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PNB's Dream in Hollywood


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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 05:02 PM

Lewis Segal reviews an interesting experiment in the L.A. Times -- Pacific Northwest Ballet on a ballet/theater mixed bill at the Hollywood Bowl. Did anyone go?

Bard and Ballet in Duet at the Bowl

[quote] Not every actor can be equally credible as Romeo and Mistress Quickly, but Michael York performed more than half a dozen roles--well spoken with good accent and good discretion--during the first half of a multidisciplinary program titled "Much Ado About Something: Shakespeare at the Bowl" on Friday and Saturday....

Unfortunately, the experiment misfired. Deleting Balanchine's magnificent Act 2 divertissement and reducing his discursive full-evening work to a plot-driven one act only highlighted its inferiority as a story-ballet to Frederick Ashton's one-act "Dream" from 1964.

.....

Two sets of principals danced at the Bowl, none more impressively than Patricia Barker as a superbly regal, delicate and dynamic Titania on Saturday. Her diligent Friday counterpart, Louise Nadeau, looked more brittle in the role and tended to get lost in the busy landscape.[quote]

#2 balletmom1

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Posted 10 September 2002 - 05:37 PM

we had several girls and a few moms/dads, along with our directors, go see the saturday night show. All I got from my daughter was that it was good, Patricia Barker was amazing and that she was cold (typical for the Bowl at night). I'll try to get more details and get back to you.

#3 Maxi3D

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 12:07 AM

It was not as cold at the Bowl on Friday night and I greatly enjoyed the performance by the PNB. I must admit that I don't have much exposures in turn of Balanchine's works out here in L.A., but the ballet performed by the PNB didn't quite felt like his works. Perhaps because I have to watch the ballet behind a pair of very high power binocular and the fact that the hollywood Bowl is not a very good venue for ballet performance. This was the first time I saw PNB perform in L.A. and they were great. Louise Nadeau was wonderful given the small stage area that she have to work with, and the corps were strong as the butterflies and hounds. Although the hound heads that the dancers have on was petty freaky. All in all I would go again. Well that's my two cents worth.

#4 rg

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 06:14 AM

if you'd like to see a filmed record of PNB in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, there is a DVD available of the co. performing the work in its entirety, made in London a few years ago, released under a BBC Opus Arte label. there you can see the climactic pas de deux that balanchine created to cap his 2-act ballet and which was not given in LA, according to a review i read. true, it's only a video taste of the full thing, and one at the mercy of camerawork, but it gives a sense of the full scope and scale balanchine intended for his DREAM.

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 07:29 AM

Even if the Act II pas de deux were shorn, at least you got the Act I pas d'action, with Titania and her Cavalier, which is one of my favorite Balanchine pas de deux, whether supported by lights and scene changes or not.:)

#6 Alexandra

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 07:34 AM

Maxi3D, thank you for telling us about the performance -- Balletmom, if you have more details, please post. Second hand reviews from family members are very much allowed :)

It does seem odd to present a shortened version -- perhaps this was one of those very well-intentioned "Let's bring in the general public" programs.

Maxi3D, what was your sense of the audience's reaction?

#7 balletmom1

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 12:25 PM

I pumped my daughter for more details and also talked to one of the moms who went (and who is a dancer). They both enjoyed the evening. It's a ballet I know my daughter has never seen, and it was a rare opportunity to see PNB.

The Bowl is NOT a good venue for dance, so I think the dancers made do with what they had. There must not be enough space downstairs for dancer prep as my daughter mentioned that they warmed up on stage during intermission. She thought it damaged the "illusion" of dance as magical. I probably would have enjoyed it if I had been there (I love watching our girls have "on stage" warmup before a show - it's almost meditative).

Neither was crazy about the balanchine coreography, but we're not a balanchine studio in the least. I think that Lewis Segal's review in the LA Times mentioned that as well - he preferring Ashton's choreography. (And for Segal, the review was actually quite good - he can be biting at times, to say the least). Yes, it was a bit choppy, but if I understood the program correctly, it was not the whole night, just the second 1/2 of the evening, so they probably had to pick and choose what they included.

As to the dancers: Both thought Patricia Barker wonderful, and the other dancers strong as well. We're fans of Ariana Lallone as well, as she is from LA, and she had great jumps with those long legs of hers.

I think that's all I can tell you - hope it helps.

#8 Maxi3D

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Posted 12 September 2002 - 09:13 PM

Hello Alexandra!

>Maxi3D, what was your sense of the audience's reaction?

During the whole of the second half of the evening's PNB performance I would describe the audience's reaction as ho hum. I am a regular of ballet performances for many years and I have never encounter such a lackluster audience. I have been to full evening performance of ballets where the applauses were in greater supply. I guess that the event was not geared toward the ballet audience since it was a mix bill of concert and dancing. Also, the Hollywood Bowl is a open air theater and applause from the audiences are not as loud as those in the indoor theater and unless you spend great fortune to buy a box seat out front, you will be sitting with the mass's at least a hundred yard back. At the "curtain" call the dancers were awarded with a modest appreciation for their works, but before the applauses ended most of the people were in the aisles hurriedly trying to beat the traffic jams in the parking lots.

P.S. I also love the pre-preformance's warm up by the dancers on stage. It is such a rare sight it worth the ticket price alone just to watch them getting ready.


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