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Alexandra

Boston performances

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Boston Ballet's troubles have brought a number of Bostonians out of lurkdom smile.gif If any of you go to their current program -- which starts tonight, I believe; see the preview on Links -- please write and tell us about it. Not only what you thought of the dancing, but audience reaction, etc.

I think everyone would probably join in with good thoughts for the dancers -- it's obviously been a difficult week for them.

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This post is with much thought and heartfelt. I looked at the question all day and finally felt an obligation to respond.My amatuer review may be a bit Pollyanna-ish but it is how I felt as I watched and I feel many audience members shared my viewpoint.I attended the opening night of Boston Ballet's Winter Reperatory season entitled "Celebration of Dance" which was comprised of Jerome Robbins "Interplay" , Rudi Van Dantzig's " Four Last Songs", and Balanchine's "Theme and Variations". First off, hats off to Anna Marie Holmes for her fine and tasteful programing. A wonderful mix of the best. The program mood flowed perfectly in my perception. Interplay was danced exhuberantly and obviously staged and coached expertly by Judith Fugate and Jean Pierre Frolich. The dancers were appropriatly joyous and in sync in it's fun jazziness and intricate musicality.Rudi Van Dantzig's Four Last Songs stretched the dancers to new limits and challenged them both pysically and emotionally. I think perhaps this ballet was a wonderful release for all those dancers lucky enough to be given the opportunity to dance it during these stressful times and they all did so admirably and with conviction.On top of that it is tecniquely difficult but the emphasis must be drawn from that to the heart of the work. To see the dancers enter in to a new and spiritual place artistically was moving and inspiring. Finally Theme and Variatons is a great masterpiece and a hurdle for any dancer. Victoria Simon who staged it did not compromise the tempo to accommidate the dancers and they fought for it admirably. Alexandra Koltun danced the leading role with command,triumphing over a debilitating archilles tendon rupture less than just a year ago. Simon Ball partnered her galantly and executed his variations with calm concentration and elegance. I'm not saying every moment was perfect or danced as well it can be but I was moved by the dancers commitment to the art void of all the turmoil, the Artistic Staff's follow through, and all the administrative staff that contributed to the evenings sucess. I'm sure someone out there is probably far more critical but my final feeling goes back to how tough dancers can be when their art and growth becomes truly paramount.

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In reading back my post I want to add two things. First I apologize for so many misspellings. I'm really addicted to spellcheck! Secondly, I didn't intend for it to sound as if the program was not danced well and at a high caliber. These dancers are at a high level both techniquely and artistically.

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Thank you so much for taking the trouble to post that. Unable to travel to Boston and see this, I appreciate very much your review.

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Dee -

Thanks for reporting and letting us know what you saw. It didn't sound like you were being patronizing at all. (I know that in my own case, the higher the level of dancing the more picky I often get, because I feel that the criticism is constructive)

It's never easy to comment when one is acquainted with the people involved. Most of us in that situation do exactly what you did, talk honestly and fairly about what was positive and if the overall impression of the performance was negative, often don't say anything. I've been on both sides of that situation, where more than one writer who came to see a concert of mine also knew me as a colleague.

This wouldn't be right or ethical for a newspaper critic or someone whose first duty is to report whatever it is that they saw, but it's the right compromise for others. Just be fair and let people know where you're coming from, especially that you know the people you're writing about.

Keep posting, please, and not just about Boston Ballet! As a side note, we have amnesty on spelling errors here smile.gif but if you're addicted to spell check, consider writing your post in your wordprocessor and cutting and pasting it to the site. I often do that with longer posts.

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Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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As a side note for all posters, if you saw something, loathed it and need to either get it off your chest or warn others, that's important too. I know I'd personally draw the line at an ad hominem attack ("Dancer X is a stupid incompetent ugly moron") but y'know what? Coming on and saying "That performance stunk! Did anyone ever teach these people how to dance?" is not just completely in-bounds, but why this site exists; so that people can discuss a performance, the good, the bad and the ugly. Just be accepting of the fact that someone else can post right after and say "I saw the same performance and thought it was BRILLIANT!" We ask that people be civil, not that they be exclusively positive.

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Leigh Witchel - dae@panix.com

Personal Page and Dance Writing

Dance as Ever

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A bit off topic, but since we've mentioned reliance on spell checkers, I thought I'd pass this along as a warning. Sorry, I don't know who the original author is.

"Ode to the Spell Checker!" - Rated PG

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word

And weight four it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect awl the weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.

At leased I no bettor then to relay on my spell checker.

~Steve

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I also saw "Celebration of Dance" and was deeply impressed at the power of Boston Ballet's dancers to pull through with finesse after these weeks. Interplay was joyous and terrifically fun! Sarah Lamb and Alexa Kochis were particularly spunky. Four Last Songs was so moving and really made me see how the BB dancers are true artists, giving their souls to their work when some of them have been fired just a month before and all of them are feeling the bumpy business world. They rose above the politics and danced from their hearts. I cried four seperate times throughout the works. Theme was exciting and invigorating. For some reason I was nervous at the beginning but once Pollyana began moving my spirit soared along with hers and the company's. It was wonderful!

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