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Everything posted by mbjerk

  1. A warm and tremendous friend was Ross. Giving artist with a wonderful sense of humor and the ablity to make others better. Perhaps fondest memories are of class at Maggie's and breakfast afterwards..... Does anyone have an address where condolences may be sent? Please pm or email me -
  2. I've seen a few who were just dead.......
  3. Incoherent to us, but perhaps not to Neumier? I think that choreographers need the equivalent of an editor, or at least a trusted colleague to say - "What do you mean to convey - I do not see it"? Or would this stifle creativity and the individual expression? Or if we had seen more Neumier over time, would the ballet be clearer to us? The company's dancers seem to believe, I wonder what their conversations about dancing the ballet hold. When I danced, we often only understood a little of the choreographer's intent, but had lengthy discussions as to what it all meant and how best to convey it. And the choreographer/stager often told us not to worry but to dance it as they asked. Larger issues....
  4. I never booed dancers, as I feel they always try their best. But, I have booed choreographers and conductors. After one tedious, unimaginative and awful premiere in an intimate theater, (I was not on the aisle, so stuck) I booed loudly. The people next to me were shocked. I did boo the conductor after a hideously played Concerto Barocco here in DC only to find the orchestra exceeding itself during the next ballet........ My peeve is not booing, but the instant standing ovation. If the City Ballet audience has taken to the BOOOOOOULDER, can the wave be next? Perhaps with only one arm as the first pose of Serenade??
  5. Or why the men started with the entrance of the Shades from Act II Bayadere in the second act..... But is was fun to see it then pickup to lightning speed with the women. I look at this as a wash of emotion and ideas - perhaps choreographea (a la logorhea) - and meant as an expressionistic painting versus a realistic portrait. I gave up realism when Nijinsjy entered with the white Liberace covering.... But I still enjoyed it and hope to make time this weekend to see it again. It will be fun to discuss this Milwaukee-German dance theater versus Mr. Balanchine's ability to create a story with a man, woman and music.
  6. Go see this, for the dancers alone. Their commitment to the piece and the movement is extraordinary. As Alexandra stated in Announcements, the company and production look fabulous. You may hate the ballet, but you will not leave the theater unaffected. For me, I would rather hate an evening at the theater than be left bored, which these days is my most common experience. As for the ballet, I am still digesting a multiple course meal in a cuisine that I have not experienced in a while. All the cliches were there, slow walks across the back, coming forward backlit by a strong spot, multiple gestures used to mark a character and others. Music is used more for background emotion, similar to movies, than to drive or inspire the choreography. I find that this ballet comes out of the seventies American scene, which both Neumier and Forsythe went to Europe to expand. I am looking forward to Frankfurt coming here in June. The choreography is well made and there are few times where you are left hoping for something to see. I was pulled and pushed, and would see it again. Dancers hold your attention and act extremely well.
  7. The Philip Jerry Memorial Scholarship Award, open to area (from Phladelphia, PA to Richmond, VA) sixteen year old pre-professional ballet students, will be awarded after an audition on Saturday March 13 at 4:30 PM. The scholarship is a cash award of $500 to be used for summer study at a ballet intensive away from the student's regular school. Held at the American Dance Institute, and adjucated by Davis Robertson, the scholarhip remembers Philip Jerry. Philip was a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, a graduate of Princeton University and a choreographer. Details on the scholarship may be found here. The Philip Jerry Scholarship needs your help! Those wanting to donate may send contributions to: Philip Jerry Fund American Dance Institute 1570 East Jefferson Street Rockville, MD 20852
  8. My daughter, then eight, was asked by the AD if she enjoyed Toni Pimble's Alice in Wonderland - supposedly for kids. She answered, "No, it was not very well choreographed. But, I really loved Our Town. The story was so clear and the choreography interesting. "(this is Philip Jerry's version). Kids have great taste!! Serenade, Barocco, Swan, Giselle, R&J, etc. when done by the great companies all have appeal. The problem is we in the States are training generations to go to "civic" versions of these ballets while not attending the ABT, Kirov, etc. Or training a bad taste in ballet's name.......
  9. I seem to remember that it was done by the Minnesota PBS station? You may check directly with that station. Wasn't Loyce Holton (Lise Holton's mother) in on it or at least her company - Minnesota Dance Theater?
  10. At one time after Joffrey first moved to Chicago I thought they advertise using the billboards on the freeways: Da Bears - Da Bulls - Da Ballet! These days Joffrey may have a better team than the other two......
  11. I missed the triple bill with Corder's latest piece. I find him musical and his pas de deux choreography good, if derivative of his predecessors, MacMillian and Ashton. That only makes sense though. The dancers seem to love working with him and he has a great feel for the stage as a whole. The theater in Oxford is owned by ClearChannel - it seems they are everywhere! But at least ballet was on (CATS was next though!).
  12. English National Ballet Oxford, UK November 27 – 29 Cinderella Choreographed by Michael Corder First let me start off by announcing that Michael Corder and I were in Joffrey Ballet together and that I have a good friend in the company corps de ballet. I danced Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella while with Houston and have that love for it as it was my first principal role there. So, with that in mind please excuse a first effort at writing about ballet. Cinderella is well known to me through Walt Disney, Rogers and Hammerstein, and of course the British versions of Ashton and Stevenson. Michael Corder feels some of these influences, the stepmother in the tradition of Disney villainesses and the uses of Prince’s friends for the stepsisters at the ball, yet tells it his way. The stepsisters are danced by women, the dancing master attends the ball, and the usual theatrical tricks (flash pots for the fairy godmother’s entrance, for example) are done away with. The seasonal fairies, their cavaliers and a tutu corps of celestials are seen throughout the ballet as the undercurrent that carries the day. Nature supports true love. The ballet begins with Cinderella in the kitchen alone looking at the moon. She begins cleaning up, with a broom bought at Marks and Sparks – cannot they make a period one? The stepsisters arrive to mock, play and intimidate. Among the casts, they are played as younger brats to older spinsters feeding off each other’s unpleasantness. Tall and short become spacy (Grahn) and feisty (Cerrito). I thought that I preferred the drag sisters, but Mr. Corder and the dancers taught me otherwise. Fairy godmother arrives not via the fireplace but through the front door and is gracious throughout. The ballroom is standard fair with the corps looking wonderful in sweeping patterns and steps that play with the music rather than follow it. I liked that the Prince’s friends arrive first to deter the stepsisters and they are handsome young men. Cinderella arrives via the fairy cavaliers and her arrival is marked by the celestials and seasonal fairies. For my taste, there is not enough simplicity in the moment of meeting the Prince nor exploration of the first moments of the relationship. The third act begins with the Prince searching throughout the world. (While this scene is in the musical score, I prefer to cut to the Kitchen.) Mr. Corder does introduce the stepsisters as Princesses from Spain and the Orient, who seduce him, almost. There is another Oriental Princess as well. Back in the kitchen, Cinderella reminisces, the sisters tease and all are a twit as the Prince comes with the shoe (grey in Act II and the beginning of Act III, now pink). The shoe fits and a brief pas introduces more celestials, fairies and the like. Here these characters act as an anti-climax. I wish that Cindy and her Prince had a full blown pas. They do kiss, wonderfully dependent on cast, and one is in love with both of them, so the story wins. My bias in story ballets is for dancers to tell the story first and “strut the stuff” second. I want a fully developed role that starts and grows as the story warrants. I saw four principal casts. English National Ballet has a diverse group of dancers from all the major styles and this diversity showed in the principal couples’ performances. Agnes Oaks and Thomas Edur gave the most thoughtful and technically strong performance overall. If one has a chance to see these two, grab it. She is blond and he is gorgeous. He was a Prince, royal at birth. The small touches were there as was attention to the details in between that make one believe in the story. Both are Vaganova trained, from Estonia, and open giving dancers. Sarah Mcllroy, formerly Royal, and Jan-Erik Wikstrom, formerly Royal Swedish, gave the most natural performance. They acted in the British tradition without pretension, with eye contact and involved all around them. Unfortunately Ms. Mcllroy had some trouble with the Act II variation, a killer, but I enjoyed her dancing. She moves large. Mr. Wikstrom was a magnificent partner and danced his variation well. Less successful in my opinion were the other couples. Erina Takahashi, ENB grown, was technically flawless, and her acting was good; genuine and exact. Her Prince, Vladislav Bubnov, formerly Bolshoi, was distracted by the choreography and seemed more concerned with doing his steps exactly than falling for the girl. The chemistry was forced. Ms. Takashi grew on me throughout the evening and again on a second viewing. I wish to see her with a partner rather than a fellow dancer. The last, actually first that I saw, were Elena Glurdjidze, Vaganova trained, and Dmitri Gruzdyev, formerly of the Kirov. Ms. Glurdjidze started well, her first act was the best, but as she met the Prince, there began trouble in Paradise. Mr. Gruzdyev is the most physically gifted among the men that I saw, but his performance seemed to me phoned in. The choreography for the man and the pas de deux are not in the broad classical style of the Petipa ballets and perhaps he missed the opportunity to open his technique. I had a great time seeing five performances of the same ballet in a row. Soloist roles were danced by my friend, so I have not reviewed them. But the quality of dancing was strong throughout. One last note, there is a fantastic young man, Fernando Bufala, that I enjoyed watching in class, on stage and hope to see dance again. The company is lovely, well coached by David Wall and is meant to be seen. They are in London with Cinderella and Nutcracker this December and January in Hammersmith.
  13. I remember the clap as I first learned it from Mr. Franklin. I also remember Fonteyn making noise (maybe my convenient memory?) - but I really remember her passe's in the coda - those remain a lesson in the ability of an artist to make a single, simple step into a virtuoso moment! As Raymonda is a role, I feel the ballerina should determine whether to make the sound dependent on where she feels the character is at that point.
  14. It is so true that one must understand that a review of a performance is one of a spontaneous point in time. The next performance of the same artist in the same role will be different to the same critic; so many variables!! That is why it is crucial that dancers have multiple performances in one part and hopefully walk the casting ladder in dances where possible. Yes, I like it when someone comes up with a new look at a role. I love it when they do it while respecting the traditions before them and allowing me a fresh perspective on those traditions. I also enjoy it when I learn enough to appreciate an artist whom I may have disliked due to my ignorance. Finally, it is all subjective past a certain level and time does stretch the artist's, audience's, coach's and critic's fabric in various directions. Sometimes the fabric shreds, but if the artistry is there then the fabric beautifies with time.
  15. Both ugly stepsisters in Ashton's Cinderella - The tall one and later as the evening wears on the shorter one. Need cavaliers though.... Any takers?
  16. Not just young danseurs either! I like it when the woman lets me feel her weight in my hands as it allows us to move as one and gives me the control of the movement. Dancing Kylian is a great way to find this connectivity, although I was fortunate enought to have coaches throughout that made us feel each other and work with our individual qualities to make a better total performance. What is the record for the most posts on a single topic in a short period?
  17. Markova coached me in Les Sylphides where she constantly told my partner not to jump, help or anything. Her words were, "Make him lift you!" It was the first time that I heard someone tell the woman not to at least feel a releve into a lift. I think I remember Freddie Franklin telling stories of how he partnered Markova in pirouettes telling us that he made the turns and she just help her pose. Markova was wonderful. Another line was, "Of course if I were in training I would show you exactly." She was a true grand dame.
  18. Anyone know what flavor? Rocky Road? Bittersweet chocolate.... Creme no more
  19. When she took my class a year ago she looked in great shape and certainly less than what I sometimes partnered with respect to length and weight. Is not a partner's job to make the woman look light and long? I would love the fan toss in the pas as an excerpt - not sure in context unless Basilio gets to toss his guitar around - although he does get the glasses in the taverna scene variation! Somehow I scream that the ice cream must be only one flavor of this story....
  20. Need to find teaching subs so that I can go every night! Imagine La Sylph with another ballet, what a joy!
  21. If two dancers approach a pirouette from different preparations each dancing to music of the same tempo, then what tempo will each dancer see the other doing the pirouette at? Or, if three dancers collide at the speed of a Glass piece, how many new dancers will be created and at what movement mass? The possibilities are relatively boundless!
  22. Yes, Ben did replace several, but kept a majority of the existing company. The existing Houston company was very loyal to James Clouser and the dancers Ben brought were loyal to him. Several had been in National Ballet of Washington with Ben. I was part of the caravan that came down from Chicago as many from Houston went north to Chicago with James Clouser. We joked that we should have just switched apartments, furniture and cars - made the move hassle free!
  23. It is encouraging that he took so many from BBII. This allows him to use new blood while strengthening the apprentice program and hopefully the school to company relationship. Also these dancers should know the rep, so it helps with rehearsals, etc. Sounds exciting to me, and as the commercial sector proves, the right move for a culture change to a new path. Interesting too would be what the ex- BB dancers are doing. Did they retire, move on to other companies or go into the school/company as staff?
  24. As you said Victoria, it is unusual for us to disagree! No apologies needed - I phrased it obscurely.
  25. Victoria - we do agree! I did not use a double negative as I agreed with Alexandra that modern should not be what teaches ballet dancers to move. I do not think that modern more than ballet teaches ballet dancers to move unless the dancer is inclined in that direction. Modern does help ballet dancers find more of their bodies and can show them more about expression. BUT, I am a bunhead through and through and find well-taught, musical ballet classes contain all that is needed.
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