MCB Program I: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm BeachAllegro Brillante, Tch. PDD, Symphony in 3 Movements, Comp. B
Posted 25 October 2009 - 05:01 PM
Taylor's ballet is quite culturally specific. It helps to have some familiarity with (or, even better, nostalgia for) the music, dances, and "attitude" of the U.S. homefront during World War II, much of which we know from exposure popular films of the era rather than from direct experience. But is that kind of familiarity really necessary? I've never really thought about that.
Posted 25 October 2009 - 07:39 PM
Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:44 AM
Posted 26 October 2009 - 04:51 AM
There's definitely a cultural component here and on it hinges how the piece communicates with it's audiences. I don't think it's necessary to have that culture as part of one's background, but the viewer has to be able to meet it part way. I can think of theater/dance groups I've seen from cultures very different from my own such as Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, the Moiseyev troup, Kabuki, Noh theater. I didn't have a lot to go on in advance but you have to
accept that the culture and background is different and be prepared to let it "take over" you. And they can succeed, I remember a performance of the Noh at the Met in the 70s and the audience was spellbound.
But clearly the "home" culture to these types of forms "gets" the fullest, most complete version of the groups' impact.
Almost all performing arts forms require a "suspension of disbelief", they are not realistic and so you have to accept that they are communicating in a non realistic way, whether they are declaiming, dancing, or singing to get their point across to their audiences. I think the actual forms themselves are also a part of this. And these are often based on culture. Even something as basic as ballet (for us here on this board) involves the need to surrender to the form itself and sometimes the culture also.
To flip the coin, I find it amazing how much appeal there is for opera and ballet in the East Asia countries such as China, Japan, Korea, etc. Obviously this is very foreign culturally ;it's not for every individual but certainly has built an audience. I have videos of opera performances by Italian troups in Japan from the late 50s on. It's actually a very terrific coincidence. Because technology has been so advanced in Japan since the post WWII period, the technology to telecast and preserve videos was available. And because the Japanese were so nuts for opera, many performances were taped . These are the major video records of a lot of Italian opera with many of the post war stars in much greater variety than in the West.
Posted 26 October 2009 - 09:10 PM
So Villella came out and did some small talk, mostly thanking some patrons for their contribution to the company. It was a brief speech, and off he went out of sight.
Now the music started...and still...no orchestra...(damn...that canned music again! ). Anyway... here are my humble impressions from the three days.
AB on Friday was just perfection, which was materialized in the amazing dancing of Jeanette "Hurricane" Delgado and Rolandito Sarabia . OMG, OMG, OMG!!!...I strongly doubt that any other cast in this ballet will ever top what I saw here, which was the most fluid, strong, made in heaven-(with a touch of hell)-partnership I've ever witnessed since...I don't know...probably since Sarabita was dancing 10 years ago in Havana with Lorna Feijoo. What can I say...? One HAD to be there to see Delgado's nailed, stronger than ever turns, her attack, her AMPLITUDE. People...SHE WAS LITERALLY EATING THE STAGE!!! She was a demon...sweating profusely...and I just couldn't believe the beauty and strenght of her dancing...every one of her defined muscles popping out at every second. She threw herself with conviction in Sarabita's arms...she KNEW that he was there for her. I had seen AB before...but to be honest...I KNEW that I was watching it FOR REAL now...for the first time. Sarabita looks sharper...more interested...it's like if Delgado has made him believe in himself and his old stardom days all over again. He was radiant...he has lost weight...his epaulement is impressive...and his eyes were all for his ballerina. He made sure TO SHOW HER...he was smiling and he looked very happy...and the audience noticed. His movements still talk about Siegfried, Albretch and Solor...but that's him...and by now I'm used to it.
On Saturday the situation wasn't the same. We had Tricia Albertson dancing again with Sarabita...but I'm afraid to report that I don't recall that much of it-(aside from the fact that I didn't make notes). All I know is that Albertson still projects this VERY contained aura..distant...even cold. I mean...she is a dancer with a beautiful line...and I remember liking her a lot a while ago in Rubies-(well...she danced it with Jeremy Cox, which used to show her really well)-but now what I saw was a self contained dancer...with clean technique, but with little "duende"-(bart...I know that at least you know what I'm talking about by using this word). I wonder if the situation should be the other way around...in which Mr.B would rather favored this impersonal approach over Delgado's passional one. Well...in any case, I'm not Mr. B, as we all may have noticed...
On Sunday the same exact thing happened, now with Deanna Seay-(an old times favorite of mine...a beautiful dancer with a perfect line). Perhaps Carlos Miguel Guerra wasn't the best choice to partner her. Honestly...I quite didn't get into it. Or perhaps the memories of Delgado/Sarabita were still too fresh...who knows. I also remember Seay shining while dancing with Sarabita in the past-(particularly in "Pas de Dix" and "Swan Lake"...two roles in which Rolandito looked very comfortable). Now Seay seemed sort of lost...and Guerra wasn't enough to save the performance. He should be left alone with his wife Jennifer, which usually makes up for a good formula/outcome-(but not in this Program, as I will note later).
TSCHAIKOVSKY PAS DE DEUX
TPDD started on the upper level on Friday. I was very excited, with high expectations, as this would be the first time in 8 years since I saw this great PDD for the last time, back in Havana. In this first performance we had Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Panteado. They danced the adagio beautifully. This two have always looked good together, and they seem to know each other's bodies really well. Then Panteado danced his variation with such brilliance that I couldn't contain my whistling at the end of it-(yes...I love to whistle to a pyrotechnic variation...again: old habits die really hard ). I mean...his landings in perfect 5th position...his nailed pirouettes, his POWERFUL JUMP!!...if Sarabita is THE partner of this company, Panteado is THE technician. Now, everything was fine…’till then, when Catoya came out for her variation, and…I wasn’t completely pleased with it. Yes, she was doing her best to be charming and all…but I couldn’t feel the sharpness that this variation requires…the right ACCENTS that makes it so unique. A while ago we were discussing in another thread that now deceased clip on Youtube of the 10 ballerinas dancing this variation, and all I can say is that Lorna Feijoo-(whom I saw dancing it live...with Sarabita, BTW)-is definitely my standard, and a hard one to surpass, I’m afraid. Catoya also had problems keeping her leg up on that series of backward sautees , and later on she didn’t speed up enough the final series of pirouettes/piques/chainees. Also, those characteristic broken wrists during the piques were missing. She opted for a more classical approach, maybe less risqué for her…
The coda had some problems too. Either Catoya was a bit nervous, or Panteado didn’t give her enough space to throw herself on him with amplitude during those usually breathless fish dives. They were a bit shaky…and later on Catoya even fell off pointe.
On Saturday, the honors were given to Jennifer Kronemberg and Carlos Guerra. They usually dance well together, but this time I noticed some irregularities, like her being way off center in some supported turns-(his fault…?). His variation was the best moment of the whole Pas, and he was very clean and sharp-(still, the memories of the magnificent Panteado the night before were still too fresh, so do the math…). Now, the real problem came when it was time for her variation-(and also at the coda). For some reason, Kronemberg decided to try some face mannerisms that I had NEVER seen on her before…those “ta-daah!” gestures at the end of a difficult step, trying TOO HARD to enhance them. It was awkward, as she kept repeating them all along her variation and even more during the coda. At some point I could even swear that I actually HEARD her making some noises…(I was really close to the stage). In general, the audience liked the Pas, particularly Guerra's dancing, who received much more applauses than Kronemberg-(mine among them).
Sunday matinee showed again Catoya and Panteado. This time things went smoother…Catoya looked quite lovely, and the fish dives were done with more attack . Panteado was, again, STUNNING…(No…I don’t get tired to repeat myself on this. He really deserves it, THAT good he was)
I know that Symphony in Three Movements is missing here…but I have to be honest, as I’ve always been. I don’t understand it…I don’t know what’s up with all that power-walking and running onstage. I’m sorry about it guys, but I can’t talk about what I can’t still identify. The only time I ever saw this ballet, I was captivated by the score, beautifully played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Now that all I had was some canned music, it wasn’t the same at all.
About Company B. well…I think I talked about it already. Jack…poor Cristian is still lost in space…
Hope to have done my best here, guys…
Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:01 AM
I've had the chance to follow Jeanette Delgado since here arrival at the company as, I believe, an apprentice. From Day One she was noticeable for passion, effort, and -- as emilienne says about her performance a few weeks ago in In the Upper Room ...
I can't wait until the weekend of Nov 13 for the chance to see them both.
I am always in awe of posters like Cristian and Helene who seem capable of noticing everything -- AND remembering it. Your notes, Cristian, will be on my mind as I approach the performances in a couple of weeks. I'll especially be looking for Penteado. I think I may have underrated him. Next time I will look more closely.
Re: Symphony in Three Movements. Who were danced the principle roles in the various performances you saw. I recall Kronenberg/Guerra, Albertson/Wong, and Carranza/Cox dancing in this.
Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:38 AM
Posted 27 October 2009 - 02:59 PM
The only time I ever saw this ballet, I was captivated by the score, beautifully played by the Cleveland Orchestra. Now that all I had was some canned music, it wasn’t the same at all.
When I read that, I thought, So near and yet so far!, because my main "method" watching Balanchine is to listen and see how they dance what they hear -- No, I didn't drop a word there, I didn't mean to say, "how they dance to what they hear"; what I see is dancing the music's instruction, at each moment, there's no rehearsal, no "choreography" involved.
(Yes, yes, I know, and I'll say, lest someone rush in to explain how it's really prepared, that I know about the training, the choreographing, the rehearsal, all of that, but at the moment I am witnessing a performance, that knowledge is there, way in the back of my mind, just adding an aura of wonder -- "How can this be? No improvisation could be so good for so long!" -- because sometimes you don't want the "explanation". It brings down the experience. As Farrell says sometimes when she's telling us about ballet, quoting Mr. B., "You don't ask a rose to explain itself.")
So, Cristian, you were captivated by Stravinsky's music at one time, and less so now when it was filtered through recording and reproduction, but I think the music is the way into this ballet as it is with all of Mr. B's ballets (although some of them may have some other elements). With this ballet especially, the music is the way in, and it sounds like you almost got there.
Sometimes I think the interesting comments Villella makes about the ballets he presents are potentially a little distracting from this main thing, for viewers not already plugged into this approach, fascinating though they are for those who have already begun their acquaintance with the ballets. (What else is he to do? I think it's hard to give a music-appreciation run-down in a few minutes, although I'd like to hear an over-over-acheiver like Villella try, if he himself thought it was a good idea.)
Anyway, maybe you'll try "Symphony Three" again someday, and leave out the "military" references, if you haven't already, and listen, listen through the bad reproduction if necessary. For me, the power-walking and running and so on is the dancers' response to the energy and momentum in what they hear, just as -- to give another example -- the three lead girls downstage to our right in the last movement have a little game of seeing who can put their foot into the space between them and then get it out before another girl's foot goes in* -- fast, little moves instructed by the bassoons playing short notes at small pitch intervals, in other words, crowding each other in their sound-space -- all by Stravinsky's instructions.
*I misremembered this -- they actually face us, standing side by side, so there's no competition for space, no "game", but the movement, as so often with Balanchine seems instructed by the music at the moment, but, as always with Balanchine, in my view of it, there is the sense that no improvisation could be so good for so long.
Edited by Jack Reed, 07 November 2009 - 05:55 AM.
Posted 01 November 2009 - 11:09 AM
Unless you follow the company and know most of the dancers by sight, you might be somewhat confused as to exactly what is going on. (Dancers are identified by first names only. I definitely suggest adding last names next time they post such a video.)
Ms. King seems to have gone for My Space informality. It is, after all, a first effort -- and one definitely worth expanding and professionalizing as the season goes on.
By the way, the dread hand of the copyright police seems to be at work. The longest snippet of actual choreography is only 2 seconds long.
Highlights for me: a view of the really vast back-stage area of the Arsht Center -- stage hands laying down amazingly flexible strips of white marley for Allegro Brillante -- the AB cast just before the curtain rises, and then preparing for and taking their curtain calls at the end (good distance shot of Jeanette Delgado and Roland Sarabia) -- and lovely (and smiling!) Callie Manning emerging from a big green costume trunk.
Posted 06 November 2009 - 05:11 AM
Posted 06 November 2009 - 06:24 AM
Posted 06 November 2009 - 06:49 AM
Posted 06 November 2009 - 09:26 AM
I'd be glad to meet other BTers, and may be recognized by my pink face and blue eyes more than by my white hair, which is pretty common in the BCPA. I'll be sitting in the middle of row T or Q, and Friday night I may put on a dark suit (opening night!), other times a sport coat and slacks.
Cristian, I'll try to remember to look for you!
Hey, mira! How did find out that casting in advance?
Posted 06 November 2009 - 10:59 AM
(For those who are unfamiliar with Allegro Brillante, the curtain rises well into the music, and we see the dancers not in an opening tableau, but dancing happily along. It's truly a brilliant moment.)
I envy our SoFla members, and would myself choose to stay for Company B. Company B originally premiered at Houston Ballet as a commissioned work, if I remember correctly, so Taylor choreographed it with ballet dancers in mind. That said, I think his works look better on his company, where it benefits from not only the weighted quality of his dancers but more importantly, a deep understanding of his intentions, allowing them to convey complex emotional subtlety. Company B is great Taylor, and if MCB fails to deliver it 100% in its first season (as even Taylor's own dancers did), I'd expect it to have plenty of redeeming value.
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