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#46 Rock

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:14 AM


...As for Soiree Balanchine, it's the same problem I always have with POB dancing Balanchine - they just don't understand Balanchinian movement. It's too academically correct and the energy and spirit aren't there.

Serenade needs work. I was completely unmoved by the ending, which is a first. Almost like the dancers weren't really listening to the music. They were listening to the counts but not to what Tschaikovsky was trying to say through the music.


Sorry to hear that the performance wasn't a particularly good one. I imagine different nights/casts did better than others. I can think of quite a few companies that could do with a little of the "academically correct" though. Balanchine performed without precision can be a fright. I happened to dig up the NYCB's "Bringing Balanchine Back" DVD to catch some glimpses of Serenade and that segment (with Darci Kistler) fairs pretty well, but Symphony in C, Symphony in 3 Movements and Western Symphony look all a muddle due to the Corps lack of precision. Energy and speed are there, but no precision. I laugh every time I hear the comments from the Russian dancers about NYCB: "The legs very good. The arms not so good." "Not so good" is putting it mildly - arms at every angle. And different degrees of curvature/straightness. No one seems to realize how much this blurs the choreography and renders it indistinct. Not so good. ;)


Pherank - While most people would agree with you that the NYCB "lacks precision" and that their arms are "not so good", I would point out that his ballets are danced the way Mr. Balanchine liked them danced. He was very particular about port de bras in class, hands, and - particularly - fingers, but he was not interested in everyone looking the same - having their arms at the same levels and getting into strict lines. He called it "synchronized dancing" - like the Rockettes, whom he admired for what they did so well. But he was not interested in having his ballets approached that way. He wanted each dancer to dance as big as they could and if the lines weren't perfect, so be it. Same with the arms. Most ballet goers don't agree with him. But they also don't agree with many of the changes he made to his own ballets - like eliminating the birth scene from Apollo. To him the birth was old-fashioned and almost vulgar. He much preferred the condensed, more abstract version he did in the 70's. I myself very much like the Paris Opera approach to Diamonds. With all the beautiful feet and legs shown so well in perfect lines. To me it's more clear than how it's presented over there in NY. But I would never argue with Balanchine's right to present those works however he saw fit.

#47 pherank

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:35 AM

Pherank - While most people would agree with you that the NYCB "lacks precision" and that their arms are "not so good", I would point out that his ballets are danced the way Mr. Balanchine liked them danced. He was very particular about port de bras in class, hands, and - particularly - fingers, but he was not interested in everyone looking the same - having their arms at the same levels and getting into strict lines. He called it "synchronized dancing" - like the Rockettes, whom he admired for what they did so well. But he was not interested in having his ballets approached that way. He wanted each dancer to dance as big as they could and if the lines weren't perfect, so be it. Same with the arms. Most ballet goers don't agree with him. But they also don't agree with many of the changes he made to his own ballets - like eliminating the birth scene from Apollo. To him the birth was old-fashioned and almost vulgar. He much preferred the condensed, more abstract version he did in the 70's. I myself very much like the Paris Opera approach to Diamonds. With all the beautiful feet and legs shown so well in perfect lines. To me it's more clear than how it's presented over there in NY. But I would never argue with Balanchine's right to present those works however he saw fit.


Hi Rock, I'm actually in agreement with you on most of your points. But I do think that the NYCB Corps, of say, the 1960s and 70s, had a more precise line than we see today. The impression I get looking at the more recent performances is that everyone is kind of 'doing there own thing' within the framework set down by Balanchine, but there's very little sense of the Corps operating as a truly unified whole, which we still get from the Mariinsky and POB Corps. A bit ironic given that Balanchine placed so much importance on ensemble dancing, rather than 'star turns'. Without Balanchine (Danilova, Felia Doubrovska, etc) overseeing the school, things are going to take a different tack of course.

#48 pherank

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 11:50 AM

I believe if you don't like POB style, the different casts all looks the same in Serenade.
POB dances Balanchine in its own way and you may like it or not. I think personally it's the way it should be when you "import" a choreography in a with a strong stylistic tradition.
I also think Agon fared better because the personality of the dancers gave a very interesting turn sometimes to the pas de deux, especially Aurélie Dupont/Nicolas Le Riche and Eve Grinsztajn/Stéphane Bullion.
Prodigal son was all Agnès Letestu...


Sounds great to me. ;)
The POB are always respectful of the source material, and dance techniques, and even if they can't really transform themselves into graduates of the School of American Ballet, they do try very hard to get things right. I think they deserve credit for that. I still wish I could have seen it.

And as a contrast - I've posted this link elsewhere, but it happens to contain a lovely 'demonstration' of the closing scene of Serenade (and since we don't get to see it in the Froustey video):

http://www.kennedy-c...id=M4781&type=A
(Skip to 29:30 in the video timeline. Note that there are long blackouts between scenes - that is not a technical problem.)

#49 Rock

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:13 PM

Not at all. In the 60's and 70's the State Theatre's stage only had little marks at the front of the stage at Center and Quarter on both sides. They now have 8th marks as well as tiny dots that go all the way upstage. They are far more concerned with lines and spacing than formerly, and while it looks nice and organized there is of course less of the thrust and energy they used to have. You can't have both. Dancers can't move full out if they have to stay precisely in line. It makes them much more careful and more concentrated on following who's in front of them than on what they're actually doing themselves. Balanchine preferred the thrust and energy.

#50 Rock

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 12:18 PM

Danilova and Doubrovska worked with Balanchine very early in his career. SAB is now run by dancers who worked with Balanchine in the 60's and 70's and who are more familiar with how his ideas and teaching evolved.

#51 pherank

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 12:20 PM

Danilova and Doubrovska worked with Balanchine very early in his career. SAB is now run by dancers who worked with Balanchine in the 60's and 70's and who are more familiar with how his ideas and teaching evolved.


Just to set the record straight -

George Balanchine died in 1983.
Felia Doubrovska (1896-1981) joined the staff of the School of American Ballet in 1949(?), teaching the advanced girls' classes, and she remained on its staff until a year before her death at 85.
Alexandra Danilova (1903–1997) taught at the School of American Ballet from approximately 1964 to retirement in 1989.

My apologies to the others for the off topic chatter. I do look forward to hearing more first-hand reports from Paris!

#52 pherank

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 07:24 PM

This may be asking too much, but can anyone provide an English translation of Gillot's comments on her upcoming choreographic debut?
Can be simplified, rather than word-for-word. ;)

http://gillot-cunnin.../sousapparence/

#53 silvermash

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:51 AM

This may be asking too much, but can anyone provide an English translation of Gillot's comments on her upcoming choreographic debut?
Can be simplified, rather than word-for-word. ;)

http://gillot-cunnin.../sousapparence/


Hummm... Roughly and my own responsability for misunderstandings …
she said will explore the sentence “appearances are innocent of our mistakes”. Then , she’s talking about the set designer Olivier Mosset who has been very interested in knowing much about the ballet world. The main element of the set is a “pare-char” (bumper tank???) that she called “toblerone”[I’m sure everyone knows the Swiss chocolate barPosted Image ] . She is interested in working with a war object because dance is often war but to reach grace and not death… She said she will draw in the work the energy and emotions she had in her youth in Normandy and that she will explore pointe work, because she feels pointes are sacred. Finally, the dancers whom she had worked with all her life are still mysterious, always unreadable but in the meantime when they dance, she admires them and she’s moved by their bodies and she wants to discover more about their bodies and their personality


Comments : We shall know soon how it turns... 20 dancers are involved I heard: 10 females and 10 males, all on pointes.

#54 trieste

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:33 PM

Thanks silvermash! I have no doubt that this will be fascinating, at the very least! Gillot is a dancer of great intelligence, and it'll be interesting to see if it translates to choreography. Hopefully it'll pop up on YT.

#55 pherank

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 07:12 PM

Comments : We shall know soon how it turns... 20 dancers are involved I heard: 10 females and 10 males, all on pointes.

Thank you, Silvermash. I was wondering about the casting for this dance piece. I'm actually kind of shocked there will be pointe work. ;)
Here's hoping it goes well for Marie-Agnès and company.

#56 silvermash

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 09:26 PM


Comments : We shall know soon how it turns... 20 dancers are involved I heard: 10 females and 10 males, all on pointes.

Thank you, Silvermash. I was wondering about the casting for this dance piece. I'm actually kind of shocked there will be pointe work. ;)
Here's hoping it goes well for Marie-Agnès and company.

Casting is still unknown (the Première is next week so it won't be long!!!) but only one Etoile, Laëtitia Pujol is involved with Premiers danseurs Vincent Chaillet and Alice Renavand. Laëtitia was due to participate to a public rehearsal last week but she was replaced by Aurélia Bellet, a very fine soloist, so perhaps she's still unsure? Usual soloists of comtemporary rep are involved too : names circulating are Amandine Albisson, Audric Bezard, Christelle Granier, Aurélien Houette, Laurence Laffon, Julien Meyzindi, Marc Moreau, Daniel Stokes...
From what I've seen during the public rehearsals, Wayne McGregor has been an inspiration so pointe work is not a surprise.Posted Image

#57 silvermash

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 09:36 AM

an excerpt of the public rehearsal
http://www.operadepa...ie-agnes-gillot

#58 pherank

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 01:26 PM

an excerpt of the public rehearsal
http://www.operadepa...ie-agnes-gillot

Thanks Silvermash. Very interesting. It gave me the idea that having a choreographer/director on stage with the dancers should be part of the choreography. ;)
I like those kinds of things. But I doubt that's what Gillot will end up with.

#59 silvermash

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:49 AM


an excerpt of the public rehearsal
http://www.operadepa...ie-agnes-gillot

Thanks Silvermash. Very interesting. It gave me the idea that having a choreographer/director on stage with the dancers should be part of the choreography. ;)
I like those kinds of things. But I doubt that's what Gillot will end up with.


Yes, it was like a bit of a show in itself Posted Image

#60 silvermash

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 10:34 AM

Casting is now online for the Sous Apparence/Un jour ou deux Programme
Only one cast for the Gillot : Vincent Chaillet, Laëtitia Pujol, Alice Renavand
Three casts for the Cunningham : Emilie Cozette/Hervé Moreau/Nicolas Paul -Stéphanie Romberg or Laurence Laffon/Florian Magnenet/Fabien Révillion
http://www.operadepa...r/Distribution/

Last week, casting for Don Quixote was also released.
http://www.operadepa...-don-quichotte/


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