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Monday, June 11


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#1 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:03 AM

Jennifer Whalen of American Ballet Theatre may meet her Korean birth mother while on tour.

When ABT officials told the Korean media Whalen’s story, the hunt was on for the dancer’s birth mom — without Whalen’s blessing. The Korea Herald even had a headline that screamed, "Mommy, Where Are You?"

Whalen thought it was extremely exaggerated — especially since she never expressed a desire to see her. She didn’t know the woman was found until she got home.

Now, four years later and with a new trip to Korea on the horizon, she has a big decision to make.



#2 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:08 AM

A review of "Bunheads" by Jonathan Bernstein in The Guardian.

Bunheads is, more or less, Gilmore Dancing Girls. The main character is an over-the-hill Vegas showgirl who keeps up a steady stream of cynical quips to hide the wounds and wear and tear of endless rejection. She winds up in an idyllic little beach town populated by charming quirky locals. An idyllic little town with a dance studio whose ballet students need a fast-talking loose cannon to help them achieve their dreams.


Q&A with Sutton Foster.

TV Guide Magazine: You have Broadway at your feet. How were you ever cast as Michelle Simms, a loser showgirl?

Foster: I know this character. She's a big kid and a bit of a mess. [Laughs] It might seem like I have my s--t together career-wise, but there are so many areas [of my life] where I don't. There's a lot of me in Michelle. I know what it's like to be lost and searching. The good thing about her is she might be lost but she still has a smile on her face. She still cracks the jokes.



#3 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:14 AM

An interview with Ronnie Underwood of "Breaking Pointe."

Underwood acknowledged that having a camera crew follow one just about everywhere was at times a bit difficult.

"It was the worst during performance week, when you're putting in 10-12 hours a day in the theater, and then you still have to find time to eat, do your laundry, maybe even get a couple of hours of sleep," he said. "But for the most part, I was excited about taking part in this because I love ballet, and I love letting people see what dancers really have to go through."



#4 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 10:35 AM

The International Olympic Committee insists on a name change for the Birmingham Royal Ballet's Olympic-inspired ballet.

Despite being inspired by the London 2012 Games and Cultural Olympiad, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) demanded it be renamed on the eve of its premiere.


It will now be called “Faster” despite it being approved as an Inspire Mark” project, as part of the official London 2012 award for activities inspired by the Olympics.



#5 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:10 PM

A review in brief of Lucien Postlewaite's farewell by Moira Macdonald in The Seattle Times.

It was a beautiful performance, the kind where you feel as if they're moving as one -- followed by an enthusiastic standing ovation and several curtain calls, with Postlewaite alone at the end waving goodbye. In recent years, Season Encore tributes have been given to dancers at or near the end of their ballet careers (Louise Nadeau, Ariana Lallone); it's nice, though bittersweet, to see someone move on at the height of his powers. Au revoir, Lucien -- you'll be very much missed.



#6 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:12 PM

In praise of the barre, by the Rev. Amy Ziettlow in The Huffington Post.

The journey to excellence and the will to resist mediocrity may or may not lead to the stage but always begins at the barre: a never-ending system of support that silently girds the studio and makes maturity possible. As the opening plies welcome you to class, the barre reminds you that every movement demands its moment and every moment proclaims that "dance is the breath of life made visible." Ms. Larkin espoused this belief in her school and company, as did many of her contemporaries in the Ballet Russe tradition. 2012 has marked the passing of several of their greats and in the coming decades more will be lost. We lose a generation of teachers who opened a door for American dancers to fall in love not just with performance but with the ballet barre. Your love of the barre may or may not earn you the right to seek the rush of performance but often leads to a love for excellence and beauty, a love that will long outlive the high of applause.



#7 dirac

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:13 PM

Rachel Brown, the founder of Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers, is dead at age 77.

Born Ray Minkoff in Philadelphia in 1934, she trained as a ballet dancer. She came to Winnipeg from New York City in 1957 to join the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. After four years with the company she retired to raise her family, but missed dance and began to choreograph in a non-classical style.




#8 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:35 AM

A review of Houston Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" by David Clarke for Broadway World.

Ben Stevenson's luxurious choreography and Li Anlin and Timothy O'Keefe's magnificent staging perfectly pair to tell the familiar tale. I am certain that audiences unfamiliar with the story would be able to easily follow each plot device without a synopsis. Each movement is striking, purposeful, and believable. No movement is wasted on the stage, even in the busier marketplace scenes. Furthermore, the whole company of dancers faithfully follow the directions they have been given by their skilled creative team to effortlessly tell the tale, making it seem natural that people dance without words to communicate thoughts and emotions. Moreover, Greg Garrett's sword fight choreography is impeccable. It is very realistic, allowing the audience to get lost in the clashing of the swords and anticipate with bated breath who will win each duel, even for those of us who already know the plot.



#9 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:40 AM

A fundraising gala is held for the Joffrey.

Bottom Line: The event raised $1.2 million for the Joffrey Ballet.



#10 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:42 AM

A review of the Royal Ballet in "The Prince of the Pagodas" by Louise Levene in The Telegraph.

Two decades after MacMillan’s death, the Britten Pears Foundation has finally conceded 20 minutes of cuts for the 2012 revival, but it remains a hard ballet to love. There is a chilly, almost mechanistic quality to the characters, and the mix of reality and vision-scene is confusing. That said, the production remains a feast for the senses.


Nicholas Georgiadis’s storybook set with its vertiginous turrets, glittering pennons and shimmering crystal pagodas has been rehoused in a black stage, which throws his palette of vermilion, grey and gold into thrilling relief – like a lost Uccello.



#11 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:44 AM

Zdenek Konvalina returns to the National Ballet of Canada to perform "Songs of a Wayfarer."

Having staged the work during her years as director of the Australian Ballet, Gielgud taught Wayfarer to Konvalina and fellow Houston principal Andrew Murphy, taped a studio run-through and travelled with it to Lausanne to plead with Béjart personally. He gave his blessing and recorded a video message of guidance.

“What I remember most clearly is Béjart emphasizing that although it’s a technically demanding work, the effort is not supposed to show,” says Konvalina. “What’s important is not the steps themselves but transmitting feeling.”



#12 dirac

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:53 AM

A Q&A with Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of "Bunheads."

Where did the idea for your Bunheads come from?

.....Then I pitched the idea of Michelle, who Sutton Foster plays, a dancer who’s hit a wall, a dancer who should have been a ballerina but was a wild child, sort of based on Heather Watts. Heather Watts was this prima ballerina, one of the last Balanchine picks. She was big sh-- in my world because she had trained at my school. When she was in the New York City Ballet, she would go out and party and miss class and at one point Balanchine came to her and said, “Are you going to do this or not? If you’re not going to shape up, pack up your shit and leave now.” She turned it around. She became one of their principals and one of the last Balanchine-trained dancers, but it was precarious there for a while. I’ve always liked that character, someone who doesn’t really appreciate what they have. Michelle is like what if Heather had gone the other route.




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