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Let's talk about the 2012-2013 season


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#16 checkwriter

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:06 PM

Keep in mind that Swan Lake can take a serious toll on the corps. It's physically a very demanding ballet, and you need to have confidence in the fitness of your dancers before you work it in to the repertoire - and then, you need to pick the timing of when in the season you perform it. You risk debilitating your corps if you start the season with it, and end up with a bunch of injured dancers.

As for her teaching skills, Lopez is an accomplished dance teacher. Villella's classes - while interesting to the dancers as a sometime thing - were in fact very punishing. Dancers would remark as to the relative lack of warmup, which can lead to injuries. I saw him teach a number of times, and it was very odd - he would make a series of grunting noises, not quite words, and would sort of jerk his body through the moves he was asking the dancers to do. The dancers clearly knew what he was asking for, but I'm told it took some getting used to. I've also seen Lopez teach - she's very attuned to the needs of dancers, and is clear about what she's looking for. I think they're in very good hands.

Expanding the repertoire could be great for the company. Keep in mind that dancers like to dance, and like new challenges. Dancing the 'same old thing' year after year - even if it's mixed up - can get boring for them. Most dancers I know like the challenge of learning new choreography - this comes through to performances. And many companies have created avenues for dancers to explore the challenges of creating their own choreography, and there's no reason why Morphoses could not be that avenue for MCB. I know dancers who love Balanchine, but jump at the chance to do something different - it doesn't change their fealty to Mr. B, but they enjoy new challenges too, and believe that if the art form is to move forward, new works need to be created.

Finally, I like the fact that over the weekend, some of the MCB dancers appear (according to the troupe's Facebook page) to have participated in a 'flashmob' dance presentation in Miami's Wynwood arts district. It's this kind of low-cost innovative marketing that may help grow the audience.

#17 Helene

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:25 PM

PNB audiences expect Balanchine to be programmed regularly, but Stowell choreographed a number of full-lengths, including "Nutcracker," "Swan Lake," "The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet," "Cinderella," "Silver Lining," and "Coppelia" and the 2/3-length "Carminative Burana" (programmed with a one-act, like "La Sylphide"). He also brought the Hynd "Merry Widow" and "Sleeping Beauty" and the ABT "Don Quixote.". (Apologies if I'm leaving something out.) Peter Boal brought the Ratmansky "Don Quixote," Balanchine's "Coppelia," Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette," and the PNB "Giselle.". It's possible that these ballets have kept the company solvent for a decade, between the dot-com meltdown, the seismic upgrade of the Opera House/Mercer Arena fiasco, and most recent world financial crises.

If the audience is that skittish if "Swan Lake" is on the program, I think there's danger, Will Robinson. We're not talking about William Forsythe's company doing "Swan Lake."

Christopher Stowell has introduced classics to his Oregon Ballet Theatre audiences by producing an act on a mixed bill and later producing the full-length version, which is a prudent approach.

#18 Helene

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:41 PM

Can a company of 40 dancers plus a couple of apprentices do justice to a full length traditional Swan Lake. I remember Scottish Ballet (a similar sized company to MCB) having a gorgeous Swan Lake mounted by Galina Samsova who worked closely with Sir Peter Wright on BRB's wonderful production. It worked fine for me but a lot of people criticised it because of the "small" number of swans (I think it was 12). BRB has 18 swans in total, including the cygnets and 2 big swans.

Yes, if they use the pre-professional students from the school, and they can use soloists as the little and big swans. Extras acting as ball guests in Act III can work as well.

#19 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:01 PM


Can a company of 40 dancers plus a couple of apprentices do justice to a full length traditional Swan Lake. I remember Scottish Ballet (a similar sized company to MCB) having a gorgeous Swan Lake mounted by Galina Samsova who worked closely with Sir Peter Wright on BRB's wonderful production. It worked fine for me but a lot of people criticised it because of the "small" number of swans (I think it was 12). BRB has 18 swans in total, including the cygnets and 2 big swans.

Yes, if they use the pre-professional students from the school, and they can use soloists as the little and big swans. Extras acting as ball guests in Act III can work as well.


When the company staged that embarrrasing Aurora's Wedding, it was clear that the problem wasn't about the number of available dancers, and the solution doesn't lay simply as "Oh well...we're a Balanchine company, so whatever.."

#20 Helene

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 10:05 PM

If Miami City Ballet were to do "Swan Lake," starting with Balanchine's version might be the best way to go.

#21 Jack Reed

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 07:13 AM

They actually did revive his version, a kind of amalgamation of Acts II and IV, though titled only Swan Lake Act II, in 2008; the thread linked here includes a link (still live, but temperamental, keep fussing with it) to a review by Macaulay, where he takes some issue with that title but not a lot else.

Personally, I like better the Balanchine distillation of the ballet than the whole thing; in the Met, while I'm in the house for the evening, the cognoscenti show up after Act I and leave after Act III. (Act I works best if you know "something's going to happen" later. For me, otherwise, it's a bit of a bore.) I can go back to that leisurely, languorous 19th-Century world sometimes, but I get more out of a nicely-composed program including Mr. B's nicely-composed suite with other "short" ballets to complement it.

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:38 AM

Balanchine's comprised staging of the white acts is indeed part of MCB's repertoire, and the troupe of swans was there, so I don't think is a matter of number of dancers available but rather of certain lack of ability to take the warhorses by their horns, permeated probably by economical reasons AND some fear-(notice that this is my assumption). But a ballerina-(or a troupe)-doesn't get any points by avoiding the big roles...they rather lose, and so the audience. We all know the strength and ability of a dancer to assume those fouetees permeated roles and XIX Century demeanor has a limit, and sometimes when I see our wonderful Delgados o Catoya o Panteado onstage, I wonder...will they ever be given the opportunity...? Our great Seay retired sans any Aurora in her resume, and Catoya and Panteado are right there in the borderline. They don't have the luxury of many years ahead to wait. Yes, the floor rolling is interesting at times, but when I went to see Cunningham's company in their last tour before the folding, I immediately had the same feeling as when I saw Duchamp's "Fountain" in the Guggenheim. It was a curiosity...a sign of artistic rebellion/searching from past times, but now a mere curiosity that didn't convey what it initially intended to.

#23 Natalia

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 08:58 AM

....
Personally, I like better the Balanchine distillation of the ballet than the whole thing; ....


I love it too, Jack...but with the traditional 'look' of Balanchine's original conception, e.g., the hunters participating on the sidelines during the pdd-adagio of the leads...and with traditional white swan tutus (unlike NYCB's current corps of all-black tutus except for the lead).

#24 brokenwing

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:04 AM

Natalia, do you know when NYCB changed to the all-black swan corps? Was it under Balanchine? Balanchine was, to me, usually a barometer of good taste, so it would perplex me that this would happen under his watch.

#25 Birdsall

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:23 AM

But a ballerina-(or a troupe)-doesn't get any points by avoiding the big roles...they rather lose, and so the audience. We all know the strength and ability of a dancer to assume those fouetees permeated roles and XIX Century demeanor has a limit, and sometimes when I see our wonderful Delgados o Catoya o Panteado onstage, I wonder...will they ever be given the opportunity...? Our great Seay retired sans any Aurora in her resume, and Catoya and Panteado are right there in the borderline.


Someone posted in another topic on this forum that no ballerina is promoted to "Principal" at the Mariinsky unless she has danced Odette/Odile at the Mariinsky (guesting elsewhere with a different company doesn't count....has to be at the Mariinsky Theatre), so some companies do consider it a touchstone role. I imagine in Cuba it is also a must to dance that before advancing or before considered a top notch dancer.

I do think that Balanchine has become an off shoot world almost all its own, but I think I agree that it shouldn't be. I think it is good to also know the classics. I think it will never hurt a company and will probably help. But this is just my opinion. I can't imagine learning a different style means the dancer would lose or forget his/her Balanchine training.

#26 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

I think it is good to also know the classics.


It is absolutely necessary.

I can't imagine learning a different style means the dancer would lose or forget his/her Balanchine training.


Substitute the word "Balanchine" by "Petipa" in your sentence and you will get a fact that indeed happens.

#27 Birdsall

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 12:26 PM


I think it is good to also know the classics.


It is absolutely necessary.

I can't imagine learning a different style means the dancer would lose or forget his/her Balanchine training.


Substitute the word "Balanchine" by "Petipa" in your sentence and you will get a fact that indeed happens.



Well, I was trying to make the Balanchine lovers (afraid Petipa training would change them) feel better about MCB continuing to explore the classics. You are scaring them again, Cristian! LOL

#28 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 12:43 PM



I think it is good to also know the classics.


It is absolutely necessary.

I can't imagine learning a different style means the dancer would lose or forget his/her Balanchine training.


Substitute the word "Balanchine" by "Petipa" in your sentence and you will get a fact that indeed happens.



Well, I was trying to make the Balanchine lovers (afraid Petipa training would change them) feel better about MCB continuing to explore the classics. You are scaring them again, Cristian! LOL


No need to be afraid, BB. Balanchine lovers have their territory marked over here already. On the other side, I'm sure the dancers and audiences both would be VERY grateful would the classics find a permanent house in Miami.

#29 Natalia

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:15 PM

Natalia, do you know when NYCB changed to the all-black swan corps? Was it under Balanchine? Balanchine was, to me, usually a barometer of good taste, so it would perplex me that this would happen under his watch.


I seem to remember that the tutus were black in the early 80s. I could swear that they were black when I moved to the US/DC after university, 1983-84ish, and saw it in NY. There was an equally-odd "cave of ice" staging before then. Maybe NYCB regulars can help jar the mind. It was a big relief to see the traditional 'no gimmicks' Miami version in '08!

#30 California

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 02:29 PM


Natalia, do you know when NYCB changed to the all-black swan corps? Was it under Balanchine? Balanchine was, to me, usually a barometer of good taste, so it would perplex me that this would happen under his watch.


I seem to remember that the tutus were black in the early 80s. I could swear that they were black when I moved to the US/DC after university, 1983-84ish, and saw it in NY. There was an equally-odd "cave of ice" staging before then. Maybe NYCB regulars can help jar the mind. It was a big relief to see the traditional 'no gimmicks' Miami version in '08!


At the very end of the summary on Swan Lake on the NYCB site, it says that the black swans were added after his death, based on his apparent thinking that he would like to add them.

In 1986 the production was redesigned once more by Alain Vaes who created an icy landscape instead of the traditional Gothic lakeside, and dressed the corps of swans in black, which Balanchine may have been planning in 1981 when he mysteriously ordered 400 yards of black tarlatan. When asked to justify this odd request, Balanchine merely said, “There are black swans as well.”


http://www.nycballet...alanchine).aspx


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