Now in her 25th season with ABT, Julie Kent remains a technical and dramatic powerhouse of a dancer, performing the role of the doomed courtesan Marguerite Gautier with a deep, almost grave, sense of humanity.
It is apparent that Roberto Bolle, in the role of Marguerite’s lover Armand Duval, has made a point to study the finer dramatic qualities of a great male danseur. One moment he echoes Nureyev’s nuanced, dramatic carriage and tenderness, the next there is a glimpse of Anthony Dowell’s inward, tragic elegance.
Monday, June 6
Posted 06 June 2011 - 11:23 AM
Posted 06 June 2011 - 11:26 AM
Ballet does not forgive and forget easily. But Mr. Hübbe's comments point to a broader complaint: If you thought you were watching brilliant choreography and a realistic backstage portrayal, well, you weren't. It was the popcorn version. Despite the movie raising awareness for ballet, it essentially boiled a grand tradition down to sex and starvation.
For those who love an art form that is often treated like a dead language, this causes a descent into near madness (see "Giselle") because there is so much more to ballet. What is that "more"? With five of the world's most historically significant ballet companies in New York this season, this is the summer to find out.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 11:27 AM
Körbes' performance — and that of the entire fine opening-night cast — seemed touched by magic, which would be just the right way to bring something ancient back to life. "Giselle" premiered in Paris in 1841, with choreography by Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot and a score by Adolphe Adam (given a slightly bumpy reading by PNB's orchestra on opening night, with a few tempo problems). While it's had numerous restagings and revivals since then, the ballet has never been in PNB's repertory.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 11:29 AM
If the sight of 12 bare-chested, kilted men rolling in primeval muck doesn't accord with anyone's conventional image of the cozy Royal Danish Ballet, Nikolaj Hübbe should be delighted. The artistic director of the company has pledged to bring an urgent modernity to the 263-year-old institution, and Friday's enthralling five-part program of contemporary Nordic choreography at Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall demonstrated how far he has come in only three years.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:04 PM
If you’ve been avoiding PNB this year because of the story ballets, then this is a good time to return, as the program includes excerpts from works like the fast, sexy Red Angels; the jazzy Rubies; Lambarena, that Seattle favorite that mixes Bach and African music, ballet and African dance; Petite Mort, which takes its translation into the English word orgasm almost literally, albeit elegantly; and the architectural Agon.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:08 PM
More often, however, my response to this staging — which I watched with three different casts on Friday and Saturday — was one of recognition. The earliest “Giselle” ballets of my experience were more like this than any we now see, and the greatest shock is to realize how deleterious the last 30 years have been to the work across the world. Perhaps the best feature of this Pacific Northwest version, under the conductor Emil de Cou, is its tempos. Generations of dancers, notably Russians, have slowed the ballet down and changed its steps to make them simpler but showier.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:13 PM
Over the years the Workshop Performances have provided boundless opportunities to witness the New York debuts of anonymous young talents who are well-known to NYCB audiences today. For example, the 1985 Workshop introduced 18-year-old Kentucky native Wendy Whelan in Concerto Barocco. In 1994 Western Symphony’s fourth movement was performed by the then only 17 Maria Kowroski. In 2003, 18-year-old Sara Mearns and 17-year-old Tyler Angle waltzed through Chopiniana and performed leading roles in The Sleeping Beauty. And in 2004, a 15-year-old named Tiler Peck revealed her many gifts in Serenade.
Posted 06 June 2011 - 03:14 PM
Utah's premier ballet company will be performing each night of the 35th annual festival, organizers announced today. To secure Ballet West's appearance, it took three years of negotiations with Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute - and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 03:13 PM
But Körbes was less successful in conveying the development of Giselle’s character. Despite her changing circumstances and physical transformation from living human to ghost spirit, Körbes’ Giselle remained the same fragile being throughout. She executed her steps perfectly and with great feeling but the quality of that feeling never changed, undermining the dramatic impact of her tribulations.
Karel Cruz as Albrecht had another, more serious problem, namely that he failed to emote at all. The movie-star handsome Cruz makes an imposing figure onstage and dashed off his jumps and leaps with precision and verve. But one never sensed a real person behind his turns and leaps or any emotional connection to the woman whom he seduces then mourns after he has driven her to death. When Cruz’s Albrecht fell on Giselle’s dead body at the end of Act I it seemed more an act to satisfy the stage direction than a heartfelt expression of contrition and grief.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 05:47 PM
A tropical blaze of colors, a ballerina's incredible strength and genial dancing in general made the Cubans' "Don Quixote" an entertaining experience. The production preserves many highlights of the traditional Petipa/Gorsky ballet, even though some are disguised. Of recent vintage is the Hispanic character choreography. It has fizz, but the new classical passages seem flat. This tale of mad chivalry coming to the aid of young love might easily have been told with sharper wit and characterizations that resonate, yet wasn't. Instead, the cast communicated its devotion to the main task - dancing - warmly.
Posted 07 June 2011 - 06:14 PM
Montana dancer performs with Bolshoi
Thirteen-year-old Julian MacKay is one of four dancing wunderkinds from a single Bozeman family.
Eldest sister Maria once watched a live ballet performance and commented, "I should try it," recalled youngest brother Nicholas MacKay. All four siblings leapt into classical dancing, and have achieved international success.
Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:00 PM
Then, in 2003, the Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky put it back together for the Bolshoi Ballet. (Ratmansky has since become A.B.T.’s resident choreographer, and he brought the piece with him.) He used the 1935 libretto and music. The original steps were not extant, so he created new ones. His dances, as always, are thick with pattern and action, but still readable—and also fresh, sharp, surprising.
Posted 18 June 2011 - 10:00 PM
In the first act alone, there are 14 dizzying episodes. As a result, there are a couple of moments when Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography gets lost amidst the action-packed frenzy. But in Act II, we get to really experience his wit and originality. It is here that the Queen of Hearts takes off her monstrous red dress and performs a hysterical version of the famous Rose Adagio (from The Sleeping Beauty), with four nervous, unwilling suitors.
The company’s reigning ballerina, Greta Hodgkinson gets to behave like a royal diva here and she goes all out, delivering a wickedly funny, unforgettable performance. (She also looks like she’s having a blast pirouetting with a pickaxe!)
Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:51 PM
You’re getting a lot of attention. What keeps you in Denmark? Will you remain there?
I don’t know yet. Now it’s very cool because we have the strong stories like La Sylphide and Napoli and the classical repertoire—Swan Lake and Giselle and all that—and also all the Balanchine. Our vocabulary is really big, and I really like that. I’ve been guesting at a few places and right after the tour, I’m going to London to do Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet with Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova. I don’t know if I’m going to stay or not. Right now I am. I need to get some more experience.
Does Copenhagen feel small to you?
Yeah. It does, especially when you come home from somewhere else like New York or another big city and you think, Wow, this is great, but where are all the people? And you do a performance and you’re like, Where can I get something to eat? There’s nowhere. So I have been in New York. I was there for four weeks training two years ago, and it’s not a lot, but after four weeks, you sort of get used to the way. You sort of get the image of living there.
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