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  1. I’m in awe of what I witnessed here in Berlin on Sunday night. I’ll try to write a bit more upon return to the US but, for now, let’s say that Ratmansky has triumphed, having carefully researched the steps and flavor in a much more detailed manner than Vikharev was allowed to do at the Mariinsky in 2002. For example, even the steps performed by the 32 shades are a bit different - notably brisker and with a little “kick” of the foot before planting each arabesque. No Soviet vestiges here, no Golden Idol, no Solor-Chaboukiani variation, no Gamzatti jete variation! Gamzatti dances what’s usually Kitri’s Dulcinea variation from Don Q. Nikia’s shades variation is danced alone; the scarf flies off to the rafters when it’s no longer needed...and what spellbinding dancing from Polina Semionova in that! Alejandro Virelles acquitted himself handsomely as Solor, giving us a hint of his bravura dancing in his one rare solo in the Act IV Grand Pas d’action. But the knowledgeable audience reserved its loudest bravos for the fabulous Yolanda Correa as Gamzatti...even though, for me, it was a bit of a let-down to not see her in the more usual jete variation for this character. Just as we saw with Vikharev’s version, here we saw the Dance of the Slaves” in Act II and the “Dance of the Lotuses” in Act IV, both danced by students (older kids for Slaves & youngest girls for Lotuses). Dance-wise, the biggest disappointment came in the somewhat tepid character dances, especially the Infernal Dance (with drums). Sorry, nobody packs the OOMPH into this like Russians. after thought: The most surprising take-away from the afternoon chat with Ohman, Ratmansky & Kaplan was the revelation by Ratmansky that the Mariinsky did not provide the full four-act orchestral score to Berlin, despite having earlier promised to do so! Hence, at some point, the Berlin Team was compelled to give the violin-reduction score (part of the Harvard Stepanov Notes Collection) to two musicologists at English National Ballet, who saved the production by doing a complete orchestration of the full ballet...to my ears, the finest, richest Bayadere score around. Farewell to the too-sweet Lanchberry!
  2. A free panel discussion with the creative team (Ratmansky, Kaplan and AD Ohman) will be held this Sunday at 3:30pm at the UDL opera house, just a couple of hours ahead of the premiere. The first performance begins at 6pm. It will star Semionova, Virelles and Correa. https://www.staatsballett-berlin.de/en/spielplan/panel-gesprach-zu-la-bayadere/04-11-2018/876
  3. Balanchine's Don Q could be revived. Not only is there a full-length b&w movie of the opening cast, which was shown at the Kennedy Center 4-5 years ago, but Farrell staged it for her company in the mid-'00s. It was a co-production with the NB of Canada. I saw a performance starring the wonderful Sonia Rodriguez in the Farrell role. I believe that the work is worth reviving for the historical interest, if anything. The most negative element is the dullish music. Neither did I care for the nasty depiction of mental torturing of a senior. Today's average paying public is so used to the title of a "Don Q" ballet to mean rollicking fun; this is definitely not that Don Q. For balletomanes and sophisticates, in general, Balanchine's Don Q would be a compelling piece of theater, if the casting is right.
  4. All of this news is troubling. I used to be a regular subscriber to TWB during the Webre years but am not compelled to attend this season, not even to a pared-down Sleeping Beauty in a smallish theater. Kent doesn't seem to realize that ballet lovers in DC have long gotten used to the major classics being done the right way by major int'l companies at the Kennedy Center vs. TWB's one acters or truly-original full length works such as Webre's. To make matters worse, Kent invites Stiefel to craft a new ballet after his space-age work two seasons ago bombed! Something has to change pronto. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that Brooklyn left. His stay should have been A#1 priority for the Kent team. He was a great and truly unique star. DC's ballet prestige has plummeted in a short time, for three reasons: 1. These changes in Kent's Washington Ballet 2. The demise of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center 3. The Kennedy Center's own ballet programming - perhaps tied to Farrell's departure as Director of Dance? - with less emphasis on large-scaled classics. Honestly, I will likely attend only the Mariinsky's Corsaire this year. (I already saw ABT's Harlequinade in NYC; nice but I don't want to spend more money on it.) Judith Weiss (manhattangal)
  5. If anyone attends the recon of Robbins' "Watermill" at BAM, please report. It opens tonight, I believe.
  6. Thank you, Sappho. I get the picture. Subtle boycott of sorts.
  7. This is sad. It really is a fine troupe - both the opera and the ballet. It's amazing to think that complete productions of Swan Lake & Don Q would be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean just for one performance each. Not to mention the cost of personnel, even though the orchestra will already be here for the previous week of operas. The underwriters must have very deep pockets.
  8. It was a real honor to have witnessed yesterday's De Luz farewell performance, particularly his buoyant dancing with Tile Peck in Theme & Variations. It was the highlight of a very special weekend that also included De Luz's spiffy WSS turn in Something to Dance about (Sat. matinee), sporting that crazy mustard-yellow jacket, and, in the evening, his final Fancy Free. I think that he danced in every performance this past week, no? I got him for three-out-of-three this weekend. No complaints!
  9. Count me as another NYCB follower who was a bit surprised that Ashley Laracey was left off the promotions list. She was terrific this past weekend in the 2nd pdd in Robbins' MOVES, partnered by Preston Chamblee (also on my hoping-for-promotion list), Yet, it's great to read about the much-deserved promotions this time around.
  10. Excellent Robbins exhibit at the NY Public Library. I especially loved his journal-scrapbooks, chock-full of not only notes but clippings, tiny photos, ticket stubs, etc. Highly recommended!
  11. Among NYCB corps dancers, I truly admire Preston Chamblee, Roman Mejia and the sparkling Von Enck sisters. I recall a recent performance of Divert #15 in which the Von Encks were paired together in the corps movement (Rondo?)...mirrored perfection. Other than NYCB - I've long admired the Mariinsky's Margarita Frolova, who graduated about 10 years ago top of her class (prof. Kovaleva) but, somehow, has remained in the corps despite a few solo opportunities (Cinderella sister, odalisque, and so on).
  12. A great catch, mussel. I'm wondering how Ratmansky & team will squeeze the entire ballet into 3 hours, including two intermissions? Maybe they'll do like Makarova and squeeze the first three scenes into one act, ending in the betrothal ("Death of the Bayadere") scene? With the Pas d'Action shifted to the last act, not to mention the disappearance of the Golden Idol (not created until the 1940s), then the betrothal/death of bayadere scene is significantly shorter than that to which we are accustomed. We'll see what transpires on November 4 in Berlin. While we await the announcement of the full cast of principals, beside Semionova as Nikiya, I note that Semionova's partner in the current run of Swan Lake in Berlin is the Cuban Alejandro Virelles. Perhaps he will also be her Solor? He may be the tallest of the Berlin principals. No idea as to Gamzatti and other roles. I see that Danill Simkin has been announced as second-cast Solor but, again, only the Solor has been announced for 2nd cast.
  13. An online dance vlog from Australia has a short article on Jerome Kaplan's designs for the Berlin production, with photos of some of the sets. Very pretty and simple, in a clean manner. Instead of the usual tropical setting with palm trees, this appears to be in northern India, as we can see the Himalayas in the background of the betrothal and earthquake scene. There will be an elephant on wheels. http://dancelines.com.au/200-years-petipas-birth-ratmansky-prepares-bayadere/
  14. I'll be in Germany at the time and will try to attend. The Staatsballett's FB indicates that the guest prima, Polina Semionova, is slated to dance Nikiya at the premiere. They have not yet indicated dancers in other leading roles. I'm curious to see Semionova tackle the Petipa-era style. She's known for her high extensions, which Ratmansky normally does not allow in his reconstructions. I very much enjoyed Semionova's Nikiya in the previous Berlin version, by Malakhov.
  15. Someone asked about last year's apprentice, Mira Nadon, who joined during the 2017 Nutcracker season. According to her Instagram, she is still an NYCB apprentice, since we see photos of her in a corps tutu for Diamonds.
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