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About Drew

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    Sapphire Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. Thanks to Fathom Events/Pathé Live having Encore presentations this July, I finally got to see the Bolshoi perform the Ratmansky Romeo and Juliet on the "big screen" as opposed to my computer screen -- and it was well worth it. One really does see more, and however inadequate compared to a live performance, a big screen broadcast still carries more of the excitement of a live performance than the same on a computer screen (or even on a television-screen ). Krysanova and Lantratov led very vivid and compelling performance from the whole company. I'd enjoy a chance to see this live -- at least in a comparable performance.
  2. Drew

    2017-18 Season

    Would love to read about that performance if/as you have the time.
  3. Drew

    Are there any great Classicists today?

    I wondered about Tereshkina as well. Also , in a different vein, Cojocaru, who seems to me to bring wonderful harmony to the nineteenth-century repertory and indeed everything she dances. And while she dances with great purity, she certainly infuses her dancing with character and feeling. Among male dancers today, I think about Chudin perhaps and one or two others, but it is a harder call for me However, of the three I just named Cojocaru is the only one I have seen multiple times and in a range of roles.
  4. I enjoy many elements of the Grigorovich Nutcracker, but even if I didn’t I would recommend the DVD with Maximova and V. Vasiliev for the sake of their amazing performances.
  5. Drew

    RB promotions

    Congratulations to all the dancers on their promotions. (I am especially hoping to see more of Kaneko in the future.)
  6. Drew

    The Royal Ballet Tour 2018 to Madrid

    Or they were aware and thought he could handle it. They may or may not have been right about that—I very much see the value of an Odette-Odile debutante having an experienced partner—but audiences can disagree with casting decisions without being at all "unaware" of a ballet's demands.
  7. One question that gets raised about Zakharova's technique is that her very hyper-extended limbs do not express the aesthetics of classical ballet--which are not "about" flexibility, even if a dancer's disciplined flexibility can be effective. That is, people find that there can be something gymnastic about her quality of movement. Perhaps this objection was raised more when Zakharova was younger than it is now, though. And, in any case, Zakharova has many fans and admirers all over the world. (I personally have had mixed reactions to her dancing both live and on tape; but her performance in the HD broadcast of Dame Aux Camelias seemed quite wonderful to me. Have you seen that? if you wanted to see a 20th-century narrative work--somewhat melodramatic, but also moving--I would recommend it, though it probably doesn't count as "essential.") I don't know how long you have been collecting DVDS, but you must have noticed a huge variety of judgments and opinions coming from many different people with many different backgrounds about pretty much every single well-known dancer/production you can name... It's not that I believe all judgments/opinions about dancers and productions are "equal" exactly: there are standards in classical ballet--perhaps coming differently into play for different traditions or choreographers, but still they are standards one can define and discuss and debate. I appreciate it when someone can give me very concrete reasons for what they admire and what they dislike and I learn from such discussions. But no critic seems to me simply to have the last word on such things either. Oh and, for a great Aurora I recommend the Royal Ballet's DVD of Sleeping Beauty with Alina Cojocaru. Among other classics on DVD, I recommend the Bolshoi Nutcracker with Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova.
  8. Drew

    ABT 2018 Whipped Cream

    I love the procession, which absolutely made me giddy with delight three performances in a row. But I did wish that Ratmansky had found ways for some of the procession figures to dance either by including one or two more danceable characters or letting, say, the pink Yak or some such have a silly little pas. In the Bayadere parade we are seeing a procession of figures who are also about to perform and that makes it more theatrically meaningful. And, as much as I find the ballet delightful without worrying, as Nanushka writes, about its “point”—outside “the pleasures of imagination” that is —I have also sometimes wondered if Whipped Cream is just on the verge of letting loose more serious meanings than may first seem the case though it never insists on them and that is sort of its point —to just let the audience “indulge.” But is the boy’s uncontrollable consumption of whipped cream so different from the doctor’s alcoholism? It is as if the little boy who dreams of living happily ever after in the land of the sweets would IF he were to grow up, become the alcoholic Doctor—and the ballet’s excessive layers of loopy fantasy are all designed to obscure that....this to me helps explain the final image in which the tall, cone-shaped ancient fantasy figure who presides at the end of the ballet is played by a tiny child made up as an old man. I find that figure slightly grotesque....more withered toddler than ancient of days. And since, unlike Nutcracker, the boy never wakes up, the ballet refuses to become an allegory of growing up. It is a pure fantastical indulgence with hints of dread around the edges, but still an indirect image of how all encompassing —even dangerously all encompassing—fantasy is in this ballet which means it is keeping something OUT. (Like Ryden’s kitshy images of a small town America endlessly presided over by Abraham Lincoln.) To put it more grimly: why doesn’t the child wake from his delirium? if he has really been carried away from his ordinary world never to return then isn’t he dead as far as the ordinary world is concerned? and Princess Praline an Erlkoenig figure however benign? Or perhaps it is about art as much as death and she is, after all, like the Fairy of Baiser de la fee even if in the mode of playful irony? (After all it is the chef who whips up a mock kingdom of the shades as he were a figure for the choreographer...or even a figure for Ratmansky, since what he creates is not a kingdom of shades but a bowl of “whipped cream”?) The ballet doesn't allow any of these possibilities to surface exactly—you can enjoy it as sheer visual ornament or pure desert-like indulgence with the only message beeing that you CAN have your cake and eat it too. That’s part of its irony. I don’t have any problem with a substantial work of art playing with fantasy shot through with the barest hints of (ignorable) anxiety in this way and even allowing those hints to dissipate. For that matter, I believe art has room for sheer imaginative indulgence (it had better!). If this was the only kind of ballet Ratmansky created then I would find him a less rich artist perhaps (though I would still admire this ballet), but it isn’t. I also find whole swathes of the choreography fantastic as well as fantastical —without which I would hardly find it a work that could be sat through repeatedly. And, as often with Ratmansky, I felt that the choreography helped me hear the music. I agree that the whipped cream ensemble, after its witty entrance, is not quite the choreographic highlight one hopes for and structurally there are some oddities to the ballet as a whole (tied to the score I suppose) including the fact that the Princess Teaflower pas is a little long — however much I like the choreography and the almost decadently witty framing of the pas by the assymetrical ensemble. Even allowing for these problems, this is a ballet I would love to see again.
  9. Drew

    ABT 2018 Whipped Cream

    I loved Whipped Cream when I saw it (with multiple casts) last season and I also felt that Ratmansky found a persuasive way into the music. That last feeling grew each time I saw the ballet.
  10. Drew

    ABT 2018 Whipped Cream

    Very sorry to read this. Hope he is 100% healthy soon....
  11. Drew

    Odile Variation Hops on Pointe

    I definitely remember seeing and loving a Rosario Suarez, but if she was never allowed to tour must I be thinking of someone else? Or was she once or twice allowed to tour and that’s what I remember? In any case, I enjoyed the video you posted...
  12. Drew

    Odile Variation Hops on Pointe

    Suarez is just fabulously fun to watch in the final sequence. (She was one of my favorites when the National Ballet of Cuba first came to Kennedy Center way back when....)
  13. Well, the Bolshoi's Igor Tsvirko is now listed as a principal dancer on the company's website and is also listed as dancing in Don Quixote in New York. (I don't know if he will be dividing his time between the Bolshoi and the Hungarian National Ballet or not.) Something like 25 years ago I saw them dance Don Quixote in their home theater which is, as Meunier Fan mentions, "TRULY STUNNING" -- imagine a sort of "orientalized" Palais Garnier. I remember the production included a fantastic gypsy dance done by an ensemble of men that was very different from the backbending, anguished gypsy woman of some other versions...I also enjoyed the Kitri, a somewhat hyperextended ballerina named Popova. (The cashier at the box-office had recommended Popova to me when I asked her if she could recommend which cast I should see.) Obviously it must be a very different company now--and I have no idea what production of Don Quixote they dance, but if I were in New York, curiosity would draw me to the theater as well as sentiment. And I definitely wouldn't want to miss Tsvirko's Basilio.
  14. Drew

    The Bolshoi under Vaziev

    Igor Tsvirko is now listed as a principal dancer on the site of the Hungarian State Opera Ballet and is already scheduled to dance with the company in Don Quixote in New York this November and also to dance Mayerling with them in June 2019 . I can't quite figure out whether that means he is departing the Bolshoi or not though informal reports had seemed to assume as much. Here is his page on the English version of the Hungarian State Opera Site--which creates what I trust is the misleading impression that he will be dancing eight performances of Mayerling in the course of nine days. Which makes one wonder if he will be dancing both the Don Quixotes for New York that are listed. http://www.opera.hu/tarsulat/szemely/tsvirko-igor/?lan=en Whatever night he dances...if I were in New York, I would make every effort to see his Basilio.
  15. I had never seen that video before -- thank you for posting it.