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Everything posted by Katharyn

  1. If the curtain lifts to a lone chair on stage, you know you're in for a long night...
  2. I just wanted to add my congratulations as well. Lana has always been a star and it is an absolute joy to watch her dance. Since joining the Australian Ballet she has gone from strength to strength. She was always lovely to me back when we were 12-14ish and always very singleminded and determined. I can't think of a more deserving dancer. It does make me feel better though - I was in many eisteddfords and competitions against her and always lost. At least now I know it was her abundance of talent rather than my lack there of
  3. Ahh.. Thats a great review Chauffeur - who i had the absolute pleasure of meeting (and her beautiful - and talented I hear, as I couldn't help questioning her aussie teacher - daughter). Mostly I think you're comments are fair. Baynes always has this great promise about his works but there is always something missing... and i think its too easy to blame it on lack of rehearsal time. I placed no expectations on the night, but waited with anticipation of seeing justine again. The opening Imaginary Masque started almost before I had a chance to read the programme notes and as such, all I anticipated was a beautiful show. And thats what I got. I interpreted the end as the illusion ending. It was imaginary after all, and eventually such ruminations end... Dancing was mostly adequate but not outstanding here. Kirsty Martin was a standout for me as few can match her model looks and spectacular line. She is truly a star. There were awkward moments in partnering that distracted the eye and took away from the prettiness. Ultimately I found masque to be the most unfulfilling and I suppose I walked away wanting some meat with my 3 vege. Unspoken Dialogues was certainly a talking point among the older ladies of the audience. Before the event, anticipation of seeing 'Our Justine' and 'Our Steven' was high... and after: the music caused a stir and any complained about the jarring sound. It’s safe to say that the pas de deux was not the saccharine that the audience was expecting. It was a tussle between them, angular and occasionally ugly. Confronting in that there was no resolution, just a sigh of acceptance and an end. I’ve always found the rapport those two have to be very special… So to see them in this piece fighting against each other yet clinging together was quite difficult for this viewer! Physically, Justine is the opposite of the long, aristocratic lines we had just experienced in Masque. She is so incredibly petite with an open wide eyed face... And has always paired beautifully with the handsome Heathcote. It was interesting to see the changes in her body – before she was very thin but still soft and feminine looking. Now she is very thin but hard. Her little calves were like rocks stuck in her tights! As a finale I loved the mood and the spirit of El Tango. I’ve always loved watching classical dancers when they feel they can ‘cut loose’, and providing such a rich latin mood really let them go for it. Lindy Wills was, as I expected, fabulous here. Give her a role with an element of drama and she works it to the end! Surprisingly Josh Horner ended up being sex on legs also. He was the most understated of them men, but he just oozed sexuality. At one stage, I found myself wiping drool from the corner of my mouth… On the same token, I couldn’t watch Matthew Trent because even in this piece he didn’t let go of being the prince. He also has a unique sense of musicality that really goes against the way I feel rhythm. Its funny Chauffeur, the reason you thought Lindy was not suited in her role was the reason I believed it. For those that have never seen her, she has incredible feet, enormous almond shaped eyes and a long roman nose. She is the most dramatic looking person I’ve ever seen! I thought it worked that she tried to be so self assured and in control when of course she wasn’t. I thought her appearance contrasted with the fragile character and just worked. I thought the structure was odd however, and thought the fugata could’ve come nearer the end… But still, the brilliant set, costuming and music all just worked for me! In the end, this showcase of dancers in new under rehearsed work was a mixed bag but with further development I think it could be a really great triple bill because it was well rounded and casted
  4. Ahhh.. Thankyou Chauffeur - a great review! I agree with so much of what you've written... I think that this swan lake should remain titled as such ... some of it is still true to the spirit of the original fairy tale. I know the idea of the leading lady being in an insane asylum has been done to death, but this retelling is fabulous - well conceived and developed. Judging by how difficult tickets have been to get to this show, i'd say the vast majority agree.. I love steven heathcote and am eternally loyal - but i really think he's getting on in years and its beginning to show. The thickening of his whole body gives him a grounded look that he never used to have. He still has that long noble line, but the jumps are not as effortless as they once were. However your observations are what i've always thought - he's the most perfect partner imaginable! I'll be thrilled to see him with Justine Summers soon, because they always made a picture perfect couple - her delicate blonde legginess against his dark handsome looks. I love Lucinda Dunn, but I can be sure that Lynette wills would've made a better baroness. Lynette is one of the most superb character dancers that the company has - her imperial looks are perfectly manipulated for these sorts of roles. Lucinda is still a bit cutesy, imo... She has developed into a real ballerina and a really juicy dancer at that - but still lacks that amount of depth in her characterisation. I think you are being kind to the corps - the past few times i've seen them they've been sloppy. I don't know if they think the work of the corps is beneath them (despite a substantial amount to work with in Murphys swan lake) but I've noticed a huge amount of slapdash dancing. You may be interested to know that they teach a vaganova based syllabus at the Australian Ballet School, however.
  5. I don't know of an elegant way to respond to criticism... I'm not convinced there is one. I suppose you just have to rise above it and prove the critic wrong on the stage. Not to flog a cliche or anything...
  6. In the case of a reviewer panning a dancer or choreographer, any response from the artist just sounds like an excuse. If you put in a substandard performance then even the best of reasons doesn't alter the fact it was a substandard performance. The audience purchases its right to like or dislike a performance either through ticket price, or sitting through it without falling asleep. It is certainly not the audiences job to overlook mediocrity because the artist is having a bad night/the budget got cut/the lighting guy has bad breath... So I would definitely roll my eyes a little if i read a plaintive little response to a bad review. So I'm not so sure this is that different... Here the writer attacks the choreographers approach to choreography and to the art of dance in general. Granted, most of what he said was ludicrous enough to warrant a response either way... But at the end of the day, wasn't the artist just defending himself (or at least Murphy defending Petriono in his absence) against the same sort of criticism levelled at anyone else putting themself in the public eye? The writer said that the show suffered from a needless chase of profundity - what can you say to that? I should also note that the original article did not feature as a review, although it read as one.
  7. guest artist.. unfortunately! I'm not sure if this is touring - it seems a triple especially created for small stages!
  8. well, thats about as clever as my titles are going to get this evening as pepsi supplies are low... I have followed with a mixture of incredulity and amusement a series of two articles published by Dance Australia. In the first, an article/review by James Ferguson, the Sydney Dance Company's new work 'underland' (choreographed by Stephen Petronio) was absolutely ripped to shreds. I have never read anything quite in the same spirit. Here's a few snippets of Mr Ferguson's pearls of wisdom, hopelessly taken out of context for maximum impact ;). 'It is really high time people realised... that dance, being a non-verbal medium, is unsuited to the transmission of ideas' 'When dance shows try to "transmit" ideas, they at best make tokenistic visual references to politically correct attitudes assumed to be shared by their audiences. These flimsy references might inspire cosy feelings of self righteousness... but fail to say anything worthwhile. It is nothing more than ideological name-dropping'. 'A grand jete is a grand jete is a grand jete. All we can do is admire it for itself'. 'any dance move at all, has no social or political meaning...' He then goes on to rip apart the choice of music (Nick Cave being 'a second rate Leonard Cohen, trying to redeem his misspent junky youth with his own peculiar brand of Bible-bashing'), the costuming ('costumes are for characters in story's not the serious discussion of ideas') and finishing by begging for a little bit of art for arts sake ('let the dancers dance - and let us be glad of that') I recall reading this article out to the family because it was just so vicious. Track to a few months later, and Graham Murphy - artistic director of the Sydney Dance Company - has bitten back. He put forth the dancer's side of the argument, particularly in relation to dance transmitting ideas and the use of costuming and music. I can't help wondering how many other artists who've been given bad reviews wish they had this opportunity to respond! Good on Dance Australia for allowing SDC to counter what I consider an unfair attack.... But I wonder, where it will end? Will Ferguson defend his opinion in the next issue? Will this turn into a mudslinging match of biblical proportions..? Well, unlikely... but I still found it interesting... Should column space be used for artists trying to defend their work?
  9. I have my tickets for Southern Lights in hand and am starting to get excited! For those not in the know, Southern Lights is a triple bill being staged by the Australian ballet. It is comprised of 2 world premiers (Imaginary Masque, Unspoken Dialogues) and an australian premiere (El Tango). In a strange twist of fate these are all choreographed by Stephen Baynes. But the most remarkable thing about this season is the return of everyone's favourite Justine Summers. She left a few years ago due to arthritis in her poor over worked feet. I read an interview recently that said she has been working carefully using pilates and really honing her technique and she feels she can dance again, better than before! Any other Aussies planning to see this?
  10. I know this was a long time ago, but I can't help become a smidge defensive when my precious AB's capabilities is brought into question. Here you have the best of what Australia has to offer, many of whom are dancers frequently pilfered by other international companies... You can generally be sure they won't be an affront to the eyes In any case, when this was staged it received very good reviews - particularly newly promoted Kirsty Martin in Agon. minor PM moment - chauffeur - i have spoken to you on another forum! hello! I hope you go to see Southern Lights (which I'm about to start an excited thread about) at the Canberra Theatre while you are here (and I hope you come and visit me at work - I have been questing everyone with an American accent to see if they are you!) I thought Murphy's Swan Lake was magnificent, but I love Murphy's work. I think it would've been a better choice, simply because it is an australian work performed by australian dancers at one of the most beautiful skylines in australia
  11. I'd go back and look but my internet is cantankerous this evening. Someone wrote they found Allegra Kents 'Once a Dancer' more disturbing than Gelseys book(s)... having completed Kent's book for the umpteenth time this evening (i love holidays!) I would have to wholeheartedly agree. I wanted to reach into the book and shake her. Here was someone completely out of control of her life, blindly following whatever the newest stranger in her life told her to the last letter. Following instructions with absolutely no thought for what was actually sane and sensible. Her manipulative relationship with her mother is particularly disturbing. If Gelsey was hell bent on destruction, it was from her own choices. Allegra didn't seem to have enough of a spine to make any decisions herself. Am i being very acidic? Yes.. but the book has infuriated me. Eventually she was put on antidepressants indicating she was unwell. Still, I have never read a book of someone so irresponsible and unwilling to take charge of their own life. *shakes head* Of course her eccentricities are probably what made her great. (Edit: I went a little over the top with my criticism)
  12. At the cinemas the other night, my viewing of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was interupted by the bass coming through from the nightclub above. It was noticable only through the quiet moments in the movie.. or indeed when one song was particularly 'hi nrg' ... A polite complaint to the ticket office and I got a number of comp tickets. I'm trying that next time i see a disaster of a performance. Ballet is exciting because it is human. There's this exciting possibility that the sublime could be touched.. or that the lead could fall on her backside. But a sloppily rehearsed performance is not an accident - its poor planning and poor management and from someone like the Royal (or a similarly reputed company who charge large amounts for tickets) there's no excuse. That said, if I'm paying 20 dollars to see a performance I'll expect something different than I would when paying $120. Cast changing is often unavoidable. However when you rarely get a chance to see the ballet for regional or financial reasons and you save yourself up for one particular dancer... You have a right to be miffed. I put on dance parties and if our headliner doesn't show there is no other option than to offer refunds to those who want it. I find it audacious that anyone would be told to put up and shut up if they're cranky about cast changes... Who's the customer here?? Incidentally - I would agree that critics should simply call it as they see it. But then i'm not much of a molly coddler
  13. Feet. Maybe its just australia, but I rarely see men with neat footwork and I find it difficult to watch a male dancer slop around with his size 10 feet. Large feet are not easily missed... *nods primly*
  14. Simone Goldsmith has announced her intention to retire. According to her partner, she wants to pursue new avenues 'after 20 years of doing the same thing' I think its a terribly great loss for the company, because she is a unique talent. Her cool blonde looks and amazing line won't be easy to replace... But I'm sure she has many talents yet to be tapped. Her last performance will be in December, I believe! Nicole Rhodes has also announced that she won't be performing for the first half of next year and won't commit to anything more... I wonder about this pattern - it's almost like dancers are seeing their careers simply as a stepping stone on their way to something else. While I applaud the fact they have long term plans and know they won't be able to dance forever, it seems like dancers are leaving at increasingly young ages. Why is this? Are they starting too young? Are the increased physical demands putting too much stress on the ol' body? Chatting to corps members, they all talk of what they want to do next (things like being a pilot or engineer)... So maybe its just within the Aussie Ballet culture? Either way I'll certainly miss Simone!
  15. oh no no no.. don't get me wrong, I don't want to start any rumours! But he has been talking about it for a few years, talking about leaving and 'getting a life' if you will. He is getting a bit older, and I think the time will come soon... It will be hard replacing such an audience favourite though! Justine Summer's pointe shoes are still empty, imo. I can't wait to see her in southern lights!
  16. hmm, its funny but I've seen him dance several times and I can't remember him at all. It seems that the Aussie Ballet is trying to build his profile, however, possibly with the retirement of Steven Heathcote looming....
  17. *sniffs* what better way to get back at an egotistical, difficult ballerina than for her partner to say 'oh no, much too fat' then walk away with a smirk on his face. although i do like Drews slant of the jilted lover exacting his revenge.
  18. unbelievable! grace, you shouldn't have to put up with that sort of unprofessional treatment... who on earth do they think they are ?? for them to suggest your review would jeopardise their funding is ridiculous - your criticism of the night being turned into a PR spectacle was well within your rights as a critic. As has already been noticed, you were still generous in your praise... i'm absolutely flabbergasted.
  19. grace, i've been spending some time thinking how to formulate a response to what happened to you. i'm afraid i'm completely flabbergasted by their treatment as i've always considered you such an ambassador for the company... reading what i wrote just then about the australian ballet seems a hundred times more inflammatory than your review (attacking the standard, etc) ... and yet i would never expect anything to come of it. but i'll save my response for that particular thread.
  20. Helena! You are officially my hero!!!! I've been unable to remember Jean Ure's name for years - I kept thinking it was Orr, or Ore... Thankyou! Now maybe I'll be bale to find that trilogy she wrote that I loved so much. Thanks again!
  21. I borrowed the Drina books off my ballet teacher when I was around 10. When I was 13/14ish, I was wandering around a trash and treasure market early one sunday morn and there on a blue rug was the entire series (minus book 7) for $2.50. Needless to say they now take pride of place on my bookshelf. I love the innocence of these books, the way they try and make Drina out to be a spitfire when she's really not. Those priggish english books really strike a chord with me (but I was always an Enid Blyton fan as well) . You know, there is another series that I loved, but darned if I can remember what it was called. it was trilogy about a young dancer... I loaned the books to my teacher and they were lost in a move I remember the second book was called "waiting in the wings" by Jean somebody. Gee I loved those books.... But now they are out of print and I can't remember her name, I doubt I'll ever know edit: omygoodness! too exciting!!! someone posted the name on the other thread.. Jean Ure... must go thank her
  22. well, certainly this was a long time ago... But will someone hand me a bucket? The idea is sacchrine and over the top. I think even as a 6 yr old, I would've seen through the tizziness and fairy wings to what was really being pedalled here. (I recall a cute story about a tiny 4 year old joining her first ballet class. She very diligently applied herself to the play acting and seemed quite happy in the class... Until the 3rd week she marched right up to her mother and, hands on hips, asked "So when does the REAL dancing start?") I hope this woman isn't really pedalling this as ballet. It doesn't really matter what age serious training starts, dressing up in costumes and singing welcome songs is not ballet. In short, I agree with Hans. Jane - I think you make a good point. Theres little merit in the external bows and frills in the strange fantasy land 'this woman' has created.... For most children, imagination does the trick. In a class I used to help teach, we'd ask them questions about what they were seeing and experiencing. For instance, after we put on our imaginary ballerina skirts, asking "what colour is your beautiful skirt" got some weird and wonderful answers... I just can't see any merit in Ballet d'Enfant's indulgent drivel.
  23. Grace - not that you're state-patriotic or anything eh? *grin* Well, after years of absence... I stumble across this new forum while putting off an assignment (I mean really, who's interested in semaphores anyway? They're blunt tools that nobody uses.. *grumbles*) RE: Inexperienced dancers. I agree. The company performs in the ACT so rarely its disappointing not to get to see the 'favourites' (ie. principals). I am all for the less experienced dancers being given a run, but I thought that was the purpose of matinees. Ticket prices are cheaper and you don't expect to see the bigger names. RE: The technical standard... its very interesting you would say this. Because its something I definitely noticed, especially among the men. In fact, when they toured earlier this year, I would say there were perhaps 3 men up to scratch... Even Steven Heathcote was looking sloppy. Of course, one must keep in mind the length of the seasons they've all been doing... I went out with company members after performances and they were all exhausted from having been on the road for so long. They were also heartily sick of Romeo and Juliet... (I thought it was a disgrace that this showed on stage). Wheres the professionalism?? Morale seemed very low in the company, but I couldn't tell if this was just the tiredness factor or something more deep seeded. I can't help but wonder if Australia's isolation compounds this lazy technical standard... I remember hearing what a boost of energy Angel Corella gave the company when he toured earlier this year... Its very easy to get lazy when you're the national company, seemingly with nothing to prove. RE: WA Ballet... They really are a completely different company from the Oz... I remember being spellbound when they performed carmen here a few years ago. They have such strong dancers... They are definitely a credit to our country. The things they can do on their shoe string budget is incredible.... Back to work eh?
  24. just on the matter of that 'u' in 'une' i was watching Parkinson one quiet afternoon and Elaine Page (who had spent a lot of time being coached in french) say that it was like pronouncing 'e' with your mouth in the 'oo' shape. now grace, i don't suppose you'll incorporate that (its quiet inconsequential i know), but it helped everyone on the program get it closer to being right!
  25. A good autobiography is hard to find - so many slip into self indulgent whining/bitchery/*insert word of choice*. And yet I read them with an insatiable appetite - my dad is a rampant second hand book collector and so I end up with a lot of out of print books (like I remember balanchine). I read Joan Brady's The Unmaking of Dancer (now titled 'Prologue') and for all her bitterness about the dance world, I found it closer to the experience that a lot of dancers have than a rose glasses view Suzanne Farrell had in Holding Onto the Air and quite enjoyed the strangeness of it all, despite my usual frustration with anyone who holds onto the victim attitude. More one to read when you're feeling jaded because its sure to ruin the best of moods... Gelsey Kirklands book was, I think, her exorcising a few demons, and I allow her that luxury only because she was such a talented dancer. Her second book, The Shape of Love was a much more fulfilling as it delved into the issues i was more interested in - ie how a dancer prepares for a performance. Allegra Kents book was - well, largely forgettable apparently as I can't think of much to say. Robert La Fosse's book "Nothing to Hide" was somewhat interesting, a bit wide eyed as I remember it, though he would probably not appreciate that description. its the typical 'battle against mr b' thats a familiar story from NYCB dancers! Edward Villellas book "prodigal son" was a bit more worthwhile and though I would never see him dance, I wished I could... he seems like such a lovely guy and passionate about dance. Darcey Bussell also wrote a book, "Life As Dance" and I was thoroughly disappointed in this wholesome bit of fluff. A documentary about her was released around the same time, and they largely mirror each other - only in the documentary you get to appreciate what a lovely dancer she is. Twyla Tharp has quite a lively book - I should give that one a read again I think - its called push comes to shove... Thankyou all for reigniting my interest, i'm off to read them all again..
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