2012 will be the last of the two week long ballet season at SPAC. Last week, the SPAC Board of Directors announced the 2013 season will only be one week long instead of the two.
This is the second time in five years that the board has trimmed the ballet, citing a lack of financial support.
Tuesday, July 10
Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:46 PM
Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:51 PM
Even with all of Boylston's hard work, she will only get one performance of Swan Lake this season and may not get another until next year. This, again, is in large part due to the ongoing practice of hiring guest artists. This has two substantial effects on dancers like Boylston and Lane. While they would both be stars in any of the smaller companies across the United States, here they are competing with ABT's own leading dancers plus international guest artists from the world's best ballet companies. This leaves fewer performance slots for the young soloists who have to make the most of their limited opportunities at less desirable matinees and off nights. Matinee performances also tend to get fewer of the all-important reviews which can do so much to help a dancer's career.
Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:53 PM
The resulting programme was a genuinely unaffected sampling of the range he has developed over decades. There is a touch of Balanchine about Van Manen, particularly in his formal experimentation with ballet technique and structure in plotless works. The musicality is his own, however: more often than not he holds back, letting the music speak as the choreography’s own stream of consciousness ebbs and flows around it. When the two converge, the visual effect is all the more powerful, like an exclamation mark in the middle of a whispered dialogue.
Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:05 PM
A small-town boy who made good, Stiefel never lost his modesty. In “Le Corsaire,” he danced Conrad as often as Ali—but by coincidence Stiefel’s final role underscored his humility and his impetuous bravura.
Movingly Stiefel introduced his parents on stage at the curtain calls. Yet in his career this dutiful son has been a firebrand. As exciting as his entrances always were, Stiefel’s dancing included some even more memorable exits.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:55 AM
The festive aura of the evening – more on that later – was fitting, because it ended a significant season for ABT on several levels. Most importantly, one couldn't help but feel the guard was changing, not just with Stiefel's departure but with that of the Spaniard Angel Corella a week earlier, an occasion met with an equal outpouring of emotion from his own ardent following.
Together, the two, along with Jose Manuel Carreno of Cuba who retired two years ago, had been instrumental in establishing ABT as a home for virtuosic and charismatic male dancers. Much more than New York City Ballet, where the ballerina has always reigned supreme, ABT began drawing audiences who wanted to see how high its men could leap, how many times they could spin, and with how much passion they could portray the young lover Romeo.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 09:59 AM
And then there’s Natalia Osipova. She was the season’s undoubted star of stars, and she didn’t just drop in. Not only was she the lead in Ratmansky’s new Firebird but she charmed in his Bright Stream and gave us as well Giselle, Juliet and Medora in Le Corsaire. Her performance on July 5 in that latter role was like nothing I’ve ever come across—bravura dancing on a level you can only call exalted. It wasn’t just the famous jumps—so high, so quick, so light—or the thrilling fouettés or the astoundingly tight, rapidissimo châiné turns, the fastest I’ve ever seen. What’s so remarkable is the seeming ease with which everything is accomplished. Osipova never pushes, never strains; her flawless execution precludes the possibility of a misstep. She’s so strong and so musical that she can dance with the greatest delicacy as well as let off the big guns. She’s simply a phenomenon. That she’s not yet a dramatic artist on the level of a Vishneva isn’t a problem—she’ll become one if she makes up her mind to.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:05 AM
"We're hoping to create such an uproar that, like the last time, the ballet gets saved," said George Neary, referring to the Save the Ballet effort in 2004 and 2005, which started after SPAC said it had decided to end the ballet performances at the Saratoga Springs venue.
The decision was later reversed, and new leadership took over SPAC.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:21 AM
Once upon a time the meeting of Byron’s romantic pirate and Petipa’s Imperial classicism may have given birth to a logical, fully sentient ballet. But American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Le Corsaire,” after Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev, via Anna Marie Holmes, is little more than a hook on which to hang a performance. “Le Corsaire," more than most of the full-evening ballets on view at the Met this season, sinks or swims on the efforts of its leading dancers. Entrusted with keeping the pirate ship afloat this time out were Jared Matthews as Lankendem, Yuriko Kajiya as Gulnare, and Ivan Vasiliev as Ali, with Arron Scott making his debut as Birbanto, Johan Kobborg making his as Conrad, and, for the first time at ABT, Natalia Osipova as Medora. The boat was pulled in opposite directions, between spectacle and character, all night.
Posted 11 July 2012 - 10:31 AM
As someone who has been fascinated by ballet since I was the age of the girls on "Bunheads," I've found the televisions shows on the subject to be infinitely more satisfying, at least recently, than the films. While "Bunheads" is fiction and "Breaking Pointe" is based on reality, both succeed in revealing what dancers endure as youngsters and professionals.
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