Carla Korbes and Batkhurel Bold, in which Korbes looked like a star and Bold took another step forward. Both the choreography and Korbes brought out the best in him. My only complaint is about the lighting: for me it was a little shadowy (from the Gallery Upper) for the grey palette of the costumes and sets. (The decor reminded me of a Max Cole print.)

I hadn't seen "One Flat Thing, Reproduced" before, and while I zoned at about the three-quarter mark, I liked it very much. The first time I saw "Dr. Atomic" in the Sellers production (San Francisco), I felt that the Lucinda Childs choreography was a stylized dud in its attempt to portray the industry and energy focused on the atomic arms race. Ironically, the interaction of the dancers around white metal tables -- up, over, around, down, under, through -- invoked the both the equations and patterns and the scientific collaboration more vividly (in a non-literal way) than the Childs.

"Dr. Atomic" was even more on my mind during this program, since three of the scores -- by Spinei, Reich, and Willems -- had electronic and/or minimalist elements in common with the Adams score. However, these scores underlined the differences in the Adams score, one I thought had more in common with "Elektra", which played last month at Seattle Opera. The sonic painting of the Adams score and the way in which it shifted to indicate the psychology of the characters was mesmerizing and more evocative of the Strauss score than its more structural relatives that I heard in the "New Works" program.

Two more dancers whose performances were noteworthy: Sokvannara Sar caught my eye repeatedly in "3 Movements" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced", and kudos to Andrew Bartee, who in "M-Pulse" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced" had some gnarly partnering and coordinating to do in both works, and he didn't miss a beat.

#13 Chocomel

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 10:40 AM

I'm just a dance mom, but I'll share my impressions from Saturday night's performance.

A Garden - This was my favorite. I love Baroque music. I love the point/counterpoint, the symmetry, the unflagging rhythm, lack of excessive emotion. It evokes feelings of peacefulness, pleasure, and enjoyment in me. I thought the choreography hit all of the qualities of the music perfectly. The movements were so simple and clean and executed the same by each dancer. The music and the dancing were completely satisfying to me. I didn't understand how brown and black costumes fit with the title or with the music, but other than that I was thrilled.

M-Pulse - The costumes for M-Pulse, however, were stunning. The ladies were in shimmering jewel blue and the men wore coppery shirts.

It bothered me that the music started out as a recording and then went to the orchestra. The orchestra was amazing all night, and the composer would have served her piece better to have trusted them rather than a recording. In comparison to the depth and richness of the orchestra's sound, the recording was dimensionless and dull. Other than that, I did enjoy the music.

Lindsi Dec was amazing. Maybe it was the color of the costume, but a couple of times I was transported to the first time I saw the Peacock dance from the Nutcracker and was blown away by her slow, sensuous movements. She did the same for me in this piece.

The dance was so full of energy. I enjoyed the parts where there was real coordination of movements, but otherwise it felt like the dancers were dancing to their own M-pulses. :dunno: This was my daughter's favorite of the evening.

3 Movements - I loved the choreography in this piece. I loved the interchanges between male and female dancers. I don't know what Millepied was going for, so I'll say what my impression was. The mood was as though everyone is so busy all the time that they didn't have time to really connect or enjoy life and each other. The men wore something that resembled dress shirts with a tie, and the women wore dresses or skirts and blouses; the colors were all shades of gray. Dancers rushed around, couples seemed to bounce off each other rather than really connect with each other. I didn't enjoy the music, but the dancing was amazing. Carla Korbes was gorgeous as usual. Maria Chapman, Seth Orza, and Sarah Ricard Orza were the other dancers that stood out to me.

One Flat Thing Reproduced - I had seen this in the spring. I hated the "music" but I found the choreography interesting. Seeing it for the second time, I hated the "music" even more and found myself thinking that I was an idiot for subjecting myself to it a second time. I had considered leaving before it began, but Peter Boal's belief in the work, and the fact that Carla Korbes was doing the Q&A after the performance convinced me to stay. I resorted to plugging my ears. Again, I found the choreography interesting, but not really something I would want to see again. As you could tell by my favorite of the evening being A Garden, I want to have a pleasant experience when I come to the ballet. Seeing it once was "experiencing art." Seeing it a second time was unnecessary. A bit like using a really nasty squatty potty in China. OK, I had the experience, now take me to the real restroom. Sorry. I know Peter Boal really wanted us to embrace it, but I guess I'm not as evolved as I should be. My daughter enjoyed it more the second time, though.

Looking forward to hearing the thoughts of people who are so much more knowledgable than I am. Oh, Helene posted while I was composing! Thank you for your thoughts.

#14 tutu

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 02:37 PM

Helene, I believe you and I were at the same performance, the Saturday matinee.

Watching A Garden was almost like watching a ballet class, and the women's costumes, black leotards and skirts with pink tights, heighten the effect. The work is, to me, all about showing off the dancers' refined technique. As Helene pointed out, the arms are quite static, and as a result, the audience member watches the feet and legs almost the entire time. The focus is on the so-called "basics" of ballet, not bravura steps; the dancers are not performing the superhuman feats that one might see in, for example, Swan Lake or Don Q. However, in focusing on the "simple," Morris shows the audience just how incredible these "basics" are. One is awed by the unembellished. The plain is not plain at all.

M-Pulse might as well be titled "Lindsi Dec." All the dancers turn in fantastic performances but Dec is absolutely incredible. To use a cliché, you just can't stop watching her. The choreography itself feels fun and intriguing. It's a complete counterpoint to the Morris work in its complexity. Speedy turns seamlessly segue into "How the heck do they do that?" partnering and a constant changing-of-the-guard-- someone always seems to be exiting or entering the stage. Although the different sections feel a little too disparate, I look forward to seeing more of Gaines' work as he further emerges as a choreographer.

3 Movements and M-Pulse are of a similar vein: seamless transitions and endlessly enthralling movement. 3 Movements was my favorite of the program. I'm struggling with describing the movement. Perhaps it was because the M-Pulse's ending tableau was on my mind that all relationships in 3M seemed to be combative. There seemed to be a constant warring undercurrent. Two dancers would seem to be in an angst-ridden relationship with each other, while united together against another couple, and there seemed to be an element of the "battle of the sexes," though it was, for a moment, resolved into what I can only describe as a kick-line-like formation (Not at all as awful as it sounds :dunno: ) Like Chocomel and Helene, I especially loved Körbes in this ballet. The sentiment's already been expressed, but I'll say it again: How wonderful it is to have her back onstage! Also, as others have noted, Bold really has been getting even better, and you can see it in this ballet. One more thought on 3M: Anybody catch that the costume design was by Isabella Boylston (with PNB's usual Larae Thiege Hascall)? Would that be the same Boylston who dances with ABT?

As far as One Flat Thing, Reproduced, I can't say much that hasn't already been said, except that I like it. Yes, the music is grating, but the movement itself is so very fascinating, as well as the way that the moments of unison emerge from the chaos. It was also great to be able to see it with another cast than last year's, just for the different energy that the group brings to it. (I do however, imagine that each performance must feel different from any other, given the nature of the choreography.) The piece definitely feels the most current and modern of the whole program, though it is the oldest.

#15 tutu

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 02:44 PM

Two more dancers whose performances were noteworthy: Sokvannara Sar caught my eye repeatedly in "3 Movements" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced", and kudos to Andrew Bartee, who in "M-Pulse" and "One Flat Thing Reproduced" had some gnarly partnering and coordinating to do in both works, and he didn't miss a beat.


I forgot to note that Helene captured my sentiments exactly! :dunno:

Edited 11/11 to add additional comment
Where the heck is Miranda Weese? If I recall correctly, she wasn't in the program, nor was she in All Tharp earlier. I just checked the season opening gala's casting from an earlier link on this forum and she didn't appear then, either, at least according to the link. I, for one, miss seeing her onstage! What's going on?


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