By far the best piece is founder Wade Schaaf's "Shostakovich Piano Concerto," a 2011 creation that gives the new troupe a solid finale and concert anchor. For starters, Schaaf has the good taste to set a dance to Shostakovich -- why don't more choreographers? -- and then he responds quite admirably with infinite detail, smart development and the requisite bravura finish. The style might be labeled breezy classicism, all manner of traditional form seamlessly laced with bits of modernity, down to and including the key motif wherein the performers fall dangerously and roll on the floor.
Saturday, September 22
Posted 22 September 2012 - 10:51 AM
Posted 22 September 2012 - 10:55 AM
Ib Andersen, Ballet Arizona's artistic director since 2000, was one of the last proteges of George Balanchine, the legendary choreographer who reinvented ballet for the modern era. This year's program will feature two Balanchine pieces, set to music by Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky, as well as an Anderson original, "Sueños," set to Rossini.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:05 AM
"This Bitter Earth", a preview of a longer work by Christopher Wheeldon, was a more serious work. It, too, was a pas de deux, featuring Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle, with costumes by Valentino, olive green this time. Whelan's costume was especially flattering, with a sleeveless bodice and chiffon skirt and it moved beautifully. The music by Mix Richter and Dinah Washington, from the film "Shutter Island", was not particularly danceable, and Wheeldon's steps (lots of agonized reaching and swooning) ambled on. Whelan, though, looked magnificent, controlled and centered, giving each gesture weight and grace. She looked like the prow of a ship, forging ahead, but unfortunately, she was sailing through a sea of treacle.
The best dancing by far, though, came in the lovely and heartbreaking new pas ded deux by Christopher Wheeldon, "This Bitter Earth," to music by Max Richter and Dina Washington. It was a preview of Wheeldon's new ballet, "Five Movements, Three Repeats," and though there are no immediate plans for City Ballet to perform it again, it was the highlight of the night for those who came for dance. Whelan remains a wonderful muse for the hugely gifted Wheeldon, her every move conveying meaning, purpose and feeling.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 11:16 AM
Ballet-starved Londoners have flocked to Sadler’s Wells to catch a rare glimpse of Helgi Tómasson’s glorious San Francisco Ballet. The company, making its first visit for eight years, is always lavish in its programming and the 10-day season has offered 10 one-act ballets, nine of them UK premieres.
In Programme A, the 79-year-old troupe began in grand style, with the celestial geometry of George Balanchine’s Divertimento No 15. The 1956 masterpiece – one of my Desert Island ballets – shows us five ballerinas, three cavaliers plus a smiling corps of eight whose vanilla-ice Karinska tutus earned their own ecstatic ovation the instant the curtain rose.
Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:25 AM
The San Francisco Ballet was founded in 1933, but the company's prominence on the world stage dates from 1985, when Helgi Tomasson became director. Today, with a mostly abstract repertoire and an international lineup of dancers, it is the epitome of the globalised ballet ensemble. Leaving the responsibilities of heritage to New York City Ballet and the star-packaging to American Ballet Theatre, Tomasson has pursued diversity, with an emphasis on new work. The 10 ballets that the company has brought to Sadler's Wells reflect this policy, but engaging though most have been, it has been the company's dancing that has proved a revelation. Even the less memorable works have been redeemed by the performers' charisma and technical finesse.
Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:28 AM
Verb Ballets performed two Brown works Saturday at Saint Ignatius High School’s Breen Center for the Performing Arts, along with pieces by Tom Evert and Brian Murphy. Oh, and a dancer named Antonio Brown performed a solo by a choreographer named Antonio Brown.
The program was the first this season Verb is presenting largely to highlight the work of one choreographer. For Saturday’s concert, Brown created “Passing By” and tweaked “Continuum,” which he made for Verb last season.
Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:18 PM
If Gittens and Singleton's experience has been that British ballet is essentially colour-blind, a senior African-American ballerina claims that the same is not true of the US. Being black, says American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland, "has hindered me and the roles I have been allowed to do. It's slowly changing, but not without a fight from me." At the top of Copeland's wish list of dream roles is Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, which she describes as "the ultimate – especially for a black woman".
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