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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. trieste

    Alisa Sodoleva

    I stumbled upon bits of Alisa Sodoleva's Swan Lake on YT... I had to wonder: Where have they been hiding this gem? Forgive me, I don't know how to embed videos here, but I'd like to share the links... Here's her Odette: http://www.youtube.com/embed/mnqs1i7eDxY And Odile: http://www.youtube.com/embed/4ALK-LkdULo I was impressed with both, though there's a particular wicked charm to her Odile. Striking facility, commendable acting, and rare versatility that makes both roles equally engaging. I see her as that rare type that's willowy without being too distant, commanding but not cold - a la Plissetskaya. I know this is likely a controversial opinion, and I don't mean to cast any shade on Stepanova, but I enjoyed Sodoleva's O/O better and I had never heard of her before!
  2. trieste

    Mathilde Froustey

    I'm very happy for her! It seems she's being given space to grow at SFB, which seemed a bit lacking at POB. I think they passed up a future great. Her technique and presence are phenominal; though she's known for modern and romantic works, I think she'll be splendid in the big classical roles when she gets there, and I hope she does soon! I imagine her O/O will be gorgeous, warm, subtle and unique.
  3. Everyone is saying "male Sylph" - I say female James! That I'd like to see. The only example of female/female romance or anything close to it in ballet is Neumeier's Sylvia, which I'm quite fond of, though I may be biased... I'll take Aurelie Dupont and Marie Agnes Gillot together any day over the sausage fests that tend to happen when choreographers decide to introduce realistic diversity. I really don't understand why this area of romantic/sexual experience is ignored in ballet - there are so many reasons it could work: giving 2 ballerinas top billing, being "topical", the potential for selling tickets with titillation (which has never been something ballet has shied from, let's be honest...) Are there any other works I'm missing that have even a hint of this?
  4. I could see him getting some roles in action movies as a "Russian bad guy"... I'd imagine his physical conditioning would serve him well in that.
  5. For me the cringe-worthy thing about the "har har look, I'm making ballet funny!" type of joke Taylor Swift pulls here is the implication that ballet is inherently humorless, and only by breaking out of the art form and introducing contrast can it be funny. I'm sure I don't have to list the rep of comedic ballets, classic and modern - even most of the serious 19th century ballets have funny bits that can be laugh out loud moments for the right actors/dancers. More importantly, does anyone here recognize the girls/company in the video? I'm seeing familiar faces but having trouble putting names to them.
  6. Here is the problem. You are watching it as though it's purely or primarily a sport. As though the classical pas de deux's only context is, as you said, to "display the female dancer's grace, line, and balance" as a short program or routing in figure skating or gymnastics would. But this not the only context - in fact, it can be negligible when appraising the work as a whole. Ballet is an art form. The dancers move the way they do in classical PDD not only to "display" themselves but to tell the story (often the entire process of falling in love in 10 minutes or less!) and illustrate the music in a way that they have been trained to do since childhood. When you get to a certain echelon of dance ability, strength and flexibility are more or less taken for granted. You begin to observe the details - the "fragrance" of the movements, all in millisecond variations of timing, incremental differences in angles of the joints that give vastly different emotional impressions. The use of the eyes and face, fingers and wrists and feet. You will learn to watch feet in a way some might consider creepy. You cannot watch ballet as sport - not because it isn't athletic enough to be one, but because to do so is to miss nearly everything worth seeing! Watch a ballet from beginning to end, one with a strong emotional/narrative element. Attune yourself to the story, music, aesthetic richness, acting. Like you would an opera, musical, painting, poem... anything but sports! Right now you are only seeing the very tip of the very surface of the iceberg. I hope that I and other users here can help you get into the right mindset to appreciate this beautiful art form. It is so very worth it, and not as hard as it sounds! It will click for you.
  7. Please delete if there is already a discussion thread! I'm just beginning to watch the finals now. So far all I have to say is... WOW! Specifically, in regards to Sae Maeda. I want to know more about her training, because there's a harmony to her quality of movement that I haven't seen out of many Japanese trained dancers. I initially thought that she was trained abroad, but apparently not? Does anyone know more about this girl or have more videos of her dancing? I'm excited to see her career. It's rare that I get such a strong impression from a competition performance -- I find them robbed of artistry in the name of technique. But I didn't feel anything missing from Maeda's performance. My dear balletomanes -- Who stood out to you, for better or worse? More later when I have time to watch it all. I've been absent from the board because of finally getting a job, and I miss ballet and all of you! It's good to be back.
  8. While I don't have any answers in regards to historical precedent, I have to say, overall... I find the Nutcracker a sweet, sticky mess of a ballet. I'd be interested to see a reconstruction, but as a whole the Nutcracker is fluff; the junk food of the classical rep. I often hear people say they have trouble taking Coppelia seriously, but I'd rather see Coppelia any day over the Nutcracker, given an equally talented cast...or even a slightly inferior one. But Coppelia has always been a favorite, and I did spend a good portion of one of my childhood years getting the Nutcracker drilled into my head for a December performance, so I admit bias. Because of it being a train wreck in my eyes, I prefer when Clara and Fee Dragee are merged. I only say this because there's no significant plot... I just want to see the dance and hear the music, without being asked to invest in such a flimsy story. Are there any somewhat traditional Nutcracker productions that manage to pull a genuinely compelling story out of the concept? Compelling to adults as well as children, that is -- not that there's anything wrong with a kid-friendly ballet!
  9. It makes me happy that diversity is becoming more common, but really... It's ridiculous that we still see so few dancers of color that we're surprised to see them! Sometimes it really does seem ballet is stuck firmly in the past. In what other art forums would a post like this even exist? (Sorry I have no answers for you; I'm sure one of our many New Yorkers will be able to help you!)
  10. Wonderful! Wish we had gotten one here at the Joffrey. (Or a MCB tour as someone mentioned...)
  11. trieste

    Yuan Yuan Tan

    Miteki Kudo and Alice Renavand at POB! But Yuan Yuan Tan is brilliant.
  12. The cast of the Mariinsky jewels is interesting... it's recent, but aside from obvious exceptions, where have all those dancers gone in terms of being promising up-and-comers? Casting and promotion there is as mysterious as always.
  13. Bah... how much I'd love to see Ould-Braham or Froustey (still a sujet!) or Renavand in a Sylphide! Not that Dupont isn't wonderful, but she and Letestu are so over represented in the POB DVD ouvre. I really hope this upcoming generation gets their promotions and DVD recordings just as the previous one did...there are some real stars there.
  14. A recent photo of the Paris Opera Ballet corps all lined up as wilis from Giselle... I believe it was a promotional for the recent US tour. And really...any photo of Tanaquil Leclerq. Her face and form is so photogenic... I can't think of another dancer that is as uniformly stunning in photos. I know this isn't quite what the thread is asking for but I really couldn't pick...
  15. Yep, that's the only reason I'm at all surprised -- I figured it would have happened already if it was going to happen. And after the recent discussion on how it can be hard for dancers to move freely from company to company (Lunkina, and Dupont wanting to guest with ABT), I find it unlikely that he and his reputation for drama will draw many offers.
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