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Miami City Ballet Program IIFox-Trot: Dancing in the Dark, Mercuric Tidings, Ballet Imperial


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#1 cahill

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:58 PM

This program is opening in West Palm Friday, December 5. YouTube has a preview.

Program II Overview

#2 bart

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 12:07 PM

Thanks so much, cahill. I love the promo video. Is this the first time they've done something so ambitious in terms of pre-performance marketing?

It's rare for West Palm to get the first weekend of peformances. Usually we're after Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

I wish I'd had a chance to watch Patrick Corbin setting Mercuric Tidings on the company. I really like this work and can't wait to see what Miami makes of it. They already have Arden Court in their rep.

I've just received a mailing with Jeremy Cox on the cover, photographed by Lois Greenfield. It's one of the most wonderful photos of a dancer caught while flying through the air I've seen. He's bare-chested, smiling enigmatically, wearing mottled raspberry colored tights, and performing a stylized version of what I think is called a stag jete en avant. The single shot conveys so many of Cox's qualities and strengths.

Ballet Imperial was last performed in West Palm in February 2006. The two principal couples I saw were Penteado and Catoya (shown briefly in the video) and then Albertson and the much-missed Mikhail Ilyin. I recollect some difficulties in the corps a couple of years ago. They seemed out of sync more than they should and a little uncomfortable with parts of the work. The corps has made big improvements, I think, in the 2-plus years since then, so I hope they do what they are now capable of. Facial expressions, too, please!

The Fox-Trot section of Villella's Neighborhood Ballroom was here in spring of 2003, with Jennifer Kronenberg and Yann Trividic. (He's in the video, I think. It's a fun piece which worked well as part of a full-evening presentation of all four of Villella's dance-hall pieces, preceded by the Waltz and the Quick-Step and followed by the Mambo. It may, I fear, suffer when on the same bill with the sharper, faster, more brilliant Taylor and Balanchine.

Anyone have any casting preferences for the Ballet Imperial leads this time around?

#3 Jack Reed

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 04:22 PM

Catoya. Catoya! Unless she's getting tired of it, which I can't imagine! Partner? Oh, anybody she wants to dance with... Keep the gal happy, you know, she keeps me happy.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 04:51 PM

Jeannette Delgado. She's becoming my new favorite...YOU GO GIRL!! :o

#5 bart

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 05:25 AM

Catoya, definitely. Like Cristian, I was also thinking of Jeanette Delado. She's reminds me somehow of the photos of Marie-Jeanne for whom the role was created back in 1941.

#6 Sonora

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 08:29 PM

Catoya, definitely. Like Cristian, I was also thinking of Jeanette Delado. She's reminds me somehow of the photos of Marie-Jeanne for whom the role was created back in 1941.



Jeanette Delgado has a remarkable musicality and joy. She ought to make an impression when Miami City Ballet comes to City Center in January.

#7 bart

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 12:59 PM

Sorry about delaying writing about the first weekend at West Palm. I saw Friday night, their first public presentation of the program, and have to admit that it looked a little tentative. But Saturday night was glorious as was the Sunday matinee.

I'll write more as others get involved from Fort Lauderdale and Miami, but here was the casting that I saw. (I use the term "first cast" for those who danced on opening night.)

"The Fox Trot: Dancing in the Dark"

Carlos Guerra as the Poet in all performances. Jennifer Kronenberg and Haiyan Wu alternating as the Movie Star. Alex Wong was the Pilot's buddy in all performances. My favorites in this piece -- the "Three Smokers" -- were Jeremy Cox, Renayo Penteado (surprisingly light, relaxed and funny) and Alexandre Dufaur. Alternate cast was Daniel Baker, Danile Sarabia, and Dufaur.

Mercuric Tidings:

-- First cast leads: Jeremy Cox and Patricia Delgado. Leader of the 4 women (a rather important role in the Adagio, middle section) Allynne Noelle.

-- Second cast leads: Daniel Baker and Jeanette Delgado. Leader of the 4 women, Callie Manning.

Ballet Imperial:

-- First cast. Principals: Catoya and Penteado. Second female lead: Jeanette Delgado, supported by Alexandre Dufaur and Didier Bramaz in one performance and Stephen Satterfield and Didier Bramaz in another.

-- Second cast: Principals: Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra. Second female lead: Tricia Albertson, supported by Stephen Satterfield and Marc Spielberger.

Biggest surprise: Mercuric Tidings. Everyone remembers -- and talks about -- the speed, intricacy, radical direction changes, and lightheartedness of the allegro movements. These are indeed wonderful, and Miami danced them thrillingly. I was most struck, however, by the middle movement -- an adagio -- which includes a beautiful, dreamlike and almost seraphic pas de deux, esepcially when danced by Cox and Patricia Delgado. Daniel Baker and Jeanette Delgado were fast, enthusiastic, brilliant, and full of "let's put on a show" enthusiasm in the allegro movements. But for mature artistry, look closely at Cox and Patricia.

I liked all the leads in Ballet Imperial. Jeanette Delgado as the second lead danced so joyfully, so precisely, so daringly that I think she could appear with any company in the world -- Mariiynsky, San Francisco, NYCB -- and still be a star in thss particular role.

For those who missed it, here's the Palm Beach Post review (originally linked by dirac on Saturday).
http://www.palmbeach...06/1206mcb.html
Charles Passy, though not trained in dance, is one of south Florida's more observant and thoughtful writers about the performing arts in general His point about Miami's artistic aspirations in the Taylor piece is right on target.

It's a rare choreographer who can appreciate the art form in such profoundly simple terms. And it's a rare dance company that can embrace that vision, letting athleticism and technique serve such a noble purpose. In other words, this is show business without the show.

So is his feeling, based on the Friday opening night, that MCB is going to grow significantly -- "take full ownership" -- in the Taylor and Balanchine as time goes on. (I saw this happen during the course of a single weekend!)

#8 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 02:18 PM

Thanks for your review, bart. I knew i was on the right track regarding Jeanette. Can't wait to see the performance over here...

#9 cahill

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 08:56 AM

Here is Jordan Levin's review from the MiamiHerald on the opening night in Miami
Dreamy Ballet Imperial untouched by recession nightmare

I am looking forward to cubanmiamiboy's review!

cahill

#10 bart

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Posted 10 January 2009 - 06:36 PM

Thanks, cahill. I was delighted by the review, but not by the reference in the first paragraph to further cutbacks in the company due to economic difficulties. In West Palm we are already going to shift to performances without an orchestra. I hope that dancers aren't cut as well.

Levin's tribute to Catoya in Ballet Imperial is right on target, it seems to me. It was good to hear that Katia Carranza, also dancing in Ballet Imperial, is now back from Mexico for a couple of programs. She has been missed.

Although I understand where Levin is coming from in his criticism of the way that the company danced Taylor, I agree with it only partially:

But the dancers also sometimes bring an unnecessary ballet prettiness to Taylor's choreography, a flourish of the hands, an elegant tilt of the head. It dilutes the simplicity and human gravity that can make Taylor's work so powerful. At one point in Mercuric four women lying on the floor fold up from their elbows and knees, like some strange animal-flower growth, beautiful and odd. Those moments need no decoration.

I don't think the word "prettiness" is what he really means. These are ballet dancers trained to the highest standard. They bring expressive elegance and precision to this piece that modern dancers do not. I believe this enriches it, revealing aspects that might not be visible even when Taylor's own company dances the piece. Something may be lost, but something is also gained.

MCB is NOT the Taylor company. It is a tribute to the richness and strength of Taylor's choreography that it shows so well when both of these quite different companies perform it.

#11 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 09:35 AM

Ok, so I saw both Friday night and last night performances, and by yesterday-(before the night started)- I found myself in the knowing that I was just going for charming Ballet Imperial. Will be back. One name thought...MARY CARMEN CATOYA.

#12 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:32 PM

MERCURIC TIDINGS

Nice facts:
This dance-(new to me)- featured beautiful red outfits that fade to white-(or more precisely, skin tone)-at the top. The dancers looked very energetic, smiling, and profusely sweaty by the end. The work didn't appear to have a theme. I perceived it as an exhibition of pure movement. Overall, the visual offering was very pretty, including the postures and the costumes design. The dancers were very pleasant to look at, both the men and the woman. The men danced shirtless, revealing a cut and well defined physique. The choreography offered an opening with dancers in two lines leaning to the sound of a flute. The score-(set to the beautiful Schubert's Symphonies # 1 and 2)- was bold and dramatic, and while I liked the energy the dancers put out in response to the energy of the music-(in the fast sections)-sometimes the music seemed a little too much against the dancing, at times much of the dance feeling like a grand finale. Facts...there were nice leaps, lifts and precise rapid turns across the stage, along with several passages where a dancer's movements were nicely offset within groupings, followed by in sync movements. In a slower passage in the middle of the work, the dancers leaned their legs, echoing the opening of the dance, and I specially liked a sequence where one group of dancers performed a series of rotating lifts going left while another group of dancers rolled on the floor going right. The dance returned to a fast passage with leaping legs that revealed a picture of exuberance...Lines forming and reforming leading to the grand finale-(quite effective, IMO)-with a pretty ending ensemble pose with one female dancer raised high.
On Friday the leading couple was Patricia Delgado and Jeremy Cox. Delgado was-(as always)-sharp, sparkling and beautiful. Cox was-(as usual too)-THE savior soul of the night. Saturday night performance was lead by Delgado’s sister, the always impressive, strong Jeanette. She was wisely paired with the best ballerina-lifter of the Company, the Soloist category-deserving and physically impressive bailarin-(WHEN is he going to get promoted?!?!)-Daniel Baker. The two couples were excellent.
On the other side...
...I wish my knowledge and taste of the dancing spectrum were wider. If I have to say that the whole work didn’t displease me , I must be totally honest and mention also that it neither did it completely for me. There was “something” missing…and I’m thinking, and thinking. Then, one of my two friends/companions-(a totally ballet “non connoisseur”)-made the following interesting comment: “It looked to me like a ballet rehearsal…” And then, I got it. I remembered somebody on this board mentioning Scheherezade and asking me what my position was towards it. Well, I actually went to review my Liepa DVD with his reconstruction...founding myself knowing what was that Fokine’s masterpiece had in common with Taylor’s work. Of course… it had to do with an absence…
Done with this. Again, I liked it…overall speaking, but I wish it would had been a performance by the Miami Contemporary Dance Company, instead of MCB…

Ballet Imperial-(oh yes…, THAT was beautiful… :off topic: ) coming next…

#13 bart

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 07:02 PM

There was “something” missing…and I’m thinking, and thinking. Then, one of my two friends who I was with-(a totally ballet “non connoisseur”), made the following interesting comment: “It looked to me like a ballet rehearsal…” And then, I got it. I remembered somebody on this board mentioning Scheherezade and asking me what my position was towards it. Well, I actually went to review my Liepa DVD with his reconstruction...founding myself knowing what was that Fokine’s masterpiece had in common with Taylor’s work. Of course… it had to do with an absence… {Bold-face added.]

I think you have put your finger on something that goes to the heart of why we "love" certain forms of artistic expression but feel let down by or even angry at others. When we grow up associating "art" and pleasure with one school or style, it can be uncomfortable trying to respond to others that are different. This is true even when we know that the unfamiliar work is of high quality.

You grew up immersed in the Cuban School. I, from very early on, saw Balanchine as a kind of artistic God.
Peple with backgrounds like that frequently experience(d) difficulties in moving out and responding fully and openly to new aesthetic experiences. When Alonso's company danced in in NYC in 2003 the Times review was headlined: "Latin Passion and Drama Meet Academic Precision." I can promise that you find EITHER of those qualities in MCB's version. But you (we) will, I hope, find a damn good show put on by some pretty wonderful dancers. "Too little"? "Too much"? Or just: "different"?


There are some differences between growing up with Alonso and growing up with Balanchine, however.

-- As you watche the Taylor piece (danced by MCB with a distinct Balanchinian accent) you feel that something has been left out. An "absence."

-- I, on the other hand, while watching choreography in Ballet Russe tradition out of which Alonso developed often find myself feeling that something extraneous and unnecessary has been added TO, or imposed upon, the work.

I guess the best we can do is recognize this pattern in ourselves. And try to approach all high-level dancing, whatever the style, with open eyes and open hearts.

Can't wait to hear your response to Ballet Imperial. And -- of course -- to the MCB Don Quixote coming up in Program III.
As a native of Havana, you must know that ballet by heart.

When Alonso's company danced Don Q in NYC a few years ago, the NY Times headlined its review: "Latin Passion and Drama Meet Academic Precision." I'm not sure how MCB will compare with that. Inevitably there will be something missing as compared with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba -- and and also something added. "Too little"? "Too much"? Or, "Vive la difference"?

#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 07:30 PM

As you watched the Taylor piece (danced by MCB with a distinct Balanchinian accent) you feel that something has been left out. An "absence."


It was the pointe shoes absence, bart...pointe shoes! :off topic: (ditto with Fokine's Scheherezade)

#15 bart

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Posted 12 January 2009 - 06:20 AM

Sorry that I misunderstood your point, Cristian. I was focused of other issues.

I know this is :wink: ... but you picqued my curiosity. How strictly is the pointe-shoe v. soft-shoe maintained defined by Alonso, the company, etc. Is it really a matter of as ballet=pointe shoes and contemporary = soft shoes? Does BNdeC include repertory in which they dance without pointe shoes?? If so, do they call these dances "ballets"?


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