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Tuesday, July 26


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#1 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:55 AM

Reviews of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet in "Swan Lake."

The Guardian

Or perhaps it's the spell cast over the stage by first cast ballerina, Uliana Lopatkina. Lopatkina is, beyond argument, both singular and sublime. Her exaggeratedly pliant limbs and grandly attenuated adagio are unmatched by any dancer on the planet. To many, her interpretation of Odette, a princess locked inside an enchanted tower, remains definitive.


The Telegraph

In fact, it was the swans themselves that made the opening night a largely enjoyable one. In the second half of Act 1 – Act 2 in most British versions – Sergeyev’s formations for them at times look oddly jumbled and asymmetrical, at least on the Covent Garden stage. (Do they work better on the steep rake of the Mariinsky theatre? Perhaps.) But it all relaxes beautifully in Act 3, and the corps throughout are so serenely in synch, and so proudly and uniformly display the traditional Mariinsky virtues of noble line and lyrical grace, that they still make a lustrous counterpoint for the lovers and a hypnotic vision in their own right.


The Evening Standard

The Mariinsky Ballet first danced in London in 1961, the year Rudolf Nureyev defected from what was then known as the Kirov Ballet. He electrified the dance world, and the Mariinsky went on to transform attitudes to ballet. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of that visit, the company has a six-programme, three-week season beginning with its happy ending version of Swan Lake. As is always the case with the Mariinsky, we judge it more harshly that lesser troupes, and, in truth, aspects of its traditional Swan Lake look quaint, with some of the acting mannered next to the naturalistic mime we're used to in London.



#2 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:57 AM

More:

The Financial Times

The world’s stages are littered with productions of Swan Lake, the majority of which – as I know to my cost – are horrid and foolishly optimistic. One alone I find wholly engrossing, heart-touching, noble in its response to narrative as to Tchaikovsky’s score, and that is the version staged by the Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre, with which the company opened its London season on Monday.

Its virtues are those of the troupe as a dance-ensemble: elegance of means, nobility of expression and that historical resonance that announces every step, every dramatic attitude, is the fruit of long years of thought, aspiration and reverence for the art, which this ballet celebrates. I treasure the Mariinsky’s scenery and costumes, which frame the piece so discreetly.


The Arts Desk

.......For the Mariinsky, celebrating the half-century since it first appeared in the West, continues to stage an even older production of this classic, that of Konstantin Sergeyev, the then Kirov’s artistic director under Stalin. Not even swans died unhappily in the glorious Soviet Union, and so here we have Swan Lake with a happy ending, against music, against sense, against theatricality.

And very much against the grain of the splendid corps de ballet, who this final act gave a committed, morally nuanced production of seriousness and depth, only to see it thrown away by a staging that demands that the evil magician Von Rothbart gets beaten to death with his own wing.



#3 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:01 AM

A story on several Korean ballet dancers joining foreign companies by Do Je-hae in The Korea Times.

Kim Ki-min, 18, a student at Korea National University of Arts (KNUA), was accepted by the Mariinsky Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia for the first time as a male Asian dancer and will officially join the prestigious troupe in September. Kim is the winner of the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria.

Choi Young-gyu, 20, also a student of KNUA, will join the Dutch National Ballet in August. Han Sung-woo, 18, the first Korean male dancer to win second place at the Le Prix de Lausanne, will enter London’s Royal Ballet, also in August.



#4 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:02 AM

Ballet Theatre of Dover performs next month.

Ballet Theatre of Dover’s latest venture includes two main components: “Le Corsaire” and “Broadway Bound.” The ballet is full of colorful characters and settings, from slave girls in a noisy bazaar to the pirates who want to capture them. Ballet Theatre of Dover will perform the version choreographed by Marius Petipa for the Mariinsky Ballet



#5 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:05 AM

Maine State Ballet performs next month.

"Dichterliebe," or "The Poet’s Love," was composed by Robert Schumann in 1840. The texts for the 16 song cycle were written by Heinrich Heine as part of his master work, the "Lyrisches Intermezzo."

The collaboration between Maine State Ballet and the Florestan Recital Project was a year in the making. Engebreth has performed with other ballet companies throughout his career, including the Boston Ballet and the Mark Morris Dance Group. Singing with a ballet company is one of his favorite ways to perform, he said.



#6 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:06 AM

The National Ballet of Cuba visits Brazil.

Prima ballerina Barbara Garcia dances the heroine role, Naipi, and offers a touching portrait of the character. Multiple details in her performance, accompanied by a brilliant technique, take the audience from the resignation for the sacrifice of the beginning to a sudden impulse of freedom that her love for Toroba provokes in her.



#7 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:09 AM

A review of the West Australian Ballet by Rita Clarke in The Australian.

Human behaviour is a fascinating conundrum, and the subject of the four pieces that make up Neon Lights, the West Australian Ballet's first production in the new Heath Ledger Theatre.

Among them is a short piece, Glam Addict, inspired by Lady Gaga and choreographed by William John Banks, which depicts two effeminate young men shopping. They're dressed in little black cut-out numbers and have spiky hairdos and sequins, the result of Banks asking Facebook fans to vote for the outfits they liked best. Banks and Andre Santos mince around, outstretched arms hung amusingly with large paper bags in a rather cliched but funny satire.



#8 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:10 AM

A consideration of the future of Orchestra Victoria by Anna McAlister in The Herald Sun.

OV would perform only with Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet and Victorian Opera and cancel all its regional tours, concerts and education projects. It would work approximately 37 weeks of the year as a freelance band of casual musicians.

Artistically, there is nothing good in this.



#9 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:12 AM

An interview with the Royal Ballet's new soloist Alexander Campbell.

Campbell said there had always been ''a few of us'' Australians at the Royal Ballet but having a second one join its upper reaches was a significant boost.

At England's Birmingham Royal Ballet, where Campbell has danced for the past six years, Australia is mentioned regularly. ''They say, 'gee, you've got a lot of Aussies','' he said. ''But it's never a bad thing. They always comment on how the Australians are all so strong when they come over.''



#10 dirac

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:14 AM

Heatworld.com appreciates the heat generated by Benjamin Millepied.

The pair, who met while making Black Swan in 2009, are now engaged and have a son Aleph, who was born in June this year. It's officially the first time we've ever been so attracted to an actual ballet dancer, so we thought it was only right to share. Are you feeling the lust for Benjamin, or do twinkly-toed men not really do it for you?



#11 dirac

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 10:19 AM

A review of the Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet in "Anna Karenina" by Deborah Jowitt for ArtsJournal. (Thanks to rg for the heads up!)

Given the music and the nature of ballet, you could hardly expect a choreographer—even one as adroit as Ratmansky—to restore Tolstoy’s subtleties. Still, you watch the scenes at gatherings, balls, and racetracks thinking, “Is that Anna? No, it’s probably Kitty; so the man she’s doing a delighted pas de deux with must be Levin.” “So which is Betsy and which is Dolly?” “And is Anna’s husband, Alexei Karenin, the only gray-haired man, or. . . .?” So these characters buzz around in the background, meet and greet, dance, and watch events, and we focus primarily on Anna, Vronsky, Karenin, and her little son Seryosha. And trains.

Wendall Harrington’s video projections augment Mikael Melbye’s settings to great effect, whisking us from the Oblonsky’s palace to the Shcherbatsky’s salon to Karenin’s book-filled study. Projections of horse’s thundering hooves clue us in to the fact that all those handsome, leaping cadets (a clever number) are stand-ins for jockeys. Shots of a train speeding along a track lead up to the mock onstage train that bears down on Anna and in front of which she, ever so gracefully, throws herself.



#12 dirac

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 09:43 PM

An interview with Septime Webre.

Reports have put the annual budget of the Washington Ballet at around $8 million but shrinking over the last couple years. Webre confirms that it is still somewhere around that figure. “Ticket sales have been doing really well,” he says, “and fundraising has stayed strong, from individuals particularly and special events. The biggest challenge, the only major challenge, I would say, has been the loss of government funding. We had been receiving support from the city of Washington, about $1 million a year. Two summers ago, that was cut to zero, in the budget balancing process, making a huge loss from which we had to recover.” The budget battle being fought right now at the federal level may imperil the company’s funding, too, as support to the arts could be cut there.



#13 dirac

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 10:11 PM

A review of Nicholas Wright's "Rattigan's Nijinsky" by Michael Billington in The Guardian.

Wright's method is to produce a piece of metatheatre in which Rattigan's screenplay is framed by an examination of its author's ambivalent attitude to open sexual declaration. So we get scenes from the original script depicting the tortured relationship of the Russian impresario, Diaghilev, and his protege and lover, Nijinsky: a relationship that is fatally fractured by the great dancer's marriage and descent into madness. At the same time, we see how Rattigan is unnerved by the possibility of legal action from Nijinsky's widow, Romola, and even more by her blackmailing threat to expose his own sexual orientation; and it is this that leads him to withdraw his script from BBC production.




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