pherank

Bits and Pieces of Balanchine

84 posts in this topic

Thank you so much for this. I had the pleasure of - back in the day- being in partnering classes that were taught by Nicky Magallanes (everyone called him NIcky). He was a wonderfully kind person and teacher.

Share this post


Link to post

The Mariinsky performs Jewels -

Emeralds
Jeanne Ayupova, Denis Firsov, Daria Sukhorukova, Dmitry
Semionov, Jana Selina, Xenia Ostreykovskaya, Anton Korsakov.

Rubies
Irina Golub, Andrian Fadeyev, Sofia Gumerova.

Diamonds
Uliana Lopatkina, Igor Zelensky.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ytYpPPaihk

There is a video of The Bolshoi performing Jewels in 2012 that can be watched online. The cast for that performance:

Emeralds
Laktratov, Obraztsova, Tikhomirov

Rubies
Krysanova, Lopatin

Diamonds
Smirnova, Chudin

Share this post


Link to post

The cast of the Mariinsky jewels is interesting... it's recent, but aside from obvious exceptions, where have all those dancers gone in terms of being promising up-and-comers? Casting and promotion there is as mysterious as always.

Share this post


Link to post

The cast of the Mariinsky jewels is interesting... it's recent, but aside from obvious exceptions, where have all those dancers gone in terms of being promising up-and-comers? Casting and promotion there is as mysterious as always.

I tend to favor the Mariinsky in terms of aesthetics, but having watched the video of the Bolshoi's recent version, I have to say that their Emeralds was impressive and Smirnova and Chuding in Diamonds were both great. I actually found them to be riveting. And I almost enjoyed Rubies this time. But the Russians are for some reason allowed to fudge many steps within Rubies to apparently make it more accessible to both the Russian audience and the Russian dancers. [The Stravinsky Capriccio is also rather soft and rounded sounded as performed by the Bolshoi orchestra, which is in itself depressing: normally playful and jarring, the music has lost its suprises and eccentricities.]

I find it really fascinating that the Balanchine Trust will bend over backwards for the Russians, but there is no way that North American companies would be allowed to remake steps and arm movements (and I don't mean just a few) to make a Balanchine ballet more technically feasible and more palatable to an audience in the West. These ballets are something to aspire to, not something to be dumbed down. Why is it that the Jazz/Broadway/Vaudeville inflected steps are deemed 'inconsequential' enough that substitutions can be made? I do feel like these changes suck all the delight and suprise out of Rubies, one of Balanchine's most perfect ballets.

Share this post


Link to post

Now *that's* the review that Gia Kourlas ought to write!

Share this post


Link to post

Now *that's* the review that Gia Kourlas ought to write!

LOL - Do I sound angry? I didn't really mean to go that far since much of the Jewels performance is definitely worth watching. I do think the Russians are getting better and better at much of Mr. B's choreography. But it doesn't make sense to wholeheartedly endorse their Jewels performances when Rubies really needs a lot of work.

Kourlas can be snippy at times, no? But at least Kourlas isn't writing empty praise like this:

"The Houston Ballet is known for its elaborate and beautiful productions. Every ticket purchased guarantees a performance filled with masterful dancing, brilliant choreography, remarkable sets, and music. Houston Ballet's much anticipated production of PETER PAN is no exception and nothing short of fantastic. Although many of us are familiar with the tale and have possibly seen it on film or stage, Houston Ballet makes it their own with whimsical choreography by Trey McIntyre and a Dance Company that keeps the audience on The Edge of their seats with every move…"

Greatest thing since sliced bread!!!

Share this post


Link to post

I am concerned that the obstacles dealing with Unions in the US mean that there are no meaningful DVDs available of Jewels performed by NYCB or a branch on the family tree (PNB, MCB, SFB, etc). Someday someone might see Rubies as performed by the Bolshoi and think those are the original costumes and the style is the original.

Share this post


Link to post

I am concerned that the obstacles dealing with Unions in the US mean that there are no meaningful DVDs available of Jewels performed by NYCB or a branch on the family tree (PNB, MCB, SFB, etc). Someday someone might see Rubies as performed by the Bolshoi and think those are the original costumes and the style is the original.

Good point, Jayne. But it isn't simply the fact that we have "unions", but the way that US laws and regulations are written that has produced a tangle of self interests, and very little ballet media seems to get produced and distributed. The other issue is, of course, money - our regional companies rarely have media budgets that allow for this kind of recording and advertisement, wihle a state owned company such as the Bolshoi gets a great deal of backing (and meddling) from the powers that be.

I won't be surprised if the Russians rush to fill the knowledge gap by recording many performances of Balanchine on DVD. They definitely want to re-establish themselves as the be-all and end-all of ballet. If you want to see how anything should be performed - watch the Russian DVDs!

Share this post


Link to post

The Bolshoi is filming a lot of stuff, but it has been slow to reach DVD. Since 2010 they have filmed 15 ballets in HD, but thus far only four have been released commercially, and they're not necessarily the ones I would most like to have. Of the ones still sitting in the vault there are a half dozen I would buy in a heartbeat.

The Bolshoi will give Jewels the HD treatment in January. Just as long as they don't give us Svetlana Zakharova in "Diamonds." Oy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDXGcfjy_O0

Share this post


Link to post

The Bolshoi is filming a lot of stuff, but it has been slow to reach DVD. Since 2010 they have filmed 15 ballets in HD, but thus far only four have been released commercially, and they're not necessarily the ones I would most like to have. Of the ones still sitting in the vault there are a half dozen I would buy in a heartbeat.

The Bolshoi will give Jewels the HD treatment in January. Just as long as they don't give us Svetlana Zakharova in "Diamonds." Oy.

Hah! The Russians are very star oriented - and their DVDs tend to be star vehicles. We know Balanchine hated dealing with stars (of course he wanted choreography to be a focus of ballet, and not just the lead dancers). I do like the fact that the Russians film all these performances as part of their 'cultural patrimony'. But that will come to include the Balanchine works - works that never would have existed had he never left St. Petersburg/Leningrad and formed relationships with so many different people in the West...

Share this post


Link to post

yes, sometimes when I see Melissa Hayden dance I wonder if she wasn't secretly Cuban - everything is so secure, clean, with just the right amount of panache.

Share this post


Link to post

Here's a little Symphony in C with Allegra Kent / Conrad Ludlow, with voice over from the master himself:

There is also a generous portion of Symphony in C with Kent and Ludlow in the "Dancing for Mr. B." documentary:

Share this post


Link to post

Semperoper Ballet shown performing Rubies - with some real verve (especially the "Tall Girl").

Leads: Anna Merkulova, Jiří Bubeníček, Julia Weiss

Share this post


Link to post

Nice to see some speed in a European Rubies!

Share this post


Link to post

NYCB has published a series of videos that feature different principals talking about particular Balanchine ballets. I imagine many of us have seen at least a few of these. There is now one for Teresa Reichlen in which talks about the Firebird role. I can't remember seeing much of any footage of Balanchine's Firebird, so I thought it would be good to add to the thread:

Perhaps a repeat, but here's Maria Tallchief rehearsing the role:

Tallchief at Jacob's Pillow in Firebird and Sylvia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDbYI9-qjL4

Share this post


Link to post

I so love these videos of Pas de Dix. I don't know how they managed to dance on that small stage, it's just awful! I recognize one of the couples as Ruth Sobotka & Shaun O'Brien. Who else is there, anybody know?

Share this post


Link to post

I so love these videos of Pas de Dix. I don't know how they managed to dance on that small stage, it's just awful! I recognize one of the couples as Ruth Sobotka & Shaun O'Brien. Who else is there, anybody know?

Aren't they great?

I had the same reaction - the dancers do a good job of appearing vivacious and bouyant without actually leaping about - there's only around 30 feet of space to work with for 4 couples! I happened to read a passage from Edward Villellas's book last night, in which he describes the early days of dance on TV, and the constraints and conditions were pretty much awful. It was like being forced to perform inside a prison lunch room, while being shot by cameras.

Share this post


Link to post

happened to read a passage from Edward Villellas's book last night, in which he describes the early days of dance on TV, and the constraints and conditions were pretty much awful. It was like being forced to perform inside a prison lunch room, while being shot by cameras.

And much of it was live -- which made it even more fraught. The Sunday morning program "Light Unto My Feet" often included dance performance as part of its programming -- Pearl Lang made several works for them, and I remember reading about the cramped conditions (and ultra-hard floors!)

Share this post


Link to post

The second variation done by a soloist was Barbara Fallis. I studied with her in NYC years ago. She sadly passed away some years ago. Her son is Richard Thomas, the actor.

Which couple were Ruth Sobotka & Shaun O'Brien?

I'd love to know who the other dancers were.

Share this post


Link to post

The second variation done by a soloist was Barbara Fallis. I studied with her in NYC years ago. She sadly passed away some years ago. Her son is Richard Thomas, the actor.

Which couple were Ruth Sobotka & Shaun O'Brien?

I'd love to know who the other dancers were.

Thank you, vipa. Is Richard Thomas (Sr) still alive? When you look at the still image of Pas de Dix - Part 2, Sobotka & O'Brien are the third couple to the left - or the second couple to your right - depending upon how you view it. She is wearing glittering earrings. Sobotka also does a solo at the end of Pas de Dix - Part 1; she is the soloist on the right.

Share this post


Link to post

The second variation done by a soloist was Barbara Fallis. I studied with her in NYC years ago. She sadly passed away some years ago. Her son is Richard Thomas, the actor.

Which couple were Ruth Sobotka & Shaun O'Brien?

I'd love to know who the other dancers were.

Thank you, vipa. Is Richard Thomas (Sr) still alive? When you look at the still image of Pas de Dix - Part 2, Sobotka & O'Brien are the third couple to the left - or the second couple to your right - depending upon how you view it. She is wearing glittering earrings. Sobotka also does a solo at the end of Pas de Dix - Part 1; she is the soloist on the right.

Richard Thomas Sr. is indeed alive. He is living in Kentucky. That's were he originally was from. Thanks for identifying Sobotka.

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.