As part of a summer-long ritual, students in the Washington School of Ballet’s summer intensive program cool off at the pool at McLean Gardens at the end of their eight-hour day in the Ballet’s stifling second and third floor studios. These are photos of temporary, passionate, burden-shedding.
Friday, August 31
Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:39 PM
Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:48 PM
Alexei Ratmansky is now a big cheese in the world of ballet, in demand all over the world as one of the few choreographers who is making work that is both classical and modern.
His version of Cinderella, made for the Mariinsky Ballet in 2002, was his first big commission – and seeing its belated British debut at the Edinburgh Festival, it is impossible not to be dazzled by the talent already on display.
Yet the principals each seem to be in a world of their own, inhabiting a space where they perform their roles and express their characters effectively to the audience yet don’t interact with the narrative.
While Ratmansky has given the performers ample room to convey their ability and skill, the characters don’t seem to push forward the story, rather, the set pieces happen as the backdrop and music move on.
Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:50 PM
Addressing the classics, the choreographer wants all those who are sure that classical ballets have become outdated to change their minds. Alexei Ratmansky says:
"Many people think that ballets, especially classical ballets, can’t be linked to real life. And I think that this is wrong. I believe that all classical ballets that have survived are based on the plots that can be filled with serious content which people at all levels whose tastes vary too will be able to understand without any problem. Ratmansky’s Cinderella is a modern girl who before she turned into a princess danced in gaiters, tunic and a jacket. And we can see that she was not doing this very well. The point is that she had simply no time to practice dancing because she did dirty work at home...."
Posted 31 August 2012 - 01:53 PM
The Herald Sun
Arms reach to unfathomable lengths. Torsos spiral aggressively around each other and duets seethe with lustful tension while displaying risky aerial manoeuvres.
Some might call it cliched or over-wrought, balletomanes may grumble at its irreverence, but this Anna Karenina is consistently engaging and technically controlled.
In the end the ballet's brilliant, restless athleticism rends apart any sense of emotional authenticity. Real depth of emotional expression is often at its most compelling in stillness and there is little of it here. Certainly, the technical versatility of these dancers is breathtaking. It is a wonder then that choreography that places such physical demands, in the end, elicits so little genuine emotion. Such overwrought choreography, married to some of Tchaikovsky's lushest music, can seem dangerously contrived.
Posted 01 September 2012 - 09:00 PM
Mr. Ratmansky’s version is essentially somber, and in this respect it catches the mordant, sarcastic qualities of the Prokofiev score, although it also responds to its gloriously danceable melodies. (Both of these aspects were resonantly apparent in Mr. Gergiev’s account.) But this “Cinderella” is a curiously uneven work, suggesting that Mr. Ratmansky hadn’t yet quite worked out the balance between obeisance to ballet tradition and subversion of it — a tightrope that he walks with bravura aplomb in later pieces like “Namouna” (2010) and “Psyché” (2011).
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