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Posts posted by Alexandra

  1. Thanks for posting that, Anne. Blankstrup is such an interesting dancer.I remember seeing him as an aspirant (even then, he was fascinating to watch in class). It's hard to think that this means the official end of his career. I hope he'll continue to perform, somehow -- if he wants to, of course.

    Happy birthday, Mads Blankstrup!

  2. I'm coming very late to this thread, unfortunately, but still, a very heartfelt WELCOME, Ilona. I am very glad you're bringing us news and reviews of what's going on in Germany (and wherever you travel).

  3. There are quite a few photos on the web that show his jump -- impossibly high, it would seem, but not for him. I've read several places that people who saw him when he was young who had also seen Nijinsky that Babilee was the only dancer who matched that great Russian.

    Drew, I also saw him in the Bejarst -- I think it was "Life." He was in a boxing rink. He was not young, but he was extremely powerful.

  4. I'm so sorry -- I just found this post! (I've had trouble logging in for reasons we cannot determine! :)

    Thank you all for your thanks! AND for posting. Thanks for reminder that this site was founded to be a place for civilized discussion of classical ballet -- I hope we remember that when the spring season commences.

    AND thanks to Helene who keeps the site going, dirac who posts the Links, and Carley handles at least membership requests per day!!!

  5. Sandik, thank you so much for your kind comments. (And I'm sorry for those who found the title scary. Any news about this website would be on About the Site, if that helps! (Not meaning to imply that any is being planned!)

    sandi, the demise of libraries is very scary. I keep thinking it must have been like this among the bards back at the time of the invention of the printing press. "Who would want to read, when they could listen to us?" they would have said.

  6. Dear members and visitors,

    I wanted to let you know that Ballet Alert! (www.balletalert.com) has been taken down as of today. NOT the message board, i.e., what you're reading not. But the site that spawned it.

    balletalert.com has been dormant for some time -- i.e., no new content has been added -- and the newsletter Ballet Alert! ceased publication quite some time ago. We have retained the URL name, but there will be no website.

    My most sincere thanks to all readers, and contributors, and espeically Marc Haegeman for the beautiful cover photo.


  7. Ilona Landgraf has posted a review in her dvt blog of new works by Jiří and Otto Bubeníček:

    Happy Czechs!

    The Czech twins Jiří and Otto Bubeníček, principals of Dresden Semper Opera Ballet (Jiří) and Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier (Otto), regularly gather dancers from various ensembles to tour their own creations worldwide under the label “Les Ballets Bubeníček”. To date, Rome and Tokyo as well as different locations in their homeland have lain on their route. After five years, they have returned to Prague's National Theater for one weekend to present a gala of four of their own choreographies: Two plotless, neoclassical pieces, “Le Souffle de l'Esprit” and “Toccata” contrasted with two narrative works, “Faun” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.
  8. A review of The Maryinsky Ballet in Ilona Landgraf's blog:

    Glitter Globe Classics Plus a Fresh Breeze

    The Maryinsky Ballet's end-of-the-year visit to Baden-Baden's Fest­spiel­haus is a long- cherished tra­dition. Usu­ally the com­pany brings its fa­mous clas­sics to the Black Forest and this year too its ho­li­day pro­grams in­clud­ed Kon­stan­tin Sergeyev's ver­sions of “Sle­eping Beauty” and “Swan Lake” as well as a ma­ti­nee mixed bill for fa­mi­lies plus a Ballet Gala on the day after Christ­mas. I caught the gala. Termed in the play­bill "an exhi­bi­tion of the Maryinsky dancers' diverse potential", the gala items ranged from classic bravura to contemporary choreography. Sandwiched between Fokine's “Chopiniana” (“Les Sylphides”) and an Act 3 "Le Corsair" excerpt (“Jardin Animé”) were William Forsythe's “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude” and the recently premiered “Choreographic Game 3x3” by Anton Pimonov.
  9. Here's Ilona Landgraf's review of "The Nutcracker" in Hamburg.

    A Crisp Nutcracker

    [quote[John Neumeier's “Nutcracker” is free of any association with Christmas. This Hamburg production, like John Cranko's earlier version for Stuttgart, converts the winter-holiday fairytale for children into a ballet for all seasons. Substantial content has been added, and watching it becomes a pleasure for adults, too. Christmas or not, this Neumeier has become a much loved classic during Hamburg's winter season.[/quote[

  10. Has anyone seen this?

    Ilona Landgraf wrote about it for her danceviewtimes blog:

    Bleak Prospects for the Future

    Stuttgart Ballet, sel­dom lacking self-as­sur­ance, ti­tled its new ballet eve­ning “Ground Breakers”. The Ger­man term “Fort//Schritt//Macher” better con­veys this triple bill's in­ten­tion: Pre­sen­ted are works by three cho­re­o­gra­phers of dif­fer­ent epochs, all dri­ving for­ces be­hind Euro­pean modern bal­let's pro­gress, in short true trail­bla­zers. And further all three – William Forsythe, Hans van Manen and Marco Goecke - are closely asso­ci­a­ted with the com­pa­ny or are even home-bred.

  11. A review of Hamburg Ballet's Christmas Oratorio (John Neumeier) by Ilona Landgraf for her danceviewtimes blog:

    John Neumeier recently extended his contract as head of the Hamburg Ballet and general manager of the Hamburg State Opera until 2019. In his tenure's final phase he has returned to Bach's “Christmas Oratorio”completing what he had begun in 2007 with the cho­re­o­gra­phy of parts I-III. With the en­tire “Christ­mas Ora­to­rio I-VI”, “Saint Matthew Passion” (1981) and “Magnificat” (1987) he has now come full circle: From the lost paradise to Maria as the chosen one, to Christ's incarnation and finally his crucifixion. Other religiously inspired works were “Requiem” (1991) set to Mozart and “Messiah” to music by George Frideric Handel and Arvo Pärt. Though a practicing Christian and strongly influenced by his long friendship with Jesuit Father John J. Walsh,(who led the drama group at Milwaukee's Marquette University, where Neumeier took up his studies as young man), Neumeier emphasizes that his choreographies are not religious undertakings. They're neither substitute services nor an attempt to proselytize. This piece's key topics are rather universal human values, basic emotional experiences and above all hope for salvation.
  12. Ilona Landgraf posted a new review on her danceviewtimes blog of Ballet Zurich's new "Woyzeck."


    “Woyzeck” is Christian Spuck's second work of choreography based on a piece by the German writer Georg Büchner. In 2008 Spuck already had staged the comedy “Leonce and Lena”, two years later the gloomy “Woyzeck” pre­mie­red in Oslo. Formerly re­si­dent cho­re­o­gra­pher of Stuttgart Ballet and since 2012 artistic director of Ballet Zurich, Spuck literally brought “Woyzeck” home. Büchner, who died well ahead his time in 1837 at the age of twenty-three due to a typhus infection, spent his last month in Zurich and moreover was buried there. Yet “Woyzeck”, the last piece of his small oeuvre, couldn't be finished. The handwritten fragments later were assembled and underwent several edits.
  13. Review of the Joffrey Ballet's "Nutcracker" by Alexandra Tomalonis on danceviewtimes:


    As a holiday family treat, the Joffrey’s “Nutcracker” is a good show. But if one looks at it as a classical ballet (and the first production was created for the Mariinsky at the end of the 19th century) it falls a bit short. The dancing in the snow scene and Kingdom of the Sweets divertissements is an interesting case study of what happens when today’s dancers, chosen for and accustomed to dancing so much contemporary work, have to tackle a classical piece. These dancers can perform the steps — the Nutcracker Prince (Dylan Gutierrez) landed consistently clean fifth positions and was a supportive partner — but torsos and shoulders weren’t always engaged in the dancing. The cavaliers were rather wooden, as though correct posture was a metaphor for nobility. April Daly, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, had beautifully clean pirouettes, yet did not dominate her Kingdom as a ballerina would. One has the sense that classical ballet is not these dancers’ native language, but something put on, like party clothes, for special occasions.
  14. Ilona Landgraf reviews John Neumeier's "The Little Mermaid" danced by the Hamburg Ballet:


    The under­water world created by Neumeier is a beau­tiful yet also mys­ter­ious and fierce play­ground for sea crea­tures. Never­the­less Auerbach's lon­ging sounds give an idea of the mer­maid's deep wish to leave. High above at the water sur­face huge ships occa­si­o­nally pass by, one of which later carries Edvard – the prince – and his crew. For the mermaid's costume Japanese Kabuki- and Noh-Theater were source of inspiration: a special overlong trouser conveys the impression of a lissome fishtail.
  15. Sunday matinee was also a full house -- not always the case with this company. I usually run into New York friends over the weekend, but didn't on Sunday. It's a shame, as this week had much enjoyable dancing. I liked Magnicaballi in "Mozartiana." She had a bit of trouble, especially at the end, but this ballet is so hard (the men were both miscast and out of their depth, I thought). Magnicaballi gave a very thoughtful (not overthoughtful) performance, especially in the Preghiere. This season has depended a lot on the guest ballerinas. Heather Ogden is a Principal with the National Ballet of Canada, of course, and both Magnicaballi and Paola Hartley are leading dancers with Ballet Arizona. I liked Harley the more I saw her. She's extraordinarily musical.

    I thought the group did a good job with "Episodes," too, for the most part. I liked Hartley in the opening section and Ogden very much in the last. I can't say I loved "Romeo and Juliet," but I found it interesting. I liked both leads (Hartley with Michael Cook). I think this was Cook's best role here. This is one ballet that looked quite well rehearsed, but it's not as complicated as any of the Balanchine we saw.

    These are just a few quick thoughts. I'll write more for danceviewtimes, probably tomorrow.

    I do hope others who were there will let us know what you thought!

  16. I also went last night (to the first performance of Program B) and liked both "Pas de Dix" and "Agon" very much. The house (at least the orchestra) looked sold out, which was nice to see.

    I liked "Pas de Dix" because it was so dancey -- not a classroom exercise, as we so often see today in this and other similar works. It's not academic classicism, it's dancing to the music, and this the dancers showed beautifully. Even the clapping solo was a tempo, rather than How. Slow. Can. The. Bal. A. Ree. Na. Hold. That. Line. I thought both Ogden and Gurevitch were excellent and would like to see a later performance, as I'm sure it will be tighter.

    I've always been interested in "Agon"'s casualness as well as its tension. Last night, the men at the beginning could have come from a Robbins piece of the same time period, and it was quite a contrast to the way the ballerina is stretched in the pas de deux. I thought the pas de deux was a bit pallid -- but it might look stronger at later performances. I liked both Kirk Henning and Paola Harley in the two pas de trois.

    And I liked Paola Hartley very much in "Tempo di Valse" too. At first glance, I thought, "She doesn't look like a Balanchine ballerina," before I remembered that none of them did, until he made them Balanchine ballerinas and then, presto, there was a new "type." I liked Hartley's professionalism -- an experienced dancer among a lot of eager youngsters in the Valse -- and I especially liked her musicality.

    And for me, "Duo Concertante" was a misfire, partly because of the Bright Blue shoes/socks worn by the man. It was hard for me to look anywhere else. I thought Magnicaballi's dancing was exceptionally clear, but the piece didn't hold together for me. Michael Cook looked small for this Peter Martins role, and so I thought the geometry of the ballet was off. His quick, emphatic style also seemed off-key to me. The performances I've liked of this ballet in the past had had a mysterious quality about them, and I missed that.

    I enjoyed the evening and was glad to see it. I'm going again Sunday afternoon (I couldn't attend the opening). There were quite a few Ballet Alertniks there, and I hope you'll write!

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