Involving a double cast of more than 90 dancers ranging from 6-year-old ballet students to adult professionals, Coppélia is the first three-act ballet that Lexington Ballet has tackled, although its two-hour running time is no longer than a typical two-act ballet.
Thursday, April 11
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:06 PM
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:10 PM
Denis Matviyenko, 34, a Ukrainian dancer who has also won fame and prizes abroad, said he had worked as the ballet's director for one-and-a-half years on a mission to make Kiev a world-class city for ballet.
But he told Ukrainian media that he had been informed by the opera house that he had in fact never been the ballet company's director, despite being presented as such in late 2011 by the ministry of culture and working ever since.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:14 PM
To mark its 50 years, the school is putting on a special alumni performance April 13 at the James Dunn Theatre at Kentfield's College of Marin. Among the dancers returning to dance on stage are Smuin Ballet's Robin Semmelhack and Josie Garthwaite. who dances for Robert Moses' Kin, and Boston Ballet's John Lam, who is being honored by Performing Stars of Marin and the City of San Rafael on April 12.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:21 PM
Sadly true – not for the first time with a Schaufuss confection, I emerged from this 110-minute jail-sentence of a show feeling thoroughly tortured and craving liberty and a big hug. For while Sergei Polunin’s recent, sudden quitting of this production – along with co-star and mentor Igor Zelensky – was hastily hailed as a sign of the brilliant dancer’s slipping back into his former, troubled ways, it is now looking like the sanest move he may ever make.
The Evening Standard
You have to admire Schaufuss for determinedly going in the face of everything that’s cool, classy or ‘the done thing’ (it’s why he’s made ballets about Princess Di and Elvis). Of course dance can tackle real-life subjects, but it takes talent to do gritty realism in pointe shoes. Midnight Express is not gritty, and it’s not subtle either. Whether that’s prison guards straight out of a George Michael video jerking their bodies to the Giorgio Moroder synth soundtrack, or Benjamin Whitson’s interrogation officer spanking Christensen with a steel rod in time to an electro beat.
Johan Christensen replaces Polunin as Billy Hayes. Having learned the role in three days, he throws himself into it, dancing Schaufuss’ dreadful choreography with athletic commitment. The ballet opens with Christensen posed in a spotlight, the drugs he’s trying to smuggle strapped to his chest, a heartbeat thumping on the soundtrack. Then he gets caught and – oh dear – taken to a scene of disco brutality.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:27 PM
The ensemble doesn’t hold up much better. It’s wobbly, often out of time, and the attempts at a sort of street dance are devoid of swagger. And why are there so many women in this all male prison? The music is also pretty bad – a combo of 70s film soundtrack, and a “Best of the Classics” mix tape.
SPOILER ALERT: The real Billy Hayes was at the performance (so yes, he makes it out of the prison), and seems rather thrilled with the whole affair. Good for him, it’s an interesting story, but not well-told on this occasion.
No blame should attach to the feet of Johan Christensen, the young Dane catapulted into the spotlight in Polunin’s absence. He gives the part of Billy Hayes his all and is clearly a dancer of rich promise. That second rating star is for him. But he has precious little to work with, save being swung around on a stick. He, and us, were clearly suffering, but not remotely in the way that was intended.
The Arts Desk
Not that Midnight Express is scream-out horrid or shocking. Among the celeb-followers who hightailed to the Coliseum box office demanding refunds after Polunin’s exit there were some who turned back when they heard about the blowjob scene that apparently he gagged at. Let it be a warning - there is smoking in this production, but last night there was no blowjob. Only you can decide why you want to see this show. In my view the time to demand a refund for a show is after you’ve seen it, and I’m here to help you avoid that messy scene.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:29 PM
You can understand why Schaufuss might find Midnight Express a tempting property. Previously he’s fashioned ballets — he has called them “dancicals” — based on the music of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as well as the lives and celebrity of Marilyn Monroe and, most notoriously, Princess Diana. As refined a dancer as Schaufuss was, subtlety is not his strong suit as a choreographer.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:34 PM
Amanda Green and Dmitri Dovgoselets were Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré, respectively, and both put in fine performances, although they could use some fire in the belly. In fact, the whole company could use some zip. The Sleeping Beauty was there in fact, if not in spirit, Green has very well-developed leg muscles, which are the source of her strength. She is a powerful dancer with precise placement. She exudes confidence, and in turn, inspires an audience. We are secure in the knowledge that Green will sail through the role and its difficulties, including the famous first act Rose Adagio. (In the latter, the ballerina poses precariously on one toe shoe while changing partners, her hand going to each man in turn.)
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:37 PM
Bess Kargman's First Position is a blandly feelgood documentary about aspiring young ballet dancers. Kargman follows a handful of teens as they compete for a prize at the Youth America Grand Prix, which awards top scholarships to ballet schools all over the world. The young people themselves are likable – but the film sticks to a cliched template, derived from a thousand TV reality shows.
Posted 11 April 2013 - 02:39 PM
It was the opening Hungarian Cortege that made think that this "Raymonda" needed more stylistic coaching and rehearsal than is realistically possible on SFB's crowded schedule. The Czardas, a pretty wild folkdance, looked completely bleached out of this balletic interpretation. The dancers' upper body comportment was so stiff as to looked corseted -- forced instead of formal. In the Grand Pas Classique the ensemble fared better though shadowing those lifts was still problematic. The final "hoedown" -- probably Nureyev's idea of an applause machine -- looked like a lot more fun to do than to watch.
Posted 12 April 2013 - 11:23 AM
Famed ballerina Suzanne Farrell discovered Macino first and brought her to George Balanchine’s famed School of the American Ballet in New York City.
“From age 12 to 17 I studied there on a Ford Foundation scholarship,” said Macino. She returned to Toledo, where she established her own company, first in a studio adjacent to her father’s shop, then across the street in her current location.
Posted 13 April 2013 - 07:38 AM
“Agon” is terribly exposing — technically, emotionally — and the exposure on Wednesday did not flatter the dancers. They got through the piece, a far from easy achievement, but they looked nervous and timid. No speed, no force, no musicality: in short, no Balanchine. The wobbles were less troubling than the sense that these dancers were struggling with a foreign language. The style of “Agon” used to be this company’s native tongue.
Posted 14 April 2013 - 04:20 PM
Olympic Ballet staged the production in 2009 so will reuse some of the sets and costumes, though the principal's costumes are specially hand-sewn for this restaging. Audiences might notice the longer veils, which "create more of a mystery though my son, who is 4½, would say 'creepy,'" Gorboulev joked in a phone interview.
....The mad scene is quite the favorite among audiences. It requires dancing and dramatic acting. Returning dancer Jennifer Safonovs, who was in Olympic's recent production of "The Nutcracker," will be a fine Giselle because she is musical and has other contributing skills, Gorboulev said.
Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:20 PM
In some ways I wish she wouldn’t pursue this activity. In the end, it’s always a sad and losing battle. For other reasons, I hope she will. If ever there were a dancer out to make the most of herself—and expend enormous valor of body and soul in doing so, it is Whelan. May I confess that I would prefer a gentler goodbye? Something like Kyra Nichols’s last few seasons, which made “less is more” piercingly meaningful? No, probably not. The two dancers harbored very disparate souls. At any event the choice is hardly up to me.
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