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Everything posted by Hans

  1. 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.
  2. Should dancers we've only seen on film be considered in this? It doesn't seem entirely fair to me, as it is not a true representation of the performance.
  3. 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 perfectly as possible. This is not something that has been demanded of them before, and it took some getting used to: we ended up spending the entire 90 minutes at the barre. However, next week they will be more familiar with the exercises, and we will get to do center, and hopefully next week and the week after we will get through allegro. Then on to a new lesson! I am also choreographing a dance for four girls to be performed in competitions and at the end of the year. I am considering using a section of 'Danse Macabre' by Camille Saint-Saens, as I am trying to get them to be more expressive in their dancing. Right now their idea of 'performing' tends to be gluing on a smile. Unfortunately, all the competitions they do don't really leave much room for a Kennedy Center field trip to watch professional ballet, but I will still look for opportunities. I received nothing but positive comments when I took them to see Veronika Part in ABT's 'Swan Lake' last year. Maybe this year we can see something more unusual. The classics are important, but I want them to experience newer works as well. I will update again when I've taught some more, seen a performance, or taken a class.
  4. My unquestionable favourite is The Sleeping Beauty.
  5. Good training is not merely technical.
  6. Well, I don't pretend to be able to guess someone's height right down to the inch. I just know that when I stood next to him at barre, we were approximately the same height.
  7. Good for her--but they could really use her at the Mariinsky, whether they know it or not.
  8. For me, this is worth having because of a beautifully radiant Asylmuratova in the pas de deux from Le Corsaire.
  9. I think her dramatic weight loss could certainly have affected her vocal stability as it would have altered her diaphragmatic support. So if the wobble was there early on, it makes sense that the weight loss would exacerbate it. Callas herself said that her vocal cords were perfectly healthy--it was the support that was missing. There is some interesting information, including a quote from Voigt, in the 'Vocal Decline' section of the Maria Callas Wikipedia page.
  10. Fortunately for us, videos of Ms. Behrens' performances as Brunnhilde, Tosca, and Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo are preserved on the Metropolitan Opera's Metplayer. I enjoyed watching these earlier this year. Behrens was an excellent singer and actress, and this is a very sad loss for the opera world. Here is a longer article with a more complete account of her career: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/arts/mus...rss&emc=rss
  11. The NY Times article is here: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/08/18...rss&emc=rss
  12. To answer your question, sejacko, we just had a thread on this very topic over on BT for Dancers. The answer is that it can indeed be a problem for aspiring ballet dancers, frequently due to unreasonable teachers or artistic directors, but that a nontraditional body type does not mean they have no hope of a career. Although the best companies often have the strictest body type requirements (which I understand but find unfortunate, as ballerinas were allowed to have a feminine silhouette through the 1950's at least, so obviously there is no technical or aesthetic reason for being extremely thin aside from fashion) many smaller or regional companies have more relaxed standards in terms of body type. One point to keep in mind is that a classical tutu looks best on dancers with defined hips, waist, and bust. I recently saw a video of a well-known company and was surprised at how masculine the women's bodies looked in tutus because of their extreme thinness. It was not a pleasing aesthetic. There are supportive garments (that are invisible under leotards or costumes) available for female dancers, so it need not be an issue on the stage.
  13. Another article regarding this subject, but with an interesting suggestion at the end: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/l...icle6792646.ece Anyone for a Twitter-style update of the Ring Cycle?
  14. It is rather difficult to boil down the entire ballet repertoire to just 5! I would say Giselle, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty are essential classics. Serenade, Apollo, Agon, and perhaps Theme & Variations are some good Balanchine works with which to be familiar, but he made many ballets in many styles, so it's difficult to choose just a few. Pillar of Fire, Lilac Garden, and The Leaves Are Fading seem to be the major Tudor works that are still performed. I really love Ashton so my list of his ballets will probably be too long, but I'd say Monotones I & II, Les Deux Pigeons, Sylvia, La Fille Mal Gardée, The Dream, and Les Patineurs are all first-rate. La Sylphide is the most famous Bournonville ballet aside from the pas de deux from Flower Festival in Genzano, and it is worth studying his other ballets, such as Napoli, A Folk Tale, The Kermesse in Bruges, and of course Le Conservatoire. And of course the additional Petipa ballets Cristian listed are all well worth watching. I would only add Le Corsaire.
  15. I have the Ulanova tape, and I'd say it's certainly no worse, and probably quite a bit better, than the MacMillan version, which people swoon over.
  16. Bart, I would just call it skipping. If one really wanted to, one could probably call it some sort of temps levé in retiré position alternating legs, but really..."skipping" is easier.
  17. Well, Baryshnikov and Edward Villella were considered short. Baryshnikov is about 5'8". I think anyone over 6' would be considered tall. For a woman I'm not as sure, but I recall reading that Julie Kent was one of ABT's tallest ballerinas at 5'7". I know ABT has at least one female corps member who is 5'9". Maybe a female dancer would be considered short at 5'2"? This will vary somewhat from one company to another, as some prefer taller dancers, and others want shorter. It's a bit difficult to discuss exactly what is 'tall' and 'short' as dancers can appear taller or shorter than they really are due to many variables, including the way they dance, the size of their partners, proportions, &c.
  18. I am a bit confused--it seemed to me that Cristian was praising Spessivtzeva and her final diagonal and instead taking issue with dancers who do a manège of piqué turns en dedans.
  19. I'm with Carbro on this one. When I don't notice (or care) what the steps are, that's a performance worth watching!
  20. Why hasn't this been done before? The Kennedy Center is allowing patrons to create their own subscriptions for the 2009-10 ballet season. We may now choose to see several performances of one ballet, different ballets on different nights, and we are not required to buy tickets for anything we don't want to watch. See for yourself: http://www.kennedy-center.org/tickets/subs...purchase_type=A I will certainly be taking advantage of this as soon as possible!
  21. ABT has 89 dancers listed on its website.
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