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MCB Program IPatineurs, Apollo and the rest..


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#16 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 08:12 PM

Good idea..! Posted Image


BTW...this is from an e-mail exchange with a friend of mine, which I consider very reliable in her criticism. She's an ex dancer from Alonso's company,and she went to Sunday's performance. This is what she had to say.

"...que lastima mi amigo...espere verte. Apolo si me gusto pero no quien lo protagonizo. Las musas muy bonitas,casi perfectas diria yo,pero el,Dios mio,fue como el aprendiz de Apolo ! ) :"

Translation:

"..what a shame, my friend...I hoped to see you there. I did like Apollo, but not who danced the lead. The muses were very pretty, almost perfect I would say, but he...my God...he was like Apollo's apprentice..!"

I still don't know who danced on Sunday. Posted Image

#17 bart

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 03:36 PM

Cristian, I really enjoyed reading your lovely account of Les Patineurs and your thoughts on Apollo (or the different "Apollos" currently on display throughout the world). West Palm doesn't get its season premiere of Program One until November 30 (Posted Image ) -- so I have plenty of time to think about what you and others have written.

My first Apollo was Jacques d'Amboise, whose Terpsichores included Diana Adams and Allegra Kent. Repertory in Review has a good account of what Balanchine wanted in those days at NYCB. They did the birth scene -- winding cloth and all -- and the apotheosis on the stairway. We first saw Apollo wrapped in yards of white fabric, hopping forward towards the audience. d'Amboise was coltish, very young, very spontaneous. This prepared the way for the touches of stumbling, confusion, sudden bursts of exhaustion and petulance that Balanchine gives Apollo as he makes his uncertain (but preordained) way to becoming a god. According to Marie-Jeanne, who danced Terpsichore before World War II, Balanchine told Lew Christensen, the first American Apollo, "You are a woodcutter, a swimmer, a football player, a god. He wanted an unformed, unmajestic Apollo. He said that he had in mind a soccer player when he did it for Lifar. Lew had a kind of jerky movement, a roughness." d'Amboise captured much of that in his early performances 20 years later.

Were those performances in the early 60s faster? slower? more or less robotic? I can't say. But there was an energy, a feeling of spontaneity, and a feeling of real suspense each time you saw the ballet. That is missing, it seems to me, in many performances today. My own feeling is that this began with Conrad Ludlow and, later, with Peter Martins, both of whom broke the spell by letting us in on their god-hood much too early in the proceedings. Martins and Farrell were gorgeous, glorious, almost mystical as Apollo and Terpsichore, but my own preference would be for d'Amboise and Adams or Kent.

To answer Jack's question, I don't think Miami has ever attempted to revive the opening and closing elements that Balanchine himself removed. Certainly they were missing in 2004, the last time I saw MCB perform it. My program is punctilious about calling their ballet the "Concert Version."

I guess I'm the only one here looking forward to Piazzolla Caldera. They did this in 2004. Last spring I got the chance to see Paul Taylor's own company dance it..

Works like this are exciting for the audience and for the dancers. You get to look at familiar dancers in an unfamiliar light. Occasionally, a dancer you may not have noticed before seem to stand out when you see them with a different kind of choreography. I got out my 2004 MCB cast list and found a number of very familiar names. Tricia Albertson, Jeanette Delgado, Callie Manning, Didier Bramaz, and Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez had solos. In 2004, Delgado was newly promoted to the corps. This was possibly one of her first solo roles. Anyway, it was in Taylor, not Balanchine, that I focused on her and her potential for the first time. I see that I drew a Big Star in my program next to her name, with a couple of exclamation points.

Edited by bart, 30 October 2012 - 04:21 PM.


#18 brokenwing

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 06:54 PM

I was under the impression that MCB did perform the full 'Apollo', and a google search turned up this article: http://articles.sun-...villella-apollo

Bart, do you know if any explanation was given in 2004 as to why the 'new' version was being danced? Companies typically make these kind of changes without explanation or fanfare (much as Balanchine did himself), but I thought maybe Villella would have discussed it in one of his pre-performance talks or something...

#19 bart

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 06:23 AM

Thanks, brokenwing, for that article. It's wonderful to be corrected with detailed information like that. After moving to Florida in 2001, I heard that Villella had worked very hard in his first Miami years to establish a serious Balanchine repertoire. It seems natural that he would want to preserve the versions that he knew.

I don't know why the 2004 was truncated. I was intrigued by that phrase "Concert Version" in the program -- which alluded without explanation to the cuts. Now that I've read the article, I wonder whether Villella wasn't actually saying (without words): "This is not the best version of Apollo or the one I really like. It is, however, the one everyone else uses. For reasons I won't go into we have been obliged to use it, too. Don't blame me." Posted Image

I loved this part of the article ....

This revised Apollo became the final and officially authorized version. This is how it is now performed -- sanctified, really -- by New York City Ballet, which has taken to freeze-framing the choreographer`s works just as they were when he died in 1983.
But it is not how Edward Villella remembers Apollo. When Miami City Ballet premieres its Apollo this week at Gusman Cultural Center, it will be performing the original longer version.

Why? ``I just had an artistic compulsion to do the whole thing,`` Villella explains.

[...]

``I never knew why Balanchine decided to change it,`` Villella says. ``But he constantly tinkered with his works, often changing things with good reason just for the convenience of the moment. My question with Apollo is, did he do this just for the moment or was it for truly aesthetic reasons?``


Villella, a great and thoughtful artist both as dancer and artistic director, is one of those priceless links to the NYCB repertoire as it was performed in its heyday. The "Balanchine" he worked with was in many ways quite different from the ballet master who worked with Lourdes Lopez's generation. One more reason to wish that the sad story of his deposition had taken a more harmonious course.

I did not mention Villella's own performance in this role, which very much benefited from the "character" aspects provided by the birth scene. Small, wiry, with very dark hair, a natural dance-actor, Villella was not your standard vision of Apollo. (Neither was Eglevsky, for that matter, though I never actually saw Eglevsky in this role..) Since I have never thought of this as a "danseur noble" role, I loved Villella's Apollo.. When Villella ascended the stairway to heaven with his muses, it was a triumph of guts, character, and the willingness of Fate to find and reward qualities that lie beneath the surface of a less than "noble" body and face. It also showed how much can be accomplished in ballet even without perfect line. "Way to go, Apollo !!" Posted Image

#20 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 31 October 2012 - 01:33 PM

I im inclined to think that it is all that Trust stuff the reason for which the cut version was used. "For reasons I won't go into we have been obliged to use it, too. Don't blame me." is a very self explanatory phrase.

#21 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

BTW...this is from an e-mail exchange with a friend of mine, which I consider very reliable in her criticism. She's an ex dancer from Alonso's company,and she went to Sunday's performance. This is what she had to say.

"...que lastima mi amigo...espere verte. Apolo si me gusto pero no quien lo protagonizo. Las musas muy bonitas,casi perfectas diria yo,pero el,Dios mio,fue como el aprendiz de Apolo ! ) :"

Translation:

"..what a shame, my friend...I hoped to see you there. I did like Apollo, but not who danced the lead. The muses were very pretty, almost perfect I would say, but he...my God...he was like Apollo's apprentice..!"

I still don't know who danced on Sunday. Posted Image


BTW...The e-mail exchange kept next day as follows...

Me: "Seguramente viste a Carlos Guerra, ex del Ballet de Camaguey.."
(Translation: You probably saw CG, ex member of the BdC"

Her: "No...it was the Brazilian..."

So then...it was Cerdeiro whom she didn't like in the role...Posted Image

#22 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 01:26 PM

Brokenwing-

..do you know if any explanation was given in 2004 as to why the 'new' version was being danced?


Balanchine, circa 1979. "I took out all the garbage...That`s why."

#23 bart

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:12 AM

No, brokenwing, I don't know the reason. I have to say that it never occurred to me that the Balanchine Trust was involved, as Cristian suggests. I guess I assumed that it had to do with program-related matters like time, casting requirements, or something like that. The complete Apollo requires a superb dancer-actor, something not easy to find.

#24 Birdsall

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:33 PM

I loved Les Patineurs tonight! Penteado was a terrific Blue Boy! My favorite part of the music, however, is when the White Couple dances (Catoya and Reyes). So romantic. Not sure how I feel about the upside down split lifts (sort of jarring during such romantic music), but overall it is a gorgeous pas de deux. The Blue Girls (Arja and Lauren) were like spinning tops! In fact, the entire cast made this the lovely highlight of the evening for me.

Apollo was nice but I think I agree with people who prefer the original which I have on video (Jacques d'Ambroise). Cerdeiro looks so young and lean so he was a very youthful Apollo. He certainly acquits himself well even if he doesn't have the look we have in our mind for Apollo. I think the stool with the props stacked on it looked like a small end table with a white phone on it (the way the scroll, mask, and lyre were stacked). I think they should consider a different type of seat/platform next time they do this.

The last piece Piazolla Caldera was interesting. To me it was a hybrid piece ( modern/ballet/broadway style). I enjoyed it, and there were ballet movements throughout (although no pointe shoes rather low high heels), but Cristian, I am not sure you would like it. There were a few (short) moments of rolling on the floor!

A wonderful night but I personally think Les Patineurs contained the magic of ballet more than the other two. I know Apollo is an important work but it has an abstract/modern oddness to it, and even though I respect it I doubt if it will ever be in my Top 10 Balanchine ballets. I find things like Serenade, Theme and Variations, Ballet Imperial, etc. more magical.

#25 bart

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:10 AM

I agree with Birdsall about Patineurs. It was mostly very well-done. (Liam Scarlett, visiting town to create his second commission on MCB, did some of the coaching.) I agree completely about Renato Penteado, whom I also saw earlier in the day in a tech rehearsal, a setting in which performances usually don't go full out or for a completely finished look. He was good Last night, in front of an audience, he was phenomenal. Penteado has amazing spinning and jumping skills, but he brings a quality of insouciance and humor to his roles (when appropriate, as it definitely is in this work) that make him magnetic on stage.

The other Patineurs standouts for me were Natalia Arja and Jennifer Lauren as the Girls in Blue. More than some of the other dancers, they had the Ashton look with arms and epaulement. In their mini-coda -- with Arja spinning out gorgeous, fast fouettes and Lauren traveling around the stage in turning combinations with complex and difficult shifts in arm position -- they were about as good as its gets. They had charm, attack, agility, and they made it all look easy.

Among the Couples in Brown, Michael Sean Breeden had jlightness and sense of fun that made him standout. Mary Carmen Catoya and Reyneris Reyes were lovely as the Couple in White. They have a real rapport, and it is fantastic to see these two usually serious dancers let loose their beautiful smiles. My feeling, however, is that these roles are sketchy and rarely command your attention as much as, in theory, you would expect them to. No wonder Margot Fonteyn felt upstaged by the Boy in Blue.

What can I saw about Apollo? It's a great work that rises or falls on the strength (or not) of its title character. Renan Cedeiro, an engaging young dancer with considerable technique was I think seriously miscast in this. He never looks comfortable and seems to be struggling to make some kind of sense about what he is being asked to do. As a result, his Muses -- Patricia Delgado (Terpsichore), Jeanette Delgado (Calliope) and Patricia Albertson (Polyhymnia), while dancing well, look as though they are operating in a vacume. Of the three, my favorite for detail and nuance was Albertson.

I won't be able to see Reyneris Reyes and Mary Carmen Catoya at today's Matinee. But, based on their performance of iexerpts at the Open Barre in Miami Beach a few weeks ago, I'd say Reyes has the potential to be a major Apollo. Beautifully proportioned, with innate classical line, a wonderful partner: I hope he'll stay injury-free and that we'll be able to see a lot more of him in major roles as the season progresses. (Dancing with Catoya, PLEASE.)

Okay, Cristian. Here comes my defense of Piazzolla Caldera. It deserves, I think, its reputation as a crowd-pleaser, combining sexuality, humor, and a great deal of intricacy in the way the dancers interact with one another. Miami as danced this before. I have to say -- based on having seen Taylor's own company dance it only last spring -- that the intensity, volume, and strong floor work of the Taylor dancers becomes something else when danced by a ballet company like MCB. MCB's version is lighter, more airborn, less sexy, less comic. The Taylor dancers "get" what it takes to feel the despair of a young woman rejected by every man in the place. The also get the humor in two drunks reeling around while the overhead lights start swaying in an alarming way. MCB "does" these actions, and very well. But you miss the Taylor conviction. (Mimicking one's idea of sultry or raw sexuality doesn't quite make it.) It's a ballet about lovely young ballet dancers having fun doing something different. That ain't bad, however. The audience -- which gave an untypically tepid hand to Apollo -- loved it, as did I.

My favorites: Didier Bramaz and Kleber Rebello as the drunken pals; Callie Manning swft and stunning, especially in a section where she danced alone with two men; and, Natalia Arja as a sometimes predatory and quite genuinely sexy dance-hall denizen. (Her plies in second position, hand planted firmly on her knees, are still vivid in my mind.) Wouldnt' it be great if 2012-13 were the breakout season for Arja. Stagecraft seems to be catching up with this every young dancer's prodigious technique. I can't wait to see what happens.

Lourdes Loupes spoke in front of the curtain before the first ballet. She was charming, conversational, articulate, and clearly out to establish a personal connection with the audience and, during both intermissions, with the donors. Opening night ticket sales were down compared to last year. Was this possibly a response to the bad publicity involving the firing of Villella? Or to the program's rather lame title ("Fire and Ice")? Anyway, having seen her in several settings (including working with dancers) I'm genuinely glad she got the job.

#26 bart

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:05 PM

I just returned from the Saturday evening performance and wanted to report a couple of cast changes.

(1) Patricia Delgado took over the lead female role in Piazzolla Caldera, and it made a real difference. This role involves a womans brusque rejection by each of the men on stage, a long solo expressing her feelings about this, and some rather stunning developments later on. A beautiful performance.

(2) Kleber Rebello took over the Blue Boy role in Patineurs. Rebello is much lighter and less muscular than Penteado, and this is reflected in jumps that are slightly less forceful and turns that are just a bit slower.. Despite that, Rebellos final series of pirouettes were as fast and controlled as Penteado's the night before. Rebello's body actually became a blur, which was exciting to experience.

#27 vrsfanatic

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:32 AM

We attended Friday evenings opening night performance in West Palm Beach. Not being one who knows the company well, for me, the performance was well danced, yet not performed well. The dancers are without a doubt, well trained and the production values are wonderful. Overall, we found the performance to be lackluster and tiresome. The company is dancing well mechanically, with much less Balanchine "style" in the non-Balanchine works. This is a very positive thing, for this audience member.

Ms Lopez spoke beautifully before the performance, My only wish, in her bio if only she could give the late, great Martha Mahr, the credit she deserves. South Florida/Miami has produced some of the most recognized names in American ballet for quite a few generations and the teachers and schools go unrecognized. While schools such as SAB, JKO and SFB, etc. may finish the students, fine early years of training are a must.

#28 bart

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 05:11 PM

vrsfanatic, I wish I had known that you were going to be there so we could share a hello.. I did see lots of beautiful young dancers in the audience, but did not know Harid was among them.

I understand your distinction between 'dancing well' and 'performing well.' II felt that the Friday Apollo was not 'performed' at all as well as the individual dancers were capable of dancing it. I wish you had been able to see the way Reyneris Reyes, Mary Carmen Catoya, Nathalia Arja and Sara Esty performed the ballet at the two matinees. I was impressed and moved to the point of tears at being able to see this work danced in such a stunning and pure fashion.

In the future, if you have a choice of performances, you might want to switch to Saturday nights or one of the matinees. Friday's audience is a rather unresponsive group on the whole. The auditorium somehow seems dead that night, at least when the curtain rises. The audiences at all other performances are livelier, and this seems to stimulate the dancers to do an especially strong job.

For those not familiar with the work of Martha Mahr, here is an obituary from 2009:
http://www.examiner....n-monday-june-8

I especially liked the following:

Miss Mahr was a firm believer that if one does something, it should be done all the way, with all of one’s soul.



#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:37 AM

No wonder Margot Fonteyn felt upstaged by the Boy in Blue.


The Boy in Blue looks like the most important character of Les Patineurs. He keeps reapearing all along the story, and whereas everybody else is engaged in grouping dancing, he's mostly interested in showing his skills without any competition at his side. The stage is always all for himself when he's there, and as per the way he's presented during the ballet finale, well...it is obvious that he's the star of the night.

I'd say Reyes has the potential to be a major Apollo. Beautifully proportioned, with innate classical line, a wonderful partner:



Reyes would have been a wonderful Apollo I believe, bart. He must be pushing 40 by now I would say-(probably just as Panteado...?), but one definitely feels a sense of maturity in their dancing among the rest of mostly youngsters. And I agree about his proportions. He's got the look for the part.



Okay, Cristian. Here comes my defense of Piazzolla Caldera...


The prosecution rests the case.Posted Image

#30 bart

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:48 AM

Cristian, with all respect, I have to note that you dismiss the Taylor, which you were predisposed to dislike before seeing it, without telling us why. Can you at least tell us what you thought about the dancers?

On another point -- and in the interest of fairness -- I have to mention that I spoke this morning with a former high-level dancer who has an incredible eye and memory, and who has seen many NYCB Apollos over the years. He LOVED the same Friday night performance that disappointed me. This was especially true about the women, whom he compared favorably to the Muses he saw at NYCB earlier in the year.

We agreed to stay off the topic of the Apollos themselves, since he felt Cedeiro was making interesting choices in his interpretation, but had not seen Reyes.

We each had lots of reasons for our opinions. I had to agree, for example, that there was an uncanny and beautiful stylistic unity among Patricia Delgado, Jeanette Delgado, and Tricia Albertson (seting aside their quite different solos) and that they, at least, clearly understood who they were on stage.

Vive la difference!


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