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Wednesday, February 8


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#1 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:18 AM

More reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Don Quixote."

The Weekly Herald

Eight shipping containers delivered the period-designed costumes, wigs, props and towering sets from Amsterdam to Seattle via the Panama Canal. The idea was to stage the modern look that Alexei Ratmansky had created to show off his choreography for The Dutch National Ballet’s “Don Quixote.” The fortune PNB must have spent was worth every penny. Sunny Spain vibrates clear, warm, festive colors like you can’t believe.


Seattle Weekly

That probably wouldn't be the best use of your time, however, since the principal dancers are tearing up the stage. And filling every inch of it, since PNB is using every dancer in the company for this production. Four couples play the principal roles, and last weekend I saw three of them: Carla Körbes (freshly dyed brunette) with Karel Cruz; Kaori Nakamura with Lucien Postlewaite; and Carrie Imler with Batkhurel Bold. Although each pairing reveled in the Spanish-inflected choreography, Imler probably gave the snappiest performance, flashing through brilliant pointe work and powerhouse jumps, showing speed and elevation as the sassy Kitri.



#2 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:20 AM

A review of New York City Ballet by Robert Greskovic in The Wall Street Journal.

While Mr. Wheeldon's ballets received performances of impressive confidence, others works did not. Neither Rebecca Krohn nor Ask la Cour performed in Balanchine's incisive "Stravinsky Violin Concerto" (1972) to more than sketchy effect. And while energetic Andrew Veyette portrayed the beleaguered husband in Jerome Robbins's "The Concert" (1956) with real humor and subtlety of timing, his overly brash account of the virtuoso demands of Balanchine's "Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux" pummeled the choreography's classical niceties.

In his display class, Mr. Martins repeatedly had his often uncomfortable-looking students demonstrate both the wrong and right ways to do classroom exercises. The wrong way, he relentlessly noted, was how they were done "everywhere else" except at the School of American Ballet, leaving the skeptic in the audience to wonder when and how Mr. Martins observed classes everywhere else in the world-wide realm of ballet. His "us vs. them" shtick rang with high-handed bravado; given the unevenness that can be found in NYCB performances these days, Mr. Martins's boasts of superiority are not exactly on secure footing.



#3 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:21 AM

Ballet Idaho performs this month.

Firebird will feature three ballets, all choreographed to Russian music. The title performance will feature music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos. According to the company's description of the performance, this piece tells the tale of a mystical, half-bird-half-woman creature and an archetypal Russian prince of legend.

The second dance, Circus, choreographed by Ballet Master Alex Ossadnik and set to music by Dmitri Shostakovich, promises to be exactly what the title suggests: a collection of acrobats, magicians, love-struck clowns and everything you'd find under the big top, but less Water for Elephants and more ballet style.



#4 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:22 AM

The Perth International Arts Festival kicks off this weekend.

Among the performers going through their paces yesterday were the dancers of WA Ballet, warming up for the opening of the outdoor season of Ballet at the Quarry in City Beach.

The Quarry season marks the start of a milestone year for the WA Ballet, which celebrates its 60th birthday.



#5 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:24 AM

The New York City Ballet Annual Luncheon was held this week. Item in brief.

The wife of Scott Bommer, founding partner and president of SAB Capital Management LP, she was a co-chairman of the event and spoke as guests finished plates of chicken and lentil salad.

“We raised $300,000 today. Each year we spend $600,000 on point shoes,” said Bommer, in a taupe Lanvin dress. “That’s two annual lunches.”



#6 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:26 AM

A review of Matthew Bourne's 'Nutcracker' at the Birmingham Hippodrome by Amy Burns in The Express & Star.

Nutcracker! had all the hallmarks of a Bourne show with glitzy backdrops – including a giant pair of lips – and choreography that at times was barely recognisable as ballet.

So modern is Bourne’s take on the traditional art that at times you feel you are watching an entirely different medium of dance such as hip hop or street dancing.



#7 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

Alberta Ballet's "Cinderella" opens this week.

By his own admission, the intervening years of hands-on neo-classical experience between Cinderellas — his first premiered at the Jube in 2004 and was later enhanced for a 2007 remount — have taught Grand-Maitre much about the older modern style and given him an almost intuitive grasp of the craftsmanship required for a story ballet in the genre.

As well, having the prominent American choreographer and classical guru Kirk Peterson in Calgary on numerous occasions during recent seasons to create Alberta Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty in late 2010 (and this spring, a new Swan Lake) has done wonders for him in learning how to make narrative ballet stylized, yet still natural, says Grand-Maitre.



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#8 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:43 AM

Grand Rapids Ballet Company photo gallery.

Dancers move from light to dark. They touch. They transform the space of the stage. They are buildings that move. They are sculpture.

"You see the strength in the body. It's pure architecture," says Grand Rapids Ballet Company artistic director Patricia Barker.



#9 dirac

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet Columbus collaborate on a production of "Carmen."


Audiences will also be treated to a rousing rendition of the legendary, hum-along score, played live by the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Carmon DeLeone. Another bonus? The show runs two weekends.

As befits such a powerful and sexy story, this Carmen is all about how people connect — a certain physical energy that really connects people to one another on a more visceral level, onstage and off. It’s evident both in Amodio’s personality and in his process. At the Ballet, the word for him on everyone’s lips is “sweet.”



#10 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:28 AM

A preview of the Joffrey Ballet's "Winter Fire" program by Hedy Weiss for The Chicago Sun-Times.

In many ways the most ambitious piece on the program is McGregor’s “Infra” (the Latin word for “below,” which is no casual choice). Created for the Royal Ballet, it debuted in London in 2008, and its current U.S. premiere by the Joffrey (realized, according to McGregor, only because of Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater’s “sheer tenacity”) marks the first time any company other than the Royal Ballet has performed it.



#11 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:32 AM

An interview with Wayne McGregor.

And on the day the Straight reaches him at home in London, he’s in the midst of preparing for what may be his most crazily ambitious project yet: choreographing thousands of schoolkids for the world-record-setting Big Dance Trail to mark the arrival of the Olympic torch in May. The plan is for 265,000 young people around Britain to dance a five-minute piece simultaneously.

“It’s the biggest single piece of choreography performed in the Guinness Book of World Records. So I’m quite challenged to make a piece that would suit five-year-olds and 15-year-olds,” the affable McGregor says, sounding as excited as a schoolkid himself. “They’ll learn it online and then just before the torch comes, they’ll have two hours in school working on this dance.” As if that feat weren’t enough, he’ll follow it up in July for the Olympics, choreographing a 2,000-person piece in Trafalgar Square.



#12 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:37 AM

A review of Dance Theatre of Harlem II by Gia Kourlas in The New York Times.

The 16-member company, directed by Keith Saunders, is all over the map in terms of talent, skill level and charisma. (And yikes, more partnering classes are seriously in order.) David Fernandez’s "Six Piano Pieces (Harlem Style)" was a harmless enough opener — though repetitive, it had structure and spirit — but after that the repertory swerved all over the place, from "Glinka Pas de Trois," a seldom-seen George Balanchine ballet from 1955, to "Contested Space," a new work by Donald Byrd that essentially turned the dancers into automatons.



#13 dirac

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:39 AM

A preview of the Misako Ballet's "Classical with a Japanese Twist."

In that sense, the most important hands behind the Sunday, Feb. 12 presentation belong to Misako Aoki-Oda, a quiet, but resolute woman who trained in London, danced professionally in Asia and toured the world with a string of renowned ballet performers, Rudolf Nureyev, among them.

Last year the Japanese native produced a dance benefit to aid victims of the earthquake that devastated her homeland. She showcased her dancers in a studio setting and encouraged little ones to design paper flowers for the Red Cross Relief Fund. Sunday's concert, though, simply celebrates dance with her chamber ballet company, guest artists from area colleges and young talent from local studios. And, it's the first time her Misako Ballet Co. has danced a full-length program on the Jim Rouse Theater stage.



#14 dirac

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 05:09 PM

An interview with the choreographer Reed Luplau.

Luplau has been based in New York since 2010 and is in no doubt that the move was the right one. "The thing that I love is that I fight to be seen in New York," he explains.

Luplau is certainly "being seen". Having danced with Stephen Petronio and Barton, he is currently working with prominent choreographer Lar Lubovitch. Now he is also facing an exciting new challenge. "I've been cast in a film by Alan Brown, so I am making my acting debut in a new dance film called Seven Dancers," he says with a grin.




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