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Ballet Across America III @ Kenn.CenterJune 4-9, 2013


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#16 Natalia

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:15 AM

Natalia,
I am glad you enjoyed SB. I work there and wish I could be in DC!


balletgirl22sk - Indeed, they were pretty much THE highlight of the run, even though there was much to admire in all nine companies. (My report of Program C is below.) I'm looking forward to SB's November, April and May (festival) programs next season. This is Nirvana for Ashton-lovers and Ballet Traditionalists, in general.

#17 Natalia

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 05:40 AM

.....Opening up was the North Carolina Dance Theatre, performing a piece titled Rhapsodic Dances ..... I'll let Natalia fill in the details. The dancers seemed a little mechanical, which was about the only thing that kept this one from really taking off.

.......


Thanks for getting the ball rolling on this one, YOT. We're mostly in agreement, yet again. I'm preparing for a biz trip so, alas, won't have many details but I'll try to offer quick general thoughts on each work.

Before the evening began, I was most looking forward to North Carolina Dance Theatre's Rhapsodic Dances by Sasha Janes, as early publicity shots showed that this would be a neoclassical 'tutus and tiaras' piece. It was indeed the most traditional work of the night, mostly-well performed by the five couples, each garbed in a different bright color, with lovely lighting effects and about 20 luxurious-looking brass chandeliers overhead. Yes, some of the moves seemed mechanically quirky, such as the 'booty shimmy' by the five gals with the backs turned to us. (Imagine a 'booty shimmy' in a tutu!) Nonetheless it was mainly traditional classical ballet...well, except for 'the big rip.'

To explain my one major qualm with the piece: Everything was going along splendidly in a serious neoclassical manner. For example, the famous adagio theme that all of us know from Rach's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini was gorgeously delivered by the stately couple in Violet, Sarah Hayes Watson and David Morse. The Cobalt Blue pair, Anna Gerberich and Pete Walker II, showed-off their crisp allegro technique to an earlier brisk variation. Then the lights dimmed and the Crimson Red Girl (Jamie Dee) took center stage, a single spotlight on her, and....we hear the sound of peeling velcro...and - presto! - she rips the tutu off her bodice, revealing the neoclassical costume of Balanchine's Rubies soloist (with rectangular-panel petals)! [size=2]There was embarrasing, inadvertent chuckling among the audience in 2nd Tier - not sure if this was the case elsewhere[/size]. After a few solo moves using the tutu skirt as a fan (a-la Sally Rand years ago), the Red Man moved towards her and sweeps her off her feet, the tutu falling to the ground. It was odd. For the final variations, the rest of the ladies also discarded their tutus (thankfully, backstage).

It's a shame that the tutu-ripping "Sally Rand Fan Dance" portion took away from what would have been a perfect little neoclassical ballet. Nonetheless, I am grateful that a few choreographers today still pay attention to tutus-and-tiaras, so I'm more than willing to declare Sasha Janes a 'choreographer to watch' in the future. Posted Image


Ballet Austin's Hush (by A.D. Stephen Mills, to Philip Glass' Tirol Concerto): I'm in total agreement with YOT here. Hush was, to me, an unexpected surprise of the run. All of the elements of production - hauntingly romantic-soft music, costumes (lovely blue chiffon 'Allegro Brillante-style' shifts for the ladies and blue tights for men), flowing movements perfectly aligned to the music, eight extraordinarily pliant and musical dancers. This ballet's 'look,' composition, style reminded me a lot of Antony Tudor's Continuo, even though the music of the latter is Pachelbel's Canon: six or eight similarly-garbed couples, each pdd melting into the next. Fluid beauty. I definitely want to see more of Stephen Mills' choreography after this!


Dance Theater of Harlem's Return (by Robert Garland, to five famous swing/pop tunes by James Brown and Aretha Franklin) was another huge surprise for me. The twelve beautiful dancers drove the KC audience to a feever-pitched frenzy. A tour group of Chinese citizens, for example, sitting directly in front of us in Row A, stood up and clapped-and-jumped in time to the final piece of music, Brown's song Superbad. DTH's male soloist in this movement, Da'Von Doane, was fantastic...but it's that line of happy Chinese tourists that I'll forever remember about this piece.

#18 Eugenia

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

I had the opportunity to attend last nights performance (Program C) and agree with most of Natalia's review, finding Mr. Mill's choreography quite complex with nice partnering and live music. Following that was Dance Theater of Harlem, which was returning to the stage after a long hiatus. The piece of choreography, by comparison, appeared to be more like a competition dance piece with lots of crowd-pleasing tricks, movements that were unconnected, and a poor audio recording. I listened to the discussion after the performance by the artistic director, Virginia Johnson, articulate the difference between her vision for the company and that of the Alvin Ailey company and (having seen AA perform many times) thought that she must not be seeing what I saw. The dancers were competent, though how much so was difficult to discern from the piece. I hope that they choose better in the future, it would be sad to see the company fail again.

#19 Alexandra

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 03:12 PM

I've posted a review of Program B on danceviewtimes:

Snow Time!

Paintings are luckier than ballets. If a museum wants to have an exhibition of art works that have been in storage for a few centuries, the paintings can be retrieved, hung in a gallery, rediscovered and pronounced lost masterpieces. In contrast, ballets without a company to take care of them can vanish in a season, and reviving dead ballets is an almost hopeless task. Unless, it seems, a ballet is lucky enough to wander into Florida, where the Sarasota Ballet has not only been building a repertory of ballets by Frederick Ashton but making them look extraordinarily fresh.


I wasn't able to see Program C, unfortunately. Thanks for the comments so far, and if others saw it, or any other program, I hope you'll chime in!

#20 YouOverThere

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Posted 08 June 2013 - 04:28 PM

I listened to the discussion after the performance by the artistic director, Virginia Johnson, articulate the difference between her vision for the company and that of the Alvin Ailey company and (having seen AA perform many times) thought that she must not be seeing what I saw.


In what sense? What I took from her responses is that DTH will always (as long as she is in charge) be a neo-classical ballet company (communicates by rising up from the Earth by, among other things, dancing en pointe) while Ailey's company is, by her standards, a modern dance ensemble (communicates by working into the Earth)..

#21 mira

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 05:12 PM

Alastair Macaulay's review of Program B. Kudos to Sarasota Ballet and Pa Ballet! [font=georgia, 'times new roman', times, serif][size=1]
http://www.nytimes.c...nter.html?_r=1[/size][/font]


#22 balletgirl22sk

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Posted 09 June 2013 - 05:58 PM

I am super proud to be a part of Sarasota Ballet!

#23 YouOverThere

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 04:35 PM

Judging from the reviews, including Alastair Macauley's, it seems as if the only people who thought that Hush was good are posters in this forum. But I didn't get the impression that any of the reviewers understood the meaning of the ballet, which came from a larger Holocaust-inspired ballet and is about hope, beauty, and love rising out of devastation and despair.

 

I am pondering the irony that, given the summertime 3-hour time difference between D.C, and Arizona, I would have been watching a ballet about hope rising from despair at the time that my mother was eating what turned out to be her last meal.



#24 California

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 04:54 PM

Judging from the reviews, including Alastair Macauley's, it seems as if the only people who thought that Hush was good are posters in this forum. But I didn't get the impression that any of the reviewers understood the meaning of the ballet, which came from a larger Holocaust-inspired ballet and is about hope, beauty, and love rising out of devastation and despair.


I saw the complete "Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project" (choreographed by Stephen Mills of Ballet Austin) last spring, performed by the Colorado Ballet. It is emotionally draining and exhausting. The last segment, "Hush," is a lovely and very welcome denouement from the 90-minute ballet, quite different from all that came before. I loved the Philip Glass music for that segment so much, I ordered it as soon as I got home from the theater. More information is here: http://www.txnp.org/...ArticleID=15714

But let me hasten to add that overall it is an enormously important ballet. In Denver, it was linked to a wide range of community events. But "Hush" is not typical of the overall ballet.


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