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Everything posted by EricHG31

  1. I belong to a number of athletic groups, and the main issue is how to deal with the current Russian laws against any homosexual propaganda in respect to the Olympics. I would love to open a discussion about if anyone has a feeling that this will play a part--or SHOULD play a part--in regards to watching current productions of Russian ballet, or of any dancers or people involved have discussed it? For me, personally, it seems to reflect a dangerous precedent with Germany when it was unstable in the 1930s. That may seem extreme, but I stand by that.
  2. Terrific review! Sandik said: "In the Stowell production for Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Godmother is the beggar in disguise. I hadn't really thought about the biblical reference, though, until I saw it performed again this autumn." I'm sure you already knew this--but this is how both of the original Soviet versions, the 1945 Zakharov production for the Bolshoi and the 1946 K. Sergeyev production for the Kirov staged it. Helene, not having seen Rossini's opera, does this version seem to use any other elements of its story besides the "switched identities" of the two men? Is the Fairy Godmother in the opera?
  3. I would have preferred one longer story ballet excerpt to three very short ones. Obviously the three excerpts allowed more dancers to appear, but it felt like a case of dumbing down, of expecting and catering to short attention spans. Exactly. Much easier for a mainstream audience to swallow, but I still laugh at the Ashford "Hullabaloo" era choreography for Cook's sequence last year.
  4. That IS ridiculous. I guess I was still pleased that watching with my family, so many non ballet dancers or fans were impressed. I am used to my own bit being shown on the Tonys for a second--and that's a theatre based awards, so to see anything actually on a major network seems like a plus to me. My mom did say, and it's true (IMHO) that it's much easer to get people involved with an excerpt from a pop song everyone knows and probably loves. I thought the acting with Hoffman came off worse (and I grew up thinking, like some here have said, he's pretty handsome.)
  5. I may be cynical--but this is how dance is filmed for TV now. I hated a lot of it--and we should want for more--but it's not even a new thing. Even the old "filmed in studio" versions of the classics we now have on DVD with the Royal Ballet, and the National Ballet here in Canada do the exact same thing. I am probably in the harsh minority but I think with widescreen the tendency has finally been more on the side of showing the full body, when filming things.
  6. Julie Kent looked wonderful. I agree with Helene and others--I was really kinda surprised nothing from On Your Toes was included--and dumbing down or not (and I admit I come from a Broadway background as a dancer), so many people I know who were first introduced to Makarova were so, because of that revival (I was three so I couldn't see it ). I thought it was a nice tribute, and I am so glad she got the tribute she was awarded. I hated how the ballet was filmed (when you can see dancers sweat, and not what you are meant to see it's always a bad choice), but I thought, Jimmy Kimmel's quip about "the ballerina" aside, I thought it was a good show.
  7. That looks like an absolutely beautiful production, though I can understand if a critic thinks the staging/storytelling is more interesting than the actual choreography (the effect in the trailer of the carriage travelling looks amazing). That's how I felt about his Alice as well, when I saw the National Ballet do it. Still, for a family story ballet, that's not all that bad of a thing.
  8. Makes you wonder why To entice him further to go with Lilac and wake her up?
  9. I grew up with bilingually--with a lot of the La Fontaine and Perrault fairy tales, but had to find, as a kid, both Hop O' My Thumb and the Blue Bird fairy tales after first watching Sleeping Beauty as a teen. With Hop, it seemed like it was Tom Thumb mixed with Jack and the Beanstalk--but the divertissement is done so well that any kid would understand what the basis of the plot is. Birdsall--completely agree with you about the Garland Waltz done with kids.
  10. I'll be sure to report. I'm a bit embarassed (and surprised) that I've never seen any Blanchine, or Robbins (outside of musical theatre--I loved the anniversay tour of West Side Story in the late 90s) in person. So I'm pretty excited. I only know Apollo and Robbins' Faun from the Jacques D'Amboise DVD (I know PNB like most companies does the final Balanchine edit of Apollo.) And I only know Agon and Rain from clips on youtube. I checked the tickets website, and the main floor is already nearly sold out, which I am really pleased with.
  11. Wright says *somewhere* that the contraption to have Sugarplum float like that proved too difficult to use. I've also heard that some doubt the historical accuracy of the moment, thinking it may have just been a staged photograph (of the original production) that didn't reflect the choreography, although Balanchine pays hommage to it as well, so I wonder... I prefer the Collier/Dowell version too, partly just because I'm a traditionalist and I don't feel the need for Clara and her Prince to dance in the divertissement, or some of the other changes that were made to the production. It kinda seems weird to me--Peter Wright's original goal was to use as much of the Ivanov as possible (though he already made the change to the story of having the Nutcracker be Drossmeyer's nephew), although from all interviews it seems as he was originally staging it he decided much of the Ivanov nottation wasn't useable (ie the original 60+ snowflakes, even though he said he tried to keep many of the same patterns, he couldn't have as many on stage, and said the actual steps they performed were too simple for modern audiences, and he disliked the Waltz of the Flowers which I believe was danced around a big basket of flowers.) I also dislike the design for the second Act--a candy kingdom shouldn't be all done in pink pastels (if you ask me)--the design for the original production of that shows a brightly coloured, nearly tropical place with palm trees, etc. But the First act is handsomly designed. There is a nonetheless fascinating interview with Peter Wright about the production and the Ivanoc authenticity that I know has been discussed here in past years. I thought it was on ballet.co.uk but with their new site format, a simple search didn't bring up anything.
  12. The Kirov/K Sergeyev version I know best is the one with Irina Kolpokova from the early 80s I believe (not the earlier film with her)--it was the first ballet video I ever bought (I now have the DVD), so holds a huge special place in my heart. I do think it has a fairly complete and imprssive Act III--the only thing I really miss and wish they would add is the charming Cinderella bit (it's so short--why not? ), and some of the mime like during Little Red's bit. I admit I also miss odd, but charming details from the reconstruction like Carabosse being at the wedding. I love that they still do the Hop O' My Thumb divertissement, though (I don't think any other current production I know of--aside from the reconstruction of course--does it, and I always like when they have these brief kids numbers--Mere Gignon in Nutcracker reminds me of it too.) I know there's always the temptation to cut the divertissements--it's late in the night, etc--ABT's production feels like the wedding is a rush job--but by that point of the night, personally, I like to relax and just watch the final dances. I have the "official" Bolshoi book of Sleeping Beauty (I have a similar book for Raymonda), that was released from some Soviet/American publisher (along with a number of other volumes I never found). Grigorovich explains his production, and he obviously put a lot of thought behind it-=-he felt that it was important to include bits like the spinning women at the top of Act I. I actually don't mind his staging--it's one of the better of the Grigorovich reconstructions, but before the redesign anyway (which I'm not all sold on) it did have horrible wigs, and Virsaladze, who did lovely designs for the Kirov's, does a much more abstract design here (which seemed to be what Grigorovich always got him to do--his work on his ballets is far more abstract than in Leningrad). He does include Cinderella (or did--I can't remember if she's in the new production), though no Hop O' My Thumb. The vision scene in the reconstruction makes a lot more sense than in Sergeyev's version. The choreography is often similar, but in the original it's clear that the naids (or whatever they're meant to be ) are always getting in the way and keeping the Prince just out of reach of Aurora.
  13. I just bought tickets for me and my Grandma (her Christmas present) for PNB's performance here in Victoria in late February. It's so rare to ever get ballet tours in Victoria, so I'm quite excited, particularly for my Grandma who loves ballet but unlike myself, can't travel to see it anymore. They're doing a mixed program of Agon, a pas de deux from Wheeldon's After the Rain (a piece I don't know), Apollo and Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun. (When ballet companies have come here before they've often had trouble with the small size of our two main theatres--both old vaudeville houses. The Kiev ballet came and did CInderella here when I was a teen in the 90s, and several dancers literally jumped into set pieces, or had other similar issues with spacing--so it's probably smart for PNB to do works without much corps work, or sets.)
  14. Cygnet, one thing you mentioned was Vikharev stagings for Tokyo--what productions have been done there? As I think I already said, I have a big soft spot for the Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty. I miss the mime (particularly in Act I), but I think it's a very good production overall, and I get why they want to keep it--I was fine with them keeping both it and the reconstruction, maybe just for special occasions, in the repertoire. The Kirov's La Bayadere already used the scenery from the 1900 production--right? (I could be wrong about that, but I thought it did.) That's a good point that we basically have been told that the final act was dropped due to the special effects--so why cut it now? But maybe they just feel it's too long... Regardless, there obviously are very strong feelings against these reconstructed productions--otherwise why go through all the expense of staging them, and then dropping them so quickly? Is the beautiful one act Awakening of Flora still ever performed? ANd I absolutely agree about the Swan Lake. While I'm not as keen on his production, Grigorovich did go back and change his happy ending for the Bolshoi after the fall of the Soviet regime--I wish someone would do the same for the Mariinsky's at the least. That said, I saw the Mikhailovsky production, based on the old Bolshoi staging, in Vancouver this Summer which has a happy ending. I largely loved the production (even the Jester...), but would have prefered the sad ending--but still thought the ending as staged worked better than it does as staged at the Mariinsky. But beyond your valid points, Canbelto, about the fairy tale elements now not making sense, Tchaikovsky's score doesn't support a happy ending either, IMHO. Yes, it goes to a major key change at the very end, but for me that supports the apotheosis with them reunited in death--not this grand ending with Rothbart killed.
  15. Cygnet--I am sure somone here can correct me, but the reconstruction of Bayadere was played even less than Beauty. I've read the book about all the issues behind the Beauty reconstruction--and I understand the thinking behind some of it. What I meant about my cynical thought was I think a DVD selling itself as a reconstruction of the original Sleeping Beauty--even if that could, and has been debated--would sell better than a lot of current ballet DVDs.
  16. I was going to write a (much delayed) post about seeing the Mikhailovsky's production of Swan Lake in Vancouver this past June, One thing I really noticed was the corps seemed to really be aware of that sensibility, even though the production stems from the Soviet era. Lines were softer, and it didn't feel imposed on them, the way it does sometimes (I agree with you Helene) in the Scala Raymonda. The K Sergeyev Sleeping Beauty remains my favorite of the filmed versions--I think partly because I grew up obsessed with the early 1980s video with Kolpokova, so in a way that is what ballet is for me. Seeing the reconstruction thanks to youtube has changed some of that, but I admit, I still think his version of the prologue is beautiful--if (largely without all of the mime) quite different. The New Years DVD you mention is a great document of Act III (as well as the brief scene before), The documentary about the Mariinsky, Sacred Stage also shows most of the vision scene from the previous act, albeit filmed more from the wings which I find annoying. I do wish the entire production had been filmed (it's still listed on their website repertoire so maybe it still can be) at the least to have a visual document of such a reconstuction. Honestly, at my most cynical, it seems like a wasted money opportunity for the company.
  17. Thanks to an exceptionally kind person on this forum, I was lucky enough to see the Raymonda telecast shortly after it aired. I've had a hard time paying off student loans, and with money in general, and actually didn't realize this had been released as a BluRay until a few months back. Finally watching it, all I can say is wow. While Sleeping Beauty holds a special place in my heart as the perfect classical ballet, Raymonda comes close. I think in it, particularly when you watch this reconstruction, you see Petipa taking ballet to its purest form. Which is probably why the story matters so little--and yet, I think this production shows that the story works better when it's not toyed with. The various Soviet era versions stip away the mime (and at least in Sergeyev's Kirov version, and by all accounts the current Bolshoi version) remove the White Lady, but I think that does it a diservice. The only thing missing from the reconstruction is more dancing for the men--though I shudder to think of a Nureyev moment of introspection (I admit, I've not seen his version of the ballet with the POB). (The moment with the piano, as mentioned above, is horrible--I hoped that was just something due to the telecast, but at least it's a variation we've been able to see many times before.) An amazing release--I only wish the Mariinsky's Sleeping Beauty reconstruction had been similarly filmed.
  18. I am very excited. I was a bit worried when I heard that the show, as a whole, would be choreographed by Rob Ashford--who I think has done some good things, but in the past has done a bad job at the Honours, as if everything he did was a hommage to Michael Bennett's Hullabaloo days (such as the men in this otherwise--music wise--great would be great Barbara Cook hommage )
  19. For a long time I've not been a Letterman fan, but I was pleased with this interview (she had the last slot before the song artist, and was given more time than they usually get.) Her hands looked SOOO cold, so I was glad that he gave her his jacket, but I thought it was a sweet, albeit short, interview, and she looked *gorgeous*. As my mom said, her face still looked so young--you can tell that there's so much power still within her.
  20. I haven't posted here in a while, but the little note in the New Yorker got me excited for this. I should have tried to watch it live--I've checked for about five days now, but the archive of the video (which at least does run smoothly) stops at 11 minutes, right when the dancing really starts, and they don't seem to have uploaded any of the rest! Extremely frustrating--this is the kind of thing that fascinates me. Hopefully the situation will be dealt with... http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22594157
  21. I took my mom to see this, this afternoon, and we loved everything... Except, about 30 minutes before the end of the final act, the video ended. We got refunds, but they claimed it was a problem with all of the West Coast feeds--did anyone have a similar experience? The theatre was PACKED, though largely with people 70+ years and older (by my guess--my mom made a joke about not being used to being one of the youngest people in the room). I did see a few people my age who, I assumed from overheard conversations, were ballet students.
  22. I did a search and didn't see this come up in other threads--my apologies if it has. In the John Lanchberry Tchaikovsky ballet recordings (which hold a special place for me because I got them on vinyl when I was 6 years old and still have their DuMaurier sponsored red sleeves), there is an added number for Nutcracker in the Act II Divertissement--a Gigue (danse Anglais). I've NEVER seen reference to this number--in Wiley's books on the ballets, in performance, or in Petipa's notes to Tchaikovsky. Does anyone know the source? And if not, were British jigs popular national dances in Russian courts back then?
  23. Eileen--thanks for such a great report. I've long wondered how the Balanchine Nutcracker changed when the NYCB moved venues. Obviously some of these changes were for TV, but it's still fascinating to compare.
  24. I don't think I was clear, but that's the same photo I've seen. This image shows the costume but not, obviously, in use I guess I always have wondered if they came *out* of her skirt or just on stage at the same time as her. This is probably the wrong thread but while we're discussing the original production, several books (and Wikipedia shares this) show two settings for Act II, I assume this one is for the opening (the journey scene? Wiley's notes are unclear and it sounds like the original notes are even less so) and then this (which is remarkably similar to ) Back to the telecast my other big issue was that so much seemed to be filmed from an upper right box, ruining many of the gorgeous patterns Balanchine created (I felt it was really well filmed for the first act, but once the Snow scene came that all fell apart). I think the more I compare the actual pas de deuxs from various productions--the more striking I find Ivanov's original (at least as done in the Royal Ballet Dowell/Collier clip) and how *musical* it is particularly contrasting Ivanov to Petipa (judging Petipa by the Sleeping Beauty PDD and Raymonda where he often choreographs more to the rhythm of the music than the actual music). One thing I will add is I DO like Blanchine's use of the Sleeping Beauty entr'acte music. The similarities to the tree growing music are so strong, and it works--as does his whole first act.
  25. As a kid, Mother Ginger wa my favorite part. From photographs it looks more like a man in drag with ballet students (similar I guess to the Hop O' My Thumb divertissement from Sleeping Beauty)-- Does anyone know if the skirt lifting part, with the students coming from under was in the original ballet, or added by Balanchine, or someone else?
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