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Everything posted by Petra

  1. Petra

    Royal Ballet Autumn 2018 Casting

    meunier fan - The last time I saw the Royal Ballet was when I was a teenager back in the 20th century... I was inclined towards the cast with Naghdi mainly because of her social media presence. Thanks for the reassurance. Mashinka - unfortunately, I'll be in London only on the weekend.
  2. Petra

    Royal Ballet Autumn 2018 Casting

    I may have an opportunity to see one performance of La Bayadere in November. Which cast would be recommended: Lamb, Hirano, Calvert or Takada, McRae, Naghdi?
  3. Petra

    The Green Table

    The Salzburg Museum of Modern Art currently has a video installation called Espiral by Isa Rosenberger, which is based on The Green Table. Most of the video shows a dancer dancing part of the role of Death outside an Austrian bank, with surtitles describing the involvement of Austrian banks in Eastern Europe. There is also an interview with the dancer, Amanda Pina (yes, a woman!!), and how she learned Joos technique and the connection of the technique to socio-political action. You can read more and watch it here. It was very interesting and I was very glad to have come across this work by chance, but it was quite obvious that the dance was made on a man and requires greater force and aggression than the dancer displayed. The installation was part of a wide-ranging exhibition of pwrks from the collection of the Generali Foundation titled "In dialog with 1918 1938 1968" - and some of it was hard to stomach. Otto Dix's drawings of WWI and its aftermath are incredibly evocative and sad and reduced me to tears but the video of a rat being immolated by napalm was just disgusting...
  4. The Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center (TAPAC) and the Herzeliya Performing Arts Center have the two major dance series in Israel. These are their offerings for the 2018/9 series. I would really love to expose my 12 year old daughter to world-class ballet and dance and we decided to allocate some of her bat mitzvah money to dance and theatre, but I am not sure which of these series is preferable. TAPAC: Tanzteater Wuppertala – Pina Bausch Masurca Fogo by Pina Bausch Eifman Ballet – Tchaikovsky and Russian Hamlet Company Wayne McGregor Yuri Grigorovich Dance Theater – Spartacus Les Grands Ballet Canadiennes – Vendetta-Storie di Mafia by Anabelle Lopez Ochoa Sasha Waltz & Guests Ballet Hispanico – Carmen [Looks good on paper but (a) Eifman is not my thing and (b) I’m not prudish but some of these shows do not look appropriate for a 12 year old.] Herzeliya: St. Petersburg Ballet – Swan Lake (with Irina Kolesnikova) Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Netherland Dans Theatre 2 Vertigo (Israeli dance Company) Bat Sheva – world premiere by Sharon Eyal [Previous seasons have been much more imaginative. This is rather meh…]
  5. Thanks, Drew. The more I look at it, the Tel Aviv series is the better one.
  6. Petra

    Hello again

    Thank you both!
  7. Petra

    Hello again

    Hi to this wonderful forum - I joined Ballet Alert as GWTW many moons ago and was active for a while. After that life happened, and now not only can I not remember my password, but I was using a now defunct e-mail address. I'm rejoining under a new name and look forward to continue reading and writing.
  8. Petra

    2016-2017 Season

    I visited Paris very briefly this week and was lucky to see both of the current ballet programmes. Cunningham / Forsythe Walkaround Time - I loved it! It's the first Cunningham piece I have ever seen. It may also be my last as I live very far from anywhere that is likely to present his works. This piece is so different from the current trends in modern dance (like Complexions-style jazz/modern or Ohad Naharin's Gaga) that I have a hard time describing the work, what it is that appealed to me and how to situate it in the contemporary dance world. One the one hand it is just dancers each one in a different (muddy) coloured leotard and tights dancing in a space with 7 plastic transparent boxes to 'difficult' music for a long time, but on the other hand it is superior beings dancing superbly with empathy together infinitely and with continuous creative flow. I wasn't bored for a second. However these dancers are also clearly human, ideal humans perhaps, but real people, unlike for instance the dancers in Concerto Barocco who are (IMO) dancing in celestial fields. Looking at the piece that way, although it is very Classical, it is also very of its time - of the Space Age and it is dated like 2001: A Space Odyssey or the aesthetic of the Jetsons is dated. It is saying, "This is how humanity could be, if we put aside our differences and see our common humanity". Trio / Forsythe - 3 needy dancers beg for the audience's attention, by showing off unusual body parts like a wrist or the small of the back. If the aim was to show the exact opposite of Cunningham's noble dancers, the aim was achieved! Herman Schmermann - the pas de cing was beautiful. Forsythe in full 'affirming-ballet-by-way-of-subverting-it' mode. I loved it. The dancers were amazing, the music was great, the clothes (ladies in black leotards with back detailing and men in black tights and T-s with the same detailing) - and it was perfect 21st ballet. The pas de deux (which I think is familiar to American audiences) was awful. Like in the Trio, the dancers are mugging the whole time, instead of dancing, and the dance language is boring. I like Jerry Lewis as much as the next grey haired audience member at the Paris Opera, but sending a lady out wearing a short skirt and a see-through leotard and then the man changing into a matching skirt and a bare chest just isn't funny. 2/4 pieces but the two that were good were GREAT!
  9. I had the pleasure of watching the first act of Nureyev's Romeo and Juliet last night. (The whole ballet was broadcast on Mezzo and I'll be watching the other acts onvideo - hopefully, tonight). It's a very lavish production - the Bastille stage looks enormous, and the dancers were of course excellent. The recording is from 1995 and Romeo and Juleit were Manuel Legris and Monique Loudieres. Both of them seemed to be so young (although in clos-up you can see that they aren't). Legris has this soaring, floating quality which is breathtaking even on my sub-par television. I have read a lot of criticism of Nureyev's productions on this board, but I liked the choreography a lot. There is a lot of dancing and most of it is quite complex but I think that's a good thing. Thinking back to the MacMillan version - that version seems be full of swooning and padding compared to Nureyev's version. The women which are always shortchnged in R&J (and in most Shakespeare ballets - maybe that's why a Midsummer's Night's Dream is such a popular ballet) have a fair amount of dancing here. I particularly liked the balcony scene (without the balcony). You could really see the progression from hardly knowing each other - at the beginning there wasn't much physical contact and they danced in parallel - towards an ever growing love, where at the end they can hardly break away from each other. I do have one issue with this ballet. When the fight between the Capulets and the Montagues begins and everytime the Montagues meet Tybalt, they engage in insults including body language and gestures corresponding to some very 21st century four letter words (I'm feeling family firndly today:p ). I found this bizarre, out of place and rather off-putting. How is this handled in other versions of the ballet?
  10. Petra

    Is Nutcracker the Greatest Ballet Ever Made?

    Nutcracker isn't the greatest ballet ever made,* but for me, like many other BT members, is inextricably connected to memories and emotions surrounding the American holiday season. I lived in the US for a number of years as an adult, and in the beginning, I was quite desperately lonely (and cold, poor and unemployed). I was lucky enough to be living in a city where Balanchine's Nutcracker is presented every year. A discounted matinee of Nutcracker was like a drink of water to a thirsty man. That was it - I became a total convert to the cult of the Nutcracker, worshipping at the shrine of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I do actually prefer my Nutcracker to include a Dewdrop, but I'll take it any way it comes. This year, I went with my husband and children to see the Israel Ballet's production of the Nutcracker, which, by the way, is edited to remove any reference to Christmas. My sweet son said afterwards that it was 'almost' as good as the Nutcracker we saw in New York. Well, no it wasn't (and I'm not sure he really remembers the one NYCB Nutcracker I took him to), but that's fine. As far as I'm concerned, the objective of the Nutcracker is to spread good cheer - and in American constitutional terms, to promote the pursuit of happiness. *Based on my current viewing experience, that's Concerto Barocco.
  11. Petra

    Nutcracker Chronicles - NYTimes

    Well, David Mamet has made quite a career out of being a nasty yet witty writer. By this point in time he's perfected the genre... What makes Mamet's statement unpleasant IMO, compared to Macauley's, is the fact that he had an axe to grind with Piven, since Piven very contoversially withdrew from Mamet's play. By the same token, I thought that it was disingenuous of Ashley Bouder to comment on Alastair Macauley's critique of NYCB's 'Nut' without mentioning that she had received a not-so-glowing mention (by Bouder standards, at least) in that same review.
  12. Kristen Bell played the eponymous character in the cult series 'Veronica Mars' and I believe she is the narrator of 'Gossip Girl'. Bell is blonde, petite and perky and IMO doesn't have a huge range as an actress. She was very good in the first season or two of 'Veronica Mars' but once the role had to grow-up and become more subtle/nuanced, it fell apart for me. I'm surprised she's being cast as a mother already. She's probably in her late twenties and looks younger.
  13. Petra

    Nutcracker Season at BAM

    This is super exciting - a world premiere of a ballet with music by Tchaikovsky!! I bet it's going to be a hit. I wonder how Ratmansky discovered the long-lost score and came up with such an engaging and original story. After all, he must have done that, because none of Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov and ETA Hoffman nor any previous production of this ballet are mentioned anywhere in the story book.
  14. Wow, that was a rant! Good luck, Americans, with the mid-terms today... cmb, I totally agree with this, however it's an over-simplification to say that It does take a village to raise a child. Finding the balance between the individual and the collective is one of the most important - and difficult - parts of raising a child in the Western world today.
  15. A group of NYCB dancers are visiting Israel towards the end of October. The programme, titled 'To Dance', will be Apollo, Tchaikovsky PdD, a duet from Known by Heart (Tharp) and Shanti (Tom Gold). Merrill Ashley is accompanying the group to give master classes, etc. Guggenheim Works & Processes seems to be involved in promoting the tour. Can anyone guestimate who the dancers are likely to be?
  16. Petra

    'To Dance' - NYCB pick-up group

    jsmu, I didn't take any notes and it's been many years since I've taken ballet class, but the Q&As that I particularly remember were: - a question about heels being off the floor in plie. Ashley said that this was often misunderstood. Balanchine trained his dancers to have their weight on the balls of the feet and also to have the whole foot on the floor in plie. However, since his choreography was often very fast, there is no time to go down into a complete plie. According to Ashley, if you're well trained and your balance is forward, this shouldn't cause any injury to the tendons. - a question about spotting. The questioner noted that even in diagonales, Ashley (in the clips she showed) was spotting to the front and not in the direction she was going. Ashley answered that this was on purpose - part of the choreography. She noticed that when she coached dancers (presumably unused to Balanchine) this was particularly difficult for them, even though in her experience the difficult part had actually been to keep her body facing front when moving in a diagonal (i.e. Balanchine wanted the pique turns to start and end facing front even when moving in diagonal because that's a more aesthetic look) - and not the focus of the spot per se. - Once she understood the point shoe question, she laughed and said "Not much padding at all". She said her big toe was a lot longer than the other toes, so she put a little lambswool on top of the big toe and then more lambswool over the others to try to get to a more uniform length. Hopefully, I haven't mangled her answers...
  17. Petra

    'To Dance' - NYCB pick-up group

    There wasn't any indication as to how the name 'To Dance' was decided. The program states that this visit was a co-production between the Suzanne Dellal Dance Center in Tel Aviv and the Works & Process series at the Guggenheim. Is the dance portion of Works & Process called 'To Dance'?
  18. Petra

    'To Dance' - NYCB pick-up group

    I see that I wrote so much about the performance, that I'll add very briefly that the following day, I went to a talk Merril Ashley gave on dancing for Balanchine. The talk was partially a shill for her book, "Dancing For Balanchine" - and I, like many other people, were persuaded to buy her book after the talk... However, it really was a fascinating talk on how she started dancing, where she learned, how she learned and from whom she learned, relationships with other dancers (she still holds a grudge against Linda Merril ), etc. She showed quite long clips from Ballo della Regina, Act II PdD from Midsummer Night's Dream and Who Cares? After the talk, Ashley took questions and she was very generous in allowing many questions. Some of them she was fully prepared for, such as my question as to the Balanchine Trust's policy towards posting of Blanchine works on the internet and to another lady's question regarding the difference between Balanchine's NYCB and Martins' NYCB, and gave pat answers. She gave lengthier answers to the technical questions - like the ones on spotting, bent knees on pointe - and she was utterly floored when one of the youngest members of the audience asked her about the padding she used in her shoes for the hops on pointe in Ballo...
  19. Petra

    'To Dance' - NYCB pick-up group

    I saw the second of three performances this group gave - and it was a wonderful evening! All the ballets were new to me, and the highlight was the first ballet on the bill, Apollo. I expected to enjoy it (just because I love Balanchine), but I really had no idlea what an experience it would be. Has such a Classical, un-Romantic ballet ever been choreographed? A man and three women on stage, the women compete for the man's favour - and yet they are not human and don't have human emotions and clearly are not competing for love or sex or anything remotely like that. The stylised movement was beautiful, evocative of both Ancient Greek art and Art Deco. Tyler Angle was a very beautiful Apollo, although I didn't see any particular development in his characterisation during the ballet. He was god-like and peremptory from the beginning. Very much in love (or in awe) with himself. Of course, he had no choice but to be impressed with Maria Kowroski's Terpsichore - because she was AMAZING (I'm beginning to run out of superlatives). Her physical attributes together with her warm, mature stage presence create the perfect muse. I don't know which of Amanda Hankes and Rebecca Krohn danced Calliope and Ployhymnia. They were both good, although the Ployhymnia had a problem holding her finger to her mouth during the solo, but they couldn't help but be overshadowed by Kowroski. Immediately after came Tchaikovsky PdD danced by Sterling Hyltin and Stephen Hanna. The audience loved it, but for me it was too lightweight coming immediately after Apollo - a shame there wasn't an interval between. Hyltin was enchanting - couldn't believe her hops backwards in arabesque, her leg didn't move up or down - she just glows. Hanna was less impressive - according to the program he's a 'former principal' and it shows. He could do everything, but he just didn't seem to have the technical definition and finish or the spark that Hyltin had. Hyltin was having a Bad Hair Day though. Her hairstyle was a bee-hive-y updo instead of the bun or twist that the other ladies did and it looked like some of the front hair came out while she was doing one of the turning sequences towards the end, and she stumbled; She wasn't ruffled at all.* The stage at the Suzanne Dellal Center was much too small for these dancers, and both during some of Hanna's solo and at the end with the go-for-broke flying leaps, I wasn't sure that they weren't going to fall off the stage, or at the least, end up in the wings. After interval, came dessert: First, a duet by Twyla Tharp called Known by Heart "Junk". I'm not sure whether the full ballet is "Known by Heart" or "Junk". This was a sweet, sassy, and funny duet for Tom Gold and Abi Stafford. He also looks like a "former soloist". This duet looked like a ballet version of a Jennifer Wiener novel or one of the other better chick-lit writer - nice but short Jewish boy (wearing very unflattering black vest and pleather pants. Gold looked much better in the costume for his own ballet) falls for clued-in city girl (in red dress and point shoes, no tights). City girl isn't sure but eventually teaches him that dancing as equals is better than pretending he's some kind of knight-protector. The dancers were terrific and played their parts very well. The final ballet of the evening was Tom Gold's ballet "Shanti". In my opinion (and my husband's) this was the weakest ballet of the evening, but the rest of the audience disagreed. It's a little party piece bringing everyone on stage with New Age music and orientalist / faux-Indian arm movements, more or less like the things my daughter is learning in the Folk Dances Around The World enrichment class at her kindergarten. Notwithstanding, it was an opportunity to show off the dancers and bring them all on stage. I especially liked the sections for the 4 soloists: Hankes, Krohn, Likolani Brown and Gretchen Smith - there was something more organic and less show-off about their sections. * In Shanti, Hyltin just had a ponytail instead of a bun.
  20. Petra

    Costume disasters

    I think of Barocco as a tribute to the Ancient Greek classic tradition, so the white tunics fit that perfectly. Then again, the audience who saw Barocco with the original costumes may have seen Barocco in a completely different way. I haven't seen that many Balanchine leotard ballets, but I certainly prefer the simplicity of black leotards and pale tights (in Four Ts, for example) to some of the multicoloured unitards / tunics one often sees in 'modern' ballets.
  21. Petra

    Choreographer's Intent

    I've always thought that James Cameron is a reincarnation of Wagner.
  22. The forthcoming 'Black Swan' will have girl on girl action. However, from the trailer it looks like this behaviour is presented more as male-fantasy style 'dangerous' and 'deviant' rather than plain vanilla 'lesbian'.
  23. Petra

    What are you reading?

    No, the tempo is not at all what we are used to these days. The dust jacket of my book, printed in 1965, states that 'the book thunders on from melodrama to melodrama', but it's a very slow-gathering storm. Richard Chamberlain as Dantes? The book describes him as very-dark haired and, after being imprisoned, very pale skin, something like Keanu Reeves. In fact, Reeves would also fit the melancholic-yet-inscrutable look the Count affects.
  24. Petra

    What are you reading?

    I'm currently reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" (in English). Somehow I had never read it or even seen any film adaptation. Before that I read John Le Carre's 'A Most Wanted Man. Very interesting to note that the plot of 'Monte Cristo' effectively begins up where 'A Most Wanted Man' ends.