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Friday, October 25

18 posts in this topic

A review of San Francisco Ballet's "Cinderella" by Robert Johnson in The Star-Ledger.

Fiddling with the libretto creates new problems. Having already met the Prince, Cinderella must wear a mask to the ball so he doesn’t recognize her. Her unmasking, and not the chiming of the clock, is her undoing. This Prince also has a childhood friend named Benjamin, who must be disposed of before his familiarity poisons the romance. Wheeldon improbably makes Benjamin fall for one of the Stepsisters, who, in this version, are neither distinct personalities nor sufficiently grotesque.

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A review of San Francisco Ballet by Andrew Blackmore-Dobbyn in Broadway World.

Typically, a repertory program places its weakest link in the middle. It gives the audience motivation to stay in their seats until the end. The original order for this program had Suite en Blanc first, followed by From Foreign Lands and then closed with Symphonic Dances. No doubt this is why the program was rearranged to place Edwaard Liang's Symphonic Dances in the middle of this mixed repertory program presented by the San Francisco Ballet last Sunday. Kudos to Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson for recognizing that the program wasn't working and moving to change it. The new order led to a much better experience for the audience and heightened the expectation for the finale.

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An interview with Brooklyn Mack, with photo gallery, by Rebecca Ritzel in The Washington Post.

“Ballet just sucked me in and kept me,” Mack said. He starting taking classes in nearby Columbia, S.C., and then left home to continuing dancing at Washington’s Kirov Academy. At both schools, he was the only African American male. It wasn’t until he started spending summers at the Chautauqua Institution and other training programs that he was able to meet black men who danced. There are more young African Americans dancing in the South now, he says, and adds with pride that South Carolina continues to pump out more than its share of athletic male dancers, including Matias Dingman of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, McGee Maddox at the National Ballet of Canada and Bo Busby of the Boston Ballet.

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A review of the debut performance of Barak Ballet by Laura Bleiberg in The Los Angeles Times.

Barak’s choreography is complex and romantic; she plumbs the emotional nuance from human gesture to communicate directly and with resonance. Her work pulls from the ballet vocabulary alone; refreshingly, she eschews the mindless and frantic semaphore signaling that's become trendy in contemporary ballet.

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An interview with Carlos Acosta about his new novel.

We meet in an office deep within the Royal Opera House, and he seems genuinely taken aback when I tell him how much I enjoyed his book. "Really?" he says, again and again. Was he worried what people would think? "No, because in my mind I'm not a writer. I'm a ballet dancer – that's what I've been doing since I was nine, it's how I make my living. This world of writing is still new, and if someone doesn't like it, so what? I don't make a living from it. It's more a challenge I put to myself."

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A review of Madison Ballet's "Dracula" by Lexy Brodt in The Badger Herald.

Madison Ballet’s “Dracula,” a rock ballet, is not your average performance. The ballet hardly follows Bram Stoker’s novel; it instead takes the characters and main plot points and spins them into an overtly sexual reverie. But that’s okay, depending on what you’re into.

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Reviews of Sacramento Ballet's season opener.

The Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Ballet opened its 59th season Thursday evening with a three-part program of dances all set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. Opening with George Balanchine's playful "Rubies" (to Stravinsky's Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra) and driving through a glittering "The Firebird," the program ended with a masterful reinterpretation of "Rite of Spring" (Sacre du Printemps).

The Examiner

As always, the Sacramento Ballet did not disappoint its audience, and in spite of the still depressed economy which greatly impacts the arts, artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carine Binda, began this season with the same promise and same energy that they came to Northern California with 26 years ago – to bring the best of ballet to the Sacramento community.

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A review of "Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty" by Brian Seibert in The New York Times.

More fundamentally, the love story that Mr. Bourne substitutes isn’t any more emotionally compelling than the original. Poetically, it’s a diminishment. The battle between good and evil is reduced to a tussle between the nice guy and the bad boy. Discarding the original allegory, which is about ballet itself and the continuation of the classical tradition, in favor of vampires (an idea not even developed seriously) only says dispiriting things about the present.

Zachary Stewart's review for TheaterMania.

The music is canned and the dancing is competent, but not particularly formally impressive. Showoff moves take a back seat to story. Vassallo and Trenfield exude chemistry, their über-flexible bodies practically melting into each other. Maskell is appropriately wicked, with a sneering indifference that doesn't quite explain his character's infatuation with Aurora. Marney plays the wise and helpful elder fairy with ease, like a vampiric Elrond . (Apparently, fairies and elves go to the same stylist.)

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A feature on Alexei Ratmansky's new ballet for ABT, "The Tempest," by Roslyn Sulcas in The New York Times.

“The drama of ‘The Tempest’ is very hard to translate into dance,” Mr. Ratmansky said. “There are big themes I’m not sure we can address. But finding the true feelings and motivations of the characters, that’s my goal. The Sibelius score is very poetic, like illustrations in a book, and this is at the moment my idea for the ballet.”

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Q&A with Ormsby Wilkins on conducting the music for "The Tempest."

ABD: Why isn't Sibelius programmed for ballet more frequently?

OW: He's got all this great music like his symphonies, his violin concerto, the tone poems, I mean, he did write one great waltz which was the Valse Triste, of course. You know, it's surprising because there's some other incidental music he's composed that people could use but I guess that it's just never occurred. Some people might think that his music is not appropriate for dance. In fact, with this music, it's got a lot of dance music in it. But it's just music that people don't know very well. The incidental music was really not thought of for a long time, I think. I think people didn't know it and there weren't even any recordings of the complete music up until 1992.

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A review of San Francisco Ballet's "Cinderella" by Leigh Witchel in The New York Post.

With all those creative designs, the competent but repetitious choreography felt like just another pretty girl on the dance floor. Wheeldon knows how to work a pointe shoe, so the women fare well, but when the guys aren’t toting and carrying the gals, they’re doing acrobatics instead of ballet.

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A review of James Sewell Ballet by Rob Hubbard in The Pioneer Press.

Friday's first offering of the program at Minneapolis' Cowles Center showed that one couldn't ask for a better showcase for the talents of the troupe, nor for the vibrant imagination of its chief choreographer, James Sewell. The company continues to derive energy from the friction between the contrasting movement vocabularies of classical ballet and rebellious modernism. And seldom has it spawned a program so invariably involving.

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Two of the latest arrivals from Cuba land at Ballet Arizona.

Eventually, word of the job searches came through the grapevine to Lisbet Companioni, the Cuban-born ballet mistress for Ballet Arizona. She secured auditions for five of them with artistic director Ib Andersen.

“I actually had openings, which I normally wouldn’t have in June,” Andersen says. “They have a good foundation, good training. They’re maybe not used to doing ballets that we do here. It’s a different approach.”

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A review of the Shanghai Ballet by Dottie Ashley for The Charleston City Paper.

Located in Shanghai, China, the troupe, established in 1979, has been the recipient of a total of 32 medals in various dance categories from around the world. However, this record should come as no surprise to those who saw the world-class company’s overwhelmingly gorgeous performance of The Butterfly Lovers, a full-length ballet combining rare beauty and technical perfection.

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New Jersey Ballet gets some outside coaching help for works by Balanchine and Robbins.

George Balanchine’s "Allegro Brillante," his "Pas de Dix" divertissement and the romantic "Who Cares?" (set to an arrangement of wistful Gershwin melodies) are all on the program. Dropping by the company’s Livingston studios to polish these gems is none other than Edward Villella. A former New York City Ballet star known to TV audiences across America, Villella later founded Miami City Ballet and led that company to international acclaim. On hand to coach Jerome Robbins’ "Interplay," meanwhile, is Edward Verso, a triple-threat veteran of "West Side Story" who also danced with American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet.

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Houston Ballet will put in more time on the road after its New York engagement.

And they still have Paris. Sixteen dancers join Welch in Paris Thursday through Nov. 4 for four performances of a collaborative premiere with concert pianist Lang Lang at the Theatre des Champs Elysees. Lang Lang will play the Frédéric Chopin score for Welch's new "Sons de L'âme (Sounds of the Soul)."

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An interview with David McAllister.

Yesterday, McAllister was honoured for his 30 years with the company when dancers, staff and board members threw a surprise party at its Melbourne headquarters.

McAllister has been at the helm for 12 years and recently renewed his contract until 2017. "I still can't quite believe it has been 30 years," said McAllister, who turns 50 next month.

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West Australian Ballet presents a new work on the theme of mercury. Video.

Emma Hack collaborated with company choreographer Daniel Roberts to create the short ballet, to represent the ballets which make up the company's 2014 season.

She also spent a day with dancer back in August, painting their bodies all over in silver and arranging them in shapes which create images which, from above, represent scenes from programme.

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