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Drew

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About Drew

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Fan
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    United States
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  1. I don’t want to over-rate the sophistication of 14-year olds, but this was partly my suspicion when I saw the photo (long before I knew Copeland had said a word about it and possibly before she had since my algorithms do feed me Russian ballet students from time to time). The young dancers didn’t seem merely excited about dancing in Bayadere (though they may also have been so —probably were)—the point of the photo seemed to be that their makeup was a giant hoot. And it is very hard for me to think that some of the hilarity that the photo projected did not include a touch—or more—of outright racism however little they may have understood the full implications of that racism. It is a little harder for me to say I think they knew there would be blowback—and obviously I don’t think they knew how bad it would be—but when I saw the photo, I at least wondered if it didn’t have a semi “trolling” motivation. I can’t know. My point is simply that I am not as confident as many posting above that the girls were posting entirely innocently. Do they deserve death threats? No. And...uh...Would I liked to be judged for the rest of my life on things I did and said at the age of 14? No—but I also wouldn’t deny what was wrong or stupid about them. I also know very well that the history of race and racism in Russia is very different than the history of race and racism in the United States. But I find claims that Russians therefore are not or can’t be racist to defy credibility or to be based on an extremely limited notion of what racism is. “Pushkin’s ancestor” or Russia’s lack of involvement in the transatlantic slave trade etc. —these are important but do not encompass a more complex history. As far as the ballet itself goes, it is worth remembering that Petipa was not Russian. On France and blackface people are welcome to read Fanon on French advertising or even google more recent controversies. And France of course was very much involved in the transatlantic slave trade and had slavery in its colonies through 1848. (If Copeland tried to ‘open a dialogue’ with the Bolshoi as suggested above, I think they would, at best, pay no attention to her. At best.)
  2. A lovely rumination...yes, thanks to all. Including our founder -- who still posts from time to time! -- Alexandra Tomalonis....
  3. Very happy for her on her debut. I hope she gets the opportunity to develop in the role.
  4. One aspect of this discussion is a little confusing to me. I had thought the point of the questions/complaints about not having more debuts in Nutcracker this season was that the company had had a policy of more Nutcracker debuts in the past. Several people have given excellent explanations as to why having a lot of featured role Nutcracker debuts (especially for the leads) is tough or unrealistic for the company--but wouldn't that always have been the case (last year, the year before etc.)? Is this season not indeed different from seasons past? or are we left to infer that Stafford is taking a different approach to casting Nutcracker than Martins did? (I don't follow NYCB Nutcracker casting closely enough year after year to know independently if this season really does have fewer debuts and just depend on reports here.) Reasonable people can disagree as to which approach is best, but if it is a change, then that seems worth noticing, though I suppose the experience of just one season may be too soon to know...These things sometimes just follow ebbs and flows...
  5. Somewhat similarly to @Helene I managed to list my "bests" above and then leave out THE best individual dancer performances I saw this year--perhaps evidence of my not-so-unconscious partisanship for the Mariinsky since what I left out were Bolshoi performances I saw in London. Best: and probably the single most exciting male performance I saw all year (Kim notwithstanding) would be Belyakov's Crassus for the opening Spartacus of the Bolshoi's London season. "Best" performance in the sense of most complete artistically of those I saw all year would be the Zakharova-Rodkin Swan Lake also in London. Their romantic chemistry and Zakharova's flowing, organic movement...actually made this the best overall Swan Lake performance I have seen since seeing Lopatkina with the Mariinsky in 2013. And this, despite the fact that I do not care for Grigorovich's production...at all. (Unfortunately, I can't say youtube video of the broadcast performance Zakharova and Rodkin gave of Swan Lake ca 4 years ago, remotely captures what I saw--or felt I saw--this year.) I haven't seen a lot of Zakharova live in the theater, especially in the last decade, and this was the most memorable performance I have seen from her by some measure -- even if I managed to forget to include it in my earlier post 😳.
  6. Very sad to learn this news....Her work staging Balanchine is a wonderful legacy .... May she rest in peace or, rather, dance in joy ...
  7. I'll stick with ballet in my list. That said, I didn't see a lot of ballet this year and expect next year to be the same--that's my "worst"-- Best: Claudia Schreier's premier with Atlanta Ballet, "First Impulse," choreographed to a wonderfully chosen score by Eino Tamburg. I suppose I'll have to see it again before I feel more confident of my "first judgement," but on one viewing I found this a terrific new neo-classical ballet and hope it's a harbinger of more to come from Schreier. Mariinsky's visits to D.C. are always a delight to me when I'm able to see them; this year they came twice, though not bringing quite such stunning fare as in some years. Still, they were wonderful and highlights included the flush of new talent the company put on display both in Corsaire and in Paquita. Among the performances by at least slightly more experienced dancers, "bests" included Shakirova as the villainess Carducha in Paquita and Kim's extraordinary Ali in Corsaire.
  8. Often with premiers the casting comes out a little later ...
  9. Like @cubanmiamiboy --at least as he felt in 2012-- I'm not crazy about Odile's variation, at least in the "traditional" versions I've seen, though the historical provenance issue is not what keeps me from loving it. I almost never find anyone genuinely beautiful in it--even in an "evil" way. It vaguely seems to me that Guillem made an impression on me in it, and maybe one or two others, but basically I find it overly fussy--which I think is my way of responding to what he described as its coming across as overly mechanical or academic. I do find it impressive when someone brings a bit of speed to the variation, but I doubt it will ever be a favorite.
  10. Thank you for your review @The Traveling Ballerina . If people have the time and/or interest, then I would love to hear in more detail from everyone what their thoughts were, positive and negative, about the production and the dancers.... (I wrote about the production in some detail on this site last year when it premiered. I found it more ingenious than magical, though I still enjoyed the performance I saw a lot. I'm also on record as a huge fan of Airi Igarashi--Nikolas Gaifullin, too, but how one reacts to him in this ballet might entirely depend on one's reaction to the production. I think that's a little less true of Igarashi in her role as the grown-up/dream Marie.) Edited to add that I just saw that @YouOverThere gave a review on another thread discussing the company's Nutcracker venue.
  11. Thanks for this detailed report. I would love to be able to see this production.
  12. Thank you @nanushka for posting! I would have missed this entirely otherwise....
  13. I saw a post referring to this on twitter and didn't know what to make of it. It's a strange story (at least as told in the NY Post), but missing any careful context through which one might make sense of it. Anyway, I hope Evdokimova is resting in peace...She is certainly still remembered by many ballet lovers.
  14. That strikes me as well --wish he had done one or two of these already ...but here's hoping!
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