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Thursday, December 12


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26 replies to this topic

#1 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:11 AM

A preview of Grand Rapids Ballet Company's Nutcracker.

"'Nutcracker' is the time to put dancers in a new role for the first time," said artistic director Patricia Barker. "The strength is in the veterans and in the roles they've danced before.

 

Dawnell Dryja and Stephen Sanford, who both have been with Grand Rapids Ballet for more than 10 years, will dance the Grand Pas de Deux as Sugar Plum Fairy and Nutcracker Prince for the very first time together on Friday.

 

 



#2 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

An interview with Sara Mearns.

 

No wonder. She's been doing ballet since she was 3 years old and, she says, "it's something I use to express myself, and that's when I feel free, that's when I feel I'm at my best. I'm a huge lover of classical music. The music really moves me and allows me to be whoever I want to be and make up stories in my head. I get to explore and imagine."

 

 



#3 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:18 AM

An interview with Alexei Ratmansky.

He works almost constantly. “I do a lot and maybe too much, actually,” he adds, laughing. “On the other hand, I really feel better when I don’t stop. There are stops, of course, between big projects, but if I don’t do anything for half a year or longer, it feels like I am losing the touch.

 

“If you look at the history books, some choreographers just kept doing it. It also gives me a chance to try to be different and experiment. If something doesn’t work this time, I use the idea next time and try it with a different angle. I think you learn by doing.”

 



#4 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:19 AM

A story on the Paiva family's multigenerational involvement with Richmond Ballet's Nutcracker.

 

Terry performed in “The Nutcracker” in the days before the Richmond Ballet became a professional company, and he acknowledged that Anthony is dancing in a far higher-budget, more elaborate production. Another difference: Anthony is not subject to nearly as much teasing as he experienced in the 1960s and 1970s as a boy participating in ballet.

 



#5 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:24 AM

Reviews of the English National Ballet's Nutcracker.

 

The Independent

 

The Nutcracker is a core part of English National Ballet, which dances it every Christmas. The current staging has muddled storytelling, with some bizarre divertissement dances and a confusing switch in the hero’s identity. Peter Farmer’s costumes are pretty, with Edwardian party dresses and sparkly tutus, but his scenery is drab.

 

 

The Telegraph

 

There are nice touches. I love the skating guests, the colourful hot air balloon, the pretty Mirliton and the way the wicked mice knock over the soldiers like skittles with a piece of flying cheese. But overall confusion reigns. That the evening remains a pleasure – and it does – is entirely down to the charm, warmth and skill of ENB’s dancers, particularly Daria Klimentova as the adult Clara and Vadim Muntagirov as her idealised Prince.

 

 

The Arts Desk

 

There has been ample time since for polishing, but no amount of polishing can fix structural flaws, and this ballet has a fatal one in the shape of its frankly bizarre story treatment. It’s not uncommon to have two versions of Clara and two Nutcrackers, but the half-time switch-around here is awkward, disrupting the flow of the story as well as the audience’s relationship to the characters. The survival of the Mouse King (pictured below) until well into the second act (he normally snuffs it after a 10-minute battle in Act One) is also regrettable; its tepidly evil capers are distracting rather than diverting.

 

Londonist

 

ENB dances Wayne Eagling’s version of the story, the creation of which was agonisingly depicted in the BBC’s Agony and Ecstasy docu-series in 2011. It’s easy to see why, in a nut-heavy market, Eagling felt the need to update the story and structure – but not all of his updates are improvements.

 



#6 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:26 AM

An interview with Alina Cojocaru.

 

She was “much happier” with ENB. “I feel wonderfully energised at being in a team with my new colleagues and my daily life is much more fun. The feeling of energy rubs off. It’s just that feeling when you can smile when you go to work.” There was no single reason for quitting the Royal Ballet and it was difficult to think about it, she said. “It just came to that point where I knew something had to change,” she said. “Maybe in one or two years I will be able to look back without emotions, without sadness, without hurt at what happened.” Her fiance Johan Kobborg, 41, who also quit the Royal Ballet unhappily, was this weekend appointed as director of Romanian National Ballet.

 



#7 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:40 AM

A look at the Colorado Ballet casting of this year's Nutcracker by Erica Prather for 303 Magazine.

 

Watching this performance was like watching an entirely different company. Even though Klara Houdet is a newcomer to Colorado Ballet, joining the company in 2012, I had yet to spy her generous stage presence and luxurious extensions from the uniformity of the corps de ballet until she danced the role of Clara for the first time this evening. She was giddy and believably childlike in the Party Scene, but once the snow started to fall, Houdet’s experience was obvious. She was an absolute thrill to watch; it felt like she came out of nowhere. I looked at the program and said out loud, “Who?” followed shortly by, “Oh. Damn. Wow.”

 



#8 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:42 AM

 Benjamin Millepied will design a new piece.....for Van Cleef & Arpels.

 

The French choreographer and dancer has been tapped by Van Cleef & Arpels to create a piece for the opening party of its redesigned New York flagship.

 



#9 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

A preview of Memphis Ballet's Nutcracker.

This year’s production — with more than 100 dancers and 70 musicians — will be the most successful run of “Nutcracker” that Ballet Memphis has had, the company says, with a record 10,000 expected to see it, based on ticket sales. And this in a year when the flashy Moscow Ballet brought “Nutcracker” to town late last month.

 

It’s the third year in a row that the Memphis Symphony Orchestra has been in the pit, providing the extra dimension of live music.

 



#10 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:48 AM

Fabrice Calmels talks about his workout regime to Joseph Spring of Men's Journal.

 

Just as pro sports are embracing bigger athletes with more exaggerated body types, many artistic directors at ballet companies are employing bigger lead dancers, in part to employ taller female leads. Guys like Fabrice Calmels, the 6-foot-6 1/2, 220-pound lead dancer at Chicago's Joffrey Ballet, have an uphill battle – they're often less flexible, a bit slower, and not as coordinated as shorter dancers. "I really worked on my workout to improve my speed and coordination, where they had to put me in the same map with people who were half my height," says Calmels.
 

 



#11 dirac

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 10:50 AM

Portland Ballet refurbishes its Nutcracker.

The unique version has worked well for Portland Ballet, and the company’s artistic director Eugenia O’Brien isn’t interested in reinventing it.

 

“Having said that, we felt it was important to breathe new life into it to further show off where the company has come in the last 20 years. We’re a very different company now than we were then, and we want to show that off,” she said. “We had an artistic visioning meeting, where we addressed some of the spots we felt could be enhanced. It needed to be freshened up.”

 

 



#12 dirac

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:33 PM

A review of San Francisco Ballet by Allan Ulrich in The San Francisco Chronicle.

 

The grand pas de deux is the one that strikes sparks when done brilliantly. That was the case here: There was Maria Kochetkova, whose Russian training yielded opulent arabesques, flicking beats and pristine fouettés. Cavalier Joan Boada (the Nutcracker Prince) caught her leaping on his shoulder (twice) and held her in those applause-generating fish dives. Boada brought a sensitive touch to his Act 1 solo (a cousin to the first solo in Balanchine's "Apollo").

 

 



#13 dirac

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:38 PM

A feature on Joy Womack's departure from the Bolshoi by Katie Urbaszewski for The Austin American-Statesman.

While back home in the Austin area, Womack related some of the issues she encountered in her year and a half with the Bolshoi Ballet.

 

The $10,000 asked of her would have gone to the director personally – whom she declined to name last week as well as in all other interviews – but another director told her more gently that she would have to find a sponsor to succeed in the company, Womack said.

 



#14 dirac

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:41 PM

A preview of Columbia City Ballet's Nutcracker.

 

Starrett is also looking to top last year’s record ticket sales. The 2012 production of “The Nutcracker” sold the most tickets since the Columbia City Ballet first performed it 53 years ago, and this year’s show may be on track to do the same. The production has seen record audiences for tour performances in Lancaster, Sumter and Savannah.

 


 


#15 dirac

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 01:44 PM

Q&A with Isabella Boylston, who is currently performing with the Royal Danish Ballet.

How is the general speed of the company compared to ABT or New York City Ballet?

The rehearsal process has been completely different from what I'm used to. I've probably had about five or six stage rehearsals, and several with orchestra, which is unheard of in ABT because we don't have our own theater. The dancers here work hard in class, just like at ABT.

 




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