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About Drew

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Neither am but some of these ballets still seem to me somewhat less boring than others. (I'd rather see a ballerina I admire in Neumeier's Dame aux Camelias than Macmillan's Manon.) Still, It's hard for me even to say if I think Ratmansky's is "less boring" than, say, Onegin because the music is (to my ears) so unremittingly grim--which I found very daunting. But I did think Kondaurova was well worth seeing in it anyway. And I liked what I took to be Ratmansky's allusions to the traditions of the Royal Danish Ballet -- the company on which he set the ballet. But he has choreographed far more successful ballets for sure.
  2. Mariinsky in London 2017

    My thanks, too, for these reports. I saw Ratmansky's Anna Karenina about five years ago when the Mariinsky brought it to New York. For me, the music definitely was the greatest obstacle to enjoying the ballet. I did however think the scenic effects were very effective--it's not a nineteenth-century ballet and the story calls for complex shifts of scenes and locations. (Actually the collapse of the temple in Bayadere as it was performed in the nineteenth century and still is in Makarova's version definitely calls for spectacular stage effects. And any number of Giselle productions have wilis flying through the air. I don't think Petipa shyed away from using the most up-to-date stage effects of his time.) But I agree anyway that it's a problem when the scenic effects are the BEST part of a ballet. And I did think they were probably the best part of Ratmansky's Anna Karenina. However, In New York I saw Kondaurova dance Anna and thought it was one of the greatest dramatic dance performances I had ever scene. And that made the ballet more than worth it to have seen.
  3. Eliot Feld

    It astonishes me that ABT hasn't tried to revive Intermezzo in particular. I suppose it is possible that the angstier At Midnight might look more dated....but I certainly would be interested to find out. I also wonder smaller companies don't try to stage these or other Feld works --it is possible I suppose that he has not given permission....
  4. Thank you -- I'm a little embarassed to say I've only watched portions of it so far. Did I read on another thread that you lived in Moscow for a number of years? From a "ballet" perspective I very much envy your familiarity with the great Russian companies...There are a few other people on this sight with that kind of experience. Mine is more limited.
  5. Estafan has said she plans to tell Trump her thoughts about the contribution immigrants have made to the nation. Perhaps the others can point out that it's ballet, modern dance, opera, theater, and concert music that really need support ...
  6. Hello!

    Welcome to the site Sarabande! I'm interested in Villella's take on what Balanchine meant by "don't think, dear, just do,"--I haven't listened to the interview yet--but I'm not sure I think "shut up" -- however indirectly expressed by him or anyone else -- is much better when it comes to encouraging dancers to be more thoughtful and analytic about what they do. (Even if, in class or rehearsal, an inquisitive person does sometimes need to...uh..."shut up.")
  7. Mariinsky in London 2017

    I love being able to see the full length Swan Lake; a good production has extraordinary power. But even in a full length production--where the contrast between the worldly scenes and the lake scenes is crucial--I think Ivanov's lake scene choreography (and allowing for some variations introduced into it later, such as dispensing with Benno) is indeed the essence of the ballet. Together with Tchaikovsky's music, those scenes are surely what give the ballet its outsized place in ballet history. Let's put it this way: if you were told you could take one act/scene of Swan Lake with you to a desert island, how many people would NOT pick the first lakeside scene? Fortunately most of us aren't stuck with that choice! Of course, the drama of a full length production, as Canbelto wrote, depends on the contrast between the lake scenes and the worldly scenes...But would many people really want to see a Swan Lake "distillation" made up of the Prince's birthday party and the ball except, perhaps, as a curiosity? Whereas the lake scenes, the first one especially, can stand alone as something profound even if it's viewed as only a beautiful fragment. (I am also an admirer of Balanchine's one act version I hope NYCB never stops performing it...) As it happens, next spring, Atlanta Ballet is going to stage a stand-alone Swan Lake ballroom scene as part of a double bill with a new work. In a nod to Hollywood, the program is being marketed as the "Black Swan" program. I will probably go if I can--but I find it very peculiar programming.
  8. My understanding from the articles is that Lear is accepting the award but not going to the White House. So that's an option.
  9. Kennedy Center honorees announced-- Norman Lear, Lionel Ritchie, Gloria Estafan, LL Cool J, and Carmen de Lavallade. Two very different articles reflecting on the announcement: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/kennedy-center-arts-honors-trump.html?_r=0 "In an era of immigration crackdowns, racial tensions and budgetary battles over eliminating arts endowments, this year’s Kennedy Center honorees appear to be divided on how best to respond to the honor." https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/the-kennedy-center-honors-abandon-the-arts-for-pop-culture/2017/08/02/0287e65c-77a0-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.bdd4b23aace2 "...only dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade falls into the tradition of the arts on which the Kennedy Center was founded and built its reputation."
  10. Mariinsky in London 2017

    That was the explanation I was always taught -- though it doesn't seem to have been a consistent principle in Soviet stagings of 19th-century ballets generally. (Idealizing "sacrifice" for the sake of the future is perfectly consistent with Soviet communist ideals--just not a literal faith in the afterlife.) Presumably, in 2017 loyalty to the traditions handed down to them, not state atheism, keeps the "happy" ending in place in Russian productions. Since Sergeyev's production is in many respects splendid I can easily understand that loyalty. But I don't find this the most profound way to end Swan Lake. My reasons (sketched above) have to do with how I understand the ballet and its music--I don't think this is just a difference of taste but rather a difference of interpretation. I think Swan Lake is about freedom as much or more than it is about love. Of course many people may well prefer to see Siegfried and Odette rewarded in this world, but the meaning of the ballet becomes slightly different when it ends that way and, I'd say, becomes less profound. The music, in particular, calls for something more. As it happens, after the fall of the Soviet Union, at least two major Russian stagers/choreographers changed the "happy" ending. In a Vinogradov staging for the Kirov/Mariinsky that was brought to New York, Rothbart is defeated, but since Siegfried broke his vow, Odette and the other swan-maidens still remain captive to his enchantment. The ballet ends with the Swan maidens exiting the stage in movements echoing their entrance in the first Lake scene. Many people hated that ending, but I thought it was a perfect allegory of that chaotic moment in Russian history--from a certain perspective at least: an "evil" had been defeated, but no clear "good" had emerged (certainly the economy was in shambles.) Grigorovich also changed the ending of his version which is now not so much tragic as grim--showing Siegfried to be nothing more than the victim of his evil genius. (I don't remember what Grigorovich calls Rothbart, but he acts like an 'evil genius;') It's not clear that Odette even exists in this version. I have some thoughts about what Grigorovich may be allegorizing too--but perhaps too much politics for one post... (This isn't about knocking K. Sergeyev or the Mariinsky--I have enjoyed performances of Sergeyev's Swan Lake a great deal, and the Mariinsky is, in fact, my favorite company in Swan Lake. By far. Their corps in the final act more than makes up for what I think the "happy" ending lacks. But my preference for the double suicide with the lovers united in the land of the dead remains strong.)
  11. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Sad...but this also made me laugh ... I can certainly identify with the feelings you describe.
  12. Mariinsky in London 2017

    Putting aside Tchaikovsky/Petipa/Ivanov's intentions, I still can't agree that the two endings are both comparably "happy." The desperation of the suicide, followed by an etherial otherworldly comfort seems dramatically very different than Siegfried defeating the villain, reviving Odette, and going off to be married. The whole "meaning" of the ending is different too. The lovers heavenly happiness hangs on their having made a sacrifice --there is no thought of earthly happiness. The sacrifice also proves their love--Siegfried in particular has to be redeemed for breaking his vow. (I guess there is no way to decide the matter, but I would have also said that Siegfried and Odette do not know they are going to their reward--only that they can no longer live in a world controlled by Rothbart. That adds to the sacrifice. They aren't saying "see you later" as they fling themselves off the cliff.) All of this seems quite different to me from the more ordinary happiness that concludes Sergeyev's version--and much more worthy of Tchaikovsky's extraordinary music for the closing minutes of the ballet. I happen to enjoy Sergeyev's version anyway and certainly the most profound performances of the ballet I can remember seeing were by the Mariinsky in this version. But I wish Sergeyev had kept, or been able to keep, the "tragic" ending...that is, the ending in which happiness on this earth--the world of Acts I and III (Scene I and Act II in Sergeyev's version)--is no longer possible.
  13. I'm under the impression from my reading that Pavlenko is doing roles like the stepmother in Ratmansky's Cinderella and the lead in Sasha Waltz's Rite of Spring...and not getting cast in full length classics. But I would be happy to find out that I'm wrong! And I would be very happy to see Novikova come to D.C. if Skorik is still out, but I suspect it is likelier D.C. would get Chebykina. When has Novikova last gone on tour other than the one Salzburg Festival Sylphide? But yes, if Skorik isn't back yet, then fingers (and toes) crossed for Novikova! I do wish Skorik a speedy and full recovery from her injuries...
  14. I very much wish I could have seen both these ballerinas in Jewels. Just a side note: Volcanohunter mentioned on another thread that Gottlieb was wrong about this being Kovaleva's debut in Jewels -- and she has had one or two other major opportunities also. I suppose Gottlieb is well past the point of sweating details, though I rather wish he would. Of course, she is still a very young and relatively untried ballerina, and it was exciting to read Gottlieb's response to her...)
  15. The Taming of the Shrew

    Glad to read your reports on Taming of the Shrew...Thinking about repertory though... ...If the Bolshoi brings a Grigorovich ballet that isn't Spartacus to NY anytime soon, please let it NOT be Ivan the Terrible. Golden Age with its fantastic score or Legend of Love would--for my taste--be greatly preferable. And the last two named also have great roles for two different ballerinas. Always a plus!