Natalia

Ballet Across America IV @ Kennedy Center (Apr 2017)

8 posts in this topic

This mini-festival has been going on since Monday at the Kennedy Center. The first three BIA Festivals (held every 3 or 4 years) welcomed traditional classical ballet (not modern) troupes. This year is quite different and, frankly, I was not moved to purchase tickets due to the change in focus and "PC agenda." It is too expensive to buy a ticket to see a bunch of modern dance without pointe shoes. tutus & tiaras.  So fans of modern & hip-hop should enjoy. Do report; I don't  mind reading but I *do* mind paying! :) This entire KennCen season has been very easy on my wallet: the WashBallet's 40th Anniv gala, one Farrell show & two NYCB perfs in mid June. That's it! Next season will be only NYCB and perhaps Bayadere depending on casting. Already saw ABT Whipped Cream enough times for a lifetime.

 

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/BRBSF

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Posted (edited)

I've also noticed the shift in programming.  I was considering going Monday to see the Abrerra-Gomes but ...  I also enjoyed getting early access to the very limited Open Rehearsal tickets-now all have to wait for the sale to the general public.  2013-2014 was a very good year  http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/newseason/PressRelease.pdf   Is it really the same theatre? 

 

Bolshoi Ballet - Giselle [ the last G I 've seen had a super cast of Zharkarova, Hallberg, Tsvirko, Allash];  Mariinsky Ballet Swan Lake; ABT mixed bill After Effect, The Dream, Don Quixote; NYCB Jewels and mixed bill; Boston Ballet; Pennsylvania Ballet with Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Joffrey Nutcracker; Suzanne Farrell Chaconne and Mozartiana.

Edited by maps

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I was at the performance on Monday. Due to my own rather mixed feelings about the programming, I opted for cheaper seats on the second tier rather than splurging for orchestra. And I skipped the rest of the week.

 

I regretted my choice of seats twice during the show: first, Abrera and Gomes were predictably wonderful in Leaves are Fading. As is wont to happen when this beautiful piece is performed by great dancers, I found it too short! The second piece I wished I had had better seats for was Imprint/Maya, which was very powerful and moving. Desmond Richardson just filled the stage with his presence and was amazing, especially for a dancer who supposedly retired!

 

The rest of the program was fine - I was pleasantly surprised by Nashville Ballet, whom I didn't expect to be as polished as they were, but their piece lasted too long I thought. The Peck PDD was pleasant enough, but I've already forgotten it. The piece for the JKO students was rather mediocre I thought. And the films were not bad, but it irked me to see them listed in the program as if they were actual performances.

 

The theater was pretty full, and there were loud cheers when Misty Copeland appeared to introduce one of the pieces. I suppose that's a good thing!

 

Did anyone go to another performance?

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, lacdescygnes said:

Did anyone go to another performance?

 

I made it to the Thursday show (I also went to the Monday "kick-off"). 

 

On Monday, I thought that the Nashville Ballet's Concerto was OK but nothing special. My opinion didn't improve after a second viewing. I didn't see much focus to the choreography, the music was bland, and some of the costumes were unappealing.

 

The Black Iris Project's MADIBA, having something to do with Nelson Mandela, was quite interesting, even if it was a bit on the "preachy" side. The program was It was solidly ballet (not modern dance) and very high energy. The Washington Ballet's Andile Nlovu played the role of Nelson Mandela.

 

Dwight Rhoden's Complexions Contemporary Dance finished the night with a definitely dessert (a very fattening dessert) piece. Allaying Natalia's fears, there was pointe work - by a man.

 

I think that they made a mistake in the Monday show by putting Stella Abrera and Marcelo Gomes early in the program, as they were clearly superior to everyone else who followed.

Edited by YouOverThere

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11 hours ago, YouOverThere said:

Allaying Natalia's fears, there was pointe work - by a man.

 

 

Bingo!

 

Thanks to all for reporting thus far. 

 

This weekend's Peck-curated program is the only one that I considered attending because it includes Wheeldon's FOOL's PARADISE, which seems to be in the classical style, judging from YouTube clips...but I refuse to pay for a triple bill program that forces me to stick around to see unisex kilts/Bermuda shorts & stomper shoes and "Abraham in Motion!" (A 4th piece, a classical pdd by Peck, was hastily added, perhaps to try to make the program more balanced between ballet & modern.)

 

"Ballet" used to mean traditional pure ballet (not just Petipa...Balanchine, Ashton and Tudor...Ratmansky, Wheeldon and Peck).  I seriously doubt that Farrell - still the KC's ballet programming head but on the way out, as we know - had anything to do with this. Farrell out soon...but someone named "Q Tip" has been brought in as Director of Hip Hop. As if pop culture didn't already have enough commercial venues or exposure. Something seriously wrong with the KC. 

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Posted (edited)

Thursday and Friday night, all 3 pieces were on pointe. The Thursday program slanted Contemporary, but the women in all 3 pieces were on pointe with only Complexions performance a mix of women and men on pointe as well as women/men in flat shoes.  The audiences seems to enjoy all 3 pieces, the first and last more than the 2nd from the applause received.  And Complexions received a fairly long standing ovation on Thursday night.  I had to leave on Friday early.  So while not everyone's cup of tea, I believe over the course of the week, there was something for everyone and that is what ballet needs to be.

Edited by workinprogress3

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Any reports on the 2nd program, curated by Justin Peck? How was the mix of ballet and modern dance? Any uplifting, positive, happy works on view? Perhaps this Festival should have been titled "Dance Across America"? 

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Just found George Jackson's thorough report of the Justin Peck program, for Danceviewtimes. 

 

http://www.danceviewtimes.com/2017/04/the-state-of-things.html

 

Glad that I stayed home!  Not mentioned in Jackson's report, but confirmed to me by a ballet-teacher friend of mine who attended Saturday night, the Abraham work's on-stage vocalist shouted-out a number of vulgar words during the performance, including the "f..." word. Classy.

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