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  1. The Bavarian State Ballet has announced their 2018-19 season: https://www.staatsoper.de/18-19/ballett.html Osipova and Polunin were guests for them, but it's not clear if that will continue next year. Matthew Golding, who mysteriously disappeared from the Royal Ballet roster, and Vladimir Shklyarov also do some guesting. https://www.staatsoper.de/ihr-besuch/aktuelles/meldung/news/gastauftritte-bei-der-ballettfestwoche-2018.html?no_cache=1 One thing they do that I wish other European countries would do: a Ballet Festival week in April when they do no fewer than nine different ballets! Perfect for tourists trying to see as much as possible.
  2. Hallberg Replaced By Shklyarov For Manon !

    Ironically, the wonderful Aaron Robison did Des Grieux with Houston Ballet two years ago and now he's right there with ENB - which is doing Manon next winter.
  3. This was just sent out by e-mail: We are excited to announce the School of American Ballet’s 2018 Annual Workshop Performances! This year's program will include four ballets featuring students in both the Children’s and Advanced Divisions. Please join us at one of three performances this June to see all of our students' hard work come to life on stage. It is an event not to be missed! La Source Music By Léo Delibes Choreography by George Balanchine In Creases Music by Philip Glass Choreography by Justin Peck Circus Polka Music by Igor Stravinsky Choreography by Jerome Robbins Western Symphony Music by Hershy Kay Choreography by George Balanchine Workshop Performances will take place on Saturday, June 2 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm and Monday, June 4 at 7:00pm. Tickets will go on sale to the public at www.sab.org in mid-April. In appreciation for their gift of $1,000 and above, Donors Circle members enjoy Advance Ticketing and Priority Seating and will receive an early ticket form next week.
  4. 2018 Met Season

    This can't be good: Royal Ballet just announced that Victor Shklyarov is replacing David Hallberg at the Manon performances April 5 and 13 with Natalia Osipova: http://www.roh.org.uk/news/cast-change-manon-on-5-and-13-april-2018
  5. ENB just announced some additions to their schedule: https://www.ballet.org.uk/whats-on/ Most notably, they're doing Manon in London in January 2019. Interesting choice, given that Royal is doing it this year in April and May. Aaron Robison did this ballet at Houston a couple of years ago, so that might have helped a tad in deciding to program this. Also, Derek Deane's Swan Lake at the Coliseum.
  6. 2017-2018 season

    I didn't notice anything so awful Friday night or Saturday. A young girl took a flash photo from the side tiers Saturday night but then others in that box told her to stop. Then again, I've seen people take flash photos from the boxes at the Royal Opera House... One thing that annoys me about that theater: the rows of seats are so close together in the orchestra (what they call the parterre). Very often, several people had to move out to the aisle because people couldn't squeeze by. The seats are frayed with worn out springs. The whole place is pretty funky. But I doubt money is available to do a major remodel. Letting people bring drinks into the theater seems to be spreading. San Francisco lets you bring a drink in a covered container into the theater. But with old seats, no cup holders, and minimal space between rows, it seems like a terrible idea. I guess ballet management is open to just about anything these days to bring people in.
  7. 2017-2018 season

    I saw three performances of Pennsylvania Ballet's new Swan Lake this weekend (en route to a meeting in DC) - Friday night and both on Saturday. This company has only 30 dancers on contract, plus apprentices, a school, and a second company, so many dancers, including principals, took on different roles on different nights. The crowd scenes in I and III seemed sparse to me, and I'm not sure why they didn't make more use of the apprentices, etc to fill things out. Nothing was credited on the program other than "Artists of the Pennsylvania Ballet." I don't know if sets were rented from somewhere or made new. They were acceptable -- painted drops for the most part with some moveable pieces. The biggest problem were the very noisy set changes from I to II, and from III to IV with a mysterious blue scrim covering the stage and an orchestral interlude. Moving scenery makes noise, but the clearly heard conversations and directions to the stage hands should have been avoided. (Only one intermission, between II and III.) This was credited to Corella "after Petipa and Ivanov" and was mostly standard fare at this point in ballet history. But there were a few oddities: Rothbart has his own variation in the black swan PdD, before the final sequences with fouettes and turns a la seconde for him. This was no Purple Rothbart, probably the best alteration in the ABT version, just a pedestrian variation, with no apparent dramatic purpose. It seemed as if it was planted there just to give Odile and Seigfried a little more time off-stage to rest up. Rothbart also has a short variation in the last act. Both variations include what was apparently intended to be a sequence of two revoltades, but they were horribly botched -- barely leaving the floor, looking more like a tangled mistake than that glorious step when done correctly. The suicides come fairly early in Act IV, but there's almost no preparation for it -- we don't sense from Odette that she's thinking of suicide, that the other swans and Siegfried want to talk her out of it, nothing. The leaps into the lake were embarrassing. Most put a hand down on a rock to steady themselves on what seemed a few steps, then just pitched forward, only a few feet above the stage. They disappeared for a long time while the corps had an impressive series of group patterns. Then Odette and Siegfried reappeared at stage level behind some rocks, pulled along on a sled of sorts -- but no hint of an other world or afterlife. You almost thought perhaps they'd just been hiding under water until Rothbart (apparently) died himself on the rocks. I realize this must have been a bargain basement solution, but wonder why they couldn't come up with something with the lighting - anything! - to make clear what was going on. Casts: Friday night was Lillian DiPiazza and Sterling Baca. She managed all the technical demands very nicely. He seemed like a reliable partner and has a nice carriage. But -- and I know this will drive his NYC fans crazy -- his technique is just so-so, workmanlike, never dazzling or exciting. Saturday matinee was Oksana Maslova (a principal) with Jack Thomas (a member of the corps!). I almost felt sorry for him. He is very slight with negligible stage presence. He seemed attentive and reliable as a partner, but his variations were still just doing steps. He doesn't have any presence or command of the stage, although perhaps he will someday. I can't quite put my finger on it, but she has an odd way of flapping her ankle around in unexpected places. Saturday night was Yuka Iseda (a corps member!) with Jermel Johnson (the only African-American member of the company and a long-time principal). What a knock-out performance - truly memorable. Johnson has the stage presence and experience to exude confidence, command, and calm. His technique was a cut above the others. Iseda was a wonder and I hope to see her again some day in another lead role. Every detail was extended, pushed, held, faster, higher, you name it. The white swan PdD was breathtaking -- it was like seeing it fresh all over again. Her Odile was the same - higher, faster, longer, crisper. Oh my. Just gorgeous. And her acting was spot on throughout -- haunted, almost trance-like as Odette, with a sinister, smirking Odile. But she also let us know that Odile was also under Rothbart's spell with furtive glances ("Am I doing what you want?"). The bad news? This was their only performance! Although the company is doing five more performances next weekend, Iseda-Johnson are not cast! What is Corella thinking??? Fouettes: Must note these. DiPiazza did 32 clean singles. Good. Maslova stayed with singles, fell out about 26, but recovered decently. I was wondering if perhaps Corella had said: just stick with the singles and do them well. But Iseda! The first half alternated with doubles and the last half had an arm over the head! Perfect. Solid. Wow! Corps: The swan corps was quite wonderful -- good unanimity, attention to detail. I'll be interested in hearing other reactions, especially anybody who saw Iseda-Johnson.
  8. The new season is also on their web site: https://www.pnb.org/season/18-19/ Disappointed they aren't bringing back that Giselle reconstruction -- a lot of time has passed, but I wonder if they might still do it some day. Very pleased to see Justin Peck's In the Countenance of Kings, which he made for San Francisco Ballet in 2016. I saw it in the SFB 2017 season and loved it.
  9. No idea when Washington Ballet or Segerstrom will announce their season for 2018-19. Does anybody know? There's also still hope for PNB -- announcement next week, I think? I'm hoping they bring back their reconstruction of Giselle.
  10. Alina Cojocaru Retweeted Johan Kobborg‏ @KOBBORG Feb 1 More After more than a year away from the stage @DancingAlina is back dancing Marguerite tonight with @hamburgballett. This time with almost 4 months old Chulpan watching from the wings.
  11. With the demise of the Lincoln Center Summer Festival, this is particularly disappointing. I wonder if Segerstrom might help fill that void! Ratmansky is apparently doing a reconstruction of Bayadere for Berlin next year. I'd love to see that one, too, and hope they can find a way to bring it to the US. ENB is coming to Chicago, as discussed elsewhere on this site recently, but I haven't seen any other announcements.
  12. The 2018-19 season in dance at the Kennedy Center has just been announced: http://www.kennedy-center.org/pages/specialevents/seasonannouncement Here's the story in the Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_danc/kennedy-centers-2018-2019-dance-season-takes-a-sharp-contemporary-turn/2018/03/08/3b972e00-2248-11e8-a589-763893265565_story.html?utm_term=.6bd74f740d76
  13. Gia Kourlas on race in Agon

    Wonderful! And quite consistent with everything else we know about Balanchine's support for civil rights in that era. I have been unable to find back the source on this (if anybody has it, please post): Balanchine was invited to bring NYCB to perform for a week at a summer festival in North Carolina - but festival organizers asked him to leave Mr. Mitchell at home. Balanchine: we bring Mitchell or we aren't coming! The festival director relented and Balanchine cast Mitchell in almost every performance. EDITED TO ADD: For people too young to remember the 50s, the film 42 about Jackie Robinson is a powerful reminder of the state of race relations in this country in the 1950s. And surely Balanchine was aware of that, too.
  14. Gia Kourlas on race in Agon

    All of that would be consistent with Balanchine intending to break through cultural stereotypes of that era. I don't think he ever verbalized any such intentions, certainly nothing this detailed, but the choreography does convey this.
  15. Gia Kourlas on race in Agon

    Oh, of course. As far as I know, Balanchine did not add restrictions on casting his ballets. (In contrast with Gershwin's requirement that "Porgy and Bess" be cast with black artists: http://www.nytimes.com/1985/04/14/arts/in-opera-race-isn-t-a-black-or-white-issue.html?pagewanted=all)