Dancers are typically good-natured, eager-to-please people, and it’s reassuring to see that streak come through in this show—reassuring that BBC Worldwide Productions is not aiming to blacken the eyes of a generally well-behaved lot. On the contrary, according to a statement issued by Ballet West Artistic Director Adam Sklute: “When the BBC approached us, their idea was to create the antidote to the movie ‘Black Swan.’”
“My hope for ‘Breaking Pointe’ is that we can set the record straight about the dance world,” said Sklute. “I want to present the real joys and heartaches—dramatic, yes, but not with overblown and exaggerated stereotypes.”
Monday, June 4
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:18 PM
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:20 PM
Valentino Garavani will design costumes for three performances. According to the press release, these include “a new ballet set to selections from Tschaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, and two rarely performed pieces d’occasion created for NYCB’s 1988 American Music Festival –- Sophisticated Lady… and Not My Girl, a pas de deux inspired by, and set to music composed by Fred Astaire“.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:22 PM
Bourne arrived in Stuttgart in 1974, shortly after Cranko’s death, to complete the job of recording his works for posterity. No videotapes existed then. The grieving dancers rehearsed their roles in the studio and Bourne laboriously transcribed the steps in pen and ink.
Describing the Benesh system, which records movements on a musical staff, Bourne says: “It’s a series of dots and dashes that mean movements and positions of the body. In the same way, music notation is a series of dots and dashes that mean sounds, and lengths of sounds and rhythms.” (The late Rudolf Benesh was a mathematician who devised his system for his ballerina wife during the 1940s and ’50s.)
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:24 PM
A recent NPR Marketplace Money report cited $60,000 as a starting salary for ballet dancers. Where this number came from, unless it was abroad (where dancers are better paid) or the New York City Ballet, the top company in the U.S. (and one with a 52-week contract), I can't fathom. But then, much in this report, which focused on the ballet Grand Prix film First Position, describes a dance world I don't recognize, and one in which I suspect ballet parents are being bilked for all they're worth.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:29 PM
Reprising their roles from the 2010 premiere, Nakamura and Porretta are charm personified; these roles, though technically challenging, are more about personality than technique. Nakamura, whose limbs move like silk, gives Swanhilda a playful sweetness, while Porretta, when on the ground (this man soars like a superhero), beams at her side. They're an appealing pair, balanced by a fine comedic performance by Stanton — who knows exactly when to drop the comedy and show us the wonder and awe of a man who believes that a toy he created has come to life.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:30 PM
Commissioned by Serge Diaghilev and performed by his company, the Ballets Russes, “Parade” was an ambitious attempt at what was known as “total art.” Along with Picasso, who also designed the stage sets and costumes, “Parade” brought together the choreographer Leonid Massine, the poet Jean Cocteau and the composer Erik Satie. When the ballet had its premiere at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on May 18 to an audience comprising Paris intelligentsia and soldiers, the reaction was one of shock and outrage. But the great French poet Guillaume Apollinaire coined the word “sur-réalisme”–or surrealism–to describe it.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:34 PM
Although Marianela Nuñez, the new Rose, doesn’t quite have Bussell’s line or Greek-goddess pins, she is comparably pliant and glamorous, with a similarly spectacular jump, and she takes us through the highs and lows of the princess’s journey with musicality, sensitivity and a richly legato style that perfectly contradicts that of her sister-cum-alter-ego, Épine. As the latter — literally, the “thorn” to her sister’s rose – Tamara Rojo blazes with brisk wickedness.
The stage is so busy that soloist moments are often lost against the clutter of the court. In this revival, that’s not helped by sloppy corps dancing. Epine turns her father’s courtiers into monkeys – they wear brilliant animal masks, with tufted wigs and Elizabethan costumes – but vague dancing blurs the point of MacMillan’s simian steps. Turned human again, the corps scramble through their celebration dance.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:37 PM
Flawless’ choreography is spectacular. Dancers control their bodies with such minute precision that movements are incredibly detailed and mesmeric. Their strength is also astounding, with acrobatic back flips and incessantly-held headstands showcasing the group’s exceptional power and talent. The ENB girls seem tame in comparison, with their beautifully-performed and elegant split leaps and pirouettes on pointe providing a less flashy spectacle. But when the Flawless boys attempt a ballet barre, it becomes clear just how difficult the classical technique is.
That sense of choreographic discovery, however, turns out be a lone impulse in a show that is otherwise a predictable jousting of ballet and hip-hop routines. Too much of the material is lazily default, especially the pert and winsome ballet sequences: and the plot, such as it is, is a random jumble of cliches.
Posted 04 June 2012 - 01:40 PM
Kasamatsu is a long-legged beauty, but managed her quick turns and delicate footwork very well. Bachman'ssolo, too, had quick changes of direction, and his jumps had a special boyancy. Though there was little contrast between the couples, the second pas de deux emphasized turns, and the third jumps, and each couple danced clearly and precisely. Indiana Woodward, in the fourth couple stood out for her ability to float her arms. This was a neat, placid work, suited to students.
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