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Wednesday, January 30

10 posts in this topic

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet.

The San Francisco Chronicle

Thank England's Wayne McGregor for "Borderlands," a San Francisco Ballet commission that should leave no observer indifferent. McGregor's style, more modern than classical, will be familiar to audiences who experienced his "Chroma" for a couple of seasons. But I find "Borderlands" a more focused and intense work, less schematic in its trajectory. Just incidentally, this is as arduous an assignment as its 12 magnificent dancers will probably get all season.

The San Jose Mercury News

McGregor's newest work, "Borderlands," is in the same league -- captivating,obliquely topical, but not the game changer one might hope for. Mostly, it tries too hard. Weighed down by allusions to the German Bauhaus, "Borderlands" puts the dancers into a beautifully illuminated cube of light (designed by Lucy Carter) and launches them into action like so many poisoned worms squirming in a giant box that changes colors and moods.

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Misty Copeland signs on to write two books. Item in brief.

In her memoir, Copeland is expected to describe the battles between her mother and her dance instructors while she was a teen over whether she should be allowed to pursue her career and who was her legal guardian.

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A story on Svetlana Lunkina's decision to remain in Canada.

The threats against Lunkina, 33, seem not to be linked to those against Filin. According to daily Russian newspaper Izvestia, they are linked to a film her husband, producer Vladislav Moskalev, had been working on.

It was due to feature the great Russian imperial ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya, but Moskalyev was dropped from the project after he fell out with his business partner, who is now suing him for $3.7 million (£2.3 million.)

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An article on the background to the Filin affair by Jaime Weinman for Macleans.

There’s a downside to the higher profile of the arts in Russia. The attack on Filin shows how dangerous it can be for classical artists to work in an atmosphere of Machiavellian plots and conspiracies—like show business, with a historically Russian twist. A dancer who was passed over for Filin’s job has been questioned in connection with the attack, and responded to the accusations by claiming he was a victim of the Stalinist “methods of 1937.”

But Johnson says it’s a mistake to say the arts have been “contaminated by being linked to a rough-and-tumble street society,” and McCluskie says one fascinating thing about Russia is that it marries “a very knowledgeable audience when it comes to ballet, music, opera and so on” with “a Wild West quality on the entrepreneurial side. They’ve got those extremes built into the culture. It’s a different mix than we are used to in North America.” Even if it can get a little dangerous sometimes.

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The Paris Opera Ballet visits Australia.

Preparing for her debut in the title role of Giselle, Argentinian Ludmila Pagliero is the first non-European dancer to make it to the company’s highest rank of Étoile. “It's a big responsibility for me to represent Latin America and to represent the Opera,” says Ludmila Pagliero.

“Because now I feel like a French dancer too. The most important thing to me is the art of the ballet. I learn the French style, the way to do the steps or the interpretations.”

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A review of New York City Ballet by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

Also distressing are the accumulating signs of orchestral problems. No permanent successor to Fayçal Karoui as musical director has been made since his departure last summer. There have been good musical performances, and several good guest conductors. But both weeks of the company’s recent Tchaikovsky celebration had too many wrong notes; and on Tuesday the season’s non-Tchaikovsky third week began with woodwind blips in the Philip Glass score for another repertory standard, Jerome Robbins’s “Glass Pieces.” Such mistakes can unsettle a whole performance.

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A review of San Francisco Ballet by Lauren Gallagher in The San Francisco Examiner.

“Borderlands’” score, by Joel Cadbury and Paul Stoney, sounds like a 1980s industrial soundscape infused with melodramatic piano.

McGregor’s movement vocabulary is wormy and writhing, and has changed little since “Chroma.” Female dancers dive their heads down, snake up and push their rears backwards, like an animal mating ritual. They also rock their bodies into heels, jut hips and fling legs to hyperextensions at breakneck speed, in a relentless onslaught of technical virtuosity.

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Backstory on the Filin attack by Mark Monahan in The Telegraph.

Since the fall of Communism in 1989, the company has been plagued by factionalism, with Tsiskaridze’s probably the loudest and most consistent voice of dissent for several years now. After the retirement in 1995 of the legendary Yuri Grigorovich, an almost farcical number of artistic directors trying to make their mark on this most traditional of institutions have come and gone. Even the brilliant Alexei Ratmansky, widely credited with having turned the then-struggling company around, lasted only five years (2004-08), with Grigorovich supporters blamed for having had him squeezed out. And in 2011, the then deputy director, Gennady Yanin, resigned after photographs appearing to show him in bed with other men were posted online.

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Sergei Filin shows signs of improvement.

Maria Prorvich, herself a member of the troupe, said that Sergei Filin was expected to undergo the latest of a series of operations on his eyes on Friday. "Fortunately, no more surgery is needed on his face," she added. "The doctors have looked and consider that the wounds are healing themselves."

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An interview with Robert Fairchild by Michael Popkin that originally was published in DanceView Magazine, a Quarterly Review of Dance, Vol. 29, No. 2, Spring 2012 and has been posted online to his blog on danceviewtimes.

DanceView: Ballet is an art of perfection and I think any successful dancer has to come to terms with that. Have you struggled with perfectionism and what’s your history of making peace with that aspect of being a dancer?

Fairchild: The most important thing with perfectionism for me is not comparing myself to another dancer. And it’s so hard because there are several casts to every ballet and there are so many people in class with you every day, that how do you separate yourself as an individual? Not comparing is the key for me. Because I will always want more from myself but it remains positive when I don’t compare my work to somebody else’s. I like to watch others dance to see their interpretation of a role and even sometimes to see what I don’t want to do. So to be able to share in that way, but when it comes to my performance, just to focus on enjoying it and on having fun because I always tell myself this is so hard, but as long as it’s fun, do it.

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