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Pennsylvania Ballet at 50 on PBSMay 2, 2014


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#16 Amy Reusch

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:00 PM

To my surprise the entire show seems to be up now...

#17 Amy Reusch

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 08:35 PM

There were more good cuts than bad cuts... At least this was better framed than Wrecker's Ball. It seemed like once he got into the piece, the distracting cuts grew less (but I'm saying this without seeing Diamonds yet).

After The Rain: I was happy to see something other than the Whelan pas de deux which is already easy enough to find on the internet.

I thought the company looked good and was interested that although the dancers have all changed since I saw much of the comany (early '90s), they still had the same style... This was very much the PAB, not BB or SFB or PNB. Very subtle and hard to describe what makes each company look a little different even when performing the same repertoire. I thought surely a new generation would have a different look and yet they still have the same esprit the company had 20 years ago. It must be the influence of Roy Kaiser and his team of former PAB principals turned ballet masters & mistresses.

I was interested to see the Sappington Calder piece having heard someone rave about the original. I thought the rehearsal footage did more to evoke the mobiles... This felt somehow rushed... Not that the dancers looked rushed in their technique but that the shapes didn't hang in the air long enough to allow ours eyes would linger on them as sculpture. I almost wished the dancers had stayed behind the music. I wonder if the tempo has speeded up a little since the premiere or whether the huge cultural emphasis on Calder at the time of the creation didn't seep more into the performers' consciousness, changing the way they interpreted the dynamics. It didn't seem that the choreograohy was dated as some said on this board about the live performance... more that it wasn't giving itself time to show the connection. I would like to see it again, slower, or more with the timing of Calders' mobiles than of partnering maneuvers. Very subtle change to request.

#18 mira

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 04:13 AM

Here's a video link to the whole episode.   http://video.wedu.or...deo/2365232004/

 

Amy, thanks for your comments  - so interesting!   I wonder if you'd be able to add more detail to your thoughts about the differences in styles between PAB, BB, SFB and PNB.   tia,

 

Mira



#19 Amy Reusch

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 06:17 AM

It is subtle, I don't know that I can... But it seems a slight difference in articulation dynamics... Holding the weight, moementum from the back or core... It would be interesting to spend some time studying videos of the same repertoire by the top six US companies to see if it couod be nailed down like a linguist on accents, but I,m afraid time is short just now for me. I wonder that company class could be so different to produce a different look... It surprises me that there is a difference given how mobile everyone is these days... But of course artistic directors are not stamped from a mold. I wonder how different Miami Ballet will become from the company it was under Villella.

#20 mira

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:09 AM

thank you - it's an interesting and fascinating discussion.   I've watched MCB for years and I think I am beginning to see a difference in the company now that Lourdes is AD.   My first impression was that it might be because she seems to be hiring a different type of dancer with a different training than Villella did.   And he did imprint that fast, athletic and joyful style on a specific type of dancer over many years of class and coaching.  Maybe next year her style will become more apparent to me.   I'd love to hear from others on their impressions of these companies and their evolution.



#21 Jack Reed

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 12:59 PM

I've also ben looking at MCB for a long time, and I share your impressions, mira, though I don't know whether it's the dancers Lopez is hiring or what they're being told.  (I think I see mostly the same names on the roster, though I haven't worked on a careful comparison.)  

 

Like NYCB, which I rarely watch anymore, last time I saw MCB, they seemed to have most in focus Wheeldon's Polyphonia, sandwiched between a somewhat undercast Ballo della Regina - though of course anyone stepping into Ashley's shoes has her work cut out for her - and a Serenade that looked just a little fussy to me.  I saw hundreds of Balanchine's company's performances over the last dozen years of his life, and a little beyond, but since the mid-80s I'd describe them in similar terms - serving glowing performances of contemporary repertory and slighting the Balanchine - of which Lopez has scheduled just three ballets next season.

 

Yeah, "fast, athletic and joyful" is a pretty good description of the dancers Balanchine watched over, too.  (Check out the videos if you can, especially the VAI series just starting.)

 

But speaking of Ashley, I finally saw this PAB video through (thank you for posting the link), and I thought Diamonds was pretty good (a little slow in places), and I think that's greatly to her and Sandra Jennings Eshima's credit, they having staged it.  And to Roy Kaiser, the departing AD's credit, for having them do it.  (Now we can worry about the direction of that company.)       


Edited by Jack Reed, 11 May 2014 - 12:26 PM.


#22 mira

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 01:34 PM

wonderful discussion Jack.  thanks.  will add to it as I see more MCB and PAB this coming season. oh, and I agree about Sandy Jennings and the other wonderful stagers that come to set ballets on PAB - what an honor for the company.



#23 sandik

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 08:52 PM

Here's a video link to the whole episode.   http://video.wedu.or...deo/2365232004/

 

Amy, thanks for your comments  - so interesting!   I wonder if you'd be able to add more detail to your thoughts about the differences in styles between PAB, BB, SFB and PNB.   tia,

 

Mira

 

Thanks so much for the link -- as I said, my local PBS station doesn't seem to be airing this.



#24 sandik

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:03 PM

Just watched the program online and have thoughts, but right now just a question -- does anyone know what the width of the stage in Philadelphia is in relationship to the stage at City Center?



#25 California

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:14 PM

Just watched the program online and have thoughts, but right now just a question -- does anyone know what the width of the stage in Philadelphia is in relationship to the stage at City Center?

According to this site (scroll down),  it's 79' x 73' at the Academy of Music: http://www.phillyspa...com/spaces/2393

 

City Center's Main stage is 45' x 43': http://www.nycitycen...Rentals/Theater

 

Somehow the Academy's stage seemed smaller on the video. 



#26 volcanohunter

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 03:20 PM

Somehow the Academy's stage seemed smaller on the video. 

 

It must be smaller. The Metropolitan Opera lists its proscenium width as 54'.

 

http://www.metoperaf...house-faqs.aspx



#27 Amy Reusch

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:13 PM

Something is up with that... I don't believe the dance space is unusually large... I would have thought 40 something... Hmmm...

#28 Ray

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:20 AM

The Academy stage is plenty large--they recently retooled to admit large Broadway shows.  It's all about the way they filmed it; having attended the performance live, I also notices the legs seemed larger than usual for this show--perhaps, again, for the cameras?



#29 sandik

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:37 AM

The Academy stage is plenty large--they recently retooled to admit large Broadway shows.  It's all about the way they filmed it; having attended the performance live, I also notices the legs seemed larger than usual for this show--perhaps, again, for the cameras?

 

And that may be the answer here -- you can, by changing the width of your proscenium curtains/legs, make a wider stage more narrow.  It's a much bigger trick to make a narrow stage wider!



#30 Amy Reusch

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:57 PM

I should just ask... But I have some memory of a coversation comparing the Merriam with the Academy with someone from the ballet and was surprised to learn the stage width was not that different... But maybe I am grossly misremembering...


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