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Moscow Festival Ballet's CoppeliaCurrently touring the US..


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#1 Amy Reusch

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:53 PM

I was surprised not to find a thread on this company's production of Coppelia...

Alas, because I was teaching, I only caught the last 10 minutes in their performance tonight at UConn's Jorgensen Auditorium.

The dancing was excellent, so much better than this small town could reasonably expect... particularly for a company of dancers on a series of one night stands... but from what I saw, the women were much finer than fill the corps of most of our regional ballet companies here in the US. The men were a nice eyeful, with good line, but there seemed something off about the Franz... he had nice line, easy extension, but it was as if he pulled to far back into hyperextension and it made his movement soft rather than buoyant.. as if he were sinking in the floor in some odd way... but then again, this is an awful stage he was performing on, and he may have been favoring an injury... no limping or anything like that, nothing technically wrong with the barrel turns, etc.... just his weight pulled too far back into his knees and something off in the ballon as a result. But, again, he was a far finer dancer than reason would have performing here in the hinterland.

My 11-year-old did see the entire production, and was surprised when Dr. Coppelius instructed Swanhilda to go hide behind Coppelia. I suspect that the usual difficulties with University of Connecticut's premiere theater: no fly space means sets couldn't be utilized. I think perhaps they were improvising on the fly... I would very much like to know if anyone else had this strange alteration of the story line, or whether indeed it was unique to our fine theater with the miserable sight lines where anyone not on risers sees nothing of the dancers below mid-shins...

I picked up a program but it has multiple casting. There was a tall blonde girl in with the corps for the Hours, with a a startling good arabesque. One of those things that is hard to say in a flash what was different between hers and the others, except that when you saw it before you, your eyes widened...

I asked my daughter if the audience laughed during the first and second Acts, and she said almost not at all... so I gather it wasn't much like Frederic Franklin's... but still enjoyed the excellent dancing from all I heard in the lobby.

They looked extremely well rehearsed... Third Act spacing was perfect... impressive considering it was a one night stand...

#2 nysusan

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for posting your impressions of this company. I have tickets to see their Sleeping Beauty in NY next week (in a converted movie theater in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn). I'm expecting canned music and a crowded stage so its good to know that they have strong dancers and are well rehearsed..

#3 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 07:44 PM

Here in Binghamton (this past Wed.) they performed Giselle, Act II and Coppelia Act II (the Wedding). I thought that overall, the Company was charming. The relatively small size of the stage did not allow the dancers to do their best.

Seing the two 2nd acts out of context was a bit disorienting. I preferred the Giselle, because they preserved the very distinct lines of that choreography. (The program notes stress that they do strive for authenticity.) I think that the men's acting exceeded Giselle and Myrtha, both of whom had one expression the whole time. But the dancing, the balances, the arms were quite good.

They kept coming on (and off) the stage with white (silk) flowers throughout the act, and not Calla Lillys, either. Putting them down, picking them up, throwing them.... what is that about? I am ashamed to admit that I've limited myself so much to Balanchine's work that I have not seen this ballet very much.

In Coppelia, though I am not able to evaluate individual lines as well as AMY REUSCH, I thought that Franz was excellent. I believe the dancer was Ruslan Mukhamberkaliev. Coppelius had very little to do, except enjoy himself, and Coppelia did a very nice, doll-like solo. Swanhilde was good, but to me, not outstanding. Much of the choreography for the corps was just crossing back and forth across the stage. Maybe that's their "small stage" version.

I've only seen the Balanchine version (and just three or four times) but I saw that the variations and choreography were very different. This version did not have the allegorical figures that Balanchine uses. I have no idea which is more authentic. Again, just seeing one act really wasn't satisfying. I would think that if you were going to see just one act of Coppelia, the scene in Coppelius' workshop would be the one to see -- it is so different from other ballets!

#4 Amy Reusch

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 08:18 PM

Two other footnotes:

I enjoyed seeing all the shining eyes of the youngsters in the lobby after the performance... always delights me when the audience is reached!

It seems they didn't do the character dance in the publicity shot, nor did anything wearing similar costumes...


Presenting the two Act IIs back to back (actually Act III, the Wedding, no?)... seems so very odd a programing choice... How on earth did that come about?


One other thought... during the pas de deux, Swanhilda kneels, almost Aurora like, before Fritz, who then draws her up to her feet... I don't remember this in other Coppelias...


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