If the first weekend could be said to have a show that garnered the majority of buzz, I would place it on Corella Ballet, which played at Charleston's enormous Gaillard Auditorium. Spanish dancer Angel Corella left American Ballet Theater to found the Corella Ballet in his native Spain in 2008 with his sister Carmen. Their show opened with a piece for the entire company choreographed to a Bruch violin concerto which introduced the group's signature style: Firmly grounded in the formalism of classical ballet, their movement was coupled with a beautiful earthy, sensual, fleshy heft and athleticism. The show had more than its share of star power as Corella and his sister Carmen took the stage for "Soleá" at the center of the program, a total star turn. The athletically choreographed balletic take on traditional Spanish dance forms choreographed by Flamenco dancer Maria Pagés brought the house down.
Tuesday, May 31
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:29 PM
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:33 PM
On the opening night of the season, Ethan Stiefel proposed to his longtime girlfriend Gillian Murphy on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, moments after she and her partner David Hallberg had taken their curtain calls for the “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.” A few days later, the about-to-retire Cuban star Jose Manuel Carreño and corps de ballet dancer Melanie Hamrick announced their engagement.
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:34 PM
There are many ways to be wonderful as Giselle. Diana Vishneva, for instance, is exemplary—technically formidable, highly dramatic, impeccably polished. When you watch her, you're watching a major dancer, a ballerina, a star performing Giselle. When you watch Cojocaru, you're watching Giselle herself, who happens also to be a great dancer. There she is, and you love her. This is what happens to her, and your heart goes out to her. You see how her absolute love for Albrecht purifies and redeems, a love that never wavers, starting with the innocent way her radiant face and her body tilt towards him in the first scene; the way her eyes never leave him. His betrayal, her madness and death, cannot affect that love. And her return to the grave is so moving not because she's gone forever but because she'll never be with him again.
Marina Harss' review for The Faster Times.
Vishneva’s mad scene was a rococo masterpiece, with frenzied eyes and an expression of abandon that reminded me of George Bataille’s description of the ecstasy of torment in “Tears of Eros,” or the eyes of Joan of Arc on the pyre in Rivette’s “Jeanne la Pucelle.” For most of the scene, her face was turned insistently toward the light, which brought out a pallid glow in her cheeks and eyes. Her body seemed to lose its coherence, like a cubist portrait; the angle of her head, shoulders, and arms seemed painfully out of whack. When she returned as a ghost in the second act, she had become a figure from a lithograph, the picture of nineteenth-century sadness and otherworldliness...
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:35 PM
Another striking performance came from Leanne Benjamin as the lead in Voluntaries, whose dancing was sharper and more focused than many of her much younger colleagues. Voluntaries is, as previously stated, a huge work. For those who prefer something on a smaller scale, Ashton’s Scenes de Ballet provides the answer. Made in 1948, it expertly contrasts refined manners with an undertow of unease. This is reinforced by the cocktail-inspired costumes and the eerie sets. Lauren Cuthbertson and Sergei Polunin were the lead pair, with the former looking a little unprepared - not unusual when the first performance is a matinee.
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:39 PM
August 9 marks the fourth installment of the public-minded performance that was created by Festival Artistic Director Damian Woetzel in an effort to make dance more accessible, both from a price and programming perspective. The evening is specifically designed to cultivate new dance audiences by providing a wide variety of dancers and dance styles in one evening's lineup.
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:46 PM
Carreño already had a rich history in dance before he joined ABT. Born into a dancing family in Cuba, it was only natural for him to follow in his uncles’ footsteps and attend the Provincial School of Ballet and the National Ballet School and finally become a member of the National Ballet of Cuba. “I used to watch ABT in videos,” he says. “I’ll never forget seeing Baryshnikov. All I wanted was to follow him into the company.” In the film “Born to be Wild,” Alicia Alonso, director of the National Ballet of Cuba, recalled him as a boy. “I remember him lying on the floor, watching class, his eyes fascinated,” she said. “He’d put his little hands under his chin and study everything. I think he was a dancer before he was born. He was a winner, I knew.”
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:53 PM
When Veronica Tennant comes to Hamilton June 6 and 13 to speak about her life in ballet, she will tell how it felt to be committed to such a demanding art form.
“There won’t be any private revelations.” she laughs. “I could never write one of those books that reveals that part of my live. What ought to matter is what I have done professionally,” she says.
Posted 31 May 2011 - 08:56 PM
Cojocaru's second act was completely focused on Hallberg, making the act a dramatic arc, and not just a trip through a book of Romantic lithographs. Hallberg's dancing was simply breathtaking, especially his series of entrechants, which seemed to last about fifteen minutes. The ending was slightly different than the one usually seen in this production and rather than bathing Albrecht in a cascade of lilies (a flower shop in the middle of the forest is so convenient), Giselle just dropped a flower as she disappeared, bourreéing into the night, which Albrecht picked up and cradled, his one last connection with her, as he walked slowly away. It was a magnificent and powerful ending.
Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:15 PM
It was a different performance than she’d given with the Mariinsky in February in Washington, D.C. For my taste, her first act was a decided improvement. The key to the improvement was new simplicity. Responses that had been overly arch and ornamented at the Kennedy Center had now been distilled. She performed less of the act directly facing the audience. She was no longer so prone to abasement when enchanted by the regal trappings of Bathilde, unbeknown to Giselle the true fiancée of her royal-disguised-as-rustic suitor Count Albrecht.
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