Jump to content


RDB American Tour 2011


  • Please log in to reply
135 replies to this topic

#106 Hans

Hans

    Sapphire Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,104 posts

Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:05 PM

I saw both ballets. Don't have time to write about them now, but the short version of my opinion is this:

1. A Folk Tale didn't bother me too much, probably because I'd never seen it before, but I did have some serious problems with it. Liked some of the designs, especially Act 1.

2. Napoli Act 1 - interesting idea, works pretty well for the most part. Act 2 - utterly outrageous--trendy, trashy, and tasteless. I nearly walked out when I heard the cheesy movie soundtrack music, and when I saw the Martins-esque choreography, I wished I had. Act 3 - mostly very nice, but why not stick with the Fellini concept from Act 1? It goes from 1960's funeral (which the music doesn't support) to happy 1840's costumes/dancing in the space of two seconds, then we're in the 1840's through to the end until Gennaro and Teresina, still in breeches and tulle, show up on a motorcycle. Put the 3 acts together, and this must be one of the most bizarre, ill-conceived productions of any ballet, ever.

#107 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 14 June 2011 - 01:28 PM

I wrote two long pieces for danceviewtimes :)

I will say that I believe both "A Folk Tale" and "Napoli" are great works of art. I think very few people really look at the works below the surface. There is a great deal there. Or was.

#108 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,873 posts

Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:16 PM

I'd like to thank Jane for linking to the old 'new Napoli' thread, which I'd forgotten about. I also wanted to pluck out this quote from Alexandra from the old thread, because it expresses in a much more elegant and well-informed way what I was trying to get at earlier and it's worth including here for its own sake IMO. (Sorry, Natalia. Just close your eyes and pretend this post isn't here. :))

Some also seem to have trouble distinguishing between themselves and their beliefs, Bournonville and his beliefs, and the beliefs of the characters in the ballets. All of the people in "La Sylphide" would have believed in sylphs. Doesn't matter whether the dancer does, or the audience does. We know THEY do. And all of the people in "Napoli" are Catholics. That was part of the point, of the local color of the piece.

Which brings me to a final point, that some do not seem to understand that there are two strands in Romantic ballet: the supernatural and the "local color." There can be elements of both in a ballet, but each had its own character.



#109 papeetepatrick

papeetepatrick

    Sapphire Circle

  • Inactive Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,486 posts

Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:37 PM

Thanks for telling us about those here, Alexandra (not that we have any business not thinking to look, of course). I just read both of them, and now feel more overprepared for Sat. than almost any performance I will ever have gone to (possibly even more than the Ashton 'boosterism' which sold me tickets). Although I do have to re-read the plot messes of 'Napoli' again--great paragraph that, I thought, and just taxing enough to enforce mastering it. Not that I wouldn't rather just go and let it wash over me by nature, so thanks for pressing the point (and the program notes).

#110 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,388 posts

Posted 15 June 2011 - 02:59 AM

... (Sorry, Natalia. Just close your eyes and pretend this post isn't here. :))....



Why??? :dunno:

#111 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,873 posts

Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:22 AM

I intended a jocular reference to your earlier request to revert to the topic of actual reviews of the performances. Sorry for the confusion. :)

#112 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:42 AM

Sorry it's too much, Patrick :) But I don't think they're showing either full-length ballet in New York, just Act III, so just let it wash.

Did anyone go to the opening? I'm curious how the New Choreography program went over up there. (We didn't get it down here.)

#113 atm711

atm711

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,422 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:45 AM

Did anyone go to the opening? I'm curious how the New Choreography program went over up there. (We didn't get it down here.)



By new choreography do you mean the Elo ballet? I saw the program on the second night (15th). After sitting through ABT's recent new works program, the Elo work was a revelation. It is a ballet for three women and three men, fast paced to a Vivaldi score. I liked the use of the women in short classical tutus---it softened some of the sharp angles of the choreography. A work I would enjoy seeing again. I still have a wide smile on my face when I think of those magnificent men in the Bournonville Variations. What epaulement--what batterie, what grace of form :flowers: Ah! The Act III Napoli was a bit of a mish-mash...what was someone thinking when they combined two costume styles? If anything, The Lesson was riveting---the student was impressively danced by an apprentice, Ida Praetorius--she reminded me of Janet Reed. I am looking forward to La Sylphide this weekend (Susanne Grinder and Marcin Kupinski) and another look at Napoli (Amy Watson, Alban Lendorf)

#114 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:53 AM

Thanks, atm. Yes, the Elo. They brought two new Kobborg ballets to the West Coast -- I haven't had time to check the NY rep lately, I regret to say. I hope you'll write about the weekend performance as well.

#115 FauxPas

FauxPas

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 512 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 10:56 AM

ATM711 - We are seeing the same shows. I was there last night too. I was less enthusiastic.

The Lesson: Okay this probably was a very dramatic and interesting ballet in the 1960's - it is quite unbelievable now. I had a major problem with Thomas Lund as the Ballet Master. He was quite convincingly off the deep end from his very first entrance leaving him with nowhere to go and making the Student look like a cretin for not taking one look and running out the door. Most psychopaths and serial killers have a chameleon-like ability to present a convincing, attractive facade (Ted Bundy). He really should be an elegant old school ballet master initially. Lund suggested wonderfully a psychosexual compulsion but it should emerge subtly and gradually with a dramatic change after the toe shoes come out. Ida Praetorius was remarkable as the student - coltish, naive and wildly enthusiastic. She was just very real and unaffected which made her even more heartbreaking. The part of the pianist - here danced by Gudrun Bojesen - is perplexing - is she his mistress or his wife or his sister that she works as his accomplice? Is she really trying to save these girls? What is she after? What does she get out of this? Why hasn't the police tracked these two down and put them away after so many girls don't come home from their dance lesson? This is more pantomime drama with ballet steps mixed in than a real ballet using classical steps and patterns to tell a story.

Bournonville Variations: Nice choreography but very derivative of Konservatoriet and Etudes. Starts out with the boys (all boys) in practice clothes and then they go into costumes including kilts. All taken from Bournonville's daily class variations. Frankly the men here were not all impressive and didn't function well as a unit - poor ensemble abounded. There was a feeling of sloppiness and exhaustion here - something tired and unfinished. Alban Lendorf as one of the kilted men doing entrechats was an impressive exception - beautiful clear batterie.

Lost on Slow: Jorma Elo is school of William Forsythe with lots of angular twisted physicality applied to hard driving classical ballet technique. Lots of off-kilter turns set to a lovely Vivaldi score. However, here the dancers looked fully engaged and in top form. I must say I also loved the oblique lighting with the stage smoke (very similar to Twyla Tharp's "In The Upper Room") and the stylized silk costumes with appliquéed bodices. Again Alban Lendorf stood out in his pas de deux.

Napoli Act III: Sets look old-fashioned like they came from the earlier production as do most of the dancer's costumes. The character dancers however look like refugees from "Roma Città Aperta". Teresina and Gennaro show up on a vespa at the end. It can be ignored in the face of the dancing and Bournonville's brilliant virtuosity. A truly joyous vision of dance. Again I noticed poor ensemble in the pas de six with legs at different heights, arms all doing different positions and landing at different times. Then in solos the same dancers would look quite good. Ulrik Birkkjaer the Gennaro looks like a well-trained dancer having an off night. He would start combinations well but they would fall apart before the end with the feet landing out of position or turns veering off. You could see the good intentions but the technique would fail. Susanne Grinder as Teresina was pretty but bland, a good soloist. Again Alban Lendorf in the first male solo with all the batterie was the best thing out there.

All my friends were saying that the quality of the choreography (except for the Bournonville) and the dancing were way below the level displayed in the past. Even the Napoli Act III had more elan and pep in previous years. They were wondering if the company would be touring again anytime soon. Seen in audience: Nikolaj Hubbe, Anna Kisselgoff, Gia Kourlas, Alastair Macaulay, Allegra Kent and the other usual suspects.

#116 vipa

vipa

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,047 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:07 PM

I was there Tues. for the first performance. I agree with some but not all that has been posted.

The Lesson - Macaulay, in his review said the Lesson "is a tawdry little absurdist melodrama about a sadistic-murderous-psychopathic ballet teacher." Other posters to this site seemed to agree. I don't. I think it's a good piece that presents the idea of an abusive relationship in a theatrical way. It's not about ballet or about a ballet teacher. You have a trusting young woman who is eager to please, the seemingly shy instructor who as time goes on becomes more and more demanding, and his enabler who cooperates and helps clean up his messes. By the time the young woman wants out of the situation it is too late. I think the piece is well choreographed and Kobborg amazing as the teacher. His evolution from mildly shy to instructive to demanding to OK this is a totally crazy person was very convincing.

Bournonville Variations - Great stuff. The lighting effects were unnecessary. It was like the material wasn't trusted so some Los Vegas effects were tossed in, but what a great idea and the effects didn't ruin it`. What a treasure these steps and variations are - fast footwork, unexpected directions, beautiful torso work, musical - you expect the turn to go one way, but it goes the other - the foot is in back of the knee instead of the front sometimes. The musical phrasing is delightful. Every ballet and dance fan should see this stuff.

Lost on Slow - Interesting enough. It showed the dancers off well in a more contemporary style of movement. I wouldn't mind seeing it again!

Napoli Act lll - I loved it. I danced it many, many years ago many times -- no one does it like the Danes. The variations were delightful, and again the choreography - lovely & musical in between steps, beautifully shaped jumps, grand plies when you don't expect them. a turn into a jump that makes you gasp and smile because it is both lovely and unpredicted. One more thing I have to add. The RDB has Character Dancers in their roster. One of these women (I don't know who) won my heart. She did a little section with a child, but she enriched the act through out. When the corps was doing their predictable stuff, my eye wondered over to her. She'd be on the side interacting, hitting the tamborine, swaying to the music and being alive on stage. She was not the only one, but she was exemplary. This kind of stage craft can really make a difference.

#117 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,242 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:44 PM

Vipa, the woman in the tarantella was likely either Lis Jeppesen (shorter) or Mette Bodtcher (taller). Jeppesen was one of their great ballerinas, the Sylph of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (and many roles as well. She's on the DVD of La Sylphide. Bodtcher wasn't a star, but gave star performances in dozens of roles and was always a vivid performer.

#118 vipa

vipa

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,047 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:59 PM

Vipa, the woman in the tarantella was likely either Lis Jeppesen (shorter) or Mette Bodtcher (taller). Jeppesen was one of their great ballerinas, the Sylph of the 70s, 80s, and 90s (and many roles as well. She's on the DVD of La Sylphide. Bodtcher wasn't a star, but gave star performances in dozens of roles and was always a vivid performer.



Thanks for the response. I don't know which it was, but it was a light lavender costume on Tuesday - she danced with the boy - and she was wonderful.

It makes total sense that it is was a great performer in dance roles. How wonderful that the RDB uses them so well.

#119 mimsyb

mimsyb

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 264 posts

Posted 16 June 2011 - 08:19 PM

I was there Tues. for the first performance. I agree with some but not all that has been posted.

The Lesson - Macaulay, in his review said the Lesson "is a tawdry little absurdist melodrama about a sadistic-murderous-psychopathic ballet teacher." Other posters to this site seemed to agree. I don't. I think it's a good piece that presents the idea of an abusive relationship in a theatrical way. It's not about ballet or about a ballet teacher. You have a trusting young woman who is eager to please, the seemingly shy instructor who as time goes on becomes more and more demanding, and his enabler who cooperates and helps clean up his messes. By the time the young woman wants out of the situation it is too late. I think the piece is well choreographed and Kobborg amazing as the teacher. His evolution from mildly shy to instructive to demanding to OK this is a totally crazy person was very convincing.

Bournonville Variations - Great stuff. The lighting effects were unnecessary. It was like the material wasn't trusted so some Los Vegas effects were tossed in, but what a great idea and the effects didn't ruin it`. What a treasure these steps and variations are - fast footwork, unexpected directions, beautiful torso work, musical - you expect the turn to go one way, but it goes the other - the foot is in back of the knee instead of the front sometimes. The musical phrasing is delightful. Every ballet and dance fan should see this stuff.

Lost on Slow - Interesting enough. It showed the dancers off well in a more contemporary style of movement. I wouldn't mind seeing it again!

Napoli Act lll - I loved it. I danced it many, many years ago many times -- no one does it like the Danes. The variations were delightful, and again the choreography - lovely & musical in between steps, beautifully shaped jumps, grand plies when you don't expect them. a turn into a jump that makes you gasp and smile because it is both lovely and unpredicted. One more thing I have to add. The RDB has Character Dancers in their roster. One of these women (I don't know who) won my heart. She did a little section with a child, but she enriched the act through out. When the corps was doing their predictable stuff, my eye wondered over to her. She'd be on the side interacting, hitting the tamborine, swaying to the music and being alive on stage. She was not the only one, but she was exemplary. This kind of stage craft can really make a difference.

Vipa: I tend to agree with what you saw on Tuesday. I rather enjoyed "The Lesson" (maybe not the best opener), and found it an interesting piece of dance theater. Kobborg was menacingly scary,and until he was just announced as dancing with Cojacaru in "Sleeping Beauty", I thought it would be the only time I'd see him. So, now I'll get another chance! The work is dated, I guess, but still riveting in many ways. (BTW, I once had a chair thrown at me in class by a well known teacher who will remain anonymous)
"Bourneville Variations" needed more rehearsal, in my mind, but still an interesting work. "Lost on Slow" showed the Danes in a whole new light. I liked their edgy attack and with most of Elo's work, one either likes him or not. I happen to think he's a different voice in the newer choreographic field.
"Napoli" was sheer joy! Such energy and life. Loved the dance with the little boy! And I had no problem with the "differences " in costuming. Having traveled in Italy extensively and seen many local dance and folk troupes performing out of doors, the costumes were entirely in keeping with my experience. These groups are trying to preserve the older dance forms of the culture and one frequently will see the musicians, singers, and other members of the group in modern attire with perhaps a pair of suspenders on the men, or flowers in a ladies hair. But mostly the dancers, both men and women, all wear peasant attire from an entirely different era. So, it all made sense to me and gave the stage a real "human"look. I welcome the Danes and look forward to seeing "La Sylphide" on Sunday.

#120 Jane Simpson

Jane Simpson

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 937 posts

Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:39 PM

Some nice pictures from company class and the dress rehearsal in NY in the Danish newspaper Berlingske.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):