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Thursday, December 22


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#1 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:17 PM

A review of the cinema and television broadcast of New York City Ballet's Nutcracker by Robert Greskovic in The Wall Street Journal.

The only "Live From Lincoln Center" TV broadcast of a complete Balanchine ballet in the choreographer's lifetime was of "Coppelia" in 1978. It was said then that the balletmaster found the result disappointing—"dancing matchsticks," in his view. Balanchine might well have had a more positive reaction had he been able to see this month's big-screen HD transmission, with its large scale, sharp resolution and inspired direction (by Alan Skog).

On the wide screen of Theater 7 in New York's Union Square Stadium 14, for an overflow audience from Theater 5, the NYCB performance shimmered under the cameras' eyes and in the stage lighting's glow. The 51 children in this production, all rehearsed by the company and trained at its School of American Ballet, filled the screen with expressions of wonder as well as with radiance.



#2 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:21 PM

Another review of the broadcast by Apollinaire Scherr in The Financial Times.

The movie also illuminated details in the dancing. Backstage at intermission, the perky talk show host Kelly Ripa asked principal Megan Fairchild if she had always wanted to be the Sugarplum Fairy. She said no, she had simply wanted whatever role fitted her at the time, whether mouse or Marie. During the ballet’s climactic pas de deux, you could see how this enduring faith in the humble present shaped her dancing. As her cavalier Joaquin De Luz paused while promenading her in arabesque, she looked into his eyes – a silent, necessary communication. The multiplex crowd cheered when the duo’s circle was complete. I could hear them cheering in the theatre, too, but there they were responding to the conclusion of the long arc of movement, which the camera had cut up; they couldn’t see this single intimate moment like we could.



#3 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:26 PM

Canadian Pacific Ballet presents "The Nutcracker Suite."

It's not the only performance of the holiday mainstay that Victoria audiences will have seen this season, however. Just weeks ago, Dance Victoria welcomed the Alberta Ballet and its production of The Nutcracker at the Royal Theatre.

McMonagle says the competition hasn't deterred Canadian Pacific Ballet from its commitment to make The Nutcracker an annual offering. "Sure, I'm worried. Absolutely," he said. "But I like to imagine that although it's a shared niche, we offer a different product."



#4 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:30 PM

A review of the Birmingham Royal Ballet by Janet Smith for Straight.com.

Choreographed by the Birmingham’s artistic director, David Bintley, to mark the company’s 20th anniversary, this Cinderella opens with the title character grieving at the grave of her lost mother. Later, she toils in a basement of grimy tiles and a gaping fireplace that designer John Macfarlane has created to look like the mouth to hell itself. When it’s about to hit midnight at the ball, the huge, mechanical cogs and wheels of a clock appear, Metropolis-like, behind the stage, and the frantic clanging of the hour makes you think it’s the end of times.



#5 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:31 PM

A review of Northern Ballet's "Beauty and the Beast" by Rod McPhee in The Yorkshire Post.

Without being clumsy or ugly, David Nixon’s choreography cleverly reflects the awkward animal movements this creature would inevitably display. Dixon executed them flawlessly and even opposite the exquisite Martha Leebolt as Beauty, there is no clash.

In fact there are truly mesmeric moments, particularly during the pas de deux between beauty and the beast, and between beauty and Kenneth Tindall as Prince Orian, the vain royal punished for his narcissism by being transformed into the hideous chimera at the heart of this story.



#6 dirac

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 12:32 PM

Darcey Bussell talks about her dance heroes and heroines.

Fred Astaire
As a little girl, I didn’t dream of being a ballet dancer, I dreamt of being a movie star like Ginger Rogers and dancing with Fred Astaire. I used to watch the Sunday double-bills on TV and Iong to be part of what seemed a perfect Disneyland world. Astaire was a genius.
Cheek to Cheek from Top Hat was his iconic dance with Ginger Rogers and it was such a joy re-creating it — although dancing in heels was very hard for me. He made everything look so easy, but trust me, it is not!



#7 dirac

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 12:56 PM

Ballet student Jack Widdowson is making a good recovery after a mugging. Video.

"However, this incident hasn't at all diminished his determination to succeed as a top ballet dancer," Dr Widdowson said.

"He's already talking with his tutors at the London Contemporary Dance School, who secured his apprenticeship with the prestigious ballet company in Bern, about how he can continue his coursework while he recovers and he is wholly focused on returning to the stage as soon as possible."

#8 dirac

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 08:35 PM

A story on Oakland Ballet's community outreach efforts by Sara Hayden in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Teachers, principals and students were only too happy to oblige. Since then, Lustig's company has presented comprehensive programs at schools that offer information about ballet's history, training, performance highlights and a choreography workshop. Through donations, the company is able to give away thousands of tickets to families who otherwise would not have the chance to see the ballet.
"I don't want anybody to feel that what we're doing is something elitist, that you have to have a degree to understand it," Lustig says. "I think that that's the greatest power of this art form - you don't have to be verbally proficient to understand 'The Nutcracker.' "

#9 dirac

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 08:39 PM

Top five events in dance from 2011 by Tresca Weinstein in The Albany Times Union. Photo gallery.

Mark Morris taking a bow at his company’s 30th-anniversary performance, Aug. 24, at Jacob’s Pillow. It was a sight to bring a tear to the eye. The former bad boy of dance is now a legend. Morris carries more weight and less hair than he did when he burst onto the dance scene three decades ago with his wavy locks and exuberant persona, but his work still elicits a delighted satisfaction. He has perfected a kind of magic with his troupe’s combination of playfulness, unabashed beauty and technical virtuosity.

#10 dirac

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Posted 24 December 2011 - 10:51 PM

A feature on Taylor and Kaitlyn Woods, sisters appearing in the Joffrey's Nutcracker.

The sisters were among hundreds of young area dancers who turned out for the Joffrey’s auditions in September. Both had studied ballet for more than five years, and both had previously performed in local productions of the Nutcracker — Taylor five times and Kaitlyn four. When asked if she was nervous during the auditions, Kaitlyn says, “sort of.”

#11 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:42 PM

An extract from the new book, Luminous: Celebrating 50 Years of the Australian Ballet.

This Friday - November 2, 1962 - marked the birth of the Australian Ballet at Her Majesty's Theatre in Quay Street, Sydney. Van Praagh, the artistic director, had spent the previous two months rehearsing Swan Lake, alongside Ray Powell, the man who took her arm as they walked into the theatre.

Backstage, they knew, was a man who would not let them down. How could he? Erik Bruhn was the finest male ballet dancer in the West, a product of the Royal Danish Ballet, a true prince to play the prince who falls in love with a swan. Bruhn's dance partner was his former fiancee, Sonia Arova, a Bulgarian ballerina known for her strong balances en pointe and her exotic good looks.


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