iwatchthecorps

MCB films PBS Great Performances special

67 posts in this topic

The dancers are listed at the very end of the dance portion of the broadcast, but only in small type while the host is shown speaking. They're listed by rank, even down to the apprentice level, but not by ballet.

I'm very happy to have this recording, but I thought the backdrops for both Square Dance and Western Symphony, by their colors and their busyness, made the dancers hard to distinguish clearly. And I hated all the jarring above-the-waist shots in Square Dance. I also wish the director had taken a look at NYCB's 1991 (?) recording of Western Symphony, where close shots - but not head shots - of the principals at key moments give us a lot more personality than we saw last night.

Overall I was thrilled by the performances, especially that of Delgado in Square Dance. I wanted my emphasis, more stretch in the male solo in that ballet, more of what I remembered from Manuel Legris in the Balanchine Celebration. But that may be my problem. I've only seen that ballet a couple of times live, and his interpretation may grow on me.

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I saw Western- the casting was:

1st movement: Jennifer Knonenberg and Carlos Guerra

2nd movement: Katia Carranza and Renan Cerdeiro

3rd movement: Jeanette Delgado and Renato Penteado

4th movement: Patricia Delgado and Yann Trividic

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I saw Western- the casting was:

1st movement: Jennifer Knonenberg and Carlos Guerra

2nd movement: Katia Carranza and Renan Cerdeiro

3rd movement: Jeanette Delgado and Renato Penteado

4th movement: Patricia Delgado and Yann Trividic

Thanks, liebling. JSMU, above, mentioned that he recognized Callie Manning as Western's 3rd movement lead & Bart had reported Callie for this movement in his Sept 24th post, above...so is it Jeannette or Callie?

From the responses, I'm assuming it is indeed Jeannette Delgado leading Square Dance...but who is the elegant leading man?

Kfw, yes, we noticed the entire company listed at the end of the rolling credits...which doesn't help one iota. Instead of 7 minutes of 'intro chat' from Andy Garcia, then more useful comments from Edward Villella, couldn't the producers have added 5 seconds to the very start of each ballet to show the names of the leading dancers? Or are we now 'going socialist' and only caring about the team and not individuals? Gee, even in Soviet times, the USSR at least gave the INITIALS of principals, if not full names.

re. the crazy editing - Has anyone thought that perhaps this is mandated by the Balanchine trust whenever they grant permission for commercial filming of a "full" Balanchine ballet...to edit in a way that makes it tough for renegades to use the DVD to do their own stagings? Some key bits of movement in Square Dance were omitted due to editing decisions.

re. the 'SkyCam' on wires above the stage - At least it was judiciously employed, unlike the obnoxious zoom-ins and zig-zags around the stage in the Mariinsky's recent Jewels DVD.

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Thanks, liebling, for the Western Symphony casting. I agree with those who were appalled by the faiilure to identify ANY dancers -- or even to refer to them as a group. Villella's introduction -- well written; possibly by Robert Gottlieb? -- was fine, but focused on the works only, and his own vision for the company. The material with Andy Garcia, and the subsequent cultural promo for Miami, were "local tv" at their worst.

From the responses, I'm assuming it is indeed Jeannette Delgado leading Square Dance...but who is the elegant leading man?

Renan Cerdeiro, a Brazilian student who transferred to the MCB school and was -- only two years ago -- a student apprentice. Cerdeiro danced in all three of the works. He's made amazing progress in Balanchine especially, in a very short time.

As for Delgado, I'm glad that more Ballet Alertniks are now able to see the qualities -- the speed and accuracy of detail, the total concentration which comes across as, simultaneously, casual and joyful -- that Cristian and I have been talking about ad nauseum over the past few years. Jeanette Delgado is a star, in my book. It's been wonderful watching her develop. One of the best parts of this coming season will be the chance -- frequent, I hope -- to see what else she can do.

One of the ironies of the wonderful Square Dance cast was that a number of the dancers, especially the corps men, will are no longer with the company. Paris was their farewell. Economic problems, which remain serious despite the Paris triumph, are probably behind the decision to rely more and more on students and recent MCB school graduates.

I hope we get to talk more about the detailing of these works. I'm especially curious to see what Balanchine experts thought of Square Dance and Western Symphony. Sometimes, when you get to know a company and its dancer's too well, it's almost impossible to look at them objectively. That's why I rely on the eye and the judgment of those who don't know MCB or have seen it only rarely.

The camera work, as has been mentioned, did no favors to Western Symphony. It's among my least favorite Balanchine works, but it's tolerable on stage where your eye can wander. These cameras led us by the nose, including too many upper torso shots and a tendency to lose action at the sides. ALL the principals came across better on stage last season than the did in this filming. Kronenberg (luscious on stage in the first movement) and Carranza (quite funny, actually) were especially ill-served by the film. On the other hand, Patricia Delgado (in the bit-hat role) looked great, just as she did on stage. Her beau, Yann Trividic, was charismatic on-stage but seemed slightly tentative here.

Unlike many on BA, I really like the Tharp piece, especially as it comes across on stage. On film, you could see too much of the difficulty factor. For example, the set-ups for some of her more difficult acrobatic effects were exposed and obvious. The energy and spontaneity on stage was non-stop and exhilerating. Not so on film.

As for the dancers -- Daniel Baker was back as a guest. (He's the very blond young man whose compact body seems about to explode with drive and concentration. He also danced this in Paris.) Others I recognized were, in no particular order: Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez, Renato Penteado, Carlos Guerra, Renan Cerdeiro, Yang Zou Alexandre Ferreira, Patricia Delgado (the girl who dives off into the wings on several occasions), Jeanette Delgado, Jennifer Kronenberg, Tricia Albertson, Callie Manning, Sara Esty, and (I think) Christie Sciturro. This is the kind of work that let's dancers stretch their range. Penteado, Albertson, Manning, and Ms. Esty brought out aspects of their dance personalities in this that I had never seen before.

Like kfw, I was able to record this. I'll be looking at Square Dance again and again. Golden Section, occasionally, for the fond memories. Western Symphony, not at all.

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Thanks for finalizing/confirming casting details, bart. I just reviewed my recording of this and, yes, I now recognize "the smile that never ends" in 3rd mvmt of Western as the same Jeannette Delgado who stars in Square Dance. Yes, she has lovely technique & musicality, comparable to my 'benchmarks' in this work, Merrill Ashley and Ashley Bouder!

The corps in both Balanchines are FANTASTIC and spot on! THAT's what I noticed most upon 2nd viewing, especially when compared to recent NYCB performances. The Miami corps is (was? - they've changed a lot since filming) second to none, IMO.

It's amazing that the male lead in Square Dance was someone who, at the time of filming (Sept 2010?) was just out of the apprentice ranks. Kudos to him! I also see that liebling lists Renan Cerdeiro as the lead in the 2nd movement of Western (with Carranza). He looks taller & a bit 'larger' overall there. Must be the different style of costume.

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First, I am really grateful for the gift of these ballets. I truly enjoyed watching them. My criticism below should be taken in the context of a positive overall review, and as a response to the above comments.

I felt the editing really distorted the understanding and viewing of the ballets. For example, one movement in "Square Dance" ends in a seated position, and the editing deleted the presentation of the transition to the next movement. The result was jarring and distracting, influencing the viewing of the remainder of the show. The early editing caused an immediate distrust that affected the viewing and enjoyment of the rest of the ballets. The poor editing disrupted the remainder of the show.

In "Square Dance", I admired the dancers, but believed that many looked like they were students (albeit, top level students). I don't know if that was intentional and part of the interpretation. However, it was not what I expected. Learning that RC was recently an apprentice, from the above postings, was an "aha" experience. I did not think the women looked like Balanchine ballerinas. I know the tv distorts heights and widths, but I came away with the feeling that MCB wanted to show tall, extremely thin men with thicker, short women. I really admire these women, but the pairing creating emphases and distortions, perhaps. I want to bake some cookies and send them to Renan. I also did not think the costumes fit some of the dancers. The choreography was very understandable, and the music was extremely attractive, making this a very complete ballet, for me.

Tharp's disproportionate popularity still makes no sense to me. Watching ABT perform a Tharp excerpt on "Works and Process" caused me not to buy City Center tickets. With the MCB performance, I felt like I was watching a pole dancing competition, or a stripper, or show girl. Admittedly, I am prejudiced because I do not enjoy Broadway musicals or other musical theater. I respect the different opinions of people with disparate interests and tastes, but this style of dance makes me think of watching workout videos and bad movies in the 70s and 80s. I do not come away feeling elevated or otherwise affected by any grace.

I saw NYCB perform "Western Symphony" a few weeks ago, and I preferred its performance to that of MCB. I felt the music was somehow off in the MCB performance. The sets made more sense at NYCB, too. The girl who performed the hat sequence was very appealing, as was RC.

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My first thought was that Edward Villella must be the youngest looking and most vibrant 75-year-old in the history of time.

As for the dancing, I could only watch "Square Dance," but I loved it. I want a DVD! MCB used to come here a lot several years ago, and I've always admired it -- their ease in classical dancing, the combination of respecting a work but making it live. They have a company style, but they also have a company bond. I'm so glad PBS did this. I hope they will show more American companies, in the ballets that we do best.

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I enjoyed the broadcast but admit to being a trifle disappointed, given what I've read about this company. I agree with some of what bart and puppytreats had to say. I liked the Square Dance, the Golden Section was all right, Western Symphony meh but then also like bart I'm not crazy about the ballet. However, I do remember it being better served by the NYCB televised version, which I don't have on tape. Switched off in the middle of WS to go back to the World Series postgame but will watch it on repeats and tape it. Jeanette Delgado is a lovely dancer but something must be done about the Grin. It makes me nervous.

That said, I was pleased to see the company and impressed with what Villella and his dancers have accomplished. It was great to see ballet again on PBS and I plan to write in to say so. Also pleased that MCB presented a mixed bill instead of a full evening presentation of one of the warhorses, or something "contemporary" like San Francisco Ballet's "Othello."

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Jeanette Delgado is a lovely dancer but something must be done about the Grin.

Reminds me of Bouder's, who of course does SD at NYCB.

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I have been reading ballet alert for quite some time. I felt the need to join to share my two cents.

My personal opinion is, a lot people I know seem to have a problem with NYCB.

I think it was great to see MCB's take on Balanchine. Edward Villela is a legend, and

since he is coming to end of his career, it was nice to see his work expressed and documented for the historical purposes.

I tried to enjoy and not compare to NYCB, ABT or SFB because they are not. However, there has

to be a reason PBS wanted to film the company. They could have done it live in a theater like other

companies but for some reason they filmed it like the old Balanchine works in the studio.

Maybe for historical purposes? Maybe because Edward is coming to an end? Insight into 2nd generation Balanchine?

For me, in time it will be great look into Balanchines legacy.

Saying that, goes for the Golden Section. Not many companies do it, because not many companies

have the ability to. It may not be everyones style or cup of tea. How many people want to forget

what they wore in the 70's or 80's? How any ballerinas can do 'Theme' and then rock out to 70's jazz?

It is a stylistic, period piece... instead of judging that it is cheap, not a show stopper or for everybody..

maybe we could think about why they chose to film this or how amazing that these young dancers can try to mimic

this point in time like no one else. Doesn't the New York Times always try to accuse NYCB of not being

like old-school city ballet? Balanchine is clearly more respected, however at the end of the

day, Balanchine dancers are also following dancers from that era. I give credit to these dancers for

giving it a go even if this piece or period is not well respected. For historical purposes, I think

it has significance.

As for the grins and sets.. Different people show all sorts of emotions when they dance. Miami dancers are known for their passion, youth, joy, speed. Maybe they just love to dance and are having fun? Maybe they are compensating for things they lack? Jeanette Delgardo made the top 10 cultural events of the year from the New Yorker after bringing Square Dance to City Center. She is known for being warm, open, engaging and inviting. Imagine you take away the grin, replace her with someone that is showing you amazing feet but doesn't give anything else.. would that be engaging for tv? For the sets, to me it would not be very interesting for tv to see a typical Balanchine blue screen. Not only do you see how dancers look today, you also see how technology has progressed with the angles and projected sets.

I believe that this program wasn't that impressive when compared to things like Cirque. The leg can only go so high, the body can only

stretch that much. Not trying to project my opinion.. but I fear that most people don't realize is that they filmed MCB because they brought qualities rarely seen or appreciated these days such as speed, precision, movement and joy. Any other major company, the focus is on the

physical.

Congratulations MCB!

As for the program choice.. Maybe it was up to the Balanchine trust and not MCB or PBS?

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It was a pleasure to see women who looked like women. Too bad so much time was devoted to Tharp. I, too, felt that the music in Western Symphony "was somehow off".

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It was a pleasure to see women who looked like women.

Yes, indeed.

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I....Jeanette Delgado is a lovely dancer but something must be done about the Grin. It makes me nervous.

....

Bingo. I was afraid to burst the bubble of her admirers...but that's what I was trying to get at, above, when I wrote "the smile that never ends." The constant camera-cuts to show Jeannette's toothy grin, up-close-and-personal, almost ruined the entire experience for me. Again - Trully Rotten Editing. Even with the hee-haw grin, she's still an amazing dancer.

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The grin grows on you (or on me anyway). It's genuine -- a part of her off-stage personality as well as her stage persona.. She can modulate it on stage to allow for other emotions. I'm thinking offhand of Sugar Plum Fairy and her role in Golden Section Even in this performance, there is more nuance of facial expression -- often related to port de bras -- than one might think.

For me, Square Dance (as opposed to the enigmatic Diamonds, for example) allows for this look. The ballet should be experienced as fun and with delight, as well as with technical brilliance. The fun factor -- sheer enjoyment in defiance of the technical difficulty -- is often lost in other dancers' performances. One certainly hears it in the music.

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For me, Square Dance (as opposed to the enigmatic Diamonds, for example) allows for this look. The ballet should be experienced as fun and with delight, as well as with technical brilliance. The fun factor -- sheer enjoyment in defiance of the technical difficulty -- is often lost in other dancers' performances. One certainly hears it in the music.

I feel the same way. For my taste, the grin suits the exuberance in the music and the choreography, and she does tone it down a bit in the stately opening of the second movement.

Despite the camera work, which often puts us too close or too far away from the dancers, seeing this performance on the screen does more for me than NYCB's did at the Kennedy Center this spring. You Floridians are fortunate!smile.png

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Jeanette's grin is her own. One can't talk a couple of seconds with her without getting it full blown. It's hard, I guess, to mask happiness and joy when it comes genuinely from within. Enough of the martyr-like/Mary Stewart-goes-to-scaffold expresons...!

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I've watch the entire program over four times now. I could probably write a book full of comments.

One thing that just becomes more noticeable each time that I see the MCB is how human they are and spontaneous they seem, how expansively warm and 'lovable' they are. And yet they are so totally right on as professionals and accomplished artists. An amazing and wonderful combination.

One mention about "Square Dance" and its lead male dancer, Renan Cerdeiro . I like very much his solo. I believe that George Balanchine added this in his revision and for me it shows an interesting maturity in his vision. There is some of the technical brilliance that permeates the entire "Square Dance," in this case two tricky variety of spins, but what is possibly more compelling is the reliance on pure expression. I think a lot can be made of this. It could point out another powerful direction for dance into the future. Once again, in my mind, George Balanchine was reaching beyond.

I also saw the company in Paris last summer, many months after this was filmed. Renan Cerdeiro had by then developed even more depth and sensitivity -- very, very noticeable.

On more thought, since Edward Villella is about to retire. I hope that he at least plans to continue contributing to the company and/or the artistic world in some major fashion. In Paris, at his customary question and answer session, he responded to a question about how he selects his dancers. He replied with the rather unexpected and candidly heart touching answer that his first criteria is how Nice the dancers are, because it is essential that everyone should get along with each other as well as possible. It certainly shows in the performances and what a fine testimonial it is to the fine work that he and the company have accomplished.

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I liked Delgado's smile and the general joy in the company. The speed, and precision of the beats had plenty of clarity. I saw nothing extraneous in the dancers' weight. All muscle. We've gotten so used to the anorectic look that a healthy woman looks "heavy" in comparison. Quite sad. The costumes in Western Symphony were delicious. I'll take acid over boring any day of the week.

Watching The Golden Section, I kept thinking "Solid Gold Dancers". Which means I'm old enough to remember the originals. Which means I'm just old. Personally I would have chosen a different middle section piece to show off MCB's skills. I will say that The Golden Section gave the men an opportunity to really eat up space.

I didn't mind the introductory cheerleading by Andy Garcia (an underrated actor) or the Miami "filler" that followed (although I switched channels to watch some Skate Canada rebroadcasting).

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You Floridians are fortunate!

Aren't we...? Having Michael Tilson and his Orchestra and Eddie and his troupe surrounded by sun and beaches all year around sounds good, right...? happy.png

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ARGH, KCTS, the Seattle PBS I get, doesn't have this anywhere on their online schedule--unless I somehow missed it. Not impressed.

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ARGH, KCTS, the Seattle PBS I get, doesn't have this anywhere on their online schedule--unless I somehow missed it.

Oh no!.....you missed it. It is in the KCTS schedule. You just missed the re-broadcast today at 2pm. Below is from their website:

PBS Arts from Miami: Miami City Ballet Dances Balanchine and Tharp

Air: Friday, October 28, 9:00 pm on KCTS 9 HDSeattle/Yakima

Future Airs: 10/30/11, 2:00 pm KCTS 9 HDSeattle/Yakima; 10/30/11, 2:00 pm KYVE 47Yakima

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UGH I have no one but myself to blame--I did scan their website with no luck--though I admit I didn't look at the weekend afternoon slots... I've been pretty distracted this weekend between Halloween parties and essays... Lesson learned I guess. Thanks for your info!

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I have no problem with a beautiful smile! Perhaps I mistated my thoughts. I hated the constant camera-cuts to Jeannette's face during the allegro segments. The main problem was in the editing. It was wonderful to see everyone smiling during the allegro portions of the ballet, especially during leaps, entrechats (so precise & high by all!), etc.

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I hated the constant camera-cuts to Jeannette's face during the allegro segments. The main problem was in the editing.

Agree completely. Rapid and agitated cutting from one image to another is now the cultural norm on tv. (Are they trying to keep the audience awake?) The Kirkland/Baryshnikov Theme and Variation (Live from Lincoln Center, 1970s), which we linked to in an earlier thread, is so much friendlier to the integrity of the work and the artists.

A joy of attending live performance is that YOU become your own "editor," looking where your eye takes you. I find myself resenting -- and actually being stressed by -- sitting passively in a seat while a film director and/or editor forces me to look at certain images while forgetting about those which I am missing. Directors/editors, whatever their intention, seem to be interjecting their OWN work of art between me and the actual performance.

Mr. Diamond did his best. But the cutting to Delgado was indeed intrusive. Worse, it seemed arbitrary, minimally connected to music or choreography. (Better to have taken the trouble to print her NAME, along with Cerdeiro's, on the screen, as would have been done for just about any theatrical or musical performance I have seen.)

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