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La Bayadere Spring 2012


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#91 Kristen

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:10 PM


Can't agree enough about Ilya's comments re the Copeland/Vasiliev pairing. I just got back from NY, saw 3 Bayaderes, had the fun of meeting "Drew", "CubanMiamiBoy" and Bart Birdsall (and partner) on Thursday at intermission. I had the incredible experience of being backstage as a (yes I paid for it!) guest stage manager for Friday night - Part/Gomes/Osipova - an experience of a lifetime and will post about it all shortly - regarding Copeland, the stage manager asked me, "well maybe you're just not a Misty fan" to which I said "no, that's the not the problem - she and Vasiliev were badly paired - he's in another league." Anyway have much to say on my "guest stage manager" experience and will post that as soon as I get a chance - in a nutshell, it was a MAJOR THRILL. Just now catching up on the BA postings and will get back! K


Kristen, I wondered when you would post! Can't wait to hear! I thought of you when the gong to get seated went off. I assumed that was you! LOL



#92 Kristen

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:15 PM

sorry - hit the post button by accident.

Yes, Bart, that was me ringing the bells to make everyone return from intermission. Felt like a thrilled 4 year old to be allowed to push the button! Everything backstage was thrilling - will provide details - I promise! (And allowing your partner a night off while you went to ANOTHER Bayadere - that was the right thing to do!)

#93 Birdsall

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 04:46 AM

sorry - hit the post button by accident.

Yes, Bart, that was me ringing the bells to make everyone return from intermission. Felt like a thrilled 4 year old to be allowed to push the button! Everything backstage was thrilling - will provide details - I promise! (And allowing your partner a night off while you went to ANOTHER Bayadere - that was the right thing to do!)


OMG, he used to get so mad, when we would go to NY, and I filled every night with opera! LOL His problem with opera was that he could never understand what they were singing (even though the seat back titles should have placated him). He says he doesn't want to read when he goes to a theatrical event. He's given up trying to get me to go to a Broadway musical, b/c he knows I feel like it is slumming! LOL

With ballet he seems a little more lenient, b/c he can understand everything that is going on. So he wasn't mad in the slightest. On Saturday morning I approached with caution, "Now if you have plans for tonight, fine. I'll do whatever, but if we're not going to make plans and just wander around I want to see one more Bayadere...."

#94 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:08 PM

"Now if you have plans for tonight, fine. I'll do whatever, but if we're not going to make plans and just wander around I want to see one more Bayadere...."


...a balletomane in progress...

#95 Kristen

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 04:57 PM

Bart - Seeing Broadway isn't slumming!. I do them all - opera, Broadway musicals, Ballet (my first love ..). I know this is a ballet discussion group, but if you venture into Broadway, do see Tracie Bennett in End of the Rainbow - phenomenal. Audra McDonald will probably rob her of a Tony (and I LOVE Audra), but Tracie SHOULD win. Will be back on here shortly reporting on my stage manager experience and heading back to the Met to see Le Corsaire on 7/5. Oh crap - have to drive to North Carolina from Florida tomorrow. I despise the mountains the way the snowbirds hate Florida - I'm just less vocal about it!

#96 Drew

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:50 PM

Will be back on here shortly reporting on my stage manager experience


Looking forward to reading about it...

#97 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:29 AM

One of my disappointments on this Bayadere was the Shade variation that finishes with the traveling ballerina in arabesque position rising and coming off pointe. Komleva's video has it very daring...the ballerina covering the entire stage on her travel and the rising on pointe is so fast, sharp and quick that she always looks as in on the verge of falling on her face...looking almost as if she's getting into a penchee position at any time. Here every dancer I saw in this variation did it very carefully, rising and coming off pointe almost in the same place sans advancing too much.
Why are modern ballerinas so cautious about engaging into technical pyrotechnics...?

#98 Birdsall

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 05:58 AM

One of my disappointments on this Bayadere was the Shade variation that finishes with the traveling ballerina in arabesque position rising and coming off pointe. Komleva's video has it very daring...the ballerina covering the entire stage on her travel and the rising on pointe is so fast, sharp and quick that she always looks as in on the verge of falling on her face...looking almost as if she's getting into a penchee position at any time. Here every dancer I saw in this variation did it very carefully, rising and coming off pointe almost in the same place sans advancing too much.
Why are modern ballerinas so cautious about engaging into technical pyrotechnics...?


I suspect it is no fun falling down in front of the Met's audience, especially when you are a rising up-and-coming dancer trying to make a good impression on your bosses! LOL Some people have a daredevil personality and they do whatever it takes and will use speed and strength and do amazing things, and that is quite thrilling to watch, but I suspect the vast majority of people are more cautious people. The special stars are special because they are better than average. You can't have everyone dancing like a superstar, b/c then nobody would seem special. I also think that "stars" start to take more risks once established, b/c they are constantly trying to prove themselves. A young, up-and-coming dancer is going to be more cautious. Not all, but I think it is a normal human reaction to the task at hand.

#99 Drew

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 01:36 PM


One of my disappointments on this Bayadere was the Shade variation that finishes with the traveling ballerina in arabesque position rising and coming off pointe. Komleva's video has it very daring...the ballerina covering the entire stage on her travel and the rising on pointe is so fast, sharp and quick that she always looks as in on the verge of falling on her face...looking almost as if she's getting into a penchee position at any time. Here every dancer I saw in this variation did it very carefully, rising and coming off pointe almost in the same place sans advancing too much.
Why are modern ballerinas so cautious about engaging into technical pyrotechnics...?


I suspect it is no fun falling down in front of the Met's audience, especially when you are a rising up-and-coming dancer trying to make a good impression on your bosses! LOL Some people have a daredevil personality and they do whatever it takes and will use speed and strength and do amazing things, and that is quite thrilling to watch, but I suspect the vast majority of people are more cautious people. The special stars are special because they are better than average. You can't have everyone dancing like a superstar, b/c then nobody would seem special. I also think that "stars" start to take more risks once established, b/c they are constantly trying to prove themselves. A young, up-and-coming dancer is going to be more cautious. Not all, but I think it is a normal human reaction to the task at hand.


When I saw the Kirov (and I do mean the Kirov), many if not all of the featured dancers danced the most difficult variations fearlessly. We doubtless got top-tier casting for tours to D.C. and NY (this was pre-1989), but it's still worth noting and came to me as something of a revelation. Oh yes, that's how it's supposed to look...

At NYCB's best many featured dancers dance (or at one time danced) fearlessly: it's seems to have been a trait Balanchine cultivated--Martins seemingly less so. Still, I do see it at NYCB from time to time even now not just from their 'stars.'

I would like to see this quality more at ABT-- have occasionally seen it--though I understand (I think) the point Birdsall is making...

#100 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 02:16 PM



One of my disappointments on this Bayadere was the Shade variation that finishes with the traveling ballerina in arabesque position rising and coming off pointe. Komleva's video has it very daring...the ballerina covering the entire stage on her travel and the rising on pointe is so fast, sharp and quick that she always looks as in on the verge of falling on her face...looking almost as if she's getting into a penchee position at any time. Here every dancer I saw in this variation did it very carefully, rising and coming off pointe almost in the same place sans advancing too much.
Why are modern ballerinas so cautious about engaging into technical pyrotechnics...?


I suspect it is no fun falling down in front of the Met's audience, especially when you are a rising up-and-coming dancer trying to make a good impression on your bosses! LOL Some people have a daredevil personality and they do whatever it takes and will use speed and strength and do amazing things, and that is quite thrilling to watch, but I suspect the vast majority of people are more cautious people. The special stars are special because they are better than average. You can't have everyone dancing like a superstar, b/c then nobody would seem special. I also think that "stars" start to take more risks once established, b/c they are constantly trying to prove themselves. A young, up-and-coming dancer is going to be more cautious. Not all, but I think it is a normal human reaction to the task at hand.


When I saw the Kirov (and I do mean the Kirov), many if not all of the featured dancers danced the most difficult variations fearlessly. We doubtless got top-tier casting for tours to D.C. and NY (this was pre-1989), but it's still worth noting and came to me as something of a revelation. Oh yes, that's how it's supposed to look...

At NYCB's best many featured dancers dance (or at one time danced) fearlessly: it's seems to have been a trait Balanchine cultivated--Martins seemingly less so. Still, I do see it at NYCB from time to time even now not just from their 'stars.'

I would like to see this quality more at ABT-- have occasionally seen it--though I understand (I think) the point Birdsall is making...


It is a tough situation having Komleva's Bayadere as a point of comparison anyhow...EVERYONE on it shines thru, from the Principals to the three shades to the military-like Corps. I very much missed the iconic position of the Russian Corps on both sides of the stage with the beautiful tendu derriere position...

#101 Birdsall

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 04:19 PM

I am wondering how much nationalism and patriotism play a role when it comes to dancers being incredible and almost military-like as Cristian calls the Russian corps. I think during the Iron Curtain days the Russians wanted to really show the world what they can do in sports and also ballet. I think Cuban dancers are also extraordinary, and it could be due to being sort of cut off from the world to a certain extent. That creates a hunger and desire to really show the world how great you are.

I suspect America takes a lot for granted and people in general do not necessarily go the extra 10 yards to excellence. Ballet in America is not something the average American takes pride in. No one I know cares if New York City Ballet or American Ballet Theatre (despite being very international) represents America. If you think about it, people can get famous and make millions simply releasing a sex tape nowadays in the U.S. There is less pride in excellence and less pride in representing your country. I also don't picture many Americans dancing for their country. I think they dance for themselves. I suspect American dancers simply say, "I am a dancer." They rarely say, "I am an American dancer." In contrast, it seems that Cuban and Russian dancers take great pride in being a product of their cultures. I think the Russians and the Cubans feel they represent their country and are very proud to do so even when they have defected. I think the French might also have a certain pride about being French and dancing for the Paris Opera Ballet. I am not sure Americans feel that way when they dance. What do you all think? I am just talking out loud and could be way off base here.

My main idea is that I am wondering if the more you feel you represent your country to the world the more powerful your presentation might be, and the more powerful your will and desire to go beyond your limits might become, but this is just an idea. I could be wrong.

#102 abatt

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 06:34 PM

I was recently at a performance, where a friend of a friend, who is Russian made some very interesting points which relate to the idea of nationalism in ballet. She stated that she disliked watching American ballet companies because the body types were too varied and unattractive- too many girls with short arms, short necks, and so on. She made these statements by referring to race, as well, but I won't repeat that part. She contrasted this to Russia, where she believes that dancers who lack beautful proportions generally never make it into the company, or at least never make it out of the corps. Since America is seen as a "melting pot", I guess this notion also carries over to ballet as well. Haven't we all commented about how sloppy and varied the ABT corps sometimes looks? Maybe the Russian corps looks so good due, in part, to the relative uniformity of the dancers' bodies in comparison to elsewhere.

#103 aurora

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 08:06 PM

I was recently at a performance, where a friend of a friend, who is Russian made some very interesting points which relate to the idea of nationalism in ballet. She stated that she disliked watching American ballet companies because the body types were too varied and unattractive- too many girls with short arms, short necks, and so on. She made these statements by referring to race, as well, but I won't repeat that part. She contrasted this to Russia, where she believes that dancers who lack beautful proportions generally never make it into the company, or at least never make it out of the corps. Since America is seen as a "melting pot", I guess this notion also carries over to ballet as well. Haven't we all commented about how sloppy and varied the ABT corps sometimes looks? Maybe the Russian corps looks so good due, in part, to the relative uniformity of the dancers' bodies in comparison to elsewhere.


If that is the argument I think you better include her racist comments because that is basically the argument

#104 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:28 PM


I was recently at a performance, where a friend of a friend, who is Russian made some very interesting points which relate to the idea of nationalism in ballet. She stated that she disliked watching American ballet companies because the body types were too varied and unattractive- too many girls with short arms, short necks, and so on. She made these statements by referring to race, as well, but I won't repeat that part. She contrasted this to Russia, where she believes that dancers who lack beautful proportions generally never make it into the company, or at least never make it out of the corps. Since America is seen as a "melting pot", I guess this notion also carries over to ballet as well. Haven't we all commented about how sloppy and varied the ABT corps sometimes looks? Maybe the Russian corps looks so good due, in part, to the relative uniformity of the dancers' bodies in comparison to elsewhere.


If that is the argument I think you better include her racist comments because that is basically the argument


Same as what it was until very recently with the Rockettes...

#105 LiLing

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 06:48 AM

Birdsall, I think you are absolutely right about American dancers not feeling they represent their contry/culture, however,in my experience that does not translate into less motivation to excel. If anything, the lack of state supported schools, and companies in the US makes it much harder to pursue a dance career, so those who make it are usually passionately motivated. American dancers have the reputation of being very high energy and hard working.

As for the preceived caution vs go for broke performing that has a lot to do with the kind of coaching the dancer's receive, as well as the artistic directors taste in dancers.

In comparing Russian Companies with ABT, Abatt's friend is right. The co. is a melting pot,without a uniform corps, but it is American in name only. How many of the principals in this Spring season are American?


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