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Everything posted by Hans

  1. Oh, thank you, Natalia. I'm only able to go Thursday or Saturday night, so...I guess I'm stuck with Tereshkina. Again. Maybe the third time will be the charm. At least Kondaurova is Lilac.
  2. Strange--there is no cast listed for the Saturday night performance on the KC website.
  3. It can be taught, but it requires much more in-depth instruction than "look this way," which is about all you'll hear from a ballet master/mistress. I wish I knew enough about it to talk about some of the techniques used--an acting teacher would have a lot more information. By the way, this might be a good time to address something that comes up when dancers talk about acting. They frequently speak as if acting is putting on some sort of fake emotion, being somehow disingenuous to the audience, or merely "expressing a mood" as Nanarina puts it. In one of PNB's videos on Youtube about Romeo & Juliet, Carla Korbes mentions that when she dances Juliet, it "doesn't feel like acting," and that is what GOOD acting is. One of my favourite quotes is "Acting is not lying. It is telling the greatest truth." I think more dancers and artistic directors need to understand that. It is not a coincidence that Gelsey Kirkland gave gorgeous, moving performances and worked with an acting coach--more dancers ought to do the same.
  4. Innopac, one thing I recall in particular was that during the mime in Act II, I had to point to the edge of the stage as if tracing the path of something running across it, then run and jump in imitation of a large, frightening rat. Miss Day wanted me to really "see" the rat running across the stage, using not just my hand to show where it was going, but my eyes as well--in fact, I received the impression that the eyes were really the more important part of it, and the hand gesture was secondary. That's a rather simplistic example, but it leaps to mind readily and is easy to describe. Little details like that were so important to her, and they really made the ballet come alive. I also remember that we worked on the party scene quite a bit; in fact it felt as if we rehearsed that more than anything else! Even though it involves no technical dancing, all those little interactions between people are what create the atmosphere of the ballet and set the rest of the events in motion, and I still consider her staging of that scene to be the best. It was so lively and warm--like a real Christmas party.
  5. It can be taught--after all, actors must learn to use their eyes. However, dancers don't often pay much attention to the eyes these days, thinking that if they have their arms and head right, that's all they need to do. When Mary Day coached me for a role in her Nutcracker, she was very specific about what the eyes should be doing. It's amazing how much one can communicate without using words, but the whole body, especially the face, must be involved. I often think people don't give the art of ballet enough credit in this area.
  6. It has been a while since I read Kaufman's article, but I don't recall her blaming Balanchine for anything. My impression was that she finds US ballet today dominated perhaps not necessarily by one aesthetic but by choreography and dancers who are more concerned with being eye-catching and superficially entertaining than being expressive and connecting with the audience. While that is not what Balanchine is about, it can be easy to perform his ballets in that manner, and then when a choreographer imitates him but doesn't have his talent/inventiveness when it comes to musicality, creating movement, &c, we get rather watered-down work that only pleases in the short term (and frequently not even that).
  7. Wow, some of those comments don't even make sense, particularly Iain Webb's first paragraph, and I think that goes a long way toward explaining the quality of ballet in the US today. Peter Anastos' statement that "Tudor ballets have little value" (which he does not back up) strikes me as a bizarre, uneducated, and closed-minded point of view. The most intelligent response, IMO, came from Virginia Johnson.
  8. Mine is the pas de deux from 'The Leaves Are Fading'.
  9. I agree with you, miliosr, and I think that if anything, the other major companies might try performing more Bournonville rather than the RDB dragging out the Petipa classics. I love those ballets, but the last thing we need to see is yet another watered-down, "updated" version of them with yet another AD's irritating choreographic tweaks.
  10. I received Undimmed Lustre, Ballet 101, and the first English edition of Je Sais Cuisiner by Ginette Mathiot.
  11. According to the video information, it is by Roland Petit.
  12. Casting is up! http://www.kennedycenter.com/calendar/inde...=BKBSD
  13. Yes, in Russian training the foot is used more the way it would be during a jump when performing battement tendu, whereas the English would probably use more articulation. There may also be differences in the quality of the movement.
  14. Innopac, re: Petipa, the Cliff's Notes version is that the French style at the time was very graceful and delicate, with all effort hidden, whereas the Italian style was much more brilliant, with a heavier emphasis on multiple turns and in particular a strong pointe technique. I can think of several stylistic differences Mukhamedov might have had to contend with, such as a different way of using the foot during battement tendu and related movements, a heavier emphasis on quick footwork, differences in the use of the arms and upper body, and probably many others of which I'm not aware.
  15. Bart, I think some teachers are still very conscientious when it comes to producing students with excellent port de bras and épaulement, but probably not nearly as many as there used to be. Also, these skills (like all aspects of ballet technique) require maintenance. If the artistic director and ballet master/mistress neglect the upper body, even a well-trained dancer's ability will decline.
  16. No problem. Enjoy! It's a gorgeous clip, and I'm sure we're all happy to watch it at any opportunity.
  17. There are many memories as well as comments about this clip on this thread: Gelsey Kirkland's Giselle
  18. Everything Zakharova does in that clip is so angular and harsh that I have a difficult time associating it with the rounded, gentle quality of Romantic ballet. It's as if Giselle got dipped in acid and the only thing left is a skeleton. In addition to the ugly line, my other problem is that she does not connect the steps, and so we see her go very clearly from one pose to another instead of making the adagio one long, seamless movement. For comparison, here is Carla Fracci, whose movements seem to caress the eye (I realise that's not an elegant way of putting it, but I don't have time right now to think of anything better) starting around 4:18
  19. Quite a surreal performance...as if Odile decided to drop by Confiturembourg!
  20. Mary Day's version is my favourite, but I also like Wright's.
  21. I would say 180º extensions are all right in Balanchine (but not at the expense of musicality!) and a lot of newer choreography such as MacMillan. I don't think they're ever appropriate in Petipa or anything earlier. Somehow I cannot imagine a 180º extension in an Ashton or Tudor ballet (perhaps one might get away with it in Gala Performance?). I think dancers today don't learn much about different styles of choreography--their idea of what constitutes good dancing seems to rest purely on technical feats and they think that if they leave something out, such as an athletically high extension, a lot of pirouettes, or an elaborate jump, it somehow reflects badly on them. They don't learn that what's important is the quality of the movement and whether it reflects the overall aesthetic of the choreography. I don't even think "historical accuracy" enters into it. Balanchine's showgirl extensions would look out of place in a delicate, subtle Bournonville ballet, but a dancer performing In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated in an understated, Ashtonian way would also be wrong.
  22. I only saw her once, in less than ideal circumstances, but she was wonderful. I wish her all the best for the future.
  23. To be honest, I've always thought NYCB ought to have given way on the acoustics from the beginning. An opera company can't do its best without good acoustics, whereas the dancers ought to be dancing as silently as possible anyway.
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