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Everything posted by Justdoit

  1. Still along the lines of asthetics, so I don't think I am off topic here. All this talk about Villella versus Lopez and the board versus Villella and how this will effect the MCB product, I think is overlooking something truly central to this transition. That's the dancers themselves. They are Miami City Ballet. Can't have a dance company without the artistic director or the board or the myriad of others doing the jobs that need to keep a company up and going. But, it's the artists themselves who risk everything if they go out on that stage unprepared. Dancers are not children, but hardworking adults who care more about their performances than anyone else. Anyone who follows the threads about MCB dancers here on BT or other print written about MCB dancers will find a commonality to them. This company is different than other companies. The in-fighting doesn't seem to exist and they support each other much like a very big family. Only this family is in the wings each night of a performance cheering each other on. Did Edward create this climate? No, the dancers did this themselves. Yes, Edward may have selected the programming each season, but really how much did he do when it came to teaching, coaching and encouraging the growth of each dancer? No one would know the answer to that but the dancers themselves. Just giving a company class everyday is not enough. Even daily class requires a good, solid warm-up for the rehearsals or performances yet to come that day. How do we know even the effect of Edward's daily class on the dancers? I think we need to look at the overall climate and asthetic standard the dancers have been able to maintain despite all the financial difficulties. Difficulties, that they are fully aware of, which MCB has gone through since it's inception 27 years ago. These are dancers repeatedly recognized for their strong techniques, beautiful clean lines, lyrical interpretations and their palpable love of dance which translates to audiences at EVERY performance, everywhere they perform. Just go to the NYC or Paris reviews or the descriptions of the company made by choreographer Liam Scarlett. Give the dancers the credit they deserve. The dancers of Miami City Ballet are the ultimate producers of the product we've come to recognize as Miami City Ballet.
  2. brokenwing has it right. MCB is a neo-classical company. Dancers often come to dance for MCB because they are a company like NYCB dancing alot of Balanchine, in his lyrical, energetic, fast style. In the past many dancers were recruited directly from SAB as they are most suited for the rep of MCB. Some of these dancers are still with the company today (Kronenberg, Albertson, Manning). In more recent years Villella has insisted those interested in being considered for the company come directly from MCB's school, which is also interested in preserving the Balanchine style. Speculation on future programming for MCB and the hope for more full-lengths is most-likely not going to happen. Lopez's selection seems most obvious for her direct connection to Balanchine and NYCB as well as her administrative experience. Full-lengths only seem to have been brought into MCB's programming to bring in additional audience who might-be fans, or are already fans, of 19th century classics. Thinking back to when Villella and Ansin began MCB back in 1986. They didn't choose to name the company MBT (Miami Ballet Theater) similar to ABT; but rather MCB similar to NYCB. Somehow I don't think that was coincidental. MCB's, Villella's and we anticipate Lopez's connection to Balanchine and the neo-classical style of rep and dancing is not at all limiting. Even some fifty years later Balanchine ballets continue to appeal. The choreography still looks progressive, fresh and modern. Does MCB, or any other company, always have a hit when new pieces are commissioned? No. But neither did Mr. B. Under Lopez's guidance may she continue to help build a strong company rooted in Balanchine. May she also be able to develop the resources to commission new works worthy of the powerhouse dancers of Miami City Ballet.
  3. Thanks for the link. It brought me to tears! Can you imagine how each dancer must have felt? A gruelling 3 weeks with everyone giving it their very best for 18 performances! They've truly earned that response. BRAVO from the states.
  4. bart, You missed Jeremy Cox to Daniel Baker's right in that Upper Room Video. Both are with the company in Paris to do Upper Room.
  5. So it did, bart. T.Y. Been waiting for this announcement. Can't wait to see the production after hearing what the dancers had to say about the process. Plus, I love the Tharp and Western!
  6. Estelle, I have watched/read your thoughtful observations over the years and am now looking forward to your response to this wonderful, newer (only 25 years old) American company. Of course I have some favorite dancers in the company, but I am more interested in hearing your impressions of the pieces; how they are danced and the company's energy, as you see it. So happy to hear you will be seeing so much and just can't wait to hear your "reviews!"
  7. Congratulations to Deanna Seay! She deserves this and more as her career continues. Agreed bart, yet another missed opportunity for MCB. Such a passionate performer who is absolutely committed to the art form. Her long career has not only given her an incredible knowledge base to draw from, but she also posseses the appreciation and the ability to interpret all that which has come before. She has proven herself already as a coach and ballet mistress in many different settings, including at MCB. All of Deanna's skills translate just as beautifully into teaching as they did when she was performing. Again, another GREAT opportunity missed by MCB!
  8. Wait until the season starts, bart, and we find out who's back! Then this thread will take on a new meaning . . . . trying to figure out just what the powers that be at MCB are thinking down in South Florida!
  9. However, you overlooked that Yann Trividic will be returning as a principal. He was a very accomplished one when he was here for the Neighborhood Ballroom program this season. Much the same as he was when he was a principal with the company several years ago. Welcome back, Yann! As for the current huge exodus. What's going on with the company that they are losing so many every year?
  10. Well, bart, some of it is very exciting, i.e., Baker's Dozen, Stravinsky VC, and Scotch Symphony and especially Promethean Fire. These I am VERY anxious to see MCB perform. I am not a fan of full-lengths such as R & J, but find them to be a necessary "hook" for some audiences. It will be interesting to see who the stager picks for roles versus those in charge at MCB. That can always be a pleasant surprise as each sees something different that a dancer can bring to a role.
  11. And, I'd like to add frequently gave credit to his ballet training in all his professional work. I always think of him as a dancer first and foremost.
  12. bart, Glad you brought up this interview with Patrick Corbin. I really liked hearing his "open to interpretation" account of how he saw the piece. Very thought provoking and is motivating me to see it once again.
  13. Us, too. Unfortunately she was a beautiful, tall dancer in what is an obvious company of very short dancers. MCB is known in the ballet world for attracting alot of shorter dancers looking for jobs. Look around to see who else is a beautiful and tall dancer at MCB who is also not being seen very often. There are only a few of them, so it is easy to pick them out! If these same "tall MCB dancers" were dancing at say, NYCB or PNB or Boston, they might be considered to be on the shorter side!!
  14. MCB's layoff begins in April. Many of the dancers do gigs elsewhere during that time without needing permission from the company to do so. It is only conjecture on our part to know if Alex asked permission before going for the first audition. However, the company does have a tour to Vail in July and is due back that month to get back in shape and rehearsing. He is most likely needed in Vail, as there are certainly less men to pull from when one is "out" for any reason. There is also an early in the season (October) tour to Chicago, which would also have been considered. All that said, it would have been nice if he could have stayed. Nice for MCB publicity and for Alex, as well.
  15. Went to the first weekend of Program IV last weekend and have just now had time to sit down and write. We saw the program twice, first on Friday and again on Sunday. It was a very different audience from the premier to the Sunday matinee audience. Friday being a very social group in tuxes and gowns to Sunday's less formal, casual manner and attire. I've seen all the ballets on the program before except Sonatine. Though very lovely, it was just too slow moving for me. I caught myself thinking of what we where doing after the show instead of focusing on the piece. Not a good sign. Have always liked Tarantella, but who wouldn't with that music and slap happy choreography? Square dance I prefer with the added dimension of the "caller." The last time I saw it done that way was by The Joffrey at the Kennedy Center years ago. It was very well executed with what MCB is becoming known for, their lyrical signature. As for Nightspot. I did not expect a boadway type production with a story. However, I have to say it took a second viewing on Sunday (with orchestra seats) to develop a better perspective and opinion. I liked it. As bart may have said earlier, it was a pop piece and MCB can and should have those too. I actually liked the music though it was at times alittle rough in it's flow. The dancers were, as always, the ultimate performers giving it 110%. I too felt the long flowing red fabric reminiscent of Prodigal. However, it took on it's own quality, particularly when the male corp placed it over themselves looking somewhat like an undulating blood vessel, adding to the red hot theme carried out in costumes, lighting, and music. Several in our party, not frequent attendees of ballet, loved it! One commented that it was the best they had ever seen. I couldn't go that far. I have many other ballets which come to mind when I think of the best I've ever seen. Like bart, I found it very entertaining. It definitely served as a much needed catalyst for bringing in new audience members. MCB, like most ballet companies, have to think of ways to attract and build their audience. Tharp's Nightspot provides that attraction well. We have to also note that the audience gave a standing ovation at each performance, often getting to their feet before bows even got underway. I'd say it was a magical milestone for the company and they should be proud.
  16. I saw MCB do the Upper Room in Miami last weekend and ABSOLUTELY loved it! The music, action, multiple perspectives and never being able to see all of it and I saw it 3 times too. The idea that there is another Tharp out there that is more challenging than Upper Room is mind-boggling! If you're lucky enough to see the dancers perform it up close, you can see the sweat flying and dripping off of them. I too am now looking for the Glass score to help evoke the memory of the choreography and the overall experience. I might be an Upper Room junkie now.
  17. Alright, bart, we're waiting for your "take" on the three performances you saw at Kravis last weekend. Since "professional" critics, also seem incapable of any in-depth analysis up to this point, its now up to you!
  18. Leigh, I agree with your assessment of over-dancing. Thank you for saying it so concisely. "The people I see who overdance do so because of insecurity. They don't trust the choreography, the audience or themselves (pick one or all), so they overdance to punctuate the points."
  19. bart, thanks for your so very detailed review. I too am in love with Serenade, from the moment the curtain opens to that "choir" waiting to sing! I saw it in Miami a few weekends ago and honestly it still moves me beyond anything else. I will try to post more later. Thanks again!
  20. Jack I have not danced myself. But I have some experience watching dance. I do remember hearing Suzanne Farrell say to a class filled with young dancers as each struggled with a center combination and the struggle showed on most of their faces. "Believe me very few in the audience are watching your feet, it's your face they're looking at!" I would agree with you on Seay. bart, I am sorry to send you on a hunt for this video. I borrowed it from our local library, probably 10 or 12 years ago, and do not remember the name of it. I would think there can't be too many different titles out there about Plistetskaya. It is either from the 50's or 60's and it is in black and white. There are excerpts from several of her favorite ballets and footage of her in class demonstrating her always doing more work ethic.
  21. Thanks for the compliment bart. It's a combination of Balanchine's "just do" and NIKE. Hope you find the video and like it. It's rather rough in spots.
  22. Jack, Catoya is not in the picture on page 21 at all. Instead from L to R, Bruce Thornton, Andrea Spiridonakos, Charlene Cohen, perhaps Joan Latham (I think)and Alexandre Dufaur. It is an old picture from when Latham was still dancing with the company and is now one of the ballet mistresses. bart, I had really never thought about the lack of dramatic depth of the MCB dancers which you spoke of in your last post. With a few exceptions, as you said and Seay would certainly be one of them. Reflecting on that statement I think you might be right. I too have always enjoyed the exhuberance of the Miami City Ballet dancers and their performances. However, I have to add that I am turned off by that danceschool face, i.e., the fixed smile, which I see too many MCB dancers use. Or, the "now I'll raise my eyebrows or purse my lips to show the emotion of this character." Perhaps the "depth" that you spoke of is what makes a truly great dancer. The ability to not just dance technically beautifully, but to also posess the ability to convey the character clearly and memorably to the audience as well. What comes to mind here is that very old black and white Soviet film, early 60's, I believe. It's of Maya Pliestenskya (sorry about the spelling) where, while sitting in a chair, she demonstrates the range of emotion needed for Odette, Odile, Juliet, etc., with only the use of her upper body. I remember watching her and getting chills as I saw each characterization so fully realized while she sat there in a sweater, in the middle of an interview. As for the upcoming season, I have never seen Don Q, (but would like to) so I really can't comment. However, the Christopher Wheeldon ballet Liturgy looks exciting. As well as another Tharp piece, In The Upper Room with music by Glass also peaks my interest.
  23. Finally got my Winter issue of Danceview and read the article. I also saw that performance of Prodigal by Jeremy Cox and Callie Manning and felt it was very special as well. I had seen Serrano and Kronenberg's rendition on Friday night and was not impressed by either. Both came across as just going through the steps and playing the parts. Having seen Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero in the same roles many years ago and I was using Lopez's mesmerizing performance as a benchmark. Cox and Manning (the "third or fourth string" cast?) just outdid Kronenberg and Serrano on role interpretation. In addition to good, strong dancing, I want to be pulled into a story, not feel like I'm watching a personality act a part. Both casts danced well, but Cox and Manning just made you believe it wasn't a performance. They were the Son and the Siren and the audience was somehow given the privilege of watching their story play out before them. I didn't have a lump in my throat at the end, like Pardo, but I do remember the thought I had when it came time to applaud. It was in that moment that I knew I had just been lucky enough to see one great performance of Prodigal Son. You know, the kind of performance you wish you could watch again and right now!
  24. Can anyone tell me why the third movement is typically excluded from performances? NYCB does this as well. However, MCB is doing Western right now and includes it.
  25. Great bart, we'll be looking forward to your many reports.
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