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Kennedy Center Honors 2012 - Natalia Makarova honored

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It seemed to me that Makarova showed little emotion, especially while watching the performances. Not a single smile. It made me think that she was unhappy with the whole event. But that's pure speculation.

I was watching with my daughter, who's a ballet dancer and teacher. Both of us agreed that Makarova was concentrating intently on the dancers' movements, style and interpretation. Her face was the same as my own when I study a dancer. I thought she was deeply invested in what she was seeing. I don't think she was unhappy at all. How could she be, even given her expertise and preferences, when the performances were so stellar?

That possibility had occurred to me, and I hope you're right. To this viewer, however, it seemed that her face was devoid of any emotion whatsoever, devoid of intensity as well. I don't want to speculate further because there are so many possibilities, but I'm going to watch the program again tomorrow in the light of the various comments above. I would not dismiss the possibility that she may have been unmoved by the performances, despite our own feelings about them.

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I wasn't able to sit down in front of the tv watch this until tonight, though I've loved reading everyone's posts on this thread.

I remember vividly the time of Makarova's defection and her first appearances in New York, and had the chance to see her dance several times a year with ABT. I was also able to catch her West End On Your Toes. What a story; what a career. The highlight for me was, more than anything, the opportunity to watch this remarkable artist being honored in such grad style by the country of her adoption.

For me, the most striking image came at the end, when the dancers swept on stage, faced the audience, and joined the audience in the applause. It was like something choreographed by Balanchine or Robbins, a really great moment.

In terms of dancing, Tiler Peck's jewel of a solo was close to perfection.. The Kent-Hallberg pas de deux, despite the intrusion of closeups, conveyed the feeling of the real thing. That is more than can be said for the selection from Giselle.

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The Kent-Hallberg pas de deux, despite the intrusion of closeups, conveyed the feeling of the real thing. That is more than can be said for the selection from Giselle.

I agree. It didn't have much of a chance in front of that backdrop though, did it?

In regards to Other Dances, Helene’s observation that Peck has none of Makarova’s je ne sais quoi reminded me that I first saw that ballet as danced Patricia McBride (with Baryshnikov), a dancer Peck is sometimes compared to. I’m sorry I never saw Makarova dance it, but I think McBride’s openness suits it as well. Whether that made Peck the best choice for a Makarova tribute is another question, but I’m glad to have this clip.

As for Kent and Hallberg, I thought the disparity in their age was obvious in the close-ups, but only in the close-ups, so that’s a real compliment.

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One of my friends believes that Makarova was also a trail blazer for ballerinas who wanted to have children and then return to continue dancing. I don't know enough about that issue to judge whether that's the case.

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Odd, I thought despite the horrendous framing choices, that Giselle was wone of the few segments that still left me wanting to see the ballerina live on stage... Thought Cojocaru's interpretation very sensitive even if the line of her foot weren't ideal... The arch was still beautiful... I've never been one to go crazy about feet I suppose, just seems to be so much more going on in that pas than just feet....

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. Why would he focus on a few negative comments here, on a forum that isn't even read by the general public?

Well, BA is on the Internet. :) I wonder as well why these particular comments earned Kobborg's ire - surely there's harsher criticism out there - but it's nice to know he's reading BA. It was a big night for Cojocaru, of course. I was excited to see her, even if I didn't think she was shown to best effect.

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Since "On Your Toes" has come up on this thread, I thought I would mention that Encores at New York City Center will be presenting that musical May 8-12, 2013. Casting is not announced for Encores productions until a few weeks before the show, so there is presently no casting info.

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It seemed to me that Makarova showed little emotion, especially while watching the performances. Not a single smile. It made me think that she was unhappy with the whole event. But that's pure speculation.

I was watching with my daughter, who's a ballet dancer and teacher. Both of us agreed that Makarova was concentrating intently on the dancers' movements, style and interpretation. Her face was the same as my own when I study a dancer. I thought she was deeply invested in what she was seeing. I don't think she was unhappy at all. How could she be, even given her expertise and preferences, when the performances were so stellar?

That possibility had occurred to me, and I hope you're right. To this viewer, however, it seemed that her face was devoid of any emotion whatsoever, devoid of intensity as well. I don't want to speculate further because there are so many possibilities, but I'm going to watch the program again tomorrow in the light of the various comments above. I would not dismiss the possibility that she may have been unmoved by the performances, despite our own feelings about them.

I watched the performances again today, and feel much better. I did detect the flicker of a smile when the JKO student was dancing and then a broad smile at the end, during the curtain calls. So I do think that Makarova approved of the performances. Thank you BA-ers for sending me back for a replay.

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I watched the performances again today, and feel much better. I did detect the flicker of a smile when the JKO student was dancing and then a broad smile at the end, during the curtain calls. So I do think that Makarova approved of the performances. Thank you BA-ers for sending me back for a replay.

She just seemed less at ease/to less enjoy the whole event than some of the other recipients. I'm not sure it had anything to do with the performances (she seemed somewhat ill at ease throughout). Some people just feel awkward under this kind of circumstance even if they are pleased about it.

I have to say the guys from Led Zeppelin enjoyed themselves so much the entire time that it made me happy to be watching (and I'm not a particular fan).

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Regarding Makarova's expression, it's been my observation, based on limited experience watching dance with dancers as well as just eavesdropping, that they often watch dance rather differently from fans, concentrating closely on technical matters, for example. Could she simply have been too absorbed to react much?

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. Why would he focus on a few negative comments here, on a forum that isn't even read by the general public?

Well, BA is on the Internet. smile.png I wonder as well why these particular comments earned Kobborg's ire - surely there's harsher criticism out there - but it's nice to know he's reading BA. It was a big night for Cojocaru, of course. I was excited to see her, even if I didn't think she was shown to best effect.

My fault, I'm afraid: I was caught by him when laughing at your comments with a friend in another social network.

The cambrè at min 1:48 I think justify all the laughing and also his unability to resist to comment...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bzqX-iNinMI#!

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Thanks for posting this -- I wasn't able to watch the telecast, and hadn't looked online for it yet.

Keeping in mind that we are seeing a fraction of what actually happened at the event, it seems to me that Makarova was watching like a professional: intently, thoughtfully, and respectfully.

These kinds of bits and pieces programs are always frustrating for people who know where the work comes from and how it should be contextualized, but I felt deeply sorry for Part -- the last one to enter and it's fouettes right off the bat. Yikes!

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Another observation: It looked to me that Dustin Hoffman was being sweetly solicitous of Makarova, often glancing at her and at one point appeared to take her elbow. He seemed very much to appreciate who she was. I believe his first wife was a dancer so that might explain it.

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I noticed that, too, Barbara. Thank you for pointing that out.

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Some of my favorite women in their 70s (e.g., Nancy Pelosi) look amazingly young, as does Makarova - barely a wrinkle or sag anywhere in their faces. It's possible they all just live very healthy lives and enjoy good genes, but there might be something else at work that makes it more difficult to show ordinary emotion in their faces. No insults intended of anyone . . . I'm just saying that there might be another explanation for her (relative) lack of visible emotional response in her face.

(Compare Makarova's unlined face with Baryshnikov's. He's 8 years younger than she!)

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Some of my favorite women in their 70s (e.g., Nancy Pelosi) look amazingly young, as does Makarova - barely a wrinkle or sag anywhere in their faces. It's possible they all just live very healthy lives and enjoy good genes, but there might be something else at work that makes it more difficult to show ordinary emotion in their faces. No insults intended of anyone . . . I'm just saying that there might be another explanation for her (relative) lack of visible emotional response in her face.

(Compare Makarova's unlined face with Baryshnikov's. He's 8 years younger than she!)

That is a good point, tactfully put :)

I also wonder, based on not only this, but also on her interview on Letterman, whether her comprehension of English is perhaps not great when in high stress situations. Yes, I know she has been here for ages, but many people surround themselves with other people who speak their native language.

This does not, obviously, relate to her response to the dancing, but that seemed to me to just be intent watching. I just wondered if she didn't find the experience rather overwhelming, and perhaps not fully understand all of what was being said. I don't mean this as a critical statement at all. I just know that in high stress situations it is harder to understand what we might otherwise get easily in a one-on-one conversation.

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This shows her seemingly a lot more relaxed and having more fun than at the actual ceremony itself, for what that is worth (significance? she didn't enjoy it? she was overwhelmed? I don't know, but the photos are fun):

http://www.utsandieg...-center-honors/

These are wonderful photos, aurora! Thanks for posting them.

California, I noticed the beauty and agelessness of Makarova's face during the interview with Letterman. I think that you make a very good point, and, as aurora noted, tactfully put.

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I seem to remember that people had the same observation about Suzanne Farrell's expression when she received her honor;someone asked me if she was angry!

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Farrell's mouth turns down at the corners in a neutral state, which a lot of people interpret as sad or angry.

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Saw the broadcast and noticed...

The dancing:

1) Tiler Peck danced Other Dances like a Balanchine dancer, not Makarova; it was fun, but was not NM's movement or technique, though it was the most complete and joyous performance for me of the night.

2) Part's fouettes appeared rather 'flat' to me--ok to not do the multiples, but they looked perfunctory not exciting or building to a climax--or was that because of the cutaway/reaction shot breaking it up? (I agree with a previous post that Sarah Lane would have been a more recognizable casting for clueless general auds, though less a tie-in to Makarova trajectory in reverse, or to Letterman.)

3) I also understood why CBS showed only the end of the Giselle Gpdd, but it was so truncated and out-of-context that AC & CC had no time to inject anything other than the bare bones over an expected professional but no way extraordinary performance. (Ditto SL excerpt with Gomes & Part.) I agree with (Helen?) re: Macmillan's R&J being more able to show drama in short excerpt. I didn't have any problem with Kent/Hallberg pairing.

Technical issues...

1) The clueless camera choices--too tight CU's of dancers--esp. on diagonal shots; and unnecessary/intrusive cutaways or reaction shots (ok to have, but not timed right here), I didn't need to see XCU's that were partial frames or on a dubious piece of anatomy. I didn't need to see Cojocaru's feet bourreeing; I would have preferred a simple (and more continuous) FS of her et.al.

2) The obvious (and again, rather clueless) edits/cuts to music, choreography, performances which made me wonder whether longer excerpts were shown in the theater?

Generally:

Having seen Makarova in rehearsal/rehearsing several times, she is always intent/intense. I was always struck by her ability to focus on the technique issues, but also seek to convey the emotional context behind each step to the dancers. I've also seen her at larger press conferences, where she didn't know the language, but trusted in those about her to help out, or in the goodwill of the audience, and then she was relaxed/smiling/funny and very sweet.

And of course, I thought he might, and am stil glad he did dance at this honors performance for Makarova, (since I know the debt to her and others) but was sad the Giselle excerpt was so cut up, and that I still miss the things that made Corella unique. PS. I noticed the sleeves.

PPS.For many years I have had a pic of a young Judi Dent in that early R&J performance and also remember that Zefferelli staging as being important for him and her.

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So I do think that Makarova approved of the performances. Thank you BA-ers for sending me back for a replay.

I'm glad to read your latest assessment!

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For me, Peck danced like someone who was a Robbins dancer. I don't think Peck was trying to copy Makarova. She was bringing her experience from dancing numerous Robbins roles to this particular performance. The leading Robbins roles that, for me, stand out in her rep is the Girl in Pink in Dances at a Gathering and Fall in Four Seasons. I had never seen her in Other Dances before the broadcast. I wish they would give her a shot at In G Major.

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For me, Peck danced like someone who was a Robbins dancer. I don't think Peck was trying to copy Makarova. ...

There is (I think on the "Ballerina" series that Makarova hosted) some footage of her rehearsing this work with Robbins, and I remember thinking at the time that he was working very closely with the image of her we had at the time, where her identity as a Russian was as prominent as her identity as a ballerina. It gave a specific flavor to the ballet that doesn't always find its way into more contemporary performances. In the slice we got at the Kennedy Center, Peck looked wonderful, but I certainly didn't get the sense that she was imitating Makarova, but rather having a wonderful time experiencing a dance made for someone else.

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