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Friday, January 6


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#1 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:22 AM

A review of the English National Ballet in "Strictly Gershwin" by Ismene Brown for The Arts Desk.

When the show premiered in 2008, its chief assets were the veteran guest singer Barbara Cook and the effervescent ballroom duo Lilia Kopylova and Darren Bennett doing Latin. This is all much watered down now, with a quartet of singers of skimpy nasal vocal style, and the Thpaneesh numbers now done inhouse by ENB’s own.

Deane’s zeal for showmanship is rarely in doubt in any of his productions, and there is a white-jacketed orchestra in a glow of soft lights energetically playing Gershwin for a hyperactive conductor, who demands your attention by smacking his own bottom with his baton. The ballet dancers wear unstinted costumes, dazzlingly trimmed by Swarovski (you can never have too many sequins at ENB), and one of the two extremely cheesy tap dancers turns out to sing rather better than the singers. Take a bow, Paul Robinson.



#2 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:25 AM

A letter to the editor of The Salt Lake Tribune complains of rude behavior at Ballet West's "Nutcracker."

At the intermission, another patron asked her to not talk during the second half of the ballet, and I seconded the request. She was incensed and felt that we had insulted her. During the rest of the ballet, she glowered and made snide comments.



#3 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:27 AM

A preview of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble by Robert Johnson in The Star-Ledger.

Since 2008, the ensemble’s touring has increased significantly, and its repertoire has expanded. The ensemble performs new acquisitions such as George Balanchine’s virtuoso “Glinka Pas de Trois,” along with specially commissioned works and small-scale classics from the old DTH repertoire.

“We found our name recognition was still good, and people wanted to see Dance Theatre of Harlem,” says Keith Saunders, the artistic director. “My dancers stay and continue to work with this ensemble because we are going somewhere.”



#4 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:30 AM

A feature on the new book, "Robert Tewsley: Dancing Beyond Borders," with special reference to Kang Sue-jin.

“What was so special about Sue-jin is that every time we danced together it was different. There was this unspoken trust: we knew that whatever happened, the other would react and adapt. We could be spontaneous,” Tewsley recounts in the book. “From the very beginning, we understood each other without words.”

The book contains some gorgeous and rare pictures of the couple, particularly notable being a scene from Tchaikovky’s Swan Lake.


#5 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:32 AM

A preview of the lineup for this year's Spoleto Festival in Charleston.

Dance was a huge catalyst at last year's event (the glamorous Corella Ballet was the talk of the festival), and this year looks to repeat that success. Two of the biggest names in contemporary dance—Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet—will perform at Charleston's largest venue, the Gaillard Auditorium. Two dance acts with connections to Atlanta—Kyle Abraham is guest artist at Emory this year and zoe/juniper will perform at the Rialto's inaugural "off the Edge" festival in late January—are also slated for this year's Spoleto.



#6 dirac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 10:34 AM

The Grand Rapids Ballet Company's Junior Company was featured in the Orange Bowl's halftime show. Video.

The 21 girls and five boys from GRBC's Junior Company were among students from 17 U.S. States and Canada.

The School of Grand Rapids Ballet was invited to be part of 78th annual Orange Bowl last fall, becoming the only school from Michigan at the second-oldest bowl game in the nation.



#7 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:23 PM

More on the turmoil at San Jose Ballet by in The San Jose Mercury News.

On Dec. 22, Ziesel announced a new partnership with American Ballet Theatre, which is expected to give Ballet San Jose access to the prestigious New York troupe's coaching and some of its repertory. Precisely what the collaboration means for San Jose audiences remains unclear.

In his Thursday email from Japan, Nahat said, "Ballet San Jose is just a name now, being substituted with another brand." As for recent changes in Nahat's role, Ziesel said she couldn't comment for publication. She did say, "We hope to come to an agreement that will maintain his continued involvement in an appropriate capacity."

#8 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:26 PM

The costumes of North Star Ballet go on display.

All the North Star Ballet’s costumes are designed by Celeste Sullivan, a designer based in Lexington, Ky. Those designs, all hand-drawn, are given to costumers Kay Hackney and Sue Perry Jordan who, with artistic director Norman Shelburne, bring the designs to life. It’s a complex process involving advanced sewing techniques, especially for creations like tutus or bodices. The costumes must also have generous seam allowances to allow for fittings year after year. With the exception of “The Nutcracker,” costumes might not be used every year.

#9 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:36 PM

A review of the Paris Opera Ballet in "La Source" by Michael Church in The Independent.

The choreographer, Jean-Guillaume Bart, has complemented Lacroix's lovingly detailed Caucasus costumes with the sort of formation dances now sponsored by Chechnya's Kremlin-backed tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov, which gives the whole thing a queasy topicality. But what impresses most is the way his narrative choreography emerges bandbox-fresh, without departing in any way from the classical style. The score's re-orchestration by Marc-Olivier Dupin might almost be by Tchaikovsky, so closely does it mirror his gestures.

#10 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:37 PM

A review of the English National Ballet in 'Strictly Gershwin' by Clement Crisp in The Financial Times.

This Strictly Gershwin is unashamedly populist. The tunes are part of the common and happily shared understanding of Broadway and that Hollywood where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers live in memory. The production is burnished within an inch of its life, the big band plays roaringly on stage and its conductor behaves with a vivacity that is more than ingratiating. There are rows of lights framing the action, blatant costuming, hum-along melodies, projections of Hollywood stars – not least a clip of Fred and Ginger as reproach to almost everyone, not least the oh-so-determined tap-dancers and a couple of steel-cutting sopranos. And a couple of cyclists. It is vastly energetic, lapel-gripping and undoubtedly (at 150 minutes) too damn long.

#11 dirac

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:39 PM

A review in brief of Scottish Ballet in "The Sleeping Beauty" by Kelly Apter for The List.

Fusing elements from several different versions of the original tale, the duo take us from 19th century palatial splendour, to a forest filled with fairytale characters in search of a happy ending, before ending in a stylish 1940s hotel. Page’s choreography undergoes something of a journey, too.

#12 dirac

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:34 AM

A story on the turmoil at Ballet San Jose by Janice Berman for San Francisco Classical Voice.

In August, Ballet San Jose, amid financial troubles, dropped its planned fall season except for its December Nutcracker. The company’s turn away from Nahat’s leadership began as early as September, when talks began with ABT. Nahat was told in October, as the ABT partnership was being negotiated, that his sole responsibility was to rehearse the dancers in The Nutcracker. Since then, Nahat said in early December, he had had no conversations with members of the executive committee nor with Executive Director Ziesel. Finally, a few days before Christmas, the board chairman John Fry, the company’s primary benefactor, who has given the company $30 million since 2003, spoke with Nahat.




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