Jump to content


Let's talk about the 2012-2013 season


  • Please log in to reply
112 replies to this topic

#91 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,211 posts

Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:47 PM

I tend to be more in Cristian's camp about wanting Swan Lake (for example), although I do think it probably makes sense that MCB doesn't have the same resources as Cuban National Ballet or the Mariinsky (no feeder school that constantly supplies fully developed students that can constantly replenish the corps de ballet), so it is probably much harder for MCB to make the classical ballets its staple, and they do have a different focus (neo-classical) for the most part. I would be okay with MCB sticking with neoclassical ballet, if there were another company that gave us plenty of classics. Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami seems to have offered some in the past, but are only offering rep shows currently.

But I like that Cristian has hope that MCB will do Swan Lake. I hope so too. One day. I think it would be interesting and exciting to see what these dancers could do in that ballet. I don't think starting to plan a future Swan Lake is totally out of MCB's reach, and I don't think doing a Swan Lake means they will jettison the Balanchine repetoire. Most seasons they have at least one full-length. I suspect a small company has to do a balancing act of rep programs and full-length story ballets. I suspect the story ballets are easier to sell but also more expensive and time consuming to produce. The rep programs are cheaper (I am guessing) and give more dancers more opportunities (possibly). Programming is probably a very tricky thing in a small or medium company.

I do think this is a great discussion.

#92 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,162 posts

Posted 06 November 2012 - 01:47 PM

I do think this is a great discussion.


And I hope Lourdes would get to read this thread...Posted Image

#93 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,575 posts

Posted 06 November 2012 - 02:48 PM

So I guess I should keep jumping on planes and stop my quest to bring Odile to the beach...


I'm afraid that this is one of those "be careful what you wish for" things. Despite this, if I lived in Miami, I would rather see the company build towards performing the classics, than act as if Nacho Duato and Jiri Kylian are cutting edge or fill out a neoclassical roster with contemporary dance. (There are contemporary dance companies that do that.) I like Christopher Stowell's approach of starting with one act, and not biting off more than the company can chew (or as a close friend would say, "I don't kill more than I can eat.") Miami has the advantage of having many dancers with the proper training who could coach in the style, because for MCB, the classics in the proper style are expanding the dancers horizons, since they haven't been dancing it. But, if MCB isn't willing to go in that direction, there is neoclassical work worth presenting.

PNB just did four new works, and three of the four were actually ballet, even if one of them was choreographed by Mark Morris. New work does not have to come from some other genre, and North American AD choreographers and/or who run companies with resident choreographers seem to be pig-headed about sharing or accepting solid to great new ballets. I don't think anyone is going to tear the "savior of ballet" crown from Wheeldon or Ratmansky's head to hand it to Kiyon Gaines (at least yet), but his "Sum Stravinsky" is a wonderful work that just about every NA ballet company I've ever seen would look great in, and, practically-speaking, as Macaulay pointed out, it three couples (six lead roles) as well as being the right sized corps, to give just one example.

#94 Jack Reed

Jack Reed

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,470 posts

Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:36 PM

... (no feeder school that constantly supplies fully developed students that can constantly replenish the corps de ballet), ...


Do I misunderstand something? I think MCB has an extensive feeder school, actually.

#95 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,162 posts

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:06 PM


... (no feeder school that constantly supplies fully developed students that can constantly replenish the corps de ballet), ...


Do I misunderstand something? I think MCB has an extensive feeder school, actually.


They do, but I don't think it has gone to the desired level to be considered a company feeder.

#96 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 09:53 AM

Do I misunderstand something? I think MCB has an extensive feeder school, actually.

They do, but I don't think it has gone to the desired level to be considered a company feeder.



Since I first attended MCB 10 years ago, one of the big changes has been in the percentage of dancers who have had some training at the School. This includes all of the recent acquisitions from Brazil: Cerdeiro, Rebello, Arja, Chagas,

The company at the time of the final program of last season broke down as follows:

Principals (12). Attended MCB School (2, the youngest dancers in the category).
Soloists (6). Attended MCB School (3)
Corps (20). Attended MCB School (13)

There were 6 apprentices, 2 of whom are "School Scholarship Apprentices." All were students at the School.

My impression is that the MCB School has been developing over the years into something that might legitimately be described as a feeder school. The younger the dancer, the more likely he or she is to have trained at MCB, at least for the last part of their schooling.

As to the level of training -- The young Brazilians (Cerdiro, Rebello, Arja, Chargas), all of them classically trained in Brazil, developed impressively during their time at MCB School. This is based on watching them on stage as school apprentices. Their MCB training was, it seems to me, crucial to (a) the development of strength, speed, performance skills, and the ability to handle MCB's Balanchine and other rep with which they had little or no prior experience and (b) their subsequent successful transition into the Company.

#97 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,162 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:58 AM

... the more likely he or she is to have trained at MCB, at least for the last part of their schooling.


But here's a very important point. Many of them have been there just for a while...they're not to be considered a typical product of the school, as with some dancers that get to spend the end of their training years at Vaganova. I don't think they're said to be a product of the Vaganova Academy, or SAB or the Cuban National Ballet School-(where many foreign formed dancers get to spend that amount of years sometimes).

#98 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:07 PM

Other than the School of American Ballet, are there any U.S. company-connected schools which provide most of the dancers to the company with which they are tied? Or at which pre-professional students spend most of their ballet training? I ask this because I really don't know the answer.

The SAB-NYCB connection is, granted, the ideal when it comes to passing on a company style. It's best, I suppose, to start early in such a school. But even there a certain number of dancers accepted into NYCB trained at the company school for only part of their pre-professional schooling. Some of these regularly enter the company and do quite well there.

Lourdes Lopez, trained at SAB after starting ballet in MIami, is now in charge of both MCB and its school. Whatever model she follows, it is not likely to be a replica of what Paris, St. Petersburg, Manhattan, or Havana have created. That means that the results will not be the same as any of these institutions. I guess what I am trying to say is that I simply don;'t see the point of comparing MCB with institutions that are so different in history, mission, resources, and audience.

#99 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,575 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:26 PM

School of American Ballet isn't the same, though, as POB, Vaganova, RDB School, and the Bolshoi school, and maybe still in some places in Russia like Perm?

SAB has two tracks: the recreational track (for lack of a better term) and the Professional Division track. SAB tends to get its students in the Professional Division as young teenagers, although some, like Likolani Brown only spent a few full years there, and there has been little overlap between the kids who start their at eight and the kids that are studying there at 14, let alone the students who make it into the Company. Part of this had been the lack of dorms, and part because there are very few parents who would send their kids earlier to live away from home at eight or nine. Ballet doesn't have the prestige here, it isn't seen as a way to secure a good place to live/good food and benefits to the family, and the kids part of SAB is not the kind of integrated (with academic subjects, ballet history, and languages) school that the other schools have. It's not a straight path to a career like it is at the Mariinsky School; the kids are self-selected, not professionally selected for a final product.

Even NYers like Stephanie Saland and Maria Calegari, who could live at home, didn't start at SAB when they were young children.

Some of NYCB dancers who started as children are Judith Fugate, Peter Boal, Jennie Somogyi, and Amar Ramassar. I'm sure there are a few others, as well as those like Zoe Zien who join other companies, but if you look at the history of SAB from the time of the Ford Foundation, it strikes me that the kids division is an income source, since the number who join NYCB is very low.

What the NYCB Professional Division has done is to feed a lot of dancers each year into other companies. When Peter Boal joined NYCB, of the 46 or so roster of PNB, 14 had studied under him at SAB, and one (Louise Nadeau) had been his peer at SAB, and at that point, he had only hired Korbes directly into the company. (Miranda Weese was a guest and then joined for a couple of years, and the Orzas, William Lin-Yee, and most recently, Matthew Renko, came later.) While NYCB may use SAB to cherry pick dancers for the company, and, earlier than that, use their summer program to cherry pick dancers for the school, there are dancers that they haven't hired -- politics, having too many of their type, wouldn't thrive in a big company, might be injury prone with a NYCB schedule, etc.-- as well as those who've said "No thank you" who've excelled elsewhere.

#100 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:09 PM

Thanks, Helene. It was the Professional Division I was thinking of.

Zoe Zien is one of several MCB dancers from SAB. Chase Swatosh is the latest.

About the Brazilian group: I think it's possible to underestimate the importance of the kind of finishing that occurs in the last few years of pre-professional training. I have observed 4 of these dancers at MCB performances, including Open Barre studio performances. All came with exceptional gifts. But they were gifts that could easily have lead them in a number of directions. More than a few prodigies at 12 or 13 have ended up with careers of guesting or doing the pas-de-deux circuit in situations often not worthy of their promise.

Finishing -- in the sense of expanding what one can do and refining the way one does it -- is crucial to turning the prodigy into an artist who can sustain a rich and varied career. It seems to me that Edward Villella was quite conscious of this in the way he made use of the MCB School, especially in recent years. I can only assume that Lopez will continue in Villella's footsteps in this matter.

#101 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,575 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:13 PM

The reason I made that distinction is because in the big state academies, they select kids between eight and ten that pass all of the physical tests, for turnout, extension, strong feet and back, and whatever body type they're looking for. (They traditionally check out the family to see what's in the gene pool.)

They are investing is a very specific few, and those few get exceptional stylistic and technical training and a core curriculum from the time that they are very young. If a dancer joins the SAB Professional Division at 13, chances are s/he's just uprooted him or herself at the same time s/he's going through puberty, and she's three-five years behind in that school's training. If as a child s/he's studied with a great teacher who's given him or her great basics and a sense of style, that's fantastic, but that's not always the case. If the dancer wants an education, s/he arranges it independently of SAB, and isn't given a mandatory curriculum integrated into the dance training.

I mentioned Zien, because as a child she and her sister were "Nutcracker" kids, and she was Little Red Riding Hood in Peter Martin's "The Sleeping Beauty," a piece of theatrical brilliance. She was one of the kids who started young in the school and joined the PD later.

#102 vipa

vipa

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 979 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:47 PM

I mentioned Zien, because as a child she and her sister were "Nutcracker" kids, and she was Little Red Riding Hood in Peter Martin's "The Sleeping Beauty," a piece of theatrical brilliance. She was one of the kids who started young in the school and joined the PD later.


I don't know if anyone has mentioned this but Zoe Zion's mother is Suzy Pilarre- former NYCB soloist who danced with the company for 15 or 16 years. Zion lived in NYC and certainly had a lot of guidance.

#103 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 09 November 2012 - 04:07 AM

Thanks, vipa, for that information. Zien is one of the favorite dancers of several of us on B.A. She has a way of phrasing and making shapes that is subtly (though never obtrusively) different from those of her her fellow dancers. You notice this especially when he is dancing parallel to someone else in one of the lead corps or soloist roles.

For an idea about Lopez's intentions for Morphoses, the NY Times has a review of that project's latest program at the Joyce in NYC. The feature work, "Within (Labyrinth Within)" by dancer Pontus Lidberg, involves both film and a small cast of dancers. Brian Siebert's review is full of interesting details and is generally quite positive. Sounds like a good match for MCB's dancers and budget. I am already starting to think about which dancers to cast for the leads. Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez, generally underutilized in MCB's standard rep, came immediately in mind for the male protagonist.

http://www.nytimes.c...l?ref=arts&_r=0

When the film’s danced duets come, the gentle push and pull, the elastic power dynamic of Mr. Lidberg’s choreography, is colored by the story’s violent emotions. The story is familiar — and the denouement a little groan-worthy — but the combination is fresh.

Now that Ms. Lopez has become artistic director of Miami City Ballet and has announced her intention to take Morphoses with her, the company will have to manage an even trickier marriage. The unlikely accomplishment of “Within (Labyrinth Within)” is a good sign.


Thanks, vipa, for that information. Zien is one of the favorite dancers of several of us on B.A. She has a way of phrasing and making shapes that is subtly (though never obtrusively) different from those of her her fellow dancers. You notice this especially when he is dancing parallel to someone else in one of the lead corps or soloist roles.

For an idea about Lopez's intentions for Morphoses, the NY Times has a review of that project's latest program at the Joyce in NYC. The feature work, "Within (Labyrinth Whithin)" by dancer Pontus Lidberg, involves both film and a small cast of dancers. Brian Siebert's review is full of interesting details and is generally quite positive. Sounds like a good match for MCB's dancers and budget. I am already starting to think about which dancers to cast for the leads. Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez, generally underutilized in MCB's standard rep, came immediately in mind for the male protagonist.

http://www.nytimes.c...l?ref=arts&_r=0

When the film’s danced duets come, the gentle push and pull, the elastic power dynamic of Mr. Lidberg’s choreography, is colored by the story’s violent emotions. The story is familiar — and the denouement a little groan-worthy — but the combination is fresh.

Now that Ms. Lopez has become artistic director of Miami City Ballet and has announced her intention to take Morphoses with her, the company will have to manage an even trickier marriage. The unlikely accomplishment of “Within (Labyrinth Within)” is a good sign.



#104 cubanmiamiboy

cubanmiamiboy

    Diamonds Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,162 posts

Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:39 AM

Agree with bart about Zien. She has a distinctive way of moving...a subtle, restrained elegance and, as bart says, makes herself visible right away onstage. I would love to see her in major roles already, and it seems to me she's somehow overdue for a promotion.

#105 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 11 November 2012 - 03:14 PM

On Saturday, I caught the second of 3 Open Barre presentations at the MCB studio. The program was entitled "See the Music, Hear the Dance: Neoclassicism: Apollo & Duo Concertant," For me it was a welcome chance to watch Lourdes Lopez interacting with audience and dancers. Gary Sheldon, the very smart director of MCB's orchestra, was co-presenter.

In the musical discussion that opened the performance, Sheldon was very good at demonstrating t the piano the way that Stravinsky changed "classicism" to something new and different. Then Lopez took over with the dancers, asking Kleber Rebello -- and later Tricia Albertson -- to perform a standard classical combination. After each demonstration, she asked them to perform the same steps as Balanchine re-imagined them in Duo Concertant -- jazzier, more driven and off-balance, marvelously altered as to detail. Later, when Albertson and Rebello performed the full Duo Concertant to piano and violin, each of these illustrations seemed to stand out.You could not help but look closely and notice how the details had been altered: flexed (not pointed) feet. Rhythmic ups and downs of the foot in releve. Unexpected shifts in direction and port de bras in chaine turns. For me, this was revelatory.

Following that, Lopez led Mary Carmen Catoya and Reyneris Reyes through a slightly different exercise based on choreography from Apollo pas de deux. The joy here was watching superb dancers from seats less than 20 feet away, without lighting or orchestration. Most striking was the chance to observe a standard classical press lift and then its brilliant reinvention -- the "Swimming Lesson." Catoya, by the way, was completely delightful in the q&a. She an turn on the hauteur on stage, as in Ballet Imperial; but she is also the "youngest" and most spontaneously funny and bewitching Coppelia in the company. A genuine and complex artist.

Apollo Pas de Deux. The pas de deux itself, played to recorded music, was beautifully dance. Reyes mentioned that he had never danced the part before. An injury had prevented him from dancing in the first set of performances. His Apollo has stature, gravitas, and strong technique. After watching the pas de deux, I hope to have the chance to see him in the complete ballet. Catoya was ... superb. Lopez clearly loves her. This was seamless dancing, pure and very clear. She ranks with the best Terpsichores I have seen, while reminding me of no one else.

Duo Concertant. MCB has some remarkable musical resources. Two of them shared the program: Francisco Renno (piano) and the orchestra's new first violinist, Alla Krolevich, who comes to Miami from St. Petersburg. I have strong visual and emotional memories of Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo premiering the ballet during the Stravinsky Festival. It's due to them that I think of this as one of Balanchine's best works (certainly one of the best pas de deux). Martins especially was an experienced performer, who gave weight to the movement and emotional meaning to the situation (two dancers listen to musicians playing, begin to create dances to the music). Kleber Rebello, very young, a dancer of air and light, would not have been my first choice for the man's role. I was wrong. Tricia Albertson, too, surprised me with her delicacy, clarity, and warmth. The woman seated next to me murmered "lovely" at the fade out. I agree. Greater depth will come. For the time being, "lovely" is an excellent start for dancers quite new to these roles.

Meanwhile, Lopez was completely engaged in listening, watching, supporting her dancers, projecting real respect for the art form she grew up with under Balanchine. She has stage presence without pushing herself forward. Unlike Villella, she seems completely comfortable in conversation with her audience, her musician colleagues, and her dancers. This presentation was promising indeed.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):