The intimacy of the performance, about an hour, was only underscored by the fact that it was not performed on a stage, but rather, a dance studio. Therefore, seating was limited and on folding chairs, a seemingly rogue element to the performance.
The setting didn’t at all detract from the beauty and professionalism of the dancers. That being said, I haven’t danced in a ballet in ten years, so I can’t promise the refined taste of a ballet critic here. I can say that even slight mistakes in lifts and leaps didn’t deter the dancers from confidently finishing their performance....
Saturday, December 15
Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:51 PM
Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:55 PM
Among company dancers, Benjamin Linn was both commanding and compassionate in the non-dancing role of Drosselmeier. As the Sugar Plum Fairy, Jennifer Ferrigno danced with classic precision. Her Cavalier partner, Nukri Mamistvalov, seemed to extend the stage in all directions with his expansive jumps, twirls and limb extensions. The Snow scene and succession of Act 2 solos were equally well executed.
The standout soloist at this performance was Chinatsu Owada, whose crisp rhythmic sense, lightness and fluidity placed her Dewdrop Fairy among the best in the company's 11 years of Balanchine's “Nutcracker” performances.
Posted 15 December 2012 - 04:58 PM
Artistic director Patricia Barker, in her third season at the helm of Grand Rapids Ballet Company, put the well-known production in motion with a little less athleticism and definitely less comedy, but with greater elegance and refinement, capably supported by a reliable, well-trained corps de ballet.
Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:43 PM
That's a far different experience than the early years. Back then, the ballet would announce auditions for spots in the company, in New York or Chicago, with the lowest of expectations.“It was us just hoping people would show up,” Mossbrucker said. “We were seeking out the dancers as opposed to the dancers seeking us.”
The first crop of ballet dancers came with less prestigious résumés than Franc's. Two of the original members, Sarah Evans and Dawn Kopf, were locals who came right out of the Aspen Ballet School. Brooke Klinger came from the dance department of the University of Utah. Seth DelGrasso, who retired this year after 16 years with the ballet, “was green, energetic. He certainly wasn't what he developed into,” Mossbrucker said. Several other original dancers were friends of Mossbrucker's and Malaty's from New York.
Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:57 PM
Ballet is no way to earn a living- the pay is terrible.
I’m sure some people imagine that I’ve made a fortune out of dance, and nothing could be further from the truth. Even at the peak of my career my earnings from ballet barely covered my childcare. When I met my husband, who was a banker, he was flabbergasted that I made so little money. He was amazed that I would train relentlessly for eight or more years and earn next to nothing. Nobody gets into ballet to make lots of money.
Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:59 PM
It was a testing year for classical dance. In January the Royal Ballet's 22-year-old Ukrainian wunderkind Sergei Polunin walked out of rehearsals and never returned. His unexplained departure clouded Monica Mason's final season as the Royal Ballet's artistic director – the culmination of a lustrous 55-year career with the company – as did the revelation that of the 15 artists and choreographers convened for the summer's Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 project (a grand-scale collaboration with the National Gallery), none were women.
Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:25 PM
Boston Ballet School director Margaret Tracey helped Dowdle and Friedman find just the right dancer, giving them access to classes and auditions.
“It was obvious when we saw Fiona,” Friedman recalls. “She really stuck out. She’s an engaging, down-to-earth, appealing kid, as well as a gifted young dancer. There’s no pretense. She has a lovely quality as a person and a dancer. Fiona had been one of four Claras the year before, so we were all confident she would be one of them that year as well.”
Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:29 PM
Until she left the company Bocher danced not only in Balanchine's ballet but also in the ballets of Jerome Robbins. Bocher writes of Robbins' rudeness, nastiness and his penchant to curse at his dancers. He would repeatedly ask them to perform the same steps time and time again, give roles and then take them away and have dancers learn different versions of his ballets, which they were then expected to perform at Robbins' whim. This will come as no surprise to those who know about Jerome Robins, but Bocher was shocked and outraged at such behavior, compared to the relaxing conditions she encountered when rehearsing with Balanchine.
Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:30 PM
The Houston Ballet organization is imbued with talent from top to bottom. Last year, they organized an event in which the dancers got to experiment and begin growing their own individual choreographic voices. Thursday, December 13, 2012 was their second event with this goal in mind. A small, invitation only audience was treated to an evening of fantastic talent on display in 14 world première ballets by names that are sure to leave a lasting impression on the world of dance.
Posted 16 December 2012 - 07:33 PM
But it was Klimentová who transformed the evening. Here was that rare thing in our ballet today, an assured ballerina, in command of her métier. Not a girl, not a kitten pretending to be a tiger, but an elegant woman bringing the proper inevitability to step and phrase – “this is how it is done” – and demanding our belief in her artistry, in her identity. She was grand in the great pas de deux, albeit the choreographic text is debilitated and could be replaced with something nearer the original Lev Ivanov steps – steps which offered such lustre and such authority to Markova’s virtuosity, and which are not wholly lost to current performance. Klimentová gave the character charm, an unassailable elegance, and Muntagirov, handsome in step as in presence, was her worthy cavalier.
Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:31 PM
So were you cognizant of having to develop something edgier to bring to that audience?
It’s in Brooklyn and it’s a whole different audience. We thought, “maybe we should do a whole different production of ‘Nutcracker’ and discover a whole new audience.” That was the strategy.
Ultimately, the way it’s turned out, people in Manhattan stay and go to New York City Ballet and people in Brooklyn come to ours.
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