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Miami City Ballet: Program 1Balanchivadze's "Swan Lake", "4 T's"..and...


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#16 carbro

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 05:55 PM

A bit :)

(If MCB is wrong to call this Swan Lake Act II, as Alistair Macaulay says in the Times, what then would be a better title? "Swan Lake"? I think MCB renamed Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 as Ballet Imperialwhole Swan Lake? Should they have called it Swan Lake Acts I, II, & IV? Now, there's a title! Maybe Swan Lake Suite? Hmm.

Swan Lake Suite works for me, as does "Swan Lake" (or better, Swan Lake in Quotes, as the actual quote marks may be too subtle to make the point).

I don't think there's such a ballet named Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #2 any more, except maybe at NYCB. Even as Ballet Imperial, it seems to be universally danced in chiffon dresses. Must be some decision by The Trust. :dunno:

#17 bart

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 06:06 PM

:) Act II.

I tend to think of "suites" as a linking of individual pieces, unified by theme, style or composer, but not much more. The Balanchine ballet tells a powerful and coherent love story. The average audience member is probably not aware of the juggling and editing tkhat has been done with the original score. Mightn't Suite raise the expectations of a collection of highlights from the complete ballet?

From the point of view of the average ballet-goer, Swan Lake Act II has the virtue of being understandable and consistent, more or less, with what they see on stage. On the other hand, one could go back to Balanchine's simple Swan Lake and give refunds to those who complain: where was Odile?

#18 papeetepatrick

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 06:57 PM

I'd think the best would be to leave it alone, it's not too hard to find out what Swan Lake Act II is. But the best one, I think, would be to call it either 'Balanchine Swan Lake' or 'Balanchine's Swan Lake', which echoes somewhat Balanchine's own titling of his ballet 'Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze'. Ultimately, 'Balanchine's Swan Lake' sounds better than 'Balanchine Swan Lake', and anyone would then see it was one of 3 on a program. I don't think 'Swan Lake' by itself is quite enough, because we're in an era long after it was well-known. I hadn't heard about it in years until people brought it up some months ago, and never heard about in NYCB repertory since I saw it in 1971. Yes, I wouldn't think this for any other kind of ballet, but 'Balanchine's Swan Lake' sounds fine, because, whatever else it is, it is a shortened version of what is always thought of as a full-length ballet. It's also not far from DVDs that say 'George Balanchine's The Nutcracker', is it? which I think was always seen in TV productions going back to the 60s and maybe some other ads as well. I don't see 'Swan Lake Suite' as working, though. Either 'Swan Lake Act II', 'Balanchine's Swan Lake' or 'Swan Lake'. The latter is the tastiest, but also the most elitist and most easily misunderstood. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that in 1971, it was called 'Swan Lake Act II', with Balanchine alive another 12 years, unless I'm wrong. If I'm right, it was his decision to call it that, so somebody will know if it was called Swan Lake Act II back then.

I think NYCB does still use 'Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2', don't they? I didn't know what Ballet Imperial was till I saw the Kirov in April.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 November 2008 - 10:48 PM

. But the best one, I think, would be to call it either 'Balanchine Swan Lake' or 'Balanchine's Swan Lake'

Totally agree. At the very end, MCB's choice is not Petipa/Ivanov work, but Balanchine's, which he CREATED-(or RECREATED?...and not from scratch, as i could observe)-recycling elements of the well known XIX Century ballet-(title, storyline, character names, and some steps sequences along the way). This made me think that it would be probably the same case as "Mathew Bourne's Swan Lake", and here is how Wikipedia resolves the whole conflict: "The ballet-(M.B's)- is based loosely on the Russian romantic ballet Swan Lake, from which it takes the music by Tchaikovsky and the broad outline of the plot". Period. Done deal. I also wondered how would it have been if Mr. B would have decided to have the ballet being stripped off from all its costumes and backdrops a la "Ballet Imperial" or "The 4 T's", all the way down to his minimalistic practice clothes and monocromatic backdrop. Interesting.

#20 Paul Parish

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 12:23 AM

Hey Christian, there's reason to believe Mr B had very complex feelings about Swan Lake, and that "impersonal" is not what he wanted. He did say "don't act," but pictures of Darci Kistler in the role when she was still at SAB look very much like she's inside that music and far-gone in swandom. Melissa Hayden commented on the 6 Balanchine Ballerinas documentary that Balanchine said all KINDS of things to Allegra Kent about how to dance the role, "and he never said those things to ME" -- and he clearly preferred Kent to Hayden as the swan. There is a famous photograph of Mr. B showing him how to do the Prince, and the pose is as romantic as possible -- the wrists are drooping, the shoulders are lifted, the whole torso is filled with yearning. The two men are standing side by side, Balanchine is in his usual clothes, and Villella invVelvet doublet and tights, and yet Mr. B looks entirely the Prince and Villlella looks clueless.... maybe Carbro or a board moderator knows where to find this picture. It says more than a thousand words about what Swan Lake style should be.

#21 richard53dog

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 05:09 AM

I don't think there's such a ballet named Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #2 any more, except maybe at NYCB. Even as Ballet Imperial, it seems to be universally danced in chiffon dresses. Must be some decision by The Trust. :dunno:



Hmmm. A Few years back (maybe 2005) , I caught a couple of performances of BI with ABT. And the women were classical tutus. So I guess there are still some bits of inconsistency here and there.

#22 bart

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 06:58 AM

There is a famous photograph of Mr. B showing him how to do the Prince, and the pose is as romantic as possible -- the wrists are drooping, the shoulders are lifted, the whole torso is filled with yearning. The two men are standing side by side, Balanchine is in his usual clothes, and Villella in Velvet doublet and tights, and yet Mr. B looks entirely the Prince and Villlella looks clueless....

Wonderful description, Paul. You've made me look more deeply at a photo I've always loved, but not really thought much about. Balanchine is simply beautiful in this shot.

maybe Carbro or a board moderator knows where to find this picture. It says more than a thousand words about what Swan Lake style should be.

This is the cover photo of Robert Garis's Following Balanchine -- available from Amazon. It's by Martha Swope and is dated "c. 1962."

http://www.amazon.co...e...2755&sr=1-2

Just click the book cover and a large image of the photo appears.

By the way, not everyone may agree with your description of Villella as looking "clueless,", but it's undeniable that this was not a role that came naturallly to Villella. In the old days, there were many ballets which were Villella's alone -- either literally or in the minds and hearts of the fans. Your heart leapt when you opened the program and saw his name and sank a bit when an alternate was there instead. Swan Lake (Balanchine) was not one of those ballets.

P.S. In this photo, I've always loved the way the swan's wings seem to emerge from Balanchine's lower legs -- rather like a version of Mercury.

P.P.S. Can anyone identify the other Siegfried at the back of the shot? He's obscured by another dancer in practice clothes. However, you can see the sleeves of his doublet and the top of his head. The hairdo makes him look like Peter Martins, but that's impossible.

#23 Helene

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:32 AM

I'd think the best would be to leave it alone, it's not too hard to find out what Swan Lake Act II is. But the best one, I think, would be to call it either 'Balanchine Swan Lake' or 'Balanchine's Swan Lake', which echoes somewhat Balanchine's own titling of his ballet 'Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze'.

I don't see why. Balanchine's version of "Swan Lake" Act II is just as based in Ivanov's white act as any other production I've seen in which Benno doesn't partner Odette. You don't see SFB's production of "Swan Lake" titled "Helgi Tomasson's 'Swan Lake'" or the Bolshoi's listed as " 'Swan Lake' (Ingredients: Grigorovich [80%], Ivanov [10%], Petipa [5%], Gorsky [5%])" or the Royal Ballet's named "Petipa's and Ivanov's and Ashton's and Dowell's 'Sleeping Beauty'.

What's critical is that the audience not expect a full length, and that's covered by the title "Swan Lake Act II".

#24 papeetepatrick

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:37 AM

I'd think the best would be to leave it alone, it's not too hard to find out what Swan Lake Act II is. But the best one, I think, would be to call it either 'Balanchine Swan Lake' or 'Balanchine's Swan Lake', which echoes somewhat Balanchine's own titling of his ballet 'Robert Schumann's Davidsbundlertanze'.

I don't see why. Balanchine's version of "Swan Lake" Act II is just as based in Ivanov's white act as any other production I've seen in which Benno doesn't partner Odette. You don't see SFB's production of "Swan Lake" titled "Helgi Tomasson's 'Swan Lake'" or the Bolshoi's listed as " 'Swan Lake' (Ingredients: Grigorovich [80%], Ivanov [10%], Petipa [5%], Gorsky [5%])" or the Royal Ballet's named "Petipa's and Ivanov's and Ashton's and Dowell's 'Sleeping Beauty'.

What's critical is that the audience not expect a full length, and that's covered by the title "Swan Lake Act II".


Well, that's what I said by 'leave it alone', but people are talking about Macauley here, who doesn't like 'Swan Lake Act II'. What nobody has answered is my question on whether it came to be called 'Swan Lake Act II' while Balanchine was still alive. I believe bart said Balanchine called it 'Swan Lake', but I thought I remembered when seeing Hayden in it in 1971 that it was listed in the program as 'Swan Lake Act II'. If Balanchine was fine with 'Swan Lake Act II', I don't see why this was ever brought up. So, who started calling it that? Anyway, I just put out some ideas on other possibilitities. I don't consider it an important issue, and think 'Swan Lake Act II' is fine in any case. In calling it 'Balanchine's Swan Lake', I was trying to arrive at a way of saying that it was a one-actor but changing the name that is being discussed only because of Macauley. It's not comparable to any of the others you listed, unless they're also not full-length. I also think 'Balanchine Swan Lake Act II' is not too long.

#25 bart

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:58 AM

I believe bart said Balanchine called it 'Swan Lake', but I thought I remembered when seeing Hayden in it in 1971 that it was listed in the program as 'Swan Lake Act II'.

I wonder whether this DID begin. It certainly was "Swan Lake" on its own in the late 50s, when I first saw it, and I must admit I never noticed a re-titling in the decades following. That doesn't mean it didn't actually happen then. I may not have been paying attention. Certainly no one I knew used "Act II" in conversation.

The NYCB website continues to refer to it as "Swan Lake (Balanchine)" to distinguish it from "Swan Lake (Martins)." As for MCB, this is a company premiere, so there's no history.

When DID the title change? Who did it? And why? NYCB and Balanchine experts -- please help!

#26 papeetepatrick

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 09:20 AM

I believe bart said Balanchine called it 'Swan Lake', but I thought I remembered when seeing Hayden in it in 1971 that it was listed in the program as 'Swan Lake Act II'.

I wonder whether this DID begin. It certainly was "Swan Lake" on its own in the late 50s, when I first saw it, and I must admit I never noticed a re-titling in the decades following. That doesn't mean it didn't actually happen then. I may not have been paying attention. Certainly no one I knew used "Act II" in conversation.

The NYCB website continues to refer to it as "Swan Lake (Balanchine)" to distinguish it from "Swan Lake (Martins)."

When DID the title change? Who did it? And why? NYCB and Balanchine experts -- please help!


It could be that I got there and found out what it was, and read it in the Notes rather than as the title. Too long ago to remember. I also don't know if NYCB stopped doing it completely after 'Swan Lake (Martins)' started. I assume they did. But I would have known even then that I was not going to see an evening-length 'Swan Lake' given two other works on the program. So, maybe rg or mel or sz can tell us when 'Swan Lake Act II' appeared as a title. You may well be right that NYCB never used 'Swan Lake Act II' as an actual title, but just explained it in the notes.

#27 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 08:22 PM

Thanks a lot to all BT’s who chimed in with this thread. Here are some thoughts, from
The Saturday night performance:

Swan Lake:

A plus for Deanna Seay and Rolando Sarabia. Still my favorite MCB’s pair. Experience gets to be noticed on their dancing for sure. Sorry if I’m repeating myself about this.
Deanna Seay did a series of Piquee turns to die for. What a pleasure to watch. Brava!
Sarabita is still the best combination of Danseur Noble/magnificent technician I’ve ever witnessed. Bravo!
This time I watched the Corps more carefully. Find its patterns more alluring each time. Noticed at one point a perfect Willi-like diagonal formation. Beautiful. The Pas de Neuf was danced with a special brio, and loved the series of Grand Battements done by the girls during the “Valse Bluette”

4 T’s

First Theme. Wu/Zou. I saw a conscious sense of delicate plasticity on both dancers while dancing this piece. They did for me here better than in SL.
Second Theme. Albertson/Bramaz. Albertson has a vintage ballerina-looking aura that works big time for me. Maybe is just my imagination, but that’s how I tend to perceive this elegant looking ballerina, who also has a beautiful lines.
Third Theme. Patricia Delgado/Guerra. The Delgado sisters are quickly escalating both within the company ranks and in my personal taste. Patricia did a terrific job, along with Guerra’s usual display of subtle correctness and appropriate virility. Great.
Melancholic. Wong. As usual, the silent jumper and airy dancer with a lovely cambre. My favorite Melancholic so far.
Sanguinic. Jeannette Delgado/Panteado. Jeannette is the newest full force within the Company. Love her fearless attack. Can’t wait for her Quiteria. Panteado showed a great deal of good partnership.
Phlegmatic. Cox. One more time, Cox displays his unique individuality in style and interpretation. My favorite Mr. B’s-(or Mr. Villella’s)- dancer within the company, as I’ve said earlier.
Choleric.Spiridonakos. The allure of a tall ballerina always has worked for me, also during Spiridonakos’ performance tonight, even not being the best technician,-(a la Veronika Part)

"In the Upper Room".

WHAT’S UP WITH THE FIRE ALARM LIGHTS?! They went at some point, and I kind of woke up and started looking around wondering if Tharp had decided to add the theater device as part of the ballet. You never know with her, and as anybody else seemed to be alarmed, I decided that maybe that was the case and I was showing poor knowledge regarding the work. I decided to go back to my daydreaming.
Note: Mary Carmen Catoya stood out big time. She showed a newly acquired radiant expression that along with her superb detailing during the piece made her the big winner of it.
Note 2- The best of all was to get to meet Jack Reed and NYSusan - What a pleasure to put faces on their words finally!


Sunday: More stuff coming about the matinée performance, but I wanted to mention that I also met lovely Natalia, and we had a great time chatting while sipping coffee after the performance. Thanks for the invitation Natalia! :(

#28 Paul Parish

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Posted 09 November 2008 - 09:06 PM

WEll, calling it Swan Lake Act 2 would make you think it was giong to BE Swan Lake Act 2 -- which it really is not. In Margot Fonteyn's days, the Royal ballet DID often dance Swan Lake Act 2, and even made a film of it, complete with hunters and Benno in the "pas de deux a trois." Macaulay, as a Brit, should be very familiar with tis version and would understandably object to calling Balanchine's distinctive version, which IS complete in itself, by hte name of the excerpt.





I believe bart said Balanchine called it 'Swan Lake', but I thought I remembered when seeing Hayden in it in 1971 that it was listed in the program as 'Swan Lake Act II'.

I wonder whether this DID begin. It certainly was "Swan Lake" on its own in the late 50s, when I first saw it, and I must admit I never noticed a re-titling in the decades following. That doesn't mean it didn't actually happen then. I may not have been paying attention. Certainly no one I knew used "Act II" in conversation.

The NYCB website continues to refer to it as "Swan Lake (Balanchine)" to distinguish it from "Swan Lake (Martins)."

When DID the title change? Who did it? And why? NYCB and Balanchine experts -- please help!


It could be that I got there and found out what it was, and read it in the Notes rather than as the title. Too long ago to remember. I also don't know if NYCB stopped doing it completely after 'Swan Lake (Martins)' started. I assume they did. But I would have known even then that I was not going to see an evening-length 'Swan Lake' given two other works on the program. So, maybe rg or mel or sz can tell us when 'Swan Lake Act II' appeared as a title. You may well be right that NYCB never used 'Swan Lake Act II' as an actual title, but just explained it in the notes.



#29 Natalia

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 04:37 AM

Just back from Ft lauderdale and yesterday's gorgeous performance. I have so much to write but wanted first to say how great it was to finally see the Balanchine Swan Lake in all of its glory as Mr B intended -- with all-white tutus for all swans. I also thoroughly enjoyed the two other ballets and Mr. Villella's pre-perf chat...Bart, you were spot-on in that EV definitely prefered one work -- Four Ts, in this case -- and he had some insights about each movement which I'll be a sharing a bit later today, when I write a full review of my day.

A correct title for the Mr. B Swan Lake? How about "The Beauty of Swans" or "Reflections on Swans," as this is, first and foremost, about the corps de ballet. The finale left me breathless, those vigorous runs in circles, arcs, criss-crosses, etc.

I'm told that I truly lucked out in my 'surprise principals' for Swan Lake -- Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra. Both were excellent, as were the Delgado Sisters in the Pas de Neuf and Valse Bluette.

Four Ts - I thought that San Fco ballet (in NYC, last month) was great in this...Miami City Ballet is zestier, if not as precise. Jeremy Cox was very touching as Melancholic, although I'm told that he is even better in Phlegmatic.

Two Words come to mind when thinking back on Miami's version of In the Upper Room: Sarabia's pirouette's! Lordie, he could have gone on forever, twirling 100 mph, whenever he launched into one of his zippy pirouettes. Miami's Upper Room is the finest, zippiest rendition that I've seen outside ABT. Sarabia and Renato Penteado were the fastest 'change-directions diagonal' guys I've ever seen...garnering cheers whenever they emerged and crossed the stage with that particular move. Instant standing-o for Upper Room. Bravi Tutti!

Most Importantly: What a joy to have finally met cubanmiamiboy and Jack Reed -- both delightful and knowledgeable gentlemen! :(

Much, much more later.

#30 vrsfanatic

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Posted 10 November 2008 - 04:40 AM

cubanmiamiboy, I believe I heard an announcement on Saturday evening just before the curtain rising for Swan Lake that Patricia Delgado was replacing Seay in the "pas de deux" (perhaps they meant the adagio?). I am not familiar with the MCB company members although I do know the Sarabias and Amanda Weingarten. I would appreciate your clarifying what dancers I did see. :(

As for the Balanchine Swan Lake, from the balcony some the patterns were well crafted and very musical. Sarabia was a bit flat although elegant and the danseur nobile. The corps was well rehearsed and very much as I remember the arm movements from my childhood. Having not seen the production in almost 30 years, my reaction to the overal flatness of the movement, in particular the port de bras, was interesting for me. This could have been any other Balanchine work with bits and pieces of his other choreographies thrown in here and there, hip lunges and all. The corps danced well, it was just the choreography that did not strike me as being particularly swanlike. :(

4Ts...Jeremy Cox was a standout. :(

In the Upper Room, not my favorite bit of repetitive movement. I left early due to the emergency lights flashing in the theatre. Mostlikely the fog machines set them off but being with 12 of our students, I jumped up and said let's go. cubanmiamiboy, did the lights ever stop flashing? Was this a lighting effect? A few audience members did get up and leave as we did. So what was the story? :dunno:


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