Miami City Ballet
Posted 30 May 2001 - 05:36 AM
Did someone see it. The first including Ashton's patineurs, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Sylvia pdd and I believe a fourth piece but I don't remember which.
The second programm is the full lenght version of Jewels.
Posted 30 May 2001 - 09:23 AM
(The quick version is that I thoroughly enjoyed the program. There was some fine dancing AND it was wonderful to see four very different ballets danced in (appropriately) different styles -- one time where everything did NOT look alike )
I'd urge Washingtonians to see this program. The "Sylvia" pas de deux is rarely seen now, and "Les Patineurs" and "Duo Concertante" aren't everyday fare, either. The season is selling well, but it's not nearly sold out. The mixed bill repeats tonight and Thursday.
Posted 30 May 2001 - 10:48 AM
Alexandra uses the word "appropriately", but I'm not as clear as I'd like to be on the appropriateness of MCB's way of doing Ashton. (I think their way of doing Taylor rather diminishes the effect, compared to his dancers, for example.)
MCB evidently plans to add more Ashton to their repertory, so maybe their way with his work will develop as they do more of it.
[ 05-30-2001: Message edited by: Jack Reed ]
Posted 30 May 2001 - 03:39 PM
The whole question of whether a ballet should be danced in the style of the choreographer, or the company, is an interesting one, and I can argue both sides of it I don't think "Les Patineurs" looked very Ashtonian -- and the older critics I knew who had seen it danced by Sadler's Wells DEFINITELY did not think it looked very Ashtonian. On the other hand, it looked very MCB, and in that sense had stylistic integrity, and so this bothered me less than when I've seen Ashton danced by a company who tried its darndest to dance it the way the Royal once danced it and failed; (I once wrote, if I may commit the unpardonable sin of quoting myself, that watching a particular ballet was like "listening to Keats being read with a stutter") or just dancing it without a thought in the world that the style just might be something different from "Great Galloping Gottschalk," or whatever they'd just danced yesterday.
I thought it was too fast in places -- especially the Girl in White -- and too sharp. But on the other hand, they were dancing it and not praying to it, and they weren't telegrpahing: "We're cute! We're charming! We're English (not)!" the way ABT did it when I first saw it in the 1970s. (The Joffrey Ballet had a more natural approach, too, I thought, and a wonderful, very young Blue Skater, Mark Goldweber, when I saw them do it).
Other faults: MBC's was sloppy, but it's a very hard ballet. There wasn't enough difference between the Blue Girls (real bravura parts; they'd be competition skaters if the ballet had been set in 1987 and not 1937) and the Red Girls (who just got on skates last week and are there to be sweet). The Boy in Blue had some very good moments, but wasn't very centered -- off night? I don't know.
My impression, though, was that, in this ballet and for the whole program, the OUTLINE was there. It's the way ballets used to be staged long ago, and the way jigsaw puzzles are solved today. Get the outline, and get it firm and solid. Then fill in the bits in between. I thought there was a solid outline, and a lot of respect and, more importantly, a lot of joy in the dancing. So I was happy.
For the whole program, I knew that there wasn't one dancer on the level of the originators of the roles, but I didn't care When I was leaving, the woman behind me said to her companion, "Did you ever see Cyd Charisse and Gene Kelly in that?" -- "that" being "Slaughter." She was right, but.... In general, I thought everyone was dancing as well as he or she could on that particular night, and that the management cared that the ballets and the dancers looked their best. (I don't know this. Everyone could have been a last minute substitute, and they could have rehearsed for on, but it didn't look that way.)
Just briefly, because I'm on another deadline, I especially liked Jennifer Kronenberg in "Duo Concertante" and Deanne Seay in "Sylvia." Kronenberg's dancing was clear -- the same kind of flash card effect of Merrill Ashley's dancing, though not as strong -- and yet not at all antiseptic. There was a languor to it, a sense of luxuriating in the steps that I liked very much. Seay's "Sylvia" was a witty, sophisticated French cousin of Aurora. Again, very clearly danced, especially the coda, and I especially liked it that she looked at home in a tutu and didn't make this look like Just Another Balanchine ballet.
I didn't love MCB during the Balanchine Celebration or performances I've seen over the past few years here; they've performed quite frequently at George Mason or Wolf Trap. I always liked them, but I wasn't completely won over. They won me over last night I sense that Jack was perhaps not so pleased? Diversity is the spice of life....
Posted 30 May 2001 - 04:43 PM
Having said that, I do understand the larger point, if I understand it correctly, that the piece is better suited to musical comedy dancers or ballet stars with lots of musical experience, since a lot of what makes an item like "Slaughter" work is mastery of show dancers' style, which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with great technique and in which many of today's dancers are going to be deficient no matter how well rehearsed.
Posted 30 May 2001 - 05:23 PM
Kronenberg in "Duo Concertante" was the most satisfying performance of the evening for me too - although I have the tape with Mazzo, it's THEM - Farrell and Martins - I remember from many times in the theatre, but even against this background, Kronenberg was very satisfying. (Her partner Eric Quillere' seemed less "in it" than she.) Seay has been one of my top favorites in the company, but I thought last night she was carrying her smoothly polished way of finishing everything a little far, as though it were not "I show" but verging on "I am the show", and this way slowed things down, especially, in her variation, during the flute solo, but nevertheless there was a lot to like, and again I agree with Alexandra's perception about this - it was not a routine performance of a routine ballet. (I look forward to her "Diamonds" on the weekend for the grandeur of this complete finishing.) Catoya is my third favorite of the evening: I've liked her better, but here her choreography (the Girl in White) and tempo were unfortunate circumstances, I feel.
I don't agree, though, that repeating yourself is an unpardonable sin - when you have a way of saying something you can't improve on at the moment, go with it, and if it's your own, take some pride in it!
Posted 30 May 2001 - 10:04 PM
Posted 31 May 2001 - 11:00 PM
Another item that came my way Thursday evening, this one from a former Royal dancer sitting next to me, was high praise for Eric Quillere's "generous" partnering in "Duo Concertante". "That I'll remember for fifty years." And this person said that, compared to Ashton's way, MCB's "Patineurs" was "not terrible". In general, she liked the joy in dancing the company shows, and praised Guerra's earnestness and determination to give it all he's got as well as Yann Trividic's musicality [in "Slaughter'].
[ 06-01-2001: Message edited by: Jack Reed ]
Posted 31 May 2001 - 11:52 PM
If I may offer a footnote to Alexandra's remarks on the main website about Carlos Guerra, he's 20, and these are his first three performances of Sylvia, maybe almost as hard a role as "Theme and Variations"? So maybe the bravura will come in time.
Quite possibly, Jack, and if I had to choose, I'd rather see the the other virtues Guerra has -- attentive partnering, sense of style, etc. -- than a string of tricks, of course. But it is a bravura role, and that wasn't there. I wish I'd been able to come back and see it tonight (Thursday). My sense Tuesday night was that they would only get better. Opening nights are notoriously shaky.
Posted 01 June 2001 - 07:26 AM
I thought the men did a wonderful job of partnering all around. It was refreshing to see pas de deux danced with commitment by both partners, instead of getting the feeling that the guy's bored and can't wait for his solo variation. Carlos Guerra was especially impressive; I can't believe he's so young! He dances big, but smooth.
I also liked Yann Trividic (the Hoofer) very much in Slaughter, and while I wish that Villella had milked the audience's appreciation a bit more, I can appreciate his desire to keep himself in the background.
Although I suspect that all of last night's ballets have probably received greater "star" performances during their lifetimes, you'd have a hard time convincing me that another company could have managed to treat each of the ballets as equally special and worthy of its best efforts. I sincerely hope that MCB will make the Kennedy Center a regular tour stop in the future.
Posted 01 June 2001 - 08:52 AM
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Posted 01 June 2001 - 12:39 PM
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Posted 01 June 2001 - 07:48 PM
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