cubanmiamiboy

MCB Program I

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I think next time I see Ballo-(probably during the Fort Lauderdale run)-I'll try to see it from orchestra center very near the stage. I think all this fast allegro work of the ballerina can get lost from too much distance-(and more if 1-one doesn't know the choreo very well and 2-if one's vision is sort of poor like mine. For instance...I could not luxuriate very well in that fast series of hops on pointe...so I feel like I lost much of the variation's charm.

Serenade, on the other side, is a WINNER from upstairs.

I'll keep an eye out for you, Cristian, but meanwhile, do you know Ballo is on the "Choreography by Balanchine" DVD that has the audio and video in sync? Or maybe somebody will tip you off by PM...

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Broward performances 25-27 October 2013

The casting is up, although Friday evening, the 25th, there were already some substitutions in Polyphonia which I'm not sure I got, but I think Rebecca King subbed for Natalia Arja.

I'm sorry to say that everyone fills their roles in Ballo della Regina - one of the four demis in lavender fills her part to overflowing, doing too much with her head, for instance - except Natalia Arja, who leaves the center of it rather vacant. (The wonderful picture in the program book of Mary Carmen Catoya in it doesn't exactly help.) I wish Arja well, and the missing Delgado sisters, not dancing currently, I wish well also, and I look forward to Tricia Albertson's performance. (And to Catoya's return to the stage! Maybe in Tchaikovsky pas de deux next year?)

A note about some dancers we sometimes say here deserve more than we see of them: At the curtain, the first of the demis to get a bouquet was - Zoe Zien. And another dancer we want to see more of? We sometimes ask, has anyone seen Jeremy Cox lately? Well, first I spotted him on p. 30 of the program book as a Guest Artist, and later in the aisles. Okay, sooner or later on stage again. (Katia Carranza is also listed as a guest.)

One of the things I liked about Polyphonia is that the dancers look good throughout it. (You can't count on that anymore.) Another thing is that Wheeldon doesn't inflate. I don't think Ligeti has as much to tell a choreographer as, say, Tchaikovsky, or even Verdi, but Wheeldon does listen, we can see that; and the penultimate piece, in which Ligeti uses only one note - in different octaves (especially lower ones) and different rhythms to be sure, where the music is conspicuously more implicative than evocative (versus the two older composers) neither collaborator becomes portentous.

And another thing was that Jennifer Kronenberg was in the solo part, reminding me that she's one of those dancers who doesn't stop when she's standing still. Not that she quite stands still here, but she commands the space - the stage, and the house - while expending relatively little energy in this quiet part. If Polyphonia was any single dancer's, it was her ballet.

Serenade is a beautiful ballet but this rendition looks a little prettified, fussed over, affected in spots, with flourishes and gestures if not added then emphasized along the way, not so full-out and wind-blown as I think suits its music; but still, the dancing is more robust than the accompaniment, which is oddly gentle and delicate, sometimes scarcely audible. Jennifer Kronenberg led it, and in keeping with the polished conception, her "girl who comes in late" bit is danced, performed, not something which just happens. So, I'd say, the power of the ballet, especially in its mysteries, was diminished, but it's still a beautiful ballet.

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Saturday afternoon, the 26th: What a difference a day makes! Albertson's Ballo looked large, clear, nicely finished, and complete. If she lacked a little of Ashley's power, well, who doesn't? I had a sense that the ballet was all here this afternoon, and then there's Kleber Rebello's dancing, everything powerfully articulated and integrated into inflected flow - fabulous, not to reflect on Renan Cerdeiro last night, but this was the pair to see in this, I felt. Twice as long applause as last night? It seemed like it.

Polyphonia without Kronenberg still had Helen Ruiz in the solo, who gave this large (though short) part with distinction even if she didn't seem to fill the house with it as Kronenberg had. And while I still haven't learned by watching the stage what Wheeldon hears in the musical chaos of the first number, significantly titled "Desordre," from there on I admire how he emulates Balanchine's principles without imitating his style. (Francisco Renno's playing of all this music is beautiful.)

Kronenberg was also absent from Serenade, and Albertson, leading it, scampered in at the "late" bit and did act out the happening a little. Maybe I've adapted to the scale of the accompaniment, but I still want it more full-blooded, even though there is a problem with overdoing Tchaikovsky.

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Saturday evening's cast was the same as opening night's, with similar effects, but Sunday afternoon, 27 October, brought some more cast changes and a generally satisfying program. Albertson returned to Ballo, with Renato Penteado this time. Less intense than Rebello, with his superb clarity, he made a more even match for her, and so in spite of what I said above, here was the finest pair of the weekend, for me. And I believe the exceptionally clear Zoe Zien appeared prominently in the corps but was not credited.

Katia Carranza took over what I continue to think of as Jennifer Kronenberg's part in Polyphonia with a even more distinction than Helen Ruiz did - short-handed, MCB still has an abundance of riches - as evidenced by Zien's getting out in the open - i.e. out of an ensemble - in number VIII in this suite, an Allegro con spirito with Michael Sean Breeden, and it was good to see her there. Number IX, with very compact movement to music composed on one note, continues to impress, not least from Carranza and Chase Swatosh's performance of it.

Then Carranza ably led Serenade, which I still want to be more bold and intense, especially after the tempo picks up early on; and Carranza's way with the "late" business is to find her spot downstage apparently by introspection. (Instead of looking for it, as some have over the years.) This doesn't achieve the deepness this ballet has sometimes - and so it remains a beautiful ballet (for which I'm thankful, don't get me wrong!).

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Thanks, Jack. Just by seeing Albertson and Arja dancing next to each other in Polyphonia (in Miami), I could tell that Albertson would make a far more effective lead in Ballo. You have confirmed my suspicions. After all, the ballet is called Ballo della Regina...not Ballo della Nena.

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I saw the West Palm opening night last night and enjoyed it very much. I only knew Ballo Della Regina from the DVD of Balanchine choreography, and even though that video is a better overall performance, I found this ballet to be absolutely beautiful to see in person (and also without the 70's looking backdrop in the video)! Compared to the famous video Arja does come up short like everyone has reported, but I expected much worse after reading the reviews on here, and maybe she has gotten more comfortable, but to me it looked like she did all the steps including all the hops on pointe. I was actually amazed how much more I liked this ballet and its effect in person compared to just watching the studio taped video.

Polyphonia is a nice work, but I honestly can not imagine any ballerina or danseur saying, "I long to dance Polyphonia!" after having seen it. In contrast, I can picture a ballerina saying that about the other two works on last night's program.

I feel like the Kravis Center Friday night performances have more and more empty seats. I know the matinees are much more popular, but Friday night (Opening Night) used to be better attended, if memory is correct.

Maybe I have become spoiled watching videos of the precise Mariinsky corps and even seeing them in person in Russia, because I was shocked a couple of times at the corps being sloppy in Serenade.

Some thoughts on individual dancers: Cerdeiro looks meatier than before and has grown as a dancer. He used to have a "new born horse" look (all legs). He is looking much more like a man to me, although he was always very talented. To my eyes he keeps getting better and looks more confident and his physical beefing up helps.

Of all the males Rebello has more flow to his upper body than the others which is a fetish of mine. He has always caught my eye because of that. In my mind (and this is a personal taste) more flowing up top looks more elegant.

Kronenberg is the big surprise. Personally, I have always thought she was decent but boring. Maybe having a baby has changed her, because she lived the part in Serenade. I have heard having a baby changes the way a dancer dances, and it sure seems that way. I never considered her very passionate, but she was last night! Very strong emotionally and technically.

Her husband Guerra has always been the "hottest" male at MCB (talking about his looks), so I understand why some have commented about a little weight gain. He's probably still great looking walking down the street compared to other men, but on stage he is definitely no longer jaw droppingly attractive.

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It will be Interesting to see if Arja dances Ratmansky's Symphonic Dances in Program II because she was a spitfire in the almost tiger-like role she created in that work. I think she does better in leaping aggressive roles.

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I was actually amazed how much more I liked this ballet and its effect in person compared to just watching the studio taped video.

I think these are words for everyone interested in ballet to remember every time they watch a video or even a film of a performance. With so much available so easily, it's easy to forget...

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... I only knew Ballo Della Regina from the DVD of Balanchine choreography, and even though that video is a better overall performance, I found this ballet to be absolutely beautiful to see in person (and also without the 70's looking backdrop in the video)! ...

In some cases, if the stage version of the ballet had a very simple background, a fancier one was added in the television studio, I think to help viewers maintain their orientation to the space in which the dancing is going on - without anything in back, we're lost in "TV no-space", with no sense of where the dancers are. If the camera moves to follow a dancer, we may not have any true sense of her travel, for example, unless we see a background.

That was done in the case of the Ballo video with Ashley. The MCB backdrop was a good approximation of what we got watching Ballo in Balanchine's theater: just a rich light display on the cyclorama, said to be inspired by mother-of-pearl, with the golden glow added with the final music, which some hear as the "coronation" of the queen or regina of the title (and also of the plot of Verdi's opera, for which he composed the ballet music).

And this was done in some other ballets in that series of videos. The scenery itself might not be so good to look at, but its use was a good thing. Otherwise, would you have the same sense of place and pattern, and changing pattern? Would you get as much of the ballet from the screen?

Ballet on screen inevitably gives less than the same ballet on stage. The image is less clear than in the theater; what you see lacks some presence. There's little or no "emanation", as theater-watchers call it sometimes. And yet…

When the "Choreography by Balanchine" material was broadcast first in PBS's "Dance in America" series, I had the good fortune to be seeing those ballets with those casts on stage, too, and I was tickled to see them - reduced, yes, as ballet on screen is, even at its best, which these videos are among, in my experience - but to get the same kind of experience in my living room as I'd had in the theater, not to mention playing back my tapes, and sharing the experience with friends, discussing it with them, which in the theater we could only do at intermission, was deeply rewarding. It helped me to get through the times when I could not see the company on stage.

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Drew, I obviously agree since I experienced that and said it, but I do feel videos are the next best thing to being there if you can't be there. LOL Not arguing at all. I do think seeing a ballet live in the flesh is the absolute ideal. There is a je ne sais quoi element to a live performance that can not be captured on video (maybe our excitement plus having the performers in the same room). On that Balanchine video I always felt Ballo della Regina was ho hum as a ballet, but in person it was quite beautiful even with lesser dancers. So I think a ballet can move you differently in person. However, once you know a ballet and have seen it live and know the choreography well, I think a video can give much joy and excitement also. I will be the last person to say video watching is bad. I love that too!

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Jack, yes, everything you say makes sense, and I will probably return to the video with more admiration for Ballo now and enjoy the video version more than I did b/c now I know it is quite gorgeous on stage.

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Her husband Guerra has always been the "hottest" male at MCB (talking about his looks)....

I give that title to Principal Reyneris Reyes...

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