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cargill

Cincinnati Ballet

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Last week the Cincinnati celebrated its 40th anniversary and its connection with Frederic Franklin with a program, mostly, of works which had been performed by the Ballet Russe. In addition, there was an exhibit of costume sketches at the Art Museum. (Owned originally by Julius Fleischman, of yeast fame, who was based in Cincinnati, and who supported the Ballet Russe for years.)

The two novelties, and the reason why there were so many critics and former dancers there, were reconstructions of a pas de deux and the male solo from Ashton's Devil's Holiday, which has not been danced since about 1940, and the third movement of Massine's 7th Symphony, which has also vanished.

The Ashton was stunning. Having read that it was a comedy, I was expecting a jaunty solo, but it turns out that it was one of the most lyrical (and extremely difficult) pieces for a man I have ever seen. The boy, a beggar who has been tricked by the Devil, is thinking about the girl, and it is so expressive, lots of knee bends and gestures upward, to beautiful music. Mr. Franklin said that the Royal Ballet has been in touch with him about recreating it for them, which is wonderful news. The pas de deux is equally lovely, wiht lots of unusual gestures (palm to palm movements) and some inventive lifts, raising and lowering the girl.

The Massine too, was very impressive on a whole other level. Their ballet mistress had taken the whole thing off a tape (Massine recorded lots of his ballets), and the hours of work did pay off. Once the surprize of seeing dancing to that music (Beethoven) wore off, it was a stunning piece. It was basically the gods dancing on Mount Olympus, and boy did they dance, since the original leads were Markova and Youskevitch. I don't know whether there are any plans to keep it in repertory anywhere, or to recreate the other movements, but if so, it would be well worth seeing.

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Thanks very much for posting that, Mary. I'm shocked that the local press doesn't seem to have covered it -- if they did, it's not on line.

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Thanks, dirac -- I only clicked the last link, and it goes to a November 2000 review, though. I checked for reviews Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and couldn't find any.

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I must not have looked closely at the date -- sorry.

Kathy Valin talks to Johanna Bernstein-Wilt on the task of reconstruction of the Massine ballet, for Cincinnati CityBeat:

http://www.citybeat.com/current/onstage2.shtml

Valin reviews the October 18 and 19 programs:

http://www.citybeat.com/current/onstage.shtml

CityBeat item on Ballet Russe costumes on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum:

http://www.citybeat.com/current/art.shtml

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(from Washigton, DC) For the record, the program also held the "Waltz" pas de deux from Gaite Parisienne, which perhaps has not been so long out of repertory, if at all? Also, the performances of La Sonnambula restored the Hoop Dance, the fourth divertissement and, IMO, the least, to less interesting music than the rest of the ballet, and so a justifiable omission. The first third of the proram held two premieres, by Adam and Caniparoli. Considering that so many came so far - the display of costumes was an additional draw - it would have been nice to have had more reconstructions instead. (I think Mary meant that the costume and set-design sketches were owned by Mr. Fleischmann, not necessarily the Cincinnati Art Museum itself.)

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