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Everything posted by trieste

  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. 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.
  16. Thank you for the heads up! I'm not familiar with the company or choreographer, but I loved Lera Auerbach's score to the Neumeier Little Mermaid.
  17. trieste

    Olga Smirnova

    I feel like everyone is saying different things about her O/O... I personally perceived it as a brilliant, mature first outing, without that undulating fluttering motion some dancers plaster across the choreography. And fast single fouettes! For me, many things to like. For others, many things to talk about. In any case, worth watching if it merits this much discussion.
  18. trieste

    National Dancers?

    This is perhaps slightly off topic, but I must ask... who would be considered a quintessential Royal ballerina? And in what specific pieces? Could someone supply me with examples? I feel like I'm missing something crucial, so this is a sincere request -- please PM me with videos, if you'd rather not derail the thread for this. Of course I've watched some clips and full length filmings from them, but to be honest, I've never been all that charmed by any RBS ballerinas I've seen. Yes, I know it's sacrilege, but this includes Margot Fonteyn for the most part... As for contemporary talent, native dancers like Sara Lamb and Cuthbertson leave me cold. The only dancer from them that regularly excites me is Melissa Hamilton, who has had substantial Russian training.
  19. Nice to know, and I believe there is a place in my area, but... I look forward to the day when the Bolshoi acknowledges its ballerina talent beyond Zakharova. Not that she isn't great, but there's so much more to the company. I just don't feel compelled to go because of the monotony of it.
  20. Oh no Kathleen! My bottom line is that when people are on a budget, they're less likely to take a risk on these things. Which comes back to the relative invisibility of the arts...
  21. Even when I was a child, the amount of performing arts on TV was much higher. As I recall, in addition to PBS, Bravo and A&E used to air such things. Looking at their programming now is depressing. Art is so far removed from the public consciousness -- in any form, really. And yes! I am always incredibly grateful when there's an effort to make things accessible. One of the POB Giselles (Osta and Le Riche) was simulcast in Millenium Park's Pritzker Pavillion on a huge screen. Free and absolutely packed, all the way out into to the green. Plenty of couples, families, dance students, random teenagers, all dressed casually and enjoying the performance. Plus there was typical park food, beer and hot dogs. It gave me an idea of how many people would go to see these performances if they were cheaper and more casual. Usually when I see people my age or younger at the ballet, they're accompanied by older people who are presumably footing the bill for the evening, taxi included -- or an occasional couple on what can be assumed is a 'fancy' a date. Quite a different experience than my solitary public transit schlep before the POB's opening performance.
  22. Just to chip in...as a 20 something non-dancer who got into ballet in the last 3 years out of writing research (of all things), ballet can be too expensive for my demographic -- most of which is saddled with student debt. To see top tier performances, one often has to travel. I don't have money for this, and many don't have time or money. And tickets for local performances here in Chicago, whether with touring companies or the Joffrey or Ballet Chicago, typically start at no less than $35. I paid much more than that when ABT and Paris Opera Ballet came into town. For most people in my age group, bang for buck is a factor. A $20 used videogame worth 40 hours of enjoyment and $15 a month for Netflix is far more economical and accessible. Honestly, I don't think ballet will reach the young or the working class any time soon. I get emails from some of my local theatres that disgust me in terms of their attitude -- the emphasis is on how 'fancy' the classic performing arts are, and clearly target people much older and richer than I. They don't court the young at all, they court the moneyed middle aged. Plus, there's a massive disengage in my generation from the classic performing arts, and performing arts in general. An allergy to all things considered 'snobby'. There are many who will spend hundreds or thousands on movies, video games, various 'geek' interests, but have really never thought of taking an interest in the arts. It's just not on the radar, or its considered inaccessible (which it is, really), or expensive (again, which it is).
  23. Wonderful news! I'm sure she'll do well and really hope someone gets clips online.
  24. Yes, those pirouettes hurt. Boring to watch and seemingly miserable for Skorik to dance. I would maybe take her as Odette, but Fateyev seems to forget that Odette is not the whole art form -- particularly seeing as the same dancer is then required to dance a dramatically different role. Odette is fairly inconsequential to me, and I'd argue for varying degrees of this sentiment in anyone who loves ballet. Who would want nothing but lovely Odettes? I'd be bored to tears. As for Martinyuk, I love the way she dances Kitri. To hell with 100% perfect classical form in variations like this. I prefer an energetic, almost character approach. If the dancer is very proper, very fussy, I almost certainly won't enjoy their Kitri. The thing about Skorik is that she isn't energetic, and she isn't proper either. I can't imagine anything I'd like her in...except maybe Odette.
  25. I'm dying to see how she'll fare in the second act. I'm not sure I've seen her in a role with such bombast as Odile (or with as much turning as that). I can't imagine her Odette as anything short of magical.
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