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Friday, June 10


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#1 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

A feature on Alicia Alonso by Jonathan Mandell for Patch.com.

Now 90 years old, she sat for 90 minutes answering questions at BAM on Monday, and as she told stories of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins and Agnes de Mille, all of whom choreographed dances with her in mind, she was back to dancing with her hands to illustrate her tales. The most demanding dance she ever danced? George Balanchine’s “Theme and Variations,” with its insanely rapid entrechat six -- a grand leap in the air, crossing her legs six times. She illustrates by bending her bejeweled and manicured hands as if they were en pointe and rapidly shuffling them.

One of the other ballets excerpted in the program for BAM is Coppelia. It is no coincidence that Coppelia is also the name of an ice cream park in Havana. Cubans are said to love ballet as much as baseball, and if there is one person responsible for this, it is Alicia Alonso......



#2 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:26 AM

English National Ballet plans a catwalk show featuring designer tutus.

"In France or Spain, going to the ballet is not seen as so elitist. It's more like going to the football. It's part of the culture. That's what I want for ballet here," says Hassall, who ran the cultural programme for the Sydney Olympics and has recently signed on as associate director of cultural celebrations for next year's London games. "The point is to make young people realise that ballet is fun and glamorous – that it might be for them, after all."

Lauretta Summerscales, a 20-year-old rising star of the corps de ballet, will model a tutu by Agent Provocateur at the fundraising event on 29 June. She describes the costume as "very sexy. It kind of lures you in. I feel great in it, very in control."



#3 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:28 AM

Carlos Acosta discusses a planned arena staging of "Romeo and Juliet."

In spite of "all the things that work against us in that particular venue, they will be able to appreciate what ballet is - colourful, special... and want to follow it more. That is what it is all about," he added.

It is hoped staging the production at the O2 will attract people who may not have thought about a night at the ballet before.
For its 2009/10 ballet season, just 22% of audiences at the Royal Opera House were under 36 years of age, while just over half lived within 10 miles of the central London venue.



#4 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:29 AM

Q&A with Acosta.

Do you have any time for reading?

Yes, I have just finished the "Prince of Mist" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, the author of "Shadow of the Wind." It was his first novel and is somewhere in between a children's and adults' book. I am re-reading John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" (I also liked the movie starring John Malkovich). The next book I want to finish reading is "2666" by Roberto Bolaño. I love his work, but it is as long as the Bible, so I don't know when I will find the time. I still have my own novel to finish, which I have been working on for three years, but with my work at the Royal Ballet and my own productions, it doesn't leave a lot of room for reading.



#5 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:32 AM

Reviews of Houston Ballet's "The Taming of the Shrew."

Houston Press

The scenery is sumptuous, the costumes lavish, and every man absolutely foppish. It's a highly entertaining show with lots of Mazurka-style dancing and challenging, interesting choreography. It's also more than a bit over the top. You're going to have to suspend your feminist disbelief for this one. Katherina is a lot of fun and pure evil at the beginning, kicking men and stomping on their toes. Then, she inexplicably falls madly in love with Petruchio, a total bastard. There's no Heath Ledger-esque buying of a guitar to make up for the fact he was bribed to take her to prom/marry her. Katherina just embraces domesticity and obedience, and they live happily ever after.


CultureMap Houston

The test of any Taming is whether it honors Shakespeare’s complex mix of nightmare and dream. Cranko hits it out of the park with exhilarating movement that infuses balletic lyricism with the unruly and sometimes violent energies of the body. What begins and ends in elegant order passes through chaos as dancers twist, flip, jump, and kick with swinging hips and waggling butts. There’s wildness at the heart of structure, violence in the midst of beauty, which Cranko intuits from Shakespeare and Houston Ballet perfects in a stellar performance.



#6 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:43 AM

Reviews of the English National Ballet in 'Strictly Gershwin.'

The Telegraph

There is, too, the guest presence of Tamara Rojo: a considerable bonus. Deploying her refined and creamy sensuality, she dances the girl in a staging of the American in Paris ballet that is lifted directly from the Hollywood film (and all the better for it), although even the divine Rojo is defeated by the banal spins and ports de bras of the blue-tutued extravaganza choreographed to Rhapsody in Blue. It is frustrating, because this show could be truly fabulous. Two things, perhaps, would help? A fresh directorial overview; and a lorry-load of jazz shoes for the ballerinas.


Daily Express

But the orchestration of the classic Gershwin songs and melodies is spongy and lacks the icy edge that the music demands. The ludicrous antics of conductor Gareth Valentine help not a jot.

Thank goodness, then, for the increasingly watchable Vadim Muntagirov, sexy in a see-through black shirt, who commands the stage with ease whether bounding through a series of classical moves or shimmying his hips with authentic Latin American swing.


The Guardian

That sets the bar much higher, and if the show is going to stand the test of time, it must surely go deeper into its material. Derek Deane is an astute director of stage effects and clever at pastiche – witness his lush, Romeo and Juliet-ish duet to the Man I Love, or his sequins- and-tutu setting of Rhapsody in Blue. But the choreography lacks sustained invention, especially for the corps de ballet, and you rarely feel the heartbeat of a genuine love affair with Gershwin's music.


Photo gallery.

#7 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:49 AM

An exhibition celebrating Frederick Ashton opens in Ipswich.

The exhibition has been largely drawn from the Royal Opera House archives and feature not only photographs of the great man and his productions but also costume and set drawings from leading artists like John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Osbert Lancaster. There are also a wide array of costumes, including those from his ballet Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a film which shows Ashton at work and how his dancers remember him.

The centre piece has to be the recreation of Dame Margot Fonteyn’s dressing room at Covent Garden from the early 1950s. Drawn from the Royal Opera House and Dame Margot’s own family archives, the tableaux gives the visitor a ‘step back in time’ moment. Her make-up is strewn across the dressing room table, as are discarded ballet shoes, her translucent costume for Ondine is on a mannequin in the corner while on the walls are posters advertising the shows in the theatre for that month.



#8 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:51 AM

A preview of the annual performance "Fort Wayne Ballet, Too."

If the weather cooperates, it will happen on the loading dock of Arts United Center, on stage (with viewers standing in the wings instead of sitting in the seats) and in the “circle of lights” in the Arts United Center plaza.

A dancer from North Carolina named Sam Shapiro also will be performing a solo from Edward Stierle’s “Lacrymosa,” a study of the journey toward death that very much paralleled Stierle’s decline from AIDS, Gibbons-Brown says.



#9 dirac

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 11:52 AM

A BBC News report on the Royal's first arena show. Video.

The O2 in London is usually packed to the rafters with music fans, but they'll be dancing to a different tune this weekend.

For the first time leading ballet stars from Covent Garden will be heading to the dome.



#10 Helene

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Posted 10 June 2011 - 08:11 PM

Mary Cargill reviews American Ballet Theatre in "The Bright Stream" for danceviewtimes.

But no time in history has been free of horrors and essentially all comedies are performed on someone's grave, though few graves are as full as those of the Soviet Union in the 1930's. "The Bright Stream", though, isn't really a comedy about a collective farm, it is a universal story of human vanity, of men who stray and of women who forgive them, that happens to be set in a collective farm. It is "The Marriage of Figaro" on point, as the heroine Zina (Paloma Herrera) tricks her wandering husband Pyotr (Marcelo Gomes) into making love to her as she is disguised as the Ballerina (Gillian Murphy). There are various subplots, all along the pricking of illusions theme, and all involve disguises--a very traditional idea, and a wonderful metaphor for willful blindness and Ratmansky's ballet is vibrant, funny, and triumphant.



#11 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 03:23 PM

A review of the Royal Danish Ballet by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

Mr. Hübbe’s central achievement is important: he rids the ballet of the fey, mock-Tolkien quaintness that marred the previous Danish production and makes it heart-catching again. Though Bournonville regarded this as his most perfect ballet, Mr. Hübbe has had the courage to change the most problematic aspect of it for many modern viewers: its reliance on holy water in Act III as the agent that restores the hero, Junker Ove, to life and sanity. In Mr. Hübbe’s production Hilda’s human charity and dance grace do the trick that holy water used to. This succeeds, beautifully.

Mr. Hübbe keeps reintroducing Birthe in the third act, which slightly damages the ballet’s musical structure, but not its spirit. He hasn’t been able to make the finale of the trolls’ party the astonishing climax of joyously comic characterization that it was in the 1979 production. Boldly, he uses video at a few incidental points.



#12 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 03:24 PM

A review of Houston Ballet's "The Taming of the Shrew" by Molly Glentzer in The Houston Chronicle.

Melody Mennite's Katherina, even at her punchiest, has a lovable spirit. And she's a fearless comedian. I'm still laughing about Act 2, Scene 1 - when she slides on and off Petruchio's horse (who knew there were that many ways to fall?). Connor Walsh's Petruchio likewise has a charming aura. His tour-de-force solos - to-the-rafters leaps, wild with optimism - reminded me of his days as a slightly untamed student, only more refined.

Some viewers may find likability a handicap in these roles; the ballet might seem meatier if Katherina and Petruchio had more of an edge. But sparks flew between Mennite and Walsh, and their final pas de deux provided the night's soul. With repeat performances, the tricky lifts could also be smoother.



#13 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 03:30 PM

A BBC video interview with Arlene Phillips.

Choreographer Arlene Phillips said she hopes that ballet will reach out to more people as the Royal Ballet performs Romeo and Juliet at The O2.



#14 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 08:38 PM

A preview of Lustig Dance Theatre's 'Pulcinella' by Robert Johnson in The Star-Ledger of Newark.

In the 20th century, the legendary impresario Serge Diaghilev picked up the thread and commissioned the ballet "Pulcinella," which Lustig Dance Theatre revives Saturday, concluding a mixed bill of dances presented by the Princeton Festival. The original ballet had choreography by Léonide Massine, music by Igor Stravinsky and dazzling decors by Pablo Picasso.

Stravinsky’s score remains a major draw. Lustig says that he and Princeton Festival director Richard Tang Yuk both love its sunny melodies. Since the festival is also presenting Stravinsky’s opera "The Rake’s Progress" this summer, "Pulcinella" made a perfect fit.



#15 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 08:46 PM

An interview with Nikolaj Hubbe by Gia Kourlas in The New York Times (thanks to kfw for the link)! Eva Kistrup is quoted in the text.

Yet he isn’t simply focusing on Bournonville. In terms of future repertory, he will bring Balanchine’s “Nutcracker” to Denmark with new sets and costumes by the British designer Anthony Ward. Christopher Wheeldon has already created a full-length “Sleeping Beauty” for the company. And Mr. Hübbe was close to striking a deal with Pina Bausch, when she died. “She was going to do one new and one old work maybe,” he said. “I’m still talking to them.”

He considers his choices somewhat conservative; when he arrived, Mr. Hübbe said, classical technique wasn’t as emphasized as he would have liked. “But I wouldn’t want to blame the dancers,” he said. “If you challenge people and give them a set of ‘I want it like this’ and ‘I want it like that’ and ‘I will help you to find it,’ you immediately establish a rapport.”




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