brokenwing

MCB 2013-2014 season

60 posts in this topic

I doubt if any ballet company here ever does it any other time, but maybe a few do. It would surprise me.

Baryshnikov's Nutcracker premiered at the Met in May 1977, but that was an unusual situation. Kirkland had been too ill to participate in the December 1976 world premiere at the Kennedy Center (although Baryshnikov had originally hoped she would be the original Clara), but she was able to perform for the Met engagement. The production was so well-received in December 1976 that, presumably, ABT figured New York audiences were eager to see it, no matter the time of year, and especially with Kirkland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_productions_of_The_Nutcracker

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By the way, I got my subscription renewal in the mail today. That is something new to get it this early. I think the last couple of years I had to call them and ask when I can renew and that was in summer and one time I was put off. With hindsight it makes no sense for subscribers to call them and ask, "When can I renew?" They should be beating down the doors to make sure we do! So this is a change, and it is a positive change.

It's slightly earlier than last year. They tie rapid renewal (by April 5) in with an invitation to a company class, probably presented from the stage of each of MCB's theater venues.

Birdsall, did you also get the automated call (taped message) from Lourdes Lopez, alerting us that the subscription material was in the mail? I liked the idea. She sounds young, smart, cheerful, and welcoming. A good way to introduce her to those who haven't met or heard her. She's a really good communicator with audiences.

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I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet,...

As it should be.

... I doubt if any ballet company here ever does it any other time, but maybe a few do. It would surprise me. It would also surprise me if there is any ballet company that does not do a Nutcracker during Christmas time.

... it is like eating too much cotton candy. You simply get so sick of it and can't watch it again for an entire year.

Agree with Cristian. For me, the Balanchine one is an all-Balanchine/Tchaikovsky mixed bill, a wonderfully varied collaboration - cool and warm corps numbers, pantomime, doll dancing, a pas de deux in the grand manner (okay, just 3/4 of one now), acrobatic character dances, choreographed props and scenery even. Never a dull moment. Too sugary? There's enough meanness in Clara's brother's part to provide leavening for me. (Would a sensitive child enjoy that? Is this ballet really for kids?) When I can see MCB do five of these in a weekend, with changing casts, I'm happy.

But one of my experiences of Balanchine's own company performing his Nutcracker did take place in their summer season in Saratoga Springs, New York, in the outdoor pavilion. The heat and humidity were so high, we were stuck to our board seats just sitting still, while onstage it was snowing. Cognitive disconnect for this Chicagoan! But overall a wonderful experience anyway, and as I found out from the corps girls around the pool at my motel, the dancers loved the heat, in contrast to the drafty theater in New York.

But Maria Tallchief's Chicago Ballet tried to do the Nutcracker trick - a ballet with lots of children in it, whose families would therefore buy lots of tickets - at Thanksgiving, so as not to compete directly with a major establishment Nutcracker by Ruth Page's pickup company running over the Christmas holidays. CB mounted a Cinderella ballet choreographed by Paul Mejia to the Prokofiev music, with the title role danced by Mejia's then wife, Suzanne Farrell. (Did I go? You better believe it!) So here was a ballet company without a Nutcracker at Christmas.

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I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet,...

As it should be.

Well, the reality is that in the U.S. the Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition. Whether this should or should not be the case can be debated, but it is irrelevant.

No...it is very relevant, for which one of the P/T triunvirate is being mislabeled and relegated here. Fee Dragee PDD goes right hand on hand in beauty and level of technique with Aurora's Wedding PDD and Black Swan PDD.

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I know that Nutcracker is presented in Russia anytime of the year and is considered just like any ballet,...

As it should be.

Well, the reality is that in the U.S. the Nutcracker is a Christmas tradition. Whether this should or should not be the case can be debated, but it is irrelevant.

No...it is very relevant, for which one of the P/T triunvirate is being mislabeled and relegated here. Fee Dragee PDD goes right hand on hand in beauty and level of technique with Aurora's Wedding PDD and Black Swan PDD.

I wasn't saying because most Americans view Nutcracker as a Christmas ballet that it is a lesser work. The fact that it is played every single year by most ballet companies (while Bayadere is played less often) means it is considered important because people obviously want to see it. Before I was into ballet I went many times and even took my grandparents to it. It is the same as Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol. Most people think it is a great work but probably wouldn't reread it except at Christmas time.

My comment about relevance was to the question of whether Nutcracker should or should not be played other times of the year. I actually think it is fine to play it whenever, although I doubt I would go in summer, but what I meant was this question of should or should it not play other times is irrelevant. Here in the U.S. it is viewed as a tradition to see it at Christmas. Others have posted that it has played other times, but I suspect that is not the norm. So the fact is that most Americans view it as a Christmas ballet. You have every right to think that is wrong, but it is what it is. So I was saying the question about whether it should or should not be tied to Christmas here in the U.S. is irrelevant because it already is very much tied to Christmas, and I don't think that is going to change anytime soon. You can't fight City Hall!

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I remember the shock, even though I knew it intellectually, when I was in Adelaide at the beginning of December, where it was 80F/27C and I was in short sleeves, and suddenly Christmas carols were being blasted off a loudspeaker at the top of a huge Christmas tree at a major intersection of their pedestrian shopping zone.

We're so Northern Hemisphere-centric wink1.gif

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I remember the shock, even though I knew it intellectually, when I was in Adelaide at the beginning of December, where it was 80F/27C and I was in short sleeves, and suddenly Christmas carols were being blasted off a loudspeaker at the top of a huge Christmas tree at a major intersection of their pedestrian shopping zone.

We're so Northern Hemisphere-centric wink1.gif

But you're likely to experience those same warm temps in December in southern California and south Florida (and elsewhere in the south), yet they have plenty of Christmas enthusiasm, trees, and Nutcrackers. The oddest thing for visitors is that the sun sets so early in December, when the weather feels summer-like.

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I felt the same way at Christmas time in Buenos Aires and latter in Missiones for the actual day. The decor is everywhere, yet the humidity is stifling. It felt more like 4th of July or Canada Day to me. Everyone in shorts, the men barbecuing outside, and the women preparing salads and desserts. There were even fireworks at midnight (I hope none of them hit Santa's sleigh!)

Teatro Colon did not have Nutcracker that December, but they were dealing with theater worker strike issues, so it's hard to say what they would normally put on.

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In Jupiter, FL where my parents live you are more likely to see menorahs in shop windows, and I like that. It is nice to see all kinds of things! There are whole plaza with nothing but Hannakuh decorations.

And as others said it can be downright hot at Christmas in Florida. What's funny is that all the tourists are swimming, but native Floridians find the water too cold in winter!

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And as others said it can be downright hot at Christmas in Florida. What's funny is that all the tourists are swimming, but native Floridians find the water too cold in winter!

It is still frozen...

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By the way, I got my subscription renewal in the mail today. That is something new to get it this early. I think the last couple of years I had to call them and ask when I can renew and that was in summer and one time I was put off. With hindsight it makes no sense for subscribers to call them and ask, "When can I renew?" They should be beating down the doors to make sure we do! So this is a change, and it is a positive change.

It's slightly earlier than last year. They tie rapid renewal (by April 5) in with an invitation to a company class, probably presented from the stage of each of MCB's theater venues.

Birdsall, did you also get the automated call (taped message) from Lourdes Lopez, alerting us that the subscription material was in the mail? I liked the idea. She sounds young, smart, cheerful, and welcoming. A good way to introduce her to those who haven't met or heard her. She's a really good communicator with audiences.

No, I didn't get a call. Maybe because I have a Tampa number (out of town)? I have no idea. Or maybe I missed the call. I ignore calls if I don't recognize the number (my friends come up with their names showing). But I would think an automated call would leave a voicemail.

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I got her call on my answering system in Chicago! So Tampa mustn't be too far. Are you sure MCB has your number?

But yes, she reads her copy well, with style, not like so many people do, trying to read aloud. She is a ballerina, after all, and I try to remind myself never to underestimate dancers!

Although, when she mentioned that they sing in West Side Story Suite, I winced from memory of hearing NYCB singing in Call Me Ben, because, as that rolled on, exhibiting no-expense-spared production values, I sat there thinking, What Suzanne Farrell could have done with that money, and got angry. (Farrell gets enough money to hire a score of dancers for a dozen weeks and puts some larger companies to shame, IMHO.) But I imagine Robbins's work might be superior to Miriam Mahdaviani's.

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Oh, and speaking of mid-winter Florida weather, anyone who lives in the latitude of New York or Chicago or Washington, even, already has good reason to visit Florida in the wintertime, and if you're reading this site, you may not need to be reminded to check the MCB schedule when you plan your season, but do also check the forecast when you pack. The visit that taught me to do that, the air temperature didn't get above 55o during the day, and went to 40o at night, and some cheaper places to stay (favored by yours truly) have no heat. Swim? I toured the Everglades that trip, wearing some of my Chicago clothes. (At night, my "Florida" clothes supplemented the bed clothes, heaped on top.)

Some of my Chicago clothes, and some of my friend's mosquito repellent! They swarmed around me, but didn't land on me.

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According to the latest brochure, featuring big, glossy photos of various dancers in studio shots of the ballets premiering, there have been several promotions.

Kleber Rebello and Renan Cerdeiro are newly minted principals (both having risen VERY quickly), while Christina Spigner and Sarah McCahill join the corps. Damian Zamorano is also new to the corps and Leanna Rinaldi is an apprentice. Congrats to all!

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Congratulations to Mr. Rebello and Mr. Cerdeiro on their promotions :flowers:

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I also noticed that Garcia Rodriguez is out of the roster-(he had been very inactive for a long time). Congrats to Rebello and Cerdeiro.

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We are starting to get information about the preparation for the season.

-- already posted that Patricia Neary was down in Miami to coach Episodes. (With the Paul Taylor solo coached by Peter Frame.)

-- Jason Fowler has been down to work on Christopher Wheeldon's Polyhymnia. There's an excellent series of studio shots of Katia Carranza (guest artist) and Chase Swatosh working with Fowler

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151540152676090.1073741845.10244171089&type=1

-- Merrill Ashley is working on Ballo della Regina (the ballet that Balanchine choreographed for her).. Here is a brief clip of Ashley talking about the part, with a video that suggests how much warmth, and even the suggestion of floating through, the air can be injected into the technical challenges of this piece ... with the right dancer..

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-- Jason Fowler has been down to work on Christopher Wheeldon's Polyhymnia.

That would be Polyphonia.

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Watching Mrs Ashley right now rehearsing Albertson in Ballo from the studio windows in my bike...!

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In her role? I would have guessed one of the Delgado sisters, wouldn't you? But guessing like that and being wrong like that has always been part of the fun of it for me.

Cristian, do many people stop and watch there on 22nd Street? When the studios were in several former store fronts in Lincoln Road (a very popular pedestrian mall between 16th and 17th Streets, with lots of shops and restaurants and bars etc., for those not familiar with South Beach), as you may remember, there were usually a few at least, any time there was activity inside.

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jack...22nd. St. is a little more reclusive, for which it is off Collins Ave. You might never guess the ballet school is right there. Very few people walk by. I was on my way to the local library branch and decided to check if there was some activity inside. As soon as I propped myself on top of my bike on the window, I saw Ashley center studio walking through a step combination. Behind her there were Albertson, one of the Esty sisters-(can never tell who's who...)-and Nathalia Arja. To be honest, it was Arja, obviously the youngest, less experienced dancer of the trio, the one that was approaching the role with more brio. I must say I have VERY fond memories of "Ballo..", for which it was probably the very last role I saw Lorna Feijoo dance in Cuba, and I think it will be a tough contender to beat. She was MAGNIFICENT, as this is a ballet all about speedy accents, qualities that Feijoo mastered to perfection under Mrs. Ashley guidance.

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-- Jason Fowler has been down to work on Christopher Wheeldon's Polyhymnia.

That would be Polyphonia.

Thanks for the correction. I guess I had muses on my mind.

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Cristian, I envy you your chance to observe through the plate glass windows. I wonder how the casting is/was determined. In a new work, the choreographer sometimes getd to choose. But what about a situation like this, when the repetiteur is the dancer on whom the work was created? I don't know whether Lopez has danced the role but imagine she has watched it often. Ashley of course knows the role intimately, though not MCB's dancers.

Albertson is one of those dancers I always watch with fingers crossed. She is capable of so much, though her performances don't always make the impact that they should. Sometimes this seems to be a matter of concentrating on details and losing the overall arc. In Ballo especially it can be death, during passages like the one on the video above, if your eyes want to drift away to the other women on stage. I hope Albertson will be able create that metaphorical spotlight that obliges the audience to pay 100% attention. I can't wait to see her (and possibly Esty and Arja too).

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