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Tuesday, August 16


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#1 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:56 AM

Reviews of the Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater's performance of "Swan Lake."

The Guardian

Following the Mariinsky Ballet's season at the Royal Opera House, the company's orchestra sidled over to Kensington to perform one of the highlights of its Covent Garden programme at the Proms – minus the dancers. It's a procedure that would have surprised Tchaikovsky, who delighted in ballet. The fairytale plots he set to music opened up a vein of fantasy that brought out the best in him. There's no shortage of emotional depth in the finest parts of Swan Lake, though even the composer might have admitted that certain sections are there primarily to provide accompaniment to a visual experience rather than to hold attention in their own right.


The Telegraph

The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre must have played Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake dozens or even hundreds of times, and there were occasions in this performance under Valery Gergiev when it sounded like it. While the orchestra clearly has the music in its blood, there was a touch of anaemia here that could have done with a shot of galvanising iron from the podium, especially in the first act.

Things did pick up after the interval, but there remained an underlying feeling that the orchestra was merely playing the ballet rather than working to recreate its atmosphere, its charm, its drama.


The Arts Desk

A fascinating experience, then. Gergiev is a strange being to head a ballet theatre: he conducts with his eyes determinedly shut, I think, stripping ballet scores of their choreographic varnish, which in most cases has left thick clots all over dansante pulses. It was a relief to hear certain waltzes handed their natural lilt and stitched naturally into their context, too fast for the iconic choreography to be performed to them in today's indulgently emphatic style (the rocking pas de trois of Act I, Odette's delicate Act II solo, Siegfried’s Act III solo).


The Financial Times

It was a bold idea of his to bring Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. This was the first time the complete score had been performed at the Proms – the one proviso being that Gergiev brought the traditional Mariinsky performing version of the ballet, as rearranged by Riccardo Drigo – and it took a splendid debut bow. Gergiev brought panache to every dance, without the melodramatic exaggerations favoured by some Russian conductors of old. The Mariinsky orchestra responded with playing that was subtle and romantically coloured, while retaining a spring in its step that made the music as uplifting in the concert hall as it can be in the theatre. Played like this, Tchaikovsky’s ballets deserve to be heard away from the stage more often.



#2 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:58 AM

A review of the orchestra by Nick Kimberley in The Evening Standard.

Unless, that is, you count conductor Valery Gergiev's strenuous conducting style as dance. One minute he's hunched over the score, the next he's bolt upright or swivelling his body through 180 degrees, fingers fluttering all the while. And who needs dancers when you have a large orchestra to watch?

Surprisingly, this was the first ever Proms performance of the complete Swan Lake, albeit in a version that's full of amendments, rearrangements and outright inventions inserted after Tchaikovsky's death. Gergiev (the Mariinsky's artistic director) had opted for an edition prepared especially for the Mariinsky Theatre in 1895, and if it's nobody's idea of the best way to play Swan Lake, it has the virtue of belonging to a venerable performance tradition.



#3 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:01 AM

Reviews of the National Ballet of China in 'The Peony Pavilion.'

The Independent

The dancers share a fluid, floating style, all smooth lines and long phrasing. Fei Bo's choreography uses conventional ballet steps, with some distinctive touches. Du Liniang's lover removes one of her pointe shoes, stroking her foot; she and the corps often dance with one foot bare. Wang Qimin was a touching heroine, waking sensuously from her dream.


The Skinny

Similarly, the choreography fuses classical ballet with 20th-century styles to spine-tingling effect. The leads are astonishing - in the romantic pas de deux Liniang seems to float impossibly, like a lover in a Chagall painting - and the dancing throughout is elegant and spectacular, concluding in a dazzling wedding procession.

I'm sure there are layers of meaning for Sinophiles, such as the troubling motif of dancers removing one pointe shoe for Mengmei's erotic inspection. (During the period of the story, any well-born girl would have been subject to foot binding.) But you don't need historical and cultural references to enjoy the breathtaking skill and beauty of this celebration of dreaming lovers and gods moved to pity.



#4 dirac

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Posted 16 August 2011 - 11:03 AM

Sacramento Ballet exceeds its fundraising goals.

Originally, a small group of patrons had pledged $85,000 for a challenge grant, agreeing to match dollar-for-dollar all money up to that amount pledged during the drive. As funds came in - from donations, dancer-staged bake sales, an "At the Ballet" musical revue and other sources - the original pledge pool was upped to $100,000. According to fundraising coordinator Marla Quinn, gifts ranged from $5 to $15,000, and of the 536 donors, nearly one-third (172) were first-time donors.



#5 dirac

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 09:57 AM

Robert La Fosse joins the cast of David Gordon's 'Dancing Henry Five.'

This reduction of Shakespeare's Henry V incorporates theatre, narration, scenery and prop manipulation and dance to convey the story of Henry's ascension to the throne of Britain and his defeat of the French at the Battle of Agincourt.

The cast will also feature Valda Setterfield as the narrator, dancer Karen Graham, and five additional dancers.



#6 dirac

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:01 AM

The Sacramento Ballet collaborates with firefighters on a fundraising calendar.

The Sacramento Ballet and the Firefighters Burn Institute are teaming up to create a 2012 calendar of photos pairing a dancer and a firefighter to raise money for their organizations.

The public is invited to vote on the dancers and firefighters they hope to see in the pages of the calendar by visiting the organization's websites and casting a $2 vote for your favorites using PayPal.



#7 dirac

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:06 AM

Bob Fosse and other dance figures will be featured on U.S. postal stamps.

Nine-time Tony Award winner Bob Fosse will be honored with a stamp from the U.S. Postal Service in 2012 as one of four influential choreographers who changed the art of Dance. Fosse will be joined by Isadora Duncan, José Limón, and Katherine Dunham in individual stamps designed to look like posters advertising a live performance



#8 dirac

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:10 AM

A review of the Ballet Pro Musica Festival by George Jackson for danceviewtimes.

....Henry Holth, a former dancer and a founder and the general director of Ballet Pro Musica, treats the fine musicians he presents like royalty i.e., like star dancers. They play not invisibly, not submerged in a pit, but in what he calls the musicians' loge i.e., on the orchestral platform raised high enough so that the instrumentalists can be seen infront of the dancers throughout the course of a ballet. In the Albuquerque Journal Theater it is possible to do this and only obstruct the view of the stage from a few seats. Leaving those seats empty is a minimal loss compared to the gain of seeing the music being made and hearing a fuller chamber music sound. Maurice Ravel's "F Major String Quartet", the two piano version of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" and Robert Schumann's "F Major Quintet for Piano and Strings, Opus 44" were played and heard with a devotion and an attention to detail rare for music at dance performances.



#9 dirac

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Posted 17 August 2011 - 11:12 AM

A review of Cisne Negro by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

Opening night on Monday contained an extra highlight: Marcelo Gomes, the Brazilian star of American Ballet Theater, dancing the world premiere of his own solo, “Paganini.” Mr. Gomes isn’t a serious choreographer, and yet his basic instincts lead him along brighter lines than those of the other three dance makers on the program: Gigi Caciuleanu, Dany Bittencourt and Rui Moreira.




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