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Everything posted by dancersteven

  1. Varna is infamously umwilling to post any up to date results on their website, so we hope that someone in the know will post here as soon as anything is official? Thanks all Steven
  2. I guess with a name like Yvonne Borree "Ye Van (to) Bouree", there are only so many career options open. . . :-) Like she hasn't heard that joke since she was 12. . .
  3. Probably not much scurrying about, if it ain't in place by now, you likely can't fix it in in the next 5 minutes. . . In under rehearsed pieces, there might be some trying of "that one thing" that never quite worked right in rehearsal. Ask stinger784 how much rehearsal I get!! I will add some checking of the costumes and some kissing of your partner and wishing of "Good luck" (in many forms :blush: ) to your list, but you have it mostly right. Less throwing up than you might think. The general mood is usually optimistic and energized, but likely less stressed out than many people think. At least we all want to act confident and assured, if only because we want our partners to think we are confident and assured. If I had to venture a theory, I would say that the did not like any observers backstage during the Kingdom of the Shades scene partially because of backstage space. That many girls in tutu's take up an awful lot of ground, even at the Kennedy Center. . .
  4. For Nutcracker at the Four Seasons anything that could be described as business or business casual will stand you in good stead. There will be so many people (I hope!), many of whom do not come to the ballet, or to any theatre any other time of the year, that there will be all kinds of dress, and almost anything you choose to wear will be fine. Congratulations on your first trip to the ballet, maybe the National Ballet of Canada will make a believer (addict ) out of you!
  5. I ahve to echo Malakhov, I recently got to see "Wild Men of ABT" on DVD, and we watched some of the dancing frame by frame (I know, cruel, I couldn't stand watching myself that way!), but Vladimir was never in an incorrect position. . . S.
  6. Hmmm, that has promise. . . I have heard that he back story is something like the princess is trapped in a high tower (very Rapunzel), or maybe a walled garden (very Secret Garden), and she befriends the blue bird, who teaches her to fly away from her captivity. Is that the plot that you had in mind, or does anyone have any different ideas? I am not sure that this is anything other than what some dancer made up in an effort to make his divertissement make sense, or is there a real fairy tale out there about the bluebird? There might not be enough here for a full 3 act, but it could certainly make a nice one act. Good luck with this! S.
  7. I would have to say that usually the dancers are trying to get into the US to work, and not the other way around, at least that was the case for me and many people I know. In the case of the most talented young dancers (Matt Golding, for example), they dream of dancing with ABT or NYCB as well as NBoC or RWB. For those of us of lesser talent and ability, a US work visa gives access to the many smaller and medium sized companies that exist in the US, of which there are few in Canada. I do know that the RWB has had trouble finding and keeping principal level men recently, but I do not think that any of the new boys come from an American background. Anyway, IMHO, I think that most of the dancers in Canadian companies are either Canadian or from other (less financially affluent) countries. Besides, dancers get paid little enough as it is, imagine getting paid in Monopoly money!
  8. Karen Kain did it the right way, slowly easing out of roles she felt she was unable to do at 100%, and then toured a custom made farewell show, "The Actress", to say goodbye to all of her fans across Canada, and allow them the chance to do the same. Was, is, and will continue to be a class act.
  9. Thanks everybody! The outreach was earlier this week, and I think everyone had fun. They enjoyed the movement sections more than me talking (of course), but evveryone was happy at the end, so my goals were reached! S. Not doing what you love to do is neither good sense nor common sense. -Daniel Nagrin
  10. There are often ballet catagories on Jeopardy, unfortunately you rarely need to know anything about ballet to know the answer. Often they relate to the story that inspired the ballet, or some other non-balletic information. The question about Nureyev and Fonteyn was the exception to that rule though! S. Not doing what you love is neither good sense nor common sense. - Daniel Nagrin
  11. I have a good example of getting it, but not liking it, unfortunately, it is from modern dance, but I hope that it contributes to the discussion anyway ;-). I saw Paul Taylor's company on tour in April, the bill was Mercuric Tididngs (1982), Dante Variations (2004), and Promethean Fire (2002). The first and last pieces, I enjoyed very much, and feel like I "got", there not being much in the way of "plot", but conveying emotion and energy. This is contrasted with Dante Variations, which I also got, buyt did not like at all. Dante's Variations was rather conspiculously about people in puragtory; lots of thrashing, anguished movement, moving lots, but not seeming to get anywhere. There were dancers with their hands or legs tied, a piece of toilet paper that would NOT come off of his shoe, ect. It definitely meant to convey frustration, and well, I found that very FRUSTRATING. I feel like I understood what the choreographers were trying to convey, I just wouldn't sit through it again!
  12. I knew about Patrick Swayze, but didn't think of adding him to the list that is a very good idea. All of the rest of your responses are very helpful as well, thanks I knew I could count on all of you! S.
  13. I tried that Mel, it is a good idea, and I got a few, but mostly it was anorexia articles! The Army football team mention is a good one, nothing is much more masculine than a soldier. Thanks. . . S. Not doing what you love is neither good sense nor common sense. - Daniel Nagrin
  14. OK, folks, I need your help. I am doing a month long school outreach program and I need to have a list of male, professional athletes who have studied ballet. I know, I know, but the classroom teachers seem to think that is the only way to catch the interest of the boys. Of course, what is really going to interest them is my enthusiastic approach and passion for the art form, but I have to give the teachers what they want too. So I would really appreciate it if you could mention any athletes or teams you have heard of that use ballet as part of their training. Thanks a lot! PS If you have links, or if we have had this topic before on this board, let me know! Thanks again. S.
  15. I have to go with the gap between technical ability and artistry. Is it growing? What needs to be done about it?
  16. My fiancée and I were lucky enough to see ABT in Chicago last night, with Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky in the lead roles. We were VERY lucky to get 1st row, 1st balcony, center seats 45 min before curtain. My thanks to whoever it was who returned those to the box office! Mrs. Dvorovenko was very good, excelling at her super high arabesques and rock solid balances. The first a la seconde balance in her variation was particularly noteworthy. Emotionally, she was very evocative, and transitioned in between the demure Odette and seductive Odile cleanly and clearly. Mr. Beloserkovsky looked like he was having a bit of an off night. Technically there were some pirouettes and one saute de basque that seemed to get a way from him a little. As well, most of the emotion seemed to be coming from Irina, with Max in a very supporting role. It may have been simply that he wasn’t quite reaching all the way to the balcony, did any one on the floor have a different opinion? It seems to me that he would be the kind of dancer who would make more subtle or subdued acting choices, and perhaps I did not pick up on them. As always those AMAZING feet and legs impressed, as did the double tour to attitude in the variation. I thought the prologue was awful, not so much the dancing, they did the best they could, but for em ti didn’t work on SO many levels. I appreciate the effort to tell more of the back story, but I thought the choreography was awkward (especially compared to the rest of the ballet), and that the stuffed swan that she turns into at the end looks, well, I guess “wrong” is the polite word. Add to that that I was completely distracted by my first view of the Swamp Thing, and well. . . The best part of the whole scene was the transformation from “swamp” Rothbart to “court” Rothbart, despite, or perhaps because of its low tech nature. In the “supporting” cast (aka those who can make or break a performance), I was delighted with Cornejo and Reyes in the pas de trios, spot on pointe work and use of batu across the board. Perhaps the musicality in the beginning of the first girl’s variation was a little off, but perhaps it was just different than I am used to. I was absolutely bowled over by Herman Corenjo as Benno however. He danced effortlessly and excellently through the whole act, including the pas de trios, in which his variation was absolutely textbook. In fact, his ebullient stage presence occasionally overwhelmed the more sedate Sigfreid. I also enjoyed the partnering aspects of the maypole section, too often that kind of thing turns into 2 circles of girls doing very repetitive steps, but including the men allowed this version to avoid that pitfall. Kudos as well to Mr. Radetsky on his interpretation of “court” Rothbart. The first pirouette that balances in arabesque croisse gave this act an auspicious beginning. I really enjoyed his seduction of the princesses (and the queen!). In addition to being well danced, it made Rothbart a more complete character, and defined him as the villian of the ballet. An honorable mention to the two Neopolitian gentlemen (sorry, guys, I do not remember who you were L, and do not have my program to hand), not only for the multiple pirouettes at the end, but particularly for the double pirouettes from fifth, ending on the demi pointe. To me those are much more difficult than multiple pirouettes from fourth to fourth. The swans were very good in both of the lake scenes. On account of our excellent seats, we had a bird’s eye view of all of the formations and patterns. There was only one instance all night were the lines were not quite right, but I doubt it was visible from anywhere but where we were sitting. I also had low expectations for the corps, I know how difficult and time consuming rehearsing scenes like that are, and I knew that they are doing a different show in Cleveland and LA. No worries though, the corps looked good. On the tech front, there were some costuming choices that I have issues with. The Swamp Thing, well, enough has been said by others more perceptive than I, so I will not go there. I echo BalletIsLife about some of the other costumes. I did think that the aristocrats dresses were a little heavy and did not always show off the dancers to their best ability. There were several times in that scene where I found myself thinking “That was nice, but I bet it looked better in the studio, in leotards and tights. . .”. As well, I did not like the shorts worn by the peasant men in that same scene, not for any good reason, I just didn’t like them. I do have a good reason for disliking the blouses of the peasant girls however, the bare shoulder-puffy sleeve look was not a good choice, IMO. Whenever the dancers lifted their arms, it made it look like their shoulders were touching their ears. All those years of ballet mistresses saying “SHOULDERS DOWN” gone in an instant. . . Shortening the ballet to one intermission was godsend, especially with an 8pm curtain. I have seen Swan Lake where at some point I just want the bloody swans to get off the stage so everyone can die and we can all go home! That did not happen at all, thanks to this staging’s excellent pacing. As well, the use of live music, Ormsby Wilkins conducting, was a special treat. There is such a prevalence of touring companies using canned music exclusively, for understandable reasons, it was great to see ABT buck the trend. I did think that the temops were brisk, especially in the coda to the Black Pas Pas, but everyone seemed to dance to it well. What to say about the ending. I do not envy any artistic director trying to find an effective ending for this ballet. It is kind of like conflict in the Middle East, great minds have pondered, but there isn’t an exit strategy to be found. Swan Lake’s ending can’t be too depressing, but it is a classical ballet, so someone has to die. Watching dancers try to gracefully throw themselves onto a crash mat always makes me laugh at an inappropriate moment. Mr. McKenzie has chosen to have all of the swans disappear into the fog, bowing to Odette and Siegfreid, as they rise as ascendant as the sun. I thought that it was way over the top, but I don’t have a better option, so I’ll shut up about it ;-). As a whole I thought that the company showed consistently clean technical execution of all of the steps, as well a great deal off attack and stretch throughout. This entire group of dancers (and their choreographer ;-) ) also showed a great aptitude for linking steps, and having them flow naturally from one to another. This was an excellent production and well worth the drive!
  17. Having just returned from seeing ROTK, I would like to give props to Peter Jackson et. al. for the focus of their vision. The LOTH novels cover a vast amount of ground, with an intense amount of detail, and function VERY well as novels. Film is a very different medium. Things which occupied several paragraphs in the books, for example Tolkien's unsurpassed descriptions of the landscapes of Middle Earth, are shown in a heartneat or two on screen. Things Tolkien leaves to the imagination of the viewer (and rightly so), such as the details of the epic battle scenes, require great finess in the use of technology and in older theatrical skills (writing, music, ect.) to portray realistically onscreen. As a result of this, I believe that Mr. Jackson had selected one aspect, or theme, from the multitude that are included in Mr. Tolkien's work (loyalty, home, eviromentalism, the Christian gospel) and focused on it in each of the movies. Of course the vehicle for that theme is a timeless story of good and evil. In TFOTR, it seems to me that the over-riding arc seems to be temptation. In the very beginning we see Bilbo's struggle to give up the ring. Gandalf denys the ring as Frodo offers it to him. We see Saruman succumb to the power of the one who made the ring. The Nazgul go to great lengths to try and aquire it. We see it divide the forces of good in the council of Rivendell. Eventually we see Boromir's lust for the Ring destroy the fellowship. In TTT the theme seems to be redemption. We see Frodo struggle to find the good in Smeagol, and Smeagol try to find the good in himself. Faramir's release of Frodo and Sam seems to recompense the actions of his brother. The Ent's assault on Isengard redeems their earlier decision for neutrality. The elves' sacrifice at Helm's Deep redeems their leaving Middle Earth in the hands of Sauron. We see the King of Rohan rescued from his weaknesses in the last charge at Helm's Deep. Even Wormtongue cries at the realization that his people are not safe in Helm's Deep. In TROTK, perseverance seems to be the keyword. We watch Frodo and Sam struggle against impossible odds, not by killing dragons or other "heroic" acts, but by walking. We see Sam cling to his friendship with Frodo, despite Gollum's machinations. Even Arwen perseveres against her father's will to help bring about the return of the king. Gandalf and Aragorn never give up on Frodo. Even in the face of their wounds and great age, Frodo and Bilbo persevere to be taken to Valinor. We see that the hobbits will persevere in the children of Samwise Gamgee. We see that the race of men will persevere under the rule of Aragorn and his children. My greatest fear when I heard about these movies being made (other than the fact that Elijah Wood was too cute to be a hobbit) was that in an effort to include EVERYTHING that was in Mr. Tolkien's works, his overall vision would be lost. Fortunately, by narrowing his vision, Mr. Jackson gave us a powerful series of films true to Mr. Tolien's vision. These films, despite near exclusion from the Academy Awards, will be held up as the seminal film works of the decade. S.
  18. I saw them in the summer of 99 at the Vail Valley Foundation concerts. I do not remember it extremely clearly, I know that it was a mostly contemporary program, and was danced very, very well. In particular the men were impressive, mostly cut from the same cloth, tall, skinny, long arms and legs, all with a very fluid movement quality. I also had the opportunity to take comapny class, taught by Mr. Ullate, and was very impressed by the classical strength of the company, and Mr. Ullate's ability to structure his class to take into account the altitude and other difficulties. All in all I remember a very well rehearsed, talented company! S.
  19. Whoops! OK, I fix. There, that's what I meant!
  20. I do not think that the reason BIG American companies do not tour in Chicago is because of a lack of approprite venue. I do not agree that Chicago is somehow getting unfairly shafted when it comes to seeing large American touring companies. To define terms: the BIG American companies are: ABT, NYCB, PNB, SFB, Houston, Joffrey and maybe one or two more, if you would like to include them. How many of these companies tour to the cities containing other BIG companies (with the exception of coming to NYC, which is a different story entirely)? Does ABT perform in San Francisco? Does PNB perform in Houston? I may be mistaken, I do not think so. Places where these BIG companies usually tour to (Orange County, D.C., ect.) seem to be places without another of the BIG American companies in residence. There are probably a lot of reasons for this: market saturation, logistics, money, ect., all in different proportions depending on the situation. I think that low on the list of reasons is a lack of suitable facility. If anything, that would be the easiest difficulty to work around, only requiring accomodation when deciding on number of shows and selcting repertory. Harder to work around would be a lack of potential sales and high overheads for example. I think that it would be a mistake to think that, as this article suggests, if Chicago had a large multi use facility, that these BIG American companies would be falling over themselves to perform in Chicago.
  21. Good point, Alexandra, there is a lot to be learned and enjoyment to be found watching someone other than the best, whatever the art or sport. This makes one question the Olympic coverage of the last couple of years, which consists mostly of the medalists plus the Americans. What are we missing?
  22. There is a company touring the Nutcracker all over the U.S. (something like 52 cities in 60 days!) right now, going by the name of "The Moscow Ballet". Their website is www.nutcracker.com I was wondering if anyone knew anything more about this organization and what quality of dance I might expect, if I go? They claim to be "The best dancers on the planet", and are really playing up the Russian angle in their advertising. Anyone know anything?
  23. I haven't seen them since the same tour as Alexandra, but I will second her appraisal. They were not exceptional (ie Kirov or Royal's level), and their productions were probably more to Russian taste than Amercian, but they were quite good. I would like to note that that this is not the Moscow Ballet which is currently touring the Nutcracker extensively in the U.S.
  24. Don't you see, this is why in most of the ballet villages there are so many more young ladies than gentlemen. All of the boys leave at a young age to go off and work in a coal mine or whatever, and send money back to keep their mothers, wives and girlfreinds in the lap of indolent luxury. ;-)All except for those lazy layabouts like Franz, of course. Then, of course, the people left at the village have to dance all of the time, to keep their figures for when the menfolk come back for a visit. Riiight. . . S.
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