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Posts posted by drb

  1. It would surely have been very hard for Martins to tell any principals what they must have read from many other sources. But that was his job. The company's history would not be so celebrated if many leading dancers had overstayed their welcome as long as they have. Put simply, Martins has abused his position, has arguably made it necessary to fire promising corps members in order to pay the salaries of underserving principals, and has undoubtedly cut into the company's current revenues by presenting those principals to a discerning New York public that years ago tired of them.

    Attempting to use microsoft so hope this gets through...

    I, of course, agree KFW. Certainly we can all identify dead wood principals. Three come to mind who currently lack the skills to have even a prayer of getting into the Company's Corps. Two are, of course, members of the BMIC's family: Darci (one could of course see the Allegra Kent excuse for keeping her on... if it didn't mean axing a number of corps dancers) and her stepson Nilas. And the perpetual question that is Borree...

    I wonder how many corps dancers could be saved if they all did the "noble thing" for the Company that has paid them all these years?

  2. Closing night, 3 January 2009

    This was only my second (first last week's Morgan/T'Angle, Pereira) Nutcracker of this heavily sold season. The performance was far more energetic than the first, as they all seemed to be celebrating the end of the annual "ordeal." I didn't note any specific surprises, as in the old days when one might see Mr. B. or R. sneak in an appearance.

    Teresa Reichlen was a complete SPF, NYCB's most glittering ballerina (how can management continue to humiliate the Company by cheating her of Principal rank, and salary?) these Bouderless days, and lit up the stage from her first moment. Those legs!--sparkles fly from head to toe. Her partner was the ageless wonder Charles Askegard, who also pulled off the Cav's pyrotechnics. And when Big T flies backwards to mount Chuck's mountain-high shoulders...! (The week before was I think, the fourth time Kathryn Morgan's SPF was partnered by Tyler Angle. His solo work is maturing at a rapid pace--of course he's already the company's premiere at presenting a ballerina. She continues to bring together her flawless "Royal" upper body with better and better Balanchine technique below. Great harmony, of Principal quality, with new dazzle in her pointwork to go with the always present sublime beauty.)

    Daniel Ulbricht was spectacular as Tea, sweetly supported by Erica Pereira and Rachel Piskin, and Allen Peiffer terrific as Candy Cane, engaging the audience as he didn't miss a single jump through the hoop (last week' dancer probably missed half of them). Kathryn Morgan was a Marzipan of pure beauty and high technical merit. Sara A. Mearns was a Dew Drop for the ages. This is Mearns the great allegro ballerina, who I think began to manifest under the baton of Gergiev in her first Walpurgisnacht, reaching her peak in last season's B-S Quartet. Every moment she combined Prima Ballerina Joy and Glitter with go-for-broke Abandon. Wow! This is how they -- the best of "they" -- danced for Mr. B. So quite a pair of leads tonight, the Company's two most sparkling ballerinas (till Ashley Bouder returns) both on glorious form. Bravi!

  3. ... Why, oh, why, do we have Darci in Vienna? I'm beyond dismayed now. The times are such that spending big bucks to see a dancer way past her prime is just outrageous.

    Agree, Bobbi. I hope, when she has her retirement Gala, that people will remember her from when she was NYCB's Prima Ballerina, rather than just in terms of the terrible miscastings late in her career. After all, should we blame the miscast dancer or the one who miscasts her? At least Maria Kowroski is back in Chaconne!

    Regarding other 'missing' dancers, rg's mention of the Bouder boot cast is terrible news, and I hope it won't lead to her losing her Mariinsky Don Quixote. As for Craig Hall, he just danced After the Rain (PdD) to great acclaim in Moscow Sunday (Ratmansky Farewell Gala), so I would not be worried about him.

  4. Here is TV-5's coverage of the Gala, including dance footage and a short interview with Nina Ananiashvili, who brought many to tears dancing Ratmansky's Leah, in which she says "He is a talented person who sees in his own way, hears in his own way. Someone says, 'Alexei, it can't be done.' And he rises to do it." She also praises his 'plastic.' Text in Russian is given on the video's page ('tho you can increase picture size to full screen) that you can have google translate:


    Russia's YouTube has a collection of videos. So far the Vishneva Cinderella, Ananiashvili Leah and the final curtain calls, in which one may see NYCB's Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall, who had danced Wheeldon's After the Rain PdD (praise given to their plastic and the perfection with which he managed many difficult partnering maneuvers):


    Too many reviews to recount. In general, considered a brilliantly produced gala--it would seem that during his reign Ratmansky has revolutionarily improved the quality of Russian Galas.

  5. ...I realized as I thought about this that I tend to think of time in terms of "seasons " or "academic year" (eg., 2008-2009) rather than calendar years. Many of my memories from last spring are now, alas, filed away....

    Bart, I share your season/academic year perspective. Trouble is, when you started that version of "best of" we were still mid semester here in NYC. And my "Best" was yet to come.

    First I must thank two ballerinas that spoiled us this year. Nina Ananiashvili danced both herself and Diana Vishneva for ABT's Met season. I don't know which was better.... But in her 40's maturity I feel she has gained more than she has lost. It is what in Russia they call Artistry. And Nina's Artistry saved a company's season. Brava. The other ballerina, NYCB's Ashley Bouder. Prima Ballerina Assoluta. She not only can save a season, she can save Balanchine.

    Top three performances:

    3. April 19, 2008. Ekaterina Kondaurova's Waltz in the Mariinsky's performance of Balanchine's Serenade. "Big Red" owned NYC during the Saint Petersburg company's visit, and I pick this because it was her greatest role. I much prefer the best of NYCB's performances of this ballet (tempi, leads and corps), but "they" always seem to miscast at least one lead. The dream: Add Katya's Waltz to Ashley Bouder's Russian and Sara A. Mearns's Dark Angel in NYCB's production.

    2. April 21, 2008. YAGP Gala, Flames of Paris PdD, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev. Yes, an audience can get louder than for Nureyev or Baryshnikov!

    1. June 24, 2008. NYCB, Balanchine's Rondo alla Zingarese, the fourth movement of his Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet. Sara A. Mearns, partnered by Amar Ramasar. Ballet is as simple as ABC: Abandon, Balanchine, Choreography. They talk about it here:


    Worst? Well, I go to the ballet to enjoy it. It is Christmas, so I won't mention that guy who makes things bad...

  6. Alexei Ratmansky's Gala is this Sunday, 28 December. Details of the Gala and of his plans have been appearing in the Russian press. New Izvestiya's December 23 interview covers his experiences at the Bolshoi and goes into some detail of his current artistic projects.


    Probably the biggest news comes at the end of the piece, and concerns his next work for the Bolshoi. Due in two years, it will be Balzac's Lost Illusions, to a newly composed score by Leonid Desyatnikov [the composer of his Russian Seasons]. When asked by interviewer Maya Krylova "Why Balzac, do you want to respond to the old Soviet ballet of the same name that starred Galina Ulyanova?" Ratmansky answered:

    I want to work with Desyatnikov on a new ballet. This is important. There will be no connection to the ballet of Asefiev--it does not exist and cannot be restored. The Balzac--a wonderful read!

    The article begins with Ratmansky asked about his feelings leaving the Bolshoi and what he achieved and did not achieve:

    I must take some time to assess my work here. So far can only say I am grateful for the experience of the Bolshoi, and to those who have supported me here. In terms of emotion there is devastation, the five years were tense and full of responsibility.

    When I came to the theater, many performances (of course not all) seemed a perfect facade, it was unclear whether there was life or not, all was hidden behind pristine, graceful dances. I tried to pull out this life, help artists be themselves, not to be afraid to be alive in the scene, even in high classics. If you look at my performances at the Bolshoi--Bright Spring, Bolt, Le Corsaire, Flames of Paris--they show the direction of our work. Every dancer, even the newest in the corps de ballet, is important to me, even though the performances of some are very fragile, with mistakes...

    He was asked whether Gergiev of the Mariinsky was ready to "give him paradise", free from administrative functions, so that he could implement only artistic leadership. Ratmansky said there was no conversation on this topic.

    The choreographer listed his forthcoming projects. January: Shchedrin's Humpbacked Horse for the Mariinsky, April: Russian Seasons for the San Francisco Ballet, June: ABT's On the Dnieper, end of summer: in Australia Carlo Goldoni's Scuola di Ballo, story of an 18th C. ballet troupe with a Prima, wealthy patrons, talented new debutante etc. He is also in negotiations with Sergei Filin's Moscow Musical Theater, nothing yet finalized.

    After some talk on the shortage of choreographers for the classical vocabulary and on his ABT contract, Ms. Krylova asked him "Is it true that Natalia Osipova goes to ABT on your recommendation?"

    The truth is that she was invited, but not [merely] because of my recommendation. She is already world famous. Starting in 2009, Osipova will "guest star" during New York City seasons at the Metropolitan Opera House with the same status as Nina Ananiashvili and Diana Vishneva.

    The Bolshoi's site now lists the dancers and choreographers for the December 28 Gala. Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall will represent America, presumably dancing the PdD from After the Rain. Ratmansky's Leah will be danced by Nina Ananiashvili probably with Uvarov as partner. Diana Vishneva will dance (perhaps in his Mariinsky Cinderella). Recently retired Sergei Filin is also on the schedule. Svetlana Zakharova is one of very few principals who will perform, having danced his work at the Mariinsky and elsewhere, and recently having scored a sensation in Russian Seasons at the Bolshoi. The young stars Mr. Ratmansky has developed will otherwise dominate at the event.

    For those wondering about the lack of principals, his difficulties will senior Bolshoi stars is somewhat covered in his Ismene Brown interview that can be found under her thread in Writings on Ballet, or directly at:


    This latter article also includes his commentary on why he was not allowed to produce a new Sleepinig Beauty to replace Grigorovich's production at the Bolshoi this year. May be interesting news to ABT fans...

  7. From today's Gia Kourlas article in Links, a singularly beautiful farewell to Mr. Barnes:


    While it would be easy to recall some of the more insipid performances and festivals of the year, the most tragic event was the death of Clive Barnes in November at the age of 81. He lived a full life, but for all who had the pleasure to know him, it simply wasn’t long enough. A way to remember someone—especially a critic—is to appreciate something or someone they loved. The next time you’re at NYCB, pay attention to the luminous young talent Kathryn Morgan. As you watch her dance, think about Barnes. He adored her.

    Whenever I see her again, I suspect I'll think of Clive. There could be no more beautiful monument.

  8. If you look at ticket availability for NYCB's George Balanchine's The NutcrackerTM on their site, it has been pretty much sold out all season. When I've gone to buy tickets at the Box Office extremely little has been available. If memory isn't failing me, sales look better than last year, and Nut is much more expensive than rep. There is greater availability for after Christmas performances.

  9. Diana Vishneva was the featured celebrity at the opening of the third Saint Petersburgh Christmas Fair last weekend in Ostrovsky Square. This is a charity event, lasting through January 7, to benefit children in the city's orphanages. Under the main tree is a "Magic Box" where visitors may place clothes, shoes and soft toys for the children. Later, Father Christmas will deliver the gifts to them. Ms. Vishneva may be seen about 1 minute 50 seconds into the video report. She is painting an "A" onto a painting of an Angel (a symbol she says is important to her). The painting will be auctioned to raise money for charity.


    Toward the lower right of the vid screen one can click to get a full-sized picture.

  10. Saturday matinee, December 13, 2008

    Varna Champion Whitney Jensen in Valentina Kozlova's Nutcracker

    Even though Ms. Kozlova plays Drosselmeyer (here a Countess) this is a very traditional Nutcracker, and even though there are some professional dancers this is very much a school performance. And it is the school's style that stands out. Very Russian, of course, but far more Bolshoi than (contemporary) Mariinsky. No ballerinas here trying to kick stars out of the sky, just the harmony of indivisible upper and lower bodies, dancing with rigor and personality.

    Sugar Plum Fairy Whitney Jensen first appears early in Act II, welcoming the participants to Land of the Sweets. Toward the end, she and her regular partner Albert Davydov dance the grand PdD: adagio, two variations each, and coda. Ms. Jensen's first moments on stage speak wonders. She seems to tower majestically over the scene: Symphony Space's stage is small and many of the student dancers are, of course, not yet to full height. But it is, I think, her posture, so admired by Vladimir Vasiliev at Varna, that accounts for much of this majesty (her natural blonde beauty doesn't hurt, either). There is a rightness for the authority of this role, and a right for her to be the ballerina dancing it. If Ms. Jensen does go beyond competitions (frankly winning anything else after Varna Junior Special Distinction Grand Prix would be a step down), I hope she finds a company with strong coaching and a sense that, though she might well begin with some non-principal roles, this authority would best not be held back or deflected for certain very homogeneous corps work. Throughout her performance she projects loads of warmth, but real interaction (to miss a kiss of Clara's cheek by more than a foot, for example) probably needs the nourishment of being in a company. Technically, she reflects the school's whole-dancer approach. The arms and hands amaze, but always and only in context of the complete picture. There are the prize-winning, yet never excessive moves, fouettes especially. These turns have none of the flailing-too-high working leg's foot that may be seen in some St. Petersburg ballerinas...

    There are other dancers coming of age under Ms. Kozlova. Among those who seem just about company-ready is Snow Queen (and later in Waltz of the Flowers) Lindsay Colavito (clearly ready for a physically larger stage!), and among the Snowflakes (this Snow Scene is among the highlights of Valentina's production), a long-stemmed blonde who brought hints of NYCB's Tess Reichlen, within context of the school's softer style. In Act II Zsofia Solta showed splendid allegro as the Russian. The young Clara (Masha), Maggie Yin Horowitz, later got to flash her pointes in a diagonal of pirouttes in which she rapidly changed legs. There are a lot of gifted young talents here.

    My favorite Whitney Jensen memory came after the ballet ended. The dancers on stage for their bows, and out came Valentina Kozlova to praise and thank the audience, and tell us that they would be back on June 13, graduation performance, with Act III Swan Lake, some of Russlan and Lyudmilla, and a premiere. Throughout this Whitney's faced glowed with the kind of love that I've seen Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballerinas radiate on occasions when their teachers joined them on stage. This was a Russian ballerina and her Russian teacher. Where you're born doesn't matter. A ballerina is a ballerina.

  11. Getting back to the dancer in question, Whitney Jensen, it seems that competition as such was her motivation to study ballet. From a September 7th interview in Utah's Deseret News she explains why--as a little girl studying tap, jazz, and ballet--ballet took over:

    "I began moving towards ballet because I developed a goal to do ballet competitions," Jensen said during an interview at the Deseret News. "I wanted to compete and live in Europe."

    A bit of googling shows she has entered YAGP in '05 (Junior Gold at age 12), '06, and '07 (Junior Silver); WBC Orlando '07 (Junior Gold); Seoul '07 (Gold); Varna '06, '08 (Special Distinction, above Junior Gold). She has surely been active! Yet there are Vladimir Vasiliev's words:

    I never expected from an American student such mastery of the Russian school, even more such beautiful hands and posture-- she danced so purely!

    Surely this will be an interesting career (if she choses to have one) to follow...

  12. Further information on Whitney Jensen's win was given by Nina Alovert* in last week's issue of Brooklyn's Russian language weekly, Russian Bazar. Included was an interview with Ms. Jensen's teacher Valentina Kozlova that included a quote from Varna's judge Vladimir Vasiliev. Referring to Ms. Jensen as Grand Prix winner, the first American to do so in the competition's 44 year history, Ms. Alovert quotes former Bolshoi and NYCB ballerina Kozlova:

    "I am very proud: To think that in New York there are such schools as the School of American Ballet, ABT's school, the Joffrey's, yet we have achieved this success in my small private school."

    At the competition in Varna already during the second round, some members of the jury congratulated her for having such a talented and well-trained pupil. The famous Vladimir Vasiliev congratulated her and said "I never expected from an American student such mastery of the Russian school, even more such beautiful hands and posture-- she danced so purely! ... I hope that your students, Valya, will not forget that it is from you they have learned". After finishing the second round Jensen received an offer from the director of the ballet troupe of the Budapest Opera House of a permanent job, immediately at the level of first soloist. And when she won the Grand Prix, other proposals of this kind followed.

    But why didn't she try for ABT?, I asked.

    Kozlova responded, "ABT prefers to take those who first dance with their second company. But Whitney does not find that company's repertoire interesting. And in Budapest she can work on the main roles of the classical repertoire. She is only 16 years old."

    The rest of the article goes into great detail about Ms. Kozlova's school, and also alerts readers that Whitney Jensen will be dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy in Valentina Kozlova's production of the Nutcracker this coming Saturday at NYC's Symphony Space.

    * http://www.russian-bazaar.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=13887

  13. ...

    Hi. Fiesta Barocca will be a world premiere. I know nothing about the work; however, I have seen other works by the same choreographer at NYCB. I've never seen Suite Otis. Looking forward to the entire season, especially the performances w. the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

    Yes, I have also noticed it is being called a world premiere, yet the company danced it in Kansas City* on November 13 (this was a performance for school children):

    ...The last piece was a new addition to the Ailey repertory, Festa Barocca, choreographed by acclaimed Italian choreographer, Mauro Bigonzetti. This long piece (44 minutes), had several movements set to operatic music in contemporary baroque style. The dance integrated classical dance moves, inspired by court dances, with athletic modern dance moves to present an almost satirical (and sometimes humorous) caricature of performance dance. This piece was almost reflective in its self-referencing pastiche, as the dance called on many dance styles and juxtaposed them in opposition with each other. Performed in colorful satin skirts on both male and female dancers, the complex choreography was often as challenging to watch as it was to perform, because of the concentration of complicated moves in a small amount of space and time, creating a flurry of activity. An unusual piece, it not only displays a great deal of dancers' technical ability, but also seems to present a commentary on the evolution of dance into a very technical art form.

    Regarding Suite Otis, years ago it was the music (and, of course, the Ailey dancers) that dominated the choreography, but Otis Redding was easily wonderful enough!

    * http://www.kcdance.com/Dancing/Ailey_Nov2008.asp

  14. Just came upon this in November 24th's New Yorker dance listings:

    The Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory’s version features a female Drosselmeier (played by Kozlova) and a very impressive young dancer in the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy: the sixteen-year-old Whitney Jensen, who recently won a top honor at the international Varna Competition in Bulgaria. (Symphony Space, Broadway at 95th St. 212-864-5400. Dec. 13 at 4 and 8.)

    For those who do not follow competitions, she won the Special Distinction Grand Prix for Juniors, higher than a Gold Medal! Admirable to come back (she danced it last year) to dance in her teacher's Nutcracker.

  15. ...By the way, does anyone have any thoughts about what Woetzel's next career step might -- or ought to -- be? His attitude, expressed in one of the quotes in drb's post, is rather promising:
    I needed to know everything. That's all been a part of me as a dancer and something I could draw on over the course of my career.

    I just found the original telecast (5 minutes) on The Winger, posted at the beginning of August, so that probably dates the interview. Then, googled Damian Woetzel, using the "other" to "video" process and really found some surprises: There are an amazing number of YouTube vids for an American dancer, such as Sleeping Beauty ('84!), both White and Black Swans, with Miranda Weese, from '99, and much more.

    But also lots that is not on YouTube. Perhaps to bart's question, for our interest in the intellectual side of the dancer, there is a public radio interview (on vid), on a program that runs well over an hour. Mr. Woetzel comes on around the 49 minute mark (it isn't hard to click ahead to it) and talks for 11 minutes about the MA, ballet, how he decided to dance ballet. This being the Vail Ideas Festival, he relates his MA to the current state of ballet, that it is "coasting on the 20th Century," the balancing of preservation and progress, and how it might go forward. For those not wishing to go through the google process to find it:


  16. I was just watching the local NBC station and on comes a five-minute feature on Damien Woetzel! Don't know if it was a re-run and this may have been posted elsewhere on BT (couldn't find it with search). He gives a ballet lesson, turns, discusses his Masters, etc. But it turns out that this started out at 9 and a half minutes. A ballet he choreographs about Uranium was cut, but his 10-or-so-tuple turn was included. NBC posted the whole, uncut video:


  17. Even as it is, I find the George Balanchine Theater to be by far the best place to see a ballet. Even those orchestra rows, with only the aisles along the walls: so much better than having an aisle down the middle that wastes the half dozen most perfectly centered seats in each row, for instance. The leg room may be less than it was, but still more than any other theater I know. And, so extremely important, seats for the most part avoid the head directly ahead that blocks your view of center stage by strategic "scattering" within the row: exactly opposite to the "perfect" lock-step seating at the Philharmonic's Avery Fischer Hall where every view is blocked-- next Fall I wonder how ABT will deal with this.

    I hope the $200,000,000 (yes, another $100,000,000 must be added to Mr. Koch's huge gift) isn't used for something like that Fischer "perfect symmetry" or for an "improved", voice (and noise)-enhancing stage. One thing though, that huge ball that sits above center orchestra, hovering ominously over probably among the best seats in the house: but as one who has been through earthquakes, it always makes me edgy; I think we have a geological fault about three miles north of Lincoln Center.

    I thank its originators for making it a great place to look at dance, even if not a great place to look at.

  18. The tour ended yesterday. From reviews I have read, the new Kings have been very well received. Special attention has been given to David Hallberg, especially by those who are followers of Natalia Osipova -- it seems Russians read ABT casting! And the reaction to that anticipated partnership has been most favorable. The thought of seeing those two grand jetes together..., well, I've already purchased tickets for both of their La Sylphides!

    Mr. Hallberg has been chronicling the tour on his Winger blog, with lots of photos, and even some responses from people who've seen the tour. The tour began in Russia's third largest city, Novosibirsk, where the ballet is headed by Igor Zelensky, and there they danced on Russia's largest stage. You get great shots of it and, no surprise, of snow. Someone has posted a video of his performance of Ashton's solo, The Dance of the Blessed Spirits, on YouTube. "Hallberg Dance" will get you to it.

    Mashinka, I hope you get your wish for a European tour. They've collected quite a pile of rave reviews that could be used for advertising!

  19. There are now 10 short videos of the third (November 17) performance of Russian Seasons, that may be found by entering:

    lexxrussia "Russian Seasons"

    into YouTube. Together they constitute about a third of the ballet. The casting is very different from opening night and from the dress rehearsal video posted earlier on this thread. The cast as listed on the Bolshoi site (and, to the extent I can tell, this looks pretty accurate):

    Yellow (white): Shipulina/Yachmennikov

    Red: Meskova/Volchkov

    Green: Kobakhidze/Dmitrichenko

    Blue: Goryachova/Koryagin

    Purple: Alizadeh/Tsvirko

    Burgundy: Nikulina/Lopatin

  20. Opening Night, Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    This was the poorest program I have ever experienced at NYCB.

    After the first piece, the Ballet-Master-in-Chief came out to thank Mr. Koch (as in Coke) for the $100,000,000. BMiC recalled that three times in the Company's history a vodka toast had been made to someone, the first being by Mr. Balachine to Lincoln Kirstein, then to Mr. Balanchine and to Mr. Robbins, and that just as worthy was Mr. Koch. But this time, due to "the times", the audience would not get any. We were asked to stand as BMiC and Mr. (and Mrs.) Koch (in Lincoln's seats, that BMiC said he could have forever, unless he would prefer to have Mr. Balanchine's [odd, didn't Mr. B sit on a stool in the wings?--maybe he said Robbins's?]) took a swig of vodka. People all around me stood, but I did not. I don't think that a rich man's buying his name on a building rates with giving America the art of ballet, or creating streams of masterworks.

    The Martins-Koch g(is their a g smaller than lower case?)ala started with Lenny Bernstein's Chichester Psalms. This year NYC is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the great conductor's birth, with perhaps a hundred classical concerts (perhaps overkill, as a stream of e-mails offering discount tickets arrives). This work starts out with a hint of ordinary theatrical Bernstein, but then something that seems deeper, and even profoundly spiritual, starts coming through, that seems to find a perfect channel through lead ballerina Sara A. Mearns, partnered by Jared Angle. She, together with the composer made this a rather moving experience, if not, perhaps, the stuff of galas. There is a large corps, and a number of the dancers seemed taken by the music as well. Binoculars were a must, since corps, like soloist and principal parts, is not an area of choreographic strength for the BMiC. Kathryn Morgan was a vision of beauty, and Erica Pereira as if an angel pouring forth from the score. Bravi to Faycal Karoui and the City Opera's chorus. Next Darci Kistler and Albert Evans danced the adagio from Martins's Barber Violin Concerto. We love you, Darci, and still remember when...

    The program's first half concluded with an Ives fest. First a couple of Robbins's Ives Songs, In Summer Fields danced by a very pretty Rachel Rutherford with Philip Neal, followed by Wendy Whelan, looking so tiny and vulnerable next to Charles Askegard, in There is a Lane. But then came his intense composition The Unanswered Question, that obviously is Mr. Balanchine's answer to where the Ballerina from Serenade goes as we see her borne off stage. Four men carry Janie Taylor onstage to Daniel Ulbricht. Barefoot, she never touches the floor. Yet, give Balanchine a woman and you have Ballerina. This pair was thrilling. At one point she is lowered feet forward to Mr. Ulbricht; simply, her toes curl and quickly uncurl. The Ballerina is dancing. Later, in one final dip over Mr. Ulbricht, prone on his back, her hair brushes his right cheek. And she is gone, this Janie-of-the-dancing-hair... and toes. The trio concludes with the writing duet from Mr. Martins's Calcium Light Night, with Sterling Hyltin in the Heather Watts role, partnered by Sean Suozzi. How promising this seemed at its debut. Who would have known that the first idea would be the last?

    The second half was a Martins jazz-fest, ending with (and almost killing) some of Mr. Balanchine's Who Cares. The first two pieces were so deadly boring (and included a total waste of Ashley Bouder's only appearance (in bangs, yet), what a way to treat a Prima Ballerina), I won't even mention the dancers whose talent was both hidden and squandered. More waste matter from Susan Stroman. Then poor Jenifer Ringer (but so wonderful to see her back from baby leave) had to dance Balanchine's The Man I Love to a gimmick: horribly sung by a soprano, with piano accompaniment. Perhaps it doesn't matter to some master choreographers, but music seemed to have mattered to Mr. B. The evening's second gross insult to Mr. Balanchine. You know it wasn't Ms. Ringer that left the audience sitting on its hands... The music Balanchine used came back for the I Got Rhythm finale that was dominated by the dancing all-out, blond hair flailing, Theresa Reichlen.

  21. The ballet dancers who won 2008's Soul of Dance awards are:


    Denis Matvienko

    Soloist Mikhailovsky Theater

    (St. Petersburg)

    «Rising stars»

    Ekaterina Krysanova

    soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet Theater of Russia



    Vladimir Shklyarov

    soloist with the Mariinsky Ballet Theater

    (St. Petersburg)

    The official announcement and complete list of current and prior award winners are given here:


  22. Though I've never actually watched this video, I was at the performance which was filmed, and I remember being rather disappointed with Cojocaru - I've seen her do better Giselles....

    Back in April on his site, Mr. Kobborg mentioned that he and Ms. Cojocaru had just filmed another dvd of Giselle in Spain. He has made no further posts since then. Any news about this new Giselle?

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