MCB Program IILa Sonnambula, West. Symp.,D&A PDD, Baker's Dozen
Posted 04 January 2011 - 10:11 PM
"Baker’s Dozen – Twyla Tharp, with her “prankster’s sense of humor” (The Times), flings a dozen dancers onto the stage – hustling, spinning, shimmying, yet romantically inclined – to the irresistible stride piano of the immortal Willie “The Lion” Smith.
Program II also includes La Sonnambula and Western Symphony"
Adrienne Arsht Center: January 7-9, 2011
Broward Center: January 14-16, 2011
Kravis Center: January 28-30, 2011
Will be watching, of course.
Edited to add Balanchine's "Diane & Actaeon PDD"...not officially being listed in the booklet/website, but included in the performances AND in the playbill-(which I guess makes it "official" enough to be posted here)
Posted 05 January 2011 - 11:58 AM
I'm looking forward to Baker's Dozen, a pleasant work with great spirit, casual elegance, and many great touches. I can think of a few company members -- despite the loss of so many stylish dancers -- who should excel in this, though not quite a Dozen.
Here's a description from the ABT website. Note that Elaine Kudo staged it for them. Since Ms. Kudo has worked with Miami before, perhaps she has done the same here.
In Tharp's career history, this dance for twelve individual dancers, initially presented as six mated couples, contrasts sharply, in its serenity and simplicity, with the extravagance and free-for-all form that distinguishes the dances she had then previously made for the 1978 film Hair. In fact, some of the movement motifs and inventions for this subsequent, serene work include "out-takes" from Hair itself. Baker's Dozen takes its audience, by way of its satiny smooth jazz music, to a "palm court" space where afternoon social dancing happens with utter ease and inevitability, touched throughout by gentle physical eccentricities, dancers clambering up on other dancers, dancers held upside-down or other "indecorous" positions.
Dressed in smoothly shaped, silky cream clothes – based on afternoon dresses for the women and semi-formals for the men – dancers slip into and out of view in an ever-evolving combination of numbers. Tharp has likened her chosen groupings to "an ancient game of jacks": four trios, three quartets, two sextets. Eventually a harmonious and communal twelevesome emerges, all by way of bringing into prominence, one after another, each of the twelve dancers soloing apart from the eleven-dancer fold. Its romantically inclined couplings, its wittily eccentric partnerings, and its finely calibrated unison work, the satiny smooth dance aims to conjure a world of living social graces and personal rapport. Since its beginnings, the dance has held the public's attention as a special Tharp classic, mixing nostalgic and contemporary emotions all together.
Baker's Dozen was given its American Ballet Theatre Company Premiere on October 30, 2007 at City Center in New York.
Baker's Dozen received its World Premiere by the Twyla Tharp Dance Company on February 15, 1979, danced by Twyla Tharp, Rose Marie Wright, Tom Rawe, Jennifer Way, Shelley Washington, Christine Uchida, Raymond Kurshals, Richard Colton, Anthony Ferro, William Whitener, France Mayotte and John Carrafa.
Re: Sonnambula. Our thread on this work is already getting posts. Cristian, I think that this ballet is the kind of work Alicia Alonso would have been quite familiar with, and possibly influenced by, from the Ballet Russe days. It also showed up at the Ballet Theater. I'd be interested to hear whether you find anything familiar with some of the work performed by Alonso's company in Cuba (I mean the non-classical ones)
Western Symphony, which we are discussing elsewhere, was one of the ballets filmed for the Dance in America PBS program that will be shown on public television around the U.S. in March. So Balletalertniks who can't make it to south Florida will be able to see it there.
Posted 06 January 2011 - 10:57 AM
From the top of my head it indeed reminded me of "Shakespeare and his masks"
Posted 08 January 2011 - 01:11 PM
RED ALERT!!!: Something allegedly called "Diane&Acteon PDD" in the programme was added apparently at the last minute, for which it was in the little paper with the performance's casting, but not in the Playbill. I wonder who was responsible for this choreography. CERTAINLY not Vaganova...
Posted 08 January 2011 - 06:22 PM
Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:33 PM
Still...I still recognize Acteon's variation as the standard choreography attributed to Vaganova. In any case, nor Balanchine or Vaganova were even mentioned in the playbill. What a disaster...
Posted 10 January 2011 - 09:58 AM
I guess when talking about this ballet, the main focus would go in two directions. That of the portray of the main role and her interaction with her man/partner and and her surroundings and then the ballet’s own atmosphere, which I saw as important as the dancing itself, which is not that much.
I have more complaints than praising, I'm sad to report. The main thing I noticed was the absence of the sense of luxury/absurdity/mystery that I suspect characterized this garden fête when it was first choreographed. For what I’ve read and seen from those scans rg posted-(thanks!)-of the original designs-(like that of the “Fan and Fish” couple)- and atm711's always helpful,wonderful memories, this whole affair should suggest an intense feeling of non-reality or even some uncomfortable uneasiness…-(sort of like in La Valse, which somehow has been able to retain). The guests' masks were too simple, and the divertissements to pleasantly offered. I hope that atm711 is reading this, so she can add something that could maybe confirm my suspicions. I think the dancing segment of the party was at some point aimed to alter the general sense of comfort and pleasant view in the guests-(both those onstage and those of us in the audience). For some reason I thought about the infamous sequence of Anita Ekberg’s sensuous dancing and fountain dipping in La Dolce Vitta, in the way that it gives you that “prohibited” second thoughts about something that goes beyond logic and/or socially acceptance-(but pleasant at the same time).
The Pastorale had an interesting twist on Friday, when it was danced by twin sisters Leigh-Ann and Sara Esty. Watching this two identical dancers wearing identical costumes and doing identical steps really added a nice touch, for which at points it was very strange…almost bizarre to watch this replicated, mirror-dancing image up there. Loved it.
The Oriental Pas de deux had a lot of the Bayadere’s Golden Idol, with its broken wrists and lotus poses. It was interesting, although a low note came toward the end on Friday when the female lead-(Skyler Lubin)- came rushing onstage to witness the Poet’s final moments. Lubin-(along with the rest of the divertissements dancers)-had been stripped from her headpiece, and all the women, Lubin included, had their hair down. Well, somehow the fact that hers was a severely highlighted head of hair-(what we could call a “bleached blonde”)-wasn’t too appealing, at least to me. Renato Panteado was the male lead on Friday, and Nathalia Arja and Renan Cardeiro danced on Saturday night.
The Harlequin was phenomenal on Friday, less so on Saturday. On opening night we had Brazilian Corps guy Kleber Rebello, who gave us a WONDERFUL portray, very alive in the best tradition of this Commedia del’Arte character, and with amazing technical tricks, among them the super ample grand ecartes, and the fearless grand dipping into the left wing which, as I said earlier, looked as if a swimming pool had been placed for him over there to be safe. He had a lovely sense of humor too, like when he started limping and angrily mumbling to himself after an overly done effort to impress his audience. Very comical guy. On Saturday night we had Alexandre Ferreira.
The Poet was Carlos Miguel Guerra on Friday and Yann Trividic on Saturday. Guerra is the perfect guy for this kind of role. I believe every company ought to have a “princely” bailarin, one pretty boy that can handle all the romantic, suave roles-(sometimes something difficult to achieve). Well, MCB has Guerra, and he has demonstrated many times that this is his territory. He is a great looking-(in the boyish side)- guy with soft manners-(even in real life)-and beautiful smile. His Poet was very convincing…I really enjoyed it.
And then she came.…La Sonnambula herself...in all her full sleepiness glory and regalia. Jennifer Kronenberg-(just edited her last name, sorry about the misspelling)- danced the role both nights-(I didn’t go on Sunday). Now, we all had read that she was coached by Miss Kent herself in the role, back when MCB premiered the work, BUT I wasn’t convinced, and here is why:
Miss kronenberg is a lovely creature, and right after she came out of the tower she started doing her pointe running around the stage, but I didn’t see the daring moments that Kent says should happen like when the audience feels that she could fall down the orchestra pit, for which she should explore her territory right up to the end of the stage. Her circling was very fluid, yes, and the whole thing had many qualities, but “daring” wasn’t one of them. The PDD was very beautiful, and the climatic moment when the poet is trying to encircle the Sonnambula’s body while on the floor to just be left there by her in a beautiful cambre position was very effective.
The final moments of the ballet came, and here another moment narrated by Kent that I didn’t get was that of the “terror stricken” Sonnambula when she trips over the Poet’s dead body, and realizes what just happened. I didn’t see the terror on Kronenberg’s face. Her Sonnambula sort of reacted a bit more alerted, but certainly not with fear.
The Coquette was very well portrayed both days. On Friday by Callie Manning-(a great character dancer and beautiful ballerina)-and on Saturday by Patricia Delgado-(always sultry and appealing, just as in real life). The Baron was Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez both days...very well done too.
HAIRDRESSING ALERT!!!: Well,…I wanted to leave this issue for the end of my review, for which I really consider it to be of extreme importance in this ballet. La Sonnambula is all about atmosphere, and and sets, props, hair and makeup are here as important as the dancing itself. When Kronenberg came out of the tower I immediately noticed that her hair had been completely altered for the performance. This could be the hairdresser-(my old profession)- side of me, but I couldn’t help but notice that the overall effect of the character had been completely diminished by whoever's choice was to make Kronenberg’s hair as perfect as it could look for a photo shot. To start with, hers is a naturally beautiful wavy hair, almost curly. So here we were presented with a SEVERELY blow dried, AGGRESSIVELY flat ironed 'do. Her hair looked as if she was to do a magazine add for the Keratin Super Straightener Treatment, to the point that when she was burreing you could see the trembling flocks, which were as shiny as they could be. One of the things that I loved from Danilova’s picture with Franklin was her curly long hair down her back, which could easily convinced you that it was that of a person who just came out of bed. Kronenberg, on the other side, looked as if she just had came out of the hairdressing chair. Think of this. PLEASE, Jennifer, get rid of the flat iron and…show your hair as it is. You’ll win a 60 % of conviction in the role.
The final moments of the ballet, when the Poet is given to the Sonnambula’s open arms were amazing, and the very last seconds of her disappearance in the tower as an ascending light was to die for. I loved it.
Guerra was placed beautifully in Kronemberg’s accepting hands, his lifeless body truly looked as dead as it could be. Yann Trividic-(a bigger guy)-had to accommodate himself, somehow holding on to Kronemberg, as if deeply wounded. It was different, but also very pretty.
Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Will be back for some notes on Western Symphony.
Posted 10 January 2011 - 08:11 PM
Let me begin by saying that not only did I, the freinds that accompanied me, and most of the audience that I overheard during intermission LOVE Miss Kronenberg's (also Christian, please note the spelling of her name, as you seem to always get it wrong)interpretation of the role of the Sleepwalker, but we all also LOVED her hair (granted, I'm not a hairdresser)! As different as it may have been for her, I thought it suited the ballet PERFECTLY and was not at all as distracting as long wavy hair can sometimes be. I won't presume to know what her hair is like in "Real Life", but I know that for "Slaughter on 10th Ave" it was much wilder --- which suited THAT particular role. All "Hair-splitting" aside , let's call a spade a spade... Her dancing both nights was breathtaking, and if some were unable to appreciate her dancing because they were focused on other matters, I pity them. The fact that we are even discussing HAIR on this website is borderline ridiculous. On that note...
I did some research on Allegra Kent's perspective of "La Sonnambula" and found a particularly interesting article in a 2005 issue of DANCE Magazine called "Dreamweaver". The first part of the article is from Kent's point of view, and the sister article is from Kronenberg's (being coached by Kent). Hope some of you will look it up! As a former dancer and NYCB enthusiast, I can assure everyone that Kronenberg came as close to following Kent's notes as anyone I've seen (much more so than Darci Kistler of NYCB, though she is a beauty of a ballerina in her own right). While the Sleepwalker must run without hesitation, as if to run into the pit, there is the matter of fact that can not be ignored -- a large presenium between the end of the stage and the pit. Miss Kronenberg's foot was almost past that point TWICE (I especially noted this on Saturday night when my seats were closer to the stage). Further than that I don't think the lack of stage light and flooring would allow. Her bourees backward were seamless and it seemed as if her slumbering top were almost disconnected from her agitated lower half. Most impressive. I also noted in my closeness on Saturday that she simply DOES NOT BLINK! A trick I'd love to know how she pulls off! At the end when she discovers the poet's body, as Christian stated, she does not show any fear on her FACE at all. Rather, she shows DESPAIR, in her BODY that is, with a deep contraction and roll of her head. Again, quite effective.
I agree that Mr. Guerra is PERFECTLY suited to the role of the Poet, but I am biased, as I enjoy him in most pieces and have gone to performances specifically to see he and his wife dance. I did enjoy both Ms. Manning on Friday and Ms. Delgado on Saturday as the Coquette, as different as they were. After all, isn't that the beauty of going to more than one show, appreciating the indivdualities of each dancer?
Last note...though Tharp is not my cup of tea, I found "Baker's Dozen" enjoyable enough, and thought it was remarkable how the dancers all switch hats so quickly and completely in one evening. A BIG BRAVO to them ALL!!!!!
Posted 11 January 2011 - 04:32 AM
Posted 13 January 2011 - 06:36 AM
Ballet Alert can't survive without comments and reviews from a variety of points of view. Like you, a number of our MCB posters have NYCB viewer experience -- in come cases, for decades.. That is our aesthetic background. It is NOT, however, the background of everyone who enjoys MCB. So, we keep an open door.
I am someone who appreciates MCB's programs and dancers enormously. That means "adores" but also sometimes means "can be frustrated by." We all bring prior conceptions to what we see. Ballet Alert believes that we can discuss them in a collegial fashion, despite our personal preferences.
At this point I'd like to put my MODERATOR'S BEANIE ON:
I loved Kent's article about coaching the Sleep Walker with Kronenberg. I was bowled over by Kronenberg in this role, at least as danced in 2005. But she was not at all like my memories of Kent in the role. I have to admit that I did not see the anxious risk-taking -- the uncanny almost bat-like sensitivity to space and even physical objects -- that Kent was trying to coach. Kronenberg learned the lesson but had to express it through her own stage personality and movement, which is less nervous, less "panicky," one might say, than Kent's. This is a theater piece that works best when a strong dance personality makes it her own.
The Kent coaching and performances date back to the 2004-05 season. Whether or not Kronenberg achieved Kent's ideal -- or even wanted to achieve it -- in 2011 is something we can discuss. So, I suppose, is her hair style. Kronenberg is, in my opinion, the MCB dancer with the most complex sense of ballet as a THEATER art. I suspect that every effect she presents on stage is one that she has chosen, based on a sense of style that is well thought-out. That includes hair as well as bourrees.
Posted 13 January 2011 - 08:13 AM
And welcome, mcbfan...!
Posted 13 January 2011 - 09:06 AM
Let me begin by saying that not only did I, the freinds that accompanied me, and most of the audience that I overheard during intermission LOVE Miss Kronenberg's (also Christian, please note the spelling of her name, as you seem to always get it wrong)interpretation of the role of the Sleepwalker, but we all also LOVED her hair (granted, I'm not a hairdresser)! As different as it may have been for her, I thought it suited the ballet PERFECTLY and was not at all as distracting as long wavy hair can sometimes be. I won't presume to know what her hair is like in "Real Life", but I know that for "Slaughter on 10th Ave" it was much wilder --- which suited THAT particular role. All "Hair-splitting" aside , let's call a spade a spade... Her dancing both nights was breathtaking, and if some were unable to appreciate her dancing because they were focused on other matters, I pity them. The fact that we are even discussing HAIR on this website is borderline ridiculous.
We are here to discuss classical ballet. As noted many times on the site, in various stickies and documents, the company forums are here for discussion and reviews by our members. There are links to professional reviewers in the "Links" forum, and we remove them from the company forums unless they are a kick-off for discussion.
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Posted 13 January 2011 - 09:10 PM
Posted 14 January 2011 - 07:47 AM
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