Q. How does the process between you work? Do you start with specific ideas?
MILLEPIED I think every time it has been about what we are in the mood to make. We start discussing it, go from simple feelings or descriptions to some complicated place, then take it back. This time around Nico wrote a few sections, more ideas really than full pieces. I listened and told him what I was really drawn to.
NICO MUHLY The big question about making a ballet is: What is the emotional heart of the thing? What’s important in these initial sketches is that they are both specific and vague. I try to be a little elusive, neutral, so that it can go a bunch of different ways. If they are too specific, it sort of pins you down.
Friday, May 4
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:39 AM
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:41 AM
The high-octane Swipe would have been a more suitable closer than Michael Smuin's majestic and somber Symphony of Psalms from 2006, set to an anguished score by Stravinsky. This mysterious piece evoked an underwater world, as enormous, translucent, iceberg-like structures were hoisted into the air at the beginning of the piece to reveal the inhabitants trapped in this world. The vocabulary was far more classical than the other two pieces, although the dancers often wrapped themselves around each other in distinctly modern, architectural shapes. The fiendishly difficult partnering included many upside-down lifts and promenades with the women's extensions at full height. The women resembled radiant, bare-legged ice queens in gorgeous Esther Williams-like costumes, although their consorts looked slightly outlandish in powder-blue short shorts and silky turtlenecks.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:43 AM
Kern’s gift for helping dancers through music developed gradually. He began his career as an opera conductor and knew little about ballet when he was asked to fill in for an ailing conductor at a performance of "Coppélia" at London Festival Ballet. Kern said he sight-read the score and got through the experience, but "it wasn’t love at first sight."
London Festival Ballet kept asking for him, and Kern kept learning how to help dancers with subtle cues and adjustments to tempo that helped them shine onstage. Along the way, he realized he liked conducting ballet, which led to a position as London Festival Ballet’s music director in 1972.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:47 AM
The difference between a merely adequate performance and a thrilling adventure was most pronounced in “Brahms-Schoenberg.” Here, City Ballet repeated its mistake, all too common now, of casting small dancers in big roles. As the supposed centerpiece of the Andante, a jaunty movement that hints at martial glory, Megan Fairchild was easy to miss, with her curtailed lines and faceless personality. In the Rondo alla Zingarese, it was impossible to overlook Maria Kowroski, her long limbs flailing as Tyler Angle pursued her with mock ardor. What a freak show.
Yet in the Intermezzo, a genuine star appeared. In contrast to the grandeur of the other three sections of “Brahms-Schoenberg,” the Intermezzo is an intimate affair. Three mysterious women are the only observers to a swirling and impassioned duet. Flipped in the air, lifted high and then pressed close, Sterling Hyltin clings to her partner, Robert Fairchild, and leans backward with exquisitely articulated shoulders. Her line is gorgeous, her movement lyrical and her whole figure glows with rapture.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:50 AM
And now, in April of 2012, death comes closer to me; to my childhood teacher and one of the celebrated treasures of Oklahoma, Moscelyne Larkin. But her death is not the first loss many of us who loved her experienced with her. As I read her obituary and the remembrances written of her I recalled the last time I spent with her several years ago when I returned to introduce my husband and young son to her. One of my worst fears of loss came true; Ms. Larkin could not remember me.
Ms. Larkin was my ballet teacher, and the studio, her home. Although she toured the world with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancing with such legends as Agnes de Mille, her home was Oklahoma where she married the love of her life, fellow dancer Roman Jasinski, and where, through a school and company, they made a home for ballet.
Posted 04 May 2012 - 10:54 AM
As artistic director of Ballet Kelowna I would publicly like to thank our civic- minded MLAs Norm Letnick, Ben Stewart and Steve Thomson, for their support of all the agencies that were the successful applicants for support from the BC Gaming Commission.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:35 PM
The Oregon Ballet originally commissioned choreographer Trey McIntyre to create this Peter Pan, his first full-length ballet, but funding problems caused him to set the work on the Houston Ballet in 2002. Though he came to Philadelphia to polish his gem on this company, there were still some rough edges opening night.
The flying sequences, in which Wendy (Evelyn Kocak), John (Jonathan Stiles), and Michael (Abigail Mentzer) take off with Peter, had to be rehearsed in another theater until two days before the first performance. Pan was also the god of theater criticism, so I think he might have forgiven the slight scenery malfunctions and occasional missteps when dancers could not always find their places.
Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:50 PM
Everett native Andrew Bartee, a dancer in PNB's company, has choreographed a work that will premier alongside new pieces by Mark Morris, Kiyon Gaines and Margaret Mullin.
The company plans to stage Kent Stowell's "Swan Lake," and "Cinderella," plus Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette."
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