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All Prokofiev Program


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#46 Marga

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 01:35 PM

..... seeing Boylston and Stearns again in the evening performance made me realize just how beautiful and evocative Ms. Boylston's dancing is.

YES!!!!!

#47 abatt

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 05:10 AM

I saw the Simkin/Dvorovenko Prodigal on Fri. Dvorovenko, in my opinion, was electrifying. She was my favorite of the 3 Sirens that ABT put on. She perfectly executed all the acrobatic sections. The parterning with Simkin was flawless. Her acting was magnificent. Also agree w. all the posters above who highly praised Simkin. Give this guy more leading roles immediately! I didn't stay for the rest of the program.

#48 christine174

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:15 PM

I was there Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
I'd never seen Prodigal Son before, and was totally blown away. I'm still a relative newcomer to ballet, and between this and several viewings of the Tchaikovsky-Balanchine program, I'm really appreciating Balanchine in a way I never did before. I saw two casts: Corella/Boone and Simkin/Dvorovenko. Both were excellent. Simkin had freshness, impteuousness, and tremendous height and form; and Dvorovenko was, as someone else said, virtually flawless. So right for the role, and in command of all that fabric! Corella I thought was the better actor. Years ago I found myself resisting him, as if suspicious of his charm and dazzle. Now that he's older, I find I really appreciate him as someone with an unusual connection to the audience, someone who goes all out in whatever way he can, when he's onstage. I thought he was tremendous, and I was in tears at the end on Saturday night. Kristi Boone is slightly less fluid and sinuous than Dvorovenko, and she had a little more trouble getting the fabric where it was supposed to be. But these are minor quibbles; I thought she was sexy and very commanding.
Desir... put me with the crowd that found this really dull and repetitious. Misty Copeland, Hee Seo, and Isabella Boylston were all terrific. As other post-ers have said, Boylston's line is beautiful, and Misty brought an intensity and explosiveness. But having seen this piece three times now, I feel that's two times too many.
On the Dnieper... I wasn't so crazy about it. It's too confused and muddled for me. There's too much goings-on, confused groupings, staging moving about, and few if any memorable images. The music doesn't strike me as the best music for dance. I saw Saveliev-Messmer-Tamm-Riccetto; Carreno-Vishneva-Hammoudi-Seo; and Gomes-Herrera-Hallberg-Part (if I'm remembering correctly). I thought Simone Messmer danced beautifully, and Eric Tamm impresses me every time I see him. Alexandre Hammoudi looked terrific too. Hee Seo was the most dramatic of the Natalias that I saw. To my astonishment, I'm really liking Paloma Herrera this season. And David Hallberg... well, here words fail me, but to all who have seen him, you know what I'm talking about

#49 Helene

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 09:46 PM

Michael wrote a brilliant analysis of "On the Dnieper" for his blog on danceviewtimes that puts the ballet in its proper historical and artistic context:

Class Struggle on Broadway

He concludes,

More curious is the case of the critics, who have generally complained of the work's "thematic emptiness" but who should have known better. The ballet is anything but empty of theme. Had it been brought here and danced by the Bolshoi, Ratmansky's Soviet era themes would have been recognized and appreciated. Danced by ABT, the critical audience apparently couldn't absorb and contextualize it. The great irony of this small masterpiece is that it was produced here in New York by an American company.



#50 Waelsung

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:48 PM

Michael wrote a brilliant analysis of "On the Dnieper" for his blog on danceviewtimes that puts the ballet in its proper historical and artistic context:

Class Struggle on Broadway

Sergei is not just a generic Russian soldier returning home after a war, but represents The New Soviet Man.


Sorry, but the Tsarist army uniform that Sergei is wearing clearly indicates that "On the Dnieper" takes place before the Revolution of 1917. "The New Soviet Man" came much later.

#51 Goldfish17

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 06:15 AM

From what I know, soldiers of Red Army (Army of Workers and Peasants) were using Tsarist uniforms, since it was nearly impossible for the government to provide new uniforms under the circumstances.. Later on uniforms were changed (gradually).

Here is a picture of two soldiers of Red Army. http://img-fotki.yan...064_bf411988_XL
http://allday.ru/upl...918-1945-16.jpg

Their uniforms look very much like Sergei's.. http://www.abt.org/d...er/costume.html

Although I do not think that this ballet is about "class struggle" it is pretty hard to say if the story is happening after 1917 or before..

#52 volcanohunter

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:28 PM

Sorry, but the Tsarist army uniform that Sergei is wearing clearly indicates that "On the Dnieper" takes place before the Revolution of 1917. "The New Soviet Man" came much later.

I agree. I found Michael Popkin's analysis exceedingly silly. Sometimes a ballet romance is just a ballet romance. Even when its protagonists are not terribly sympathetic.

#53 abatt

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 12:48 PM

I guess I'm just a dumb American, but I didn't get any of the "class struggle" aspects of Dneiper. For me, it was a love triange (or quadrangle) set in a small town where everyone knows your business.

#54 Helene

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 02:23 PM

It's been a while since there's been a war involving Americans where soldiers returning to their home towns have a broader and more complicated view of the world and sense of political purpose missing from those who had once been their peers.

#55 bart

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 04:26 PM

I'm with Rosa. I couldn't be there, but I want to thank you all for your wonderful descriptions and comments. I certainly wish I could have seen the Ratmansky ballet, with ALL the casts.

I'm impressed how many BT'rs have attended multiple performances and how carefully you've observed and responded to them and how much enthusiasm there is for a new ballet telling a story in the language of classical dance. A question -- Michael Popkin, in his piece, makes the following observation about the audience at the Met:

Meanwhile, amongst ABT's fans and critics, another kind of class struggle was going on. Though ABT at a stroke regained its artistic credibility with the addition of Ratmansky, the reception of the ballet in the auditorium was tepid and the audience clearly didn't know what to make of it; watching the rush to the doors and hearing the lukewarm applause at the curtain, I had the impression they would have much preferred another chance to to see a bare-chested Ali turning multiple pirouettes.

How were the audiences in the performances YOU attended? Any thoughts as to the reasons? Both carbro and nysusan remark that this one is "a keeper." It certainly sounds like it deserves to survive. Do you think this will actually happen -- in the ABT rep and/or the reps of other companies?

:( Helene: just wanted to thank you for the way you worded the following. Your insight helps me understand the situation that underlies the plot in Ratmansky's ballet. And it helps me better understand how U.S. wars have changed since WWI, WWII, and Vietnam. ("How you gonna keep em down on the farm, after they've seen Paree," indeed.)

It's been a while since there's been a war involving Americans where soldiers returning to their home towns have a broader and more complicated view of the world and sense of political purpose missing from those who had once been their peers.



#56 Roberto Dini

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Posted 13 June 2009 - 10:33 PM

I just wanted to add that Xiomara Reyes danced beautifully in Désir on Friday. I was struck by how beautiful, non-frenetic and non-athletic her pas de deux with Roman looked compared to Monday night's performance. She made the choreography look effortless and completely natural.

Reyes really danced every ounce of music, filling the phrases completely, and all the jumps and turns had a beautiful quality to them. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy Monday night's performance, but the two performances were so different. Monday night was impressive, but Friday was a thing of real beauty.

#57 DeCoster

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 11:58 AM

I just wanted to add that Xiomara Reyes danced beautifully in Désir on Friday. I was struck by how beautiful, non-frenetic and non-athletic her pas de deux with Roman looked compared to Monday night's performance. She made the choreography look effortless and completely natural.


Roberto, I could not agree more regarding Zhurbin and Reyes. They also stole the show on Tuesday (6/2) dancing with easy fluidity and passion. Quite a contrast to Blaine Hoven and Gillian Murphy in the same pas de deux (I also saw the Sat. matinee), where the movements appeared slightly heavy and deliberate, and the chemistry was lacking entirely. (I have been thinking lately that perhaps Xiomara--like others have mentioned regarding Dvorenko--is one of the unheralded, yet consistently wonderful dancers at ABT. Although not possessing the insane virtuoso technique of some of the other principal women, she has excellent stage presence/ theatrical abilities, wonderful footwork, and seems to relinquish her entire self into the act of dancing. Perhaps a bit of a present-day Eleanor D'Antuono?)

On to "On the Dniepier":
I enjoyed the ballet and hope it does find its place in the rep. As many pointed out, there is a distinct sense of a lack of privacy in this small-town love rectangle (doesn't Pillar of fire give us this same feeling?). Group dances for the village men and women are mixed throughout the action, a sort of Greek chorus reflecting the anxieties and hopes of the main characters and sometimes commenting on them. I thought the group work was flawlessly executed and well rehearsed (unlike Desir, where the dancers were not on the same page stylistically in the group sections). The ballet takes on much more shape and dimension, and I appreciated Ratmansky's use of the stage more when viewed from up above.

Comparing the two casts I saw is difficult, as I certainly liked aspects of both. Carreno was more effective than Saveliev in conveying the PTSD, freaked-out qualities of a returning soldier. The frantic beats and side-to-side glances of the opening solo reflect a man who no longer knows his place in the world or whose identity may have shifted since going to war. Carreno and Saveliev have wonderful footwork; however, I felt deprived of this (especially from farther away), as their green/grey uniforms blended too easily into the stage surface. Others have commented on this, as did the very friendly man sitting next to me on Saturday afternoon. Vishneva's Olga was daring, flirtatous, and bold: a village girl not afraid to create disharmony or rock the boat by following her heart. Her way of dancing simply conveys riskiness and a certain sexuality. She looked gorgeous in that white dress, and of course she is quite the crowd-pleaser. Messmer was a more subtle and conflicted Olga: drawn to Sergei, yet aware of the disharmony their relationship is brewing in the community and thus seemingly guilt-ridden or torn. And she is no slouch in the technical department, managing the difficult allegro choreography well. Hee Seo was gorgeous and moving as Natalia. She is a fine actress. I somewhat appreciated Riccetto's intrepretation more, however. It's just that Olga and Natalia (Messmer and Riccetto) seemed to have more of a relationship on Saturday, so the sense of feverish attraction mixed with guilt on Olga's part juxtaposed with pained jealously, followed by resigned, compassionate sacrifice on Natalia's part came through more. Perhaps this could have something to do with it being my second watching.
Hammoudi was great as Olga’s shunned fiancé. He does angry really well, and with those long legs he covers space quicker than most men in the company. Tamm was respectable in the role, and he is a fine dancer, yet he didn't command the same threatening presence. Once again, the costume for this character bothered me: the wide lapels and slightly unbuttoned shirt seemed sort of 1970s and out-of-place.

I have difficulty describing choreography, but Ratmansky's work was satisfying not only aesthetically but in the way the dance conveyed emotion. I hope to see “On the Dnieper” again someday, hopefully with Veronika Part as Natalia.


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