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POB Headed to NYC in 2012


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#76 atm711

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

I could never understand the French love affair with the choreography of Lifar. Mimsyb can you imagine seeing 'Suite en Blanc' on the same itinerary as 'Symphony in C'? It happened to me during a POB tour of NYC in the late 40's--although then (Sym in C) it was called 'Palais de Crystal'. When I think of Lifar's choreography the word 'static' comes to mind. Pity the French for getting Lifar instead of BalanchinePosted Image The frivolous pairing of Lifar, Petit and Bejart is a bit much, what with the price of tickets today.

#77 FauxPas

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 06:51 AM

I saw both the Wednesday night opener and went back again last night. Every ballet seemed to be dialed down in energy and excitement due to the casting. I happened to enjoy "Suite en Blanc" but Emilie Cozette though accomplished technically was not match for Marie-Agnes Gillot as the Cigarette solo. She does everything right but leaves no impression. The rest of the dancers were good. "Arlesienne" and "Bolero" depend a lot on the intensity and charisma of the lead performers. Benjamin Pech was no match for Jeremie Belingard's passion and dance power. Belingard really threw himself wildly into the turns and jumps suggesting real emotional desperation. Pech is good but doesn't have the emotional or physical power. In "Bolero" Marie-Agnes Gillot was very precise, cool and knew what every move meant. But she doesn't have the animal magnetism that Nicolas Le Riche has - it was a different story. Also, Gillot isn't exactly a naturally sensual dancer. All depends on the casting.

#78 abatt

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 07:03 AM

I agree that Bolero looked a lot less impressive last night than with LeRiche. In part, I think it may be simply because it is a more interesting ballet (to me) with an all male cast. It wasn't only that LeRiche has more charisma. With an all male cast, it looked like some sort of cult or initiation meeting. With a woman in the lead, it didn't seem that way at all. It just looked like a sexual tease, as she flung her long, sweaty hair around. All she needed was a pole to slither on. Since this kind of thing has become common place in TV and movies, it really isn't so shocking or interesting anymore.

#79 mimsyb

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:09 AM

I agree with atm711 about the absolute frivolity of the pairing of these ballets. The vacancy of the choreography masquerading as something worthy of viewing was astonishing to me. I'm not sure a cast change would have made much difference. If POB was trying to present a museum of their work, then they succeeded. But these are highly trained artists with much to offer. To ask them to dance these ballets on their first NY visit in some time did no one any favors. I believe they do Balanchine and Robbins with better results. Were they afraid to present these choreographers on their own turf? Mind you, I'm not advocating every company dance Balanchine or Robbins. It's just I want to see dancers at this level challenged to do their best in good work. As it is, despite some showing of elegance in their port de bras and epaulment, much of the footwork was blurred and unsteady. The women have pretty feet, as do the men. None seemed to my eye to have any awareness of how to best present them. Many of the men landed rather flat footed from their jumps with a noticeable thud. (this on a stage built for noiseless landings). And more than a few of the lead women had trouble with a double piroette, coming off point before the finish of the revolution. Partnering at times seemed rather more studied than seamless, but this could be a reflection of the choreography. I agree with Macaulay that nothing was revealed about the dancers through these ballets. Dancing that is seen but not felt. The "emotions" of both "L'Arlesienne" and "Bolero" were patently false. "Suite en Blanc" was just a puzzlement of steps that came from nowhere and went nowhere. As I said before, I'm sure all will be made right with "Giselle". One can only hope. Meanwhile, I spent the last half of the evening wishing I was over at Bar Boulud with a nice plate of charcuterie and a cool glass of Sancerre. Have a nice Bastille Day everyone!!

#80 abatt

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:29 AM

I don't think it would have been a good idea for them to perform Robbins and Balanchine during their NY visit. New Yorkers see that rep all the time. They wanted to bring something different that was quintessentially French. Though these works were not masterpieces, they are rarely seen in NY.

#81 angelica

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:57 PM

I thought Marie-Agnes Gillot was absolutely riveting in Bolero. I couldn't tell you anything about what the men around her were doing because my eyes were glued to her the entire time.

#82 miliosr

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 02:01 PM

I don't think it would have been a good idea for them to perform Robbins and Balanchine during their NY visit. New Yorkers see that rep all the time. They wanted to bring something different that was quintessentially French. Though these works were not masterpieces, they are rarely seen in NY.

I couldn't agree more with this post. Why bring Balanchine and Robbins works to New York when New Yorkers can see these works all the time in the very same theater? While I found this mixed bill to be an up-and-down affair (I disliked L'Arlesienne), kudos to Madame Lefevre for not pandering to local tastes and, instead, presenting us with works that are all but unknown in the US.

#83 mimsyb

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 03:05 PM

The argument could be made that indeed dancing Balanchine on NY's turf would be a great challenge. The Kirov took on "Symphony in C" last Summer to thrilling success. I for one never tire of seeing his choreography performed well. I merely was trying to make a point that I think the company would have shown better with other ballets. If POB came visiting on a more regular basis, then perhaps these little "oddities" would be fine. Maybe there's a reason these ballets are not better known in the US. They just aren't all that good. Wonderful dancers deserve wonderful choreography.

#84 Michael

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 05:27 AM

I like the programming because it's good to see things you'd otherwise never get a look at. Everything has been danced sincerely, they believe in this. L'Arlesienne, the Lifar, and Bejart etc. - There's a certain company aesthetic they're proud of and own to - it's certainly not our contemporary ballet aesthetic, it's Euro-Art from 1930's to the 70's and it's most interesting to see and understand. The Euro-dram thing today relates to this, look at it on a continuum that includes Kylian and, yes, even Ratmansky, given his years in Denmark. Ratmansky's new Firebird and some of the other whacky stuff he's done, and Russian Seasons too fits right in with this stuff.

I'm not saying I love it all, or like it better than the what we see here all the time or the usual Russian stuff that gets brought here. But except for the Lifar, which is where Russia meets the Paris style (with less or more continuity, a strange hybrid it is!), it's a company training and repertory we just don't see.

So: Vive la différence.

MP

And then there was that extraordinary Giselle last night.

#85 angelica

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 05:51 AM

And then there was that extraordinary Giselle last night.

Oh yes, Michael, talk about "extraordinary!" I've been attending performances of Giselle since before most of you were born (probably), and last night's Giselle was one of the most extraordinary I've ever seen. Working backwards, the ensemble work was breathtaking in its uniformity, speed, accuracy, and sheer beauty, a Greek chorus commenting as one on the protagonists. The peasant pas de deux was charmingly danced by Charline Giezendanner and Fabien Revillion, and those pirouettes from a kneeling position were spot on. It seemed as if there was more dancing in Act I than I've seen in previous performances, which was a plus. On the part of the principals, Act II was breathtaking. Aurelie Dupont went from being a rather sophisticated peasant in Act I to being sheer gossamer in Act II. Mathieu Ganio was a deeply contrite Albrecht and a fine partner. His entrechat six towards the end of Act I seemed to rise to heaven. Emilie Cozette was an impervious Myrtha. The one thing I missed was the speed of the bourrees that dancers at ABT seem to achieve. But I think this was a stylistic difference in that I'm sure she could have done them because POB can dance FAST. And oh, those Wilis!
What is most striking to me about this company is the clarity of execution. You can "read" every step and no one takes short cuts.
Two Giselles to go today. Will I remember each one in its singularity or will they combine in a single blur of magnificence? I'll take it either way.

#86 canbelto

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:10 AM

I thought by far the best dancer onstage last night was Ganio. Wow! Cozette I found to be a disappointment. Dupont was fine in Act One -- I wish she had better elevation for the many jumps in act two. The Wilis were magnificent. Will be back tonight to see Osta/LeRiche.

#87 abatt

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:32 AM

I have to agree w. canbelto about Friday evening's performance. The revelation was Ganio. He was terrific. I also enjoyed the peasant pas. Definitiely more dancing than in the ABT version. I liked Dupont's acting and she was beautifully lyrical, but I too wished she had more elevation. Hers was a very graceful performance, but it lacked intense drama. Is the glacial pace of the bourees of Myrta a POB method, or is Cozette just woefully slow? She blended into the scenery. I didn't like her Myrtha at all. The corps was excellent. The production looked very cramped on that stage.

Certain details I really enjoyed were two separate moments in Act I when Dupont feels the presence/onset of the Wilis approaching. (One such moment is when her mother is telling the story of the Willis, and she is on the opposite end of the stage and cups her hand to her ear. Then she rubs her arms, as though she feels a sudden chill.) I also liked how this production makes very clear why Albrecht's sword is such an important detail in revealing his true identity. That is mostly lost in the ABT version.

#88 mussel

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 07:30 AM

Is the glacial pace of the bourees of Myrta a POB method, or is Cozette just woefully slow?


That's POB's way of doing it, it's the same glacial pace in its Blu Ray recording with Gillot as Myrtha. I think the fast bourrees ABT does really grab your attention.

#89 Michael

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:02 AM

Dupont can jump, the low elevation was because she chooses to do it, because that's the way the production is choreographed. Low chassees off the stage in diagonal exit, not jetees. It's part of the deliberately self effaced, non athletic and restrained aesthetic that they dance it with. It's a conscious choice, along with Cozette's Myrtha. (Which I find oh so lovely, I wouldn't miss a step that woman dances this week). The bourrees are stylistic too, it's a totally different formation to the step, much smaller, rapid, traveling less, keeping the ankle more locked.

Where she got elevation was in the lifts. And what lifts, Ganio's partnering was very strong, did you see the way Dupont lay back in the first one? And during the second series, that's where her elevation was low, but when he took her over, she soared. It's a detail in the blocking.

What people are reacting to is a different training and approach. Good or not, these details are intentional. I found Dupont's effacement not just of her personality, but her humanity in Act 2 unprecedented and amazing. It was not just that she wasn't herself, but that, with the blue- grey makeup and staying completely frozen from the shoulders up, and never meeting Albrecht's eyes, she wasn't even human. And that's the dramatic point.

#90 canbelto

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Posted 14 July 2012 - 08:49 AM

Cozette's main disappointment was her wobbly arabesques. The slow bourrees didnt bother me as much. I also found her lacking in a certain authority.


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