Jane Simpson

RDB American Tour 2011

136 posts in this topic

I've been getting an error message when I try to open the press release. Is Gundrun B. coming to New York? If so, what are performance dates? Thanks.

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I see that Caroline Cavallo is American-born and trained. How is she in La Sylphide? Frankly, and meaning no disrespect to Ms. Cavallo, I had been hoping to see a Danish-trained dancer in the role.

I saw her in this role in Copenhagen at the last Bournonville Festival and she was sublime.

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I've been getting an error message when I try to open the press release. Is Gundrun B. coming? If so, what are performance dates? Thanks.

Sorry, I just forgot to put the proper address in - now corrected.

Gudrun Bojesen is certinaly scheduled to be on the tour: she's listed as doing Kobbog's Les Lutins and the Napoli pas de six in Orange County, and according to an interview with her in the current Dance View, she's doing the Pianist in The Lesson at some performances - but none of the Sylphide casts have yet been announced so far as I know (exscept for Cavallo).

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I see that Caroline Cavallo is American-born and trained. How is she in La Sylphide? Frankly, and meaning no disrespect to Ms. Cavallo, I had been hoping to see a Danish-trained dancer in the role.

I saw her in this role in Copenhagen at the last Bournonville Festival and she was sublime.

Thank you, Mashinka. Of course, just because a dancer wasn't trained in a particular tradition doesn't mean she/he can't embody it. I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

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A little more information, from the Danish version of the press release: Cavallo's James will be Mads Blangstrup (a much-anticipated return to leading roles for him) and the pupil in Kobborg's Lesson will be Alexandra Lo Sardo.

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I see that Caroline Cavallo is American-born and trained. How is she in La Sylphide? Frankly, and meaning no disrespect to Ms. Cavallo, I had been hoping to see a Danish-trained dancer in the role.

I saw her in this role in Copenhagen at the last Bournonville Festival and she was sublime.

Thank you, Mashinka. Of course, just because a dancer wasn't trained in a particular tradition doesn't mean she/he can't embody it. I'm really looking forward to seeing this.

I can only aggree to that: she is one of the best sylphs I have ever seen. It is like it is made for her and her fragile yet strong frame. I think the part of The sylph was the one thatt trigged her to go to Denmark. It was her dream part. I myself was very surprised when I saw her the first time as the Sylph, because I had until then considered her a very modern dancer.

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Just found casting info for the NYC performances of La Sylphide & The Lesson on their U.S. Tour website. We get Bojeson, Cavello AND Grinder as the Sylphide, Ulrik Birkkjær, Marcin Kupinski and Mads Blangstrup as James. No info on Madge or the secondary roles:

http://kglteater.dk/...aspx?sc_lang=en

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As I am not at all familiar with RDB dancers, I'd love to hear opinions on which cast scheduled for New York is preferable.

Thanks in advance, everybody!

Len

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Just found casting info for the NYC performances of La Sylphide & The Lesson on their U.S. Tour website. We get Bojeson, Cavello AND Grinder as the Sylphide, Ulrik Birkkjær, Marcin Kupinski and Mads Blangstrup as James. No info on Madge or the secondary roles:

http://kglteater.dk/...aspx?sc_lang=en

Is there any chance Sorella Englund might perform Madge on this tour? She was so good in the role on the RDB La Sylphide DVD, it would be wonderful to see her live. Does she still perform with the company at all?

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Well, she's on the company list for the tour, as a guest character artist, so I should think there's every chance - I can't see anything else she might be doing.

As for the NY castings, if this was my only chance of seeing them I'd go for the older dancers - Bojesen, or Blangstrup/Cavallo - on the grounds that it may be now or never.

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I just saw the mixed rep program in Orange County: save your money, and skip it because it was awful. The company looked like a smalltime regional company. They had better step up their game with Napoli. More details when I am more awake.

--Andre

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More thoughts on the Wednesday mixed rep. It was interesting seeing Bournonville Variations, put together from class exercises with class music, but the all-male cast weren't on their legs: lots of hopping around, even in things like standing in B+! The company just looked sloppy throughout the night, with people falling over and down, and bumping each other.

Elo's "Lost on Slow" was a bit insubstantial, and was danced without any sharpness or attack. Maybe that's what he intended, but they looked like ballet dancers doing modern, and not in a good way. The lighting and stage effects were interesting though, but they promised much more than the choreography and dancing delivered.

Johan Kobborg's pair of pieces looked like the bastard child of SYTYCD and Flower Festival of Genzano, except SYTYCD's faux emo-angst was replaced by unicorns and rainbows. It was fluffy and cute, but the dancing was witless and not musically interesting. You'd see similar stuff in a school recital.

Uotinen's Earth should be placed in a time machine, and sent back to the 80s where it would only be slightly less hackneyed. A dance with old-fashioned-looking modern vocab set to Metallica played by a cello trio and drum kit, this thing was an embarrassment. The choreography was hackneyed, repetitive, and simplistic --- how many times can you make the all-male cast dance in unison? Probably as many times as I facepalmed myself and hoped that this time, the curtain would finally come down. The dancers also were not moving with an attack and phrasing that was idiomatic to the choreography. They kept their soft quality that served them well in the Bournonville extracts, but it was dissonant with this piece.

I don't understand the programming decision behind this program: it showed the company in a bad light, and didn't bring us anything particularly unique to the company. I really hope Napoli is a giant step up from this, otherwise this will be one of the biggest disappointments in a long time.

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Both Teresinas are good, though I prefer Amy Watson, having more temperament than the delicate and refined Susanne Grinder.

I'll be seeing Ms. Grinder as the Sylph. Is her 'delicacy and refinement' perfect for it? I bet it's going to be really exquisite.

Charming photos I just found:

http://www.ballerinagallery.com/grinder.htm

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I have to agree I was a little disappointed when I went on Tuesday. First, I didn't quite understand the male-centric focus of the evening. I know Hubbe programmed male/female triples a few seasons ago, but putting only the men (basically) up for display was weird as a touring program. I know he wanted an evening of Nordic choreographers, so maybe the better question is: are Nordic choreographers primarily interested in men? I don't know, but that's the impression so far.

Bournonville Variations was nice, but the men seemed tired (understandably, it's a long flight and they just got here) and like they were marking a lot of it, with some exceptions (the first group of men in the leather skirts with the very intense petit allegro were wonderful--no idea who they were though).

Jormo Elo's choreography is so boring and samey to me, I had no enthusiasm for this piece.

Kobborg's ballet was nice in that you could actually SEE the dancers (what terrible dark lighting in the first two!). I would have liked it more if there was some differentiation in the costuming for the women as I couldn't keep track of them in their little interludes (aside from the very short girl). So the effect of all the partner swapping was a bit lost until the end when they were all on stage at once for an extended period. Les Lutins was okay...it seems like it probably worked better as the gala bon mot it was intended to be rather than as a "serious" piece of dancing. I think it probably played on the originator's known personalities-Cojocaru's sweetness, McRae's cockiness, and Polunin as his rival, young, up and comer in the Royal-so again the effect was a little lost on me.

Earth was...uh interesting. One dancer stood out and I believe it was Thomas Lund (unsurprisingly) though he didn't look how I thought he would look onstage so hopefully I am not misidentifying him (the dancer I am thinking of has short cropped dark hair, and has a broad, muscley torso--much more defined than any of the other men and he was the only one with solo moments--perhaps someone more familiar with the piece can confirm). His movement was beautiful, the flexibility, his command of the stage--if you watched him, the piece went by much faster. I would hate to be the stagehands who have to sweep up all that nasty red dirt on the stage afterwards! Poor things. I kept waiting for a chunk to fly in someone's mouth or eye. Yuck!

Overall not the best showcase. I will see Napoli on Sunday and I hope it shows off the company much better!

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I question the wisdom of having the dancers make a 17-hour, 9-time-zone trip on Sunday, rehearsing Monday, and performing Tuesday. I understand touring is expensive, but 8 pm in Orange County is 5 am in Copenhagen.

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From the description I am certain it was Thomas Lund as the stand out in "Earth". Sorry about the tame "Variations" It is normally a marvel. My key worry about the tour is that there is so many great performances left at home for various reasons. Cannot bring Balanchine to New York. Neumeier has no appeal to US audience and the biggest obstacle. For all the good H¨bbe has done as Ballet Master, there has not been many outstanding pieces of new choreography made on the company the last 20 years.

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Thanks for the confirmation, Eva. His hair threw me off as it looks quite different in the headshot (and in youtube watching) from how it was onstage, but I went through all the photos and thought it couldn't be anyone else.

I am certain the jetlag was a large factor in the muted dancing...it's a long trip and the company doesn't do huge trans Atlantic tours like some other companies, where they are used to often being on the long road.

Neumeier appeals to me! As far as other mixed bill non-Balanchine pieces, I would have liked to see Etudes or The Lesson, as I have seen them both by others and would like to see them done by the masters, so to speak. But they probably wanted to present a "new rep" rather than things they assume we have seen. I understand the scheduling headache and fear of playing it too safe, but when a company hasn't been to visit in a very long time it's the bread and butter pieces you want to see and that's not a bad thing!

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Full casting for the Berkeley dates is now online.

Some interesting appearances in addition to what's already been published: Sorella Englund dances Madge with the Bojesen/Birkkjaer cast of La Sylphide on June 1st, Maria Bernholdt dances the Pianist in both performances of The Lesson, Thomas Lund dances in Bournonville Variations for the first time on June 4th, and also on June 4th there's a new cast of men in Lost on Slow, including Alban Lendorf.

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Full casting for the Berkeley dates is now online.

Although I'm sorry to miss out on Englund's Madge, it will be interesting to see Lis Jeppesen in the role: she was so lovely as the Sylph on the RDB DVD.

Edited to add: Although originally I had no plans to see the mixed bill (due to cost rather than lack of interest), the discussion here has intrigued me to the point I may just give up lunch for a couple of weeks and see that program anyway.

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