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MCB Program IFanfare, Bugaku, Theme&Variations


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 07:55 AM

MIAMI CITY BALLET 2010/2011 SEASON

Program I

FANFARE
Choreography: Jerome Robbins
Music by Britten

Jerome Robbins’ tribute to Queen Elizabeth II – its premiere took place on the night of her Coronation in 1953 – is an enchantingly bright and goofy take on Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.”



BUGAKU
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music by Mayuzumi

Balanchine’s most erotic ballet, a highly stylized Japanese mating ritual, Bugaku was created on Allegra Kent and Edward Villella. One critic said it had “the subtlety of Japanese painting on silk, the strength of Japanese wrestlers.” Another described how “The lovers stalk each other with expressionless hunger.” A third suggested that it might well have been called The Deflowering.



THEME AND VARIATIONS
Choreography: George Balanchine
Music: P.I Tchaikovsky

Set in a spectacular 19th-century ballroom to the soaring music of Tchaikovsky, this is classical ballet at its grandest. The cast is large, the costumes lavish, the dancing elegant and joyous with strong, bold leaps and sharp, crisp moves. Long recognized as a Balanchine masterpiece!


#2 cahill

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:11 PM

From the MCB blog it looks like the dancers are VERY happy to have the Opus One Orchestra Back!

MCB Blog

#3 Jack Reed

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 08:52 PM

While I think Villella's remarks about Theme and Variations, linked to just above, are helpful and good, the preview video serves its purpose pretty well, too, even providing glimpses of Catoya and (I'm sorry) one of the Serabias? in it. With all of the attention given to Bugaku on that thread, I'd just like to speak up for "T&V" as a better ballet to better music. I'm tickled that Tchaikovsky provided a sequence of four variations late in the piece which do admirably for the four parts of a classical pas de deux just as they stand, with no need of rearrangement. (Was this ballet "meant to happen"?)

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 09:06 AM

So now just a few hours left until curtain rises tonight!! yaaay!!! :yahoo:
I CAN'T WAIT to see Theme and Variations!. I haven't seen this little jewel of ballet live in years, and having the orchestra back makes it even more thrilling. I mean, is there any other opening that can give you more sense of grandeur with that timpani's exhilarating sound drumming in your ears...? (Perhaps one can compare it to the opening of the Swan Lake ballroom act...)It really makes you very alert and prepared for what's coming.
And then, I want to see how do they treat that PDD. Here we have one of the most beautiful melodies ever used for a duo, and so simple at the same time, with those 3/4 opening bars in pizzicatos, while the ballerina is basically walking over clouds, barely touching the floor while lifted and carried away by the danseur. In this sense, I can't really say which PDD is more beautiful, T&V or Diamonds.
To be honest, many times I imagine this ballet as the extended 4th Act of Sleeping Beauty, with Aurora, Desire and all the fairies and their attendants celebrating the wedding.

Could this be arranged like that at some point...? :lol:

Will report back...!!! :thumbsup:

#5 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 01:36 PM

The resemblance or affinity to Sleeping Beauty didn't escape us in The Old Days, either, except that then, living in the land of Less is More, we reasoned that "T&V" was Balanchine's SB, not least for its hierarchy of soloists (the video shows the upper tier of four - the four fairies? - dancing downstage center at one point). He had his half-hour Swan Lake, a considerable improvement, but a most magical Nutcracker, which would have deprived us had it ben shortened. (Also in MCB's repertory.) His treatment of La Sylphide, according to this, was - is -Scotch Symphony, another ballet to be seen in MCB's programs this season. And so his one-time little troupe didn't need huge resources...

(Cristian, can you recognize Catoya's partner in the video?)

#6 bart

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 03:31 PM

(Cristian, can you recognize Catoya's partner in the video?)

Jumping in here, since Cristian is at the ballet watching this LIVE :thumbsup:, the video must be from the 2002-2003 season. The lead dancers are, I think, Jennifer Kronenberg and Eric Quillere.

The short promo for this season's T&V uses clips from that earlier video.

#7 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 04:59 PM

Thanks, bart. Watching the clip at 1/4 speed with those identifications in mind, I think you're right. They are all just so good.

#8 bart

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:35 PM

The MCB blog has a cute couple of minutes with 4 corps women -- Sara Esty, Zoe Zien, Ashley Knox, and Leigh-Ann Esty -- talking about dancing Bugaku. There's a clip of Kent working with the corps (Haiyan Wu as the principal woman). I enjoy dancer perspectives: working with long capes and with wigs, for instance.

http://www.miamicity...gaku-girl-talk/

This opportunity to prepare for a ballet, with posts from BT members, videos and insider stuff from the company, is wonderful. I've always thought that, when you are willing to do some work before the curtain rises, you can experience so much more during the actual performance.

#9 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:00 PM

Just came back from the Arsht Center, and I must officially announce Jeanette Delgado as our Miamian very OWN T&V REIGNING QUEEN!!! :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: . Trying to put in words what I saw in tonight's performance I think would just be in vain...the only thing I DO really want to underline is that I BET Mme. Alonso would have been VERY proud of Miss Delgado if given the opportunity to see her dance her role. Renato Panteado did Youskevitch's honors, and also up to my standards :clapping: . It was simply BEAUTIFUL. Two thumbs up for having live music back, particularly in this ballet.

Sadly, I couldn't make it on time to see the first two ballets...even racing from Key Biscayne to Downtown, due to over extended working hours, but according to the program, the leads in Bugaku were Wu and Garcia-Rodriguez.

#10 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:49 AM

Last night's offering was a little disappointing. I'll skip for now Bugaku and Fanfare, to concentrate on T&V-(will expand my views on those two later on). I don't know what could be the reason behind Jenniffer Kronemberg's bland rendition of Baurora-(Balanchine's Aurora :lightbulb: )-but I was two rows away from her, and she looked pretty tired. She lacked the intense attack to which that first series of pirouettes need to be treated, and ditto with the sequence of the three mini-diagonals of chainee turns in opposite directions. Her petite allegro, SOOO VITAL in this role, wasn't crispy, and so the magic of those sequences of entrechat/battu was totally lost. I kept thinking on how Balanchine obviously kept filling the the female variations with all this beautiful footwork, given that Alonso was famous for it-(right until the end of her career, and one can see it on those Grand Pas de Quatre or Giselle clips of the series of traveling entrechats for the second act, or at the end of the White Swan or Sugar Plum Adagios.
Ditto with Carlos Guerra's Besiree-( :wink: ). He tried his best, but he couldn't make it all nice and clean for that famous sequence of 7 double tours en l'air. Generally speaking, I saw a slowing down of the ballet, and this is a NO-NO for T&V. I kept thinking..."stop paying so much attention at lines, and port de bras and the perfect placement and ATTACK,ATTACK, ATTACK the music...this is not Giselle!!!"
Will continue.

Edited to add: Did I just say "Don't think and just dance..."?! :jawdrop:

#11 Sonora

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 04:35 PM

Some thoughts on Miami City Ballet's opening program this weekend:

I thought the program itself - Fanfare, Bugaku, and Theme and Variations - was well-chosen. Fanfare heralded the opening of MCB's 25th anniversary season as well as the return of live orchestral accompaniment, and was danced in spirited fashion. The costumes, while colorful, clever, and amusing, somewhat overwhelmed some of the smaller men. I thought the company shone in this ensemble piece, and looked particularly grand in the opening theme and closing fugue.


It was wonderful to see Bugaku danced by two casts (Haiyan Wu with Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez and P. Delgado with R. Reyes) so fascinatingly different in physicality and tone. The pairing of Haiyan and Garcia-Rodriguez - her ultra-femininity and perfectly proportioned loveliness offset by his magnetism and powerful grace - left its imprint firmly in my mind. Although I am not old enough to have seen Allegra Kent in her heyday, this seems to contain her essence and perfume, in its beautiful evocation of feeling and form, and its slightly kitsch-ey style.


It is impossible to speak about Jeannette Delgado in the ballerina role in Theme and Variations without recalling the joy she transmits - to the audience and to the atmosphere on stage - through every glorious movement phrase. Her technical command of the role is a joy in and of itself, but her shimmering musicality, grandeur, and musicality are the stuff of long-term memory. She illuminated this great ballet.

#12 cahill

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 05:18 PM

Very sorry that I missed these performance but will see it in West Palm when they close out this program.
Sonora

Which two of the performances did you see? Did Patricia dance at either?

Christian

I am looking forward to hearing your review of the other pieces on Saturday night.

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 07:45 PM

Did Patricia dance at either?


cahill, Patricia danced the lead of Bugaku on Saturday night with Reyneris Reyes. Today the cast was the same as Friday night, T&V with Jeanette/Panteado and Bugaku with Wu/Isanusi

Christian..I am looking forward to hearing your review of the other pieces on Saturday night.


Will do...! :thumbsup:

#14 Sonora

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Posted 19 October 2010 - 12:12 PM

Which two of the performances did you see? Did Patricia dance at either?



I saw Saturday night and Sunday matinee. Patricia Delgado danced Bugaku on Saturday and the Viola in Fanfare on Sunday. I thought she was lovely in Bugaku, with Reyes. Tricia Albertson danced the Viola on Saturday. She was charming, fleet, elegant.

#15 bart

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 07:56 AM

Cristian, I was interested in your very different responses to Jeanette Delgado and Jennifer Kronenberg in T&V. I've seen Kronenberg and Guerra dance this, both in full performance and in a closer-up workshop performance. I can certainly imagine that her approach -- large-scale and grand-imperial -- would be shocking after growing up with the Alonso approach, which is probably a version of what Balanchine originally intended. I like Kronenberg, but have found something lacking in her T&V. I think you have put your finger on what that is. Guerra is an appealing dancer in many roles, but it probably takes a Youskevitch 1947), Villella (1960 and 1971) or Baryshnikov to do real justice to the T&V cavalier.

One advantage (or disadvantage??) of a live orchestra is that the conductor can alter tempo to suit the dancer. You seemed to have witnessed an extreme version of tempo variation in those two contrasting performances. I wonder which performance the demi-soloists and corps dancers preferered?

Like you, I prefer speed and momentum, providing the dancer can keep the details clear and avoid blurring the details. Delgado is very good at that. (Gelsey Kirkland and Merrill Ashley were, too.)

Since this ballet was created for the strengths of Alonso (and, equally important, for the strengths of Youskevitch), I thought you might be interested in what B.H. Haggin wrote back at the time of the Ballet Theatre premiere in 1947.

... [W]hat Balanchine did for her in Theme and Variations was not merely to use everything she does best as a dancer -- her sharp attacks, her secure feats of point-balance, for exmple -- but to use them in a style that made her glamours and radiant.

Delgado's Sugar Plum Fairy at Arsht last season shows she is starting to develop real ballerina "glamour and radiance." She's not just a technician or a can-do girl any more.

I can't wait to see both Delgado and Kronenberg when MCB comes to the Kravis. (Assuming that the Gods of Casting are in a favorable mood, of course.)

By the way, if you have a copy of Arlene Croce's Going to the Dance, have a look at "From a Far Country," a 1978 piece that includes a long comparison of T&V and Sleeping Beauty (esp. the prologue and vision scene). Apparently Ballet Theatre asked Balanchine specifically for a work that would "fill the same function in the reportory as did Princess Aurora" (a suite of Sleeping Beauty excerpts).

The essay is not included in Writing in the Dark. P.M. me if you would like me to send you a photocopy.


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