This weekend, the company will pay homage to the country’s British ties, with Graeme Murphy’s “Swan Lake,” a re-choreographed production of the classic that parallels Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s public divorce. Taboo? Maybe in England. But, according to McAllister, Australia runs free from the weight of Anglo-Saxon tradition. “We don't have thousands of years of European history to stop us from being a bit naughty and breaking a few rules,” he says.
The company’s willingness to draw from everything from royal tabloid gossip to aboriginal tales has helped build an audience Down Under. Adding to the appeal is a growing genre of dance-centric fodder in pop culture: “There has been a real upswing in interest in Australia,” says McAllister. “Films like Black Swan, shows like So You Think You Can Dance, have really lifted the intrigue. The image of ballet is pristine, elegant, unruffled—like the swan floating across the lake, you see this beautiful ease and grace and quality. I think people love to see what’s underneath.”
Friday, June 15
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:09 AM
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:10 AM
Q. Bring us back to 1992.
A. I was a little overwhelmed, to say the least. My dear other half, Martine van Hamel, said to me: "We keep hearing rumors that you're on that list. Are you prepared for the phone to ring?" And I thought: "I wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. It's too big." And then the phone rang. And then I began to uncover the problems.
Q. Financial problems?
A. Financial problems that were overwhelming. But I soon came to discover that I was [the company's] last resort. The chairman who hired me said: "Listen, you have nothing to lose by trying to save this company because you have no experience. No one is going to blame you if you fail. But if you don't try, I kind of don't have a choice. It's over."
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:12 AM
Dancing the lead role of Odette-Odile is Oksana Bondareva. As Odette - the white swan - she danced with intense emotion and managed to convey the lightness of a swan ruffling its wings. Although I heard that some people though her port de bras (arm movements) were sometimes shaky, it wasn't something that caught my attention. As Odile, she danced with the kind of subtle passion equal to the sparkly streaks of red in her black tutu.
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:13 AM
As a bonus, Megan’s husband, Andrew Veyette, and Robert’s girlfriend, Tiler Peck — also NYCB principals — will be performing with them.
The foursome are traveling to Utah to perform and teach a weeklong summer ballet camp. The two couples will perform a unique tag-team version of the Black Swan/White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake, as well as two of Balanchine’s most famous pas de deux (rights to which The Balanchine Trust has generously donated). The professional dancers are performing for free, and will be sharing the stage with students from two local studios.
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:15 AM
...If only the Australian Ballet, which opened Tuesday at Lincoln Center, possessed a more compelling repertoire.
Perhaps it does. This rare engagement—only the third in New York since 1990—celebrates the Australian Ballet’s founding in 1962, and surely after 50 years this troupe has amassed enough successes for a highlights program. Yet while paying homage to the Australian Ballet’s considerable history, Tuesday’s performance offered a bland mix of snippets from international classics and contemporary works meant to demonstrate that the Antipodes are not as distant from the rest of the world as they once were.
Posted 15 June 2012 - 10:37 AM
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I say once again that Karen Kain is one smart cookie. If you have a mega-hit, bring it back as soon as possible, and that is exactly what the artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada has done with Wayne McGregor's Chroma.
The piece debuted last season to endless applause and cheers. The audience's reaction this time was just as delirious. Chroma clearly ranks among the greatest classics of contemporary ballet.
Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:15 AM
The Act II divertissement is a ne plus ultra of purest style; Ms. Peck danced it with the crystalline lucidity and the time-to-spare serenity that seemed a lost aspect of Balanchine dancing five years ago. Ms. Peck, with Sterling Hyltin, Sara Mearns and Ms. Reichlen, is part of a new generation of ballerinas that has risen to principal status in the last five years.
Ms. Hyltin, the first to become a principal, has been the slowest to mature, and may not yet have come the whole way into personal authority. Still, she has danced all year with a new ardor and stretch, without any loss of delicacy, lightness, fun and charm. If she can bring these qualities to Terpsichore (“Apollo”) next year and to other of her roles, we will have rich fare ahead.
Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:23 AM
From his entrance to his death, Mr. Cornejo’s Romeo is a dreamy boy. Even with Rosaline, the first object of his affections, he makes you fear for his unguarded heart. He’s almost too puppyish to be believable as a killer of two men; when he first sees Juliet, his eyes go all googly.
But his technique saves him. Dancing for Juliet at the ball, he changes position in the middle of multiple turns with the kind of finesse that makes a girl melt. And in the balcony scene, he can turn yet faster, jump yet higher, under the swelling influence of great love.
Posted 16 June 2012 - 07:35 AM
Ravel felt prouder of his other works for dance—such as "Daphnis et Chloé" (1912), for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, and "La Valse" (1920), commissioned by Diaghilev but not produced (the two men nearly fought a duel as a result). In the case of "Boléro," the composer explained to his friend Gustave Samazeuilh, Ravel had simply set himself a technical task—a study in musical minimalism. The piece would consist of a theme repeated "a number of times without any development, gradually increasing the orchestra as best I can." If the description sounds mechanical, that was the idea; he even imagined its performance in a factory setting. The music "constitutes an experiment in a very special and limited direction, and should not be suspected of aiming at achieving anything [more]," he told the Daily Telegraph in 1931.
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