Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Ashton Festival, April 30 - May 3, 2014


  • Please log in to reply
43 replies to this topic

#16 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,398 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:56 AM

Birdsall, be careful - final performance begins at odd hour of 6PM to accomodate a gala dinner that begins at 8PM (separate charges...see SB web for more on that).



#17 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,339 posts

Posted 09 April 2014 - 03:15 PM

Birdsall, be careful - final performance begins at odd hour of 6PM to accomodate a gala dinner that begins at 8PM (separate charges...see SB web for more on that).

 

Yes, I noticed that. Thank you! That is actually perfect b/c I used to live in Tampa and so I will probably combine the trip down with a visit with my old friends in Tampa (Sarasota is an hour south of Tampa). 



#18 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,339 posts

Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:58 AM

Natalia and anyone else,

    I will only be at the final closing night Saturday 6pm show. Anyone planning to be there? We could meet and say, "Hello" during intermission.



#19 balletgirl22sk

balletgirl22sk

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts

Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:32 AM

I will be there for the Friday night performance.



#20 kbarber

kbarber

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 497 posts

Posted 29 April 2014 - 06:08 PM

Birdsall, let's meet at the intermission. I will be wearing a dark red satin dress with a wrap around sash and a flower-shaped brooch.

#21 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,642 posts

Posted 29 April 2014 - 07:58 PM

 I will be wearing a dark red satin dress with a wrap around sash and a flower-shaped brooch.

 

I should have you do my shopping -- I don't have anything half that nice!



#22 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,398 posts

Posted 30 April 2014 - 06:59 AM

Not sure what I'll be wearing yet but will look for all of you. Not sure what I'll wear...I travel light and have brought mix-and-match (black with pinks/salmon highlights) but will surely save the 'bling accessories' for Saturday's gala events.

 

Off to the conference kick-off this morn...

 

Ashton Forever! Hurrah!



#23 balletgirl22sk

balletgirl22sk

    Member

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 77 posts

Posted 30 April 2014 - 08:45 AM

Hope to meet everyone! Contact me through Ballet talk and I can give you my cell number.  I am there every day teaching.



#24 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,339 posts

Posted 30 April 2014 - 11:00 AM

I will wear a navy sport coat, khakis and probably a red polo shirt under it. I am 6 feet tall and buzzed salt and pepper hair (maybe more salt than pepper), rimless glasses. Half Asian, but some people are unsure and think I am Hispanic, but when I say it, most see the Asian after I tell them that is part of my mix. Once someone said I look like Keanu Reeves (I wish). That was a great day! LOL

 

But the red dress sounds like the easiest to spot. Should we meet in the main lobby area?



#25 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,398 posts

Posted 01 May 2014 - 05:54 AM

Sounds like a plan (1st intermission, main lobby area).

 

Yesterday's conference speaker was David Vaughn, author of the seminal tome Frederick Ashton & His Ballets. He spoke off-the-cuff for an hour+ in a delightful, entertaining manner. Sarasota Ballet director Iain Webb demonstrated 'the Fred Step' at the audience's urging. The film was the late-1970s BBC documentary 'Frederick Ashton: A Real Choreographer.'  The talks and films are held at the Historic Asolo Theater, a little jewel-box 18th-C horseshoe-shaped opera house purchased by the Ringling family in the 1920s and shipped/reassembled here in Sarasota.

 

The evening's initial performance consisted of BIRTHDAY OFFERING, ILLUMINATIONS and FACADE. BIRTHDAY (a.k.a., 'Seven Brides for Seven Brothers') is pure Petipa classicism, Ashton style, with delectable solo variations for each of the ballerinas. While it was nicely danced, I could tell that the company was nervous, compared to last month's performances. Yet again, the Fonteyn variation was danced by the 'Beryl Grey ballerina' and vice versa. What a shame that this point was not reflected in the printed programme or via public announcement. The finest, crispest dancing came from Danielle Brown in the 2nd solo ('Rowena Jackson'). Also wonderful was Kate Honea in the ultra-brisk Nadia Nerina variation, danced in a more relaxed manner this time -- and with less 'smiley face' than I saw her last month. (What a difference can facial expressions make!)

 

ILLUMINATIONS was just as beautiful as I had previously seen in November with this same cast, led by Ricardo Graziano as the Poet (Rimbaud). Ellen Overstreet and Amy Wood excelled themselves as Profane and Sacred Love, respectively.

 

The music hall-inspired FACADE capped the night. Here, the star of the evening was revealed: Kate Honea as a hilarious Milkmaid, 'milking' her three farmboys to the hilt, garnering huge audience laughter.I've read accounts of the performance of this role's originator, Lydia Lopokhova, in 1931. Honea seems to have captured Lopokhova's essence. Brava!  The Sarasota version of the ballet is performed to the all-instrumental score by William Walton, without the voiced-over poems of Edith Sitwell in the BBC film that many of us own...so, for me, it was a real treat to see FACADE in a 'new way' without the poems. Sort of like seeing Balanchine's SQUARE DANCE without the Caller! Kudos not only to the main stager, Margaret Barbieri, but also to the work's 'owner,' Garry Grant, who is here to lend coaching assistance. Grant most certainly deserved that big bottle of champagne presented on-stage by the company.

 

Iain Webb began the night with a 'tribute film' of his recollections of Ashton, then appeared on stage to place a laurel wreath atop the head of Ashton, whose bust adorns the audience-right corner of the stage all week.



#26 sandik

sandik

    Rubies Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,642 posts

Posted 01 May 2014 - 10:04 AM

Iain Webb began the night with a 'tribute film' of his recollections of Ashton, then appeared on stage to place a laurel wreath atop the head of Ashton, whose bust adorns the audience-right corner of the stage all week.

 

Oh how sweet!

 

I'm glad to hear that Facade went well.  I've seen it in less felicitous situations, when it felt thinner. 



#27 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,398 posts

Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:08 AM

Thursday recap:

 

Jane Prichard, the Dance Curator of the Victoria & Albert Museum, hit a 'home run' with her vivid presentation on Ashton's early years as a choreographer, primarily with Rambert/Ballet Club in the late 1920s/early '30s. A highlight was heretofore-unseen long clip (6-7 minutes?) of Ashton's Foyer de Danse starring Markova...many of us have seen the one minute clips in Ashton documentaries but not the treasure shown yesterday. Ms Pritchard hinted that Foyer  exists 100% on film -- as do other early Ashtons -- and that revivals would be possible. Maybe this will be the 't.b.a. Ashton' that Iain Webb plans to present during the 2014/15 season of Sarasota Ballet, we're wondering? The afternoon film was the famous BBC film of the ballet Enigma Variations.

 

The evening's performance included a delicious rendering of Les Rendezvous, with newly-restored (constructed) set of the most beautiful William Chappell designs (the ones with the huge gate and blue sky with puffy clouds) and costumes. As Webb explained in a preceding film -- there's a little film before each performance in which Webb chats about the ballets to be seen that night -- the 'gates design' no longer exists in any N.Am. or European ballet troupe and, hence, Sarasota had to rebuild them from scratch...so other ballet companies in North America may soon be able to rent them & present this treasure of a ballet not seen in this staging in the USA since ABT did it in the 1980s. So last night's performance of Les Rendezvous, led by the versatile Kate Honea and elegant-yet-technically-wonderful Ricardo Rhodes, was a winner. This ballet includes my very favorite bit of Ashtoniana:  the ultra brisk Pas de Trois, here rendered with effortless crispness and sass by Samantha Benoit, Alex Harrison and Logan Learned...and special kudos to Ms Benoit and Mr. Harrison, who danced featured roles in all three ballets of the night. (It was the Benoit-Harrison Triple Header!)

 

Monotones I and II followed. This was time to put down my notepad and just luxuriate in the dreamy beauty of these two trios to Eric Satie music. All I can say is 'bravi' to both trios for capturing the intended 'perfume' of these works, e.g., Monotones I like long green scarves sweeping over desert sands, so perfectly matched and synchronized in their movements. Kudos to Ms. Benoit, Mr. Harrison and Ryoko Sadoshima in the first piece and Mr. Rhodes, Ricardo Graziano and Amy Wood in Monotones II...with a special kudo for Ms Wood, a last-minute sub for the indisposed Victoria Hulland.

 

A second viewing of Facade - in a new cast - closed the program. Kate Honea -- yesterday's Milkmaid, today the Debutante in the Tango-Pasodoble -- was once again a standout, as was her partner (the oily-slimy 'Dago'...Ashton's role!), Juan Gil. Their choreographed bows were to-die-for.

 

p.s. Favorite Quote of the Day:  At the start of her presentation @ the Asolo, Jane Prichard praised the Sarasota Ballet's manner of dancing Ashtons by saying about the previous night's show, "As soon as the curtain went up and the dancers entered [in Birthday Offering], I immediately knew that we'd be seeing true Ashton as he should be performed."    

 

'Nuff said.



#28 kbarber

kbarber

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 497 posts

Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:28 AM

I saw the Chappell designs, gates and all, in a Noriko Kobayashi production in Tokyo about five years ago, so they do exist in Japan at least (though I recognize that is somewhat impractical for N American companies should they wish to borrow them).

#29 Natalia

Natalia

    Rubies Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,398 posts

Posted 03 May 2014 - 04:29 AM

Friday recap: 

 

Tornado Alarm at 2pm, during lunch break! Three honks of a bullhorn. "Seek immediate shelter! Tornado touched down in Bradenton, 5 minutes north. Go now to a secure place!" No tornado but a lot of rain reached us soon after. [Imagine such luminaries as Sir Richard Bonynge and Alastair Macaulay hunkering down until the 'All clear" signal was given. smile.png ]

 

Earlier at the Historic Asolo Theater we enjoyed Sir Peter Wright's vivid and saucy recollectionsof his times with Ashton, including the travails during the re-staging of Sleeping Beauty in 1968 (the medieval-design production that wasn't anyone's favorite) and the naughty goings-on while traveling across America by train with Saddler's Wells during the 1940s/50s.  The film was the ca-1989 BBC documentary "Sir Fred," aired shortly after Ashton's death, complete with several rare clips of ballets and recollections by many of Ashton's friends and colleagues, including Fonteyn (perhaps her last interview before her illness took a turn for the worse?).

 

The evening's performance began with a reprise of Birthday Offering with a completely different cast, most notably the (to me) superior pairing of Danielle Brown and Ricardo Rhodes as the Principal Couple (Fonteyn/Somes roles). We now saw a picture-perfect pas de deux, complete with the arabesque-balanced into attitude poses (before taking hold of the man's shoulders). Bravi!  Among the other soloists, the greatest applause - quite merited - went to Nicole Padilla in the first variation ('Fifield'). Padilla has exceled all season with her ultra-fast and clear footwork.  (In general, one of the delights of this company is the keen attention to detail in nuances of all sorts PLUS the neat and musical footwork. ABT could learn a few things on how to 'do Ashton' by traveling here.)

 

Two very different ultra-rare Ashton ballets closed the program: Valses Nobles et Sentimentales (1947, to Ravel) and Sinfonietta (1967, to Sir Malcolm Williamson's music). Valses Nobles is a brief (12 minute?) whiff of pink-infused romance, for one principal and four corps couples. Sophie Fedorovich's designs for the original Covent Garden production were reproduced...lovely romantic-tutu tulle skirts for the ladies and maroon-velvel tunics for the men...all-pink (maybe TOO PINK?) walls, large transparent screens and a hint of palm trees to the sides (silhouette lighting effect).  Many high, slow, languid lifts and swoons. Danielle Brown and Ricardo Graziano, as the leads, perfectly captured the essence of this world of debutantes and their swains. Some of the moves - such as the pinwheel circle in the center - seemed to 'borrow' from Balanchine's Cotillon.

 

Sinfonietta is a neoclassical work to modernish score that is not too pretty, but neither is it dissonant and ugly. The initial brisk movement ('Tocatta') is set against a bright blue simple background; it is for two virtuoso couples & involves a lot of quick footwork and bopping up and down. Kate Honea/Alex Harrison and Nicole Padilla/Juan Gil, acquitted themselves very nicely. The 2nd movement is danced by five men and one lady, all clad in white with little skullcaps, danced in total darkness except for the spotlight on the dancers. This is, to me, is Balanchine's 'Ivesiana-Unanswered Question'-meets-Monotones II. The pliant Victoria Hulland looked heavenly as she was held aloft, swooped and scooped by the five men.  The ballet ends with a 3rd-movement Tarantella, set against an orange backdrop. A solo male (the fabulous Ricardo Rhodes once again) and the two 1st-mvt couples dance the furiously-difficult taratella, with a corps of 12 hard-working, ever-bouncing dancers. Not exactly vintage Ashton but still a lot of fun to see.

 

Final day on Saturday will include the last performance: Illumination reprise, Divertissements (including rare glimpses of Jazz Calendar-Monday and La Chatte), and the grand finale: Les Patineurs. Earlier, we'll attend company class then enjoy a Critics Roundtable Panel.



#30 Birdsall

Birdsall

    Platinum Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,339 posts

Posted 03 May 2014 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for the reviews, Natalia! I have also read the rave reviews in the Sarasota Herald (online). Heading down soon for Sarasota for tonight's final performance at 6pm. Now I am really looking forward to it after reading the reviews. 

 

I saw Les Rendezvous last season and loved it as well as La Fille mal gardee (which I read will be performed again next season). 

 

Too bad I no longer live in Tampa. I would have been able to attend all nights, b/c Tampa is only an hour away. But today will be a 3 hour drive! Ugh! 




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):