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Wednesday, June 22


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#1 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:51 AM

The move to the Four Seasons Centre has benefited the National Ballet of Canada.


The hall – which with 2,000 seats is much smaller than the cavernous Hummingbird at 3,200 – also means the ballet gives more performances over a longer season, from August to June.“That’s unusual for professional dancers in North America to have that long a season, that they’re paid,” says Garland. “It’s good for them, it’s good for their conditioning, it’s good for their general quality of life.”

And it means more top dancers want to join the company.



#2 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:52 AM

San Francisco Ballet announces promotions and new hires.

Soloist Vito Mazzeo has been promoted to principal dancer effective July 1, 2011. In addition, Patricia Keleher, Raymond Tilton, and Caroline Diane Wilson, apprentices during the 2011 Repertory Season, will join the ranks of the corps de ballet effective July 1, along with former SFB School Trainees Francisco Mungamba and Wan Ting Zhao. A complete and updated announcement and company roster will be distributed in July.



#3 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:56 AM

Fourteen of Princess Diana's gowns will be auctioned off in Toronto, ostensibly for the benefit of the National Ballet School of Canada.

Soon after her 1997 purchase, Mrs Dunkel set up The People’s Princess Charitable Foundation Inc in Tampa, its stated purpose to preserve and display the Diana dresses, and thereby to support the charities closest to Diana’s heart. Mrs Dunkel created an exhibition, Dresses For Humanity, which travelled the globe and for a time resided in Kensington Palace, where visitors could pay to see them. She had, she told NBC’s Today Show in 2001, raised millions for charity through the dresses.

It is hard to challenge this assertion since, though obliged by the US tax authorities to file annual returns stating income and disbursements to charity, none have been forthcoming from Mrs Dunkel’s People’s Princess Charitable Foundation for some time. The last listed accounts, for 2006-07 and filed in 2008, show liabilities of more than $1 million, while adding the cautionary note: “Expenses and other operating costs exceeded donations and contributions. Therefore no grants or allocations were able to be made.”



Related article.

But instead Ms Dunkel racked up at least $2.5million in debt through failed exhibitions, and tomorrow faces the embarrassment of auctioning off all 14 dresses to pay off her creditors.



#4 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 09:58 AM

A review of the Boston production of the revival of "West Side Story" by Marcia B. Siegel in The Boston Phoenix.

In Boston the production captures Robbins's choreography very well under dance director/reconstructor Joey McKneely, who entered the Robbins history as a dancer in Jerome Robbins' Broadway. Who doesn't recognize those thigh-high finger snaps and crouching, jump-rope leaps that rally the Jets? Or the Sharks' strutting mambo in the dance at the gym? Or the realistic, surging violence of the gang fights — every inch of it choreographed?

The seamless interface of styles — dancing and action, singing and speech — is the key to Robbins's great power in the theater. His ballets too wove steps together with realistic behavior, as seen this spring in Boston Ballet's production of Afternoon of a Faun. Perhaps it's too much to expect a touring show to muster actors who can sing and dance, but that's what Robbins insisted on. In fact, he spent a few years in the '70s on a workshop project, American Theater Laboratory, to strengthen these crossover skills and develop new theater forms that would exploit them.



#5 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:04 AM

A profile of Alexei Ratmansky by Joan Acocella appears in the June 27 issue of The New Yorker. Abstract available online only.

#6 dirac

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:35 AM

Queensland Ballet's artistic director, Francois Klaus, has resigned.

Mr Klaus has been with the state company for more than a decade and has been recognised as a creative and innovative leader.

But Queensland Ballet chair Joan Sheldon said it was time for the organisation to “rejuvenate”. Though Mr Klaus' decision was final, Mrs Sheldon said he had agreed to extend his contract until December 13, 2013, before departing to pursue his creative interests elsewhere.



#7 dirac

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:39 AM

New York City Ballet does away with the Fourth Ring Society.

“This is going to backfire on them, and it’s going to backfire big,” said Carley Broder, who has attended City Ballet since the mid-1970s and is a fourth-ring regular. “People who sit in the fourth ring do not like to sit in the orchestra.” She added, “I would hate to be priced out of something that’s been such a big part of my life for so many years.”

The Fourth Ring Society, a company-sanctioned program that offered $15 seats once a $20-per-season fee was paid, is effectively ending — or at least “evolving or changing,” in the words of Rob Daniels, the company spokesman. He said current members would be offered discount seats “in the neighborhood” of $15, mainly elsewhere in the house, but new memberships would not be available. “We’re still sorting out the details,” he said. In addition, Mr. Daniels said, single tickets to the third and fourth rings will be offered only if there is enough demand in the 2,600-seat theater for a particular performance. That will probably be for popular works like “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet,” and for “Nutcracker” performances.



#8 dirac

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:42 AM

Reviews of American Ballet Theatre in 'Cinderella.'

The New York Times

James Kudelka manages something fairly remarkable in his version of “Cinderella,” which American Ballet Theater performed on Tuesday in the first of a seven-performance run at the Metropolitan Opera House. He succeeds in creating a fairy-tale ballet entirely devoid of charm, a “Cinderella” that is for neither children nor adults and that somehow misses nearly every theatrical moment in the familiar story.



The New York Post

James Kudelka's version, which ABT's danced since 2006, seemed heavy on satire at Tuesday's opening night, and even a little frantic. Though he ran the National Ballet of Canada, Kudelka's bent is more contemporary: He never seems to trust classical ballet to do the trick without extra tweaks and distortions.



#9 dirac

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:44 AM

Olivier Wevers' Whim W'Him performs this month.

seattlepi.com

Rounding out the program is Wevers’ reworking of “3Seasons,” which blends Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with music by local composer Byron Au Yong. In the original 2010 production, at each performance a different Vivaldi movement was randomly left out and replaced by Au Yong’s music. Now, only the Autumn section is replaced, this time with new music by Au Yong that blends more smoothly with Vivaldi but still adds unexpected sounds that speak to how unpredictable our seasons have become.

With Whim W’Him’s growing financial success, Wevers has been able to add more elaborate production elements. He has hired costume designer Mark Zappone (who works with PNB, San Francisco Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre, among others) for “It’s Not About the Money” and set designer Casey Curran for “3Seasons.” Wevers says Zappone’s designs are more “costumy” than Whim W’Him generally uses and Curran’s set of recycled cardboard panels will provide a richer theatrical experience for viewers.


The Seattle Times

There's a nickname, "Whimmers," for fans of Whim W'Him, the dazzling new dance troupe helmed by Seattle choreographer Olivier Wevers (newly retired from Pacific Northwest Ballet). There's also an opportunity this weekend for Whimmers and Whim W'Him novices alike to savor this company's talents and accomplishments.



#10 dirac

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:48 AM

A review of Ballet du Grand Theatre de Genéve's "Romeo and Juliet" by Tresca Weinstein in The Albany Times Union's blog.

Joëlle Bouvier’s version of “Romeo and Juliet,” performed at Jacob’s Pillow this week by Switzerland’s Ballet du Grand Theatre de Genéve, is as potent and distilled as the sleeping draught Juliet drinks. The star-crossed lovers, the warring families, the tragic ending and even Sergei Prokofiev’s score for the ballet all remain, but Bouvier has stripped the tale down to its most essential characters and its most elemental emotions.

The evening-length work unfolds in a world that transcends a specific time or place: The dancers wear street clothes (dresses for the women, slacks with button-down shirts or suit jackets for the men) and the only set piece is a large, curving ramp that the dancers slide down, hide behind or run across. Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and Tybalt are clearly defined, and the rest of the company embodies both their feuding dynasties and a sort of chorus that witnesses their story.



#11 dirac

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:25 AM

Orlando city bigwigs get set to celebrate the groundbreaking of the city's new performing arts center.

Three days of celebration and open-house events start Thursday to kick off construction of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and boosters of the project say they plan to spend $35,000 of their own funds on the event.

Arts officials say they don't have a final total tally for the events yet because each relies heavily on donors. However, they say no taxpayers funds would be used, and most costs are expected to be covered from in-kind gifts. The $35,000 will be covered by donors, they said. A final cost will not be known until after the air-conditioned tents fold and the long line-up of artists leave.



#12 dirac

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:31 AM

A review of the Royal Danish Ballet by Kathleen O'Connell for danceviewtimes.

Set in the fantasy Scotland so beloved of 19th century audiences, “La Sylphide” is a two act ballet about a supernatural being’s fatal love for a human, and it’s a marvel of concise, coherent storytelling. The particulars of Bournonville’s style—quiet, gently rounded arms placed atop an infinite variety of small, quick jumps and beats interspersed with softly held rubato balances—is the antithesis of bombast and a revelation to eyes grown accustomed to the more sharply etched and grandly-scaled styles derived from the Russian classical tradition. But the real delight of “La Sylphide” is the seamless integration of dance, mime, and theatrical effects into powerful storytelling—and, as evidenced by their performances, storytelling is something the Danes do particularly well.



#13 dirac

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:41 AM

Pamela Swaney of St. Louis Ballet returns to performing after an ACL injury.

Continuing her dancing career wasn't a certainty last year. In a rehearsal as principal dancer in Swan Lake at Touhill, she was descending a lift during a pas de deux.

As she touched the floor, she heard a loud pop from her knee. "Everyone in the theater heard the pop," she said. She tumbled and her first thought was not about the pain or even the fall. "Was this the end of my career? What about the performance?" she said. "I knew it was a ligament, but I didn't know it was the ACL."




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