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MCB tour to Paris, July 2011

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Yup- that is Jeremy Cox and Daniel Baker. I think they are guesting for the tour to Paris.

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Cox and Baker were both MAJOR losses to MCB. Both have something that's getting more and more difficult to find onstage nowadays...and it's called CHARISMA, PERSONALITY. I would take Baker's Sigfried or Albrecht over many Principals AT ANY POINT, and he was the only partner that really reminded me the kind of partnership and lifts the Cuban men used to do back in the days...strong and secure. Then Cox was just wonderful while dancing Balanchine. He always looked as if he was flirting with the choreography, the music, the audience and his peers onstage the whole time. He really knows how to hold a performance and make it interesting. Yes...let's keep crossing our fingers so they could be back full time after the tour. :beg::beg::beg::beg::beg:

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Thank you, CM. That's a wonderful video clip.

Good to hear the representative of the Prometheus orchestra praising Gary Sheldon for following the dancers so well. Sheldon is one big reason to hope MCB will be able to afford a live orchestra forever.

Great to see Jeanette Delgado, glorious smile and all, in the iconic Tarantella kerchief. I hope Paris recognizes a star when it sees one.

The three lead men in Symphony in Three Movement seem to be Guerra, Cedeiro, and ... BAKER.

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From a Paris Review of last night's opening

"But the 100% Miami has another charm: that of a journey through time full of freshness and youth. It is probably with performers like these that Balanchine created his plays and conquered the planet. Photos and movies are dreams. To put it in his eyes, it will run July 11 at the Cinémathèque de la danse organizing in Paris-Bercy (from 12:00 to 0:00), a marathon of new films in France, Balanchine and Robbins."

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Cahill, thank you so much. The piece does not read as a review so much as an over-view of the company and an effort to grasp its unique look and character. Please excuse my wobbly grasp of French, but here's an example:

The lines, style, musicality, energy, and ensemble movement -- sophisticated constructions that Balanchine borrowed from Stravinsky to speak of America, or from Tchaikovsky to evoke his own Russian homeland -- these trademarks hold no secrets for this company. No great international company dances these masterpieces with the accent that Miami brings to them.

It's interesting to read Ariane Bavelier's comments on the dancers' bodies -- the women with "rounded thighs, full buttocks" -- the boys with "full chests and chiseled muscles, attacking [the steps] ... with the trust of a 'pompom child'." Pompom child? I'm not sure I understand the image.

The writer contrasts Miami's women, dancing Balanchine and Robbins, with certain "willowy ballerinas, cut as if by diamonds, queens of fire and ice ... who, in three steps, can give one the shivers."

The natural enthusiasm of the Miami dancers prevents them from crimes like that and doubtless has prevented them from inviting stars from other great companies for help in winning over the demanding Parisian audience.
Sounds like a rousing Symphony in Three Movements, reminding me of others equally bold and energetic back home in 2003, 2007 and 2009.
Enthusiasm ... Youth ... Freshness ... Originality.
These are the same words that many French fans used to welcome Balanchine and his New York City Ballet dancers to Paris in the 50s and 60s. Not a bad start for Villella and MCB in 2011.

Now I'm looking forward to the real challenge -- more detailed reviews, including specific evaluations of performances and dancers.

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Now I'm looking forward to the real challenge -- more detailed reviews, including specific evaluations of performances and dancers.

And maybe one or two promotions...? :FIREdevil:

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Bart

Thanks for the clarification, I am using google translate to try and read some of the posts. From twitter is sounds like LaValse went well tonight they are ending with Upper Room. I sure am looking forward to hearing reactions to this evening.

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Cahill, thank you so much. The piece does not read as a review so much as an over-view of the company and an effort to grasp its unique look and character. Please excuse my wobbly grasp of French, but here's an example:

The lines, style, musicality, energy, and ensemble movement -- sophisticated constructions that Balanchine borrowed from Stravinsky to speak of America, or from Tchaikovsky to evoke his own Russian homeland -- these trademarks hold no secrets for this company. No great international company dances these masterpieces with the accent that Miami brings to them.

It's interesting to read Ariane Bavelier's comments on the dancers' bodies -- the women with "rounded thighs, full buttocks" -- the boys with "full chests and chiseled muscles, attacking [the steps] ... with the trust of a 'pompom child'." Pompom child? I'm not sure I understand the image.

The writer contrasts Miami's women, dancing Balanchine and Robbins, with certain "willowy ballerinas, cut as if by diamonds, queens of fire and ice ... who, in three steps, can give one the shivers."

The natural enthusiasm of the Miami dancers prevents them from crimes like that and doubtless has prevented them from inviting stars from other great companies for help in winning over the demanding Parisian audience.
Sounds like a rousing Symphony in Three Movements, reminding me of others equally bold and energetic back home in 2003, 2007 and 2009.
Enthusiasm ... Youth ... Freshness ... Originality.
These are the same words that many French fans used to welcome Balanchine and his New York City Ballet dancers to Paris in the 50s and 60s. Not a bad start for Villella and MCB in 2011.

Now I'm looking forward to the real challenge -- more detailed reviews, including specific evaluations of performances and dancers.

Is" l'entrain du pompon child" something like " the energy/bounce? of a child cheerleader": There's something in the tarantella that puts me in mind of Toni Basil's" Hey Mickey" but I think the writer's mainly talking about the male corps?

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I want to thank our Member Buddy for his kindness in sending us the link to the MCB CASTING for all the Chatelet performances

http://www.lesetesde...-distributions/

Opening night was listed as follows:

Mercredi 6 juillet 20h :

Symphony in Three Movements

Katia Carranza Carlos Guerra

Tricia Albertson Daniel Baker Patricia Delgado Renan Cerdeiro

Afternoon of a Faun

Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg Carlos Miguel Guerra

Tarantella

Jeanette Delgado Kleber Rebello

Ballet Imperial

Mary Carmen Catoya Renato Penteado

Patricia Delgado

Renan Cerdeiro Didier Bramaz

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Wonderful to see Catoya back and looking so lovely, after her long absence due to injury last season.

...

(Still kicking myself for not having made arrangements to be there.)

bart, I'm not sure I understand. (The first statement, I mean; the second one is easy!) It's always wonderful to see Catoya, but for the sale of accuracy, I think she returned in Diana and Acteon in Program II and has been dancing since then.

I'm feeling proud... :clapping:

He's feeling pride, I'm feeling envy. What other cardinal sins do our ballet addiction drive us to commit?

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bart, I'm not sure I understand. (The first statement, I mean; the second one is easy!) It's always wonderful to see Catoya, but for the sale of accuracy, I think she returned in Diana and Acteon in Program II and has been dancing since then.

Jack, Catoya has indeed danced this season -- including Spanish in Nutcracker -- but in a limited way. The Diana and Acteon, which I saw, was untypically reserved and held-back, with some simplying of the choreography. Those roles were steps on the way to recovery.

Dancing the female lead in Ballet Imperial, on opening night, is a very big deal. It suggests that she has overcome her injuries and is back to normal. . I should have said "back at the top of her form" rather than simply "back."

Is" l'entrain du pompon child" something like " the energy/bounce? of a child cheerleader": There's something in the tarantella that puts me in mind of Toni Basil's" Hey Mickey" but I think the writer's mainly talking about the male corps?
CM, I think you are right. Bavelier's reference seems to be to Symphony in Three Movements, which SEEMS to be the only ballet she saw. Maybe she was texting from the lobby during the first intermission? It might explain the run-on sentences.

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Just a few words in a hurry to say thay I enjoyed immensely the MCB performance that I saw yesterday at the Chatelet, and especially "Square Dance": I think I've completely fallen in love with that ballet (I had seen it for the first time two months ago in NYC by the NYCB) and Jeannette Delgado was absolutely lovely in it, charming and musical and light, and doing all those tricky steps as if it were the easiest thing on Earth ! I wonder if for example she's already danced "Sonatine", or some other works of the Verdy repertory ?

I got a bit sleepy during "La Valse", alas (the culprit is not MCB, it's a 10 months old baby girl who doesn't sleep through and has just had a third teeth which makes her nights, and ours, even worse...:-( ) and so couldn't appreciate it fully. But "Symphony in Three Movements" was wonderful too (it's a work I didn't like that much when I saw it for the first time about a decade ago, but now I tend to like it more and more each time- except I still don't like much those pinkish costumes for the female soloists which are quite unflattering !), the company performed it with much joy and energy and it was a great ending to the performance (much applaused !)

He's feeling pride, I'm feeling envy. What other cardinal sins do our ballet addiction drive us to commit?

Maybe gluttony: I'll see five other performances, but wish I could afford to see all the others!:-)

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Estelle, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's great to have your voice on Ballet Alert again. I hope you'll post as much as you can about your other performances.

MCB last danced Sonatine in 2008, choosing more ethereal ballerinas. But, I feel that Delgado is showing a lot more depth and versatility than people originally expected.. Whatever the part, i suspect that she would find a way to make it her own, something valid and definitely worth seeing. (Well, maybe not the Dying Swan. :wink:)

I suspect that it will be the MCB dancers' spirit and individuality that, more than anything else, will seduce the Paris audiences. The ARE unique. I keep recalling a visit of ABT to London a few years ago, performing yet another Swan Lake. One that had nothing special about it. Reviews were tepid and even puzzled. To tour successfully, a company needs confidence in its own personality. It needs a rep which it can infuse with its own energy and enthusiasm without violating the choreography. MCB seems to be bringing this to Paris.

On her blog, Tendus Under a Palm Tree, MCB dancer Rebecca King seemed overwhelmed by the audience response at the end of the Opening Night.

I have never been a part of such a long curtain call. The applause went on and on. It was such an amazing moment, I will never forget it. When the curtain finally fell, a rush of emotion hit us all. We had just done it! We had just debuted in France; we are now an international company. Everyone was embracing, crying tears of joy, and congratulating each other on a successful first Paris performance. I felt so proud to be a part of this exceptional group of dancers.

King includes a photo taken backstage, just after the final curtain. I can imagine the shared feeling: "I'm not ready to go back to the dressing room. I never want this to end."

http://tendusunderap...ning-night.html

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It is indeed wonderful that Villella's company even being quite a small one compared to some ultra Principal-populated ones like the Mariinsky or City Ballet is able to have such variety of personalities onstage. The dual presentation of Delgado/Rebello in Tarantella and Kronenberg/Guerra in Faun just epitomizes the word "perfect casting". Both couples are completely different , and among the four dancers some of them are definitely technically stronger than others, but the way they were casted shows them in their brightest lights, hence masking to their advantage other weaknesses they might have.

re: J. Delgado. Since day 1 I made a note to myself to watch her, and I'm glad I've been proved right. Would she be casted in the company's upcoming run of Giselle then that will definitely prove a challenge to her, and here's someone who can't wait to see her dancing out of that left wing cottage... :clapping:

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"Paris hosts the Miami City Ballet"

France24 video in english. Interview with Edward Villella starts at around 5 minutes 20 seconds:

http://www.france24.com/en/20110709-en-culture-edward-villella-miami-city-ballet-chatelet-etes-danse

For the french speaking version of the programme, France 24 interviews Valery Colin, the director of Paris's annual dance festival, ".les etes de la danse". The interview is illustrated with different video and starts around 5 minutes 30 seconds

http://www.france24.com/fr/20110709-fr-culture-miami-city-ballet-valery-colin-étés-danse-chatelet

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Thanks, CM. So far, I've just had the time to look at the Villella interview. It's one of his best: he compresses a number of themes he talks about during his pre-performance talks. You can feel the charm that has been an important part of his success.

Villella has often talked about his experience of feeling that he had to hide his interest in ballet, from his father, the neighborhood guys, etc. Something parallel happened later on to Steven Caras, NYCB dancer, as presented in the documentary about his life and work: Steven Caras: See Them Dance. I would guess that many, many American boys have been discouraged from ballet dancing and have had to call on superhuman inner resources to hold the course.

The view that "boys don't dance" has had huge negative effect on the development of American male ballet dancers. I suspect that, as "dancing" per se has become more respectable, the message now is something more like this .... "REAL boys don't dance. Or at least they don't dance ballet."

It was good to hear Villella address this ongoing problem directly. Commenting on American culture, he says:

We have some homophobic circumstances that prevail.
Good for him for talking about this openly.

The performance clips from Symphony in Three Mvements (shot at the Chatelet) heavily edited. You do get a cumulative impression of speed and energy -- dancers hurling themselves into movement, while never loosing their technique. I have to believe that Balanchine would have loved it.

(Did I see Jeremy Cox among the dancers? Cox, who was in MCB's 2007 cast, is one of my all-time favorite dancers in this ballet.)

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My wife and I attended last night's performance of MCB at the Chatelet and will also attend tonight. Last evening we saw, 4Ts, La Valse, and Western Symphony. It was my first time to see La Valse. Since I am not a ballet expert, I will not comment on the technicality of the performance. I will however take a moment to relate my experience of sitting among what appeared to be a full house of local ballet fans. I understand that the house has been nearly full for all performances to date. There are MCB posters in the Metro, on the street, and on the busses all over the city. I felt that both 4Ts and La Valse were very warmly received. But, I felt a real energy in the audience for Western Symphony. It seemed that the audience, which was very young compared to audiences at MCBs other venues, recognized many of the tunes that wove their way through the score. Although the style may have been a little outside of the standard for French ballet, they embraced it. The applause at the end was huge and went on for many minutes. At the stage door, the orchestra (l'Orchestre Promethee) stood around whistling the tunes from Western. I think that is safe to say that Paris loves MCB and Western Symphony certainly worked well with the audience. Tonight we are going to see La Valse, In the Night, and Symphony in Three Movements. By the way, the Orchestra under the direction of Gary Sheldon was absolutely outstanding!

For those of you who tweet, you might have seen the MCB Paris hash tag "#MCBTakesParis." It is true!

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Thank you for the report, iwatchthecorps. It's great to see that the tour was well-publicized.

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Great to hear an inside-the-theater report of audience response. Thank you, iwatchthecorps. I can't wait to hear about your next performance, especially the Symphony in Three Movements, one of MCB's biggest artistic triumphs in the past (for this Balanchine lover, at least)..

Good to hear about the positive response for Gary Sheldon. That should go a long way in persuading donors to continue to support live music at MCB, well into the future. :thumbsup:

I felt that both 4Ts and La Valse were very warmly received. But, I felt a real energy in the audience for Western Symphony. It seemed that the audience, which was very young compared to audiences at MCBs other venues, recognized many of the tunes that wove their way through the score. Although the style may have been a little outside of the standard for French ballet, they embraced it. The applause at the end was huge and went on for many minutes.
Maybe they remember their parents' generation, with its love of "les Westerns" at the movies. I suspect you are right about the familiarity of the songs. I hope that PBS released the Great Performances video -- including Western Symphony -- for international sale.

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Yesterday was Bastille Day, a day of national celebration. MCB performed La Valse, In the Night, and Symphony in 3 Movements to a nearly full house (the rest of Paris was immediately outside of the Chatelet getting ready to watch the fireworks over the Eifel Tower. The audience warmly received La Valse and their response grew for In the Night. This is the first time that I have seen In the Night. But, I was not prepared for their response to Symphony in 3 movements. The applause went on and on and on. The company received three curtain calls. I understand that this reception was even bigger than that for In the Upper Room that was performed last week.

Here are some pages from the program.

P1040013

P1040014

(I don't know why the images are not showing up)

After each piece, the theater was illuminated with camera flashes and this morning those pics started showing up on twitter (#MCBTakesParis)

Gary Sheldon and the l'Orchestre Promethee executed the difficult Stravinsky score wonderfully.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Naples...you should be very proud of your company!

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Sorry for not having written since last week (and I'm writing this in a hurry before leaving my hotel room).

I attended three more MCB performances since then: the two performances of Saturday 9 (matinee with "Symphony in 3 movements", "Afternoon of a faun", "Liturgy" and "Ballet Imperial", evening with "Square dance", "The Four emperaments" and "In the Upper Room") and that of yesterday evening ("Theme and variations", "Promethean Fire" and "Nine Sinatra songs").

I loved all the performances (and so did the rest of the audience, considering all the applauses... especially for the Saturday evening performance). The ballets I preferred were "Symphony in three movements" (with

Katia Carranza, Carlos Guerra, Tricia Albertson, Daniel Baker, Patricia Delgado, Renan Cerdeiro- but the whole corps de ballet was wonderful too), "Square dance" (with Jeannette Delgado and Renan Cerdeiro again), "The Four Temperaments" (I especially liked Kleber Rebello, very musical in the Melancholic variation, and Patricia Delgao and Renato Penteado in the Sanguinic pas de deux) and "Theme and variations" (with Jeannette Delgado and

Renato Penteado). I find that "Afternoon of a faun" less interesting than some other Robbins works, but Jennifer Carlynn Kronenberg and Carlos Miguel Guerra were very good in it and it made me appreciate it more than when I saw it at the POB several years ago. I also liked their partnership very much in the "One for the road" pas de deux of "Nine Sinatra songs" (my favorite moment of that ballet, with "Softly" with Jeannette Delgago and Jeremy Cox (very romantic), and "Domani" with Patricia Delgado and Kleber Rebello- but all the couples were great, and Katia Carranza and Renato Penteado in "That's life" were especially applaused by the audience.)

"In the upper room" was very, very well received by the audience; I had liked the energy and dedication of all the dancers, but was not especially fond of the choreography (and of the Philip Glass score)... I even found it had become more "dated" than the two Balanchine masterpieces which had been performed just before and were decades older, and was a bit sad to see that it made the audience far more enthusiastic- but well, maybe it wasa because it was the last performance of the evening !

Well, I have to leave- and am looking forward to the last two performances I'll see today !

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