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Joffrey Ballet (Kennedy Center) Nijinsky Program


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 27 February 2002 - 01:51 PM

The Joffrey Ballet opened last night with its program of Nijinsky ballets ("Jeux," the newest reconstruction; "L'Apres midi d'un faune," and "Le Sacre du Printemps.")

Did anyone go? I'd rather you all go first smile.gif This program will be repeated tonight and Thursday. The weekend program is, IMO, an excellent program for people who are new to ballet; it's a good mix, with not only something for everyone, but two little-seen ballet classics (Tudor's "Lilac Garden" and de Mille's "Rodeo") in addition to Gerald Arpino's "Kettentanz.")

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 27 February 2002 - 03:32 PM

Sarah Kaufman's review in the Post:

Joffrey's Venturesome Night of Nijinsky

quote:


Joffrey Ballet of Chicago opened its week of performances at the Kennedy Center Opera House last night with a program it calls "The Nijinsky Mystique." It's an apt title, for not much more than mystique remains of the great Vaslav Nijinsky, the legendary dancer and, for just a brief, exciting moment, experimental choreographer whose career rose and fell in the space of a few years at the start of the 20th century.

read review

#3 Ari

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Posted 27 February 2002 - 09:38 PM

Okay, I was there. It was interesting to see the reconstructions, all of which were new to me. I found the first two (Jeux and Faun) fascinating, as I've only known them from the few surviving photos. They looked mostly convincing to me, but what do I know? I have nothing to judge them against.

I did like Deborah Dawn in the Karsavina role in Jeux; she brought an earthy, sophisticated quality to her part that contrasted well with Maia Wilkins's bright little ingenue. But I had a hard time seeing this trio as "a cipher for the population ratio that would result from World War I," as Millicent Hodson's program note says. How would Nijinsky have known this in 1913, and even if he could have, would he have cared?

It was also interesting to see Faun lifted out of the old photos and brought into motion, if not exactly life. This production had a textbook feel to it, unlike Jeux which really seemed like a living ballet.

As for Sacre du Printemps (all the titles were in the original French), this was the only disappointment. The lighting was kept so low that it was hard to see all the activity on stage (there was lots) and the colors of the costumes were muted. Worst of all, the orchestra slept through the glorious score, making one wonder what the riot was all about.

These three ballets made for a very short evening. Maybe the company could have retitled the program "Diaghilev Evening" and added one of their other Ballets Russes ballets.

#4 LLM

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 04:11 PM

I wish I could go this weekend, but I have to run a rehearsal. So, I have two seats I need to get rid of. If anyone is interested in....

two center orchestra seats for
The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago
at The Kennedy Center
March 2, 2002
2:00pm
$27.00 each (that's half the reg. price)

please contact me asap at laurelmarsh@hotmail.com

#5 samba38

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 06:03 PM

I'll walk the plank. I found the Nijinsky program unbearable. Dark. Heavy. Unattractive. Uninspiring. Repetitious to no end. Alas, i must be the victim of my own ignorance -- an inability to recognize and appreciate the revolutionary nature of this work and a vague, sentimental notion (based on no knowledge) that Nijinsky would have created some powerfully exciting movement for roles he might have danced himself. Still, I'm looking forward to the weekend program and the talented Joffrey dancers in works that may be easier for neophyte viewers like me to appreciate.

#6 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 February 2002 - 11:39 PM

No problem here, samba; that's a part of the Nijinsky enigma. You really can see the dark path he was headed down and the repetitious nature of his mental illness. I wish somebody could find enough of "Tyl Eulenspiegel" to reconstruct, but I think that one is lost forever.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 02 March 2002 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for all the comments. I had a very mixed reaction. I think my abiding impression will be how well-rehearsed the program seemed. And the second one was how the three ballets do not make a program. They might be interesting as a special night in a long season, but when it's one of two programs, I thought it was too much.

I didn't find "Jeux" convincing. I thought it was static, and I thought some of the movement was too much like the modern dance of the 1930s (a world away from 1913). This was the one reconstructed from the thinnest of materials, unlike Faune and Sacre. I didn't sense any relationships among the dancers, and I had no sense of surprise. Was the audience supposed to think that the girls, at the beginning, were just two sweet young things? Did the boy think they were interested in him? (They screamed 'WE ARE SUPER CHIC 1913 LESBIANS, WINK WINK' to me from the moment the curtain went up.) Was the boy interested in them? Was it once a surprise when the two girls went off with each other?

I'm one of the few people in the world who does not love "Faune" I've never seen a convincing performance of it. By "convincing" I mean that no dancer -- very understandably -- is Nijinsky. He was not only an extraordinary technician, but an extraordinary presence. We've seen those photos so often, nothing on stage will ever match the muscles, the sweetness, the allure, the magic.

I thought "Sacre" did work as a performance, although I don't get the sense of primitive justice and inevitability -- why do they choose the girl? Because she falls? So the whole thing is like "Ring Around the Rosy?"? A children's game gone bad? -- and there isn't the ferocious rawness that we read the ballet had.

I'm always glad to see programs like this, and very grateful to the Joffrey for reviving the ballets and keeping them in repertory, but this a museum piece evening for me.

#8 staf

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:54 AM

Does anyone know how I can get hold of a tape or DVD (or a copy) of the Joffrey Ballet's recreation of the 1913 Nijinsky choreography of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps? I have seen it on Youtube but would like to have it for didactic reasons.

I'm also interested in the Jeux and Après midi d'un faune reconstructions mentioned in this topic.
Thanks.


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