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Best and Worst of 2013


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#16 volcanohunter

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:16 PM

  • The Platinum Soldier On Award:  To the Bolshoi Ballet, for hanging tough all year as an ensemble through an ordeal that might have destroyed other institutions.  The company celebrated it’s 50th anniversary engagement at Covent Garden

The Bolshoi first performed at the Royal Opera House in 1956 and therefore celebrated its 50th anniversary tour there in 2006. The tour of 2013 was "the 50th anniversary of its first visit to Covent Garden under the banner of Victor Hochhauser." While this may have been a major anniversary for the company's London impresario, it was actually the company's 57th London anniversary. http://www.roh.org.uk/about/bolshoi (Perhaps this shamelessly deceptive marketing on the part of the Hochhausers should qualify as one of the year's minor "worsts.")



#17 Natalia

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 04:48 AM

Cygnet wrote:

Gergiev's "If you like your Academy you can keep your Academy" fib...

 

ROTFL! Sure, you can 'keep it' but at what a cost (in this case, cost to the artistic integrity, rather than finances)! smile.png



#18 Swanilda8

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 04:58 AM

I've done a complete top 10 (plus one) performances of 2013 on my blog (http://itinerantball...es-of-2013.html) but for the short top four list: Sergei Polunin in Swan Lake, NYCB in Serenade (last January - stunning), Bolshoi Ballet in Flames of Paris, and Misa Kuranaga as Aurora with Boston Ballet.

 

I hate to do a bottom list, but for my money, Boston Ballet's La Bayadere sticks out pretty bad. Also Grigorovich's version of Swan Lake was enormously disappointing. 



#19 liebs

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 07:15 AM

Best - living in NYC and getting to see so much great dance all the time.  

 

NYCB:

 

My 2013 started with a spectacular performance by Sterling Hyltin in Dewdrop that set the pace for her transformation from principal dancer to ballerina in 2013.  She was memorable in a number of roles but her performance in a Man I Love from Who Cares was a high point.  Tiler Peck in that same role was also wonderful and seems to go from strength to strength.  A number of NYCB dancers had great years. Tess Reichlen looked great all season and was a glittering Odile.  Harrison Ball really impressed me as the Jester in that same performance.  Ashley Laracey had a breakout season with strong performances in Ivesiana, Coffee - so clean and precise - and other roles.  Janie Taylor was astounding in the Unanswered Question and other roles and I really regret her retirement.  She is sui generis.  maria kowrowski and T. Angle were outstanding last week in Nuts.   They are a marvelous partnership.  I am happy to see the continuing development of dancers like Anthony Huxley, Scheller, Danchig-Waring, Ramsar among others.  Mearns in 2013 was problematic for me - pushing too hard in Ivesiana, dancing heavily in Serenade but then giving a marvelous performance in Western Symphony.

 

ABT:

 

Didn't see a lot in the spring. Ashton's Sylvia was a high point although I have reservations about Polina Semionova in the title role.  Salstein was wonderful in Sylvia and in everything I saw him in this fall.  It was great to see Tharp's Partita and I liked The Tempest although it has flaws.  Gomes' performance was magisterial.  I'd like to see ratmansky's shostakovich trilogy  apart not as a full length evening.

 

Other:

 

I loved Mathew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty - lots of flaws but lots of fun.  Good to see Taylor's Brandenburg's again but the rest of the program was weak and disappointing.  Campagnie Sebastian Ramirez showed me that hip hop can be an expressive art form in its portrayal of a complicated relationship.



#20 vipa

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 03:50 PM

Best - living in NYC and getting to see so much great dance all the time.  

 

 

 I too am grateful for being in NYC and seeing so much.

 

High Points - Getting to see both SanFrancisco Ballet & PNB.  

 

NYCB 

Tiler Peck in anything

Andrew Veyette - Theme and Variations and general growth in strength and presence

Andrew Scordate - corps member great in principal role in Symphony in Three Movements

Robert Fairchild - in  Who Cares

Ashley Laracy, Lauren King, Lauren Lovette, Savannah Lowery, Georgina Pazcoguin - All soloists of great individuality who bring something unique and special to their performances.

 

ABT

Sarah Lane - One of the few engaging things in The Tempest

Marcelo Gomez - Every time he comes on stage

 

Low Points

Ratmansky - The Tempest

ABT's loss of Simone Messmer to SanFrancisco Ballet (probably a good move on her part)

Kevin McKenzie - He gets a failing grade in developing dancers and programing interesting rep.



#21 liebs

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 07:27 PM

Ended 2013 on a very high note with the 4:00 PM New Year's Eve performance of Nutcracker at NYCB.  Angle and Kowrowski were even better than last week.  Bouder was a fantastic Dewdrop.  She has that world and time enough quality that allows her to play with the music and the diagonal of ronde de jambes was at amazing - she was way off the ground.

 

In the NYCB tradition there were 2 New Year's eve moments. Scordato as Mother Ginger was sporting a large, glittery bird on his wrist  And in the finale, Kowrowski strewed confetti as she reached the top of the two lifts.  Great way to end the year. 



#22 yudi

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 11:10 PM

I've done a complete top 10 (plus one) performances of 2013 on my blog (http://itinerantball...es-of-2013.html) but for the short top four list: Sergei Polunin in Swan Lake, NYCB in Serenade (last January - stunning), Bolshoi Ballet in Flames of Paris, and Misa Kuranaga as Aurora with Boston Ballet.

 

I hate to do a bottom list, but for my money, Boston Ballet's La Bayadere sticks out pretty bad. Also Grigorovich's version of Swan Lake was enormously disappointing. 

WOW! did you see all of the performances in theaters? I wish I would have these chances. yahoo.gif

‣ Bolshoi's Flames in Paris can be easily picked up as my best one, best dancers, best performances, above all. I cannot ask for more.  

‣ The bottom one might be The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle I saw last spring in Beijing. As a small theater, RNZB actually did decent job. I persuaded my sister to sped $100 for a ticket. However, on the second day, she saw Bolshoi's Giselle on DVD and said: "That is different ballet!" 

 

 



#23 Quiggin

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 02:20 PM

At San Francisco Ballet:

 

Best

–Ratmansky From Foreign Lands - sweet-and-sour series of episodes. (Would be interesting to know what the original score was that Ratmansky switched out at the last moment.)

–Symphony in Three Movements with Yuan Yuan Tan & Vito Mazzeo or Sarah Van Patten & Carlos Quenedit in the slow movement – two different kinds of quiet.

–Lensky duel and Jonathan in Cinderella, true Pushkin & pure Max Sennett in Taras Domitro's versions.

–Scotch Symphony - always.

–Borderlands -  Wayne McGregor's relentless, almost Warhol-like fascination with dance movement (where fascination is a blend of self-alienation and curiosity). Always tottering on the edge of the not-human. Some wonderful scenes and groupings but no resolutions, everthing porous.

 

Oddities

–Francesca da Rimini - 20 or so sweet lines of Dante get the Maria Callas treatment.

–Hambourg Ballet Nijinsky - the first act would have been sufficient. Time to let (the idea of) the suffering artist die.

–Suite en Blanc - very weird passages, one with three men, like Borzois, circling a woman and lying at her feet; art deco merangue of a ballet.

 

Books (best)

–Balanchine and the Lost Muse - With every new anecdote about Lidia Ivanova in Elizabeth Kendell's book, there's less and less of her, until she seems to vanish completely. She becomes the white patch of empty canvas in the middle of a painting that's otherwise finished. 

 

But it's really an important book on Balanchine's lifelong Russian constructivist influences, and the radical theater experiments of Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Meyerhold/Fokine and Lopokhov – 10-13-6-6-2-5-11 counts and dancing on the plane of the floor – for which Balanchine later acted as a conservator.

 

Also Kendell points out the commedia dell'arte and street theater influence on Balanchine via Meyerhold and via Diaghilev during their visit to the last performng commedia dell'arte troup in Naples in 1926. Melancholic is Pierrot, Kendell says, and Phelgmatic is Harlequin. The figure in the gigue of Mozartiana is the ballet's

 

master of ceremonies, or its Pierrot, or its Death (as in Le Valse). He might be equated with Balanchine. Some of his steps come from Balanchine's own greatest role, the Buffoon of Nutcracker.

 

 

–The Infatuations - Javier Marías' mystery about a woman (Luisa) and the Perfect Couple she sees every morning at coffee before work, until one day something happens and everything is off-kilter after that. Long wonderful flights of discussion on Time (slowly turning the tables on us, never drawing attention to its stealthy labors until... )



#24 Swanilda8

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 03:41 PM

 

I've done a complete top 10 (plus one) performances of 2013 on my blog (http://itinerantball...es-of-2013.html) but for the short top four list: Sergei Polunin in Swan Lake, NYCB in Serenade (last January - stunning), Bolshoi Ballet in Flames of Paris, and Misa Kuranaga as Aurora with Boston Ballet.

 

I hate to do a bottom list, but for my money, Boston Ballet's La Bayadere sticks out pretty bad. Also Grigorovich's version of Swan Lake was enormously disappointing. 

WOW! did you see all of the performances in theaters? I wish I would have these chances. yahoo.gif

‣ Bolshoi's Flames in Paris can be easily picked up as my best one, best dancers, best performances, above all. I cannot ask for more.  

‣ The bottom one might be The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Giselle I saw last spring in Beijing. As a small theater, RNZB actually did decent job. I persuaded my sister to sped $100 for a ticket. However, on the second day, she saw Bolshoi's Giselle on DVD and said: "That is different ballet!" 

 

 

 

 

I was lucky enough to spend six months in Moscow for my research. Sadly, I probably won't get that kind of opportunity again.

 

I'm glad you agree about Bolshoi's Flames. It was a new one for me until very recently and I think the whole production is fascinating -  the original and Ratmansky's remake. Like many other Soviet works, I think it's a shame that it's underperformed in the US.



#25 yudi

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 11:53 AM

I was lucky enough to spend six months in Moscow for my research. Sadly, I probably won't get that kind of opportunity again.

 

I'm glad you agree about Bolshoi's Flames. It was a new one for me until very recently and I think the whole production is fascinating -  the original and Ratmansky's remake. Like many other Soviet works, I think it's a shame that it's underperformed in the US.

 

 

Although revolutionary modern ballets are not new for me, I was still very surprised to see how modern it is, when I saw the Flames of Paris on DVD. Did they make this in 30s of last century? I like those Soviet's modern ballets, the Flames of Paris, Bright Stream, and Golden Age. Hope Bolshoi could put them all on DVD. Did ABT dance the Bright Stream last year? How was it? I have doubts that they could catch Bolshoi's success. We can see the special Russian outburst of enthusiasm from their folk dances, pretty unique. tiphat.gif
I like your articles in your blog, which makes me more knowledgeable about ballet in general. I am preparing my money & time for visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg. Your <A Guide to the Bolshoi for First-time Attendees> helps a lot. thanks.GIF


#26 abatt

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:35 PM

I've seen the Bolshoi Flames on DVD and enjoyed it very much. I keep hoping that ABT will present it, but so far no such luck.



#27 Swanilda8

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

 

I was lucky enough to spend six months in Moscow for my research. Sadly, I probably won't get that kind of opportunity again.

 

I'm glad you agree about Bolshoi's Flames. It was a new one for me until very recently and I think the whole production is fascinating -  the original and Ratmansky's remake. Like many other Soviet works, I think it's a shame that it's underperformed in the US.

 

 

Although revolutionary modern ballets are not new for me, I was still very surprised to see how modern it is, when I saw the Flames of Paris on DVD. Did they make this in 30s of last century? I like those Soviet's modern ballets, the Flames of Paris, Bright Stream, and Golden Age. Hope Bolshoi could put them all on DVD. Did ABT dance the Bright Stream last year? How was it? I have doubts that they could catch Bolshoi's success. We can see the special Russian outburst of enthusiasm from their folk dances, pretty unique. tiphat.gif
I like your articles in your blog, which makes me more knowledgeable about ballet in general. I am preparing my money & time for visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg. Your <A Guide to the Bolshoi for First-time Attendees> helps a lot. thanks.GIF

 

 

Thanks so much! I'm glad the guide to the Bolshoi is helpful. And I hope you have fun in Moscow - it's a wonderful city. 

 

The Flames of Paris was originally made in the 1930s, but the version that the Bolshoi does was almost entirely redone in the 200s by Alexei Ratmansky. The only parts of the original choreography that he kept were the two pas de deux. The music, however, is all the original score by Boris Asafiev from 1932. 




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