MCB Program IFanfare, Bugaku, Theme&Variations
Posted 23 November 2010 - 05:21 AM
There are currently no men who can dance the lead in this ballet to international standards. (Maybe Penteado?) The company's loss of Wong, Baker, and (earlier) Cox has shut the door to work of this kind on this level, at least for the present.
Having said that, the consensuss of people I talked with was that this was a nicely balanced program. Applause at each performance seemed spontaneous and sincere.
I enjoyed the Saturday night and Sunday matinee performances much more than Friday's. Maybe this is because, having turned myself into a censorious grump on Friday, I was able to let go and relax for the next performances. )
Bugaku: As others have reported, Kronenberg and Guerra, though quite different from Wu and Garcia-Rodriguez) maintained the life and energy necessary to a good Bugaku. I found myself liking this work -- and admiring its language and theatricality -- more and more. I also admire the effectiveness, as dance music, of the Myazumi score.
Best of the weekend by far was Garcia-Rodriguez, who kept close to the ground and conveyed amazing focus and strength. In a pre-performance talk, Villella mentioned that Balanchine had left him to his own devices while working on the concept of the role -- what am I doing? etc. Villella developed, in rehearsal, a "sumo wrestler" movement vocabulary. Balanchine critiqued this with a single comment: "18th century, dear. 18th century." This provides the courtliness and elegance that are essential to this role. Combining those quallities with an almost primitive warrior intensity (as Villella did and as G-R does) makes all the difference in this ballet.
Kronenberg in Bugaku is strong and almost inaccessible. She remains a western ballerina. But it worked for me. The man's role role is far from the lighter world in which Guerra does his best dancing. He was, however, an attentive and hard-working partner.
I missed Reyneris Reyes and Patricia Delgado at the Saturday matinee.
Fanfare: On Friday I think I was overwhelmed by my sense that this was NOT what I remembered from the NYCB revival. But that was 35 years ago. I let go and enjoyed the delightfully colored costumes and the many brilliant touches -- elegant and whimsical -- Robbins brought to each set of instruments. On Sunday, Patricia Albertson switched from Clarinet to Violin and was equally sprightly and precise. New to Percussion were new principals Reyneris Reyes and Yann Trividic. Throughout it all, Jennifer Kronenberg's Harp sailed through her scenes like the most serene and gracious of Sugar Plum Fairies.
T&V: The Sat. night leads were Kronenberg and Guerra. What a difference from Friday !!! The the orchestra came to life, the pace picked up, as did the energy. Kronenberg is good in this role, I think, though not as strong technically as some. She brought back the quick reversals that Patricia Delgado had omitted, and she attempted some of the complicated footwork (including the garguoullades) that the strongest dancers bring to it.
This piece needs a lot of practice. With 26% of the company made up of apprentices and school apprentices, it's probably too much to expect Balanchinian precision and clarity from everyone. In time, corps members will learn how to reach their marks on time and without looking a little lost. (I'm talking about some of the men here.) In time, during the amazing polonaise, the entrechats and pirouttes that punctuate the procession will be better synchronized.
NEWS !!! Villella, speaking before the performances, that MCB has been invited by the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris to dance for three weeks next July. They will bring 12-15 ballets, possibly including Afternoon of a Faun, Symphony in Three Movements, La Valse, Golden Section, pdds, etc. In other words, an extensive rep that shows what Villella believes to be the company's biggest selling point: its fluency in a variety of ballet styles. Contracts have not yet been signed.
Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:30 AM
That's interesting. It's my understanding that when choreographing, Balanchine often used dancers as collaborators when it came to difficult steps and combinations that extended their technical abilities and the ballet vocabulary. If memory serves, more than one dancer mentions asking Balanchine to retain phrases that at first seemed too hard. But I don't remember an instance when a male dancer working alone so strongly shaped a role in a new ballet.
Bugaku: [ . . . ] In a pre-performance talk, Villella mentioned that Balanchine had left him to his own devices while working on the concept of the role -- what am I doing? etc. Villella developed, in rehearsal, a "sumo wrestler" movement vocabulary. Balanchine critiqued this with a single comment: "18th century, dear. 18th century." This provides the courtliness and elegance that are essential to this role. Combining those quallities with an almost primitive warrior intensity (as Villella did and as G-R does) makes all the difference in this ballet.
Posted 23 November 2010 - 05:23 PM
Posted 24 November 2010 - 06:30 AM
The entire company has 7 months before Paris and the kind of international exposure that a long Paris engagement provides. That's time to work on things. These dancers can do it, with the proper guidance.
Posted 24 November 2010 - 09:08 AM
Posted 24 November 2010 - 02:46 PM
Incidentally, therae is a glimpse of the Delgado quality in a photo of her, with Penteado, doing one of those "Sleeping Beauty" balances in arabesque taht are a feature of T&V. It's in Rebecca King's blog, Tendus Under a Palm Tree.
Scroll down to the post dated Nov. 10 -- "Profile of a Great Ballet: Theme and Variations."
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