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Thursday, October 24

17 posts in this topic

A local feature on "Fall River Legend."

Lisa Bibeau, Artistic Director of Spindle City Ballet, tells me that Boston Ballet brought Fall River Legend to us [Fall River] some time ago. (It was probably in 1986, when it was part of their season.) She also says that it’s on her “wish list” as a repertoire piece for her company.

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State Street Ballet presents "The Taming of the Shrew."

Inspired by female movie stars like Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Rosalind Russell, Sund set his version of the story in mid-century America. The score features 1950s pop music and hula alongside Stravinsky and Ravel. Designer Christina A. Giannini is hard at work on costumes that will evoke the era of sock hops and soda fountains, and while Sund relies on the cast for their strong classical ballet technique, he’s also introducing elements of jazz and free-form dancing, athletic sequences, and highly demanding lifts, especially for the leads.

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A U.K. television documentary will focus on a group of heavy dancers preparing to perform "Swan Lake."

Their mentor is Wayne Sleep, once told by the Royal Ballet that he was too short to be a dancer. The idea is to challenge the notion that one has to be size zero to be a ballerina, and to break taboos around weight, says a Channel 4 spokesman: “Ballet is a place where body fascism exists in a way that is not really allowed anywhere else.”

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Judith Mackrell wonders if ballet companies should be more democratic.

For the dancers themselves, a less rigorously graded system would surely feel like a fairer and more grown-up way of working, with less scope for political and personal discrimination. But there could be artistic benefits, too, not least an extra encouragement to choreographers to look beyond company rankings when casting new works. Young dancers are occasionally "plucked" out of the corps to dance principal roles, but those career moments are always presented as something remarkable, a fairytale promotion, rather than a logical opening up of the talent pool.

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The James Sewell Ballet celebrates its twentieth anniversary.

2. Sewell, 52, and company co-founder Sally Rousse met while dancing in New York and were married. They have two children, ages 9 and 15, who are not dancers. (And Sewell says he would not let them move to New York at 17.)

3. Half of the retrospective show will be about where the dance troupe has been ("Highlights and a lot of things we haven't done for a long time," Sewell says.). The second half is a collaboration with violinist Todd Reynolds, who will be performing live. The Schubert Club is helping sponsor Reynolds' performance.

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An interview with Anthony Jones, the new director of Oregon Ballet Theatre's school.

An important influence there was Stanley Williams, whom Jones calls "arguably the greatest teacher, especially for men." Jones studied with him for five years.

"Often, Baryshnikov, Nureyev and other greats of the ballet world would be in my classes with Stanley at the School of American Ballet," he says. "I would also be remiss if I didn't mention the incredible impact the teachings of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell had on me when I was a dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet and they were directors. They truly shaped my vision of what it is to be a professional dancer."

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Reviews of the Royal Ballet in "Romeo and Juliet.

The Daily Express

Both Bonelli and Cuthbertson evolve in their respective parts, shaping their phrases to the mood and displaying a gradual maturity as youthful innocence gives way to the shock of responsibility.

The least flashy of RB dancers, Cuthbertson may lack the quicksilver footwork of Rojo or Cojocaru but she is an intelligent actress and her passage from girl to woman is etched with fine detail.

The Telegraph

McRae, a brilliant stylist, is very much "a fortune’s fool" as Romeo, smiling with ironic awareness of his own fate. It is a highly intelligent reading, yet one does crave more abandonment. Obratztsova, a guest artist from the Bolshoi, is a truly lovely dancer who melts into the most sublime lines, but her Juliet does everything just a little too ballerina-beautifully. Even her grief looks gorgeous: and not very MacMillan.

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Beauty tips from Janie Taylor.

"One of my best friends recently retired from PNB, Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, and he started a skincare line, Jordan Samuel," the Texas native explained. "I just started using his products recently and I really like them. After I wash my face in the morning, one little drop of oil and some cleansing water. I always use that in the morning and at night [on my skin]." We wonder if the oil and water combo is also responsible for her shiny hair?

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A preview of Zhukov Dance Theatre by Carla Escoda in The Huffington Post.

For his latest première, Zhukov has mixed a gripping score of baroque music interwoven with industrial sounds, by turns ominous, propulsive and yearning. In a rehearsal at the hip urban premises of the City Dance studio south of Market, as his dancers slid, crawled and hurled themselves across the floor, negotiating with unseen demons, bodies taut but yielding, one sensed ballet's guardian angels whispering in their ears. The four bare lightbulbs and four skylights that light this intimate cathedral of dance will be replaced by a state-of-the-art lighting system at SFJazz, and the acoustics promise to be thrilling, but no less charged will be the wired bodies of Zhukov's dancers.

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A review of Nederlands Dans Theater by Ann Murphy in The San Jose Mercury News.

The pair presented two gimmicky works laden with self-consciousness and pointless though beautifully performed movement. After the first dance, I thought Maurice Bejart's Ballet of the 20th century had spawned a Dutch incarnation, and that is no compliment. After the second work, I ticked off in my head the number struggling midlevel companies in the Bay Area alone that dance ironically with greater import and much more purpose.

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A review in brief of Carlos Acosta's "Pig's Foot" by Clare Colvin in The Daily Mail.

A rich stew of magical realism, it traces Cuba’s tumultuous history through four generations of one family. The narrator is Oscar Mandinga, great-grandchild of former slaves who founded the small village Pata de Puerco (Pig’s Foot) in the deep south of the island country.

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Portland Ballet presents "Jack the Ripper."

Portland Ballet’s rendering of these killings is at once sensuous, lurid, and spare, with the red satin of gowns and the restrained use of strobe light set against a Whitechapel represented by five bare, rough-hewn doors. Choreographer Shipman’s envisioning takes some interesting license, including stylizing the very shadows of London’s slums, as figures in black, and the new science of forensics itself, as a figurative dance between the detectives and the dead women whose lives are momentarily restored by Scotland Yard’s scrutiny.

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Ballet Pensacola presents its "Dracula."

In Ballet Pensacola’s version, Dracula, danced by Tyler Day, lives in a cathedral tower attached to a church. This setting enabled the production’s set and lighting designer, Lance Brannon, to craft some dazzling clockwork imagery. In fact, Brannon’s visual work as we traverse Dracula’s murky lair is as important as the exceptional musical backdrop in helping create the prevailing mood.

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A review of Ballet Memphis by Chris Davis for the Memphis Flyer.

Dorothy Gunther Pugh thinks dance artists shouldn't be content telling stories. Performances can become conversations with the audience, and in a short film that screens before the curtain comes up on "River Project 2," Ballet Memphis' artistic director says it's her job to search for threads common enough to bind us together but not so common as to invite cliché. As a source of renewable inspiration, Pugh, her choreographers, and her dancers have turned to the Mississippi River.

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New York City Ballet is one member of an unsecured creditors committee to New York City Opera's bankruptcy case.

The appointment came shortly after the opera said it has $6.7 million in assets and is $3.6 million in debt in an overview of its financial condition filed with the bankruptcy court. The ballet company has submitted a $1.6 million claim against the estate, according to the document.

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Edward Villella sets "Tarantella" on students of the University of Arizona School of Dance.

“What makes this dance a Balanchine dance are the intricacies,” Villella went on. “This tiny little piece is full of hundreds of connections, there are layers of departure points.

“I had to study each of these subtle inside points myself when I first learned ‘Tarantella,’ The piece is known for its complicated rhythms, too, but if you break the rhythms down they are simple juxtapositions of related ideas.

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A feature relating the new documentary about Tanaquil Le Clercq to current efforts to control the disease that crippled her.

Tanny reminds us of the devastation that polio causes: it ruins lives and shatters dreams. At its height, polio devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands around the world, from infants to celebrities to future presidents. Since 1956, when Tanny contracted polio, the world has made giant strides toward eradication. Thanks to a global effort to eliminate the disease, polio cases have decreased by more than 99 per cent since 1988 -- from an estimated 350,000 cases to just a few hundred today.

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