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Everything posted by California

  1. What a treat! Thanks for reminding us it's on-line. It isn't often performed by NYCB and I've only seen it in the theater a few times. Made in 1951, it strikes me that Balanchine would not have seen this ballet since leaving St. Petersburg decades earlier. A few details reminded me of the Ratmansky reconstruction a few years ago, the version he would have known, e.g., the male hunters remaining for a time (at 15:00) and getting in line with the swans. Nancy Reynolds' Repertory in Review has extensive reports about how it was received, for those with the book - surprising for Balanchine to do this ballet, but nicely done. I've always thought that Balanchine knew he needed some money-makers, as he did with his Nutcracker a few years later. But the real treat is Balanchine's reworked/new choreography for the corps.
  2. What a wonderful documentary about her work and life. I especially enjoyed the extensive film of rehearsals making so many favorite pieces (Deuce Coupe, Push Comes to Shove, In the Upper Room, White Nights, much more). I also admired the courage of people over the years in commissioning her work (e.g., Robert Joffrey for Deuce Coupe). I will be watching this again and again. Availability probably varies around the country. My local PBS (RMPBS) has made the complete show available on streaming video to members. My cable system lets you record yesterday's first showing. Worth looking for it.
  3. I think it might mean more to the trustees, major donors and the company. If you look at the ABT web site, they like to tout this. I didn't mean to open a can worms (as I obviously have, alas!), but most on the list are naturalized citizens (Balanchine in the 40s, Corella, Cornejo, Ferri). And they're not directing "America's national ballet company," as per an act of Congress.
  4. It might be uncomfortable to have a foreign artistic director for "America's Ballet Company," as per an act of Congress. Ratmansky became a US citizen a few years ago (as proudly announced on Facebook). Baryshnikov defected to the US and became a US citizen in the 1980s. Cornejo, Corella, Ferri are all naturalized citizens, too. But I wonder how recruiting someone like Rojo or Acosta or Vishneva would play. Dancers, sure, but THE artistic director?? It might seem like throwing in the towel on American talent.
  5. I just finished watching the first program, both casts. I'm very pleased that they figured out how to do this without masks, apparently with different rehearsal pods. A welcome detail: during the bows (and applause) they had the names of each dancer overhead on the screen. They seem to be in a special location with good lighting and an audience. I had seen Clear with ABT in their fall season a few years ago. Okay for a mixed bill. Suspended in Time, to "classic" Electric LIght Orchestra pop music, seemed an effort to connect to younger audiences. Jeans and t-shirts for the men, colorful dresses for the women. Not all that memorable. The real treat for me is Concerto Barocco, with two casts. This ballet is a paradigmatic example of "See the Music" and it never gets old for me - the genius of Bach-Balanchine is truly intense. I really like repeated viewings that let me notice details I hadn't seen before in that relationship. The camera work was mixed. I appreciated seeing some odd angles and slight overheads -- I saw formations I wouldn't have noticed in the theater. But too often it focused on the upper bodies of the two lead women, cutting off legs and feet. The overall "interpretation" was perhaps a tad too flowery/romantic, without the "oomph" possible for some moves, but otherwise fine. I have been eager to see Yuka Iseda again, since seeing her sole performance with this company as Odette/Odile a few years ago. She was stunning in that - and a corps member at the time. Her smile in CB, though, as the first lead, was a little too emotionally "happy" -- they all need to show a joy at dancing, but nothing beyond that, if this makes any sense. Kudos to Pennsylvania Ballet for giving opportunities to so many dancers, nice production values, well-priced. This program continues through March 31. If you buy the entire series of three programs, you can see both casts.
  6. If you prefer comfort food during the pandemic (as I do), the Boston Ballet's Classical Ballet digital program (which premiered Thursday, 3/25 and runs through April 4) is for you! Endless solos, PdD, a few small ensembles from the classics - Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Esmeralda, Coppelia, you name it. I'm glad so many dancers got to perform, even though some need to elevate their presence and technique. And these excerpts really do work better when framed by the full-length ballet. But it's nice to see dancers working and in familiar pieces. I was disappointed they couldn't figure out how to unmask the dancers, as the ABT/Ratmansky digital program did. They seem uncomfortable. It can't be easy for them. No audience. Recorded music. Still, nice programming this spring by a company I'd love to see in the theater some day.
  7. I have to think the ABT board would LOVE to have Ratmansky as artistic director, but I can't imagine he would accept. He knows how grueling that is from his time as director of Bolshoi and he's on such a roll as a choreographer and restorer.
  8. I also like what Rojo has done with ENB, especially innovations like "Lest We Forget." But she also has issues with dancer morale. One report from the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/mar/13/ballet-director-tamara-rojo-defends-relationship-dancer And Dance Magazine (plenty more in credible publications with a little googling): https://www.dancemagazine.com/tamara-rojo-isaac-hernandez-2540834080.html
  9. I really enjoyed the program, especially the new Ratmansky. Definitely worth the price. I was not familiar with this particular Bernstein score, but it had a very familiar feel and, as JuliaJ noted, it felt like it would work for Robbins. Definitely want to see it in the theater -- not just a throw-away bit of fluff, like some of the pandemic/bubble pieces we've seen in the past year. Brandt is the queen of the long balances and the rehearsal clip of Rose they posted recently is also worth another look. The excerpts were mostly reassuring that dancers are in shape.
  10. English National Ballet has just announced by email live performances May 17-30! I'm not seeing this yet on their web site - perhaps later today. Reunion: An Evening with English National Ballet 17 – 30 May 2021 We are thrilled to be back on stage in May! We hope you will be there for our first live performances since January 2020: they promise to be very special. The five unique works that make up this exciting programme were originally released as dance films in our critically-acclaimed Digital Season last year: now is your chance to see them live for the first time. It is a joy to present the creations from esteemed choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant, Yuri Possokhov, Stina Quagebeur and Arielle Smith. Please keep this information under embargo until 10.30am today, 25 March. You will receive a priority booking link ahead of the general public. We will be in touch in the coming weeks with more information and to provide the link. Tickets go on sale to Great Friends and Benefactors on Wednesday 31 March, to Friends on Tuesday 6 April, and to the general public on Thursday 8 April. 7.30pm performances: 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27, 28 & 29 May 2.30pm performances: 19, 27, 29 & 30 May Capacity is reduced and performances will be to socially-distanced audiences in strict compliance with UK Government guidance.
  11. From her Instagram today, Maria Kochetkova is recovering from COVID. Dancers are young and healthy, but the lingering effects for many seem to include fatigue and brain fog, which can't be encouraging. https://www.instagram.com/p/CM0PKZ1Ib1D/
  12. Sarasota Ballet just announced an update to its sixth program in late April, replacing Serenade with two pieces by Ashton. (I confess that, given how regularly we have opportunities to see Serenade, I'm really pleased by this.) Important Updates to Digital Program 6 Today we have announced that, in maintaining the health and safety of the Company's dancers with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, the planned performance of George Balanchine’s Serenade in Digital Program 6 will be replaced with two ballets choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton: Valses nobles et sentimentales and The Walk to the Paradise Garden. We are excited to bring these beautiful Ashton works back to the stage, especially alongside another pivotal Ashton ballet, Façade. “While we were looking forward to bringing Balanchine’s Serenade back this Season, we are overjoyed to see the return of such treasured Ashton works in its stead,” says Director of The Sarasota Ballet, Iain Webb. “It was an honor to bring Valses back to life in 2012, as at that time it had not been staged since Sir Fred revived it for the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet. In fact, I fondly remember performing in that very production, alongside Royal Ballet Director Kevin O’Hare, so it brings me great personal joy to see Valses nobles et sentimentales appear once more. The Walk to the Paradise Garden is an unusual example of Ashton's choreography. The two lovers play against each other with nuanced performances that express the duality of a love eternal and their delicate mortality, emphasized through its inevitable and haunting climax.” As a ticket holder to Digital Program 6, we wanted to be certain you received this announcement as soon as possible. Of course, this change in programming requires no action on your part; on the morning of 23 April, you will receive a performance link including all three Ashton ballets. Read on to find out more about these beautiful works! Digital Program 6 – 23 - 27 April 2021 The Sarasota Ballet's Digital Program 6 features: Sir Frederick Ashton's Valses nobles et sentimentales Long considered one of Ashton’s lost works, Valses nobles et sentimentales was revived by The Sarasota Ballet in 2012 for its American premiere, the first time the ballet had been seen worldwide in over twenty-five years. It has been performed several times since for special occasions – as part of The Sarasota Ballet’s 2014 Sir Frederick Ashton Festival, on tour at New York’s Joyce Theater in 2016, all to critical acclaim. Sir Frederick Ashton's The Walk to the Paradise Garden The Walk to the Paradise Garden was created in 1972 for The Royal Ballet's Benevolent Fund Gala, with a score and narrative theme sourced from Frederick Delius’ opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet. The original cast featured Merle Park and David Wall as the lovers, with Derek Rencher as a chalk-white vision of Death. Ashton’s choreography brought to the piece a depth of emotion and characterization uncommon in such a small-scale ballet; to that end, renowned dance historian David Vaughan wrote in his book Frederick Ashton And His Ballets, “Like Thaïs, it was no mere divertissement but a ballet in miniature, saying as much in a few minutes as many full-length ballets.” Sir Frederick Ashton's Façade One of Ashton's earliest choreographed works first performed by the Camargo Society in 1931, Façade is a series of divertissements described by ballet critic Debra Crane as "choreographic satires on popular dance forms and their dancers." Thematically based on a collection of eponymous poems by Edith Sitwell and set to music crafted by William Walton originally for the purpose of accompanying a recital of this poetry, Façade has since come to be known as a signature Ashton display of wit and musicality.
  13. The Royal Ballet just announced a full season for 2021-2022. I'm not seeing specific dates and they promise more information June 1. I'm also not seeing anything specific about safety requirements. https://www.roh.org.uk/news/the-royal-opera-house-reveals-highlights-of-its-first-full-season-since-2019 I'll paste in the text of the announcement for ballet: The Royal Opera House reveals highlights of its first full Season since 2019 Programme features 11 new productions, including five world premieres and an exciting roster of UK and international talent with many debuts. Tuesday 23 March 2021, 3.46am The Royal Opera House is excited to share early plans for its 2021/22 Season, the first full Royal Opera House Season since 2019. Today we reveal highlights including five world premieres from The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera as well as a wealth of British and international talent taking to our stages in the first full ROH Season for 18 months. The Royal Ballet’s internationally-acclaimed artists come together on stage in the Company’s 90th anniversary year to ‘respect the past, herald the future, but concentrate on the present’ in a Season of classic and modern works. The world premieres of three ballets are announced for the 2021/22 Season with Resident Choreographer Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project, Artistic Associate Christopher Wheeldon’s Like Water for Chocolate and a new work by American choreographer Kyle Abraham. Wayne McGregor in rehearsal for Obsidian Tear, The Royal Ballet © ROH 2016. Photograph by Andrej Uspenski Wayne McGregor’s much anticipated The Dante Project will be given its world premiere in October 2021. The Royal Ballet’s first ever co-production with Paris Opera Ballet takes its inspiration from Dante’s Divine Comedy and is presented as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations of the poet’s death in 1321. Dante’s epic journey through the afterlife is realised in this collaboration between three trailblazing forces of the contemporary arts scene: the multi-award-winning McGregor, acclaimed composer Thomas Adès, who creates a brand-new score, and artist Tacita Dean, celebrated for her pioneering and poetic film and media work. The creative team is completed by McGregor’s regular collaborators lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed. Part 1 of the work is based on Inferno, which received its premiere in Los Angeles in 2019 as part of The Royal Ballet’s international tour with Adès conducting the LA Philharmonic in his virtuoso new score. The production will also be an opportunity for audiences to celebrate the extraordinary career of Edward Watson who performs the role of Dante. The Royal Ballet also presents the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s new full-length ballet Like Water for Chocolate, based on the Mexican novel of the same name by Laura Esquivel. This co-commission between The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre reunites Wheeldon with composer Joby Talbot, costume and set designer Bob Crowley and lighting designer Natasha Katz. Joining the renowned creative team is Luke Halls as projection designer. Esquivel worked with Wheeldon to shape the text of her magical novel into a scenario for the ballet. Internationally acclaimed conductor and official cultural ambassador to Mexico Alondra de la Parra returns to the Royal Opera House to conduct this ballet, and act as musical consultant for Talbot’s newly commissioned score. The ballet also draws on rich historical research by Camila de la Parra. The original cast for this imaginative reshaping of Esquivel’s richly layered love story will be led by Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé. Christopher Wheeldon in rehearsals for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland © ROH/Johan Persson, 2011 The Season will also see more new work on the Main Stage in a contemporary mixed programme (to be announced) that includes the world premiere of a work by Kyle Abraham. Alongside these exciting new works will be revivals of Royal Ballet signature classics and audience favourites including Giselle, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, works by Frederick Ashton, and Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet. The Linbury Theatre continues to be a driving force for collaboration and creativity, featuring independent companies and schools and developing new work. The Royal Ballet presents Company Wayne McGregor in The Dark Crystal: Odyssey, a work for family audiences choreographed and directed by Wayne McGregor. Based on Jim Henson’s iconic 1982 film, this magical coming-of-age story brings together a team of world-class collaborators including artists Brian and Wendy Froud, composer Joel Cadbury, digital designers kontrastmoment, lighting designer Lucy Carter, dramaturg Uzma Hameed, costume designer Philip Delamore and face-and-body-artist Alex Box, with puppets and props from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. The Royal Ballet will also welcome Cassa Pancho's Ballet Black back to the Royal Opera House to continue their association with the Linbury Theatre. This company of Black and Asian classically trained dancers will present a dynamic mixed programme by Olivier-award-winning choreographers Mthuthuzeli November and Will Tuckett. Yorke Dance Project also return with a programme of works that juxtaposes past and present, celebrating choreographers who have indelibly shaped dance today. Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels Festival, an exciting new partnership with Van Cleef & Arpels, will present a selection of established works alongside new pieces of choreography. The Linbury Theatre will again be host to creative opportunities for choreographers in the form of Draft Works and a new appointment to the Emerging Choreographer Programme. This continues The Royal Ballet’s commitment to developing a diverse talent pipeline in dance alongside the Constant Lambert Fellowship and Jette Parker Young Artists Programme ballet conductor initiatives.
  14. Megan Fairchild just announced on Instagram that she and her family have COVID and are at home. https://www.instagram.com/p/CMuF-ChHo3y/
  15. San Francisco Ballet just announced a few promotions and the 2022 roster. I don't know most of these dancers, but am relieved that Aaron Robison is still on the roster! https://cdn.sfballet.org/20210322131856/SF-Ballet-announces-2022-Season-Roster.pdf
  16. This morning I received a questionnaire from the National Ballet of Canada. They say quite clearly that they expect to start performing in their Toronto theater in November 2021, and they asked about several things. Would we feel comfortable if they required masks? distancing? sanitation? etc. I don't see anything on their web page yet, except that they will return for the 2021-22 season when it's safe. One problem right now is that travelers from the US are still banned. I'm supposed to go to a meeting in Montreal in November and friends there say they are desperate to make enough progress that we can be admitted. I have my vaccinations and expect to be wearing masks for the indefinite future. I am hoping they figure out the vaccination passport soon to make international travel a bit more feasible. With the right programming, I'd be delighted to travel to Toronto. I saw them in that theater a few years ago and it's a great city to visit. https://national.ballet.ca/Tickets/Next-Season
  17. Colorado Ballet just announced a season finale, with live performances at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The six performances over two weekends will also be sold in a live stream: https://www.lonetreeartscenter.org/showinfo.php?id=1278 Live theater seating is very limited and is available first to their Premiere Society members and then the general public. The stream is $25 and the live seating $60. I'm a little disappointed that the live stream will not be available after the performance, but okay. The Lone Tree Arts Center is in the far southern suburbs of Denver. A light-rail stop is not too far and there's a shuttle bus. The company has been practicing classic PdD -- Flames of Paris, White Swan, Black Swan, Corsaire, etc. -- plus some new things by company members. I'm glad to see work for the dancers. These will be their first performances since early March 2020.
  18. Symphony #9 is by far my favorite of the SFB digital programming so far and, indeed, it's what made me decide to buy the series. Ratmansky has had a few clunkers (The Tempest), but most of his work has very imaginative and challenging choreography that's interesting in any piece. For the Shostakovich pieces from the 1930s, it's a glimmer of understanding for those of us in the west to what life was like in Stalinist Russia for artists of all kinds -- the Trilogy, Bright Stream, Bolt (which I've only seen on DVD). We know that Stalin was a great ballet lover and kept a heavy hand on the ballet companies, something we don't grasp in the west.
  19. What a treat - thank you. A very different version of Swan Lake, too. Much of the music we are most familiar with for the Black Swan PdD appears in Act I. And the PdD is quite unfamiliar in most ways. Long ago, I listened to an orchestral recording of the score and it had similar differences.
  20. Dance Theatre of Harlem is streaming Firebird Saturday, Oct 13, at 8 pm EST on YouTube
  21. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet is ending its performing and touring activities after 25 years. They have a $10 million endowment, which they will use to continue their schools and other community programs. https://theknow.denverpost.com/2021/03/09/aspen-santa-fe-ballet-closes-coronavirus/254403/
  22. The quote I was thinking of is in the two-hour PBS documentary at 1:45: People dance. While I'm here they dance that way. When I'm gone, they will continue dancing, but somebody's going to rehearse them different. So will be a little different, different intensity. So if few years go by and I won't be here, will be my ballets, but will look different.
  23. I am reminded of a quote from Balanchine that appeared in one of the documentaries on him. Close paraphrase: "After I'm gone, will be my ballets, but will look different." He seemed matter-of-fact and very accepting of this.
  24. Pennsylvania Ballet just announced their 2021 Spring Digital Season: three programs for $50. They've been rehearsing in pods. Very nice rep: Purchase the whole season for just $50 ➡️➡️➡️Start with March for just $25 ➡️➡️➡️MARCH (2 casts)🔹"Concerto Barocco" - George Balanchine🔹"Clear" - Stanton Welch AM🔹"Suspended in Time" - Angel Corella, Russell Ducker, and Kirill Radev🔹"Penumbra" (excerpt) - Matthew NeenanAPRIL🔸"Allegro Brillante" - George Balanchine🔸"Polyphonia" - Christopher Wheeldon🔸"Raymonda Suite" - Marius Petipa🔸"And So It Is..." (excerpt) - Dwight RhodenMAY♦️New Work by Juliano Nunes♦️New Work by Meredith Rainey♦️New Work by Russell Ducker https://paballet.org/spring-2021/
  25. Diamond also is not on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BalletWest1 Nor on their YouTube subscription page: https://www.youtube.com/user/BalletWestUtah/videos The company's web site says Diamonds is March 5 for a week: https://balletwest.org/news/winter-streaming-the-best-of-ballet-west If it appears and somebody finds it, please post the link. Thanks!
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