I don't know the company well enough to speculate about their performance quality in Bournonville, but I want to give everyone full marks for the commitment to the repertory -- we hardly see anything of this work here in the US, and I'm thrilled that they're taking on this challenge. They may have a difficult time of it, but what an incredible learning opportunity, for the dancers and for their audiences!
U.S. Premiere of Napoli AnnouncedBallet Arizona will perform Bournanville in 2014
Posted 31 July 2014 - 06:09 PM
There are a lot of roles in the Tarantella from "Napoli," so we're sure to find out how they do.
The last time I saw Ballet Arizona dance Bournonville was in 2007, at the Orpheum Theatre, where "Flower Festival from Genzano" and "Konservatoriat" shared a mixed bill with "Rubies," and "The Golden Section." Several of the dancers who were standouts in those performances, especially Ginger Smith, Vitaly Breusenko, and Joseph Cavanaugh, are no longer with the company. Actually, looking at the corps list for Konservatoriat makes me sad: so many dancers have retired or gone one to dance elsewhere, Beau Campbell among them. Only Kanako Imayoshi and Tzu-Chia Huang, who danced in the corps when they weren't dancing Victorine, Kendra Mitchell-Dahl, and Ilir Shtylla, still with the company.
Michelle Vagi (then Mahowald) and Tzu-Chia Huang are such different dancers now, and I hope there's a way I can get to Phoenix to see the program and that they are cast. Natalia Magnicaballi didn't have the style, but she's such an individual dancer, that it's like watching Farrell, who brought Farrell to whatever style the ballet is in.
The two who "got" Bournonville in those performances over seven years ago and are still with the company are Astrit Zejnati and Imayoshi.
At the handful of programs I saw at the Orpheum Theatre, since there's no pit, the only time I heard live music there was when the wonderful Russian pianist, Alexander Izbitser, played Shostakovich for Ib Andersen's "Preludes and Fugues." "Napoli" comes with the magic words: "with the Phoenix Symphony at Symphony Hall."
Posted 19 September 2014 - 03:30 PM
I am completely unfamiliar with the Ballet Arizona, but to be honest I would worry most about the character roles. When London Festival Ballet brought Peter Schaufuss' production to the Met, it had the benefit of Niels Bjorn Larsen as the street singer and Alexander Grant as the macaroni seller, and they were hysterical. A few months later I saw the identical production performed by the National Ballet of Canada, but with a couple of corps dancers in those parts. (Larsen, Grant and Erik Bruhn had appeared in the company's premiere of the ballet, but by 1989 Bruhn was dead, and Grant's relationship with the company had ended.) I don't blame the young men who were dressed up funny for not being funny, but instead of being delightful, the first act now seemed interminable. Whoever had cast and rehearsed the ballet had severely underestimated the difficulty of the mime roles.
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