English National Ballet's forays into areas of artistic risk are rare, so it was heartening to see them cut loose in Beyond Ballets Russes, a programme of work from, and inspired by, the Diaghilev era. George Williamson, a company dancer and aspiring choreographer, opened the evening with a new version of Firebird. Williamson retains Stravinsky's score but discards all other elements of Mikhail Fokine's 1910 ballet. The programme notes make dispiriting reference to "resources" and "the environment", but what David Bamber's sci-fi designs and Williamson's retro-derivative choreography actually give us is a kind of Marvel Comics cabaret, with Ksenia Ovsyanick a sexy, mutant superheroine – think Mystique from X-Men with neck-feathers. Other characters come and go – Junor Souza's gladiatorial Captain, Laurretta Summerscales's demure, kickass Purity, a farouche trio of Muses – but there's little sense of unfolding story, and only Osvyanick gets steps she can really have fun with.
Saturday, March 24
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:11 PM
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:12 PM
It's not by accident that all three choreographers are women. Covillo and Parker broke a few gender barriers back in 1951 when they started what was then called the Colorado Concert Ballet and presented their first major performance, "The Nutcracker," at the Bonfils Theatre.
Colorado Ballet wanted to make a point. While there is no shortage of ballerinas out there, women don't often thrive in the ballet world beyond their work on stage. When it comes to classical movement, males make most of the dances and direct the vision of companies.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:14 PM
The company will participate in the Buck Hill Skytop Festival in the Poconos in Pennsylvania in 2013.
Former GRBC artistic director Charthel Arthur will return to Grand Rapids next season to stage a ballet originated by Joffrey Ballet.
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:19 PM
White Lodge is a boarding school. It was established in 1955 by Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet, to provide dancers for the company. Entry is by audition and each year about 1,000 11-year-olds compete for two dozen places, making it one of the most selective educational establishments in Britain. Students stay at White Lodge for five years and, at 16, audition for the Royal Ballet Upper School in Covent Garden, where they spend a further three years, graduating as professional dancers at 18 or 19. For most, the dream is a place in the Royal Ballet itself.
Over the years, however, the odds against home-grown British students fulfilling this ambition have steadily lengthened. Statistically, only around a quarter of those first-year White Lodge students are likely even to graduate from the Upper School, let alone be considered for a place in the company. The Royal Ballet and its schools comprise the nation's flagship classical dance establishment, so why are the odds so comprehensively stacked against British children?....
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:25 PM
A two-day fund-raising drive raised $11,350 for the family, said Valeria Gospodinov, owner of the Euro Market in Broomall, which organized the effort. "People were so generous and helpful, and I'm proud of what we did," said Gospodinov, who had known Kadiyska since she arrived in the United States three years ago on a scholarship to the Rock School for Dance Education.
Posted 25 March 2012 - 04:20 PM
From the company and guests, Lang matched living dancers with the four historic ones, sometimes double or triple casting to suggest moments in those careers.
Sean Howe portrayed Vaslav Nijinsky, the dynamic Russian dancer. Howe conjured a convincing level of tension with increasingly tortured postures and distorted moves to represent the mental disintegration that finally destroyed Nijinsky’s career and life.
Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:39 PM
And he found love. When same-sex marriage became legal in New York last year, he married Shaun O’Brien, the celebrated character dancer with the New York City Ballet. They had been together for more than 60 years and died less than two weeks apart — Mr. Alexander on March 7 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at age 92; Mr. O’Brien on Feb. 23 at 86. They shared a Victorian house in Saratoga Springs.
“If there is a cause of death, it’s a broken heart,” his friend Jane Klain said in confirming Mr. Alexander’s death. “It’s as simple as that.”
Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:50 PM
Natalia Magnicaballi blew out her anterior cruciate ligament in a devastating injury last year that for many professional athletes can be career-ending. But she's back, to the pleasure of her many devoted fans.
"I'm stronger than before," she says. "My knee is great."
Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:39 AM
Beginning with a revival of Jessica Lang's 5-year-old "La Belle Danse" and concluding with the premiere of Ma Cong's "Luminitza," this program exemplifies the philosophy of the company, reiterated by Artistic Director Stoner Winslett in her curtain speech, that dance expresses the human spirit, in its highest form, through movement.
There is no doubt the company grows technically stronger each year, as evidenced by growing interest in the Richmond Ballet from the New York and London dance communities, but this growth is closely tied to its choice of repertoire. By building relationships with choreographers such as Lang and Cong, the Richmond Ballet is physically and artistically challenged and is able to offer its audience intriguing new works as well as noteworthy revivals, such as the upcoming production of Agnes de Mille's "Rodeo."
Posted 26 March 2012 - 01:40 PM
Ratmansky’s Firebird offers subtle but important reinterpretations. For instance, in Fokine’s version the 13 maidens enthralled to the wicked wizard Kaschei are mild and virginal, playing catch with apples. Ratmansky has instituted “a little change” in the libretto: the maidens are no longer innocents. Now they are monsters like their deathless leader. In rehearsal, the choreographer gives the corps jagged, jaunty steps. “It is a dangerous place,” he says of their turf. “Men die there. They go to save the girls and they turn to stone.” To rescue them, Ivan, the ballet’s human hero, must divorce the women from their nature. Finally there is something at stake in this fairytale.
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