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WB's new Le Corsaire, April 6-10, 2011


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#1 Natalia

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 09:11 AM

Just two days to go before the preview & three days before the official premiere of the Washington Ballet's Le Corsaire at the Kennedy Center! Have the principal casts been announced? I am wondering if this version, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes, will be similar to her version for ABT (which itself was somewhat based on the Konstantin Sergeev version for the Kirov in the 1970s)? I love the acrobatic 'bedroom pdd' for Medora and Conrad in those versions.

#2 Natalia

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:05 AM

I still can't find casting info anywhere, although this YouTube clip posted by the WB shows (I think) Maki Onuki as one of the Medoras and Andile Ndlovu as Ali:



I also found this wonderful set of rehearsal photos by Shauna Alexander:

http://www.brightest...-the-scenes.htm

Tonight's the first performance (officially just a 'preview' but still...). The official opening is tomorrow.

#3 Natalia

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:30 AM

One word describes the Washington Ballet's Le Corsaire, as performed last night at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater:

WOW!!!

I don't quite know where to begin, my emotions are sky-high after last night's miracle -- truly THE most satisfying Corsaire that I've witnessed, other than the 2006/07 Yuri Burlaka reconstruction of the ca-1900 Petipa, for the Bolshoi. However, of all mid-to-late 20th-C versions around, nothing beats this beautifully-rolling, understandable version by Anna-Marie Holmes-after-Konstantin Sergeev, performed with so much character and LIFE from the Washington Ballet and its affiliates (Studio Company and School).

Now for some individual WOWs:

WOW #1 - Brooklyn Mack as Ali...let's make that a Tripe WOW for him. What a powerful-yet-elegant dancer. Charisma to the last row of the auditorium. Not only did I get my desired 'rivoltade' leap at the end of his famous solo...he performed leaps I've never seen before, so cannot name! Even his entrance-leap at the start of Act I brought gasps of delight from the audience. This is a millon-dollar performance. Washington is darn lucky to have this miraculous artist, who I remember from his days training at the local Kirov Academy and from having seen him win a silver medal at the Shanghai Competition 10 yrs ago; he would be principal in any of the top companies on this earth.

WOW #2 - Kara Cooper as Gulnare - Among so many excellent soloist ladies, Cooper takes the cake with her beautiful technique, classic Vaganova epaulement, and spot-on musicality in her entire performance, most notably her Pas d'Esclave and Jardin Anime solos. A former WB Studio Company member, she is here as a 'guest artist'...and I'd love to know where she performs regularly because she is a real gem.

WOW #3 - Maki Onuki's Medora - petite vibrancy, full of charisma. Even if her pirouettes eluded her at the start, she recaptured them in time for the coda of the Pas de Deux-a-Trois (32 fouettes laced with doubles, the last 8 performed with hands above the head) and was terrific in her Jardin Anime solo, including a smooth 3ple pirouette. AND almost worthy of its own 'WOW": she danced the rarely-seen 'Petite Corsaire' variation in the cave scene! Brava!!! ('Petite Corsaire' was excised from the ABT version but was danced in Ms Holmes' earlier staging for Boston Ballet. It is now rarely seen in Russia but Burlaka restored it in the latest Bolshoi version.)

WOW #4 - Jonathan Jordan, who gave his all as Conrad, especially effective in his partnering and comedic acting.

WOW #5 - This 'wow' is for the dancing AND yummy looks of Brazilian newcomer Nayon Iovino, as the 'mean pirate' Birbanto. I'll be mean for him any time. (ha-ha)

WOW #6 - Odalisque #3, tall and gorgeous Amber Lewis, another promising newcomer finely delivered the ultra-difficult 3rd Odalique Solo(two almost-there 3ple pirouettes among many 2bles in the famous diagonal). She stood out among a terrific trio that also included Morgan Rose (solo 1) and Rui Huang (solo 2).

WOW #7 - and one of the biggest applause getters: Luis R. Torres as a very lively and hilarious Seid Pasha! Torres is so great, he could easily slip into this role at the Bolshoi, Mariinsky or anywhere else. He is close to becoming the new Vladimir Ponomaryov (THE #1 character artist of the Mariinsky).

WOW #8 - Sona Kharatian's Head Pirate Girl, leading the Act I Pirate Galop and Act II Forbane, with Mr. Iovino. This lady can dance and project! A true character-national dancer in the tradition of Yuliana Malkhasyants (Bolshoi) and Galina Rakhmanova (Mariinsky)!

WOW #9 - Jared Nelson, as a very funny and super-dancing slave trader, Lankedem. His solo with the deep plies in Act I's Pas d'Esclave garnered huge applause.

WOW #10 - The Spectacular and Colorful Sets and Costumes...especially welcome after a round of 'Balanchine Black and White' in a neighboring auditorium. The program states that these costumes by Galina Solovieva and sets by the great Simon Pastukh come from St. Petersburg...and I believe it. Truly splendid, even on the mid-sized Ike Theater. The Act II cave with jewel-encrusted stalagtites was especially effective. The little rocking boat at the beginning and end of the ballet was so cute and brought big appluse.

WOW #11 - The corps! At all levels this was very engaged and engaging corps de ballet. Ms. Holmes and the other coaches did an extraordinary job to turn them into Kirov-worthy performers...including the children in the Jardin Anime.

The Washington Ballet is now 100% transformed - from my first sighting of them in the mid-1980s when it was a smallish troupe of very fine dancers relegated to (mostly) wacko Euro-Trash moderns and a Nutcracker....into a lovely large ensemble performing full-length Petipa Era classics every year (besides Nutcracker). FINALLY - WELL DESERVED, WASHINGTON BALLET!!! KUDOS TO ALL! MIRACLES DO COME TRUE!

[i]p.s. The music was canned. Big deal. It had virtually no impact on the magnificence of what the audience saw and, in fact, if was a very beautiful taped rendition. The company is wise in saving its money; I would rather the $$$ go to beautiful sets/costumes and to pay more dancers, in order to stage large works. Just IMO.

#4 Natalia

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Posted 10 April 2011 - 07:41 AM

p.s. As a testament to the greatness of this production & the Washington-area audience's desire to see traditional ballets with beautiful sets & costumes, today's 1pm show has SOLD OUT and the final (5:30pm) show this evening has sold out in 3 sections, with a few seats remaining in the balcony. The Russian National Ballet's Swan Lake @ Geo. Mason Univ (4pm today) has also sold out.

#5 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 07:48 AM

http://www.youtube.c...u/1/mUzmQH_OoKY

#6 Natalia

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:07 AM

http://www.youtube.com/user/MFPLLC1#p/u/1/mUzmQH_OoKY



You SO made my lunch break - my DAY, Mme. H! ALL of my faves are in this little film, including the Sultan of the Gold Lame Pants! Thanks a thousand times. :thumbsup:

#7 Jayne

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 05:21 PM

The video looks like fun. It's nice to see a Russian speaker have a good impression of American ballet, most expats I've met in the US have a distinctly negative view of American companies. I think most grew up in the 1970s and 1980's on the Bolshoi and Kirov-Mariinsky, such a high standard, and so distinctly different than the baby-Balanchine companies around the US (MCB, PNB, SFB, Boston, etc).

#8 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 01:35 AM


http://www.youtube.com/user/MFPLLC1#p/u/1/mUzmQH_OoKY



You SO made my lunch break - my DAY, Mme. H! ALL of my faves are in this little film, including the Sultan of the Gold Lame Pants! Thanks a thousand times. :thumbsup:


:tiphat:

#9 dcportrait

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 04:34 AM

I still can't find casting info anywhere, although this YouTube clip posted by the WB shows (I think) Maki Onuki as one of the Medoras and Andile Ndlovu as Ali:



I also found this wonderful set of rehearsal photos by Shauna Alexander:

http://www.brightest...-the-scenes.htm

Tonight's the first performance (officially just a 'preview' but still...). The official opening is tomorrow.


Thanks so much for the rehearsal photos - I hadn't seen them! As I had to miss this production, it was great to see some of the trainees & students featured in the shots -
So wish I could have gone! Looked like a marvelous production -


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