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Paul W

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Everything posted by Paul W

  1. SPAC's setting and the ability to be closer and more comfortable watching ballet makes this summer staple always a treat!! NYCB has seemed much more enjoyable and enticing to me at SPAC than in NYC, but you have to understand that I'm still evolving in my Balanchine appreciation quest. rkoretzky has already indicated beautifully many of the details of the Friday evening and Saturday matinee performances. Just to re-enforce her perspective, Evans is pure JOY to watch!! His movement is what I think of in picturing perfection of human movement. Such a contrast in his emotional involvement and his own obvious enjoyment in his movement and his expression of feeling compared to Nilas. "Dream" was a pleasure to watch, the Mendelssohn perfect for a dream-like summer's evening in Saratoga, and the dancers adding on the spectacular layer of beauty for the eye. Evans's Puck was definitely out of this world, Damian was ok as Oberon (in my opinion), but there is always some detachment (?, can't find the right word) I sense in his perfomances, though I like his "pyrotechnical" dancing generally. I also agree that Meunier danced Hippolyta to perfection. I have never been a big fan of Wendy Whelan, and I am a big fan of Kowroski so was not too disappointed in the Titania role on Friday. For the first time seeing "Dream" it's a bit of work to keep couples and dancers straight in the opening parts of the first Act, particularly not knowing NYCB dancers by sight that well. But I guess that's what Shakespeare had in mind. Unfortunate I didn't get to see Whelan however, since I think I need to watch her dancing from a different mind-set than I have in the past, and I was gearing up to be more attentive to her. Corps was lovely in everything over the weekend. Re: "Polyphonia", it's too bad again that this was not done at Sat. matinee, I was interested in broadening my experience of choreographers. But 4T's was not at all difficult to accept in substitution. This really must have been greeted with amazement in 1946!! Particularly liked Evans again in Phlegmatic !!, Somogyi and Askegard worked very well for me, and I always like Meunier's dancing (Choleric). 4T's, for what it represented at the time it was made and for how it still resonates, will surely be in repertory forever. "Brandenburg" makes me a Robbins admirer (not real familiar with his work)!! In particular, I am first drawn in to real appreciation of this ballet by the Bach music, especially the tempo, the allegro sections are really enjoyable and the flow of dancers was spectacular. Hubbe and Weese in the Concerto 2 Andante were my favorite duo in this. Agree again too that the third part "Menuetto - Polacca" was very beautifully danced by the ensemble group, all of whom are lovely young dancers. This one held my undivided attention throughout. Saratoga in summer is a GREAT place to see GREAT ballet!!
  2. I was at the June 16 final U.S. performance of the Royal's "Swan Lake". I can't confirm there was a quadruple fouette with absolute confidence, but it sure seemed like it to me! I thought I saw one at the end of an amazing string of several triples. Rojo's performance in these was definitely "astounding", and wonderful to behold. I don't think this came off so much as another pushing of the envelope in technique so much as an example of passionate expression of ballet's bravado element. It fit smoothly into the performance for most I would venture to guess. The applause was immediate and sustained. I agree just about 100% with everything Kisselgoff said in her review. The performances of Rojo and Acosta were spectacular!!!, artistically and technically. The corps was MAGNIFICENT !!! This was again a different Swan Lake than I have seen previously. I liked the Russian setting. My reaction to the sets and "unconventional decor" was initially somewhat confused. At first I looked with disappointment for the lake and swans (to me that was a very positive aspect of opening scene in the NBoC "Swan Lake"), then, as the performance progressed, I felt that the Art Nouveau decor enhanced the interpretation. This was a wonderful "Swan Lake" in my opinion, and I couldn't imagine better performances for the principals or the corps dancers. It was my all time favorite portrayal based on the several "Swan Lake" performances I've seen live.
  3. I'm not a fan of everything JFK did, but I would never have concluded that he considered "culture" as window dressing. Is there some factual trail of evidence to support this assertion Dirac? I can't think of any other President since I've been alive who supported and "seemed to" appreciate the arts more in the context of U.S. culture.
  4. Thanks Paquita, for a very nice synopsis of recent performances by NBoC. I'm interested in seeing the "Madame Butterfly" sometime, but probably will have to wait until Boston 2002 (May 2-19). I have not read much about this ballet; would like to hear views about the ballet and the choreographer. If you have a chance, please write some of your thoughts on the NBoC production you indicated you would be seeing. Your description of the Balanchine "Theme and Variation" gave me another ballet that I've put on my "must see" list also.
  5. In the two major productions of Giselle that I have seen, I never got the impression that Giselle actually killed herself with Albrecht's sword. She plays with it menacingly (while insanity fully replaces her broken-hearted remembrances), but to kill herself with such a long sword would have been obvious, and I don't recall that at all. I remember that Irma Nioradze, as Giselle, swung the sword in large circles along the ground (not in the air) before finally dying. On another point brought up here, It doesn't seem completely unthinkable that the Wilis could be "associated with", "hanging out at", or um..."living" in a graveyard, one where Christian graves are almost all topped with crosses. Heinrich Heine's concept of the Wili does not appear to imply that these poor maidens were sinners and condemned to be buried apart from other Christian church-goers. That has been mentioned here, but where did that idea come from? They are clearly pitiable maidens who, like Giselle, probably died of broken hearts. Wouldn't they likely be buried in the church graveyard? The traditional place for "ghosts" is certainly the graveyard, eg. when you were a child (or perhaps even now) did you not "whistle by the graveyard" to keep the ghosts of the dead buried there from intercepting you unexpectedly as you walked past? The placing of the Wilis in the forest is confusing, to be sure. This does take place is Germany, notable for its great forests close upon its towns! Perhaps this is a more interesting place to dance in the moonlight than around the gravestones. Also, are the Wilis generally portrayed as spirits with a desire to capture, through dancing to death, those (particularly young men) who happen to encounter them in their nightly release? That seems an obvious follow-on to their deprivation in life. This was clearly the implication in the Kirov production as well as the Hartford production I saw. Are they not somewhat like Yeats's Sidhe, "...if any gaze on our rushing band, We come between him and the deed of his hand, We come between him and the hope of his heart...." So their objective is not simply to dance.... Actually, during the performances I was blithely unaware of these subtleties, its usually only when I read this board that I wonder that I may have missed something. Is it possible the original creators Gautier et. al. didn't really think through all the details completely?
  6. Thanks for some very interesting discussion about young dancers promoted to "star" status. While I agree 100% with the view that competitions are not what should define a dancer's potential or actual artistic talent, I think a lot of the statements about how dancers reacte to competition are broad generalizations and cannot be considered applicable to most if even a relative minority of competitors. With respect to winning them, there certainly is ample evidence that this indeed is the case and certainly what many competitors want to result from their participation in the competition. It doesn't seem fair to me to blame competitions for what companies and company directors expect of a dancer they hire based on competitions. I think Victoria's point, expresses this exactly. Young dancers need to be nurtured no matter how they arrive on the company's doorstep. [ 04-14-2001: Message edited by: Paul W ]
  7. One thing that should be said about program notes, is that if you don't WANT to read them you don't have to. As for me, I like all the notes I can get, both to pass the time while bobbing up and down in my seat while others arrive, and to have some basis for placing the art in context. I think it is absolutely necessary for people who are seeing a story ballet for the first time, to have some historical notes and synopsis. For abstract ballets, I would like some background information about the dancers and choreographer at least, but I agree with others that I don't want it overly "interpreted" for me prior to seeing it. I can't say that I've ever read anything in the program that I wished I hadn't read prior to seeing a ballet however. Often I've wished for more. As with all art though, I think its the PROCESS of experiencing it that is most rewarding, not that you arrive at the same interpretation of its meaning as someone (or everyone) else does.
  8. My feelings parallel those of Lewis Segal. Having seen pictures of Duncan, I can't imagine her having different feelings about this. I haven't seen any of the movies mentioned nor have I any direct knowledge about Balanchine's preferences for how his dancers should have looked, but indirect evidence of its holdover to ballet of today seems obvious in many of today's NYCB dancers (in particular). It continues to strike me as odd that female dancers should be considered (by whom, by the way?) more aesthetically beautiful if super-thin. I quess there must be "taste" involved in being able to see this "line" that is apparently very important to experienced afficionados. I agree, it does seem important for outstretched movements and poses commonly taken by corps members in unison. I think "line" must be more related to overall body type (build) rather than being related to how thin that body is however. What Segal seems to be talking about is a "thinness" requirement in today's (classical) ballet world that comes from the ballet-master's standards rather than demands of the audience. Or is it the critical reviews that drive this more? Do these in charge of saying "thou shalt be thin" take audience response to classical ballet performances into account? How are they informed of any preferences audiences have? Though apparently mostly white, I don't think this establishment is primarily male by the way; perhaps most ballet-masters are male, but are most critics and reviewers male? Also, in my opinion, the super-thin look certainly doesn't seem very common in South American companies which are dancing classical repertoire. Well, someone is sure to point out that there are none listed in the "establishment's" top 10..... I have experienced watching some of the most artistically perfect dancers, yet felt there was something less than aesthetically pleasing about their performance because of the distraction of their thin-ness seen in the features of the face and the protruding bones of Balanchine's aesthetic. It's the total package that leaves a lasting impression on me I guess. I hope Segal is correct in his predictions for the future.
  9. Moscow Festival Ballet company performed Swan Lake in Burlington, Vermont's Flynn Theatre last Thursday (3/22). I assume it was part of a larger tour in the states and perhaps Canada. It appears this group has toured widely (England, U.S., rest of Europe) in the last five years. I thought it was a very fine production. First time I had seen the Jester given such prominence. In Kudelka's Swan Lake I don't recall the Jester at all, and likewise for the NYCB Swan Lake performances I've seen. Though once or twice his presence distracted a bit from parallel activity going on, I found this role added to understanding of the story through his mime. I think this performance must have been following a very traditional Russian approach, as the ending was much more "romantic" than Kudelka's also. This company was founded and is directed by Sergei Radchenko, whom I gather is a very well known former principal dancer with the Bolshoi. It was well presented and excellent for the circumstances (small stage, touring venue). My only complaint was that it was not clear who was dancing each role from the program list. I did discover that Odette/Odile was danced by Irina Kovaleva who was quite good dramatically but technically not quit up to Chan Hon Goh (NBoC) whom I've seen in the same role. She was so different from Odette, as Odile, that I at first thought it was a different dancer. Beautiful scenery and the dancing was so wonderfully "Russian". Small stage meant they had to work hard to fit it all in without major injuries. There were only 16 Swans in the Corps group, but they were exceptionally "together", and very good lighting with the white tutus creating an amazing impression. In Act II the four little swans were superb!! I noticed that the role of Rothbart was completely different than in other productions I've seen (Kudelka's, NYCB). Especially in Kudelka's version, I recall actual physical battle represented between Siegfried and Rothbart. In this production there was never any eye contact between Siegfried and Rothbart, only a hovering presence of Rothbart. Rothbart was not a major player, only occasionally coming forward in his menacing and powerfully controlling essence, who appeared to be beyond the pale of physical existence and not noticed specifically by anyone. Only his affect on Siegfried or Odette was clear. I found this production mesmerizing and thoroughly enjoyable. Even though there was only recorded music (generally the sound and timing were very good) Tchaikovsky's great score and the well staged production brought out that lovely magical feeling. This was a different Moscow ballet company than I had seen a couple years ago here in Vermont when I saw Moscow City Ballet perform "Cinderella", which I also found to be very good. But I liked Radchenko's "Swan Lake" better than "Cinderella" (directed by Smirnow-Golovanov), maybe just because of the particular ballet itself.
  10. Estelle, Definitely Nijinska's "Early Memoirs" !! Many of the others may be excellent, I can't comment on them, and perhaps your interests and focus may be more toward the making of dance choreography. But "Early Memoirs" was sentimental, touching, enjoyable to read, and gave me a better understanding of an amazing artistic period at the turn of the century in Russia and Europe.
  11. Manhattnik said: "most BA readers would know that those "fluttery" jumps in Bluebird are brise volees. Right?" Well, most probably do, but I for one liked the reference to fluttery jumps to get the picture and then would really also appreciate seeing the term "brise volee" right beside it.... just for the next time I see it used without the 'fluttery' part.
  12. Thanks Veronika, for pointing out the (rather significant ) distinction in the reference to "soul" in what is attributed to Ms. Jaffe ("...it didn't call for my soul"). I agree, she doesn't imply that Balanchine's work doesn't have soul. So my apologies to Ms. Jaffe. Alexandra, you mention your surprise that new ballet-goers might be shocked to find out how much it takes to understand ballet, "...comments about how much there is to learn. I've always puzzled, though, over why this is such a shock...". It isn't really a shock so much as an enlightenment to the rich history behind ballets produced today, and how important this history remains in the minds of true afficionados... It IS a really WONDERFUL challenge!! I didn't mean to imply that I wish it were different, only that it definitely does take a major long term effort, which does require more frequent, regular ballet viewing (not painful by any means, but expensive if you live in the boonies ). Alexandra and Intuviel , I don't disagree with your views that Balanchine ballets have stories associated with them; But, I think the similarities and differences in meaning as we use the terms "abstract", "plotless", "story-ballet", and "dramatic" are all a bit fluid in this discussion. Words are getting in the way a bit. I respectfully submit that one can't really say that Balanchine ballets have stories to the same extent that Swan Lake, Giselle, Fille, Onegin etc... do. I am not in disagreement that individuals are led to perceive a story by skill of the choreographer and the artists in dancing the ballet, and agree with the perspective you expressed about these stories: "a different story for each person, or each season of life, or from one performance to another" This is what I would term abstract, its not concrete, its not absolute but ambiguous. And that "ambiguity" supports what I was trying to say initially, that it does require time and effort to fully understand and appreciate Balanchine's work, ie. to get to this elevated level of appreciation; as I said before I do find the dance movements and physicality of the dancers quite beautiful in his ballets. But, to date I have not come home from a Balanchine ballet with the same awe & reverence for the work that I sense being expressed by Manhattnik or Leigh in posts of recent days. I might be absolutely blown away by the beauty, but I am also often a bit puzzled.... For some reason, it never puzzles me at all that swans become beautiful women, dead unwed maidens haunt primeval forests, a princess and all her associates fall asleep for 100 years without consequence, and mice turn into armies to fight against toy soldiers.
  13. Dale, you've definitely initiated a very significant and interesting discussion!! I don't think from my point of interest its so much "long vs short", or "evening length vs one-act". It gets more to the premise and the question posed in your quote from Roca's article. I take the premise to be that Roca sees a dichotomy between the critical dance community (critics) viewpoint on the merit of narrative vs abstract ballet and the public (audience) view of the same. Add to the premise the quotes from McKenzie and Jaffe and this is sure to generate some sparks here. I agree with Roca's premise. This is something I have struggled with from the beginning of my heightened interest in ballet. The current thread(s) on Emploi have been very interesting, but have been a bit depressing and frustrating because of the realization that there is so much more behind this art form that is forever beyond the scope of discovery for an infrequent ballet-goer. The issue you've raised once more is also related to how frequently one is able to go to ballets. I disagree with Jaffe in general (can't contest her emotional and interpretive perspective as a dancer) because I can sense the incredible "soul" that is present in Balanchine's "abstract" ballets, even having only seen a few only once. I can understand McKenzie's statement about wanting more of a role (dramatic in the sense of filling out a narrative, I presume) than just a "meaty" (technically ?) part. Narrative ballets allow a dancer to develop more depth of interpretation I think. From the perspective of a critic, or of one of the many articulate participants on this site who write from NYC, I can see that the abstract ballets become a very intense experience. Manhattnik, Leigh, you yourself Dale, and many others are able to see Balanchine night after night. You interpret from a different database than I do. You can explore the nuances of the different casts and grow to have a keen understanding of the "intent" behind the abstractness. For me, and others who can see but one performance or so a year (and even can miss a particularly desired performance such as Mozartiana because it was canceled during the one opportunity ), growing to appreciate Balanchine's art is not so easy as absorbing the narrative ballets. To infrequent ballet-goers a single performance of Swan Lake or Giselle or Fille is much more easily appreciated (even if it might be a bit below par or less than authentic to the classic original). I guess my point is that the general public (non critics like me) loves the narrative ballets more because it takes a great deal more exposure to abstract ballets to make contact with their "artistic essence". Balanchine's ballets are definitely beautiful and the dancers are joy to watch even once, but the meaning is frequently elusive and only grasped through seeing multiple performances. As to Roca's question of whether dramatic ballets are only a "guilty pleasure" or the "highest achievements of an art form", that too can't be answered by one who has not seen repeated performances. I'll take the guilty pleasure and run at this point. But I also feel that way about Balanchine's work! [This message has been edited by Paul W (edited February 27, 2000).]
  14. My opinion on this issue, is based not so much on having seen performances of a particular dancer when not used in her/his best "emploi", but more on a sense of what has changed for companies over the years (based on discussions on this board). I'm still somewhat ignorant of what specific emploi leading parts demand in most ballets. In general, I agree with Alexandra (stars get what they want) and with Bard's Ballerina (tickets will be sold if a star dances, even if out of her/his best emploi). I'm interpreting that the concern over "emploi" is directed mostly at the leading roles in well-known ballets. I would think that occasionally a company has to experiment and give a new dancer a few different roles to discover "who she/he is, or can be". It seems that in the contemporary world the "star" performer is more important than the "team" so to speak. This has happened on most professional sports teams. I suspect it is happening with most ballet companies. I've an impression that in the past the really world class ballet companies were more concerned with and dedicated to the artistic purity of the ballet being danced (vs giving emerging stars almost continuous exposure) and employed an entire company to support this ideal. In the go-go climate of today, individual dancers (just as high priced position players in sports determine strategies) seem to have more overall influence on how a ballet is cast, perhaps because the companies rely heavily (as do certain sports teams) on these star individuals to carry them financially.
  15. I'll answer Mel's leading question , because, everyone reading this board should know that the six issue per year publication "BalletAlert" published by the WebMistress of this site and her cadre of top writers is the most informative and interesting newsletter I receive in the mail. I too found the article on page 5 of the January 2000 issue , "Fanny Elssler in America" , a wonderful piece. I've now started Guest's book on Elssler to get a full picture of the fascinating life of this Romantic era ballerina!! I'd recommend "BalletAlert" to everyone who posts here!!
  16. Well, the evening I spent on January 14 at City Ballet was inauspicious at best, but I guess I still feel good about being there. Made a special winter trip to the City (driving 300 miles and through a blizzard the night before on the way down) particularly to see Mozartiana. Cold and windy in the street canyons too, but absolutely balmy compared to Montpelier, VT. We faced the windchill on our faces with happiness & anticipation as we walked the 10 blocks to Lincoln Center. NYC is excitement!! I had done some homework on "Mozartiana", read about its making, etc. etc. Not to be... Arrived at our seats in the 2nd ring (best I've had for any ballet in NYC) and was all pumped up..opened program and then, gulp..., saw those first words in the program insert....due to illnesses "In the Night" will replace "Mozartiana".. Must be getting serious about this ballet stuff, since I felt a really, really VERY BIG letdown... isn't there a saying that goes something like "THE show must go on"? in contrast to "A show must go on"! Don't big ballet companies have understudies in lead roles, etc, etc....?? Then we noted that Hubbe (I did like his performance a lot actually) would replace Martins, in "Concerto Barocco" and the principal dancers for "Valse-Fantaisie" would be Abi Stafford and Benjamin Millepied. Now I had seen Millepied at Saratoga and I liked what I had seen of his dancing...but "who is this Stafford?" The program insert says...*Joined the corps de ballet, January 1, 2000...well, must be some mistake in the date there, its only the 14th of January... or I'm really hexed and they've thrown the WHOLE program out, just letting corps dancers dance tonight. I thought Abi Stafford looked like a very seasoned professional dancer! She was wonderful!! She certainly connected with us and we liked her presentation and the partnership of Millepied. As it turned out, Valse-Fantaisie with Glinka's music saved the evening for me. This was a very nice piece which had both my wife and I smiling broadly. I thought Concerto Barocco was just OK, primarily because I love the Bach double violins, although I had a hard time following all the dancing going on at the same time. I found it difficult to focus on anyone in particular for much of the piece, with the corps dancers all doing their part all around the stage, seeming to distract my eyes from the principals. It left me feeling somehow that I was missing it. "In the Night" was also a positive overall, and I particularly enjoyed the middle couple, Kowroski(whom I have loved to watch since I first saw her dance at Saratoga) and Askegard. "In G Major" set me back down on earth again (or under it) as I just cannot begin to appreciate Wendy Whelan (who, in a final twist of fate, replaced my favorite, Kowroski). The fact that there were two Robbins pieces that did not super impress me, and missing out on Balanchine's "Mozartiana" made this first visit to NYCB in the City somewhat of a letdown. ABT regains my prime attention next (I've seen them a number of times). But New York City won me back again on this trip. "Kiss Me Kate" (*****) made up for any disappointment at the ballet, and I almost collapsed in shock when a cabby stopped and politely (uttering not a single unprintable word) motioned us to cross 45th street without treating my overcoat as a matador's cape.
  17. Paul W

    The Millenium Awards

    I'm with Andrei!! A beer wouldn't be all that undesirable, especially for those of us just watching. But I imagine it could produce some negative consequences for the dancers (then again, perhaps that's what Wendy W needs)! Beer and football, now there is a cultural milieu which could have a rather stiltifying influence on artistic taste!! (IMO!!) But, definitely beer companies wouldn't give much consideration to sponsoring ballet, ... would they!? By the way, I'll just assume, gkimbrough, that you are male, especially since beer was mentioned in connection with sports. But even with just 2 posts to judge by, (I noted the interest in woodworking!), so, I'm going out on a limb. I hope I don't get burned a third time!!? (again, apologies to Dale and Ari , it would presumably be easier if we had pictures ).
  18. I agree completely Nanatchka!! An impression of mine (whether true or false) that he may have easily lost interest in women, particularly as they aged, is not relevant to his choreographic genius. There are statements in the book which do give me reason to believe he held a different view of women than I do, from a number of perspectives.
  19. First I want to thank atm711 for recommending this book!!! It's full title is "Interviews with George Balanchine, Balanchine's Tchaikovsky", by Solomon Volkov, translated from Russian by Antonina W. Bouis. It is so easy to read and so interesting! It's not a deep work, being Balanchine's recollections and conversations (primarily about Tchaikovsky) with Solomon Volkov in the months before Balanchine died, but it sheds enormous light on his personal character and his choreographic impetus. I'm sure all of the long-time balletgoers have already read this, but if you haven't you should. I came to this board with mixed understanding of Balanchine and his ballets, with feelings something like dislike,.. not the exact word I'm looking for, though why I don't exactly know? I still have some question about his relationships and use of women in his life. But he certainly offers a beautiful humanity I never saw written about elsewhere. Though it is subjective (coming from the man himself), I found a lot of easily understood discussion about composers and their relationship to various ballets and it appears I admire many of the ones he admires. I'm even convinced somewhat about Stravinsky's danceability. And it sheds light on how his style of neo-classicism was born. And to find that Tchaikovsky was still alive for Balanchine, as Mozart must have been for Tchaikovsky definitely sealed my growing attraction to Balanchine's art. "Mozartiana" is now a must on my list. Isn't learning fun!! I'd like to hear what others think of it.
  20. These replies are very very helpful, particularly your pointing out the specific instances of changes, with the flower petals and the sword; these might be difficult to notice for someone who is seeing Giselle for the first time obviously. I have only seen Giselle once but I recall very vividly the daisy petal part of the Giselle I saw at Hartford a couple years ago. Manhattnik, it was done as you indicated it most logically and dramatically should be done, with Albrecht taking the SAME flower after Giselle has realized it's remaining petals count to "loves me not", and with obvious and delightful deliberation, removing one more petal before giving it back to Giselle, and her then glowing happiness at seeing the result of this touchingly simple action. These are the moments in story ballets which have to be sacred! So, that it wasn't done this way, would also make me feel there was something absolutely necessary which was missing. My question has one more aspect however, aside from the particulars which were "left out" or "changed", either by design or perhaps by sloppy portrayals due to the dancers not being coached adequately. I was actually more interested in the contrast between, let's say Jeannie's obviously ecstatic and delightful response which declares "Beauty" (the production) being finally awakened after a 109 year slumber; and Kisselgoff's apparent hesitancy to christine this the NEW "old Beauty", because of apparent lack of thematic accuracy and focus in these production aspects. My question is perhaps really rhetorical and not really answerable one way or the other, but I was kind of seeking an opinion as to whether others thought this Kirov production will now stand the test of time and become the standard "Beauty" for the future. If not, isn't it just another attempt at recovering the old "Beauty" along with all the rest.
  21. In Monday July 5th's NY Times, Anna Kisselgoff does a review of Giselle which was generally favorable (pointing out strengths more than weaknesses) but a bit tepid. At the end though she makes the statement that interests me: "Like the company's newly reconstructed 'Sleeping Beauty', this 'Giselle' shows no point of view toward production. Layers of restored or reinvented passages were laid out in 'Beauty' but not justified as part of a stylistic whole. In 'Giselle', essential detail is discarded without explanation. The Kirov is obviously a company in transition." I can understand the Kirov is in transition, but what is one to make of this?? It seems to cast a NEGATIVE stamp on the productions. Is this a view those posting on this board have? And is it important? It's all too cerebral for me.
  22. Thanks to all for so much detail and excitement in the reviews of the "new" old Beauty! Fun to read them all. Jeannie, your review indicates this one certainly was particularly special for you! After all the ballets you have seen, you were able to give this production the place in your experience that it now takes. I'd say that has to count a lot towards its quality. But, though generally everyone seems to believe this is a milestone rebirth for "Beauty" from the Maryinsky, there do seem to be some slight differences of opinion on the mime and the comparative "authenticity" (is that the word) relative to what was produced at the Royal a few decades back. Any further views on how perceptions can differ on some things so greatly? I'm always amazed at how much many of you experienced balletgoers can remember of the details of past performances. My memories of detail fade quickly, but the overall impression remains strong re a particular dancer or the production itself. After such great reviews, it is frustrating to have missed what might be a historical significant mounting of this ballet. I will be seeing the Kirov "Giselle" and "Fountains" next week however. Any chance it is likely that "Giselle" in particular will approach the level of former 19th century standard?
  23. But a beautifully written and convincing one Angela! You've put another entry on my list of ballets I need to see, particulary since you emphasize the dramatic aspects, which I tend to look for in ballets.
  24. Beautiful!! Leigh, more reviews like you've written above are not only welcome, they will now be expected! Please don't just post them on alt.arts.ballet!! I have resisted trying to get to that site because my day is just too short as it is. Can we put in orders for the next review? Maybe "Snow Maiden" !!
  25. Paul W

    Gelsey II

    I bought the Baryshnikov at Wolftrap video (available by mail order or over internet) and it is a far better presentation of Misha than of Gelsey. I have never seen her dance except for the video; pas de deux from Coppelia and Don Quixote. Viewing this video made me feel very distressed for her. She appeared much too thin, and was not attractive to look at. Her balance on pointe was very shaky. This video may be worth it for Baryshnikov, but Gelsey's part in it is unfortunate. A frame containing an apology of sorts from her is presented at the end of the video. This reaction from one who knows nada of her.
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