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Mike Gunther

Senior Member
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    128
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About Mike Gunther

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    Senior Member

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Dance Fan
  • City**
    Washington, DC
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    DC
  1. Ultimately it comes down to who hires... in Washington Ballet (D.C.) we have Black, Hispanic, Asian dancers... I think that when choreographers / artistic directors, like Choo San Goh or Septime Webre, are comfortable with multiple cultures, then they are more likely to be clued in to great potential hires, just because they know where those applicants are coming from. In other words, it's not just who you (as a dancer) know, it's (even more important) who knows you!
  2. I rented this the other day at my local Blockbuster and was absolutely delighted. The DVD combines narration, archival footage, and interviews with original(!) members of the companies to produce a very engaging history. To clarify, the DVD is about two companies: the "Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo" and the so-called "Original Ballet Russe" company, both of which split off from the _real_ original Ballet Russe - which as all of you know was the company of Najinsky etc. - after 1929. Everything about this DVD is first-class. The archival footage is very clean. The narration clarified many points
  3. The same point was made by several artists being interviewed on the 2006 "Ballets Russes" DVD. The interviewees were some of the original(!) members of the Monte Carlo incarnation of Ballets Russes. While admiring of contemporary technique, they felt that today's dancers had lost the emotional and artistic connections to those works. Maybe it's true... looking at the archival footage I could see their point. As for the later Balanchine, though, surely Suzanne Farrell is doing her creditable best to bring it back, or at least to keep it alive? Or don't you agree?
  4. PS - a historical note, that doesn't have much to do with this afternoon's performance... The RB has a tradition of introducing new dancers at their Saturday matinees, so about 20 years ago, in the mid-1980's, I showed up at a Saturday matinee of Sleeping Beauty, naively having no idea at all of who the cast was, or what I was about to see. The Aurora was Sylvie Guillem, who had just joined the company. In that production, Aurora entered from the top of a staircase at stage left (audience right), in the middle of a crowd, while a whole lot of dancing was going on below. So, Guillem fought her
  5. The Sat. matinee reminded me why I love this ballet so much! A fresh young Aurora, dancing with a gorgeous company that has Sleeping Beauty in its DNA. Production - I loved the costumes, they looked scintillating, rich, and very new, even from the 3d row. While respecting Natalia's objections about their design, I guess that I was totally seduced by the "bling." I do think the scenic backdrops, especially of the palace, need a refresh, or better yet a redo. It needs a more brilliant palace to show off this jewel of a ballet in its proper setting! Principals - Sarah Lamb as Aurora started off
  6. The hot ticket is Saturday 24th, 1:30 pm, Sarah Lamb dancing Aurora. SL was a principal in Boston, moved to soloist at RB, promoted to principal there after dancing Aurora to rave reviews.
  7. That's my impression too, Alexandra. they were just too civilized, especially during "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated." Needed more edge, more "attitude" (street attitude, I mean). Warm response but no S.O. I imagine Giselle will be more successful, artistically and attendance-wise.
  8. Sorry it took me so long to get back to this post. I was delighted, and more, with the evening - the choreography of both pieces (Bach's Goldberg Variations, Beatles' songs) was great, and it seemed to me the company was dancing on a whole new level - graceful, fast, and strong, obviously overjoyed to be back on the stage, and best of all, secure and confident, in spite of the incredible difficulty of their demandingly repeated allegro passages & lifts. To take just one example, Jason Hartley had an amazing moment where he was leaping so high in the air, and defying gravity with such a be
  9. An enjoyable Sunday afternoon - here's the Washington Post review. I wish the performance had been longer. 7 dances x 7 minutes = 49 minutes. This format always leaves us wanting more! Choreography ranged from the neo-romantic (Trio in White. Uncertain Song) through the frenetic (Shifting to here), the unclassifiable (Stearc, Alarm Will Sound, and Minor Loop), and the silly (Pillow Talk). The hits, for me, were Uncertain Song - a modern-day "l'Allegro, il'Penseroso" without the Moderato - and Alarm, that had the dancers dodging many criss-crossing lengths of white tape that were strung out f
  10. The WB announced that Michele Jimenez will be leaving the company next season to join the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam. She will enter as a 1st Level Soloist. Sounds like a great career move for Michele. Congratulations are due, although we will sure miss her here in D.C.!
  11. I saw Merce Cunningham Dance Ensemble last month in DC - they come here just about every year, but this was the first time I'd seen them (review by Sarah Kaufmann.) Nanatchka's excellent post was what motivated me to go buy the ticket. Not only that, your post really helped me to understand what I was seeing. Thank you so much, Nanatchka, you made a new friend for Merce!! One observation and one question, if the thread is not too old by now: (1) Nanatchka mentioned that Merce's choreography treated the lower body in a rather classical manner, the upper body less so. I saw that indeed, and my
  12. I saw "Cambodian Stories" a couple months ago in DC... a very amateurish effort, eg: (1st dancer faces audience) "My name is xxxxx, and I want to be an artist." (2d dancer faces audience) "My name is yyyyy, and I want to be an artist." ... (repeat for every dancer on the program) They were selling a bunch of kiddie art at intermission. It was basically just a charity thing for this Cambodian school. I was embarassed for everybody concerned.
  13. fwiw, they are apparently still scheduled for George Mason U. (in Fairfax, Virginia) on Feb. 23 2007. At least according to last week's flyer from GMU. Mike
  14. I went to the benefit on Fri. night. 11 dancers, 8 pdd, 2 solos. The program: (1) Flower Festival at Genzano pdd (Erin Mahoney-Du, Runqiao Du), (2) march miniature (Morgann Rose), (3) pdd from In the Musicals (Elizabeth Gaither, Chip Coleman), (4) Amadeus (Laura Urgelles, Jonathan Jordan), (5) Nocturne Monologue (Jason Hartley), (6) Narayama (Sona Kharatian, Luis Torres), (7) pdd from Swan Lake Act II (Elizabeth Gaither, Luis Torres), (8) Dialogue (Sona Kharatian, Boyko Dossev), (9) Excerpt from Sanctified Shells (Erin Mahoney-Du, Jason Hartley), (10) Grand pdd from Don Quixote (Laura Urgelles
  15. I thought De Luz was brilliant in Sunday's Ballo. That guy has it all -- power, eleganza, technique, a princely line, megawatt "presence" -- plus he's handsome as the devil...
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