bart

Let's talk about the 2012-2013 season

113 posts in this topic

Since neither Duato nor Swan Lake Act is on the horizon for MCB in the immediate future wink1.gif , my mind has been wandering back to the outreach (a.k.a. flash mob) at the Wynwood Art Wall. I don't know Miami at all well, and have never seen or even heard of this location.

Has anyone been there?

Wynwood is a neighborhood that was formerly composed of warehouses, all very ugly and dangerous. For the past 15 years all this warehouses have been slowly converted into art studios, art galleries, trendy boutiques, expensive restaurants, clubs and modern furniture stores. Artists have moved there also, and now is becoming a very expensive and chic neighborhood, still surrounded by dangerous Overtown though.

Share this post


Link to post

From Balanchine to Duato? Poor MCB.

Well, since she announced 3 new works and the Don Q, I'd expect that leaves us with about 6-7 other works that hopefully will be more Balanchine and less Duato. :)

As for full-lengths, I'm with Bart in a preference for Balanchine's 'Midsummer'. It hasn't been mentioned yet that while the company could do a creditable 'Swan Lake' or 'Bayadere' or whatnot, and several of the principals would do a good to great job, these ballets don't always give the corps de ballet and soloists a great deal to do, particularly the men. Dancers who are used to the vigors of 'Square Dance' and 'Concerto Barocco' may be disapointed with being restricted to a mazurka in character shoes for an entire program. One has to wonder if this is a consideration against doing full lengths as well.

Share this post


Link to post

From Balanchine to Duato? Poor MCB.

Well, since she announced 3 new works and the Don Q, I'd expect that leaves us with about 6-7 other works that hopefully will be more Balanchine and less Duato. smile.png

As for full-lengths, I'm with Bart in a preference for Balanchine's 'Midsummer'. It hasn't been mentioned yet that while the company could do a creditable 'Swan Lake' or 'Bayadere' or whatnot, and several of the principals would do a good to great job, these ballets don't always give the corps de ballet and soloists a great deal to do, particularly the men. Dancers who are used to the vigors of 'Square Dance' and 'Concerto Barocco' may be disapointed with being restricted to a mazurka in character shoes for an entire program. One has to wonder if this is a consideration against doing full lengths as well.

All I know is that in the long run,the absence-(or scarce use)- of not only SL, but of the classical repertoire in general goes only one way: in detriment of a dancer's professional development, a company's proper understanding of the art form, the audience's rightfully exposure to the XIX Century masterpieces and the ultimate survival of the works.

Sometimes I wonder if our Principals would be able to survive outside the Balanchine repertoire would they be placed somewhere else. Both Farrell's life after City Ballet and Kirkland's decision to leave come to mind. I seem to remember reading in Farrell's book she had difficulty placing herself post Mr. B, and Kirkland seemed to had been thinking ahead...

Share this post


Link to post

Putting all into context, I understand your pain (about NYCB foibles), Jack Reed! One may ask, "How on earth can the company of Balanchine 'f--- up' his Swan Lake?" They did.

Though if one gives up the idea that NYCB is the company of Balanchine, there's nothing to ask about anymore.

Share this post


Link to post

How do the dancers feel about Swan Lake? One young Royal Ballet dancer has just tweeted about dancing in 2 Swan Lakes today at ROH:

"Another 8 acts day! I know you guys love swan lake,but its a killer on the body&wrecks your toes.Blah.Ergh #adayinthelifeofacorpsballerina "

PS - the Royal Ballet dance a lot of the "classics"!

Share this post


Link to post

How do the dancers feel about Swan Lake? One young Royal Ballet dancer has just tweeted about dancing in 2 Swan Lakes today at ROH:

"Another 8 acts day! I know you guys love swan lake,but its a killer on the body&wrecks your toes.Blah.Ergh

I wish I could ask the same dancer if he or she would give it up for good if the chance would be given...

PS - the Royal Ballet dance a lot of the "classics"!

That's wonderful..! clapping.gif

Share this post


Link to post

I wish I could ask the same dancer if he or she would give it up for good if the chance would be given...

But all companies and all dancers cannot be all things to all people. Just because 1 company doesn't do Swan Lake doesn't mean the ballet is going to be lost or degraded or given up for good. I think one can make a fair argument that (most) companies that do try to be all things are not particularly successful stylistically.

That said, I think trying for SL or another classic is laudable goal, especially given the wealth of coaching that would be available. Assuming the financial backing is there, it's still going to be long-term investment/project that will take years to do properly, but that doesn't mean it should be attempted.

Sometimes I wonder if our Principals would be able to survive outside the Balanchine repertoire would they be placed somewhere else. Both Farrell's life after City Ballet and Kirkland's decision to leave come to mind. I seem to remember reading in Farrell's book she had difficulty placing herself post Mr. B, and Kirkland seemed to had been thinking ahead...

To a certain extent I agree. But I think the reverse is also true - many principal dancers who do a lot of classics struggle to perform Balanchine at a NYCB or MCB principal level, IMO. In both cases it takes a lot of coaching to take a dancer past technique and into style.

When Alexandra Ansanelli went to RB she did start as a first soloist, not a principal. But I honestly cannot see Tiler Peck or Sara Mearns as anything other than a principal at any company. In Farrell's case, I think it was more no other AD dared hire her, rather than a question of technique (although I do wonder how she would have fared at ABT, for example). In Kirkland's case, it seems like it was more mental and she just wanted OUT.

Share this post


Link to post

I think this whole "Balanchinean dancer" issue has been there since day one. I am under the impression that some dancers didn't particularly bennefit from the initial switching from BT to NYCB. Sometimes I wonder if Kaye or Eglevsky ever did, and obviously others-(very few of them, I realize too..)-never considered the experimental trip. Alonso has always talked about it at times, mentioning that for her and Youskevitch there was no ballet career sans the classics, and so they stayed among the very few who didn't get attracted by the novelty. In modern times, I know that that was what happened to Sarabita...he always felt he was missing an important, integral part of his career by dancing only the MCB repertoire, and eventually left. But I also think of Balanchine's famous phrase of the "last summer butterflies", and look at City Ballet now and wonder if they somehow are going around in circles without making an upward spiral...

Share this post


Link to post

JMcN:

How do the dancers feel about Swan Lake? One young Royal Ballet dancer has just tweeted about dancing in 2 Swan Lakes today at ROH:

"Another 8 acts day! I know you guys love swan lake,but its a killer on the body&wrecks your toes.Blah.Ergh"

Another dancer, formerly with the Royal, told me something similar, that the big classics bore the corps, they have to wait around to be in a small divertissement if they're lucky, and the whole thing is often built around guest soloists. There's little chance for you to grow or develop.

Cristian:

Sometimes I wonder if our Principals would be able to survive outside the Balanchine repertoire would they be placed somewhere else. Both Farrell's life after City Ballet and Kirkland's decision to leave come to mind. I seem to remember reading in Farrell's book she had difficulty placing herself post Mr. B ...

This implies that Suzanne Farrell regreted dancing for Balanchine, which I don't believe is the case. Didn't she complete her career at City Ballet and teach there for while afterwards?

And what is all this anxiety about City Ballet in the early fifties and suppositions about what Eglevsky and Kaye thought and regetted - and general disparaging remarks about the company's achievements? Everyone loves the Cuban National Ballet - at least I do - rough spots and all. Isn't there room enough for everyone?

Lourdes Lopez, in a recent video interview, says that you never thought about going anywhere else when you were at City Ballet in the seventies, because ballet history was being made there and then, that great dances were being set on you, etc.

Why does Miami City Ballet have to be remade to fit Rolando Sarabia, who should be dancing with a larger, more classically based company such as the Royal, as Carlos Acosta did, or with Boston or San Francisco?

Anyway this thread is roughly about Miami going forward - and ballet going forward. MCB was founded by an ex-Balanchine dancer with Balanchine as its basis - not Petipa nor Ivanov [ ... ]

How should Miami navigate forward from this Balanchine basis and beyond Wheeldon, Ratsmansky & Tharp is the question. What sorts of dance idioms should they be building new pieces on?

The fairly conservative critic Clement Crisp today reviewed Rambert Dance Company in the Financial Times. I have no idea what the program was like but it seems like the kind of review that would fit MCB nicely:

Then Richard Alston’s cunning Dutiful Ducks, using Charles Amirkhanian’s dada-esque words as score for what was originally a solo by the young Michael Clark. Dane Hurst does it seriously, acute in step and phrasing, if not effacing memories of Clark’s exquisite feet or that sense we had of watching the young Rimbaud dance.

And to close, Merce Cunningham’s bravura Sounddance – though beware the programme note. The dancers dance splendidly. Cunningham showers ideas over the stage, forms shapes of bodies, of energies, keeps everyone on the qui vive.

The cast arrives, delights us with shapes and energies, leaves.The score is an intriguing noise. The dancers – perhaps an ounce heavier in manner than the usual run of Cunningham artists – are kept tremendously busy and do very well.

Share this post


Link to post

Cristian:

"Sometimes I wonder if our Principals would be able to survive outside the Balanchine repertoire would they be placed somewhere else. Both Farrell's life after City Ballet and Kirkland's decision to leave come to mind. I seem to remember reading in Farrell's book she had difficulty placing herself post Mr. B .."

This implies that Suzanne Farrell regreted dancing for Balanchine, which I don't believe is the case.

Oh, I'm not implying anything. I'm just quoting what I remember from her autobiography. She DID have indeed difficulty finding a job before Bejart took her.

Didn't she complete her career at City Ballet and teach there for while afterwards?

Yes, and...? Good for her!

And what is all this anxiety about City Ballet in the early fifties and suppositions about what Eglevsky and Kaye thought and regetted - and general disparaging remarks about the company's achievements?

No one is anxious here-(or so I think). I'm just voicing my respectful opinion, and not a crazy one, if IMO. Again, I don't think Kaye particularly benefited from the repertoire change. She could be an isolated case, true, but one that occurred.

Why does Miami City Ballet have to be remade to fit Rolando Sarabia...?

I repeat myself. I never speak about a remake, but rather of an opening...an integration, an exploration and development of what they don't have enough...

MCB was founded by an ex-Balanchine dancer with Balanchine as its basis - not Petipa nor Ivanov nor Alonsova.

Last name is Alonso.

Share this post


Link to post

I do know that in the opera world opera singers want to experience having a role composed specifically for them and many enjoy singing new works, but the fact is that most of the new works have trouble being revived. Often the work has no legs. I think this is because the vast majority of opera lovers want a good helping of Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, and a few others (verismo operas), etc. They hesitate to attend something that is new b/c often there are no arias or if there are they do not compare to the composers of yesteryear. New music often does not make us swoon the way 18th and 19th century works do.

I am sure all dancers get excited about working with a living and breathing composer, and I actually enjoyed Ratmansky's Symphonic Dances and look forward to seeing it again this coming year. I think new works might work better in ballet, but they often use classical music from previous times as opposed to contemporary music composed today. I think this is because overall older music makes us swoon like I said above. I am fine with exploring some new works.

But I understand what Cristian is saying. I would love to see what MCB might do with Swan Lake one day. It might take time, and I don't mind waiting. I actually think the approach that MCB has taken most years is a good one: 1 full length story ballet (not including Nutcracker) and the rest repertory nights with a good amount of Balanchine. I think that will satisfy most people, and it seems to be a formula that works for MCB. I don't think anyone wants to change that. Lopez doesn't sound like she wants to, and most MCB lovers don't want much change from the sound of it. I am okay with 1 story ballet per season. So I am not talking about rocking the boat either, but I personally would love MCB to start thinking about taking steps to present a Swan Lake in the future as Cristian suggests. I think it would be exciting to see what MCB might make out of it. I think Swan Lake is a cash cow, so it seems like it would be a smart financial decision, but I really don't know....maybe the cost of staging it versus the rewards does not make it worthwhile.

Share this post


Link to post

I read that in today's Links.

I think there's more about her hopes for Morphoses, at least in one place, than I've seen before; she makes it clear that from a personnel point of view, there's one person who could be added to the MCB staff -- the only staff member at Morphoses now -- and she confirmed that her vision is that the dancers would be from MCB, and that she made it clear to the Board when she applied that she expected Morphoses to be combined with MCB in some incarnation.

Share this post


Link to post

... that she expected Morphoses to be combined with MCB in some incarnation.

I guess I'm hopeless...probably more floor rolling for MCB and less tutus and tiaras...wallbash.gif

Share this post


Link to post

She spoke about wanting the Morphoses concept to be for new work, almost like a lab. It's possible that these will be, or at least start out to be, lab performances, rather than main stage works that have to tour to all three venues.

Share this post


Link to post

Uh, oh. From the latest Kourlas interview:

I think that’s what art is. It’s someone creating a work that an audience relates to because it’s speaking about the world that we live in.

That's especially bad news for anyone who wants MCB to mount a ballet made in and about a time of princes urged to marry, and swan hunts. Those times are not coming back, so we can't expect to see that one again (or to relate to it if it did). Right.

Give me please art to take me away from the world I live in, art to provide me with another world for a while, to return me changed.

Share this post


Link to post

I know...there seems to be such a revolving little sensless whispering about the XIX century ballet not being fitted for modern audiences and this and that and lah lah lah...when in reality we all know we all go to all the Swan Lakes and Bayaderes and Giselles, and the theaters keep getting filled with its audiences as ever. I say let's stop the damn myth...one that has no solid bases whatsoever. If dancers and/or AD's-(or donors)- are being afraid of them, so say it, but stop saying the audiences don't want them.

Share this post


Link to post

But I also think of Balanchine's famous phrase of the "last summer butterflies", and look at City Ballet now and wonder if they somehow are going around in circles without making an upward spiral...

Off topic but I cannot let this pass without responding: At NYCB Sarah Mearns, Ashley Bouder, Tiler Peck, Sterling Hyltin, Robert Fairchild--in my opinion even a less heralded principal such as Teresa Reichlin or more limited talent such as Megan Fairchild--are decidedly making upward spirals. In a few of those cases way, way, way upwards right into the pantheon of world's great dancers. And it's not due to dancing Peter Martins' version of Swan Lake...(which I don't even hate as much as many others do). Mearns' solo in Ratmansky's Namouna--I would put that performance right next to any in the pantheon of performances in 19th- or 20th-century classics; Hyltin in Symphony in Three Movements--all due respect to earlier generations, I thought she was better than anyone I have ever seen in the role. Etc. And these are (in my judgment) ballets that matter. Maybe it's a little soon to pronounce on Namouna--but Symphony in Three Movements? Whether or not it's to everyone's personal taste--no great art is--it matters.

I do indeed love the nineteenth-century classics; I believe strongly that the "major" companies that give them attention and quality performances and productions are keeping the art of ballet alive. (Swan Lake in particular has suffered from productions that tinker with it excessively, even -- if not especially -- at the major companies.) And less than major companies play an important role in introducing people to these great works of the tradition. I myself saw my first La Sylphide, my first Giselle, and my first Coppelia with the National Ballet of Washington (not, though my first Swan Lake which they did not dance). If MCB wants to take on Swan Lake, then best of luck...Certainly they have better resources than many companies.

But I also remember that when dancers such as Nureyev, Baryshnikov, and Makarova defected from the Soviet Union they made it clear that they did not want to be restricted to dancing nineteenth-century classics plus what they evidently judged to be the very limiting and limited Soviet repertory. They weren't leaving the classics behind, but they did want to try other choreography whether Ashton, Balanchine, Graham, Macmillan, Tharp or...well, you name it. And they did so, with varying degrees of success.

As an audience member, I too want the twentieth-century classics next to the nineteenth-century ones--and not by any means always danced by the same companies (sometimes yes, sometimes no: depends on the company)--and I have to say that after a middle-aged lifetime of attending the ballet, ballet today feels a lot more thrilling than it has in decades because some substantial new choreographers are on the scene. Particularly Ratmansky. ABT with Ratmansky premiers and revivals of great 20th-century works (by which I mean Ashton and Tudor) is a great deal more exciting than ABT without. I write this as a someone who is genuinely passionate about getting the chance to see fantastic ballerinas in Giselle and Swan Lake etc.

I will add, too, that I would KILL to have a local company with the fabulous repertory of MCB. (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but not by much.) This season the Atlanta ballet is treating us to Dracula, Nutcracker, a children's Cinderella and an evening of modern dance. There is a program with David Bintley's Carmena Burana that I may try to see. Otherwise, I'll save my ballet budget for travel. As soon as I find a date that works with my life, MCB is on the list--and I won't be traveling to see them dance nineteenth-century ballets but to see them dance Balanchine, Ratmansky, and Scarlett. Of course, the local audience matters much more than I do -- absolutely -- just trying to say how it looks to one outsider.

Share this post


Link to post

Uh, oh. From the latest Kourlas interview:

I think that’s what art is. It’s someone creating a work that an audience relates to because it’s speaking about the world that we live in.

That's especially bad news for anyone who wants MCB to mount a ballet made in and about a time of princes urged to marry, and swan hunts. Those times are not coming back, so we can't expect to see that one again (or to relate to it if it did). Right.

Give me please art to take me away from the world I live in, art to provide me with another world for a while, to return me changed.

Amen to that. I don’t object to attempts to extend the ballet language, although I tend to dislike most attempts I see (give me jumps, not bends and arm whirls). But when people start talking about “speaking about the world that we live in,” I want to ask what’s changed about the human condition. If audiences can’t relate to swan maidens and princes, whose fault is that?

Share this post


Link to post

If audiences can’t relate to swan maidens and princes, whose fault is that?

But...why do we need to relate to everything...? Can't we just enjoy it...? When I started watching ballet, or listening to classical music or watching masterworks on museums I was too little to know anything about relationship or identification. My senses were exposed, just as it is supposed to happen, and the rest is history. Is that a foreign concept already...?

Share this post


Link to post

If audiences can’t relate to swan maidens and princes, whose fault is that?

But...why do we need to identify everything...? Can't we just enjoy it...? When I started watching ballet, or listening to classical music or watching masterworks on museums I was too little to know anything about identification. My senses were exposed, just as it is supposed to happen, and the rest is history. Is that a foreign concept already...?

Sure. I'm not sure we're disagreeing here. Art obviously requires more of its audience than entertainment does, and if a work of art has lasted for generations, it's probably work making the effort required to ( sooner or later) enjoy it. Some level of identification with the art or the artist is part of that enjoyment, I think, but it shouldn't have to be there at the start to spur people to approach acclaimed work.

Share this post


Link to post

If audiences can’t relate to swan maidens and princes, whose fault is that?

But...why do we need to relate to and identify everything...? Can't we just enjoy it...? When I started watching ballet, or listening to classical music or watching masterworks on museums I was too little to know anything about identification or being related to anything. My senses were exposed, just as it is supposed to happen, and the rest is history. Is that a foreign concept already...?

Sure. I'm not sure we're disagreeing here. Art obviously requires more of its audience than entertainment does, and if a work of art has lasted for generations, it's probably work making the effort required to ( sooner or later) enjoy it. Some level of identification with the art or the artist is part of that enjoyment, I think, but it shouldn't have to be there at the start to spur people to approach acclaimed work.

Amen

Share this post


Link to post

What I love about story ballets is that you get to see how a particular dancer acts as well as how she/he dances. So they are doing two very difficult things (acting and dancing). In abstract ballets they usually just have to have a certain emotion on their face. I do enjoy that also, but it is personally more fun to compare and contrast different dancers dancing as well as acting.

For example, Viktoria Tereshkina's Odile is so evil and delicious. In contrast Novikova who usually has a very "sweet" and "innocent" look sparkles with complete confidence and exudes her own sort of evil in the role. Both dancers act, and some will prefer one over the other, but they both make you think about how the role can be interpreted differently. So for me the "acting" adds more artistry to the dancing, but that is a personal preference.

But I don't mean to take this topic away from Balanchine or dismiss Balanchine. I love Serenade, Theme and Variations, and Ballet Imperial among many others, so I like that too and look forward to Nov. 30 when I will see Les Patineurs/Apollo/Piazzolla Caldera! I try to enjoy everything I see, and I usually do.

Share this post


Link to post

Drew writes:

As an audience member, I too want the twentieth-century classics next to the nineteenth-century ones--and not by any means always danced by the same companies (sometimes yes, sometimes no: depends on the company)--and I have to say that after a middle-aged lifetime of attending the ballet, ballet today feels a lot more thrilling than it has in decades because some substantial new choreographers are on the scene.

Exactly. And I'm sure the dancers in those new works feel the same way.

Share this post


Link to post

Drew writes:

As an audience member, I too want the twentieth-century classics next to the nineteenth-century ones--and not by any means always danced by the same companies (sometimes yes, sometimes no: depends on the company)--and I have to say that after a middle-aged lifetime of attending the ballet, ballet today feels a lot more thrilling than it has in decades because some substantial new choreographers are on the scene.

Exactly. And I'm sure the dancers in those new works feel the same way.

I then say lucky you all you have been exposed substantially to such great new choreographers. As per me, I can't say I'm particulary thrilled with the contemporary stuff I've seen not only in the last decades, but during my whole lifetime of ballet viewing. My greatest memories are all about the great Giselles, Sylphides, Chopinianas, Swan Lakes, Filles, Coppelias, Nutcrackers, Bayaderes, Paquitas, Grand Pas de Quatres and a handful of XX Century ballets by Balanchine, Tudor, Ashton, and Robbins. My loss probably....

Share this post


Link to post