Swift and sure in Spanish Chocolate are Kotoe Kojima-Noa and bold Albert Davydov. Vitaly Verterich astonishes with his toe-touching leaps in the Russian Trepak. Sprightly Yuuki Yamamoto unfurls a bright red streamer as Chinese Tea, and as Dewdrop, Gabriella Noa-Pierson radiates confidence from balances on toe. Best of all, however, is the Sugar Plum Fairy. Ballerina Mari Sugawa continues to grow, her footwork increasingly lovely in its definition. She flashes a regal smile over all, poised and elegantly supported by her partner, Vladimir Roje.
Tuesday, December 20
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:06 PM
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:07 PM
The Waltz of the Flowers, the portion of the ballet memorably choreographed by Gerald Arpino, looked particularly lush and exuberant this time around, with the dancers (Jenny Winton, Elizabeth Hansen, Alexis Polito, Amber Neumann, Jaime Hickey, Jacqueline Moscicke, Lauren Pschirrer and Dara Holmes) all in full bloom, and outfitted in beautifully rebuilt costumes.
The most breathtaking dancing came in the Grand Pas de Deux finale for the Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince. Victoria Jaiani and Temur Suluashvili (who are married in real life, but also form the most felicitous of onstage partnerships), held the audience at rapt attention with the flawless beauty and exquisite line of their every move. These two breathe as one when dancing, and the audience holds its own breath for the duration of the magic they generate.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:08 PM
In the name of helping children express themselves artistically, the Dodgers manager returned to his hometown of Evansville, Ind. to play the role of "Mother Ginger" -- the larger-than-life character who opens her skirt to unveil dancing children, one of whom is wearing a Dodgers uniform in the Evansville production.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:12 PM
Bosenberg captures to perfection the character of the warm-hearted, playful, feisty Swanilda, who has to use her wits to get her faithless lover to the altar, while Thorne, dashing and agile as usual, provides an understated interpretation which is just the right foil for his partner.
Artscape's Theatre stage is a tad too small for the exuberant mazurka danced by the full company, and the effect is somewhat crowded. However, the corps manage to achieve the requisite ensemble, despite limited space for this, arguably, the most familiar and best-loved piece in the ballet.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:15 PM
"With the timing of a world-class musician, she knew just when to leave her home to safely race down Geary Boulevard to the Opera House," he said. "Whenever a ballet had a long stretch with no harp, she would quietly slip out of the orchestra pit, go read The New Yorker, and be back like clockwork to play her part, never missing a beat."
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:26 PM
Dancers, choreographers and artistic directors of yore including Dame Peggy van Praagh, Rudolf Nureyev, Sir Robert Helpmann and Marilyn Rowe loom large in the book, along with more recent luminaries such as Graeme Murphy, Steven Heathcote and McAllister, who joined the Australian Ballet in 1983 and became artistic director in 2001.
The book also includes rare images from early tours of Ballets Russes in the 1930s and 1940s, and the Borovansky Ballet, the precursor to the Australian Ballet. These images, by photographers such as Max Dupain, were taken when dance and performance photography was just emerging, thanks to improvements in camera technology. By the 1970s, shutter speeds were faster again and performance shots were as detailed as studio photographs.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:36 PM
The white muslin tutus had to be custom-made as stores with dance apparel do not carry the plus sizes these ladies wear.
'When I see myself in this costume, I completely forget that my waistline is 120 centimeters (47 inches) in size!' exclaims Monika Bator, 65, who worked as a saleswoman in a tobacco shop for 40 years.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:38 PM
Everything about the production is traditional, though the variations in choreography and narrative are subtle and sometimes surprising. Anna Aulle’s Marie and the corps de ballet are young and dainty and compare strikingly with Dmitry Sobolevsky's tall, high-leaping Prince - and Margarita Nosik's Arab Dancer, performing the earthiest set-piece I've seen in this ballet for a while.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:40 PM
A couple of what seemed to be opening-day glitches: the faux snow fell so heavily and for so long that it almost covered up the Snow Queen and King (Sarah Fuhrman and Bannon-Neches here) as well as the corps de ballet Snowflakes, and even Clara (Leigh Hartley) and her handsome Nutcracker Doll (Griffin Whiting) as they arrived to the scene of Clara's dreams. Kudos to all the dancers who didn't seem even to notice the surface had probably become slick.
The fog machines used at the opening of the second act poured out enough mist that for a moment, some dancers could be seen only through openings in the haze. (A few in the front rows waved their hands and programs about to dispel the fog enveloping them, too.) But most effects worked fine and added much, including the impressive lighting, the detailed costuming and the dramatic "growth" of the Christmas tree.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:42 PM
The building was a gift from Reynolds Metals Company and its transformation included adding 30 windows and raising the roof to 18 feet on the second floor and 32 feet at its highest point on the third floor to allow proper clearance for the dancers. The specially designed, cushioned flooring was installed along with sound-proof walls and ceilings. The company's studio on the third floor was wired for performance lighting and sound.
Getting to tour the building was a treat for me. I thought about all the little ballerinas that dream of dancing at the highest level in Virginia. I also appreciated the architectural design and style, as the building is a mix of industrial and art motifs. The company dancers spend an extraordinary amount of time in the building and it seemed like a welcoming space. It also has a great view of the James River (although it was raining the day I visited).
Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:44 PM
Ekaterina Shchelkanova, a former soloist for American Ballet Theatre, established the Open World Dance Foundation in 2010 after recognizing that the art form she loves could help the many orphans in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Russia.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:46 AM
Wiles and Askegard made clear that they will hold true to the formalism of ballet. While including new works in their repertory, they do not want to forgo performing classical pieces. Therefore, they are somewhat hard to categorize. Dance is a field wherein labels matter. Ballet, modern, ballroom or Broadway are all forms of dance that are extremely distinguishable, particularly to those in the field. Strains of each discipline -- in this case, classical, neo-classical and contemporary ballet -- are particularly important to those in charge of booking, funding and promoting work. However, Askegard and Wiles share a more expansive vision and are interested primarily in sharing what inspires them -- to both watch and perform.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:48 AM
Nurzhan Kulybaev, a native of Uzbekistan, joined the company in August. He has previously danced Nutcracker in St. Petersburg, so brings a real Russian flair to the part. He is very excited to dance the role of the Nutcracker Prince for the first time in Winnipeg.
20 year old Sophia Lee was surprised to be selected to dance the principal role of Clara. She is a member of the Corps de Ballet. "I didn't think it was going to happen this early, to be honest. I'm worried, still, but excited, for sure.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 11:56 AM
The Stamford dancer, the daughter of Olga Savchuk, will play the much-beloved role of Clara on Friday, Dec. 23, when the Connecticut Ballet presents its final performance of "The Nutcracker" -- set on Christmas Eve -- with Tchaikovsky's dazzling music.
In the featured roles -- in this one performance only -- will be American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Gillian Murphy, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Jose Manuel Carreno, who retired a few months ago as principal dancer with the ABT and is now making guest appearances around the world.
Posted 21 December 2011 - 12:30 PM
The archive was developed following the company's 50th anniversary in 1976, and formally established in 1982 when Marie Rambert donated her own personal collection.
More than 600 boxes of documents and film and audio footage will also be preserved. The VHS collection, which is currently at risk, will be digitised with many items available online.
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