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Everything posted by Kyriakoula

  1. Aesha Ashe went to Bejart and Eva Natanya went to Royal Ballet. I think they are both doing very well.
  2. Oh, it was just a little bit of mime left out. The "old man" mime, and they mostly mimed Coppelia as holding the book and I am just used to seeing the mime for "beautiful" done also when referring to Coppelia. The two pas de deux couples were wedding couples in addition to Swanhilda and Franz. They did a variation to music I wasn't familiar with. What bugs me is that the reviews posted in the local papers (Dallas and Fort Worth) and in the "links", here, were done by music critics who don't seem to be too knowledgeable about ballet.
  3. I went to the opening of Texas Ballet Theater's (formerly Fort Worth Dallas Ballet) Coppelia last night. Ben Stevenson's choreography. Well, let's just say that things have improved by leaps and bounds!!! Back in the spring I had been less than enthusiastic about TBT's Cinderella, also by Stevenson, but any reservations I had at that time are now dashed!! The production was beautiful. Desmond Heeley's sets and costumes were gorgeous as I expected from someone of Mr. Heeley's caliber. The orchestra sounded spiffy and the conductor, Jack Buckhannan (also the Music Director) seemed to be sensitive to the dancers without sacrificing the music, a rare skill, which made the viewing and listening completely pleasurable. Mr. Stevenson's choreography was wonderful. He has reduced some of the pantomime in the first act making it a lot clearer for audiences of today to follow what is going on. While I missed some of that pantomime, I think he made the right choice in streamlining it. There is a lot of dancing, although not so much of a variation for Swanhilda in the opening of the first act as in some other productions. But the Czardas and Mazurka were a great success. The village priest took over some of the duties the burgomeister might ordinarily do since the burgomeister doesn't appear until the third act. The second act was delightful with considerable help from the sets and costumes, although the choreography needed no "help." Third act has an excellent wedding pas de deux. Musically, this act it was a little different from what I have seen before. There was actually an ending note for Dawn which was nice since she got to bow and not have to run off in the wing leaving the audience wondering if that was the end of her variation. Then there was a double pas de deux of wedding couples, followed by the Prayer variation. All of these were handsome and well staged. Franz's solo was danced to the music that I know of as War. Mr. Stevenson seemed willing to tailor some of the choreography to the individual dancers which I think is a hallmark of a great director. Dance of the Hours was done by the corps de ballet and was very full bodied, beautiful steps and patterns. The dancers have really risen to the occasion. You can certainly see the hand of an experienced, highly accomplished director in this area. It was gratifying to see Michele Gifford (formerly of NYCB) as Swanhilda. This is a really strong dancer who can act and play the soubrette. Her brise diagonals in first act were quite good, yet you find yourself not watching steps, but dance. She does a first rate job of telling the action through dance rather than just executing a series of steps. Ronnie Underwood was highly improved as Franz. His first and second acts were quite charming and he conducted himself in a much more "leading dancer" manner than he did in Cinderella. He was a little weak in some partnering and in his variation in the third act, but if he can trust himself, and more importantly, Mr. Stevenson, then he might really turn out to be something. Tim O'Keefe was an excellent Dr. Coppelius. Enrica Guana Tseng appeared as Dawn and was radiant. I'm sure her many fans look forward to seeing her turn as Swanhilda. Margo McCann was Prayer and never ceases to amaze with her stage presence. Corrina Peterson was a very notable Mazurka lead. Many of today's dancers don't "get" these character dance roles so it was nice to see someone step into the Mazurka with relish. This is a "must see" production. The entire level of the companyhas come up, not to say that the corps doesn't have room for improvement. But I am secure in the knowledge that this too will be remedied in due time. It makes me very excited to see what Mr. Stevenson has in store for us the rest of the season.
  4. Pascale Van Kipnis originally trained with Barbara Walczac (sp?) at the Lincoln Square Ballet School, but she might have been at SAB at the same time.
  5. Leigh, I don't think I've seen this production before and, no, I haven't seen Houston do it. But I remember a production done by Michael Vernon for Eglevsky Ballet (Marina Eglevsky was Cinderella) some years ago and it was really good. Lots of plot progression via dance and I just remember it as being clearer. Also, somewhere along the line I had seen a video of Ben Stevenson and Frederic Franklin doing the ugly stepsisters with the National Ballet of Washington. I don't know who's choreography it was, but it was funny. Maybe because their performances were so good. Anyway, I wish the best to Fort Worth Dallas Ballet because a metropolitan area of this size should have a first rate company. (Actually, I liked Nureyev's Cinderella for POB. That was the first time I had ever seen Isabelle Guerin. This version had soloist women, I believe, rather than men, doing the stepsisters.)
  6. Sorry, this is lengthy. I have recently moved to Texas from New England and wanted to see some ballet in this area. I know that Ben Stevenson is scheduled to direct Fort Worth Dallas Ballet in June or July of 2003 so I was excited to see his production of Cinderella on this company. I attended a performance at the Music Hall at Fair Park on Friday, April 11th. Unfortunately, I was disappointed on several levels. I felt the production was pretty short on choreography. There is really not much dancing. The four fairies of the Seasons had nice variations and the ballroom scene was good, but the pas de deux, and all else, were quite lacking in "dance." The scenery, especially the drops, were quite attractive, but the costumes were another matter. The Seasons' costumes looked like maternity wear and were singularly unflattering. The Fairy Godmother was running a close second. The stepsisters (Andre-Claude Kaltenreider and Igor Dumbrovsky performed well and showed some real thought behind their work) were not quite right. Some of their very funny business was lost in a flurry of "busy-ness" caused by their costumes and either poor staging or poor choreography. First Act got overly fussy with the stepsisters and the wigmaster and the dancing master and the violinist all on stage with Cinderella and her father and stepmother. It was a jumble. The story line was not clear. There was no receiving of an invitation to the ball so one wondered why all these trades people were coming to Cinderella's house. Lighting was quite dark and murky. I don't know if this was intentional, but it was both depressing and made for difficult viewing. Second Act had some nice choreography for the corps, although I missed the usual character dancing in the beginning to that wonderful music. There seemed, however, to be a shortage of men. And even more unfortunately, those men were frequently difficult to discern from the ladies of the corps de ballet solely because their costumes were virtually the same color and from any distance everyone blended together with this monochromatic pallette. Mark Troxler was a fine jester. The Seasons were well danced especially by Michele Gifford, formerly of NYCB, as Winter (finally, a real professional on stage albeit in the worst costume I've ever seen), and Katie Keith, as Summer ( what was that rolling on the floor choreography?), was absolutely radiant on stage having the right look of youth, but dancing with maturity and (hello) stage craft. (She would be my pick for a Cinderella) Enrica Tseng was very good, her talents wasted on the minor diversion of Autumn. It was nice to see Erin Brennan being given the opportunity to show her talents in the Spring variation. Margo McCann was very professional in a somewhat minimal role as Fairy godmother. Any of these dancers would have made a fine Cinderella. Now we get to our Prince and Cinderella. While I'm sure that Ronnie Underwood and Christy Corbitt Miller are probably very sweet people and fairly competent dancers (they are certainly the "Ken and Barbie" of the company) they are not principal dancer material. At least not now and I'm not sure that they ever will be. They made an attractive couple and got through their material without any hitches. In fact, Miss Miller tossed off some rather impressive feats (a series of releves traveling across the stage, for one) but that is what she did - toss them off. Everything she danced had virtually the same value. She executed steps that she had been told to do. She did not know how to make something exciting (or even particularly interesting) or how to draw the audience to notice specific things. (I thought both pas de deux a snooze, but could not decide if it was the choreography or the performance given) She did the steps and it seemed she did them correctly, but sadly, she and Mr. Underwood failed to dance with any soul. Alas, this cannot be taught, either you have it or you don't. If these are the dancers that Mr. Stevenson has chosen to put forth, then he's got his work cut out for him. I was very disappointed, especially when there were other dancers to choose from. Also, someone desparately needs to give Miss Miller and Mr. Underwood (as well as a lot of the corps) a make up lesson. The company seems to be uneven in its experience level. There are dancers who are real professionals - Michael Clarke, Margo McCann, Enrica Tseng, Michele Gifford, Katie Keith, and Andre-Claude Kaltenreider and Igor Dumbrovsky in character roles. When I go to the ballet I want to see mature, sophisticated performances. And there are a number of dancers who look like students. Hello. Ballet is not just for little girls, which seems to be the senitment in Dallas. As I say, Mr. Stevenson has his work cut out for him. I do hope his full time presence will make a more marked difference in the future.
  7. Wendy Whelan has some Nutcracker's in Dallas, TX during that first weekend of performances. It is very hard for the dancers to get released during the season, but they make such good money guesting and sometimes they get to dance with people they may not ususally dance with such as Wendy with Philip Neal. Damian Woetzel and Julie Kent do Nuts in Lewisvile, TX that same weekend.
  8. Now that's a good thread. The NY Times is really good at selecting terrible!!!! photos. Like the picture of Ashley Tuttle on the front page of the Sunday Arts section. Ashley is really beautiful, but that picture was not flattering. I think the worst I have seen was one of Carlos Acosta on the front page of the Times advertising the article on him being the most astounding and elegant dancer. It was horrendous. I understand that the Times sometimes insists on using in house photographers, but who selects the actual picture. Pretty unbelievable!!
  9. The "old" ABT studios were not where David Howard's or Robert Denvers' studios were. It was between Broadway and CPW and is still an empty lot. It was shocking to me that they tore the building down that the studios were in (the studio had not been there very long and it had been a major renovation) and then the lot has sat empty for so many years. I believe Millenium Partners own that lot. To me, the old Abt studios were on 57th street. I took from Pereyaslavic (sp), Swoboda and Danielion (sp) there. I also saw Carla Fracci rehearsing Giselle in a miniscule studio there.
  10. The "old" ABT studios were not where David Howard's or Robert Denvers' studios were. It was between Broadway and CPW and is still an empty lot. It was shocking to me that they tore the building down that the studios were in (the studio had not been there very long and it had been a major renovation) and then the lot has sat empty for so many years. I believe Millenium Partners own that lot. To me, the old Abt studios were on 57th street. I took from Pereyaslavic (sp), Swoboda and Danielion (sp) there. I also saw Carla Fracci rehearsing Giselle in a miniscule studio there.
  11. I don't know how recently this book came out, but it is called something like "Corpse de Ballet" and it's the first, I believe, in a "four muses" series of mysteries. It is written by Ellen someone. Sorry about the lack of info. It's a pretty good mystery, but the ballet life descriptions are excellent. Maybe because Sean Savoye, formerly of NYCB, was listed in the acknowledgements. Anyway, it had the most real dance life scenes.
  12. Bronwyn danced with Eliot Feld's company. She also was on the TV version of Fame. Yes she was small and looked a lot llike her mother as richard, jr. is the spitting image of his father.
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