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Friday, May 11


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#1 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:11 AM

Reviews of New York City Ballet's gala performance.

The New York Times

Thursday’s gala was titled “À la Française”: Its gimmicks were Frenchness and fashion. Mr. Martins’s new ballet and the old Balanchine one are to music by French composers; Mr. Millepied is French-born; and both new ballets had designs from the fashion world: the sisters behind the Rodarte label, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, created the costumes for Mr. Millepied’s piece, and Gilles Mendel of J. Mendel designed those for Mr. Martins’s. But while “Two Hearts,” Mr. Millepied’s ballet, has the virtue of showcasing the outstanding young ballerina Tiler Peck, it and Mr. Martins’s piece were just essays in froth and charm.

A ballet is a choreographer’s view of human energy; it will demonstrate his or her philosophy. Neither of these new works shows a choreographer seriously interested in modernity. The kinds of dancing Mr. Martins and Mr. Millepied present are facile, polished and untroubling; the worlds they put onstage are exclusively heterosexual and uniformly polite.

The Los Angeles Times

Millepied’s ballet also featured name-recognition costume design. His cast of 14 was dressed by Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, in striking black and white marked by geometric patterning. (Up next for the Mulleavys is the costume design for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's "Don Giovanni" beginning May 18.) The costumes seemed puzzlingly disconnected to the lyrical and pastoral tone of Millepied’s ballet, which marks a new maturity in its sophisticated yet unforced effects.

As he has in the past, Millepied proves he learned important lessons well from working with Jerome Robbins, and the ballet evokes youthful villagers in whose midst the central couple – Tiler Peck and Tyler Angle – are outsiders, somehow ill at ease and not fitting within its parameters.


#2 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:13 AM

A story on the gala by Pia Catton in The Wall Street Journal.

One dazzling part of the night was onstage during Balanchine's masterpiece ballet "Symphony in C." City Ballet has issued new costumes bedazzled by Swarovski. "The old ones were more of a creamy white with satin bows and flowers," said City Ballet's principal dancer Megan Fairchild, who danced the ballet's first movement. "There's a lot of bling on them now."

Swarovski also has taken sparkle a step further. While dancers in lead roles typically wear fake diamond earrings that suggest the shimmer and luxury of a royal court, now even members of the corps de ballet wear earrings in "Symphony in C." The earrings were designed by former City Ballet dancer Jamie Wolf, who is now a jewelry designer, and it was the first time the company has had earrings designed for a ballet; usually the dancers wear their own.

#3 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:15 AM

A slideshow of the making of the new costumes for "Symphony in C."

Sure there were over 105,000 Swarovski crystals used for the costumes–but what really made them special is that they were brand new—a rarity for New York City Ballet which tends to stick with the original costumes Karinska designed for the Balanchine ballets, making tweaks and adjustments here and there to fit the dancers. “This is very rare for the shop to build a ballet of this scale,” costume director Marc Happel told us. “Usually we will replace a tutu or do six or seven but to do over 40 is kind of unheard of. We’ve been working on them for over a year.”

#4 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:20 AM

A review of Washington Ballet by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

I’m offering this: No more thigh slapping, please. It always seems to accompany a wide-legged squat and a hard, taunting look, and the effect is cheesier than a chimichanga.

Liang was not the only offender. Slaps were heard in all three works on the program, although other cliches surfaced less frequently. Liang, being Taiwanese, is at something of a disadvantage in creating a Latin dance, and it showed. But this was not the only authenticity problem in “La Ofrenda,” which had to do with Mexico’s Day of the Dead. I didn’t believe in its characters or their emotions — Liang didn’t give me time. Romantic encounters popped up out of nowhere and passed in a flurry of physical excitement.

#5 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:23 AM

A feature on Rebecca Houseknecht, one of the dancers featured in "First Position," by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

Webre, a longtime YAGP judge, estimates that over the years he has hired a dozen or more dancers, including current company members Maki Onuki and Jade Payette, from YAGP competitions. But the YAGP performance alone is not enough to go on when considering a possible hire, he says.

“I must see them in class. Some of medalists have been working a whole year or even longer on a variation. Just dancing the one variation. So it can hide flaws. That’s one of the downsides of the competition world: It doesn’t give a comprehensive view of a dancer.”

#6 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:25 AM

Q&A with six dancers of American Ballet Theatre by Gia Kourlas in The New York Times.

Q. How do you find Ratmansky similar to Balanchine?
SEAN STEWART He uses extreme movement.
COPELAND But at the same time it’s very clear with the footwork.
STEWART Everything is more crossed, more out, more athletic. Alexei’s choreography is kind of sexy too. There’s definitely a little more hip movement.

#7 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:29 AM

A review of "First Position" by Jordan Levin.

Most compelling are two dancers who have overcome seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

Joan Sebastian Zamora, 16, the hope of his family in Cali, Colombia, lives with a fellow teenager in a bleak New York apartment and dreams of following Cuban Carlos Acosta, also a dark-skinned Latino, to England's Royal Ballet.

And Michaela DePrince, 14, is a war orphan from Sierra Leone, adopted by a Jewish family in Philadelphia.....

#8 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:31 AM

A chronicle of Michael Uthoff's career with the Hartford Ballet by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn for The Huffington Post.

After leaving the Joffrey Ballet, Uthoff choreographed and performed with Lisa Bradley in the First Chamber Dance Company of New York and also took a teaching position at SUNY Purchase to gain some financial security. The couple was still in the public eye, performing at venues like Jacob's Pillow when Uthoff heard about a possible opportunity in Hartford, Conn. Enid Lynn, director of the school there who had been a dancer with Martha Graham, leaped at the chance to get such a well-known dancer and choreographer to come to Hartford to start a professional dance company. Astonishingly, this was not even 10 years after he arrived in New York as an aspiring teenager. This is where Uthoff began the pattern that would shape the rest of his career.

#9 dirac

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 11:33 AM

A review of Milwaukee Ballet in "Peter Pan'" by Elaine Schmidt in the Journal Sentinel.


The Milwaukee Ballet opened Michael Pink's "Peter Pan" Thursday evening, remounting the production that premiered two years ago to sold-out houses.

The production, created by Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Pink with original music by Philip Feeney, is one of those grand theatrical experiences that enthralls children and adults alike. (We adults know exactly how the dancers "fly" and are still thrilled.)



#10 dirac

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:57 AM

A review of "First Position" by Allan Ulrich in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of "First Position" is the relationship between aspirant and teacher. One need only compare the methods of the bearish Italian coach Denys Ganio with the tough-love approach of the Bay Area's Viktor Kabaniaev, who doesn't mind telling a dancer to ignore a parent's advice, if that's what it will take to score at a competition.





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