The corps de ballet on Tuesday was exquisitely timed and unified, matching the music’s pace even as conductor Graham Bond struggled to keep the Opera House Orchestra on track, with a few problems of ensemble most prominent in the second act. The dancers moved gracefully and with athletic coordination as peasants in Act I, with movements that recalled folk dancing, and especially in the dance of the blue-veiled elf maidens at the end of Act I. What this new staging does with the world of the trolls is right out of Rocky Horror Picture Show or Freaks, with the second act, set in the world of the fairies to music by J. P. E. Hartmann, featuring a hilarious gallery of monsters and misfits in graphic costumes, led by the Muri of Mogens Boesen, in the same dominatrix outfit but with hairy arms and legs. In Act I the trolls’ hill opens up its lacewing-like gates by hydraulic power (sets and costumes by Mia Stensgaard), and more than once fairies are flown in on wires. It may be over the top, but it is strikingly done.
Thursday, June 9
Posted 09 June 2011 - 01:11 PM
Posted 09 June 2011 - 01:14 PM
NYCB dancer and choreographer Justin Peck's work, "The Enormous Room," set to premiere Friday at SaratogaArtsFest, is a paean to the spaciousness of the company's country home at SPAC in contrast to the claustrophobia of city life. Set to the music of Felix Mendelssohn, the work is performed by NYCB dancers Teresa Reichlen, Sean Suozzi and Ask LaCour.
Posted 09 June 2011 - 02:34 PM
Where to look? This "Folk Tale" keeps the eyes busy whether you've seen the story before or not. Sets, costumes and video for the current production (which premiered in Copenhagen this past March) appear to be costly, but nothing rhymes. Instead there's a clash of styles and fashions. Much of the drama and some of the dancing seem directed by whim. Could it be that the stager - company director Nikolaj Huebbe - had a troll's prank in mind? Unlikely, because at times the action coheres - due to the music with its pulse, lilt and depictive logic. In the cast were some very fine dancers, yet the leads didn't seem at ease in the Danes' singular Bournonville style and not every mime outwitted Huebbe's part pedestrian, part exaggerated notions of emphasis and pacing.
Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:19 PM
The New York Times
But watching the Ballet Nacional is like accessing a time machine and being speedily transported to different past eras. The company’s style is part mannered classicism (low legs, delicately bent arms, dropped wrists, stylized poses), part Soviet bravura (mad pirouetting, spectacular jumps), part Ballets Russes de Havana (sketchy sets and costumes, shameless milking of applause, big personalities).
The Faster Times
This is not to say that the company does not have a strong sense of style. The use of the back is particularly powerful, as are the coordination of the shoulders and head. The corps moves as one, with all eyes looking in the same direction, all arms extended to the same degree. The ballerinas are strong and beautiful. They all seem to be able to pull off multiple pirouettes with complete effortlessness, another Alonso specialty. (You can see her here in the Black Swan sequence from “Swan Lake.”) The men execute perfectly calibrated double tours, always finishing in a clean, neat fifth position. They too specialize in incredible pirouettes with slow endings in which they can shape their bodies in any way they like while still revolving. There is nary a wobble to be seen.
Posted 09 June 2011 - 03:21 PM
Dancers Victoria Simo and Carl Coomer put some Latin flair into the classical ballet, which makes it different from what audiences may be used to.
"It's a lot wilder and freer. You're throwing your arms around. You're not in classical, classical positions," said Coomer, who dances the role of Gypsy King. "I hope they [audience members] clap, I hope they laugh, I hope they do lots of things."
Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:24 AM
"All of my dancers are Cuban," she said of the 70 company members who will be coming to Orange County. "They are all schooled in Cuba and reflect the Cuban style of dance. That's what you will see."
And what is the "Cuban style" exactly?
Alonso laughed. "It is a lot of things. A technique of performing the steps that is very sharp and brilliant; their (relationship) to the music; the way they move their heads and arms; the interposition of the hands. You can see this quality also in Cuban folk dance."
Posted 11 June 2011 - 08:48 PM
The great glory of the RDB is the footwork. Danish dancers, men and women, have feet that are more articulate than most people's hands. Traditionally, they've worn white tights and special shoes, black-rimmed with a white diamond down the instep, which makes the pointing of the foot flash like a bolt of lightning. The optical illusion created when the knee straightens and the foot points completely makes the line of the leg look much longer than it is in fact, which is why a ballerina standing on pointe looks radiant, like a star. ...
Posted 12 June 2011 - 09:09 PM
Beyond his own love of the music, he has another creative connection with it. When he was with the Stuttgart Ballet in the 1980s, he danced in Kenneth MacMillan's Requiem. It was created in 1976 to Faure's music as a tribute to Stuttgart's legendary choreographer John Cranko, who died in 1973. "We only did a few shows and I never saw it from the front," Baynes says. "I really don't remember it all that well'."
His own Requiem takes a more allegorical approach to the notion of an elegy, he says. It's about the passage of a life, the figure of an old woman — portrayed for this season by Marilyn Jones, a founding member of the company — who was also its artistic director between 1979 and 1981.
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