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La Sylphide


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#1 Hans

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 06:21 PM

I just read in the latest Kennedy Center News that the Washington Ballet will be performing 'La Sylphide' February 11-15 along with 'Celts' by Lila York in a program called 'Highland Fling'. This ought to be interesting; I am looking forward to seeing it. We don't seem to get Bournonville often in DC. I do question the wisdom, though, of following 'La Sylphide' with 'Celts'.

#2 cinnamonswirl

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 09:09 AM

The Washington Post has a lovely long article about the role of James, and the line of dancers who have danced it, in today's paper. We are getting David Hallberg for several performances!!
http://www.washingto...9012904467.html

#3 Alexandra

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 09:16 AM

It's a wonderful article (by Sarah Kaufman) and there's a photo gallery of past Jameses on line.

#4 bingham

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 12:55 PM

Very interesting. I hope ABT would also get help from the Danes when they do La Sylphide this June. Many of the main cast are doing it for the 1st time(at least with ABT).

#5 Natalia

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 10:50 AM

Does anybody have the principal casting schedule? I have tix for the Wednesday night 'preview' (the unofficial opening night) and am wondering if I will be seeing Hallberg or one of the excellent Washington Ballet men as James.

No word yet on either the WB or KennCen websites. Was wondering if anybody affiliated with the troupe may be able to help.

Thanks, in advance. :wink:

#6 little-duck

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 08:05 AM

I believe that Mr. Hallberg will be dancing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I'll be at the Sunday show! :)

#7 Natalia

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 06:59 AM

I believe that Mr. Hallberg will be dancing on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I'll be at the Sunday show! :wub:


Thanks, little-duck, not only for this information but for writing your very first BT post to answer my question. (Welcome!)

Now I am especially looking forward to tonight's performance.

#8 Juliet

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 07:40 AM

I don't know how I missed the original notice of this performance (well, yes I do, it was Nutcracker season!).....just happening to be in MD this week, what a treat---I'll be there tomorrow night!!!

thanks for the heads up!

#9 little-duck

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 08:48 AM

You are welcome, Natalia! I am especially looking forward to the performance since my son is one of the lucky Washington Ballet students that was selected to be in La Sylphide!

#10 Natalia

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:12 AM

Aha! So your son will probably be dancing in the Act I reel, I am guessing. What fun!

I'll be at tonight's opener.

#11 Natalia

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 08:32 AM

Washington Ballet at Kennedy Center

"Highland Fling" Program:
La Sylphide (Bournonville)
Celts (York)

February 11, 2009


The Washington Ballet is at an all-time high with this sublime-yet-exciting program!

SYLPHIDE Notes -

ABT principal David Hallberg's finely-detailed acting and gorgeous petit-batterie dancing as James took the cake but it's Danish guest Sorella Englund's richly nuanced portrayal of Madge that I will remember for years to come...not just a stereotypical old crone but an embittered lady with a whiff of glamour. I will never forget her chilly glances at Anna, James' mother, during the forest 'family betrothal' episode when Gurn proposes to Effy. As the Sylph, WB principal Elizabeth Gaither certainly has a fine technique, lively face and gorgeous feet but she has yet to find the poetry & 'lightness' in ballon that is essential to this role. Also, she seemed challenged by the pirouettes in demi-pointe. I almost prefered the 'leading corps sylph' in Act 2, Rui Huang, who truly has the ballon down pat. [I look forward to Maki Onuki's lone performance of the title role at the Saturday matinee. Judging by her performance in CELTS, below, she will have ballon to spare.] The ensemble -- magnificent, including those children, dancing one of the best Scottish Reels in balletdom! There was orchestral accompaniment, a rare treat in today's dwindling economy.

CELTS Notes -

As if a great performance of a full-length ballet is not enough...here came Lila York's CELTS, stealing the Sylph's thunder. Riverdance on Pointe! There was even a zippy 'Flatley Clone' guy in black (edited to add name: Joel Prouty, guest dancer). Lord of the Ballet? This 30-minute work to taped Irish folk tunes -- some of it by the Chieftains -- could have sunk into kitsch but, miraculously, it did not. The 'romantic tall couple' of Luis R. Torres and Sona Kharatian provided elegance and gravitas, while Maki Onuki and Jared Nelson danced the more folk-flavored, high-flying pair in bright red. The socko ending for full corps had many of us in the audience leaping to our feet as the curtain fell.

Post-performance ''Ballet Talks" -

Septime Webre welcomed guests, star dancer David Hallberg (ABT guest) and CELTS' choreographer Lila York. Most in the audience stayed for this. Hallberg was very eloquent in describing how he got into the role of James. Interestingly, he credited Johann Kobborg as the person who taught him the role...even though the Wash Post only mentioned the connection with Thomas Lund, who was in DC staging the ballet (but now gone, I guess...not seen in curtain calls). York talked about the creative process and how much she most enjoys working with large groups, not typical of today's choreographers. She often 'works out' possible patterns on paper before going into the studio. When somebody asked how the CELTS piece came about she answered that Boston Ballet had commissioned a work and only asked that (a) it be to taped music and (b) involve a large corps de ballet + soloists. Part of the inspiration for an Irish work came from traveling through Ireland and Scotland with her parents, not long before receiving the commission.


A not-to-be-missed program!

#12 Rory

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 06:25 PM

I believe the guest dancer you may be referring to in Celts was Joel Prouty who until recently was a soloist with Boston Ballet.

#13 Natalia

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 03:20 AM

Thank you, Rory. He was indeed fantastic. In fact, it was an extraordinary performance from all dancers on the stage, soloists and corps. CELTS stole the show from SYLPHIDE, if that is imaginable.

#14 Jane Simpson

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 04:55 AM

Natalia, please could you tell us what Englund did right at the end of La Sylphide, in the last second or two, after James has (probably) died? Was she exultant, or despairing? Did she do her 'I was a sylphide myself' bit, shown by lifting up her skirt to show a bedraggled sylphide skirt underneath?

Also, I think the Washington Post article said that Hallberg has already danced James elsewhere, so maybe it was Kobborg who orginally taught him the role.

#15 bingham

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 06:57 AM

Natalia, please could you tell us what Englund did right at the end of La Sylphide, in the last second or two, after James has (probably) died? Was she exultant, or despairing? Did she do her 'I was a sylphide myself' bit, shown by lifting up her skirt to show a bedraggled sylphide skirt underneath?

Also, I think the Washington Post article said that Hallberg has already danced James elsewhere, so maybe it was Kobborg who orginally taught him the role.

He danced the role in a Kobborg-staged Japanese production last year.


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