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Everything posted by Petra

  1. I just made it in time to see the final program. I don't care for a program of excerpts because it gives the feel of a youtube compilation rather than a real night at the theatre, but I understand why NYCB chose to put up a program like this. It would have been better though in the middle of the season and not as the closer. Easy - a fun Cliff Notes version of Jerome Robbins, but I would have preferred to see something else from Peck or something else from Robbins. [I have recently discovered that Robbins as ballet choreographer is an acquired taste for me, and I'm still not quite there.] Bartok Ballet - I loved it. The quirkiness, the quickness, the insect like arms, the costumes, the music - everything was so Art Deco. This is the first thing I've ever seen of Tanowitz but I will definitely be looking out for her. Indiana Woodward was so great. I listened to her interview with Megan Fairchild earlier, and they spoke about her story ballet roles (La Sylphide, Juliet, Aurora) so it was surprising to see her in a very modern ballet. Voices - I couldn't get a good grasp of it from the short excerpt. The sound was very grating. Lauren Lovette is an truly charismatic and dramatic dancer. Composer's Holiday - it was ok and fun and held my interest, but I hope that Gianna Reisen has a long career as a choreographer with more important and innovative pieces. The Runaway - Taylor Stanley is outstanding, but I thought he was better showcased in other ballets earlier in the Digital Season. Not sure what the ballet-Gaga combination looks like on stage, but the choreography wasn't earth-shattering IMHO. The Times Are Racing - I agree with nycvillager that Fairchild danced full out and Peck was more casual. I wonder whether that was a choice or just how they dance. This excerpt definitely piqued my interest and I would have liked to see the entire ballet. Oltremare - I feel bad making a judgment based on 5 minutes, but it looked like an epilogue to Fiddler On The Roof. It's a shame it was cut exactly when Kowroski was about to dance. On a more somber note, Oltremare was by chance a very pertinent ballet to end this season with. The USA is a country founded by immigrants - some came voluntarily and some were brought as enslaved people - and is based on the self-evident proposition that all men are created equal. This ballet is a good reminder of that fact.
  2. I don't think this is a unique opinion but - wow, Balanchine was a genius!! Amazing, incredible, inventive choreography! 100% classical and 100% contemporary. Miles ahead of anyone else we've seen on the Digital Season [but I missed the Ratmansky].
  3. Thanks, pherank. What a Mr. B. answer...
  4. Apollo is an amazing work of art. Hard to believe that it is 92 years old! I loved Stanley. I see a lot of similarities with the photos of Nijinsky in Afternoon of a Faun - that intense, other-worldly look - and I wonder whether the original Apollo looked more like Stanley than the typical tall blond Peter Martins type. Since I am off on a tangent, did Balanchine ever choreograph Rite of Spring? If not, I wonder why not πŸ™‚
  5. This! I've never seen any of Peck's choreography live, and am unlikely to in the near future. Same goes for most of the other rep in this digital season. That said, the dark backdrop (on my computer screen, it looked murky brown) was depressing and the costumes were really terrible and unflattering. I was surprised that Daniel Ulbricht had so little to do. Looking forward to Apollo. I saw it once almost 10 years ago with an incredible Maria Kowroski as Terpsichore on a tiny stage which was too small for her never-ending limbs (can't remember who danced Apollo...)
  6. I watched Allegro Brillante as soon as I got up this Friday morning. What a wonderful, life-affirming beginning to the weekend! For me, this period of time is very busy and I can't find the time to watch the full-length ballets that the European companies are offering, so the shorter ballets NYCB and Ailey are streaming are perfect.
  7. On March 12, the Israeli government prohibited all gatherings of over 100 people. That includes 99.9% of all performing arts events, and most venues have announced complete closure until at least the end of the month. On March 12, the Israeli government prohibited all gatherings of over 100 people. That includes 99.9% of all performing arts events, and most venues have announced complete closure until at least the end of the month.
  8. Stars of American Ballet is a pick-up group of NYCB dancers organized by Daniel Ulbricht. They're currently touring Israel and I saw them last night at the Herzeliya Performing Arts Center. Bottom line: it was a fantastic evening. Slightly more in detail : First up was "In the Night". I have complicated feelings about this ballet. I find Robbins' choreography is an acquired taste, and it took me a while to get used to the style. I love the spareness of the movement and Robbins' ability to create a definite sense of time and place but there are also all sorts of quirks that make the ballet look dated. The first couple were a little tentative compared to the other two, but maybe that's part of the choreography. Unity Phelan as the 3rd woman, the tempestuous one, was amazing. Next ballet was 'Les Lutins', a trio choreographed by Johann Kobborg to gypsy-style music. It's a virtuosic crowd-pleaser originally made for Alina Cojocaru, Sergei Polunin and Steven McCrae and I was prepared to dismiss it as a cheesy gala dance. But the dancers especially Ulbricht, but also Sebastian Villarini and Brittany Pollack, danced with such grace and flair, making all the jumps and turns look so effortless and they were so charismatic in their faux-competition of virtuosity that I was totally sucked into the ballet and it was so enjoyable. The second half of the program was made up of three dances. After the Rain is a beautiful duet. Miriam Miller was outstanding but I wasn't as impressed by Jared Angle. The performance was surprisingly different from the version available online. Maybe because the online version is in memory and honor of 9/11, but also because Miller is much younger than Maria Kowroski who dances in the online version, last night's performance was more vital, and instead of having an elegiac quality, I thought of Adam and Eve starting a new life after the fall. Diamonds pas de deux was the weakest section of the evening. The transition from live chamber music to recorded orchestral music was jarring, and IMHO an adagio pas de deux taken out of context is a bit of a drag. That said, Teresa Reichlen and Ask La Cour were incredibly glamorous and regal. The finale was Who Cares? This was my first time seeing it so I'm not sure if this was the full ballet or if it was redacted, but it was so good! The whole cast was spectacular but since this was the only ballet Megan Fairchild danced in last night, I'll just say that she moved so fast her hair tumbled out of her bun. 12 dancers, 1 pianist, 1 violinist - and so much joy!
  9. Jan, the reason I commented on the racial makeup of the company is because it was a comment made by a naive teenager. These are issues that many of her generation are very sensitive to - regardless of their own skin colour or privilege. Of course it begins with danxe education, and I wouldn't like dancers to be promoted on a quota system. However unlike most world-class companies in the West, almost all NYCB dancers are American. That in itself is unusual. The USA is a diverse country and as of 2019 that isn't reflected in NYCB. But please go back to discussing the season. It seems like this is a great Fall Season at NYCB.
  10. I agree, but the juxtaposition seemed unfair. Nanushka - thanks for the info. Now I realky wish I could see Union Jack again.
  11. I attended the 10/01 performance. I hadn't seen NYCB in NYC for eleven years, so it was a special evening for me. Happily, it didn't disappoint. Not even my youngest daughter falling asleep halfway through Union Jack and lying on my arm for half an hour could dim my joy at the all-Balanchine program, especially since each work was better than the previous one. Valse-Fantasie was ok as an opening work. The dancers were great and if I hadn't read that it was Roman Mejia's debut, I would never have known that. He looked as secure as if he had danced it a dozen times already. I loved Kammermusik No. 2 much more. The inventiveness of the male corps (although why do they get a front-curtain bow when the demis in Valse-Fantasie do not??), the mirror-yet-not-mirror images of the soloists. This is the modernist ballet I've been craving for a long time. I loved the severity of Abi Stafford. Reichlen was almost too leggy and graceful for the part (I know, just shoot me...). And Union Jack (at least, the first two parts) was divine. I am one of those that find the first part very profound. The Busby Berkeley-esque soldiers dancing on into infinity can be interpreted in more than one way, and each member of the audience can consider what it means to be a patriot and to serve one's country. My only complaint is that the headgear made it very hard to identify dancers. The Costermonger part was lovely - I'd never seen Lauren Lovette before and both she and Daniel Ulbricht are fantastic actors. It was funny and moving, just like the best comedies. Interesting that the 'theatrical' section is danced on a bare stage and the other sections have proper backdrops. I didn't get the last part. Most of it was too Gene Kelly and On The Town, and not Royal Navy enough. And finally - the first thing my middle daughter said during intermission, after the first two ballets, was "why are all the dancers white?" After 3 days of running around Manhattan, and seeing people of every possible skin colour, the lack of diversity was striking. Union Jack was more balanced but right now the make-up of this company does not reflect the city it represents so well.
  12. Who is dancing MacDonald of Sleat in the other cast? Is that Ashley Bouder's role? I'll be at the Oct. 1 performance. I haven't been in the US for over 10 years, and I'm so excited. I can only get to one NYCB show, and I'm so glad it's this all-Balanchine, well-balanced, million featured dancers program!
  13. Tanzteater Wuppertal toured Israel last fall, and I saw them in Pina Bausch's Masurca Fogo, a work created specifically for EXPO 1998 in Lisbon. The dancers are all beautiful and were very committed to the piece, but it was clear even to a casual observer like myself that the company cannot survive solely on Bausch's work. For example, although Masurca Fogo had lovely sections in it, the idea that a foreign company can come to another country, have a residence and create a work representative of the host country sounds rather patronizing in 2019. I think things were different in 1998, and although I haven't visited Lisbon, I think most European capitals have changed quite a lot in the past 20 years. That said, Pina Bausch is much loved here and the company is returning this October, this time with the classic Carnations.
  14. Since West Side Story doesn't have an original story, I do wonder why van Hove and de Keersmaeker [love how they both have 'aristocratic' surnames] didn't decide to do their own musical version of Romeo and Juliet instead of updating WSS.
  15. Promos look great, but it's hard for me to get my head around Williams being a Broadway dancer. Her "celebrity" persona is almost the opposite. Also, the only info I know about Fosse's life comes from All That Jazz. I didn't realise that was a sanitised version... πŸ˜ƒ
  16. I saw this movie tonight. It's a love story set in post-WW2 Poland (and other places. The middle section feels a bit like a Soviet travelogue...), but it's much more than that. It raises thoughts about love of country and homeland even when your country's policies are oppressive or different from one's own. It's also about art - the transformative power of art but also its limitations. The way art creates identity - national and individual. All this in 90 black and white minutes - and IMHO despite a terrible hole in the plot... πŸ™‚ What will probably interest many BAers are the backstage scenes of a Polish folkdance company: the auditions, rehearsals and performances, and it gives a lot of insight into the ballet dancers who defected during the Cold War years and those who didn't. Has anyone else seen it? It's nominated for a couple of Oscars.
  17. I've heard of her, but I'm embarrassed to say that I did not know she was still a performer. Maria Juncal comes to Israel once or twice a year and my teenage daughter has taken workshops with her. The girls love her classes.
  18. 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.
  19. 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?
  20. 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...
  21. Thanks, Drew. The more I look at it, the Tel Aviv series is the better one.
  22. 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…]
  23. Petra

    Hello again

    Thank you both!
  24. 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.
  25. 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!
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