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Posts posted by Alexandra

  1. A review of Alexei Ratmansky's "Giselle" by Alexandra Tomalonis.


    It’s not usual to think of lying lovers, betrayal, madness and death as fodder for holiday fare, but Alexei Ratmansky’s reconstruction of “Giselle” has as many surprises pouring out of it as a Christmas Wonderball, so it is the best holiday present imaginable. 


  2. "Harlequinade" will play the Kennedy Center this week.  Here are a few links to articles and reviews on danceviewtimes about the ballet that opened in New York last spring.

    Petipa Laughs

    "Alexei Ratmansky's Harlequinade"
    January 22, 2018
    by Mary Cargill

     City Center's Studio 5 presentations, like the Guggenheim's Works & Process series, offer glimpses into the creative process, but the City Center's are held in a working studio, with the audience forming a U-shape around the speakers, which gives a casual, immediate air to the presentations.  The most recent featured the Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and ABT Director Kevin McKenzie discussing the upcoming production of Ratmansky's reconstruction of Marius Petipa's 1900 two act comedy "Harlequinade",which was based on the traditional commedia dell'arte characters. It tells the story of Columbine, a young girl who defies her father's choice of a rich suitor in favor of a poor but charming young man, Harlequin, who in this case, happens to end up with money too. 


    Look Back in Joy

    American Ballet Theatre
    June 4, 2018

    by Mary Cargill

    "Harlequinade" is a cornucopia of dance styles, with extensive mime, broad physical comedy, folk dances, demi-caractère frolicking, and a radiant abstract ballet, another of Petipa's hymns to female beauty.  The story is taken care of in Act I, with a wedding (always a good excuse for dancing) in Act II.  James Whiteside, the rogue Harlequin with his iconic diamond patterned tights, was in love with Isabella Boylston's Columbine, who was guarded, completely ineptly by Thomas Forster's lazy Pierrot and helped by Gillian Murphy's Pierrette, Pierrot's sprightly wife. 


     Hop To It

    June 5, 2018
    by Mary Cargill

    The Petipa/ Ratmansky soufflé "Harlequinade" has many ingredients, chief among them the older terre à terre style, with its sharp, fast footwork; making lace with their feet is a frequent description of those Imperial ballerinas.  Columbine, the heroine of the comic ballet, has choreography packed with these terre à terre moves, as she hops almost continually -- slow hops, fast hops, backwards, forwards, in circles, even little jumps behind the back of the kneeling Harlequin.  Those Imperial dancers had ankles of steel.  Despite one slight slip, Sarah Lane, the second night Columbine, was a very fine lacemaker, especially in her second act solo where she had series of slow hops on point with rond de jambes, pausing for arabesques, as her upper body opened easily outward, signaling her complete happiness.



    A New, Young Cast Delights in "Harlequinade"

    June 4, 2018
    by Gay Morris

     American Ballet Theatre is offering four casts in eight performances of Alexei Ratmansky’s reconstruction of Marius Petipa’s “Harlequinade” this week at the Metropolitan Opera House. The cast I saw was particularly interesting because nearly all the major roles were taken by dancers from the company’s lower ranks. This gave them a chance to prove themselves, and they more than met the challenge. Harlequin was portrayed by corps de ballet member, Gabe Stone Shayer, while his love, Columbine was soloist Cassandra Trenary, and Pierrot was soloist Blaine Hoven. The only principal dancer in the cast was Christine Shevchenko as Pierrot’s wife, Pierrette.


  3. Thanks for the question, Drew. I really can't say. I haven't been over there since 2000. (I spent a lot of time in Copenhagen in the '90s, but after I finished my biography of Kronstam I stopped going.)  I'm only in touch with a few people -- very knowledgeable and devoted balletomanes -- and when the new "Napoli" first came out I was surprised to learn that they liked it. "It's so good to see something new," as one put it. Hubbe's "Folk Tale" was really loved, I was told. 

    I've been told, and have read, that many Danish ballet fans have been sick of "Bournonville" for some time now, and resent him for being "cute and charming".

    We do have some Danish readers of this forum, and a few regular visitors to the company, and I'd love to know what they think.

  4. Looking at this thread, I'm not sure!

    Thanks for your post, Drew. I've seen a Bournonville influence as well, or perhaps they both share a vision of dance.

    The "Bournonville generalists" were 3 or 4 people in the early 90s who touted Bournonville and probably did love him, but whose productions were.....lacking in life.  The generation before them (Hans Brenaa in everything; Kirsten Ralov, the mistress of Bournonville style and director of several productions; and Henning Kronstam's "La Sylphide" and Act 1, at least, of "Napoli") flowered with Kronstam's 1979 Bournonville Festival.  

    I haven't seen the company in awhile, so I can't say whether Hubbe's approach to Bournonville is fair. He's certainly not scheduling much of it, though.

    Others who've seen the company recently?

  5. For some interesting answers to that question, here's Eva Kistrup's interview with Danish dance critic Alexander Meinertz:


    Is Bournonville still alive?


    “I’m a huge admirer of Bournonville’s work. In fact, I would argue that Bournonville was not just a great choreographer in the sense that he really knew how to move dancers to music in really delightful and exciting ways. In his day he was called a “ballet poet”, and I think that’s accurate: his storylines and stagings are second to none and stand out to this day for their complexity and detail.”

    As it is, I don’t think Bournonville’s really seen for his true worth in this country, definitely not today.



  6. I know there are quite a few dvt readers here (thank you!) and I wanted you to know that we just put up a review by Mary Cargill of the Boston Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty". It is our 2000th post!




    Thank you to all of our writers, and readers, who have made this possible -- and to the internet, 'cause an online publication is a lot cheaper than publishing a small press magazine! -- and reaches more people!


  7. A review of the Mariinsky Ballet's "The Little Humpbacked Horse" (Alexei Ratmansky) for danceviewtimes.


    A Boy and His Horse



    When Ratmansky revives an older ballet, he may update or clarify something here, omit something there, and add doses of contemporary virtuosity throughout, but he always retains the ballet’s soul. That’s definitely the case here. Ratmansky has caught the sweetness and fun that underlies a story that’s a staple of fairy tales: a simple young man does incredible things and, it turns out, is the real hero, the wisest of them all.


  8. I saw opening night, and loved it. I usually enjoy Ratmansky's ballets, and I thought this one was very...original, even for him. and full of zest and high spirits. And the dancers were fabulous!


    I did a lecture on this ballet at the Kennedy Center Saturday, and asked how many people had seen it and if they liked it, and at least 80% of them (looking at the raised hands) did. I was a bit surprised, as the opening night audience was fairly quiet, until the final scene. 

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