FauxPas

Coppelia

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Martinez is a dancer/choreographer who studied w/ Alicia Alonso and Igor Schwezoff.

he likely based his '68 COPPELIA which Oxford says he choreographed, that is, not just 'staged,' on a Cuban/Alonso version. (Croce wrote a while back that, and i'm not quoting verbatum, his production's broad and farcical presentation of the priest at the nutials pf Swanilda and Franz (esp. as performed by Dennis Nahat) were likely connected to Castro's Cuba's anti-religious bent.)

btw, Martinez had nothing to do w/ any SWAN LAKE i can think of; does the ref. above mean to name David Blair for his ABT staging?

i'm not sure if Martinez is still living.

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attached is a fading color photo of Baryshnikov as Franz in the Martinez COPPELIA which he danced opposite Gelsey Kirkland.

post-848-086642700 1308676042_thumb.jpg

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I'm pretty sure the Swan Lake I shot for Pennsylvania Ballet was by Enrique Martinez... must check when next I'm home... it had a lovely Maypole dance in it, which I'm not sure I remember in other productions, but you, rg, would surely know. Thanks for the info!

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you are correct, AR, i was not aware of Martinez's SWAN LAKE, which would seem (see below) to have been first staged for Milwaukee Ballet (and then subsequently for PA Ballet?) and which was most likely based on Blair's for ABT, in which Martinez often danced Wolfgang.

here's what the NYPL dance cat. says in its entry:

Swan lake - Chor: Enrique Martínez after Ivanov and M. Petipa, with additional choreography by David Blair; mus: Peter Tchaikovsky; scen & cos: José Varona. Firt perf: Milwaukee, 1984; Milwaukee Ballet.

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I saw Coppelia the evening of Monday the 21st, with Osipova and Simkin.

It was my first time seeing ABT's production which, like Colleen, I don't think compares favorably with City Ballet's version. I also found it to be slow-paced, as well as lacking in narrative cohesion. But Osipova and Simkin were truly wonderful, so I ended up very much enjoying what would otherwise have been a pretty lackluster ballet. Osipova was a spunky, utterly charming Coppelia and her pirouettes and jumps were a particular delight. This was my second time seeing her, and I enjoyed her more in this role than in the role of Aurora, which I saw her dance last summer. She seemed more confident and vivid on stage last night than in last summer's SB.

Simkin's acting was not as strong as Osipova's, but he was just breathtaking in his Act III solos. Once Osipova left the stage for him to begin his first solo it felt like he'd been let off a leash. I've never seen another male dancer who can do the jumps and leaps that he can. He is not yet the most confident or engaged partner, and his acting is still developing, but when he is dancing by himself he is just such an absolute joy to watch. He's one of the most exciting dancers I've ever seen, and I look forward to watching him for many, many years to come.

The corps and soloists were not giving their finest performances on Monday night, but Hee Seo was very lovely as Prayer. Beautiful, impressive balances and port de bras. Her performance made me sorry that I was out of the country for her Giselle debut earlier this season. I hope that the company continues to give her a chance at principal roles.

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Mr. Martinez, born in Havana, studied with Alonso during the very first years of Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and danced on and off with both the Cuban company and BT. He became a principal in Cuba in 1960, just when the Cuban Coppelia was just three years old, and staged this version-(uncredited)- for BT in 1968, 11 years after Alonso's and 6 before Balanchine and Danilova's for City Ballet. Kirkland was one of his Swanildas. Martinez died in 1998.

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Most likely Martinez' Swan Lake stayed in Pennsylvania Ballet's repertoire after the Milwaukee/Pennsylvania Ballet union broke apart... that makes sense... for some reason I thought it came to Penn from ABT, but don't know why... perhaps I'll run across it somewhere, perhaps I saw an old program... but more likely it was just a mental error on my part... and more likely I saw an old ABT program for Coppelia which I saw as a child and made some assumptions.

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I was there on Monday night too and my sentiments echo OneSwan's. I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and thought Osipova, Simkin and Seo acquitted themselves beautifully. Someone has said that Messner looked stiff and uncomfortable for Dawn and I agree, she was not at her best. The corps also looked untidy and disorganised at parts, but the principals held up the show that night.

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I saw two other "Coppelia" casts. I saw the first Osipova performance on the 17th and then Angel Corella and Paloma Herrera on the Saturday evening. Osipova dances bigger than Reyes with higher extensions, jumps and greater power. Everything she does is on a bigger scale exuding power though she herself is delicate and tiny. However, I felt that on that night Osipova was slightly off her best form - she was a little off toe and had a tendency to go off-center in pirouettes. Of course, Osipova's bad night would be any normal ballerina's great night. At the end of her Act II "Spanish" dance she actually tipped to the side when finishing her solo. Osipova caught herself by putting her hand to the floor as she knelt in her final pose. But it came off like a bit of deliberate comic business because of Osipova's great poise and command onstage. She has a way of seeming wild and yet owning all the space around her. Her Swanilda was something of the village queen bee, not shy or afraid to be a bitch when necessary. She added a lot of spice to a sugary production. Simkin is also a virtuoso but not quite the artist or commanding theatrical figure Osipova is right now.

Paloma Herrera also had a lot of authority and danced well on Saturday night. She also ended the Act III pas de deux coda with stunning fouettés with multiples that brought down the house. Paloma had one or two minor flubs in her solo but they can be passed over. Corella exuded charm which this ballet really needs - he had fun playing the feckless but adorable village lothario. He only had a chance to cut loose dance-wise in Act III where he also attempted those barrel turns accented with upward leaps with one leg to the knee that Ivan Vasiliev performed on Thursday. He is a little diminished from his late 1990's/early 2000's peak but still very, very accomplished. I was told that Angel's Albrecht in "Giselle" earlier this season showed a return to form. This confirmed it. Hee Seo was lovely with creamy phrasing in her prayer solo but got a little shaky in sustained arabesques - still some weakness in the back? Simone Messmer was lovely in the Dawn solo.

BTW: The Enrique Martinez "Coppelia" production was danced by ABT until the early nineties. I saw it with Susan Jaffe and Fernando Bujones and later with a delightfully spikily mischievous Cynthia Gregory and Jeremy Collins (remember him?). It had rather jerky classical choreography. Swanilda's choreography was full of unsupported pirouettes obviously designed to show off Alonso's strong turning technique and excellent balances. It wasn't bad and it wasn't great. Natalia Makarova danced it at ABT in the 70's as well and she had rather critical words about Martinez's choreography in her "Dance Autobiography". I have never seen a version of Swanilda's entrance waltz solo that does justice to that gorgeous melody. Not Balanchine which is fairly similar to what Franklin does (and Aveline after Saint-Leon in Paris and Vikharev after Petipa in Moscow...). Too much mime and not enough dancing. Too much pointing to the eyes or gesturing to the Coppelia doll when the music cries out for dancing.

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