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About Hans

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


    I've been told that people who are not BT members have difficulty viewing this blog, so I will now be writing about ballet on my personal blog: La Vie en Citron.
  2. A few quick impressions of the performance: Ballet Memphis: Good dancers. Appropriate music (Roy Orbison) with slick choreography, although at times overly literal. The choreography did not show off the dancers' ballet technique, but they did look strong and very well rehearsed. I'd like to see this company again in a better ballet. Ballet Arizona: Did not care for the choreography at all. Felt long, tedious, some sections appeared lifted from MacMillan and Balanchine. Ugly costumes for the women--feathered bustles. (What ballet dancer wants to have larger hips?) Choreography did
  3. Giselle originally ended with Bathilde showing up after Giselle returns to her grave, the implication being that Albrecht marries Bathilde.
  4. I did not look forward to this performance with high expectations. The Mariinsky has mostly disappointed me the last few times it's visited, and while today's performance had some nice surprises, it was mostly in line with what I expected. Anastasia Kolegova (Aurora) is a perfectly lovely dancer with pretty line, strong technique, and apparently no acting ability. In Act I, she seemed nervous, and she glossed over any technical challenges (she would have been better off not attempting the balances). In Act II, she was bland rather than ethereal, but in Act III, she seemed relaxed and confi
  5. Kenneth MacMillan's "Romeo and Juliet" is a ballet that relies on its two leading dancers more than other ballets do. In Petipa, if the leads are mediocre, one can still be delighted by the elaborate patterns of the corps, the brilliance of the soloists' choreography, or the grand spectacle his ballets generally present. MacMillan's choreography is weaker than Petipa's, and I spent a good deal of the ballet waiting for the principal dancers to come back on as the choreographer fumbled about with the crowd scenes, trying to create a lively, exciting atmosphere but never really succeeding. Fo
  6. Lately I have been trying to challenge myself during class, so for the last two classes I've taken, I made a rule that I would use the barre as little as possible. That doesn't sound so difficult, but I soon found out just how much I rely on the barre, even when I think I don't. A simple battement tendu exercise in first suddenly required quite a bit more effort, and it only became more difficult from there. If I truly need the barre (for a very fast exercise, or one entirely on demi-pointe, for example) I use it, but otherwise try to do without. While I'm sure it isn't as pretty to look a
  7. I believe it is wisdom, as the lilac represents wisdom in Russian folklore.
  8. Hans

    I'm dancing again!

    In preparation for auditions for dance pedagogy programs, I have started taking classes again, mostly at the American Dance Institute in Rockville, MD. So far I have had two classes, each taught by a dancer with Washington Ballet: Runqiao Du and Elizabeth Gaither. Both classes involved a long barre--45 minutes to an hour. Normally this is not my cup of tea, but as I am still pretty weak, it was nice to have the support. There were many combinations focusing on battements tendus and dégagés. Very good for precise footwork. By contrast, we did not do much in the way of jumps, which was a
  9. In that case I have them keep the leg fairly low until they have developed more turnout. It is not really a popular solution, but I feel that having the correct position is more important than a high leg, and I entirely agree with you about the more forward position not making sense. I think that if they work to improve their turnout with a lower leg, eventually they will get the rotation and height, or at least it will get better.
  10. I have taught my first class of the year, and I am afraid it is going to be an uphill battle. The first problem is that the students are only in ballet class once, or in some cases twice, a week, so building strength and coordination will be a challenge. I've decided to give them the same lesson for several weeks in a row so that they will be able to concentrate on correct technique while performing familiar exercises. They will also write down their classes so that they learn to spell and use ballet terms correctly. For the first lesson, I was very strict about doing each exercise as p
  11. Are there biographies of Maria Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, &c? How about Jules Perrot? Is there enough material to be able to write bios of these people?
  12. Was Croce watching the same dancer I just saw in those clips? 'Weak' is the very last word I would choose to describe her; she is perhaps the strongest dancer I have ever laid eyes on, so strong that she does not need to announce it. When she jumps--well, she doesn't jump, she simply floats up into the air without any apparent preparation at all, hovers there for a moment, then graciously descends, all in perfect time with the music. Those who saw her live describe her dancing so beautifully (the clips, while breathtaking, clearly just hint at what her presence conveyed) that I am quite env
  13. I think I have finally, at long last, got my students to begin to understand turnout and how the legs move to the side. It has taken a while, but last class I used some ideas from the Teachers forum on BTfD to help them understand. A yardstick was very helpful. First, I repeated something I've done before: have the student stand in 1st position, place the yardstick on the floor in front of him/her so it forms a horizontal line just touching his/her toes, and have the student tendu side along the line formed by the stick. This gets them to understand that the leg needs to move directly
  14. Hans

    Gelsey Kirkland

    That brings up a question I've had about Kirkland's dancing for some time, as besides the R&J clip, I have only seen the Wolf Trap DVD--what was her jump like? She seems almost totally unable to get off the ground at Wolf Trap, although many other aspects of her technique are surprisingly good given her condition at the time.
  15. 3rd shade is Olga Likhovskaya. I also wonder where she is now. In case you are interested, there is a video of her online from 1986 dancing Le Papillon with Sergei Berezhnoi at a gala at Wolf Trap in Virginia.
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