I tell her she was marvellous when she played dead, and ask her why the acting means as much to her as the dancing. "We are there to tell stories, we're there to move people. Ballet by itself can also move people – Balanchine [the Russian choreographer George Balanchine] is beautiful and beauty moves people, but it's natural to humankind to want to be told stories, and if that's what we're doing we have to do it well." Will she be able to communicate with 10,000 people at the O2? "It's going to be exciting – something new that has never been tried before – and I really hope it works." She doesn't yet know whether she will have to perform differently for an audience that will be seeing her on huge screens as well as on a distant stage. "I'll have to watch how close they come in the close-ups," she says, explaining that she is eager to avoid silent-movie-style overacting.
Monday, June 13
Posted 13 June 2011 - 08:58 AM
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:00 AM
The dancers make the most of their material. The show mixes songs written for Broadway and Hollywood with two of Gershwin's best-known concert pieces. An American in Paris, which ends the first half, follows the Gene Kelly movie by staging it as an American's search for a girl through a whirl of stock Parisian images. The music's structure makes this a rambling, episodic ballet, but guest stars Guillaume Côté and Tamara Rojo are delightful.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:04 AM
However, sentiments and questions of those opposing the bill (with discussions spilling over from group meetings, e-mail inboxes and various social-networking websites) remain the same.
What sets BP apart from other major dance companies for it to deserve such entitlement? Why not just establish an institution that would ensure funding for all three companies—if not all the dance groups in the country?
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:05 AM
However, this pleasant divertissement is entirely overshadowed by Requiem: Baynes's graceful meditation on the spiritualism and shimmering beauty of Faure's famously tender funeral service.
An eerie prologue of chorus members treading through half-light transforms into soft dancers' profiles, suddenly illuminated and entrapped with upward gazing trepidation as opening chords rumble and screen walls fall into place. As Faure's tone swiftly turns from terror to the notion of perpetual light for the departed, a state of calm emerges, centred around the reassuring presence of an older, vicarious participant-observer, AB icon Marilyn Jones. Guiding the action through reminiscences, this figure discreetly slips away into the darkness before the work reaches the glowing tranquillity of In Paradisum.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:52 AM
For this show is jolly, welcoming, coasting along on tunes that everyone knows, and it is done with a fine sense of theatre, which has ever been Deane’s forte. In this revival, it is even more slick and brassy than at its first outing in 2008. The company’s dancing is polished, resourceful. All the troupe’s principals are brightly on hand, and former guests – Tamara Rojo, Guillaume Côté, Friedemann Vogel – are splendidly returned.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:54 AM
In the 2003 remake that landed him the top post at the Bolshoi – the original libretto survived but he had to reinvent the steps – Alexei Ratmansky has translated Shostakovich’s sardonic jubilation over the forward march of Soviet farmers into a parade of irrepressible eccentricity. When the Bolshoi brought the ballet here in 2005, it seemed full of funny notions. This time, the comedy hit in the gut. On opening night (the ballet plays until tonight in New York and resurfaces in Los Angeles come July), waves of laughter rolled through the house.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 11:56 AM
Petrushka didn't just pop out of Stravinsky's head fully formed. After The Firebird, plenty of ideas floated between Stravinsky and Ballet Russes impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Stravinsky told him of a strange dream, wherein he formed the idea for a piece about a pagan ritual with the working title The Great Sacrifice. That dream would come to life as the ferocious and groundbreaking Rite of Spring three years later.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:25 PM
In between, we see a richer, more complex ballet than is currently popular, one that is almost comparable to an epic film for its sweep, character development, story lines and visual stimuli. Hilarion, the gameskeeper who also loves Giselle, acts like a narrator, directly addressing the audience. Though the company's program has a two-page guide to explain the mime, it’s not so difficult to understand: Hilarion shows us he hates Albrecht by shaking his fist.
All the characters, even minor ones, have a newfound vibrancy here. Giselle and Albrecht are immediately affectionate. Giselle is headstrong and playful; her weak heart, though referred to, is much less a defining personality trait than we have become accustomed to.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:28 PM
Despite this, and despite the disposal of the Christian symbolism that Bournonville used as a metaphor for Hilda’s humanity and was crucial to the plot and the “nature vs. nurture” core of the ballet, the production is still “A Folk Tale” and could be adjusted to more accurately reflect Bournonville’s “ballet poem.” (Not saying they’d want to, of course). This would not be a small matter to Bournonville, though, who was very proud of his “ballet poems,” as he called the libretti, and who believed that one could not call oneself a choreographer if he couldn’t write his own. Changing his ballet poem is like changing the steps in another choreographer’s work.
Most of what we think are Bournonville’s steps are in this production, though several new dances have been added. The choreography is not specifically credited in the program and they’re not very interesting, but whoever choreographed them seems to have tried very hard to keep them in the Bournonville style. The interpolations change the pace of the ballet, though.....
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:30 PM
In Ratmansky’s hands it’s an energetic farce, with lots of laughs in the gender-bending costume changes. Cory Stearns was terrific as a cross-dressing Sylphide charming the dacha dweller, and Gemma Bond sparkled as the innocent schoolgirl. But it was Veronika Part and another Soviet native, Gennadi Savaliev as the foot-stomping, leering accordionist, who gave the piece its most authentic Russian earthiness.
Posted 13 June 2011 - 09:31 PM
Emotional expression and a complete lack of calculation are the hallmarks of Mearns' performances right now. A tall, powerful, extremely coordinated woman with a body hard as steel, her unconventionally high shoulders have become an advantage because of the way they seem to lengthen her arms. As the music swelled during the final processional and the entire company except for the principals went to their knees, she carried her long, curved and poetic lines through her body, from her legs up through her back and into the arms in majestic sweeping positions that never seemed to stop in moments of stillness, as if the poses had a life of their own and the elements of her physique were sentient and alive.
Posted 14 June 2011 - 08:57 AM
Entrechats vertical jumps in which the legs crisscross abound in ballet. But when I first saw the Danes in 1979, I felt as if Id never seen entrechats before. That feeling returned on Friday night while watching the young Danish principal Alban Lendorf lead the main Act I dance ensemble. He, and some of his colleagues, bring such definition to the crisscrossing that the step acquires new depth and friction.
Entrechats are traditionally a step of polish, but this production makes us see anew how Bournonville used them to characterize the exuberance of the Neapolitan working class. The Napoli fishermen have always worn shorts, but those worn by Mr. Lendorf and his colleagues are now of blue denim, and the vests they wear are convincingly working mens attire.
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