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Alexandra

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Posts posted by Alexandra

  1. Ditto! Thanks, Tara. There's also a very interesting review, not only of the ballet but of Ib Andersen's career and what he's done in Arizona, by Alastair Macaulay in the Times -- see Tuesday's Links.

  2. A review of Alina Cojocaru in Neumeier's "Romeo and Juliet" by Ilona Landgraft, in her danceviewtimes blog:

    http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/ilona_landgraf/2013/11/the-triumph-of-love.html

    Cojocaru shone in all respects. Her Juliet matured from behaving like a skittish young girl who jumps about with wet hair while wrapped in a bath towel to being firm and courageous and having depth. Highly sensitive, she tapped the psychological riches with which Neumeier's figures are endowed. This Juliet is akward at first – even dancing - but finds herself due to her love for Romeo. In her solo for the Balcony scene, unaware that Romeo is there watching, she shows her feelings for the young Montague with a clarity and naturalness that enchant. Also touching is the pas de trois in which Juliet expresses her apprehension of dying after taking the potion. Already in delirium, she rejects the vision of death – represented by Tybalt's spirit – and finally seeks solace by remembering her beloved Romeo.
  3. A review of the Berlin Ballet's "Nutcracker" on her danceviewtimes blog:

    http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/ilona_landgraf/

    Despite the amazingly mild weather so far, State Ballet Berlin's premiere of its new “Nutcracker” heralded an early start for this year's Christmas sea­son. Vladimir Malakhov, in his last year as artistic director of the company, decided to replace Patrice Bart's production - which had been in repertory from 1999 until two years ago - with one based on St.Petersburg's 1892 original. Entrusted with the choreography were Russia's Yuri Burlaka and Vasily Medvedev, both familiar with their homeland's ballet tradition. Neither of them is unknown in Berlin, having staged an adaption of “La Esmeralda” for the State Ballet in 2011.

    A huge spectacle, more splendid, more fairytale-like and magical than ever - those were the superlatives with which Malakhov advertised this “Nutcracker”. Was it to be his proud parting gift (and certainly no cheap one) after his more than ten years tenure?

  4. Ilona Landgraf has a review of the Stuttgart Ballet's new Made in Germany program on her danceviewtimes blog:

    http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/ilona_landgraf/2013/10/whos-as-big.html

    Once upon a time the label “Made in Germany” conveyed craftsmanship and reliability. Innovation, novelty and experimentation weren't features associated with this phrase in any primary way. Now, Stuttgart Ballet has proven the opposite. “Made in Germany” is the ever so self-confident title of the company's new ballet program which premiered earlier this month. A mixed bill of twelve little pieces, specially created for the dancers of Stuttgart Ballet by nine choreographers, it serves as nibbles for various tastes. In addition to these miniatures, a vast number of works have been made for the company since Reid Anderson's directorship began in 1996: more than eighty, seven of them program-filling story ballets. Where else can one find such fertile creativity alongside the careful guardianship of tradition?
  5. danceviewtimes has a new blog: Landgraf on Dance, by German dance critic Ilona Landgraf. She has a review of the Stuttgart Ballet's Taming of the Shrew on her blog today:

    http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/ilona_landgraf/2013/10/bonbons-from-stuttgart.html

    At its premiere in 1969 the success of “Shrew” was all the more momentuous given that narrative ballets were not in vogue during the preceeding decade and ballet comedies were unusual. Next to Cranko's “Romeo and Juliet”, “Shrew” added considerably to what the New York Times' Clive Barnes termed “The Stuttgart Ballet Miracle” following the company's 1969 visit to the Metropolitan Opera House. The premiere's cast list reads like the “who's who?” of ballet: Marcia Haydée and Richard Cragun in leading roles, with John Neumeier, Egon Madsen and Heinz Clauss as Bianca's (Susanne Hanke) three suitors, and in the corps de ballet: Jiří Kylián. Almost forty-five years later “Shrew” hasn't gathered dust. On the contrary the Stuttgart audience thrilled to it and the atmosphere was splendid.

  6. Considering the good news Jane Simpson posted below, it's even sadder to have to report such sad news. Heidi Ryom, one of the leading ballerinas in the 1980s and '90s, has died suddenly. Here's a report by Eva Kistrup:

    http://danceviewtimes.typepad.com/eva_kistrup/2013/10/heidi-ryom-dies-suddenly-.html

    For those who read Danish, there's an appreciation of Ryom in today's Berlingske Tidende by Viveka Wern:

    http://www.b.dk/navne/den-skoenneste-svane-er-doed

  7. Re the dances of death, there were several round dances -- such as Ring Around the Rosy, where they all fell down "dead" at the end (and some, it is written, were actually dead) and Pied Piper type dances, as mentioned above, but the Dance of Death, I've always read and been taught, is what you see at the end of Bergman's film "The Seventh Seal": death leading the doomed away, often up a hill (as in the film) with their black cloaks flying. It was an image, but not an actual dance.

    And then there was the dansomanie, which now many think was caused by vilagers eating rotten grain, where whole towns of people danced themselves to death, literally.

    But on the ordinary Saturday night, there were round dances that went on continiually -- no beginning/middle/end; you just entered and left as it pleased you. The Maypole Dance is an example of this dance (the form was called the carole; that's the major one; I'm sure there were others). And later there was the estampe, the first dance that had watchers as well as dancers; also, it had a beginning/middle/end.

    The steps, I do not know. But there are several groups who do, and have reconstructed them. A friend of mine taught my class at a local university a few of these and they were very like games, very simple steps, and play-like hand gestures (couples wagging their fingers at each other as if to say, "Oh! You've been naughty."

  8. Has anyone read this article in The Nation? I read it yesterday in one gulp. I think Harss is a wonderfully vivid writer, and although this is a complex piece -- weaving her observations at rehearsals of Ratmansky's Shostakovich trilogy, with its roots in Russian history, and lots of fascinating information about Shostakovich WITH some very interesting comments by Ratmansky and those he's worked with -- it flows.

    http://www.thenation.com/article/17531/running.shadows#

    Here's a quote:

    Ratmansky is politely pushing the dancers, and ballet technique, to a new level. He tends to complicate the movement, speeding it up, taking it off-balance and introducing multiple shadings into each step. “His ballets are so hard; you do so many steps,” says Isabella Boylston, a soloist at American Ballet Theatre, where Ratmansky is the artist in residence. “But you can also have a sense of abandon, and I think he likes that.” Ratmansky likes the unexpected. Each day, he comes into the studio with a few ideas, which he has developed early in the morning before rehearsal, and a black notebook full of musical cues, but without a firm plan. His rehearsals are remarkably tension-free, even when the dancers look wan and spent and he asks them to repeat everything just one more time. They ask questions and make suggestions; he listens and takes their input. But he is also implacable in his desire for them to exhibit certain nuances, and he demands they use their imagination: “Run like you’re shadows, with no weight.” Though Ratmansky’s choreography is almost exclusively built out of the usual ballet vocabulary—steps developed in the French court, with names like coupé, passé and brisé—under his direction they look less formal, more free, almost newly minted.

    Read more: Running Like Shadows | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/article/17511/running.shadows#ixzz2ZyGyU6wK
    Follow us: @thenation on Twitter | TheNationMagazine on Facebook
  9. Review of Ballet Across America, Program B on danceviewtimes:

    Snow Time!

    Paintings are luckier than ballets. If a museum wants to have an exhibition of art works that have been in storage for a few centuries, the paintings can be retrieved, hung in a gallery, rediscovered and pronounced lost masterpieces. In contrast, ballets without a company to take care of them can vanish in a season, and reviving dead ballets is an almost hopeless task. Unless, it seems, a ballet is lucky enough to wander into Florida, where the Sarasota Ballet has not only been building a repertory of ballets by Frederick Ashton but making them look extraordinarily fresh.
  10. I've posted a review of Program B on danceviewtimes:

    Snow Time!

    Paintings are luckier than ballets. If a museum wants to have an exhibition of art works that have been in storage for a few centuries, the paintings can be retrieved, hung in a gallery, rediscovered and pronounced lost masterpieces. In contrast, ballets without a company to take care of them can vanish in a season, and reviving dead ballets is an almost hopeless task. Unless, it seems, a ballet is lucky enough to wander into Florida, where the Sarasota Ballet has not only been building a repertory of ballets by Frederick Ashton but making them look extraordinarily fresh.

    I wasn't able to see Program C, unfortunately. Thanks for the comments so far, and if others saw it, or any other program, I hope you'll chime in!

  11. Janneke, while the forum was founded to provide a place for discussion of classical ballet, we also have many posters interested in other forms of dance. We don't have many posts from Europe about new works, and we would welcome them, so please feel free to post about what you're watching, what's new there. Welcome!

  12. Thanks for that, Sandi. i think of Tudor, and also of Massine, who certainly wanted to expand ballet. Ashton did that, too, in a different way, but there was more to his ballets than just the steps. (NOT saying that Balanchine is "just the steps," of course, just saying that the dramatic wing of ballet has been pretty quiet for awhile, and it's good to have it reborn.)

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