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MCB Program IV-"Coppelia".Miami.

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#31 Birdsall


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 01:30 PM

Symphonic Dances was the one where Arja jumped sideways into a danseur's arms. It seems to be Ramantsky's signature move in his choreography.

I liked Symphonic Dances a lot more than Viscera, although I didn't mind Viscera. I think Viscera is a better beginning or middle piece for a rep program but Symphomic Dances could end a program!

#32 cubanmiamiboy


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Posted 15 April 2012 - 07:08 PM

Symphonic Dances was the one where Arja jumped sideways into a danseur's arms. It seems to be Ramantsky's signature move in his choreography.

I liked Symphonic Dances a lot more than Viscera, although I didn't mind Viscera. I think Viscera is a better beginning or middle piece for a rep program but Symphomic Dances could end a program!

Posted Image

#33 bart


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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:29 AM

Weighing in with my impressions of the Coppelia weekend at the Kravis Center.

A handsome production, beautifully lighted. Sets were made down here. Costumes came from ABT's production circa 1990s.

Agree with Bart Birdsall's pleasure at Mary Carmen Catoya's Swanilda on Sunday. I got to see her twice, once in rehearsal. It was an amazing performance, perfectly balancing the acting and the dancing demands. Catoya has a rare gift of projecting clarity. Every movement of feet head and upper body can be seen, no matter how fast the tempo. Never ever seems fudged or blurred.

I confess to a partiality to dancers who can combine super-fast, super-accurate footwork with a serene smile, elegant epaulement, and the illusion of effortlessness. Catoya's Swanilda Sunday pulled it all together. I can still close my eyes and visualize 6 or 7 combinations that remind me why I love classical ballet so much. Two lines of brises volees, a fantastic Scottish dance (agree with Bart B. on this), and ... that wonderful pas de deux. There was an instant towards the end in which Rebello promenaded her in arabesque penchee, with support coming only from each dancer's extended arms. At the end, Catoya rose into a gorgeous high, unsupported first arabesque. She held it. And held it.. A great moment, especially since the pdd is followed almost immediately by the super-fast, super-difficult finale dancing for Swanilda and everyone else on stage.

Renato Penteado, dancing with Jeanette Delgado, was a fantastic Franz. Among his other talents, he's a natural comedian (natural means simple and spontaneous, in my book). He's also a superb technician. The combination is just about perfect for this ballet. He and Delgado work well with one another.

Kleber Rebello, paired with Catoya, was performing what I was told is his first Franz. He gets better and better. Several women who sit in my section of the orchestra on Sunday, and who are long-time ballet viewers, fell in love with him. The bravura dancing in Act I and the Act III pas de deux was splendid. (If someone ever decided to market "balon," they should hire Rebello for the television commercials.)

Loved a lot of the solo dancing: Zoe Zien and Callie Manning in Dawn. Emily Bromberg and (especially) Suzanne Limbrunner in Prayer. And (in the rehearsal) Ashley Knox as Spinner. On opening night these roles were danced by three different principals who were also dancing Swanhilda that weekend. An interesting experiment, but not (I think) a success. Dawn was erratic; Prayer was stiff; and Spinner (who danced Swanilda full out in rehearsal that afternoon) looked tired.

I fell in love with the Delibes score and was grateful for Gary Sheldon and the Opus One orchestra for bringing out the nuances. They, working with Sheldon, get better and better. (The rehearsal was performed to taped music. If anyone thinks that live musicians are a financial indulgence, I urge them to attend back-to-back performances at which a single cast dances first to tape and then to live music. The difference, especiall with a score like Coppelia (or Giselle, last time out), is huge.

I also fell in love with the Dance of Swanilda's Friends. Both casts, six friends each -- PLUS Swanilda. At first the music and the choreography come across as little more than "pretty," but everything develops into something richer and more complex. It's addictive. To me, anyway. Posted Image

bart (with a small "b")

#34 Birdsall


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Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:33 AM

Even though ballet can be danced to a taped recording, I personally feel cheated. There is nothing like live music. No matter how good a recording is, live music is always more exciting. Our ears hear where the strings or the brass instruments are in relations to each other better in a live setting.

I don't think opera companies would ever dare to put a soundtrack on (opera without words) and have the singers sing to that. It is unthinkable. So I sort of wish ballet companies would view live orchestras as a necessity, and they probably do to the extent they can. A touring ballet group has to cut corners somewhere. But let's hope MCB can continue to have a live orchestra!!!

Bart, are you familiar with the opera Lakme? I think you would like that too. It is by Delibes. His Sylvia score is gorgeous too. I have Darcy Bussel in it on video. Love that!

#35 esperanto



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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:04 PM

Coppelia at Broward.


This is a tricky subject for MCB's staging. I didn't see their last run, so I don't know how did they decide to handle this in the past, but as per right now I knew this would be a choreographically interesting presentation since the programme only vaguely states "Choreography after Arthur Saint-Leon". Really..?! How can we even think this staging has, even remotely, something to do with what was presented in Paris as back as 1870..? Whereas the staging of Giselle had the name of Villella up front to justify for all the takings on different versions, here we don't have the chance to know who was the responsible hand and mind behind the dances being presented. A faux pas, if I may. I say, hey...it is OK to copy and paste from older, recognized productions. No shame to be felt. Said that, I start by saying that, again, I saw bits of other productions here and there, including an iconic excerpt from Alonso's that I've never seen anywhere else-(good!).

Act I

Act I was really delightful. Of course, I did miss the extra music that in the Cuban version allows for Swannilda to make a full, triumphant entrance before engaging in the Waltz. Here Swannilda's entrance goes a bit after the waltz has started. Also, I noticed much more mime on this scene than that of Alonso, which includes a difficult variation with Italian fouetes without taking out the mime.
The wheat rustle Adagio is very beautiful, tasteful and clear on its message. The one thing I missed here was the rest of the couples that dance along Franz and Swannilda around them, all playing the trick of pretending to really listen the rustle to a frustrated Franz. Here only the lead couple dances, but it was very well done. On Sunday matinée, Mary Carmen Catoya dropped accidentally the rustle way before the ending-(she still needed it !)-and the day was saved by one corps member-(can't find his name in the roster...he is the only black male dancer in the company)-who bravely stepped in front, picked the thing and got in between the two lovers to offer it back. It was all very organic.
The Mazurka and Czarda was also done with great spirit. One complain I have, just as another poster noted from Balanchine's version, is that the Czarda was danced by the same Mazurka dancers, with the same mazurka costumes, with I agree is a mistake, since they are totally different dances from two distinctive different places.

Act II

Act II was very simple...too simple i would say. I think a little more could have been done with Swannilda and her friends in the dancing area. Yes, this act is mostly all about mime and comedy, but I've seen versions were not only the girls, but also the dolls dances are way more developed-(and there are more of them). Here we have only a Chinese male doll, a Harlequin and an Astronomer-(more like a Wizard)-with a telescope. Don't we all remember the great rubber male doll from the Australian DVD...? Posted Image The comical mime sequences of Swannilda and her friends were priceless. I laughed a lot!


Choreographically, the Wedding PDD had its ups and downs, but allow me to explain this. Thing is, the original music of the PDD is longer than the cuts Alonso uses in Havana. For instance, during the coda Cuban Swannilda engages in a sparkling, lovely series of sautés on pointe, with the working leg changing from attitude devant to derrière and right into penchee arabesque all while traveling and turning, followed right away by the fouettes. They duplicated all that here-(Posted Image well, sans the penchee and the traveling ), with the difference that Miami allows Swannilda to exit in between the sautees and the fouetes while the corps girls dance, in time for her to catch a breath and come back for the fouetes. It was still a HUGE surprise that they included this Cuban segment, for which that was always a highly expected moment in Havana.(Do I have to say how Viengsay does the unthinkable here...? Posted Image ). The PDD finished with that other iconic final pose of Franz grabbing Swannilda on his back with one hand around her waist to create a beautiful diagonal with their bodies. I thing this is a pretty standard final pose for this PDD for what I've seen in all the versions.

This is the coda segment I talk about...


To be continued...

thanks so much for that clip of Alonso. She's terrific in this, indeed in most dances.

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