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Program II


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#1 brokenwing

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:38 PM

Program II is featuring a new Scarlett premiere, Balanchine's 'Divertimento No. 15' and 'Duo Concertant' as well as 'Don Quixote' pas de deux. Who is planning on attending?

Casting is up on the website: http://miamicityball.../NewsPDF417.pdf

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

D#15 is very cute, but its getting too much repetitions. I dislike DC, and the Scarlett thing,well...good for those into this modern stuff. No surprises on the DQPDD. Both Catoya and Delgado were the Quiterias in the full lenght production, and they both can fouetee properly. A nice accent could had been, for instance, to give Arja and Rebello one DQ...(or even Patricia and Reyes, for a change...)

#3 bart

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:30 AM

Cristian, I love the the way personal taste and experience color the way we think about things. For example, it seems to me that -- of the three items on Program II -- it is the Don Q pas de deux that has been most over-performed both by MCB and in the world generally. But ... that's the sort of difference of preference that makes life interesting.

And Divertimento No.15 .... "cute"? I'm one of those who is looking forward to this ballet most of all, even though the company performed this only 2 years ago. It's imaginative, sunny, intricately designed, and beautiful on so many levels. With roles for 8 principal-level soloists, it's a work that shows MCB's depth of talent -- along with their ability to convey the joy of cooperation, comradeship, on stage. These are dancers who relate naturally and spontaneously to one another on stage, and DNo15 needs that.

Duo Concertant . One challenge is that the piece demands good dance actors, especially in the opening, - when they stand at the piano and listen, occasionally moving almost imperceptibly to the music. This choreography could almost be considered a kind of anti-DonQ. If Don Q is the warhorse, where the point is comparing the manner in which different casts perform well-known steps and attitudes, Duo Concertant needs dancers who can create the sense that they are somehow improvising their dancing as they go alone. It's not easy to do this plausibly.

Re: Liam Scarlett's new work -- The MCB Facebook page has some excellent still photos of Zoe Zien. Zien looks serene maintaining beautiful line as she is held and lifted by her four cavalliers. The title -- Euphotic -- suggests an undersea world, which to me brings up images of the inhabitants of a coral reef. Some mysterious, some stately, some darting to and fro. Looking at the cast list above ...

Jeanette Delgado -- Kleber Rebello

Sara Esty

Yann Trividic -- Patricia Delgado -- Carlos Guerra .

Euphotic is set to Lowell Liebermann's Piano Concerto No. 2. (Viscera was set to No. 1.)

The four movements are labelled as follows:
I. Allegro Moderato
2. Presto
3. Adagio.
4. Allegro.

I'm already imagining the dancers for each movement. The Zien photos look like they come from the Adagio.

When watching a work that is new to me, I always enjoy arriving at the theater with fantasies about what it will be like. Of course, I am often wrong about my preconceptions. So I have to be willing to make very quick mental adjustments. Flexibility is a useful quality both for audiences and adagio dancers. Posted Image

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:37 PM

Oh, dear bart...I love how you always put things in such nice, respectful perspective. Kuddos for you! Posted Image I know I get too cranky about programming, always expecting what I know won't ever happen, so I guess whereas you factually work your mind with what you have, I keep having silly fantasies on Petipa. But then, of course I will end up having a good night at the ballet. MCB dancers are beautiful to watch, and they certainly have given me great pleasure all this years, and I really expect to get much more from them along the way. So bring the Scarlett, people...challenge Cubanmiamiboy!! Posted Image Posted Image

#5 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

1/12. Program II, Miami.

(Edited: Whole thing deleted. Too much bitterness on it, so not fair to those who enjoyed it/will enjoy it. They bravo'ed it, and that along with the fact that revenue was definitely collected from a full house, it is more than enough for them to call it a success, for which I think that's the norm...)

I'll let my gentler peer bart to do a more gracious review than the one I just erased.

Thank God that 1- I can keep jumping on a plane and 2-Youtube exists.

#6 bart

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:13 PM

I am truly sorry, Cristian, that your experience of this Program has been so negative and (clearly) difficult for you. I regret it if I came across as a censor on this. Of course, you, I, and everyone on Ballet Alert must be free to write about what we think and feel about performances.

No one is obliged to be positive here. I find, however, that even negative reviews can be very helpful to the readers -- if they are specific as to the whats, hows and whys.

If describing a complete evening is a chore, can you give us the details of some of the smaller aspects of performance, choreography, design, music, or whatever you think might help us understand what the performance was like for you. I'd especially love to get your thoughts on Don Q pdd and the dancers who performed it.

By the way, here is Jordan Levin's review in the Miami Herald:

Miami City Ballet Brings Explosive Energy, Intensity

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 06:23 AM

I appreciate your kind words, bart, but really...there's not too much that I can say here, unless I go on-(once again)- in an unnecessary, never ending raging monologue on programming-(which everybody ough to be sick of reading about from me by now). Every bitter word I wrote about the program, I realize, was in direct correlation with my limited personal taste, so it doesn't necessarily represent what the choreographers intended, and certainly nor the majority's taste, according to the audience reaction. What for Levin was an "explosive", "energetic" and "intense" experience, for me was a bland, dragging and ultimately a boring one. But again...there're no secrets on this. Things like Duo Concertant are totally out of my understanding-(my bad here, I accept it), and others like Scarlett's work never fail to leave without a trace in my memory. Delgado's fouettes in DQ and Panteado's solo in D#15 were nice though, although the pairing of the former with Guerra was unfortunate.

#8 bart

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 06:44 AM

Program II finally made it to the Kravis Center. I was so absorbed at the opening night that I wanted to write something quickly, though I have a couple of more performances to go.

By the way, Alistair Macaulay will be in West Palm Beach for the rest of the run, so we'll have a chance to read his thoughts in the NY Times.

Divertimento No. 15. This was the work I was looking forward to most, even though MCB has performed it as recently as 2010. It's a ballet which needs dancers who can do the steps, but -- more important -- dancers who can move swiftly through its intricate and constantly changing patterns and groupings. That plays to MCB's strengths; few companies have that collegial quality of looking like the dancers actually relish dancing with each other. This time around, however, the company's casting seems to be focusing on the premiere of Liam Scarlett's new ballet. The Scarlett -- like Divertimento -- requires every dancer to be moving, thinking, interacting constantly. Which may explain which the Divertimento cast, heavy on relatively inexperienced women for the corps, never quite came together. Several of the women's solos seemed formless and meandering. There were exceptions to this: Jeanette Delgado, extraordinarily focused and dancing with intensity and an inner light that brought the piece to life whenever she was on stage; Didier Bramaz, surely one of the most effortlessly graceful of MCB's men and one of the best partners; and the very promising Nathalia Arja.and Michaael Sean Breeden.

Duo Concertant: I saw this at the premiere at the Stravinsky Festival but, sadly, remember only two elements which were entirely new to me: the opening, with the two dancers standing and listening to the pianist and violinist paying the first movement; and the final movement, with its intriguing use of mime and spotlights. Of Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins actually dancing, I can recall nothing, though I do recall Martins and other women dancing this later on, especially Suzanne Farrell. I've always loved the work, and never so much as last night.

For me, Patricia Delgado and Renan Cedeiro danced one of the finest, most moving and mesmerizing Duo Concertants I have seen. They made the think: this is actually a great love pas de deux. Love of music; love of dancing; a complex changing love relationship between two people. They experiment and sometimes play with the music. They banter, they show off to each other, they become lovers, they part, they come together (or do they?) Several times, they are drawn back to the piano several times reminding it that everything is based in the music.

This is the finest, most complete performance I've seen from Patricia Delgado. For me, she is even better in this than her Juliet (in Neumeier's version). Cedeiro has suddenly become a mature, intense performer and excellent Balanchine dancer (eg., the solo in the Gigue, with its sudden shifts in direction and energy).

Don Quixote pas de deux. Sometimes I think that I know this one well enough actually to demonstrate the choreography myself. The familiar music immediately conjures up the images, and I confess that this creates a certain ho-hum factor for me, even when danced by specialists. Mary Carmen Catoya and Renato Penteado may not have the technical perfection they once had. (There were a couple of bobbles.) But they actually DANCE their parts You never have the sense that they are, as so many other dancers, just performing tricks. They actually are what they are supposed to be in this ballet, young lovers dancing at their wedding, realating to each other as well as to the audience. As in Duo Concertant, though in a different manner, these characters love each other and express that through their joy in dancing.

Euphotic (pronounced you-FOE-tik, as I learned from MCB dancer Rebecca King during an excellent pre-performance interview.) Scarlett is the real thing. He's innovative, creates unforgettable images, uses his dancers well, and relates directly and in a complex way to the music. He never seems to be stringing together random steps or imposing an arbitrary vision on the score, which sometimes happens with other contemporary ballet choreographers.

His piece for MCB last year, Viscera, was set to Lowell Liebermann's First Piano Concerto. This one is set to Lieberman's Second, a very different work. "Euphotic" relates to the effect of sunlight on water and the changes in light as it penetrates to greater depth. The stage design reflects this: four panels give the impression of looking into an vast undersea acquarium -- with shades of honey and apricot at the top, darkening to deep blue at the bottom. As the curtain rises (to music dominated by up and down runs on the piano, giving the impression of running water), the cast -- dressed in shades of blue -- are kneeling, backs to audience, looking at the water. Jeannette Delgado -- in rich honey yellow -- emerges upstage and bourrees toards us. She is joined by Kleber Rebello, also in yellow. The music has an eerie, flowing quality; so does the dancing. There is an important solo roll for a woman -- the astonishing Sara Esty; several female demi-soloists; an an intricate Pas de Trois for two men and a woman. Each of these featured dancers wears blue with subtle hints of yellow. The corps (1o women; 4 men) is all in blue.

I am slow to grasp everything going on in work I've never seen, so I'll need to watch closely at several more performances before my feelings about Euphotic become settled. The point is, I think, that I actually WANT to see this several more times.

A couple of thoughts:

(1) Jeanette Delgado and Klerber Rebello are astonishing. The dancing seems incredibly difficult. Rebello, for instance, has a menage in which amazing vertical jumps and turns are so integrated into horizontal movement, and occucr so rapidlyl, that you hardly have time to notice just how much he is doing. Delgado brings intensity and character to every movement. She carries an inner spotllight -- a kind of clarity -- that would allow you to focus on her even if she weren't wearing yellow.

2) Movements for the corps -- sometimes in unison, sometimes highly individualized -- were complex but completely integrated into the piece. Often they reflected, with slight variations, what the soloists had just done ... or were about to do. The use of the floor was a complex as Balanchine's in Divertimento. Everyone I gave my eye to was completely present in their dancing. The whole was the sum of the parts ... and more. A great job by everyone on stage.

(3) One criticism: Sometimes a choreographer can be too inventive. The Pas de Trois -- danced admirably by Patricia Delgado, Yann Trividic, and Neil Marshall -- is an example of this. The choreography is mostly about lifts. In this case, those lifts were so numerous, varied, complicated and ambitious, that they actually worked against the music and became, in a strange way, cumbersome and intrusive. They were nicely performed, but de trop. Scarlett should have toned them down.

But there are worse things to say about a choreographer than that he is "too inventive" and needs to self-edit. Scarlett's pluses and promise vastly outweigh everything else. He is musical, serious, capable of humor and drama, able to handle one dancer or 28 with equal skill. Not bad for someone who is only 26 years old and at the beginning of his career.

#9 Birdsall

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:04 AM

My mother and I went to Program 2 at the Kravis last night. Bart, we saw you and waved from our box when you seemed to look our way, but I don't think you saw us. We are one level up on your side in the box that is closest to the center of the auditorium. My mother's shoe broke so we did not go out of the box during intermissions even though a sweet woman at the Kravis helped us by taping her shoe when we arrived. Even though the shoe was fixed my mother did not want to chance using it too much.

I have only seen an excerpt of Divertimento No.15 on video so it was a joy to see the full thing in person. Such a lovely ballet. Maybe not as stunning as Theme and Variations or Ballet Imperial but still charming.

I dreaded Duo Concertant because what I read about it sounded like modern nonsense so I was sure I would hate it. To my shock I absolutely loved it. And when they are suddenly in spotlights in the dark at the end I found it touching and romantic.

I enjoyed DQ PDD as always, except I felt Catoya was off her normally solid technique game. It seemed like she almost lost balance twice, traveled a lot during her fouettes and even started facing backward but to her credit was able to face forward again but then ended with her side to the audience. Usually she is amazing so I do think she was off her game. I can usually balance in Tree Pose for days in yoga class even purposely swaying torso and arms back and forth to the astonishment of other yogis but I occasionally have off days and fall out, so I can not fault her! It happens. I will say, however, that Penteado and Catoya (both amazing dancers) did not convey the imperial (almost arrogant) arched backs in the pas de deux that I love to see. The photo in the program shows that they definitely can exhibit the imperial attitude but chose not to show off last night. But I feel DQ PDD is a show off piece. I don't mean to be negative about this. I enjoyed them both overall. I have just seen better performed DQPDDs. I wonder if Cristian is correct that MCB is great at Balanchine but needs a little more coaching on classical style.

I wasn't sure how I would like Euphotic by Liam Scarlett. His Viscera last season did nothing for me. I thought Viscera was the opposite of visceral. But last night's Euphotic was exciting and beautiful to me. It opened with Jeanette Delgado boureeing backward and ended with her deep cambre at the very end! This was solidly grounded in ballet moves but with lots of modern lifts and energy. It also made me wonder about the "story" of this plotless ballet. I felt it was a great mix of modern and classical and would enjoy seeing it again one day. For me the weakest section was the third where one female is dancing with two males. I felt the constant passing of the female back and forth grew a little tedious. But overall I think Scarlett created a worthy ballet.

#10 Birdsall

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:12 AM

Bart, I was typing my review before you posted and was surprised that my views sort of coincided with yours despite my inexperience!

#11 bart

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:25 AM

Sorry I missed you, Birdsall. My usual box-mates weren't there, so I was feeling a little like Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, sitting alone, leaning over the stage, imagining a private performance just for me. Weird but fun.

I'm glad our impressions on each piece coincide so well, since it usually takes me a couple of viewings to start to feel confident about what I think I have actually seen. Posted Image About the Don Q pdd: Catoya and Penteado are the best classical (in the sense of "19th-century classical") dancers in the company. Unlike dancers who focus on a handful of roles, both of them are actually good at Balanchine and other choreographers. More, they seem to delight in dancing different kinds of choreography.

Neither was trained in Balanchine, though they do take Balanchine-based classes every day, which would tend to support speed, clarity, and energy. Certain stylistic characteristics -- like the use of the back you mention -- are not part of this day-by-day training -- and may get left out or fudged. It's a trade-off.

#12 Birdsall

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:44 AM

I would go again to see the other cast but our schedule is full and will take parents out to lunch today to Red Tapas during second cast show. I might go Sunday if I can get a last minute ticket. Not sure. I work now so need to return Sunday and it is crunch time for me. Working is a double edged sword: self esteem rises when I work but no time to get everything done that you want to do in life! But two years of walking my dog all day was depressing! LOL

#13 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

The Pas de Trois -- danced admirably by Patricia Delgado, Yann Trividic, and Neil Marshall -- is an example of this. The choreography is mostly about lifts. In this case, those lifts were so numerous, varied, complicated and ambitious, that they actually worked against the music and became, in a strange way, cumbersome and intrusive. They were nicely performed, but de trop. Scarlett should have toned them down.


Oh yes...I remember that "Hammock-lady" moment...

#14 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 08:59 AM

Thank you for your detailed report, bart. I knew this program was going to be better reviewed by either you and/or BB, and you just proved it. As I said...audience seemed to truly enjoyed it, and that's what this is all about. I wish the troupe and its AD the best of seasons.

#15 bart

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 01:57 PM

Thanks, Cristian. Not every ballet or balletic style is for everyone. We love what we love. For me, after 4 performances, Duo Concertant remains the most beautiful and best danced work (both casts) on Program II. I don't imagine that most people in the audience would have agreed with me on that.Posted Image

Casting for Euphotic:

Turns out there were three rather different casts, as far as the leads are concerned. Scarlett clearly has some favorite dancers, and seems to have allowed them to swap roles.

Saturday matinee (which I did NOT see): Sara Esty and Renan Cedeiro were the lead couple (the roles danced opening night by Jeanette Delgado and Kleber Rebello). Leigh-Ann Esty was the allegro female soloist (danced earlier by her sister Sara). Emily Bromberg was the female in the pas de trois (Patricia Delgado on opening night).

Sunday matinee -- another set of switches -- Leigh-Ann Esty moved to the lead couple, dancing with Michael Sean Breeden. Zoe Zien took over the allegro soloist role. Tricia Albertson moved into the pas de trois role, as the subject of all that lifting.

Each dancer brought his/her own qualities to these parts. My preference was for Jeanette Delgado and Kleber Rebello as the leads, but I was impressed by how well Leigh-Ann Esty and Michael Sean Breeden danced together. Zoe Zien, while lacking Sara Esty's speed and drive, paid special attention to Scarlett's port de bras and body shaping. Tricia Albertson's took a more neutral role in relation toward her partners; her simplicity and lightness actually worked quite well in the pas de trois, possibly even better than Patricia Delgado's richer emotional palatte.

Euphotic music: Liebermann's Concerto No 2 is certainly eclectic. There's lots of schmaltz in the first movement. The fourth movement sounds reminds me of a John Williams film score. Music like this doesn't encourage subtlety -- but it does allow for a variety of dance styles. The allegro finale had all 28 performers dancing full out. The audience loved it, just as they love the conclusion to Symphony in Three Movements. I'm not comparing Llieberman/Scarlett to Stravinsky/Balanchine. But each in its own way is provides brillliant dance opportunities.

Don Q Pas de Deux. Jeanette Delgado replaced Mary Carmen Catoya on Sunday matinee, dancing with Reyneris Reyes. She has the fire needed for therole, but I was pleasantly surprised by the warmth, plush port de bras, and rather "romantic" approach to the adagio. She had a problem with one of the big balances, but made it up by sustaining the last balance. Just about everything was rock solid, including the fouettes (with doubles and at least one set of triples). A group of students from the Harid Conservatory were in the audience. Their cheers at curtain calls showed how excited and impressed they were. The older folk in the audience, while not so vocal, seemed similarly uplifted.


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