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  1. I am extremely dismayed that Stix-Brunell is not cast as Swanhilda: she seems perfect for the role. O'Sullivan debuting Aurora and Swanhilda back-to-back makes her a lock for first soloist. I wonder if Corrales would have been given principal if he had danced the entire season uninjured including Basilio, but the promotion should come in a year or two.
  2. He just danced two Romeo's in London, and that is arguably a more difficult role than Siegfried. I wouldn't expect Hallberg to replace any of Simkin's performances, but at least he should honor his own.
  3. A recent video of her Diamonds (with Xander Parish)
  4. Bolshoi uploaded the cinemacast on its website (you have to register an account): http://media.bolshoi.ru/play#/vod/play/435
  5. I am a dancer in the company and words can't do justice to this beautiful artist. I stood next to her at barre every day and was honored to have partnered and choreographed on her. My tribute on Facebook:
  6. I was so fortunate to have had Mr. Frame as an instructor for weight training during SAB's summers in 2008 and 2009. I can't say I worked with him a great deal, but more than enough where he made a big impact on my approach to conditioning my body, technique, and mind. His classes were challenging, not just physically but spiritually: he always wanted you to discover your essence and purpose as a dancer. He was invested in every student and knew everyone's name the first day. Regretfully he never taught technique at the school (at least in my time there), and even in those summers I remember wanting to take from him because his insights on dance were so remarkably keen. However, he watched our ballet classes religiously and was always willing to help with a step or something you were struggling with. Truly, he wanted everyone to succeed. Even when students were sitting the halls waiting for their next class, he would be the first person to say hello: Peter was warm, engaging, with no pretense whatsoever. When I arrived for my second summer he instantly remembered my name and wanted to know how I had been doing. I will never forget how generous, radiant, and physically perfect he was: he always looked a solid decade younger than his age. For anyone who is friends with Jock Soto on Facebook, he had the most beautiful tribute to Peter. RIP to an uncommon man and teacher.
  7. Having not seen this, it sounds very tacky. I should've remembered: Stanton Welch's production for Houston Ballet used to end with a swan exiting while a maiden entered in her place, with the maidens slowly realizing their newfound freedom during the apotheosis. Beforehand, Siegfried intends to shoot Rothbart but misses and hits Odette instead (!), so the spell is broken. I don't even remember what Siegfried did after that point. Alas, in the most recent revival we now have the classic double suicide ending, but occurring later in the music. The swans stay in tutus and bourree in formation until the curtain falls.
  8. Hmmmm, I thought Swan Odette during the apotheosis was not a spirit, but rather a figment of Siegfried's imagination, or memory. So when he is walking downstage, he is thinking of Odette and the promise he couldn't keep to break the spell, which explains the projection of Odette in the tutu. He carries maiden Odette because now that she is deceased, the spell is broken and she can never be transformed back into a swan. If we literally apply the story, the audience never sees the ballerinas as swans at any point in the ballet except for Odette's transformation at the end of Act II. However, Odette, Big Swans, Cygnets, and the corps are still in swan tutus, which represent the spell they are under even while they're in human form. So Odette in her maiden nightie in the apotheosis made sense to me because while she is dead, effectively so is the spell. It is an awkward juxtaposition, however, against the corps who are still in swan tutus even though they are freed. But there is no practical way to have all the corps women quick changing while Siegfried retrieves Odette's body to show all of them in maiden form, so I accepted the ending for what it was. Of course I prefer the double death ending, and for an alternative ending I enjoyed the RDB's which had Siegfried marrying Odile in the closing seconds. The political plot got out of hand though. It never made sense to me how, for all of Rothbart's presence in the court, nobody noticed he had a daughter! And his curse for Odette almost seemed independent of his plot to take over the kingdom. During the closing of Act I, Rothbart wants Siegfried to go back to the palace, while Siegfried refuses. It's as though Rothbart doesn't want Siegfried to go shooting for swans, or find Odette, much less fall in love with her. But then, if Siegfried doesn't meet Odette, how does Rothbart know he will fall in love with the "real" Odile at the ball? The whole point of him of his infatuation with Odile is that she is transformed to resemble Odette.
  9. Very interesting to read this as I saw Valdes twice on the recent DC tour, and was surprised to see her at all (I thought she had already retired). I was rather disappointed in her Kitri and her dancing really showed her age. Arabesques penchees went barely above 90 degrees, she stumbled on her fabled fouettes, there were steps with the corps she marked to pace herself, and overall from the first act she looked tired, nervous, uninterested, or some combination of the three. Not to say it was completely a waste....she had some great instances of comedic timing and also attempted numerous balances--including one spectacular arabesque held at least 15 seconds where she was practically a statue--but those were isolated moments throughout a three-hour evening. However, much to my shock I loved her Giselle. It wasn't exceptionally acted, but it was like in the span of three days she became a decade younger. Her variations were so free and generous....the Spesivtseva was a master class in control, and her stage presence was unforgettable. Act I was quite a bit better than Act II, but even in Act II you believed the generosity of her spirit saving Albrecht. She didn't indulge in any balances or pyrotechnics and didn't need to. I was shocked that in such a lyrical role, she could be so captivating even if not in the traditional mold for a Giselle. The Kennedy Center roared for her in that performance in a way they didn't for the opening night (with Sadaise Arencibia in the title-role).
  10. According to People Magazine (admittedly not the best source), Balanchine offered to take her into NYCB if Paris Opera didn't want her. Surely, given her talent he probably thought the chances of that happening were slim to none. Guillem is interesting because while she had a quintessential Balanchine body, she was not, to my eyes, a Balanchine dancer in the least. She did perform some (not a lot) of his work at POB and Royal, but I sense his choreography didn't appeal to her.
  11. Fascinating....I had no idea Balanchine was even aware of Sylvie Guillem much less tried to invite her into his company. At the time of his death she would have been a coryphee. While he might have enjoyed her dancing, that is not to say he would have definitively enjoyed her in 2nd movement of Bizet.
  12. I didn't see the cinemacast but saw it live in London four times when it premiered. Macfarlane's design for the Act III ballroom is one of my favorites: rich, opulent, and slightly macabre. Video does not do it justice. I was less enthused about Act I: the gates and backdrop are fine, but the trees are indeed distracting and even the benches looked cheap. There is a very sterile, cold feel to Act I which I thought both Scarlett and Macfarlane accomplished in their choreography/designs; it's just not how I envision a prince's birthday party. The lakeside scenes are VERY darkly lit. The return to the corps in swan tutus is welcome, but the long skirts were the least of the previous production's problems. It cannot be overstated how hideous the Sonnabend designs were....as a 7-year-old I hated them. Marianela Nunez I previously saw in the Dowell production in 2011, and she is still one of my favorite dancers. At 36 her extension and back flexibility is declining, so the exposed adagio in Act II was not her strong point. But her Odile was wonderfully glamorous--a true Belle of the Ball as she seduced her Prince--and Act IV poignant and tragic. Sarah Lamb did not have the strength or security technically of a Nunez, but she had incredible detail in the mime, with her entrance scene performed about as well as I've ever seen it. Her Odile wasn't sensuous but rather sinister, calculating, and manipulative, and Act IV, like Nunez, was her stronger of the two white acts. There was something truly grave about her predicament in those final moments before her suicide. Akane Takada received much praise on the balletcoforum, but her O/O left me stone cold. Perhaps as a result of her Bolshoi training, she had some unmistakable Russian qualities in the ballet: sinuous rippling port de bras, high extensions, and even the Russian "non-whip" technique to her fouettes. But she didn't have the pathos, grandeur, or distinction the dual role deserves, though I found much to appreciate in her technique. Her performance in the pas de trois was dynamic, but while she has nice feet her there is something awkward about her right shoe (I believe to accomodate an injury), and in spite of a great jump she didn't even attempt entrechat six. Anyway, the production is no masterpiece, but I did enjoy it more than most on this forum. Rarely (ever?) does Swan Lake get every aspect of the music/designs/choreography/dancers right, and in comparison to Houston Ballet's production which I saw recently that got just about every aspect wrong (despite some fine performances), with the Royal's I felt like I was seeing Swan Lake. Given the vast number of unwatchable Swan Lakes out there, I'm just glad I don't have to add this one to the list.
  13. Drew, I believe it was Ramze's Act II variation with the four children that was restored from the notations, which Canbelto linked to above.
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