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Wednesday, July 13


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#1 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:30 AM

Reports and reviews of New York City Ballet's American Girl Night in Saratoga.

Times Union

On Tuesday night, several hundred ballet enthusiasts nearly filled the lawn at Saratoga Performing Arts Center for the New York City Ballet’s American Girl Night (pictured). Tonight – Wednesday – will feature SPAC’s biggest pre-show of the summer for Girls Night Out, which is sponsored by the Times Union. More than 20 local businesses will provide free luxury services and products to guests.

But challenges are growing for the famous ballet company as it deals with a reported $6 million budget shortfall and major labor issues. Locally, online grumblings about SPAC’s management of the ballet are growing. Some are convinced that the ballet could end its 45-year summer residency at SPAC after this year. Check out this blog. Or this one.


The Daily Gazette, with photo gallery. (registration required)

The lawn of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center was jammed with patrons on Tuesday night — and not just the human kind. It was American Girl Doll Night and hundreds of little girls, with dolls in tow, arrived for an evening with New York City Ballet. But after the first intermission, many of the would-be ballet fans cleared out as the program on Tuesday night was not family-friendly. ...



#2 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:32 AM

Social notes on the benefit for the White Nights Foundation, with pix.

"My mom pushed me into ballet lessons when I was 4 and this brought along many memories," said Yoko Ono. "I've been to Moscow and St. Petersburg so this was as close as you can get to transporting the whole country here."

The night's leading man Yuri Smekalov was in New York for the first time with his wife, Vlada. "But in few days I'm cheating on my husband and seeing 'Catch Me If You Can' while he's performing," said Ms. Smekalova. "I've seen way too many tragic 'Anna Kareninas' in our lifetime."



#3 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:45 AM

Reviews of the Peter Schaufuss Ballet in "Romeo and Juliet."

The Guardian

But the couple's determination to master Ashton has its own heroic quality – and where they succeed, they are transcendent. Osipova flits though Juliet's opening scene with a vulnerable recklessness; in the balcony pas de deux the passion of their dancing scales every romantic climax in Prokofiev's score; and both allow everything to play out in their faces and eyes.


The Arts Desk

Graham Bond and the ENB Orchestra provided a brisk, matter-of-fact musical performance, so I didn’t mind losing so much of the music as to keep the action to well under two hours (plus interval). Though Ashton later restored some, and made ensemble dances for the 1985 London Festival Ballet production he did with Peter Schaufuss, then LFB artistic director and star, Schaufuss has reverted to the sparer bones of the 1955 original. The one dance it hurts my memory not to see here is the pre-wedding wake-up Mandolin Dance outside Juliet’s room while she lay in her drugged stupor, the carefree entertainers underscoring the pain of the tragic misunderstandings about to take place.


The Financial Times

Ashton’s manner is modest, classically exact, demanding that finesse in performance that made him a lyric poet in dance, and I find it now at odds with the urgencies of its score. This Schaufuss revival is thin, its minimal design no more than a flight of stairs and a series of dull black and white projections to suggest locale. Verona is seriously under-populated, the plague on both houses having taken a terrible toll: the town can muster only a seething mob of 10 inhabitants beside its aristos who, at Tuesday night’s gala, were such visiting luminaries as Stephen Jefferies and Marguerite Porter, both admirable as Juliet’s parents.


The Telegraph (with video clip)

Vasiliev and Osipova – emphatically “Bolshoi” (or “big”) dancers both – dive into their roles with an untrammelled vigour that, especially in her case, sometimes strays into a rather Russian, very un-Ashtonian melodrama. I’d have liked a slightly greater sense of hesitation from her at the ballroom, a subtler sense of being torn both ways, as well as a fraction more holding back in her pivotal Act 3 decision-making scene.



#4 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:47 AM

A review of the Royal Ballet School's annual performance by Neil Norman in The Stage.

The opening piece, Checkmate, was chosen in honour of the Royal Ballet’s founder, Ninette de Valois, who choreographed it. It was delivered with colour and verve but turned out to be the most difficult choice. Arthur Bliss’ score is a level playing field, allowing for little rise and fall or acceleration and deceleration of movement. And the opening steps are tricky, which meant that many of them were simply ignored.

However, I enjoyed the prancing pawns in their red costumes, and Grete Borud Nybakken’s extended villainy as the Black Queen suggests she would be a shoo-in for any dark character, from Carabosse to the Snow Queen, when she begins her contract with the Norwegian Ballet. Quietly standing out, however, was Zoe Roberts’ Red Queen, whose presence and deportment were notable.



#5 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:49 AM

A review of the International Ballet Gala in South Africa by Pinto Ferreira in Tonight.

The evening started with what was probably the highlight of the programme: Alys Shee’s (Canada) and Aaron Smyth’s (Australia) superb performance of extracts from Le Corsaire.

Their virtuosity is jaw-dropping and their technique spectacular. They set the bar for the rest of the evening. Angela Malan did South Africa proud in her partnership with Raymond Martinov (Latvian National Opera Ballet) with their pas de deux from Swan Lake. Martinov proved his prowess in partner work in this programme with exceptional strength and masculine chivalry. He also performed in the pas de deux Lady of Camellias with Elza Leimane (also from Latvia).



#6 dirac

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 10:07 PM

A review of the Mariinsky/Kirov Ballet by Leigh Witchel in The New York Post.

There are few dancers better-trained than these -- only the Paris Opera Ballet's can match them. Vladimir Shklyarov is a convincingly silly, boyish Ivan. Skinny, with gangly limbs and chestnut hair, he has a powerful jump but pretends he's a dancing idiot savant. He restarts a variation several times after intentionally screwing it up.

Viktoria Tereshkina is anything but a porcelain princess. She's a tomboy who's as goofy as Ivan, and their first awkward love scene -- after he catches her by her ponytail -- is the most charming in the ballet.



#7 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

A review of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has good, wholesome fun written all over it, dividing its time between towns known for natural beauty, mountains and money. But watching the troupe’s program at Wolf Trap on Tuesday night, I wondered: Is it also known for ballet?

The evening could stand as a snapshot of where ballet — I’m tempted to put the word in quotes — exists for so many of the nation’s smaller regional troupes. With just 10 dancers, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is too small for much of the classical repertoire or even newer neoclassical works.



#8 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:09 AM

A review of the Mariinsky (Kirov) in "The Little Humpbacked Horse" by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.c...o-new-york.html

The Mariinsky dancers, usually so elegantly formal in their deportment and sophisticated in stage manners, are wonderfully free with their torsos here and engagingly naïve in their behavior. Those of us who are unfamiliar with the original story can’t always work out who’s who, but that never matters long. The storytelling is so energetic and so funny that everything falls into place. The leading characters even laugh at themselves. At the end both heroine (the Tsar Maiden) and hero (Ivan) try to perform virtuoso solos for us that are too demanding to sustain. She has to be propped up in the middle of hers, he keeps restarting his, and the audience is so fully on their side by now that it all adds winningly to the comedy.



#9 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:19 AM

Mikhail Baryshnikov sells his house on the Hudson.

The 5,880-square-foot mansion on Lawrence Lane overlooks the Hudson and has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. It sits on 1.12 acres and was on the market for $3.695 million. The home was a 19th-century barn before it was converted in the early 20th century and later expanded in the 1990s. But we hear that the buyer, a hedge-fund honcho with a home at 15 Central Park West, is planning a big renovation.



#10 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:24 AM

A review of the Mariinsky's Giselle in 3-D by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

In the bright stage daylight of Act I of “Giselle” the immediate impression of 3-D is that it isolates characters from the area behind them so much that they look like cutouts, artificially superimposed. Then, in a basic tracking shot, the reverse happens: it’s the background scenery that looks artificially imposed (like the unconvincing views over the shoulders of people driving cars in old movies).

But once Giselle and her suitor start to dance, there’s a much more pronounced problem — especially in jumps — of blurring. Though this has been an occasional issue in films of ballet over the decades, never before in my experience has it been so pronounced as in Act I here.



#11 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:26 AM

Good news for arts organizations in Sarasota.

The big winners -- organizations receiving between $79,000 and $93,000 -- are Asolo Repertory Theatre, Ringling Museum, Florida Studio Theatre, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, the City of Sarasota-owned and operated Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, as well as Venice Little Theatre.



#12 dirac

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 11:27 AM

Two new principals of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet will perform at free outdoor performances this month.

Yun Wang and Yang Jiao, a married couple who formerly danced with China’s Liaoning Ballet, will perform the challenging pas de deux from Don Quixote as part of Ballet in the Park, July 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.



#13 dirac

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 05:39 AM

A review of the Peter Schaufuss Ballet by Sarah Frater in The Evening Standard.

Electric doesn't begin to describe their chemistry. The couple are physically and artistically in sync, so duets are theatrically convincing and emotionally moving. The charity gala featured strong performances by Alban Lendorf as Mercutio and Robin Bernadet as Benvolio, and star turns by Wayne Eagling, Wayne Sleep and Stephen Jefferies showed they still have stage presence.

The production is Sir Frederick Ashton's intimate 1955 version, pared back further, meaning the ballet has a thin look contradicting the dramatic heft in Prokofiev's majestic music. Vasiliev and Osipova are emphatic dancers, and often overpower Ashton's delicate choreography. But they are so good, you overlook these shortcomings.



#14 dirac

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Posted 16 July 2011 - 06:21 AM

An obituary for Marina Berezowsky, who has died at age 97.

Trained in the Soviet Union, she was a towering figure of authoritative dignity — passionate, inimitable and inspirational — in ballet and folk dance.

Berezowsky was co-founder of the West Australian Ballet before becoming a classical dance teacher with the Borovansky Ballet and Ballet Victoria. She was also one of four foundation teachers of The Australian Ballet School. Her other work included coaching at the Victorian College of the Arts, for the Bayda Cossacks, and as a founder of the Kolobok Folkloric Dance Company.




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