abatt

YAGP Gala - Koch Theater, April 18, 2013

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Thanks, abatt. How nice: Viengsay Valdes in something other than the Don Q pdd! I'm wondering if her partner, Osiel Gouneo, is the same dancer who used to go by the name "Osiel Gounod" during the last big North American tour of the Cuban ballet? I loved Gounod but don't know if it's the same as "Gouneo."

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Here is the full text of the program:

“Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow”: YAGP 2013 Gala

David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center – April 18, 2013 at 7:00pm

ACT I: STARS OF TOMORROW

Ellie Choi (Violin, Musical Protégé Series)

Accompanied by: Carlos Avila (piano)

“Carmen Fantasy”

Music: Pablo de Sarasate

The Finalists of Youth America Grand Prix 2013 international student ballet competition.

Entries will be announced during the performance.

ACT II: STARS OF TODAY

Clifton Brown

Live music accompaniment:

Braxton Cook (Saxophone)

James MacBride (Drums)

Luke Sellick (Bass)

Samora Pinderhughes (Piano)

“Take 5”

Choreography: Fredrick Earl Mosley

Music: Paul Desmond

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Svetlana Lunkina (Bolshoi Ballet)

“La Bayadere” – Nikiya Monologue from Act I

Choreography: Marius Petipa

Music: Ludwig Minkus

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Viengsay Valdés and Osiel Gouneo

(National Ballet of Cuba)

“Double Bounce” – U.S. PREMIERE

Choreography: Peter Quanz

Music: David Lang

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Teresa Reichlen and Tyler Angle

(New York City Ballet)

Live music accompaniment:

Vassily Primakov (Piano)

“Partita No. 2 in C Minor” – WORLD PREMIERE

Choreography: Emery LeCrone

Music: J.S. Bach

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Chase Finlay (New York City Ballet)

Live music accompaniment:

Emiko Edwards (Piano)

Jingyi Zhang (Piano)

“Tous les Jours” – U.S. PREMIERE

Choreography: Marcelo Gomes

Music: Karen LeFrak

Tous les Jours is a co-production of YAGP and the Mariinsky Ballet. It had its world premiere on March 10, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia as part of the Mariinsky Festival.

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Dorothée Gilbert (Paris Opera)

Marcelo Gomes (American Ballet Theatre)

“Romeo and Juliet” – Balcony Pas de Deux

Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan

Music: Sergey Prokofiev

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Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet)

Lonnie Weeks (YAGP Alumnus,

San Francisco Ballet)

“Borderlands”

Choreography: Wayne McGregor

Music: Joel Cadbury and Paul Stoney

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Nina Ananiashvilli (Georgia State Ballet)

Lil Buck

Live music accompaniment:

Nina Kotova (Cello)

Vassily Primakov (Piano)

“Swan” (Pièce d’occasion)

Choreography: Mikhail Fokine and Lil Buck

Music: Camille Saint-Saëns

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Misa Kuranaga (Boston Ballet)

Herman Cornejo (American Ballet Theatre)

Alejandro Virelles (YAGP Alumnus,

Boston Ballet)

“Le Corsaire” – Pas de Trois

Choreography: Marius Pepita

Music: Adolphe Adam, arranged by Ricardo Drigo

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Michael Popkin interviewed Dorothee Gilbert and among the topics were what she will dance at the YAGP gala and her thoughts about her partner, Marcelo Gomes:

http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/michael_popkin/2013/04/a-conversation-with-doroth%C3%A9e-gilbert-danseuse-%C3%A9toile-paris-opera-ballet.html

It's a great read.

What makes him such a good partner?

It’s his feeling for the ballerina’s balance. He knows exactly where you will feel good and look good too. That’s not a technical skill you can learn. Either you have it or you don’t. Of course, he’s also very strong, so that all the lifts are good. But he has something special for your balance. It’s really a rare talent and Manuel LeGris at the Paris Opera also has it a little. And when you dance with Marcelo, it’s a pleasure because you don’t have to tell him: “a little bit more in front . . . a little bit more in the back.” He just feels it and you’re where you want to be and need to be, so it’s all very easy.

How does the MacMillan version of the balcony pas de deux relate to Nureyev’s?

The steps are different. But I think it will be easier because the Nureyev version is really, really hard. Nureyev's version of any role is always very hard and whenever I do a ballet I know from a Nureyev production in another version, it’s always easier. (Laughing). But Juliet is also just a dream role for me. She’s an incredible character and I find so many feelings to express in this story.

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Last night's performances were a mixed bag. On the sublime side was Nina's performance of a portion of Fokine's Dying Swan. That alone was, worth the price of admission. I have not seen anyone attempt the boneless looking ripple of swan arms since she quit ABT. She did it last night, and it was pretty amazing. Her hands, the way she moved her head, it was breathtaking. Lil Buck isn't my cup of tea.

Also on the sublime side was Lunkina's soulful, stirring interpretation of a solo from La Bayadere. I'm not sure I've ever had the pleasure of seeing her, but I sure hope to see her again. Gorgeous lines, rock solid control, pliant back. Maybe if she's afraid to go back to the Bolshoi, ABT could hire her?beg.gif

I enjoyed Gilbert and Gomes in R&J balcony pdd, although it was tough to create the right atmosphere with such a short excerpt and a balcony that looked like it was dug up from the janitor's closet.

Emory LeCrones's ballet, performed exquisitely by Reichlin and Angle, was a revelation of beauty and musicality.

On the not-so-sublime side was Clifton Brown's performance. The choreography was tedious. He was dressed as a business man, and as Brubeck's Take 5 plays, he loosens up from his constricted business suit, eventually placing hs ite around his head. Juvenile.

I also did not care much for Gomes' choreography, in which he has Chase Finlay do a few jumps and turns to a horrible piece of music, and eventually Chase is using the ballet barre as something to writhe around. A waste of Chase's talent.

The gimmick in Double Bounce was a flexible tutu that could easily bend in any direction. The novelty wore off pretty fast to reveal the pedestrian chroreography.

I guess I'm not a Wayne McGregor fan. Borderlands was well performed, but lacked substance. It was one of these ballets where the woman's extreme flexibilty seems to be the entire point of the work.

Misa Kuranga was spinning like a top in the Corsaire p d trois. Herman was excellent as Conrad, with high jumps and great speed. I was not terribly impressed with Virelles. Having seen numerous Ali's at ABT over the years, he paled by comparison.

I can't tell you the names of the kids who won the scholarships. They were all very impressive, except that the girl who performed the Giselle excerpt seemed quite nervous and made some mistakes.

Spotted at the gala: Jared Matthews, Jose Manuel Carreno, Daniil Simkin, Ana Sophia Scheller and Joe Phillips, Irina and Max. Irina was, as usual, dressed to the nines. She was wearing a bronze-brownish sequin mini dress with a deep v at the back, a ruffled white shawl and very high bronze/brown stilleto heels. Hair pulled back in a neat pony tail. She looked like a runway model.

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On the sublime side was Nina's performance of a portion of Fokine's Dying Swan.

A small point: Dying Swan is only 3 minutes long in full. She danced only part of that? The beginning or the ending? Seems odd.

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I also did not care much for Gomes' choreography, in which he has Chase Finlay do a few jumps and turns to a horrible piece of music, and eventually Chase is using the ballet barre as something to writhe around, over and under. A waste of Chase's talent.

I adore Gomes' dancing so much that I've been hoping he would show promise as a choreographer for another phase of his career as he ages. I've never seen any of it in person, but a fair amount is available on YouTube -- mainly solos (for Copeland, for himself), duets, and a group number for the men in Kings of the Dance. I don't get any of it. It seems to be a lot of twitching and writhing alternating with generic classical steps. What am I missing? Is there potential there?

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Nina came out and did about one minute of the traditional Fokine choreography, where the Swan initially enters (hence, the swan arm movements). She exited, and Lil Buck did about one minute of his hip hop version of Dying Swan. Then they both return to the stage and do the final dying moments together on stage, although Buck never partners Nina. They dance indenpendently of one another, with Nina doing the traditional Fokine choreography, while Lil Buck simultaneouly interprets it in his own hip hop fashion. It was bizarre.

As to your point about Gomes, California, yes the hand and arm twitching was fully on display last night in Gomes' work for Chase Finlay.

Forgot to add that David Hallberg gave a curtain speech in an award given to a patron of YAGP.

Also saw Genadi Saviliev last night. He looked svelte and dapper.

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Nina came out and did about one minute of the choreography, where the Swan initially enters (hence, the swan arm movements). She exited, and Lil Buck did about one minute of his hip hop version of Dying Swan. Then they both return to the stage and do the final dying moments together on stage, although Buck never partners Nina. They dance indenpendently of one another, with Nina doing the traditional Fokine choreography, while Lil Buck simultaneouly interprets it in his own hip hop fashion. It was bizarre.

How strange...I saw Lil Buck do the complete Dying Swan himself at the Vail Festival in 2011. It's now on YouTube:

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I wish I could have seen the side-by-side comparison.

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Thanks for the Lil Buck clip. I had never seen or heard of him before. . What you see in the clip is pretty much what he did alongside of Nina, except that he was wearing an all white outfit instead of blue jeans and a sweatshirt.

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Here is a clip of Finlay dancing the Gomes piece - Tour les Jours. This was the debut at the Mariinsky Festival Gala. However, Finlay wore blue tights at the YGAP Gala

She exited, and Lil Buck did about one minute of his hip hop version of Dying Swan.

The term for Lil Buck's dancing is 'Jookin' happy.png

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Thanks SCchck. I had forgotten about the histrionic ending when Finlay slams the entire barre to the ground. Such drama!

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This is the Paganini that Gomes choreographed for himself. A theme in several of his works seems to be the dancer in rehearsal -- putting on shoes, working at the barre, warming up -- it reminds me a little of the atmosphere of Dances at a Gathering, with dancers seeming to be in a rehearsal hall:

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

The solo he made for Copeland also has this "behind-the-scenes" rehearsal feel to it:

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Oh my! I love love love Gomes as a dancer (and as a partner) - he's truly gifted and one of my all time favorites. But, as a choreographer, he stinks.

It's not enough to have beautiful dancers - himself, Finlay and Copeland. Not for me anyway. I couldn't even finish watching the tapes of Gomes and Copeland dancing - the choreography for them looks very similar, in the first few minutes anyway.

Did Finlay have to go to the bathroom? (Why did his hands keep covering up his "parts"?) And, what was wrong with his wrist that he had to keep grabbing it? (This is what was going through my mind. Was that Gomes' intention... for us to think Finlay needed to relieve himself and that his wrist hurt?)

Stupid, pretentious, trite, juvenile and appears nothing more than doing something different just for the sake of doing something different. Sorry folks, I cannot say anything nice about this choreography.

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it reminds me a little of the atmosphere of Dances at a Gathering, with dancers seeming to be in a rehearsal hall:

Interesting. I had never interpreted DAAG as taking place in a rehearsal hall.

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it reminds me a little of the atmosphere of Dances at a Gathering, with dancers seeming to be in a rehearsal hall:

Interesting. I had never interpreted DAAG as taking place in a rehearsal hall.

In 1980, there was a TV show on PBS "Live from Studio 8H" with several works by Robbins, including sections of Dances at a Gathering. The set was like a backstage area, with scenery casually propped up, and dancers leaning on the piano watching other segments of DAAG. A voice-over said something about how this is how dancers dance for each other when they are rehearsing and don't have an audience. I don't see any mention of that in Repertory in Review or on the NYCB site, but whenever I see DAAG I think of that setting. (That set was only used for DAAG in the broadcast.)

In an interview with Tobi Tobias during the showing of Two Duets (Other Dances and Calcium Light Night), Robbins said he loved the way dancers dance when they are dancing for themselves and each other, without an audience, which linked to the 8H performance for me.

In any event, there were news reports after the 1980 8H show that Robbins hated the way his work looked on a small screen and he didn't want to do anything like that again. That show was never rebroadcast. (I remember, because in 1980 I had just bought my first VCR and lived in a city with no cable TV, so I watched for the longest time for a rebroadcast so I could get a better recording...never happened.) I am guessing it's in the NYPL collection, although I haven't checked.

I wonder if others remember that 1980 performance and that setting.

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That was a different program, although also broadcast in 1980. Two Duets was first broadcast on February 20, 1980, and was rebroadcast several times. "Live from Studio 8H" included excerpts from Fancy Free, Afternoon of a Faun, The Cage, The Concert, and Dances at a Gathering and was broadcast July 2, 1980.

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I dug out my ancient tape of "Live from Studio 8H." The set for DAAG consists of two ladders, a large spotlight on a wheeled dolly, what seem to be the backs of several scenery flats, a practice barre pushed against the wall, a couple of bentwood chairs, and a post with numerous lights of the sort you might see in the wings. Across the entire back is a thin white floor-length curtain, of the sort you might see in a studio with big windows or perhaps on a stage, with part pulled up to reveal a pile of props that I can't make out. The dancers are wearing the same costumes you see in a theater performance and the grand piano is at the far left front, as you would see on stage. During each segment, the other dancers sit on the floor by the wall or lean against the piano, watching. Once you see it in this setting, it's hard to forget it, even when they perform on a bare stage.

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This was Gomes' choreography for five men in Kings of the Dance, with an original score by Guillame Cote (better known as a principal dancer with National Ballet of Canada):

This is a solo he did several years ago:

I thought he did a pas de deux for soloists from NYCB last year, but I can't find it back on YouTube.

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Thanks for the Robbins, you all.

Balanchine's fabulous "Stories of the great ballets" -- written with Francis Mason [who did indeed write most of it] has a LONG LONG and wonderful section on Dances at a Gathering, and there's considerable mention of the studio setting and of "marking" the dance as a beautiful thing, dancing for each other. Also a wonderful interview with Robbins by Edwin Denby, and some discussion of how the boys all had beards when JR was making the dance, and how it had a hippie feeling to it in its making. I recommend it to anybody, though I'd never recommend Gomes's solos to anybody, sadly.

But some great performing artists are also creative artists, though weak at it. Arthur Schnabel, one of the great pianists of the early 20th century, was a composer, but his recordings of Beethoven and Schubert are still towering examples of how to play music that is more beautiful than it CAN be played.

It may also be good for a performer to dance Gomes's work -- even if the audience does not get anything out of it, it may nevertheless cause the performer to find new resources within himself that keep him/her in a place where a great response to great choreography can be more easily accessed.

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I dug out my ancient tape of "Live from Studio 8H." The set for DAAG consists of two ladders, a large spotlight on a wheeled dolly, what seem to be the backs of several scenery flats, a practice barre pushed against the wall, a couple of bentwood chairs, and a post with numerous lights of the sort you might see in the wings. Across the entire back is a thin white floor-length curtain, of the sort you might see in a studio with big windows or perhaps on a stage, with part pulled up to reveal a pile of props that I can't make out. The dancers are wearing the same costumes you see in a theater performance and the grand piano is at the far left front, as you would see on stage. During each segment, the other dancers sit on the floor by the wall or lean against the piano, watching. Once you see it in this setting, it's hard to forget it, even when they perform on a bare stage.

um.....make sure to get someone to put it on a DVD before too long?

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This is the pas de deux "Toccare" Gomes choreographed for Hammmoudi and Abrera, but I can't find my video of it:

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