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Friday, December 2


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#1 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:10 AM

An interview with Yvonne Mounsey, staging Westside Ballet's Nutcracker, by Susan Josephs in The Los Angeles Times.

Mounsey frowned and shook her head. "We need some acting here. You're an elegant Victorian lady," she told the teenager, her South African accent sharply accentuated as she stood perfectly straight with a regal expression and expressed her idea of elegance by dramatically raising her hand and elongating her fingers.

In an interview a few days before the dress rehearsal, Mounsey, though jet-lagged from a recent trip to Johannesburg and Parys, South Africa, was happy to talk about why her annual "Nutcracker" production, loosely based on the San Francisco Ballet's 1944 version, remains an integral part of Westside Ballet (along with a public spring recital).



#2 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:13 AM

An NBC Philadelphia story on the sex abuse conviction of Kenneth Schneider, reported yesterday.

The victim, Roman Zavarov, who is now 25, testified against Schneider at the trial, saying that the founder of the Apogee Foundation had oral and/or anal sex with him three to four times a week when he was 14 and 15 years old.

Zavarov is now married and works as a professional ballet dancer in Arizona.



#3 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:17 AM

Two punk rock bands come to blows in a ballet and dance studio. Cincinnati TV news report with video.

They were attending a show by a group called "Straight Edgers", which is an alternative punk rock band with a drug and alcohol-free belief. During the show, followers of another punk rock group known as "Swing on Sight" arrived and a fight broke out between the two groups.



#4 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:20 AM

A story on the importance of the annual Nutcracker to ballet company finances by Ellen Gamerman in The Wall Street Journal.

In a crowded holiday landscape strained by the financial downturn, ballet companies are under intense pressure to lure bigger crowds, extend their runs and justify higher ticket prices. In some cases, they're trying more ambitious marketing campaigns and pulling in corporate sponsors to offset budget shortfalls. Other companies are launching bigger, flashier and sometimes more provocative twists on the classic in an attempt to create buzz. There's a burlesque version in Seattle, a sports-themed twist in Salt Lake City (a Brigham Young University-University of Utah football game replaces the toy-soldier war) and a puppet adaptation in Glen Echo, Md. A dog version in the Chicago suburbs last year was an instant sell-out.



#5 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:24 AM

A slideshow from Reuters on the Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind.

Deaf ballet student Vitoria Torres (L) and her handicapped classmate Julia Carruci rehearse Don Quixote at the Association of Ballet and Arts for the Blind, in Sao Paulo November 5, 2011. The Association was founded by ballerina and physiotherapist Fernanda Bianchini in 1995, when she decided to teach classical ballet to the blind for free. Since then her classes have been opened to the deaf and mute, and even to children and youths with other handicaps. Bianchi says that the school's main goal is to teach self-esteem to the students.



#6 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:26 AM

Macomb Ballet Company presents its Nutcracker. Video.

The show is directed by Amber Megna Michalik, with assistance from Sarah Boik and Mary Sherman.

Founded by Ann Parsley, Macomb Ballet Company is a nonprofit that works with students on the study of the classics and performing experience. This show is one of two formal annual concerts presented by the company; the other is “The Wizard of Oz,” which comes to the Macomb Center in May.



#7 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:29 AM

A feature story on the dancers of Ballet Austin and their pointe shoes by Jeanne Claire van Ryzin in The Austin American-Statesman.

The female dancers of Ballet Austin use about 350 pairs of pointe shoes each season, and dancers in Ballet Austin II — the apprentice company — use 105 pairs. Each ballerina receives 35 pairs of pointe shoes to use for rehearsal and performance during Ballet Austin's nine-month season.

Annually, the company spends more than $47,000 for pointe shoes. (Custom-made shoes can run $90 and up; non-custom start at around $50). And with its multiple performances, several large casts and classical choreography, perhaps no other production consumes as many pointe shoes as "The Nutcracker."



#8 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:31 AM

Moscow's Center for Contemporary Dance and Performance, TsEKh, holds its annual festival.

As Tupyseva points out, while it is true that a ballet hegemony is alive and well in this country, a number of non-balletic dance troupes have sprung up over the last two decades.

One such company featured on the program is the highly regarded Provincial Dances from Yekaterinburg. They will perform two works at the festival, and each is bound to be a hit. The first is "The Wedding," a restaging of Stravinsky's 1923 ballet that garnered the company a Golden Mask award in 2000, and the second is "Sepia," a work created last year as part of the American Dance Festival.



#9 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:33 AM

Luke Jennings looks at Gelsey Kirkland in "Giselle" in the latest of his MoveTube columns in The Guardian.

The clip shows how, through a mastery of the science of ballet, a great dancer makes it her own. From the first moment to the last, Kirkland is absolutely in control, technically speaking, and so free to shape her musical phrasing as she chooses. Very few Giselles would choose to take the variation this slowly, but Kirkland fills up every bar with detail. Watch the luxuriance of that first posé (step-out) into arabesque on pointe at 0:06 (repeated at 0:18), and the way the working leg rises as the supporting foot rolls smoothly down through the heel. A momentary fondu, a "melting" bend of the supporting knee (as opposed to fondue, a melting of Gruyère cheese) and she's into the next step.



#10 dirac

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:35 AM

Carolina Ballet prepares its Nutcracker. Video.

This year, the Carolina Ballet's production takes that magic to the next level after enlisting top-rated Las Vegas magician Rick Thomas to create new illusions for the party scene in the ballet's first act. After all, it's been years since Nutcracker was first staged.

"I think we should update the magic, don't you think?" Thomas said.



#11 dirac

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:25 PM

A review of Washington Ballet by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

And why shouldn’t they? Cute and spunky are not only perfectly suitable “Nutcracker” characteristics — they are also Washington Ballet strengths. Take Maki Onuki’s Sugar Plum Fairy, a petite dynamo with titanium technique — so light and quick — and a sparkling disposition. Jonathan Jordan was her sterling cavalier; I vote that he be promoted to prince. Jared Nelson’s Snow King could melt hearts with his sweet attention to Kara Cooper’s Snow Queen.

#12 dirac

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:26 PM

A preview of Eugene Ballet's Nutcracker.

Joining the brilliant professional dance troupe of Eugene Ballet are 44 ballet students from around the Treasure Valley. The students have been rehearsing since late October under the guidance of instructor Amber Barnes. The dancers come from studios across the valley and fill the roles as twelve party children and angels, eight lady bugs and beetles who escape from the giants-size skirt of Mother Ginger and 12 baby mice.

Eugene Ballet principal dancer and new ballet mistress Jennifer Martin fondly remembers her 17 years dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Caldwell production. Martin will be in a new role Tuesday when the troupe comes to Caldwell.

#13 dirac

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:30 PM

A review of Tulsa Ballet's "Winter Celebration" by James D. Watts Jr. in Tulsa World's blog.

These groups, each performing works by principal dancer and resident choreographer Ma Cong, gave some exceptional performances. TB II dancers performed excerpts from Cong's 2005 debut as a choreographer, "Folia," with great energy and poise.

Center for Dance Education student Nikolas Gaifullin held the stage with remarkable assurance in his solo "Angelo," while the seven young women who performed Cong's "Mirabilis" made the joy of this complex ballet infectious, as they demonstrated a great sense of ensemble in the inventive and fascinating way Cong made use of the Studio K stage space.


#14 dirac

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:53 PM

A review of the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 'The Sleeping Beauty' by Bernadette Rae in The New Zealand Herald.

A spectacular Weta Workshop dragon breathes fire and fury in its defence of Carabosse, the wicked Black Fairy. Guest artist Stella Abrera, a soloist with American Ballet Theatre where the RNZB's new artistic director Ethan Stiefel was a principal dancer, is an exquisite Princess Aurora on Auckland's opening night, with spell-binding perfection of technique.

She is well matched by the bravura specialist, Sergio Torrado, as Prince Desire in the first cast. Spanish-born Torrado is a new addition to the company ranks, and a former principal with Pennsylvania Ballet.

#15 dirac

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 10:54 PM

A review of the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker by Laura Bleiberg in The Los Angeles Times' blog.

Balance is key, and the dancers made that a quality, not a restrained shortcoming. This “Nutcracker” can even make a believer out of jaded adults, or so said a delighted friend I ran into; she admitted that just the name normally causes stomach churning.

The occasional speed bumps Thursday evening were of the sort that occur on opening night: spacing issues (near collisions) and miscommunication with Joffrey music director Scott Speck, who conducted the LA Opera Orchestra. A tolling clock cue was missed and Speck adopted a glacial tempo during the grand pas de deux, adding an unnecessary hurdle to the exacting classical solos and duets for Nutcracker Prince Dylan Gutierrez and his Sugar Plum Fairy Victoria Jaiani. Despite rattled nerves, poise and sturdy technique carried them through.


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