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The Bard's Ballerina

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Everything posted by The Bard's Ballerina

  1. Chiming in, a little belatedly.... Yesterday was one of those epiphanic ballet experiences that, sadly, don't come along too often. I had always appreciated Balanchine before (I'm pretty good at knowing good choreography when I see it), but I never truly loved it before. The whole program was superb. I could nitpick here and there, but with 99.9% pure perfection, I don't really see the need. Some special highlights in the individual performances: -- Veronica Lynn and Christina Fagundes were both utterly radiant in Divertimento No. 15, as was the man that I assume was Charles Askegard (big, blond god-like dancer) -- Jennifer Kronenberg and Eric Quillere in the Agon pdd -- was this really the couple I found only "OK" in Rubies on Thursday? They were fantastic, especially the sultry Jennifer. -- Calvin Kitten's infectious energy in Tarantella ppd -- absolutely everyone in 4Ts -- the orchestra Looking forward to more this week!
  2. Last night was my first introduction to any of these ballets, on video or otherwise (except for Manuel Legris in the male solo variation from Square Dance on the Balanchine Celebration Part I video), so my comments are a "newbie"'s impressions. First, I have to say that the Joffrey looked great. I think they definitely need to come back to the Ken Cen for a full program (I did see them last time they were here, which was three(?) years ago). Nothing flashy or "virtuoso" in their dancing. They just made everything look so beautiful and easy; their musicality was noteworthy as well. And they proved that women with a variety of body types can look great performing Balanchine choreography. I was less than impressed with the caller, however. I didn't have a problem with the IDEA of the caller, but he could have been more with the music (he did get better as he went along). Also, the music could have been louder. As for Mozartiana, I liked Ananiashvili much better in the Theme and Variations section than in the Preghiera. In the Preghiera, I kept imagining what Suzanne Farrell must have looked like, which was distracting. In the T&V section, however, Nina A. seemed much more at home, sort of a "Kitri does Balanchine" interpretation. She danced beautifully throughout, though, and the male dancers, with their rapid footwork, were impressive also. Miami City Ballet was sort of a letdown for me. Particularly in Stars and Stripes, they didn't have the precision and crispness I was expecting. The BIG, BIG exception was Sally Ann Isaacs, who was absolutely FABULOUS in Rubies. Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero, on the other hand, were almost bland as Liberty Bell and El Capitan. All in all, it was a satisfying evening. A good variety of Balanchine choreography, and definitely performed very, very well, even though in spots I wanted even more. [This message has been edited by The Bard's Ballerina (edited September 15, 2000).]
  3. Thanks for your review, Jeannie -- I knew we could count on you for an immediate and (as always) candid evaluation! Hopefully, I will not burst before my first chance to see a performance, which won't be until tomorrow night.
  4. I'm seconding Libby's thank you. The Royal Ballet is coming to the Kennedy Center next year, so at least I'll be familiar with some of the names, if not the faces. Please keep us updated!
  5. Let me just say that I have absolutely nothing against bringing children to ballets (or other cultural events) that are appropriate for their age and attention span. In fact, I think it's wonderful to expose children to the world of "high culture" at an early age (but only when they're old enough to have some understanding of what they're seeing). My problem is with the parents who (1) don't pre-assess the program for its child-appropriateness, and (2) don't instruct their children on proper etiquette. The mother I wrote of above did neither and, as a result, the child was bored and ill-behaved. Changing the topic: another "ballet rage" pet peeve of mine would be the women (and men) who insist on dousing themselves with cologne until they absolutely reek.
  6. I have to go with Ken on the young children. I went to a Washington Ballet performance a few years ago where the program was mixed rep, definitely NOT aimed at children, but the woman next to me brought her four-year old. Throughout the ENTIRE performance, I had to listen to running commentary from this annoying child and her irresponsible mother: "Is she dead?" (there was a lot of lying around and dragging on the floor that day) "No, honey, she's just pretending." "Is he dead?" "Why are they all running around like that?" "I don't know, honey." "What's happening now?" and on and on. And on. I did NOT appreciate having spent half a day's pay to listen to these people. After the performance, the woman smiled apologetically at me and shrugged. I was so irate that I just glared at her and walked out in the opposite direction.
  7. http://www.nytimes.com/library/dance/06160...0swan-lake.html Anna Kisselgoff's review of Swan Lake (highly favorable) refers to Belotserkovsky and Dvovorenko as just-promoted principals, which, if correct, should make a lot of Ballet Talkers very happy.
  8. "Relentlessly scarlet" is an awfully poetic description of the Opera House decor. I think "gaudy, Hilton-hotel red" would have been my choice. You must have been rather overwhelmed by it, since you didn't pick up on the fact that the ushers do in fact wear bright red jackets. Anyway, the main reason for my response is to tell you that your usher Aida is my usher friend, and she was absolutely tickled when I showed her that she'd been mentioned BY NAME in your review!
  9. Yikes! I finally got around to reading your review above, and ABT's flawed perfomance last night is looking better and better.
  10. Thanks for your mention of Giselle, cargill. It reminded me of San Francisco Ballet and the casting of Muriel Maffre as Myrtha rather than as Giselle. I understand she was absolutely riveting (unfortunately, I saw a different cast with one of those Myrthas who look like they're waving a stick around on stage and feeling really silly doing it). One example of emploi in the ballet world today! Perhaps someone more familiar with SFB can comment on whether the company as a whole may be a last bastion of emploi, or whether Maffre just has an excellent sense of her own strengths. Apparently, she's also outstanding as the queen bug in The Cage -- sorry, can't remember the official name of that role at the moment. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see her in that either... [This message has been edited by The Bard's Ballerina (edited February 19, 2000).]
  11. I like that you've started this thread, Marc. I look forward to reading others' opinions, and I know that I don't have nearly the experience of many on this board, but I do have some basic thoughts on the matter. First, I think that there has definitely been a relaxation of emploi and that ABT provides a good example in Paloma Herrera. Herrera fans, please don't throw things at me! She's just someone I've had the opportunity to see on several occasions. I've now seen her live in Theme and Variations and as Gamzatti in La Bayadere and on tape in the ABT Now video and Le Corsaire. I can't complain TOO much about the taped performances, especially as Kitri in the ABT Now tape, but I would have to say that the live performances were almost painful to watch. The broken wrists and flailing arms in Theme and Variations almost had me screaming, and as Gamzatti, she seemed completely unprepared to the point that she seemed to be inventing her variations as she went along; even her turns were uncharacteristically awful. From ABT's cast listing for the Met performances, it looks like she'll be dancing the lead in virually every ballet this spring, but in my opinion, her performances would be much stronger if she really focused on the details in a few roles that suit her (like Kitri) instead of trying to learn everything out there. She's a dancer with talent and charisma to spare (I had actually been looking forward to seeing her as Gamzatti--I had thought she would be wonderful, with her expressive feet), but I can't bear to watch her in these underrehearsed and incomplete characterizations. I suspect that the reasons for casting her so much are twofold: (1) she's extremely popular and sells tickets; and (2) I assume that being so young, she probably thinks that more is better. Just my 2 cents' worth. Please feel free to agree or disagree as you will. I realize that I've twisted the specific topic of "emploi" more into a complaint against "too much too soon," but I think the two concepts are interrelated. I don't want to stifle anyone's artistic development, but I don't think that every dancer was meant to dance every role, especially not all at the same time!
  12. Barb's idea about an internship is a good one. Definitely look into it -- arts organizations are always looking for cheap (or free) labor. Many, many moons ago, a friend of my sister's interned with the Atlanta Ballet doing public relations. It was, alas, an unpaid internship but she did get the inside view on how a ballet company works. She also got to give away some tickets, so my sister and I got to see the ballet for free several times that summer!
  13. Ballet Person of the Millenium: Petipa Ballet Person of the Century: Balanchine Ballet of the Century: Nutcracker, love it or hate it (yes, I know it's originally 19th century, but you have to admit that it's the one ballet that's been absolutely ubiquitous in the 20th century -- from the Kirov and NYCB to dance school recitals everywhere)
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