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cubanmiamiboy

MCB's Nutcracker 2016.

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I finally made it to the Nut last night and aside from the fact that I had to move across the whole Opera House due to some noisy offenders I had right next to me-(a whole family...stroller and everything in between and yes..it is a curse that follows me no matter where)-I had a great time.  I really welcomed Jeanette Delgado's Sugar Plum-(hadn't seen her I think since a couple of seasons ago)-partnered by veteran but still great Renato Panteado.  I friend of mine-(an ex dancer from Cuba)- who was also at the performance  txt me later on that Delgado "exuded BALLERINA" while dancing, and I couldn't agree more.  It is hard not to be permeated by her buoyant, grand dancing and her obvious joy at being onstage.  She definitely doesn't has the languid, elongated lines of a Mariinsky ballerina so much in vogue nowadays-(she is VERY muscular in her legs and short of stature)-but she really masters a particular way of captivating an audience both with her steely technique and signature joyful demeanor. 

Panteado was also wonderful to watch.  I suspect he is right in line with Tricia Albertson for the next wave of retirements due to his age, but really....just as with the now departed Catoya, he's very much more technically capable than many of this company's youngsters.  Both he and Delgado really mastered the great accents of the pdd to their advantage...the double shoulder lifts and the final fish dive.  Loved them.

Shimon Ito danced the Chinese and every time I watch someone in the role-(Ito included)-I really miss the great Alex Wong and his over the top Grand Ecartees here.  I have NEVER seen anyone doing such ecartees with the ballon and elasticity as Wong did them, always touching his feet with his hands.  The soloist of Marzipan wasn't able to master the sautes on pointe which  seems to be a weakness of many ballerinas nowadays-(there is a video of Obratzova not doing them when traveling backwards in "Anyuta" vs. the great late Katya Maximova who did them on video for the record).  I DO go for the "DO NOT DANCE THE PART IF YOU CAN'T DO SAUTES ON POINTE" mantra-(And that also applies, aside from Marzipan, to Giselle and Kitry in her Dulcinea variation)

Snow and Flowers were wonderful as usual.  The tempi in Miami is faster than City Ballet's and I have no complain about it.  It must had been Villella who settled the way he wanted this ballet to be danced.

Going back on Friday. ;-)

 

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I think that Vasiliev adapted the choreography for Anyuta on stage. Kaptsova and Nikulina also don't do the sequence on pointe.

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2 hours ago, Lidewij said:

I think that Vasiliev adapted the choreography for Anyuta on stage. Kaptsova and Nikulina also don't do the sequence on pointe.

He must kad known that not everybody had the amazing technique as his beloved Katya.

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>> I DO go for the "DO NOT DANCE THE PART IF YOU CAN'T HOP ON POINT" mantra.

 

Dancers with very flexible limbs and especially those with very archy, flexible feet have lots of problems with hops on pointe. It's a physical issue, not a lack of technique. 

 

Marzipan is especially difficult for dancers with the above mentioned, gorgeous, flexible feet because the choreography demands that she hop on one foot/leg and move around in a circle without coming off pointe. 

 

Some choreographers, directors are willing to alter the steps a bit to allow a chosen dancer to look his/her best in whatever part.  Others don't realize there's a prob until a performance goes poorly.  I think dancers tend to give any challenges their best attempts rather than admitting, I shouldn't be dancing this part. 

 

 

Edited by sz

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1 hour ago, sz said:

 I think dancers tend to give any challenges their best attempts rather than admitting, I shouldn't be dancing this part. 

 

 

 

Oh, I can imagine ballerinas are not fond of admitting they have trouble mastering the very base of their art form: the pointes. I just notice that falling off pointe is getting more and more AND MORE common nowadays, and that we as audience are also getting into the trend of placing the beauty of ballet in its "gorgeus" posing segments-(look, hight of the dancer...port de bras...slow tempi to over show...and so on and so forth)- rather than what they can do to their feet. Not me though...I was just watching the clip of Grand Pas de Quatre, and Goooosh, Alonso's balances, Kaye's entrechats, Hayden's turns and Slavenska's crispness are just RARITIES in today's ballet. Osipova and Valdes are exceptions, IMO...and thank God they are some still around. I am sure Brianza, Kshesinskaya, Sppessitvzeva or Toumanova would be happy to watch their turns and jumps.

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On 12/22/2016 at 11:07 AM, cubanmiamiboy said:

Oh, I can imagine ballerinas are not fond of admitting they have trouble mastering the very base of their art form: the pointes. I just notice that falling off pointe is getting more and more AND MORE common nowadays, and that we as audience are also getting into the trend of placing the beauty of ballet in its "gorgeus" posing segments-(look, hight of the dancer...port de bras...slow tempi to over show...and so on and so forth)- rather than what they can do to their feet.

This. More AND MORE common, and hello? All one has to do is watch Tallchief, or Alonso, or Hayden, or Verdy, or any of the scores of great past ballerinas, to realize that with less fancy shoes and far worse stages they did FAR BETTER in pointe work than most 'ballerinas' these days. If the girl can't hop on pointe she shouldn't do Marzipan; it's rather like casting a girl who can't turn in Allegro Brilliante.....uh, NO..............

You are so right about the goddess Maximova (talk about freakin' strong feet!) Do you know her Don Q, I think, coda where she does EVERY fouette with hands on her HIPS?!?!?

Edited by jsmu

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12 hours ago, jsmu said:

This. More AND MORE common, and hello? All one has to do is watch Tallchief, or Alonso, or Hayden, or Verdy, or any of the scores of great past ballerinas, to realize that with less fancy shoes and far worse stages they did FAR BETTER in pointe work than most 'ballerinas' these days. If the girl can't hop on pointe she shouldn't do Marzipan; it's rather like casting a girl who can't turn in Allegro Brilliante.....uh, NO..............

You are so right about the goddess Maximova (talk about freakin' strong feet!) Do you know her Don Q, I think, coda where she does EVERY fouette with hands on her HIPS?!?!?

Yes!! I have seen it. Katya was indeed in the League of The Greatest Ones. 

 

BTW...I went to the Nut last night again...and allow me to note that it was a very special performance, due to the fact that it was Elizbeth Cristina's very first ballet attendance. Yes...we took her the very night before her two months birthday. She behaved WONDERFULLY...slept thru the whole thing and ate a lot during the intermezzo. No cry...no drama. Even a mother next to me was pointing at her telling her hyperactive 5 yo daughter that "look...even the little baby is keeping quiet". I know she can't even see a thing at this point...BUT SHE CAN HEAR THE BEAUTIFUL TCHAIKOVSKY'S SCORE!!??? 

Veterans Albertson and Reyes did the Grand Pas-( my mother cried...they DO know at this point how to manage amazing stage projection in compensation for a declining technique), and I couldn't agree more about the beauty of their dancing. 

Nathalia Arja NAILED Marzipan' sautes on pointe, and as usual...Snow and Flowers were the real stars of the night. BRAVI!!! 

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154485811289191&id=647664190

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Regarding the pointe work, the emphasis on the "asparagus" ballerina with hyper arched feet is in direct opposition to the choreography of the older works that favored smaller, compact (but not stringbean) dancers with thicker leg musculature that allowed for such amazing articulated footwork.  

 

Also you are going to be the best balletomane uncle in the history of balletomane uncles!!!

Edited by Jayne

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13 hours ago, Jayne said:

Regarding the pointe work, the emphasis on the "asparagus" ballerina with hyper arched feet is in direct opposition to the choreography of the older works that favored smaller, compact (but not stringbean) dancers with thicker leg musculature that allowed for such amazing articulated footwork.  

 

 

This is CLASSIC, Jayne. 'the asparagus ballerina.' I'm stealing it instantly. Just what I loathe above all else: tall anorexics with hyperarches and hyperextensions, no strength, no petit allegro, no passagework, no feet, no agility. When cubanmiamiboy talks about Jeanette Delgado being 'muscular' and 'short,' that is only by comparison with asparagus dancers who have imposed a truly dreadful orthodoxy on what a 'ballerina' is supposed to look like. And we remember what Balanchine said about asparagus to LeClercq........

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7 hours ago, jsmu said:

This is CLASSIC, Jayne. 'the asparagus ballerina.' I'm stealing it instantly. Just what I loathe above all else: tall anorexics with hyperarches and hyperextensions, no strength, no petit allegro, no passagework, no feet, no agility. When cubanmiamiboy talks about Jeanette Delgado being 'muscular' and 'short,' that is only by comparison with asparagus dancers who have imposed a truly dreadful orthodoxy on what a 'ballerina' is supposed to look like. And we remember what Balanchine said about asparagus to LeClercq........

 

Amen amen and amen to to all that.  Although I think we are a minority here though...

Jeanette Delgado is certainly muscular, more than the majority of ballerinas I have seen in my years as a balletomanne.

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Very nice to hear about Elzbeth Cristina's first ballet adventure. 

:offtopic:I've been thinking about the discussion...and Balanchine's place in it. Balanchine encouraged a number of different kinds of ballerinas, more than he gets credit for I think, but even so he played at least some role in the shifting later 20th-century taste for taller and thinner, more stream-lined looking dancers. (As did larger cultural trends.) He also occasionally cast dancers or even created roles for dancers in a way meant to stretch them beyond their abilities. Presumably he didn't do it if he didn't think they would rise to the occasion, but I can testify it wasn't always perfectly successful.

 

I think the problem is perhaps "orthodoxy" as Jayne wrote above. I enjoy seeing a range of ballerinas--different types, different strengths, and qualities. Though of course there are some qualities that over time thrill or move me more than others. (And I like some of today's leggy, hyperextended ballerinas -- a lot.) But as long as certain technical standards are met and people are not egregiously miscast, I'm rather a latitudinarian. Even on the question of casting I'm not opposed to some experimentation. Though for sure, no-one who can't turn should try to dance Allegro Brillante!

 

Maximova is surely one of the greatest ballerinas of all time.

Edited by Drew

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16 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

 

Amen amen and amen to to all that.  Although I think we are a minority here though...

Jeanette Delgado is certainly muscular, more than the majority of ballerinas I have seen in my years as a balletomanne.

Yes, JD is muscular, and they are also *long* muscles as any classical dancer's should be. I might mention a couple of other powerhouse virtuosi: Carrie Imler and Ashley Bouder. Neither is anorexic or asparagusting. Viengsay Valdes doesn't exactly have thin thighs, thank gawud. :P

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I don't care what dancers look like, as long as their dancing isn't skinny.

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1 hour ago, Helene said:

I don't care what dancers look like, as long as their dancing isn't skinny.

 

Zing!

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19 hours ago, cubanmiamiboy said:

Amen amen and amen to to all that.  Although I think we are a minority here though...

 

Perhaps, but I am also on record railing against many of the things jsmu mentioned. I am not necessarily prepared to blame it on height, as I have seen tall ballerinas with speed, strength and agility. But I will admit to having an intense dislike for severely hyperextended joints, which has now been the preferred aesthetic for more than 30 years, to the detriment, I think, of both line and technique. I'm sick to death of contortion, distorted alignment, lack of centeredness, angularity and bumpiness in general, so I find many trends in ballet today very distressing.

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Petite allegro is one of the sparkling highlights of the art form. Very tall, hyper extended ballerinas do have a generalized difficulty achieving it. 

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Many things look much less impressive when performed by a short dancer. There are plenty of instances where Balanchine's "I like tall: you can see more" observation comes into play. I wouldn't expect any dancer to be able to perform every Sleeping Beauty fairy variation with equal facility. But it goes without saying that casting a dancer with wobbly ankles and gummy feet in a role that requires lots of hops on pointe is foolish, and since banana feet are a ballet fetish today, those hops have really suffered as a result.

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2 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

Many things look much less impressive when performed by a short dancer. There are plenty of instances where Balanchine's "I like tall: you can see more" observation comes into play. I wouldn't expect any dancer to be able to perform every Sleeping Beauty fairy variation with equal facility. But it goes without saying that casting a dancer with wobbly ankles and gummy feet in a role that requires lots of hops on pointe is foolish, and since banana feet are a ballet fetish today, those hops have really suffered as a result.

 

I have deeply analyzed the "complete" ballerina phenomenon. Back in the days I think BALLERINAS-(notice my capitals), were expected to be very multifaceted. Dancers like Alonso or Tallchief or Kaye or Markova were required to dance an ample array of repertoire, and be GOOD at it, from T&V to Giselle to Firebird to Coppelia to Rouge et Noir to Jardin aux Lilacs and everything in between. But again...back then, the title of "ballerina" was very respected and hard to get. Only a handful of women in the world had the privilege of enjoying such status. Nowadays there are hundreds of companies...hundreds of "ballerinas" and a lot of flexibility on how this or that role "is not suited" for such and such dancer. I do not agree with that. I believe that such status should be only be enjoyed by the dancer who can excel in all styles and ballets. A dancer who CAN NOT do a petite allegro should NOT be a Principal. And all this is just to note that the majority of dancers who can be proficient in both adagio and allegro-(and jumps and turns and hops for that matter)-are usually petite, strong and with strong pointes and ankles. Osipova epitomizes, for me, the Alonso ideal of the XXI Century. A ballerina I could watch on EVERYTHING. I find TOO MANY so called Principals of today extremely undeserving the title, eg....the Skoriks of the world-(and I am sure we all know who they are in our local companies).

 

 

Edited by cubanmiamiboy

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I wasn't thinking in such global terms, but rather of soloist roles that involve hops of pointe, or petit allegro, or balance and control.

 

The term "ballerina" is terribly overused, which is why I hardly use it. Indeed, when I see technically proficient but mechanical performances, I can barely bring myself to use the word "dancer." I agree that many principal women today are not ballerinas but rather "super soloists," to borrow a phrase from Clement Crisp. But the way the terms are used today, the super soloists have become ballerinas, so the ballerinas become primas, and the primas become assolutas, even though I haven't seen any assolutas lately.

 

I certainly would not exclude Maya Plisetskaya from the ranks of the ballerinas because she didn't dance Giselle or Margot Fonteyn because she didn't do the complete 32 fouettés. In our time I have seen some excellent generalists with nearly all-inclusive technique who can dance practically anything, but for the most part I'd say they come from the ranks of the "super soloists" rather than being "complete ballerinas." I will happily take the sublime Sylph even if she can't do the Rose Adage, or the great dramatic dancer even if she lacks petit allegro, or the brilliant soubrette even if she lacks beautiful line and poetry. If they have a particular genius, which is a rare and precious phenomenon, I'm not about to chastise them for lacking universal versatility. 

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On 12/31/2016 at 3:08 PM, volcanohunter said:

. If they have a particular genius, which is a rare and precious phenomenon, I'm not about to chastise them for lacking universal versatility. 

 

I love your term..."universal versatility". And we could be talking ages om the subject. I guess I just find puzzling the now common phenomenon of a Principal ballerina being totally absent from entired seasons due to her-(perceived.. self induced...unfairly placed upon...?)- inability to dance this or that role or to master certain aspects of the art form technique. And then...even more puzzled to find a generalized over benevolent attitude toward technique display mediocrity-(yes...I used such term, and even without being able to lower myself in a decent plie). 

Watching phenomena like Skorik's story-(I witnessed her very VERY disastrous beginning live)- and the way we are being told to be patient and just keep waiting for an onstage developing progression-( which has happened, don't get me wrong...I did see her recently in Raymonda)-of the dancer's skills makes me scratch my head. I just can't cope with the simple facts that 1- The AD knows the dancer is underskilled. 2-The audience know the dancer is underskilled and 3- The dancer knows the dancer is underskilled and 4- That this should be accepted as the norm. And that we get into the "let's hope someone does it right at some point". Frustrating. 

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