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Posts posted by drb

  1. Happy 40th birthday to Alexei Ratmansky. From his birthday telegram* from President Dmitry Medvedev:

    "You have received wide recognition both within Russia and abroad as a gifted dancer and choreographer - a true master, able to feel fine music and create unique, deep images on stage.

    Talent and a sincere passion for the profession enable you to successfully guide the celebrated ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theatre. I am sure you will continue to make a worthy contribution to the development of native culture and give joy to many viewers with excellent performances ".

    * entry: 27/VIII-2008 11:20


  2. To correct the spelling of one dancer; Holly Dorger, currently in the corps de ballet of the Royal Danish Ballet, Copenhagen Denmark.

    Thanks. From the Professional Children's School site, in addition to Ms. Dorger's position, many other dancers have also gained employment:

    (August 1, 2008) Six members of the PCS Class of 2008 have deferred their college acceptances to join major professional dance companies in the U.S. and abroad. Holly Dorger has been invited to dance in the corps de ballet of the Royal Danish Ballet in Copehagen. Megan Johnson has been named a New York City Ballet Company apprentice. Grace McLoughlin and Slawomir Wozniak will be dancing with the Los Angeles Ballet Company. They all received their dance training at the School of American Ballet. Jacob Bretton-Granatoor will join Montréal's Le Jeune Ballet du Québec dance company. Kathryn Vasilopoulos, who trained at Ballet Academy East, joins the Nashville Ballet Company.

    Joining Megan Johnson, recent PCS graduates Amy Barker, Kristen Segin, Sara Adams and Michael Tucker were also named New York City Ballet apprentices. They all trained at the School of American Ballet and will be dancing with the company this season at Lincoln Center. Congratulations to all!


  3. FINALLY! An American newspaper becomes aware of Whitney Jensen's Varna achievement. Her home state newspaper offers a feature on the dancer (they make the "Grand Prix" error for the "Special Distinction" award, we've been through all that earlier on this thread, but at least they knew!):


    Now living in New York City by herself - chaperoned by her sister and brother-in-law who live just five minutes away - Whitney plans to finish her last year at Kozlova's Dance Conservatory of New York and then possibly move to Budapest, where she has been offered a first soloist position with the Hungarian National Ballet.

    ABT, should we blame the negligence of the NY Times for your missing this one???

  4. Times casting (ballets without casting given, not mentioned in the following):

    Tues Oct 21: ?

    Weds Oct 22: Leaves Fading Kent, Gomes

    Thurs Oct 23: Leaves Reyes, Saveliev; Theme and Vars Lane, Cornejo

    Fri Oct 24: Pillar of Fire Murphy, Hallberg, Gomes

    Sat Mat Oct 25: Pillar Kent, Savaliev, Carreno; Theme: Wiles, ?

    Sat Eve Oct 25: Leaves Reyes, Saveliev

    Sun Mat Oct 26: Leaves Kent, Gomes

    Sun EVE Oct 26: Pillar Wiles, Hallberg, Gomes

    Tues Oct 28: Ballo Della Regina Murphy, Hallberg; Brief Fling Reyes, Cornejo

    Weds Oct 29: Jardin aux Lilas Kent, ?, Boone, Zhurbin; Brief Herrera, Gomes

    Thurs Oct 30: Ballo Wiles, Hallberg; Jardin Thomas, ?, Part, Krauchenka

    Friday Oct 31 TUDOR GALA: ?

    Sat Mat Nov 1: Ballo Kajiya, Cornejo; Brief Herrera, Gomes

    Sat Eve Nov 1: Brief Reyes, Cornejo

    Sun Mat Nov 2: Jardin Thomas, ?, Part, Krauchenka

    Sun Eve Nov 2: ?

    So, other than the required Tudor Gala (there're bound to be some great performances, even with the company's often random casting) and the new Stallings, there are the two Thursdays mentioned above, the Murphy Pillar, and the Thomas/Part Jardins so far.

  5. I get a sense that a point being made here is that the AD issue isn't all that important since ABT really isn't a ballet company, its choreography merely a vehicle for foreign stars and its dancers mere background for them. Yet, going back to that end-of-season Alastair Macaulay summation, I find it to be very pro-ABT and very anti-AD. The critic spends a lot of space on Sleeping Beauty, I think because it most graphically illustrates the problems with the artistic side of Kevin McKenzie's direction.

    Mr. Macaulay, by the way, prefered what he saw to what he'd just seen The Royal Ballet do with the same ballet. And he says "the dancing at corps level shows a shared understanding of classical style that comes out of more than rehearsals alone: the fragrance and sparkle of the steps, beaming through, express a whole ethos. At soloist level the dancing is often more distinctive yet." Sounds to me like there're some pretty good home team dancers here, not just scenery to back star leads. And I, and others too, found much to admire in ABT's corps in Bayadere. Credit for this was given to Natalia Makarova, here to refresh her work's performances. And no doubt that underscores the point. This IS a company of REAL dancers, with true esprit de corps, just give them artistic direction and they will excel.

    The problems lie with artistic choices. Often poor, "third class", productions of the classics. I remember the earliest performances of Mr. McKenzie's Swan Lake, right in the middle of White Swan he'd inserted an upbeat, virtuosic celebratory leaping solo for the Prince, after all "it's about him, she's just a bird." But, as with many early failings with his Sleeping Beauty, the AD was willing to make corrections. Yet so many gross artistic miscues ought not to have been there in the first place. Moreover, too much of the too little new choreography that find its way onto the Met stage just plain fails.

    It is hard to give Mr. MeKenzie a passing grade for the A part of AD. But for the D part, it may be another story. For one, he has averted the very real threats of financial failure. And, at least as pointed out elsewhere on this Forum by an outside insider, Nina Ananiashvili, relations between dancers and administration are civilized, and there is a great sense of family about the company. Not irrelevant considerations at all. So what we do have is a dance community of really fine dancers, who can with coaching and artistic direction dance finely. And people are getting paid. For me, all we need is someone who can see and impose what is right for the classics. There's a darn good company just waiting to dance.

    Oh, and America does produce some pretty great dancers, it is just that most of them, but not all, are across the plaza and across the country.

    To next year!

  6. ...I was just wondering, the already bad situation in Georgia/Russia/South Ossetia has just gotten worse. What does this mean for dancers such as Irma Nioradze or Nikolai Tsiskaradize? Will they continue to dance in russia? And what of Nina Ananishvili?


    Just saw on the news that 2000 had already been killed in the war, although I suppose everything is imprecise at this time. In the case of Nina, she is immensely popular in Russia, as last month's interview in Izvestia, that may be found in the Nina Retires thread for ABT, shows. But her husband's government position cannot be avoided, and much of her optimism must now be shattered. A quote from that interview:

    Q: Your husband, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, is responsible for relations with Russia. Does he ask you for advice?

    A: At once it is obvious that you were never married to a Georgian!

    Q: It is true. Russian men sometimes accept advice from their wives. Nevertheless, with your female insights what is necessary to improve relations between our countries?

    A: To remember our beliefs, our history, the rivers of blood that we've, friend for friend, spilled for each other, our relationships and friendships. If suddenly, inadvertently-contrary to national characters-we make such a step that shows to the world an unprecedented example of our reasonable behavior, it will be easier than it seems today.

    Q: Is your two-year-old daughter learning the Russian language?

    A: Russian for my Elena will be as a native language.

    ... and also for Moscow, even if it is somehow inconvenient. I dream of it

    at night: Moscow, a part of me, most. As well, Tbilisi.

    Q: In Moscow lots of people wish to see your Georgian Ballet. When could that be?

    A: I go to Moscow very often (since not to dance, the impression is that I do not). Sergei Filin is actively working to bring us to Moscow next Spring.

    Q: ... and so wished by Moscow fans ...

    A: Why just fans? To all Muscovites, enormous happiness to you, my dears!

  7. Many more photos are being added to the official photo site:


    Included are American dancers (with number of photos posted so far in parens):

    Erica Wong (19)

    Tarasina Masi (25)

    Douglas Home (12)

    Shea Johnson (52)

    Brooklyn Mack (23)

    Rebecca King (15)

    I would not be surprised to find more to come.

    Special Distinction and trophy winner Whitney Jensen appears in 43 photos (so far) from Esmeralda, with partner Albert Davydov, here:


  8. The highest of all awards (Grand Prix) has been awarded just twice. At the Senior level to Vladimir Vasiliev at the first Varna competition and then at the Junior level to Ivan Vasiliev (no relation) at 22nd (the one before the current competition). However Ms. Jensen's award is still very special, above a Junior Gold, and her significance was made very obvious at the Awards Ceremony (see photos above).

    Varna is notorious for its lack of information. But in addition to their official site (in Bulgarian, so with help of translator), reports in the Bulgarian press as well as from France and Russia (of course nothing in her own country's media) that I have read all agree.

    Added for (hopefully) clarification at 12:39 AM: The history of the Varna IBC is covered in great detail in "Varna Ballet Olympiad" by John Gregory, even acknowledged on the competition's site. This book covers the years 1964-1980. Terminology seems to have varied during that time, as well as since. They have always considered Juniors and Seniors separately. At the Senior level there have always been Gold, Silver, and Bronz awards. But early on a high percentage of competitors received medals: at the first 5 Gold, 9 Silver, 7 Bronz (plus Mr. Vasiliev's "Grand Prix and Gold"). Over time this dilution has faded away. At the Junior level technically (although we in the west have identified these in terms of metal as well) the corresponding awards have been First, Second, and Third Class Distinctions. At least through the years covered by the book no Junior had received "Special Distinction", the still higher award given to Ivan Vasiliev in 2006 and to Whitney Jensen in 2008 (I do not know about the other years since 1980). In current Varna terminology "Laureate of (number) IBC" appears to be their term for Grand Prix, and two years ago it was reported that Ivan Vasiliev was the first ever to win this at the Junior level (and even their current site says Vladimir Vasiliev is still the only such winner at the Senior level).

  9. The Roma Opera Ballet has now given specific daily casting for Giselle: Ashley Bouder and Jared Angle are listed for one week from tomorrow, August 14.

    This release also quotes Carla Fracci's instructions to all the dancers playing the lead role (translation from Italian):

    Dance it above all against the violence, against the war, against the hunger in the world. Free your spirit [soul] and immerse yourself in the beautiful unreal night of the second act, thinking that salvation and well-being will arrive when all men of goodwill will rise up to educate others in the spirit of tolerance, liberty, and honesty.


    This statement seems to have attracted the attention of numerous publications in Italy. Ms. Fracci certainly takes the story well beyond that of a count's dalliance with a pretty village innocent, toward a grander spiritual realm; but also her vision has an immediacy that is somehow contemporary and almost political.

    In a recent interview, Ms. Bouder spoke of her interest in dancing Giselle. Ashley is especially looking forward to the Mad scene and to all the acting in the ballet. She's liked several performances, especially Diana Vishneva's. But liked even more some really old videos, specifically those of Fracci and Kirkland (I did not know that there was one of Gelsey's Giselle). In every interview that I can recall, when Ms. Bouder was asked for a dance wish-list she's said Giselle, including the one on NYCB's site. Carla first dance the ballet 50 years ago and is surely an ideal teacher for Ashley, both as one so admired by Ms. Bouder, and one with whom she worked so successfully on Aurora last year.


  10. Today's links include a Times article on the forthcoming Winter Season. Three new ballets:

    ...On Jan. 22, Balanchine’s birthday, the ballet will present its annual New Combinations Evening and will also introduce the Rudolf Nureyev Fund for Emerging Choreographers. The fund, made possible through a matching grant of $500,000 from the Rudolf Nureyev Dance Foundation, will provide support for new choreography. The evening will also feature world-premiere ballets by the British choreographer Douglas Lee and the Russian choreographer Alexey Miroshnichenko. The season’s third world premiere will be by Melissa Barak, a former dancer with the company, and will be presented Feb. 17...

    Alexei Miroshnichenko participated in 2005's NYCB Choreographic Institute, using music by the composer (Leonid Desyatnikov) later used by Alexei Ratmansky in Russian Seasons. You may see him (the only Russian, so easy to spot) in each of the site's three videos, especially an extensive exposure to his choreographic ideas and method of setting choreography in the middle clip, and a (promising) little look at his ballet (for the Institute) in the third:


    While Ms. Barak is familiar from earlier work for the Company, is anyone familiar with the work of Mr. Lee?

  11. If you respect the artist, then you must respect their copyright.

    I respect the artist Balanchine more than any other choreographer. But Balanchine Police is not Balanchine. Sure, Balanchine might not like his work to be shown badly. Perhaps so, too, would Petipa. But in cases like the performance under discussion, it is Balanchine being shown at its best. The Balanchine Police abuse "copyright" by keeping well-performed Balanchine away from everyone who cannot physically get to authorized performances. Hiding Balanchine while all other choregraphers, great and (mostly) not, get exposure, distorts the presentation of the art of ballet to the people, diminishing us all.

  12. Here are photos of the Awards Ceremony:


    I do not know Ms. Jensen personally, nor have I seen her dance, but the blonde in the blue tutu receiving a trophy from Vladimir Vasiliev looks extremely like prior photos of Ms. Jensen (and I believe she was the only blonde winner). The same dancer appears on clickable sets (as numbered at page bottom) 8, 10 (bearing the torch and setting the eternal flame), and 11.

    Can anyone confirm her identity? The site tends not to ID subjects.

    At the top of the page one may connect to other photos from the competition.

    Varna IBC may be terrible at communication, but they sure know how to cap off an event!

  13. I'm a bit confused. In another site, it says that there was NO GRAND PRIX for JUNIORS (as well as seniors) this year.

    Does the SPECIAL Prix/Distinction stand in between the Junior GRAND PRIX and the Junior Woman's GOLD MEDAL (received by Fumi Kaneko)?

    (That is, in terms of points achieved, highest is Grand Prix, 2nd is Special Prix, and 3rd is Gold?)

    The prize won by Ms. Jensen stands above Junior Gold. From Varna site, it is the same Special Distinction won by Mr. Vasiliev at Varna two years ago. Not only is Varna's wording the same for the two dancers, but major forums in France and in Russia are announcing it as such for Ms. Jensen.

    So both won Special Distinction. However,looking back to 2006 results at Varna's site you are right in that in full 2006:

    The title "22ndt INTERNATIONAL BALLET COMPETITION - VARNA 2006 LAUREATE" shall be awarded, as well as the following distinctions:


    But for Ms. Jensen Google translator gives:

    In II-ra group B - Minor age again was not served prizat "Laureate of the XXIII International Ballet Competition - Varna 2008"

    Special honors - Varna 2008 - diploma and a medal in devoykite Witney Jenson received from the United States.

  14. Going to Varna's site list for 2006 winners:


    This is exactly the full translation of Whitney Jensen's award this year. I find it amazing that this has not been seen as "news" (at least as findable via Google news search) in America! She is from Valentina Kozlova's school in New York City. Congratulations to her! And I hope she'll eventually get some extremely deserved publicity in her own country, or city (wake up, New York Times).

  15. From the official announcement (in Bulgarian):


    With the help of Google Bulgarian translator (please forgive spelling):

    Group A (Senior):


    Gold: Kristina Terentiev, Moldavia

    *Silver: Seo Hie Han, Korea

    Bronz: Sang Eun Lee, Korea


    Gold: Yue Zhang, China

    Silver: Yi Huang, China

    Bronz: Yuday Fukuoka, Japan and Rodrigo Almerales Gonzales, Cuba

    Group B (Junior):

    Special Prix (I think this might be what Ivan Vasiliev won in 2006, but not sure): Whitney Jensen, USA


    Gold: Fumi Kaneko, Japan

    Silver: none

    *Bronz: Eun Wong Lee, Korea


    Gold: none

    Silver: Osiel Gouneo Martinez, Cuba

    Bronz: Xiao Dong Ma, China and Dimitry Zagrebin, Russia

    *these were especially challenging to translate, so... the best I could do.

    Numerous other awards were given.

  16. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in its only existing version, on video, re-mastered and color-corrected

    Now that is tantalizing. The print I've seen is terribly washed out.



    it would seem they've done a good job re-saturating the color, although the resolution of course is not great. Still, one could spend quite a while meditating on the frame given at the site....

  17. Italian information agency Iniziativa* reports that Ashley Bouder will dance in Carla Fracci's Giselle:

    ... The ballet company directed by Carla Fracci [will present].. the poignant story of another folly of love: Giselle, music by Adolphe-Charles Adam, following the maiden involved with the nobleman Albrecht (whom she believes a farmer) who is promised to the rich Bathilde....... The Rome Opera presented it the last time in February 2007. With choreography by Carla Fracci in collaboration with Gillian Wittingham, there will be five pairs of performers: Ashley Bouder and Jared Angle, Laura Comi and Mario Marozzi, Mara Galeazzi and Giuseppe Picone, Oksana Kucheruk and Robert Tewsley, and Larisa Lezhnina Igo Yebra. On stage from August 9 to 14.

    Mr. Angle was also Ms. Bouder's partner in Carla Fracci's Sleeping Beauty last Fall.

    This will be part of the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma program at Caracalla of a whole season of women: Aida, Lucia, Madame Butterffly and Giselle, whose passions of love result in tragedy and death.

    * http://www.iniziativa.info/index.php?optio...iew&id=4021

  18. Going for matched pairs to perhaps encourage some structure in the choreography:

    Bouder, Osipova (yes, Leigh!)

    Reichlen, Kondaurova

    A two-part dance:

    Wheeldon could have the latter pair lift and bend the former pair around; Ratmansky could continue with his aesthetic blend of America movement and Russian spirit.

  19. Just noticed that City Ballet is down-sizing its Spring Season from nine to eight weeks:

    Important Dates for Ticket Buyers

    Ticket buyers will want to note the following dates:


    April 28 - June 21, 2009 Spring Season

    (In 2008: April 29 - June 29. In 2007: April 24 - June 24.)


  20. I know this isn't exactly the right place to post this, but the thread seems the most active. Has anyone noticed that Stephen Hanna is not listed in the "dancers" section of the NYCB website? Not in the alphabetical or ranked lists. I know he wasn't scheduled to dance again in Saratoga, but.....??? Sorry, if I'm just missing something here.

    Mr. Hanna is listed in the cast of Billy Elliot. It is scheduled to open on Broadway November 17, with previews beginning September 17:


    (if you click on his name in the article, he is id'd as being from NYCB)

  21. Just called in for my "create your own" ... at 212-581-1212. I like front row of mid mezz, so I gave my favorite pair of seat numbers, and got them exactly for all the perfs! Seems to me quite a bargain at $55. While at it, did the same for Wheeldon's season, with the same happy results (and they have posted their casting), and just $50 per.

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