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Manhattnik

McKenzie, Threat or Menace?

  

  1. 1. McKenzie, Threat or Menace?

    • Superb. Who needs ballerinas when you have guys who can jump and turn?
      1
    • Very Good. He hasn't screwed up Giselle. Yet.
      5
    • Adequate. Could be worse, could be Maina Gielgud.
      5
    • Not Good. He HAS screwed up Swan Lake.
      7
    • Lousy. "Pied Piper." "Nutcracker." 'Nuff said.
      6

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13 posts in this topic

So what do we think of Kevin McKenzie's reign at ABT? After all, why should Peter Martins have all the attention?

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Ah, who is it that doesn't love a poll? The questions themselves are worth the read!

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This is interesting so far -- a rather even divide, and far fewer responses than to the Peter Martins poll.

ABTers, please check this one out!

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I was going to vote adequate, because there is so much I enjoy, but the Swan Lake issue clinched it for me, I'm afraid. Every aspect was just so terrible, except maybe for some of the dancing. However, he is doing Ashton this spring, so maybe we should vote again then!

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As the mom of a dancing young man, we love to watch ABT. Either on TV or a trip to NYC. I am just glad we have le Corsaire on DVD, because I am sure we would have worn out the video tape watching Angel as The Slave Boy

Miss

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Cargill, what makes you say Swan Lake was so terrible? I saw them do it last summer and really enjoyed it, although I did think the end where they jump off into the lake was a bit much!

Because I don't have a long history of watching ballet, I don't know what ABT was like before...and I would like to know what it is that people do not like about McKenzie's approach.

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BW, those posts should still be on this very forum. There were quite a few comments on the ballet in DC, NY and in California.

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Not having seen ABT's Swan Lake, I'm curious -- could McKenzies be muc worse than Peter Martins'a, OR Baryshnikov's? (The latter was really quite dismal, though it was strangely refreshing when hte swans clapped their hands a bit, Like Raymonda, in hte last act... Actually that waasn't refreshing at all, it was just final confirmation that Baryshnikov had come to regret ever taking on this task..... HTough the second year, he dancers seemed to have roped it in and figured out how to dance it DESPITE the production.....)

I do believe that McKenzie's might be bad -- though Giselle, when htey danced it here last September, was really quite quite good-- except for Paloma Herra. But Stiefel was wonderfull, and hte corps in hte second act were tight......

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Paul, I don't think you can imagine McKenzie's "Swan Lake" by thinking about his "Giselle." The "Giselle" (which I think is the work of many hands, although directed by him) is generally a traditional production -- and looked very good the last time they danced it here.

"Swan Lake" was billed as a traditional production, but it's so much more :) The big news is that Von Rothbart is now Von Rothbart I a/k/a Swamp Thing, a slimy green critter who nabs Odette when she's out somewhere dancing out her

I'd rather be doing Juliet" fantasies in her nightgown. VRII, a sexy young thing in purple, charges on in the ballroom act and never looks back, dancing with the Would Be Brides, seducing the Queen (gosh, where have we seen THAT before?) Siegfried's role has also been, er, enhanced, jumpily speaking :)

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BW, reviewed the Swan Lake when it was done at the Met for DanceView, but I don't know if Alexandra posted it. Anyway, the short version! There is no understanding of the story or the mystery. Even before the ballet starts, the audience sees a glitttery, Hallmark card lake as a curtain, so there is no mystery. The period is all wrong, early Renaissance was not a spiritual period. The peasants and the nobles were all mixed in together, so there was no class disinctions. The prologue is completely untheatrical. Ivanov/Petipa made the ballerina's entrance into something grand, something the audience has to wait for. Here a few people recognize the ballerina in the dim dark surroundings and applaud, so there is no thrill when she enters in Act 2. The story in the prologue is also not the story Odette tells Siegfried. (Though a mimed "Swamp Man raped me" might be fun to figure out.)

Siegfried had no real character in Act 1. He romps around with the palace slut and is then robbed of his final curtain scene. The act 2 sets don't make sense. There is a palace by the lake, presumably Siegfried's palace, so clearly the lake is not in some mysterious place, because he can just look out of his window. What is Swmap Man doing living in the lake made by Odette's mother's tears, anyway. Good and evil do not live together. That huge moon is completely distracting.

Then I really, really don't like acts 3 and 4. The ballet isn't about sex, Rothbart is evil, not an oversexed Las Vegas floor show. Odile get Siegfried by trickery, not seduction. Good and evil are important ideas, and turning Swan Lake into an MTV-influenced bunch of hotties is not sophistication, it is immature. Well, you did ask!

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Is that the same Swan Lake I saw?:eek: :confused:

The only thing "bad" that I recall was the two lovers jumping to their deaths off something or other in the back of the stage... I have to admit I do recall Swamp thing but not much of the rest of it. I will just have to look for that ticket stub...;)

By the way, I tried a search but didn't come up with anything from this board.:(

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Thanks Alexandra...it's all coming back to me now...I do recall the Rothbart/Swawmp creature dying a long, slow, torurous death and it did take away from the lovers jumping off into the lake... Perhaps I'll find my old program just for fun to see if anyone critiqued the exact one I saw. Who knows, maybe I'm just a sucker for the music? ;)

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