Created in 1958, “Stars and Stripes” sallies forth with all the world-on-a-string optimism of its age. The mid-century exuberance of its Karinska costumes in pinky-reds, yellows and blues, with their sharp contrasts and dynamic patterning, recalls the new frontier of color TV. In those rich hues the dancers bounce and spin through their formations with the pace and timing of musical-comedy hours. At one point in the ballet’s “Third Campaign,” where the women flash lipsticked smiles at us while kicking their legs to white-gloved hands, and repeat the kicks to every beat of the brass, it’s like something from the Ed Sullivan Show.
Saturday, February 23
Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:35 AM
Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:37 AM
For Lopez, her first time planning a season for a major ballet troupe was “like a Rubik’s cube. It’s not like you have a bunch of ballets in a jar and you pull them out. You think ‘I would love to do this,’ but then you think what dancers do I have, and then you put the pieces together and they’re all sad, or they all have blue lighting. Then you realize this doesn’t go with that, or you’ve got the orchestra for the first half of the evening but not the rest … it was really an unbelievable lesson for me.”
Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:43 AM
Now the unique company has welcomed its most authentically Australian addition of all: a descendant of the Wiradjuri people of central NSW.
Havelka, 24, joined the company at the end of last year and will make her Melbourne stage debut in Don Quixote next month. The Dubbo-raised dancer, and only child of a single mother, puts her success on stage down to her mum Janna's can-do tenacity.
Posted 24 February 2013 - 12:45 AM
The curse of Apollo strikes, however. That is Balanchine’s Apollo, still as shockingly new and explicitly thrilling today as it was 85 years ago, and - as an opener on the triple bill - putting down a marker against which the premieres have to compete. A blessing on last night’s opening cast, with Carlos Acosta as sumptuous as a lion in his pride, surrounded by his three lionesses, Marianela Nuñez, Olivia Cowley and Itziar Mendizabal.
Posted 26 February 2013 - 11:58 AM
Billed as one of the "frontier Romeos" in the musical set in the American West, the classically trained Mattox memorably vaults over a sawhorse, pirouettes on a plank and poetically wields an ax in striking choreography by Michael Kidd.
"Everyone on the movie set agreed that he was the best dancer of all," Jacques d'Amboise, who was a leading figure in American ballet when he danced alongside Mattox as one of the film's rowdy brothers, said this week in a French media report. "He's up there on Mt. Everest with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly."
Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:07 PM
By all accounts, the National Ballet of China does Swan Lake very well indeed. They will bring with them an enormous company of 65 dancers (but alas, no live orchestra) meticulously schooled in the old Russian way. Purity of line, extraordinary precision, and crystal-clear technique are company hallmarks. Zin Peng Wang is the company's resident choreographer. Reached by telephone in Germany, where he directs Ballett Dortmund, he says that the company's technical facility "is so strong because all the dancers come from the same Russian-based school. You really see this in the white acts, where the arms, the legs and extensions are all exact, all clean."
Posted 01 March 2013 - 12:10 PM
Guillem too remembers this as a period of enormous excitement: "Rudolf Nureyev had arrived as director ... he opened the doors to so many people and one of those was Bill Forsythe. He was not well known at the time, not to that kind of Paris audience anyway. The experience was great, he was this crazy guy for us," she tells me, eyes crinkling, hands waving enthusiastically with the memory.
"When you are used to the Paris Opera, the discipline where things are so set, obvious almost, and you know what you have to do and who you have to be [and] you have this choreographer who we could feel was doing things that were interesting but there was no point of reference for us ... all the young people had big eyes like that."
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