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Wednesday, May 15

21 posts in this topic

A response to Bryony Brind by Judith Mackrell in The Guardian.

But accepting that there are failures and blindspots to address, it's also important to question how British we really want the Royal or other dance companies to be. Brind herself was performing during the 80s, at a time when foreign artists were in a minority in the Royal: yet while she and her fellow principal Fiona Chadwick were rightly hailed as examples of new British talent, I remember the overall standard of dancing as relatively lacklustre. Certainly, there has been a very different excitement attached to the Royal in the following decades, with the importation of world-class talents such as Sylvie Guillem, Tamara Rojo, Alina Cojocaru and Marianela Nuñez alongside British ballerinas such as Bussell and Sarah Wildor.

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Australian Ballet reports a booming box office and a 2012 year ending in the black.

The anniversary program included a costly tour to New York, but the Ballet says donors dug deep last year and philanthropy rose to $7.3 million from $5.7 million in 2011.

''I was optimistic because an ongoing goal was to expand the community of donors, but $7.3 million is an extraordinary amount,'' said executive director Valerie Wilder.

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A review of the Eifman Ballet in "Rodin" and an interview with Eifman by Lou Fancher for Berkeleyside.

Actually, Eifman needs little help to describe the motivations and materials churning in his soul. His repertoire consists primarily of “psychological ballets” based on larger-than-life literary, historical, artistic and mythological figures. Eifman considers Rodin — and the other characters who’ve served as thematic foundations — not so much inspiration, as information. “Literature and art can only give you a secret to open,” he said. “The inspiration must come from within.”

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Clement Crisp no likee "The Great Gatsby" -- in any format.

Fitzgerald’s prose evokes a self-indulgent world of illusions, disillusion. David Nixon’s earnest realisation of its narrative in choreography is laborious – and about an extinguishing hour too long – and turns the mystery of Gatsby’s passion for the tedious Daisy into un-mysterious dance. And the social milieu of the madcap 1920s is as papery as movement can make it.

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Q&A with Sophie Flack.

Where are you going?

Leave New York? Are you insane? In terms of figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, I’m hoping to do some more dance review (I have a piece in the next issue of Ballet Review magazine, and I post my recent reviews and essays here). I’ve also been working on a few television scripts, including an adaptation of my book (no, that ABC Family show has no relation to my novel, other than the extremely clever title…) that I’d like to put into the ether and see what happens.

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A review of New York City Ballet by Patrick Kennedy for Broadway World.

And for the second time this season, the NYCB has gathered together dances that run from ingenious to ill-advised to everything in between. Again, Robbins could pull off big compositions, but he couldn't pull them off with extraordinary results. The first selection of the night, Interplay, strains to fill the soaring David H. Koch Theater with sequences that, essentially, are glorified studio exercises. But both Interplay and the feature that follows it, the sublime Robbins-and-Leonard Bernstein collaboration Fancy Free, allow Robbins to display his highly individual talents. It's the final selection of the night-I'm Old Fashioned, a balletic homage to Fred Astaire-that over-extends itself the most, simultaneously grasping for reverence, humor, and romance and not seizing hold of any of these qualities. Despite the Broadway reputation, Robbins works best when he works in miniature.

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A preview of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo by Melody Datz in The Stranger.

I asked Morra how the technical and artistic awesomeness of the all-male ensemble melds with the en travesti gimmick. Was this drag with a classical ballet bent? "Oh no!" he said. "We are not drag, because we do not try to be women. We keep the male technique and do girls' variations, but we jump as high as we can. It's a transformation."

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An interview with Melissa Barak.

After performing ensemble parts for nine years, Barak, not yet 30, decided to move on. She joined the just-launched Los Angeles Ballet and danced lead roles, most notably the sultry Siren in "Prodigal Son," an esteemed work by the legendary George Balanchine.

After four years, in 2011, came unexpected news. "I was notified via email I would not be hired any longer," Barak says. "I think the directors have a vision of what they want their dancers to look like, act like, perform like ... and it didn't seem I fit into that vision any longer."

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An obituary for actor Michael Earl, bit part player for many opera and ballet companies, who has died at age 84.

He later appeared with the Kirov at the Coliseum and with the Mariinsky and Bolshoi ballet and opera companies in their first seasons at the Royal Opera House. But his career was ended seven years ago when he became disabled after being affected by the MRSA super-bug during a routine operation in hospital.

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A preview for Ballet Cymru's "Romeo and Juliet."

The show, which is a co-production with Coreo Cymru and the Riverfront Theatre Newport, will be set to Prokofiev's music score recorded live by the Welsh orchestra Sinfonia Cymru.

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A review of Birmingham Royal Ballet by Martin Dreyer for The York Press.

Bitesized Ballet had A Midsummer Night’s Dream rubbing shoulders with three extracts from Walton’s Façade and the big pas de deux from Giselle. Joseph Caley’s supremely athletic Count was daintily partnered by Elisha Willis’s Giselle, with Carmen Flores’s viola a succulent ally.

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The Scottish Ballet will perform Matthew Bourne's "Highland Fling" this month.

Flashes of Highland dance appear in bars (male legs standing in for swords), while this version of a fairytale forest is a suburban wasteland peopled by impish fairy-winged Goths who pump their hearts feverishly at James as he dances with his Sylph. But there's an ugly twist to James' fantasy escape, and the arch melodrama of all that has gone before makes the gruesome climax all the more poignant. In a ballet that will appeal to lovers and non-lovers of the form alike, Bourne gives us a true fairytale in all its dark beauty.

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A review of Northern Ballet's "The Great Gatsby" by Lyndsey Winship in The Evening Standard.

David Nixon's production moves at a pace but the feel is less raw and roaring decadence, more politely Poirot — the flapper look is elegantly understated and the soundtrack a patchwork of jazzy Richard Rodney Bennett. Nixon glides through scenes (read the book, or at least the synopsis, if you want to keep up), weaving in Gatsby’s memories of lost love with the party-centric here and now.

Video of some of the opening night audience.

Actors, models and TV personalities, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Eddie Redmayne and Gok Wan turned out for the opening night of the Northern Ballet's take on F Scott Fitzgerald's novel at the Sadler's Wells theatre.

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Reviews of New York City Ballet.

The New York Times

The casting for “Barber Violin Concerto” (1988), however, could hardly be better. The dance’s conceit juxtaposes a classical ballet couple (Ask la Cour and Sara Mearns) with a modern-dance one (Jared Angle and Ashley Bouder), then has them change partners. The classical man ignores then dominates the willful modern woman, who’s become a kind of farcical pest; the classical woman and the modern man seem more compatible. It’s tempting to read this allegorically.

The New York Post

“Barber Violin Concerto” (1988) was originally for two couples, one from the company and another of Paul Taylor-trained modern dancers. It’s now done only by company members. The first ballerina to dance it, Merrill Ashley, was a taut virtuoso. The original, if hokey, idea — she loosened up by doing angular poses with the modern guy — forced Martins to experiment. The current dancer, Sara Mearns, moves so lushly that the original point is lost in the glamour.

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A review of Smuin Ballet by Lauren Gallagher for The Examiner.

Helen Pickett’s “Petal,” an anticipated West Coast premiere, is fervid and furious. Pickett, a California native who danced with William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt for more than 10 years, reflects both his influence and her individual ambition in the work.

Dancers watch each other like voyeurs, and between the swift, bustling flurry of movement to music by Philip Glass and Thomas Montgomery Newman, inflict both pleasure and pain. With a flick of a foot, a female pushes a male down — her foot pressing on his calf, disabling his knee.

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The Westside School of Ballet honors the memory of Yvonne Mounsey with a performance of "Serenade."

To enhance the step-back-in-time quality of “Serenade,” Westside will be using some of the components of the original ballet’s costumes.

“After she died, I was going through her things and found the original Barbara Karinska costumes in a trunk my mother used to travel the world with,” Clegg said. “Karinska was sort of the Edith Head of ballet. Balanchine had given the costumes to Mom. The bodices are too fragile to use, but our dancers will be wearing the skirts.”

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A review of American Ballet Theatre in 'Onegin' by Gia Kourlas in The New York Times.

While the drama unfolds with pinpoint directness, the music, a variety pack of Tchaikovsky pieces arranged by Kurt-Heinz Stolze, gives the ballet a patchwork quality. The repetitive movement is exhausting: a lift is executed once and then repeated; ditto for a sweeping turn. The choreographic pulse is as relentless as a metronome.

As Lensky, Mr. Simkin demonstrates what have become his usual partnering gaffes: clutching Ms. Lane too tightly in a spin, thrusting her awkwardly in an overhead press or yanking her arm during a finger turn. (She suddenly looked like a palm tree blowing in the wind.) Despite its sameness, Cranko’s choreography has an energetic flow, but Mr. Simkin has little feel for it. He’s a man with a mission: to get to the next trick.

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A researcher in Australia develops a new insole for pointe shoes.

The University of Canberra's professor of physiotherapy Gordon Waddington and Assistant Professor Jeremy Witchalls are working to give dancers extra "grip" and more control over their movements to prevent lower leg injuries.

"My research week sees me working with ballet dancers at one end and dealing with big rugby league footballers at the other," said Dr Waddington, who works across a number of sport disciplines. "All of these people are quite similar, believe it or not, as they rely on having a very good perception of surface and the ground they are moving over. They rely on having very good movement control to do the things they need to do safely."

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A preview of the New Jersey Ballet in 'Don Quixote.'

Carolyn Clark, founder of New Jersey Ballet, points out that “Don Quixote” is a ballet that centers on story and character. “People respond to a story,” she says. “They get caught up in the situations and the characters.”

At the same time, a story-ballet such as “Don Quixote” puts special demands on the dancers. “It’s more than just technique,” says Clark. “The dancers have to play characters and be able to sustain those characters over the course of the ballet.”

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A review of 'Nikolai and the Others' by Roma Torre for NY 1. V

Standouts in the superb ensemble include Michael Cerveris and John Glover as Balanchine and Stravinsky. At nearly 88, Alvin Epstein hasn't lost any of his acting mojo. And Blair Brown as Vera Stravinsky and Stephen Kunken, the much put-upon Nikolai, deliver lessons in the art of listening.

By the end, I felt as if I had just experienced a beautifully detailed novel about some fascinating historic figures. Yes, it's slow and some might say ponderous, but if you have the patience, "Nikolai And All The Others" have much to offer.

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Matthew Adamcyk returns to Boca Raton to help the Harid Conservatory celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary.

Choreographer Mark Godden's original work for Harid is called "Beautiful Dreamer," and "we'll do a whole ballet and it's a premiere for us," Wright said.

Adamcyk and Ward will dance the pas de deux from "Infra," a ballet Adamcyk described as "cutting edge."

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