The group's two-hour St. Sauveur program, called Nouvelles Virtuosités, is largely a collection of short contemporary pieces. Some are by Murez, but there are also pieces by big-name choreographers like William Forsythe (Extract of Theorem) and Ben Van Cauwenbergh (Les Bourgeois, a terrific, mocking solo that Montrealers saw memorably performed by Dmitri Simkin at the defunct Gala des Étoiles). Nineteenth-century ballets alone don't cut it for young dancers who were weaned on movies like The Matrix, Fight Club and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, said Murez.
Saturday, July 23
Posted 23 July 2011 - 02:56 PM
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:01 PM
I was seated Thursday night next to George Chakiris, the star of Robbins' West Side Story, yes, based on Shakespeare, but brilliantly reconstituted in an American milieu. I felt a tinge of embarrassment watching Bright Stream next to him, like, why is ABT doing this? I keep musing that Balanchine came to the U.S. and made Stars and Stripes and Western Symphony. He choreographed to Gershwin and wore cowboy shirts. He worked, like a zealot, on Broadway and in Hollywood.
It's startling how far afield ballet has strayed in this country. My beef is not with Ratmansky, although in the face of his serviceable, but not art-dappled choreography, I'm unconvinced. It's with ABT.
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:02 PM
The works that preceded “Continuum” are rooted in classical technique, with the women on pointe and the action often in the air. Christopher Fleming’s “Janis & Joe” (1999) pays tribute to the rock musicians, Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker, whose tunes give the piece its tender and rebellious impetus.
Ballet and rock aren’t as strange bedfellows as they might seem, since they both exult in various forms of physicality. But “Janis & Joe” doesn’t take sufficient advantage of the music’s free spirits. It’s mostly pretty and tame, with willowy gestures (and pink costumes) that blunt any edges the songs may have.
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:05 PM
By now the powerful and feared artistic director, Roderick Allen, dominates all their lives. “The Rodomizer” is notorious for his “systematized humiliation” teaching method, his reputation amplified by rumours of sexual misbehavior with students. But Georgia experiences a physical thrill the first time he gazes at her — “like he knew something about me that I didn’t even know about myself.” She feels “naked, but I liked the feeling.”
Soon, challenged by the worldly Laura/Sixty, Georgia decodes her unhappy parents’ “totally illegal” romantic history. Her father was her mother’s professor. Thrilled by the attentions of a man not unlike her pompous (“I’m a neuro-psychiatrist”) father, she launches experiments with dancing on the wild side, in order to secure her teacher’s attention.
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:10 PM
The other world premiere is Wave Atlas, a tender love duet by Alex Ketley, director of San Franciscos contemporary dance company The Foundry, and a former member of San Francisco Ballet. Ketley pushes a couple danced by Melissa Bourkas and Andrew Wojtal into a tangle of arms and legs as they move toward and away from each other in an exploration of the intricacies of male-female relationships. Bourkas is a riveting performer, sexy despite her costume of cargo pants and tank top, and if her charisma occasionally overwhelmed Wojtals quieter presence, the two were evenly matched in physical strength and flexibility
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:15 PM
The keenly awaited announcement was made yesterday when the Eureka Skydeck was transformed into the city's tallest lovers' balcony.
But the dancers are not getting swept up in all the romance just yet. They still have weeks of hard work before Romeo & Juliet premieres at Melbourne's State Theatre on September 13.
Posted 23 July 2011 - 03:21 PM
The ballet was the final installment of this engagement’s Rodion Shchedrin festival. Although its score, all percussion and strings, was not as grating as it might have been, with the exception of "The March of the Toreadors" by the xylophone section, it was a relief to hear Bizet straight as the curtain opened on Balanchine’s "Symphony in C."
And "Symphony in C" with port de bras and épaulement, pure and clean, and so often relegated to the back burner in performances of Balanchine. The corps dancers who announced the advent of the principals in the second movement seemed to witness the opening of the gates of heaven. The details of arm movements in the corps and the resulting patterns, particularly in the finale, have never registered so clearly. But perhaps the price was too high. This was Balanchine without speed, daring, or immediacy, consequently without joy....
Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:36 PM
What counts most, though, in Symphony in C is the second movement. The Mariinsky first showed the ballerina role cast to type, with Ulyana Lopatkina, the company's undisputed queen of adagio. Her interpretation was eerily unearthly, her face tilted slightly toward the heavens, her piercing gaze fixed on a faraway point visible only to such a being as she. I assumed this was an interpretation rather than a rigidly set personal style, since she smiled engagingly once she was participating in the work's grand finale. Her performance in the duet had the rarefied beauty and the exaggerated, compelling refinement that make many fans love ballet and naysayers loathe it.
A second rendering of the piece was far more musical and relaxed than the first, the company having already proved that it could successfully bring a crucial Balanchine work to the town in which the choreographer's career matured. It was Yekaterina Kondaurova's dancing in the second movement that made me decide she's my favorite in the company's flock of ballerinas. The others I saw are unquestionably amazing, each in her own way, but often so intent on a high degree of artifice that they seem estranged from humanity. Kondaurova is the only one who makes substance equal to style.
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