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MCB Program II: Div.#15,Valse Fantaisie,Sl. on 10th AveJanuary 2010.


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#16 carbro

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 01:12 PM

Next time I attend Villella's pre-performance talking, I'm tempted to ask him when and if he plans to revive Theme and Variations. C'mon...Jeanette Delgado and Renato Panteado are just BEGGING for it!!! :off topic:

And hope that, if Villella plans it, The Trust accedes, although I don't think that Penteado, with his tendency to hunch his shoulders, is the right guy for it.

#17 bart

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 06:25 PM

Cristan, regarding Theme and Variations ....

... MCB premiered this in 1997. I saw MCB's Feb. 2003 revival, with Kronenberg and Guerra . (Guerra was replacing the previously announced Eric Quillere.)

Villella gave quite a few dancers the chance to perform the leads. Here is Jack Reed's 2003 review of several casts:

The finale, "Theme and Variations", made opening night Catoya's evening, I felt. Clarity and elegance combined. It was one of those times when everything seems to come together and just rolls, and your excited pleasure builds from height to height. You suspend disbelief ("Are they actually going to pull this off?") and watch ("Well, look at them!"), and sometimes you remember to breathe. Okay, it did seem to me the boy's variation's tempos were impossibly fast, so that a little of it was cut; not Renato Penteado's fault, poor guy, and it gave me a chance to get my breath, whatever it did to his.

Saturday evening's cast was led by Kronenberg and Eric Quillere', and considering how I have enjoyed each of them in the past, I wish I could see some of their performance again in memory, but it's as though I can't get those clips to run.

But I think at least parts of Sunday afternoon's performance by Deanna Seay and Penteado will be with me for some time. For example, there is a place where Tchaikovsky is quietly leading us through a bridge passage to a restatement of his theme, and Balanchine appropriately has the principals do litle jumps and make little circles in the air with their feet. Seay, with Penteado in tandem, made that passage lighter than air.

2003 to 2010 IS a long time. Definitely ask your question. This is a ballet due for revival.

Balanchine didn't bring this ballet to NYC Ballet until 1960. Villella and Verdy led the first cast at that time.

#18 bart

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 06:46 PM

Cristan, regarding Theme and Variations

-- MCB premiered this in 1997. I saw MCB do in Feb. 2003, with Kronenberg and Guerra in the leads. I've also seen photos of Ileana Lopez and Franklin Gamero in the leads (possibly from an earlier season?).

Balanchine didn't bring this ballet to NYC Ballet until 1960. Villella and Verdy were the principals.

NOTE: Somehow, I deleted the following when trying to post a minor edit, so I'm adding it now:
Although I saw only one cast (with Guerra replacing the scheduled Eric Quillere), there were actually several casts. Here is Jack Reed's Ballet Talk report on several of the performances from that program:

The finale, "Theme and Variations", made opening night Catoya's evening, I felt. Clarity and elegance combined. It was one of those times when everything seems to come together and just rolls, and your excited pleasure builds from height to height. You suspend disbelief ("Are they actually going to pull this off?") and watch ("Well, look at them!"), and sometimes you remember to breathe. Okay, it did seem to me the boy's variation's tempos were impossibly fast, so that a little of it was cut; not Renato Penteado's fault, poor guy, and it gave me a chance to get my breath, whatever it did to his.

Saturday evening's cast was led by Kronenberg and Eric Quillere', and considering how I have enjoyed each of them in the past, I wish I could see some of their performance again in memory, but it's as though I can't get those clips to run.

But I think at least parts of Sunday afternoon's performance by Deanna Seay and Penteado will be with me for some time. For example, there is a place where Tchaikovsky is quietly leading us through a bridge passage to a restatement of his theme, and Balanchine appropriately has the principals do litle jumps and make little circles in the air with their feet. Seay, with Penteado in tandem, made that passage lighter than air.

2003-2010: that IS a long time. Please ask EV your question. This ballet is due for revival.

#19 mcbfan

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 08:21 PM

Just want to clarify who the pricipal ladies actually were in Divertimento #15 Fri. eve. Mary Carmen Catoya, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Tricia Albertson, Patricia Delgado, and Ashley Knox who replaced Jeanette Delgado. All were exquisite!!!!

#20 Jack Reed

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 06:09 AM

Thanks, and welcome to BT, mcbfan. Who was in which role?

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 02:16 PM

Just want to clarify who the pricipal ladies actually were in Divertimento #15 Fri. eve. Mary Carmen Catoya, Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg, Tricia Albertson, Patricia Delgado, and Ashley Knox who replaced Jeanette Delgado. All were exquisite!!!!

Thanks for the correction, mcbfan! I couldn't hear the substitutions on the first night, and somehow I got confused between Jeanette and Patricia...which even not being identical twins-(or maybe not even twins altogether?)-, they look REALLY IDENTICAL onstage! :) Also, I noticed that Jeanette was substituted all along the three performances...sometimes by amazing Ashley Knox...sometimes by Catoya. Also, Patricia has showed such FORCE during this program-(usually her sister's presentation card)-that I got even more confused the first night, thinking that it was Jeanette dancing, but I think that they are equally strong by now... :shake:

Who was in which role?



Correct me, mcbfan, if I'm wrong here:

1st solo: Tricia albertson (by now I'm used to her self-contained demeanor. She looked very elegant...very interesting doing all those "broken wrists")
2nd solo: Ashley Knox-(kuddos for this young Corps member substituing someone like Jeanette, and dancing along, in such high level, all those Principal ladies)
3d solo : Jennifer Kronemberg (her Pin-Up finale pose was delicious)
4th solo: Patricia Delgado-(what else to add ?...she has been FIRE all along this program. She even got me confused, taking her for her sister!)
5th solo: Renato Panteado. (Those PERFECT landings!)
6th solo: Mary Carmen Catoya. (beatiful Petit Allegro!)

#22 bart

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Posted 12 January 2010 - 12:43 PM

Thanks, dirac, for linking to Alistair Macaulay's FABULOUS review of the Miami opening performance (the same one Cristian saw).

http://www.nytimes.c...e/12ballet.html

There are a couple of practices I like very much in Macaulay's work.

One is his willingness to mention more than a handful of principals when he is passing around the praise.

In any event, the company, dancing five first-rate works (four by George Balanchine, one by Twyla Tharp), was looking better than ever. A wealth of fresh talent is emerging. Four of the five works were danced, largely or entirely, by two different casts (in one case three); and the numerous dancers who made impressions in solo roles included several who have graduated (from the company’s school and then its apprentice ranks) into the corps de ballet only in 2007, 2008 and 2009. One is still an apprentice.

This time around, he gives credit, by name, to corps members and apprentices dancing in soloist (and in a couple of cases principal) roles: Sara Esty, Nicole Stalker, Leigh-Ann Esty, Ashley Knox, Michael Sean Breeden, Alexandre Ferreira.

At the end of last season, the company was forced to let go (what was it?) 9 or 10 corps members. They now have to rely much more than in the past on apprentices, student apprentices, and even students. But how well these young people have been prepared, coached, and rehearsed! This "new" group is dancing as well and in some cases even better than their predecessors.

The other quality is Macaulay's effort to make us SEE details and nuances of the performance. He does this, often, through the use of precise descriptors, to supplement the generalized adjectives that are the stock and trade of most reviewers. For example, in his discussion of Tharp's "Golden Section" (from The Catherine Wheel).

New to Miami City repertory was “The Golden Section” from “The Catherine Wheel,” the exuberant explosion of transcendently athletic dance originally created by Ms. Tharp in 1981, an audience hit whenever it is danced. This was one of two points in the program where I was struck by how acutely and eagerly responsive to fine details of style these Miami dancers are. Whereas the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dancers tend to ride roughshod over a few of this work’s intricacies (but sell it powerfully to the audience), these Miami dancers keep highlighting, with relish, some of Ms. Tharp’s most startling demands.

While spinning brilliantly on the spot, for example, a dancer will suddenly change focus and then shift the angle of his or her torso. The sudden dig of a heel amid a series of turns across the stage, the sharp accentuation of a torso from vertical to backward and back again: these points, so tempting to fudge, here became meat and drink. Patricia Delgado’s characteristic glee took on a new touch of blithe abandonment, Sara Esty’s precision was infused with radiance, Ms. Albertson showed a new combination of rigor and freedom, and a number of men, notably Alex Wong, Carlos Miguel Guerra, Mr. Sarabia, and (on Sunday’s matinee) the apprentice Alexandre Ferreira, were incandescent. Waves of applause occurred during the dancing, and Saturday night’s performance was dotted by many moments of particular audacity and fervor.


P.S. Macaulay concludes his review, as the program itself concludes, with Diamonds pas de deux.

The pas de deux from Balanchine's "Diamonds" was added as a vehicle for Deanna Seay, who retires in April after 21 seasons with the company, with her husband, Mikhail Nikitine, returning to the company as her handsome partner. Ms. Seay is another dancer I have never seen look better than on this weekend: marvelously fluent in rapid transitions, touchingly gracious throughout her upper body, absorbingly musical.



#23 bart

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 05:52 PM

Video from the MCB Blog: corps member Zoe Zien talks about dancing a principal role in Valse Fantaisie. (She will also have the opportunity to dance a solo role (first variation in Divertimento No. 15.)

http://www.miamicity...fantaisie-1953/

An video interview with Elaine Kudo for the performance of Tharp's 'The Golden Section," which she set for MCB. There are brief (and I mean REALLY BRIEF) glimpses of her working with Daniel Baker. (Alas, a number of Kudo's comments are almost inaudible, owing to bad miking and an echoing studio setting.)

http://www.miamicity...golden-section/

And a personal report from Deanna Seay, talking about preparing for Program II and especially about her feelings for Diamonds pas de deux.

http://www.miamicity...0/0...”-path/

As I study “Diamonds” now, the steps speak to me differently than they did ten years ago, directing me towards a truth that is more elemental than the physical truth of perfect execution. In the past where I felt that I needed to polish each step, I now let the music take me on a journey and lead me places that are products of that particular moment in time. Each day in the studio becomes a new journey down this “Diamonds” path, allowing me to spontaneously respond to whatever magic may be present in the most honest way possible.



#24 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 09:44 PM

A few more thoughts on the performances, from some notes I wrote in the programmes.

Divertimento No. 15. 1st. Solo. Tricia Albertson's elegance and delicacy while doing the "broken wrists"-(01/10)
Divertimento No. 15. 2nd. PDD. Ashley Knox doing those "touching the air" gestures. Very charming. (01/10)
Divertimento No. 15. 3d. Solo. Jennifer Kronemberg doing three great executed sissonnes toward the end, just before her "Pin-Up Pose"-(01/10)
Divertimento No. 15. 6th Solo. Mary Carmen Catoya's great Petite Allegro-(01/09) and doing a beautiful final diagonal that reminded me that of Spessitzeva's Solo-(01/10)
Divertimento No. 15. The 8 Corps dancers variation. 8 ballerinas playfully interacting with each other and as a group, just as a bunch of mischievous, happy girls. (I even wrote in the program "The Playground Scene" :P )-(01/09)
Valse Fantaisie 1953. Daniel Sarabia's Solo. Great sissonnes!-(01/10)
Valse Fantaisie 1953. Michael Breeden's dancing. Wow, wow!...who knew?-(01/09)
Diamonds Pas de Deux. Ethereal Deanna Seay, attentive Mikhail Nikitine-(01/09-01/10)
The Golden Section. Super Human dancers!.
The Golden Section. Daniel Baker's amazing, effortless partnering skills..(lifts, etc...). Patricia Delgado throwing herself at him in a fish dive much more a la Olga Lepeshinskaya/Bolshoi style.-(01/09)
The Golden Section. Rolando Sarabia's old self giving some DEVILISHLY FAST PIROUETTES!-(01/09)
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Rolando Sarabia's comic mimicking of some male classical variations.-(01/08)


Something else I want to add in a more extended manner. During Divertimento No. 15, when that long beautiful Adagio starts playing, and the 8 soloists start dancing a PDD-(the three bailarines partnering the five bailarinas)-I realized after a few minutes that right there and then I was watching an amazing homage paid by Mr. B to ALL the PDD's of the classical Russian repertoire. Whereas in other Balanchine's PDD's, even being "tutu ones", one can see here and there some traces of a more modern language that obviously doesn't belong to the XIX Century-(a la "Diamonds PDD")-, here I was just watching a pure, exquisitely choreographed Petipa-inspired Adagio with a 100 % Imperial Ballet language. For a few instants, I saw Swan Lake-(both the Black Swan and the Love Duet)-, Bayadere, Fedorova's Sugar Plum and even Don Quixote. It was just EXQUISITE. I think that right now Divertimento No. 15 is my FAVORITE BALANCHINE!

bart...now is all up to you my friend. Can't wait to see your post. :(

#25 bart

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:24 AM

Thanks, Cristian, for those notes. Your experience with the Russian tradition as cultivated for so long in Cuba gives you and invaluable point of view for examining Balanchine.

You are in good company: Arlene Croce also saw Divertimento No. 15 as expressing classical style in its most idealized, though still very personalized, , form.

You (along with Helene) continue to amaze me with your capacity to see -- and remember -- so much essential detail, while never losing sight of the larger structural and emotional arcs of the choreography. I'm attending four performances here in West Palm, including a rehearsal, and will need every minute of that time to absorb a fraction of what so many posters here can access much more immediately.

#26 mira

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Posted 15 January 2010 - 08:45 AM

Cristian, you expressed so beautifully exactly what I saw as well. Thanks for putting it in words. Agree completely. :-)

#27 bart

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 04:55 AM

I'm 3-quarters of the way through the performances in West Palm Beach. Alistaire Macaulay mentioned that that each performance has left him with visual images for hours. Same with me.

Some brief notes:

-- hidden in the program biographies: Amanda Weingarten has been raised to soloist. I can still retain visual images of her beautiful and moving performance, dancing with Didier Bramaz, in Company B in the last Program. All Miami's young dancers appear to be comfortable on stage and to know how to maintain energy and focus. Weingarten is one of the best at this. I can't wait to watch her develop in an expanded soloist rep.

-- Jeanette Delgado was out this weekend, too, an was replaced by couple of those remarkable, stage-savvy young corps people that Macaulay praised in his review: Ashley Knox and Sara Esty. Add to that Jennifer Lauren (in Divertimento) Christie Sciturro (in the Tharp), and the biggest surprise,: how lovely those all-corps Valse Fantaisie casts looked, including Zoe Zien, Leigh-Ann Esty, and Michael Sean Breeden, Breeden, also cast in one the principal rols in Divertimento, was a particular standout. (I was unable to see Nicole Stalker, praised by Macaulay. She was scheduled VF on Saturday night but had to be replaced.) Every one of the corps dancers held his or her own on stage with principals. That's rare ... and a real achievement. Sara Esty was a revelation: joyful but with new depth, attentive to every nuance but willing to stretch outwards and take risks, especially in the Tharp.

-- the outstanding programming, moving from the elegance and purity of Divertimento to the charming but still effective old-time Broadway feel of Slaughter, was effectively paced and varied.. The dancers looked comfortable, at home, and in charge in the technique and vernacular language of each work.

-- something in the program made me think of a complement that Macaulay inserted in his review of Jewels back in 2007. Here it is:

If there is a past dancer the Miami company reminds me of in matters of style, it is [Patricia] McBride, Mr. Villella's long-time stage partner. She had neither textbook feet (though hers were so eloquent that they left indelible memories) nor perfect turnout of the legs, but she opened herself out glowingly, as if hungering for the most exposed positions and most incisive rhythms. Her warmth as a performer, her precision, her bravery and her delicacy all came to mind in Miami.



#28 carbro

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:33 PM

Michael Sean Breeden, who has been praised in this thread by miamicubanboy, bart, and Alastair Macaulay by citation for his performances in Divertimento #15 and Valse Fantaisie, has written about the roles for the MCB Blog: Enraptured in two major Balanchine roles.

While "Divert" is a revered classic, the 1953 version of Valse Fantaisie we perform is a gem that is little seen and would be all but extinct if it were not for Miami City Ballet. Having danced the 1967 version of Valse Fantaisie as a member of Boston Ballet II, it has been a particularly interesting experience for me to perform the earlier version. While both have many merits, they are similar only in sweep and lightness; little links the two choreographically. Being able to compare two very different perspectives by George Balanchine on a single piece of music has proven fascinating.



#29 Jack Reed

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 12:38 PM

(from Fort Lauderdale, Florida) I take it that Breeden means there's little of the 1953 choreography left in the 1967 version, and I'm glad to have my own impression verified by a dancer, who must see many times more in each moment than a mere ballet fan like me can, even if he hadn't been a participant in each version, but Breeden has that too, and so I'm not disagreeing.

One thing did strike me though, seeing MCB in the 1953 version in Chicago in October, and that is the bit late in this "little" eight-minute ballet, where we hear a solo horn: Balanchine has set this moment as the beginning of a little solo variation for a woman, the more prominent of the three women in 1953, the principal one in 1967. A different variation, but evidently that bold music still said "female variation" to him, both times.

(There are similarities in organization if not in substance also between Divertimento No. 15 and its predecessor, Caracole, to the same music: In both choreographies, Balanchine used five principal women, three principal men, and eight girls. I never saw Caracole; this is from Nancy Reynolds' excellent book, "Repertory in Review".)

#30 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 01:20 PM

Jack...I find very interesting that for some people-(me included)-the choreographic notion of VF is totally different than that of others-(me having never seen the 1967 version). I've had this happened before, curiosly with another Balanchine...Apollo, which I only know in its former incarnation-(birth and Olympus' ascension, as it is still danced in Cuba). I wonder how many more B' ballets are danced out there in different "versions"-(or variations?...or takes...?)- done by the choreographer himself.

re: "The Golden Section", and on the lighter side, I want to add an interesting detail. The dancers show their heads free of all hair constrictions-(headpieces, buns, wigs and anything else in between). So then, I could see Callie Manning's VERY short, VERY curly bob, Patricia Delgado's lioness-like, gorgeous long curly dark locks and Renato Panteado's shaved head.
Just a little observation from the ex-hairdresser perspective. :wink:


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