Jump to content


SFB Program 4 new Ratmansky


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 Quiggin

Quiggin

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 838 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:04 AM

[size=5][font=georgia,serif]Scotch Symphony – George Balanchine / Felix Mendelssohn

From Foreign Lands – Alexi Ratmansky / Moritz Moszkowski

Within the Golden Hour – Christopher Wheeldon / Ezio Bosso[/font][/size]

#2 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:08 PM

[size=5][font=georgia,serif]Scotch Symphony – George Balanchine / Felix Mendelssohn

From Foreign Lands – Alexi Ratmansky / Moritz Moszkowski

Within the Golden Hour – Christopher Wheeldon / Ezio Bosso[/font][/size]


I'm looking forward to this one, as I plan on being there myself (if all goes well...). It will be the first time I've seen a Ratmansky ballet live on stage.

#3 Quiggin

Quiggin

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 838 posts

Posted 09 March 2013 - 05:12 PM

Here's a good interview with Alexei Ratmansky about From Foreign Lands which is hidden somewhere in the handsome but often hopeless San Francisco Ballet website. Ratmansky talks about the music (selected at the last minute) and about how he set the choreography. There's a clip of the ballet in full dress towards the end, along with the beautiful ending tableau – which is held ever so briefly before the curtain comes down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQaQrO4hKPQ

#4 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 10 March 2013 - 05:19 PM

Here's a good interview with Alexei Ratmansky about From Foreign Lands which is hidden somewhere in the handsome but often hopeless San Francisco Ballet website. Ratmansky talks about the music (selected at the last minute) and about how he set the choreography. There's a clip of the ballet in full dress towards the end, along with the beautiful ending tableau – which is held ever so briefly before the curtain comes down.


Thanks Guiggin - have you been able to see this program? I went to SF to see Program 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (3/5 - 3/6).

Last season, I seemed to see mainly Yuan Yuan Tan or Frances Chung, but this time around, I've had different luck. I actually did want to see Tan in "Scotch Symphony" this season, but it was not to be. On Tuesday night the cast was:

Sarah Van Patten, Tiit Helimets
Dores Andre

A very professional performance, as always, though it sort of reinforced my feeling that "Scotch" is a lovely bon-bon, but not a particularly deep or enthralling ballet. It's just fun, but doesn't exactly make my evening all by itself.

I've been somewhat slow to discover Sarah Van Patten, but after seeing a number of stunning performances by her ("Four Temperaments", "Little Mermaid", "In the Night"), I've come around, and when she's "on" she's really startlingly great. Sadly, she didn't appear in "Foreign Lands" as scheduled (Courtney Elizabeth danced her role), so I wonder if she didn't suffer a minor injury.

Also I was able to see Elizabeth Powell (whose progress I am keeping an eye on) again in the Corps. Ms. Powell was dancing with great flair and professionalism (I'm glad Tomasson is placing her at the front of the stage when she's part of the Corps - good choice!)

[ Wednesday Night cast:
Vanessa Zahorian, Taras Domitro
Courtney Elizabeth
]


Within the Golden Hour
Choreographer: Christopher Wheeldon
Composer: Ezio Bosso
Conductor: Martin West

Vanessa Zahorian, Damian Smith
Maria Kochetkova, Joan Boada
Dana Genshaft, Luke Ingham

[ Wednesday Night cast:
Lorena Feijoo, Ruben Martin Cintas
Maria Kochetkova, Joan Boada
Dana Genshaft, Luke Ingham
]

"Within the Golden Hour" was the biggest hit of the program on both nights, receiving a standing ovation on Tuesday night, and a partial standing ovation on Wednesday night. I find "Golden Hour" to be a mixed bag - there are certainly great moments such as the male danseur duet (Weeks and Scribner, I think) which was a virtuoso performance (big applause for these two on both nights), but there are various points where I'm left wondering, "Really? Why finish the section that way?" Or "Why is that step worth having there? Why not change to something that fits organically or has more impact?" So I found myself arguing (in my mind) with Wheeldon over his choices. And can someone explain to me what those awful wooden beam-looking 'decorations' are for, dangling above the stage? I know their movement signals a new ballet section, but they just look like wooden beams (even if they are painted with strokes of what may be gold metallic paint). The effect is ugly, and doesn't correspond in any manner with the costumes, which by the way, don't remind me of anything to do with sunsets/twilight/sunlight/atmosphere, etc. Totally inappropriate costume design in my opinion. They might look fine in another ballet, but I couldn't make any connections here.

Maria Kochetkova was excellent, dancing with great speed and clarity - she's become the workhorse of the company. And I should add that Vanessa Zahorian was really great on Tuesday night, and I didn't expect her to be so riveting in a 'modernist' ballet - I've thought of her as best in more 'traditional' story ballet roles. When Damian Smith slowly, repeatedly, lowers her arching body to within an inch of the floor, and she passes her arms over its surface - without touching the ground - it was a perfect moment. For some reason Lorena Feijoo chose to touch her hands on the stage floor (or so it appeared) on Wednesday night, and that ruined the whole sequence for me - no magic moment. Just when I think I know a SF dancer's style, they do something altogether different, and very well.

From Foreign Lands
Choreographer: Alexei Ratmansky
Composer: Moritz Moszkowski

(Courtney Elizabeth danced for Sarah Van Patten on Tuesday)

Russian: Vanessa Zahorian, Davit Karapetyan
Maria Kochetkova, Gennadi Nedvigin

Italian: Pascal Molat, Sarah Van Patten, Dana Genshaft, Dores Andre

German: Sofiane Sylve, Vito Mazzeo, Luke Ingham, Garen Scribner

Spanish: Maria Kochetkova, Pascal Molat
Sarah Van Patten, Gennadi Nedvigin

Polish: Sofiane Sylve, Vanessa Zahorian, Dores Andre, Dana Genshaft
Davit Karapetyan, Vito Mazzeo, Luke Ingham, Garen Scribner


Alexei Ratmansky's "From Foreign Lands" struck me as being very much of the same vein as Balanchine's "Scotch Symphony", and for that reason I'm not sure if it was best to perform them both on the same program. But it is certainly possible that Tomasson was unsure exactly what "From Foreign Lands" would be like when the program was announced.

No great surprises in the dancing, which was fairly 'traditional' in technique, but a lovely piece. The chosen music - Moszkowski - is fairly forgettable, and that has something to do with the general impact of the ballet. There were moments of humor, almost Balanchine-esque humor. I remember one of the dancers reaching down to touch the stage with the palm of her hand for a brief moment, and somehow, because it is outside the traditional ballet vocabulary, the step brought a smile to my face - it was a humorous touch in the Balanchine vein.

Maria Kochetkova was once again a standout. I believe she would be a perfect choice for 'The Energizer' battery commercials. She never appears to tire on stage (though I know that's part of the illusion).

Interesting, multicolored dance costumes too - especially the ballerina's feathered and shredded-looking skirts, but again, there was very little visual connection to the 'foreign cultures' theme of the ballet with these costume designs, so I can't say I understood costumes and staging for either "Golden Hour" or "Foreign Lands".

#5 Quiggin

Quiggin

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 838 posts

Posted 11 March 2013 - 02:51 AM

Have you been able to see this program? I went to SF to see Program 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday nights (3/5 - 3/6).


I’m glad you got to the ballet, pherank, I thought it was a good program. I agree with you about the Wheeldon piece (and the moving proscenium part), but a little less about Ratmansky and Balanchine.

The three pas de deux of Within the Golden Hour had meaty parts for the dancers. In one the man walks between four quadrants that the woman makes while lying on the floor, and later he lets her fall forward, then pulls her back again (she’s posed like the statue on the front of a ship) as if he’s testing her tensile resistance. But the women often seem to be objects that the men want to do something with or to – here they’re carried overhead in stiff zig zag shapes (or like staple removers). And unlike Balanchine and Ratmansky, Wheeldon’s figures and shapes are overly plastic and ambiguous, so it becomes difficult to have them pun or rhyme with each other.

From Foreign Lands begins at its most profound moment, in a prelude of pure silence before any music starts, as the men cue up in a circle and the women assemble behind them – and it ends with all of its characters forming a lovely rococo tableau. In between are some good divertissements and inventions, but the sweet, quickly too familiar music perhaps limits their scope.

Yes, there is a place where the dancers slap the floor – two of the men do; could that have been part of a Russian traditional dance? The change of casts midweek (there was only single set of costumes which then had to be refitted for the second group of dancers) seemed to alter the tone of the ballet. So Sarah Van Patten’s sharp changes of mood became softer, almost questioning when Courtney Elizabeth took over the role.

Scotch Symphony is a strange narrative – “brimming with implications” according to one of the first newspaper reviews. It begins in the encounter of a poet(?) and a sylph (whom the man can only touch – glance – with the back his hands) and ends with an engagement party or wedding in which everyone – even the bodyguards – participates.

There are lots of beautiful upper body movements, rounded arms and sine-wave figures and quick reverses – all while the feet are involved in jigs, skips and flings. Now there are a series of turns-in-attitude for leads, then for corps and now the corps is a cemetery of crosses.

The man does a beautiful set of rolling beats in obliquely canted half-turns to press his case to the sylph and her protectors. Multiple pas de chats of corps women are augmented with quick, loose-hinged ballones (like misprints or double Elvises).

In one cast I liked Joan Boada, who really got into character, his face at first in shadow, then as if hit with light. Maria Kochetkova, his sylph, was lovely but she seemed too bright and cheery – perpetually happiness – for the changing shifts of narrative. Vanessa Zahorian and Taras Domitro seemed the best matched leads in tone, in their lines and finish, and ebb and flow.

#6 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,520 posts

Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:37 AM

I was very interested in Ratmansky's comments in the video above:

"(The work has an) old-fashioned structure -- it is divertissements like Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty ... Very curious to see is it possible to make something (alive?) using the dance d’ecole steps."

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't really think that 20 years ago a choreographer would have wondered if it were possible to make an essentially abstract work using the standard vocabulary.

#7 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 11 March 2013 - 02:38 PM

In one cast I liked Joan Boada, who really got into character, his face at first in shadow, then as if hit with light. Maria Kotchekova, his sylph, was lovely but she seemed too bright and cheery – perpetually happiness – for the changing shifts of narrative. Vanessa Zahorian and Taras Domitro seemed the best matched leads in tone, in their lines and finish, and ebb and flow.


Great comments, Quiggin. It's good to hear from someone who is a fan of the Wheeldon piece (not that I disliked it, I just had my various little issues with things). I'm familiar with Nancy Goldner's essay (and other writings) on Scotch Symphony, so I know a bit of it's background. For some reason though, I don't seem to get submerged into the piece quite the way I do with say, Four Temperaments, or much of Jewels. But I like to hear what other people perceive in these pieces - I may come around. ;)

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I don't really think that 20 years ago a choreographer would have wondered if it were possible to make an essentially abstract work using the standard vocabulary.


I would think that's what Balanchine was initially trying to do, though over time he developed and extended his own particular exaggerations of the "standard vocabulary". But Balanchine had great love and respect for the traditional dance forms.

#8 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,204 posts

Posted 11 March 2013 - 04:19 PM

It's great to hear about this program: many thanks!

#9 Terez

Terez

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 54 posts

Posted 15 April 2013 - 05:42 PM

Pherank, I just saw your review here (I'm being a newbie and cluelessly blundering about, posting elsewhere, unaware of this great discussion thread - apologies!). I love all your comments, especially the following (as well as the Sarah Van Patten comments that didn't make this quote):

Maria Kochetkova was excellent, dancing with great speed and clarity - she's become the workhorse of the company. And I should add that Vanessa Zahorian was really great on Tuesday night, and I didn't expect her to be so riveting in a 'modernist' ballet - I've thought of her as best in more 'traditional' story ballet roles. When Damian Smith slowly, repeatedly, lowers her arching body to within an inch of the floor, and she passes her arms over its surface - without touching the ground - it was a perfect moment.


Oh, SO well put! Just loved reading this. And "workhorse" is the perfect description for Maria K. (Mind you, in the best of ways!)

I posted my review of SFB's Program 4 in another section of this forum, but I'm tickled that we shared some of the same sentiments. I very much enjoyed reading yours.

And Quiggin, I enjoyed your comments as well!

#10 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 15 April 2013 - 05:57 PM

I posted my review of SFB's Program 4 in another section of this forum, but I'm tickled that we shared some of the same sentiments. I very much enjoyed reading yours.


Thanks, I'm glad to hear that there's someone else reviewing the SF Ballet performances this season. I look forward to reading your future comments.

#11 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,204 posts

Posted 16 April 2013 - 12:01 AM

Kochetkova is a workhorse in general: she's danced in Russia in the last year and has been a SFB representative in galas. She'll be in NYC to perform an excerpt from Wheeldon's "Cinderella" in the Dance Against Cancer Benefit on May 6. Her tweets and Facebook posts document a schedule that exhausts me just reading it.

She is the reason I got on a plane at the last minute to see "Coppelia" a few years ago. I think she's an exquisite dancer, and I've loved every performance I've seen her in.

#12 PeggyR

PeggyR

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 648 posts

Posted 16 April 2013 - 05:44 AM

Kochetkova is a workhorse in general: she's danced in Russia in the last year and has been a SFB representative in galas. She'll be in NYC to perform an excerpt from Wheeldon's "Cinderella" in the Dance Against Cancer Benefit on May 6. Her tweets and Facebook posts document a schedule that exhausts me just reading it.

Considering the quantity and range of roles she dances, it's amazing (and fortunate) that over the seven years she's been with SFB she hasn't suffered any noticeable injuries, that I'm aware of.

#13 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 16 April 2013 - 11:00 AM

Her tweets and Facebook posts document a schedule that exhausts me just reading it.

Considering the quantity and range of roles she dances, it's amazing (and fortunate) that over the seven years she's been with SFB she hasn't suffered any noticeable injuries, that I'm aware of.


Ms. K. is something of a force of nature - most people would be exhausted by their company routine alone, but she is constantly involved in guest performances in other parts of the country/world, and intersperses dancing engagments with support for artist friend's projects, interviews, fashion shoots, and documenting her life on Twitter...

http://instagram.com/p/YJ4WxUgHqB/#

http://instagram.com/p/YHABJDEUZW/#

One of my favorite Masha tweets (kind of says it all):
"I'm very excited to go to Tokyo because I'm gonna reunite with my iPad that I left at the Munich airport a few months ago"

#14 Helene

Helene

    Administrator

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 11,204 posts

Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:10 PM

Case in point, from 11 minutes ago:

I'll be dancing Flames of Paris and @WayneMcGregor's @BorderlandsOST for @YAGPtweets Gala this Thursday in NY


https://twitter.com/...296096778186753


One of my favorite Masha tweets (kind of says it all):
"I'm very excited to go to Tokyo because I'm gonna reunite with my iPad that I left at the Munich airport a few months ago"

I don't know how I missed that one, but Posted Image .

#15 pherank

pherank

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,236 posts

Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:44 PM

Case in point, from 11 minutes ago:
I'll be dancing Flames of Paris and @WayneMcGregor's @BorderlandsOST for @YAGPtweets Gala this Thursday in NY


I could ask where she learned Flames of Paris, but I probably shouldn't delve into it - probably learned the parts while brushing her teeth.


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):