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Everything posted by Drew

  1. Thank you for posting. All sounds wonderful, but one thing that leaps out to me is Cornejo and Cojocaru dancing an excerpt from Ashton's Rhapsody. I always thought ABT should have have acquired that ballet for Cornejo when he was at the height of his career and alternate casts might have included other top male dancers who have since retired or departed. Any opportunity to see Cojocaru is a treasure. Looking forward to reading about all of these programs. Edited to add: I have tickets to see Dance Theatre of Harlem about two weeks after they dance the Lopez-Ochoa premier in New York--their program in Atlanta has not, as far as I can tell, been announced anywhere, but I'm hoping they bring that work with them.
  2. Drew


    I believe NYCB is dancing Balanchine’s Jewels in the upcoming season—that’s three very different, but (I would argue) still interrelated Balanchine works on one program —as perhaps you know: Emeralds to Faure, Rubies to Stravinsky, and Diamonds to Tchaikovsky. No other choreographers on the program. It is a story-less full-length ballet, but not without drama and, depending on how you look at the ballets, they do imply stories or human interactions of various kinds. Many people and companies consider Jewels as Balanchine at his most accessible and broadly appealing, while it is still a rather sophisticated work to substantive music. Taste is very personal and I can’t know whether you would like any or all of Jewels, but if you are still learning about New York City Ballet, then I would recommend you give it a try...
  3. Drew


    Welcome to Balletalert! How exciting to have become hooked on ballet in New York City--only a few places in the world are as great for experiencing ballet -- and other kinds of dance as well. Please share your thoughts and responses when you are able...
  4. Drew

    ABT: Roster in Review - 2018

    I don’t find Forster bland. Maybe not “spicy” in the way you mean here, but I have always found that his dancing draws my eye in a way that is still charismatic. Nor have I found him uninteresting to watch when cast, as he often is, in character roles. Would it be enough in a principal role? I haven’t seen him in one and can’t say. But I would be happy to find out. From what I read here he is not a particularly young dancer (for classical ballet) and it surprises me he hasn’t been given more chances—but there may be reasons I can’t assess. (I haven’t seen Hoven as much ...)
  5. I'm not sure I would use the word "sanitizing" and I guess I make a distinction, too, in my expectations of historical works on the one hand and my expectations of historically inspired works on the other. But leaving that aside, I think that engaging with older works of the ballet repertory (whether in pious historical preservation, "in the spirit of" adaptations, tactfully -- or tactlessly -- updated productions etc.) doesn't preclude engaging with new work and vice versa. Since artists are often in dialogue with the past, the two can even be inter-related. This thread happened to emerge as part of a discussion of the Bolshoi's revival of Pharaoh's Daughter...so that has been the focus. I suppose that, as a general matter, I don't think the future changes without a reckoning with the past. (For me, personally, that's always a work in progress--work on myself that is.) Perhaps it's worth adding that as a ballet fan/observer, I can't help but respond to what choreographers do--those I'm able to see--which is a little different from dictating what I'd like to see them try. When I do have fantasy ideas about ballets, they are usually inspired by music not themes/issues...But it might be interesting to start a thread on stories/themes one think can and should be engaged by new classical choreography.
  6. Speaking for myself only...I care about ballet and ballet history, and I love the Bolshoi, which is not just any Russian company, but a hugely important one to the entire world (the world of ballet fans anyway). Of course what they do attracts attention and debate. I also love and admire any number of nineteenth-century ballets, including ones that occasionally make me uncomfortable or that raise my hackles. So I feel a certain sense of responsibility in how I discuss them and works, like Lacotte’s, that pay tribute to them. But, yes, you are right—one could discuss other aspects of the issue, and it has several times been done on this website, though usually around opportunities for dancers and their training/hiring, not necessarily discussing what projects choreographers should take on...(From reading about it I would think Akram Khan’s Giselle is an example of a contemporary work that, as it tells a story about migrant workers, also raises issues of race and racism if only implicitly. A lot depends on how one defines those words. Since I haven’t seen it, even on video, I can’t speak to it though.) For other kinds of anti-racist struggle that are not focused on the arts at all...or discussion boards...well obviously Balletalert isn’t the place to go into those. But it’s not absurd to assume that some of the people concerned about the issue here may be involved elsewhere.
  7. A few spots of technical unease notwithstanding, I thought Iliushkina looked beautiful in these excerpts from her Lilac Fairy performance ... I had wondered if her appearance with the Primorsky troupe meant she was going to depart or be sent away from the (St. Petersburg) Mariinsky to their "Primorsky" theater, but if Laurent is correct then at least I can hope that is not the case. I would be happy to see her develop and go from strength to strength at the Mariinsky--in St. Petersburg.
  8. Drew

    Nadine Baylis, RIP

    I remember the Gemini sets as quite striking--really helped to "make" the ballet. May she rest in peace.
  9. Not air brushed from history. In a way, quite the contrary: the role of blackface in that film should be (and has been) discussed, acknowledged, critiqued--not treated casually, ignored because the film is important and people like it, and/or defended as having nothing to do with the history of racism. And not perpetuated unthinkingly in new films either. What seems like air-brushing to me is acting as if the use of blackface is a non-issue. But in any case, it's very hard for me to consider Lacotte's Pharaoh's Daughter as a historical classic however charming a tribute to the classics I may find some of it. Do we think his balance of mime, character dance, and classical dance exactly reproduces Petipa's balance? At any rate we know the steps don't...however pleasing one may find several of the enchainements. To be honest, I personally am okay with minor revisions to nineteenth-century works in a performing art like ballet given that those works are not tightly unified modernist artifacts and were always subject to revisions and interpolation--and for better or worse, ballet isn't exactly reproducible in the manner of film. But, as I have said above, I better understand the defense of blackface in a strict reconstruction even when I'm not entirely convinced. Still, if people want to defend Lacotte's Pharaoh's Daughter as a crucial historical document then does it really require simply denying what's problematic about blackface? Or about 19th-century orientalism for that matter... ? No genuine work of art is contained by its history and no-one has to give up their love of what is pleasurable and sometimes profound about an art work in becoming sensitive to that history. But ignoring that history or dismissing it seems to me a mistake. Here is an image of performers appearing in Paris in the later nineteenth century--the Bellonini brothers -- I have read them described as a European blackface act: they were known as "Hottentots à L'oeil Blanc" [sic]. I don't know anything more about them, and others may want to fill me in, but I thought I would share just to notice again that the larger history at issue does not just concern performers/audiences in the United States--though the U.S. of course plays a very big role in it: https://www.bidsquare.com/online-auctions/potter-potter/folies-bergere-brothers-bellonini-825357
  10. Not just American. The uses may differ in different countries, but I don’t think the history of blackface in European countries is somehow completely a separate issue. And not just the past—though one doesn’t find it nowadays in mainstream American entertainment.
  11. I was able to see Liam Scarlett's new production of Swan Lake with designs by John McFarlane during a short trip to UK in June. Dates were dictated by my partner's work, and I was able to see many of the dancers I hoped to see over the course of three performances, but certainly not all. The production is luxurious, dark-toned, and oriented towards story-telling and drama--as opposed to visionary, fairy-tale beauty. It occurs to me that some people reading this may have seen the HD broadcast, if not also seen the production live and I would love to read other impressions. Here are some of mine--not all, but the post is already way too long. Obviously I am not very familiar with today's Royal Ballet. I think someone familiar with the company might see certain things differently. Choreographically Scarlett is respectful of much of the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake inheritance (though not all), but as best I can judge he in no way tries to recreate a Swan Lake that would somehow be truer to the 1895 production than Dowell's or truer to the foundational British productions that preceded Dowell's. There is something to debate in this approach, but I get to just a handful of world-class ballet performances a year, so I decided to go to the theater in a spirit of openness to what Scarlett and McFarlane had done rather than mentally arguing with it. Which was all the easier as the Royal Ballet is dancing very well and is obviously profoundly committed to this new version of the ballet. As a version of Swan Lake that doesn't try to restore the choreography to a more pristine state and that does put the stager's own imprint on it, it seems to me superior to ABT's or NYCB's. (Although ABT's more dreamy "romantic-ballet" approach suits me temperamentally, choreographically I don't care for it.) I think Scarlett's ending -- in which Odette commits suicide, freeing the other swan maidens who (in conjunction with her death) defeat Rothbart -- doesn't quite work: some problems seem to me in conception and some in execution. For myself, taking the production on its own terms, that was its greatest weakness. One way I found myself thinking about what Scarlett had done was that it's Swan Lake by the company that originated Mayerling and Manon--he sets it in a late-nineteenth-century court where the rot has definitely set in. (Dowell's production was also set in the late 19th century, but this one looks very different.) Rothbart in human form is a court advisor who seems to control the Queen, though we--the audience--have already seen him as a demonic sorcerer transforming Odette to a swan in a prologue. The political character of his ambitions seems represented already in that prologue by the way he grabs the "princess" Odette's crown and we see again at the end of Act II (the ballroom scene), that he seizes the crown from the Queen, as if his goal all along had been to create chaos in the court in order to make his move and take over the kingdom. In another detail of added characterization the two women who dance the pas de trois with Benno are Siegfried's sisters. I thought this touch ended up working well. The pas de trois is situated in a whole familial scenario--the sisters may not share Siegfried's obvious angst (and distrust of the courtier Rothbart), but they ask their mother if they can remain at the celebration to dance; then, after the pas de trois when they are done, their chaperones wrap them up in cloaks and take them inside the Palace garden gates. I loved that moment which I thought really captured their pampered yet stifling world. Siegfried, with marginally more freedom than his sisters, understandably wants out. There are also no peasants at this celebration--and the men are all decked out in military gear. It's a regimented world--and the Royal's ensemble does more than justice to it with meticulous, unified, and stylistically coherent dancing of a kind to make a lover of ABT (which I still am) weep with joy. The sets and costumes are at once magnificent and grim ("gothic" is how I have seen Macfarlane's work generally described). I have rarely felt as clearly as in this production--probably never--that the scene by the lake takes place at night. But kudos to David Finn's lighting, because I also felt that I could see the dancers and the choreography and the effect was very evocative. The ballroom is also possibly the most splendid I have ever seen--with a deep central staircase, partly draped by a curtain at the top, that curves down onto the stage: one sees all the guests enter descending down this staircase and later, when they re-enter, the performers of the national dances descend down the staircase, and Odile first appears atop it as well. The throne side of the stage is dominated by a golden toned wall--that I found a little too shiny when directly facing it--and the rest silvery-grey and, I think, purple toned baroque-type columns and arches, the latter soaring over the scene. Magnificent but again sort of grim in its splendor. Act I includes the pas de trois and dance with goblets, but the familial tensions and Rothbart's presence give it its own distinctive feel--likewise the absence of peasants. It concludes with a solo for Siegfried--which may not be Petipa-Ivanov but is rather traditional by now--and as he dances it the palace garden behind him morphs into the moonlit scene with a cliff overhanging the lake. The effect is that his solo appears to be a kind of journey. When I first saw it, I thought the darkly moving panels/drops behind the solo were distracting, but I got used to it over three performances and I like the idea that we were seeing him as if on a quest romance into the lake-forest world away from the palace. Act I scene II (lake scene) is the Ivanov choreography, at least as the Royal Ballet has inherited it, with Odette's mime intact, and very well danced. At two of the performances I thought the big swans could have coordinated themselves better and at the third and last performance I attended one cygnet was briefly on the wrong foot, but overall, to my amateur eyes the corps and demi-soloist dancing looked and felt disciplined, musically sensitive, and especially in the final Lake scene powerful. Perhaps more than in other stagings Scarlett brings out how Rothbart (demon Rothbart) controls the swans and of the three Odette-Odile's I saw (Lamb, Nunez, and Osipova) only the last, Osipova, really went for the boneless swan arm effects which made me wonder if Scarlett perhaps wanted that on mute. As the ballroom scene opens, Siegfried is missing and Benno and his sisters seemingly to mollify and/or distract the court give a little reprise pas de trois--I thought this was a great and organic way to get some more classical dancing into the scene, though the music cuts felt a wee bit abrupt. Still basically I loved this. Scarlett also opted to re-choreograph the character dances though keeping Ashton's Neapolitan Dance. From what I read, he added the touch where, when the dancers in the Neapolitan dance toss their tambourines, the tambourines are caught by two court attendants who keep playing them--is this indeed Scarlett?--in any case, this touch worked delightfully every time, but none of the three casts I saw seemed entirely up to the task of lighting up the stage with Ashton's choreography. (Very sorry I didn't get to see Marcelino Sambé who made a great impression on me when the company visited New York a few years ago and who danced it opening night.) Insofar as Swan Lake's character dances go back to Petipa it's not clear to me why one should redo them, but allowing that the Royal Ballet's dancers are probably better character dancers than, say, dancers in American Companies I would still say that, in the past I have only ever seen Russian companies make these dances true highlights and therefore I found myself wondering if, perhaps, Scarlett thought "freshening" them for his dancers, by creating them directly on their bodies, might get more lively and effective results. Which likely is true now that the production is new, but may not be the case in 10 years. How were his character dances? With the glittering gold wall behind them, I found the sequined covered Spanish dancers, a woman and four men, a little much--like a Vegas number--though a strong female soloist helps. But I genuinely loved Scarlett's Czardas which was a choreographic highlight of the evening. Macfarlane's costumes for all of these dances were at once super luxurious and yet rather dark-toned. I had to get used to that but was mostly won over. By contrast the four princesses invited as prospective brides for Siegfried are in classical tutus and each gets a little solo moment during the waltz with the prince--I found the short tutus made them look more "predatory"--almost as if we are seeing them from Siegfried's highly dismayed point of view. Scarlett seems to have directed them to show rather strongly their sense of being slighted when Siegfried says he won't marry any of them. Of course Siegfried then falls for the most predatory option of all -- Odile. Black Swan Pas de deux is intact in its "traditional" version, though Osipova opted out of Fouettes and instead whirled around the stage in a very fast and seemingly effortless manege of chaines and pique turns. In the mime at end, Rothbart plays a particularly central role--insisting Siegfried swear to marry Odile before the Queen blesses their union--I suppose this is traditional. Then the truth is revealed and as Siegfried heads upstage to the image of mournful Odette, Odile laughs (Osipova in particular looked as if she couldn't contain herself), and downstage center as the Queen falls forward, Rothbart grabs the crown from her head. Additionally, as the truth about Odile is revealed, a swarm of black swans floods the stage and seems to be mocking Siegfried as he races upstage towards the image of Odette. I can't decide if I think this is brilliant or kitschy. Probably both, but it is rather an exciting moment. The whole scene is hard for me to describe in proper order; it's rather chaotic and only at the very final chords do we see just one image--the anguished Queen who seems baffled by all of it as she might well be. Scarlett re-choreographed the final Act. It is not clear to me why Ivanov's first white act is considered sacrosanct and his closing one not so much, but on its own terms Scarlett's choreography has some strengths--it often echoes the imagery of Act II while breaking that imagery up, fragmenting the lines, as if one were seeing the corps de ballet through a kaleidoscope. Odette tells the other swan maidens she plans to kill herself --and they try to dissuade her. Siegfried enters to his magnificent, overpowering music (it always bemuses me that Kevin Mckenzie, a former MALE star, handed that music over to Odette in his staging)--No un poco de Chopin, but to other music evidently not used in the Dowell production (but which I believe Grigorovich uses for Odile), Siegfried and Odette dance a duet in which she is seemingly unable to forgive him even if she would like to do so. There is great footage of Scarlett rehearsing this on the ROH youtube channel and when performed with the emotional urgency he keeps pushing for in that footage, I found it effective. The rest of the Act establishes Rothbart's continued control of Odette and the swans and, if I followed the action correctly, he organizes things to keep Siegfried and Odette apart--some of the imagery actually for a second made me think of the vision scene of Sleeping Beauty as rows of swans stand between the lovers who run from side to side seeking each other out. Rothbart then seems to attack Siegfried (?), at which moment Odette rushes over to protect him and the power of their love overcomes Rothbart just long enough, for Odette to escape his hold and commit suicide. In the meanwhile Siegfried is overcome by Rothbart and lies unconscious at the front of stage. While he is unconscious, the corps of swan maidens sort of "attacks" Rothbart -- this is not exactly what it says in synopsis, but that they have been freed from their spell. Overcome, he heads up the same cliff as Odette, which I disliked the first two times I saw it because it made it look as if HE was going to commit suicide. (The third time, I felt the Rothbart avoided climbing up the cliff in quite the same way so that worked a little better.) He then collapses dead on the cliff and several swan maidens step downstage to encourage Siegfried to rise--he does so, but immediately turns and heads upstage into shadow as if walking into the lake himself only to return a few seconds later with the dead Odette in his arms. I think it's a very awkward moment for Siegfried to disappear into darkness. When he returns carrying Odette, her corpse is in the dress she was wearing in the prologue. At the very end, Odette's spirit appears atop the cliff--in her swan queen tutu--surveying the scene. I found this all hard to follow--actually I'm still not at all sure my summary above is correct, and though I've read complaints about Osipova's overacting, her intense facial expressions made some of the action clearer to me than it was in other performances. In any case, I don't think Scarlett's approach makes the best sense even on its own terms. For example: if Odette's human self is freed by her death and thus her corpse has its original princess costume, why is her free soul still in swan maiden form? Not that I want her ghost looking like an ordinary princess but the conceptual dissonance got in the way of my enjoying or being moved by the scene. I guess I like the quasi-feminist element of not having Siegfried play hero to the maidens, but Siegfried is perhaps too passive at the end. I also wonder if perhaps the timing of the whole thing is off--ABT dancers may make too much of their suicides, but in this production, I felt I barely had time to notice Odette was on the cliff before she had slipped off of it. However, the scene all made a teensy bit more sense each time I saw it, so some issues I had may simply be due to the fact that it's an unfamiliar production. That said, the 1895 had an ending of great profundity that exactly fits the music--with a double suicide and the lovers united in the land of the dead--and I'm sorry Scarlett couldn't find a way to integrate that into his vision. Certainly, a surviving, mourning Siegfried feels truer to the sense of psychological reality and drama Scarlett seems to be going for (and recalls Martins' production as well), but I wonder if he will at least tweak this ending a bit in future. Perhaps...perhaps not. There is finally I think a real question, quite separate even from the issue of choreographic text--as to whether placing the story of Swan Lake in a more recent and in some sense more familiar historical setting, and trying to give political and psychological motives to the characters that might make sense in a historical novel but have less place in a fairy tale is really the ideal approach to Tchaikovsky's (and Petipa's and Ivanov's) Swan Lake. At least, one can say it's an approach that may make sense at the Royal Ballet, and the company seems completely engaged by the world they are creating in this ballet. I'll add that all three Odette-Odiles I saw were very fine--the purity of Lamb's dancing (with her straight legs, and exquisite proportions) was beautiful and expressive; Nunez' warmth, the touch of sensuality that colors her upper body, and her extraordinary technical aplomb (including fantastic technical razzle dazzle in the black swan pas de deux) made for another excellent Odette-Odile; and I found every moment of her dancing invested with emotion. She also made more emotionally and physically of Scarlett's final Act pas de deux than Lamb and at key moments more than Osipova as well--falling into Siegfried's arms with complete abandon. I found Osipova's performance intense and infused with temperament and, as always with Osipova, completely riveting. That's even vaguer than my other descriptions, but it's hard for me to describe how she put her stamp on everything. In a few passages--for example, the sequence with passe/retire [please imagine accents] in the coda of the first lake scene she was as thrilling and perhaps even as beautiful as any ballerina I have seen in the role--somehow looking taller than she really is for those few seconds, and capturing the image of the Swan Queen, as it were, in metaphorical flight. Likewise her final diagonal in the coda of the Black Swan had the speed and power I associate with probably the most exciting coda I ever saw danced (Semenyaka). Still, Osipova will never, I suppose, be a swan of Platonic harmonies and Vaganova-infused poetry, and she doesn't try to be, but instead offers an emotionally mercurial characterization that works with this production--though I think it would have worked better with a more experienced, charismatic Siegfried than Matthew Ball. They even had a strange bobble at the end of the black swan adagio so that the adagio's final image was Osipova struggling to stand upright by sort of grabbing onto his arm. In fact, I liked Ball a lot, but he was not a match for her. Nunez' Siegfried, Muntagirov, was probably the best one I saw -- though I sort of appreciated Hirano's manliness in the role; Muntagirov and Ball were very young and boyish in characterization and didn't do as much growing up over the course of the evening as I had hoped. I wanted to see Dowell-like anguish when these Siegfrieds made their entrance in the final Act. I wanted to see that they understood something about themselves that they had not understood before. Muntagirov is an elegant and personable dancer, though I think he could afford to be less modest in his self-presentation. His dancing was very good of course...and for his double tours, in the ballroom scene pas de deux, he sort of "doubles" the double tours up, performing two in row with no break or prepatory steps between, then stepping forward to perform two more this way and then finally a third time, two immediately following each other. I have never seen a male dancer do this and (having read about Muntagirov's performance) was prepared to be impressed, but the night I attended he traveled to the side the first two of these "double" double tours, so they looked a bit sloppy and out of control. When he did it entirely in place the third time, it was much more effective. I also enjoyed the opportunity to see many of the company's dancers in featured roles. Here, I will just mention Fumi Kaneko (whom I saw as a big swan and the Hungarian Princess), as well as Mayara Magri and Melissa Hamilton (both as big swans). Also, Alexander Campbell's boyish Benno made a particularly good impression in the ballroom scene the night I saw him, and there is something quite dramatically compelling about Tristan Dyer on stage--another Benno--that I also remember from the Royal's tour a few years back. Dyer's Benno seemed more mature and more troubled about what was happening around him than the relatively carefree Campbell. Anyway, I am very happy I got to see this production--it's a shame we no longer live in the era of frequent Royal Ballet tours to the U.S, though I believe Los Angeles gets a visit next year. McGregor though not Petipa-Ivanov-Scarlett.
  12. Drew

    Royal Ballet 2018-19 season

    I agree and what is especially extraordinary to me in the sequence of variations for the seasons is how the more clear the relation to Petipa, the more distinctively Ashtonesque the choreography looks at the same time. It’s an evocation of Petipa and it’s the creation of a twentieth-century classicism. Why the Royal Ballet doesn’t schedule more Ashton has long been a puzzle to me, but I have given up on solving it. I think of Ashton as a definitive figure—such as Balanchine. Helene has written elsewhere to the effect that Ashton (and Tudor) works don’t hold up as well as Balanchine to less than ideal performances, and I do suspect that may be part of the problem. But how and why it should have become a problem for the Royal Ballet.....? Presumably Macmillan’s ballets play a role here too—and their great popularity. (By all accounts, though, today’s Royal has some fine Ashton dancers. I would like to see for myself, as I've not been able to see the Royal dance much--barely any--Ashton in recent years. Fortunately I've been able to see some at ABT.) Regarding Cinderella I have read many complaints about the choreography/gags for the stepsisters not being effective since the departure of the original cast, going on too long etc. When I finally saw the ballet, I was baffled that this had been given as a reason not to revive such a wonderful work. And what great, varied weekend programing in Boston!
  13. Online service has brought many conveniences to the process of buying tickets. No-one is saying "get rid of the online service"--but still...maybe don't close a box office without clear indications on websites and advertisements; don't make the fees for online service so exorbitant; and, in some cases, please do something about how cumbersome and even arbitrary online service can be. (Arbitrary?: I have bought my tickets for Atlanta Ballet online for years--then this summer the system developed some glitch and no matter what I did I couldn't get the tickets I wanted when the system said those tickets were available--I kept getting a message that I was missing some "code" of sorts. I ended up emailing the company and they got the tickets for me. But that can't be the usual way of doing business. Many people will just give up.) And, finally, have phone service salespeople trained and willing to do what box office staff do -- selecting particular seats on particular dates etc. As some theaters surely do: I've never called the Met Box Office or the State Theater and not had phone salespeople who were used to dealing with ballet fans making multiple purchases and mostly very good at their job. I'd like to think that is usually the case with City Center. Not everyone is comfortable with online purchasing -- times are a changin', but the fact that there is online service shouldn't be carte blanche for every other method of ticket sales to be crappier.
  14. I think you have good reason for annoyance with City Center. Customers —even avid ballet fans— can’t be expected to suss out in advance box office closings or phone salespersons not having exact information. Especially when these are not clearly publicized. And everyone has days when they can and can’t attend, times when they can’t rush to the box office, too, as your daughter found. This is not on you.
  15. I wasn’t able to see the screening—though did see the production live in June, once from well upstairs. I didn’t have such a strong reaction to Rothbart’s make-up, but am wondering more generally, if screenings don’t give a distorted idea of stage make-up....?
  16. Work may take me to UK next year in late July —If so, then I will definitely try to see the Bolshoi in London. And I love the Bolshoi Coppelia too! Given their current ballerina roster, I think I would be keen on seeing their Raymonda —which also seems to me one of Grigorovich’s less problematic stagings of a nineteenth-century classic. Bayadere would be exciting to see as well, though I believe they brought that to London during one of their last visits. (If they bring a Grigorovich ballet, then Legend of Love.) From their newer repertory, I would like to see Hero of Our Time....and of course it would be, at the least, interesting if they were able to bring Nureyev. My dates, though, if I make it, are likely to be limited—and dictated by work. I will be very lucky if I see as many as two different programs - and whatever they bring.
  17. Drew

    Isadora starring Natalia Osipova

    I thought the Pure Dance program was announced to include a bit of Tudor’s Leaves Are Fading and a new short pas de deux by Ratmansky...though I suppose she might include some of this Isadora as well....or there might be changes to what was announced. But if those appeal to you more, then perhaps wait before offloading? (I get to see Osipova so rarely I would be happy to see her in most things, and am curious about this Isadora, but a program with even minimal Tudor and Ratmansky would be especially appealing.)
  18. Drew

    2017 -- 2018 Season

    Like others, I am plenty intrigued about the influx of talent from the Vaganova academy to the Mariinsky this year. And have seen some video of Khoreva I think is "to die for." Also of Bulanova who has been dancing other featured roles at the Mariinsky this summer, though she wasn't cast in Apollo. But in the video excerpts of Apollo that have appeared on youtube, I thought both Khoreva and Nuikina rather overdid the facial expressions; it got a little too 'cutesy' for my taste. That may be inexperience or it may be the way they were taught. Or it may be a quirk of my own taste not to care for it. (Ayupova was one of my favorite Mariinsky ballerinas--haven't had a chance to re-watch the Apollo performance with her that Buddy mentioned above. But in Petipa and Fokine!)
  19. This is pithy and expresses my view especially about a direct exchange with the dancers. But to be less pithy: If Macaulay is going to review the Balanchine performances at City Center, then it initially, to me, feels like a conflict of interest for him also informally to give coaching tips to dancers appearing there. At the very least I would expect Macaulay's reviews to disclose the exchanges he has had with Parish as well as any others that may not be so publicly track-able. Coaching tips based on a single reheasal photo also seems like a whole other not unimportant issue even if the Sunburst is a posed moment. I assume there could be a rehearsal photo of Anthony Dowell in a less than ideal arabesque because you know...it's a rehearsal...and a photo of something that isn't static. Parish published it--it's true; does that change things? Even from a purely coaching angle it's odd: has he seen the video excerpts of the recent Parish performances of Apollo on youtube? will he contact Parish about those? That is, if he is putting himself in the position of giving a dancer advice from a distance then why wouldn't he draw on all the documentation there is? I'm not saying Macaulay should do that--I'm saying his giving advice to Parish, however informally, on the basis of one photo raises all kinds of questions for me. I guess I prefer--or am used to--a more traditional dividing up of roles in the ballet world... Perhaps Macaulay thinks he has a bigger "duty"--a duty to the quality of dancing--that in his mind transcends conventions and rules about conflict of interest. But again, in that case, he could just have Parish send him a video of the performance....I infer something else is going on here. The fact that Parish "published" the photo may be taken as opening up some other avenue of contact and exchange with critics--that youtube doesn't for example unless its Parish's own channel. We have some professional critics on this site--another question would be: have critics done this sort of thing behind the scenes for years--so that it's not new? That would surprise me, but I'm not a professional critic. And, also, as a general matter, what exactly is Parish or any other dancer supposed to do if (hypothetically) his coach were to tell him X and the NYTimes critic tell him Y--and he is about to be reviewed in the NYTimes? I assume a professional would listen to their coach; but should a critic put a dancer in that position...even unintentionally? Certainly, a dancer is hardly in a position to start arguing about the pose with a critic on Instagram...nor is that the place for it. Obviously, social media is breaking down all kinds of barriers and changing all kinds of implicit and explicit rules. Maybe this is the new normal. But for me it's a head scratcher at best...
  20. Drew

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Didn’t realize it was an old photo. That makes its predictive value rather less...
  21. Drew

    ABT 2018 Fall season

    Today ABT published this photo on their FB page of Abrera and Murphy in Symphonie Concertante -- have no idea if that's just the two ballerinas who did the photo shoot or an actual planned pairing for Fall performances. But if the latter...that's definitely a cast I look forward to reading about. (Would love to see, but won't be able...)
  22. Drew


    Paris, London, and St. Petersburg is a pretty wonderful trio!!
  23. Drew


    Hello Colette--welcome to the forum. It would be lovely to read more posts about ballet performances in Berlin--right now, a lot of us here are especially eager to read about Ratmansky's staging of Bayadere in the Fall!
  24. Drew

    Retirement of Daria Pavlenko

    Thanks Madame P. for passing this news along. I saw Pavlenko once or twice very early in her career and then, quite by chance, in a beautiful performance of the Ratmansky Cinderella in 2013—she was a replacement for Shirinkina (who had been scheduled) and her Prince was Sergeyev. She made a moving, radiant, beautiful heroine. Very grateful I got to see her in that performance and wishing her the best.