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BNC in London


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#1 CM

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 03:14 PM

Swan Lake Video and interviews (in spanish)

http://www.bbc.co.uk...t_cuba_lh.shtml

#2 bart

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 04:31 PM

Thanks for the link, CM. The clip of the company in Swan Lake (a small and slightly ragged corps, a lovely Viengsay Valdez and a gentle, courtly Carlos Acosta) is worth looking at. I assume it was shot in Havana?

Looking forward to the reviews and comments from London. :wink: Please, everyone, post reviews, links to reviews, and impressions on this thread.

#3 CM

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:56 AM

Thanks for the link, CM. The clip of the company in Swan Lake (a small and slightly ragged corps, a lovely Viengsay Valdez and a gentle, courtly Carlos Acosta) is worth looking at. I assume it was shot in Havana?

Looking forward to the reviews and comments from London. :wink: Please, everyone, post reviews, links to reviews, and impressions on this thread.


I believe the swan lake clip is the press call at the Coliseum - you can hear the cameras clicking

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 06:47 AM

What Primer Bailarin Javier Torres says is that he believes his Caribbean, sun-impregnated blood helps to bring a better experience to the stage. Primera Ballerina Anette Delgado, on the other side, says that despite the company having a wide classic/romantic repertoire she would like to explore more the contemporary works, which "helps a classic dancer to move better".

#5 miliosr

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 03:39 PM

Alastair Macaulay opines that the Cuban troupe is "stuck in a time warp: half old Soviet, half touring Ballets Russes":

http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=dance

#6 bart

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 04:31 PM

Macaulay's review is interesting. It shows that he was watching very closly and was puzzled by stylistic inconsistencies.

Did anyone get to see the Swan Lake? Is anyone planning to see the second program, a mixed bill?

Would those who have seen BNdeC recently agree with the following characterization?

The main impression left by the Friday-evening performance was that of a lively but old-fashioned provincial troupe. In most respects its work is Havana-accented Russian stuck in a time warp: half old Soviet, half touring Ballets Russes. This isn’t dull; it is often bizarre. I kept thinking, “But I haven’t seen anyone dance like this for 20 years.”

This sounds like a textbook example of the effects of enforced cultural isolation.

#7 bart

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:48 AM

Macaulay's second review of BNofC in London:

19th-Century Classics, and Then a Little Samba

He continues to find them "puzzling." Some of his observations about style are quite interesting:

[T]he heavy editorial hand of Ms. Alonso was felt right across [the classical excerpts]. The choreography for the classics is always, and accurately, attributed to “Alicia Alonso after the original version by. ...” (“Gottschalk” was the only instance in which a Latin-American dance dialect — it began with a samba — was actively evident.) In her own long career as a ballerina Ms. Alonso often whipped up applause by exaggerating the contrasts between slow and fast passages; she often insured that the choreography gave her pauses to get her breath back now and then.

This came back to mind in the low point of “La Magia” — the wedding pas de deux from “The Sleeping Beauty” — in which Sadaise Arencibia performed a version that made her look oddly like Ms. Alonso late in her performing career. Phrasing had been drastically reaccentuated, floor patterns simplified, and pauses inserted. Ms. Arencibia presented the youthful princess Aurora as if she were a mannered and underpowered grand dame.


On the other hand, Macaulay praises the bravura style of Viengsay Valdez in Don Q:

In the adagio Viengsay Valdéz held five balances on point that each seemed the longest ever held. Her specialty is maintaining a position for one eternity, then calmly changing the angle of her raised leg during the course of another eternity. Elsewhere she delivered bright footwork and multiple turns, all with pleasantly cheerful (and youthful) showmanship.

He also is impressed by some of the male dancers and has some interesting comments about the male style brought to its highest level by Carlos Acosta.

The company’s most famous dancer, Carlos Acosta (a London regular), wasn’t scheduled to dance on Tuesday night. None of the company is in his league, but some of the men — Alejandro Virelles (in the “Beauty” pas de deux), Yonah Acosta (Carlos’s nephew, in the “Coppélia” pas de deux), Mr. Torres and Mr. Bourzac — exhibit some of his beautiful lack of force in their solos. It’s an athletic but antisensationalist style; the emphasis is on heroic ease. The female dancing is more self-contradictory, with the spine easily pliant, now ramrod stiff.

I love that phrase, "heroic ease."

#8 JMcN

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:14 AM

I've seen two performances at the Lowry this week. I have no technical knowledge of dance but am an avid watcher. I think this company is absolutely terrific and I very much enjoyed the two performances I saw.

On Thursday evening we were treated to the mixed programme entitled "The Magic of Dance". This particular evening had sold out within days as Carlos Acosta was guesting in the Don Q pdd.

The evening seems to have been formulated to show off the whole company so that, rather than gala party pieces, we see some cut down chunks of various ballets. The chunks did not always make sense but they did enable us to see the strength and depth of the company.

The audience went absolutely wild for the Don Q pdd with Viengsay Valdes and Carlos Acosta and I must say that they danced with sparkle and panache and their joy at being on stage was very evident. They well deserved the acclaim their performance garnered. As the appearances outside London are without an orchestra, Miss Valdes could not do her usual party trick balances (which was to my preference - when I saw her do this some years ago in London with an orchestra she held her balances for so long that the orchestra had to stop!).

My personal highlight was the very glorious Anette Delgado in Sleeping Beauty. She was absolutely radiant and her glorious technique really hits the spot. Javier Torres was her very dashing prince.

Yesterday afternoon I saw Swan Lake with Sadaise Arencibia and Alejandro Virelles in the leading roles. It is a Soviet-style production with a happy ending. The sets are simple back-cloths on the whole - the set for the "white acts" is particularly effective. The second act is very much "after Petipa" but is very beautiful and it is wonderful to see the Cuban swans with all the arabesques at exactly the same angle. All the head and arm movements were particularly beautiful and how quiet the dancers are on stage! The black swan pdd is done as though time has stood still and only Siegfried and Odile are there (a curtain has come down concealing all the other dancers). I found this particularly effective. This is the only production I have seen where when von Rothbart's spell has been broken the swans are very clearly returned to their human forms (a very quick change with a overdress over the tutu). Again this is very effective.

I thought both the leading dancers were excellent and I was also very taken with Dani Hernandez in the pas de trois in act 1. Yonah Acosta was spectacular as the jester, although this is one role that I could happily live without!

A joy of both performances I saw is how the whole company performs as a company (if you see what I mean - all the dancers, no matter how small their role stays absolutely in character and enhances the performance) and performs with such obvious joy that you cannot but help having a silly grin on your face throughout.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:59 AM

A joy of both performances I saw is how the whole company performs as a company (if you see what I mean - all the dancers, no matter how small their role stays absolutely in character and enhances the performance) and performs with such obvious joy that you cannot but help having a silly grin on your face throughout.


I think this should be always the very purpose of ballet viewing. There will be always some Macaulays out there, of course, to dissect and strip every single chunk and second of a dancing's night, but as for the rest, non expert audience-(which should be ALWAYS the receipent of honor in a ballet night)-then probably Alonso's comopany will work.


"..the Cubans don’t have the rhythmic subtlety to respond in multilayered detail to Tchaikovsky’s music ..."

Wow.

#10 leonid17

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:16 AM

I think this should be always the very purpose of ballet viewing. There will be always some Macaulays out there, of course, to dissect and strip every single chunk and second of a dancing's night, but as for the rest, non expert audience-(which should be ALWAYS the receipent of honor in a ballet night)-then probably Alonso's company will work.


Mr. Macaulay like Miss Kaufmann (who also irks some posters), is writing from an established status (her Pulitzer Prize, his experience) pace their employers 'House' style. I frequently admire their work having got used to their style and on occasion, their reviews have real quality both in description and perception.

I remember critics in the sixties and later, making similar comments in respect of Russian companies and their old fashioned style of performance while the audience cheered them to the rooftops.

In London the press comments were fairly unaminous in their writing about the Cuban's recent visit, whilst ballet fans and balletomanes appeared to have enthusiastically enjoyed their visit.

On the occasions the Cuban company have visited Edinburgh and London in the past, I have enjoyed their fresh and open performances, yes slightly old-fashioned but entirely honest in their discipline and commitment to perform as directed and especially their desire to please the audience.

As Lucretius opined more than 2000 years ago, quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum.

#11 CM

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:47 AM

Short profiles and interviews with Carlos Acosta and Alicia Alonso from London for Birmingham performances

http://news.bbc.co.u...000/8619861.stm


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