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Big Lee

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  1. Janie's looks awesome in the Afternoon of the Faun picture in the new NYCB brochure. Julie Kent also has awesome hair; check out the pictures of her in the pas de deux section of Nancy Ellison's Ballet book.
  2. As dirac mentioned, it is definitely Stars and Stripes used in the movie. I actually thought she was extremely critical of the way homosexuality was treated in a hypocritical manner by the movie. I obviously can't read her mind, but I think her feeling was that the movie did everything possible to background anything homoerotic about ballet by using a "token" gay character in Erik and making Cooper an almost ridiculously "manly man," to be more appealing to a general audience. All the characters were incredibly stereotypical, and I don't think that deflating Cooper's manly man character - who rides around on a motorcycle and has sex with any woman in tights - by labelling him obviously gay is offensive. I don't think she was seriously claiming she had special knowledge that Stiefel is gay in real life. Of course, I could be wrong. And your right, making fun of Center Stage is like shooting fish in a barrell, but I still thought it was funny.
  3. I know that some people on this forum have fond feelings for this incredibly goofy movie, and I thought that I'd share this very funny review/recap of the movie. television without pity WARNING: The article contains strong language and negative comments regarding Balanchine's "Stars and Stripes." I also think the review is interesting as how someone who is not "into" ballet received the movie, particularly the big Stroman finale.
  4. I was also there last night, and also was amazed by the reaction. It sounded as if somewhere in the house there was a group that would just go wild after every work, and particularly went nuts for Bussell. It sounded like the audience had been waiting years to clap and yell themselves silly. Personally, I was in the balcony, and I didn't notice it coming from the upper rings, though there was a large contingent of SAB students, yet I doubt they would have become that excited. For me, Cojocaru was the revelation. The degree of quickness and articulation in her feet and legs were extraordinary, and I can also see why Scenes de Ballet is considered one of Ashton's masterpieces. I think ABT could possibly do this piece with Gillian Murphy, or better yet bring Cojocaru back as a guest artist. It would make a nice all Ashton evening with Symphonic Variations and The Dream. I'd certainly like to see it again. Guillem is a tremedous actress. I actually thought Marguerite and Armand was kind of a downer to end on, though I'm not sure how I would juggle the program. All in all, a great night, and well worth the rather expensive tickets.
  5. Well I saw it Wed. night and enjoyed it a great deal. I really enjoyed the Kylian; I saw them at city center and greatly enjoyed them then and I enjoyed them quite a bit. McKerrow's Hagar I found fantastic. She embodied a kind of desperation in the role that made me see the ballet differently - she's not depressed or sad as much as she is consumed or overwhelmed by erotic longing. Thus, the giving her self to the man from the house opposite (I think that's Tudor's appellation) seemed more understandable as a kind of last hope. This contrasted wonderfully with Reyes's Younger Sister, who seemed to command a type of social and sexual ease foreign to Hagar's character. I thought that WYWY seemed oddly subdued as compared to the other times I have seen it. This ballet doesn't seem like the right time or place for restraint. I wanted to see more of a sense of "wildness." Michele Wiles did look very good and was magnetic on stage. She really stood out as being in tune with the overall sense of the piece. Also, I must admit, now that I've seen this a few times the piece doesn't really cohere together. I'm not sure if it is supposed to, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I have in the past.
  6. Didn't love it or hate it, but was intrigued by it and felt that #2 summed up my feelings about right.
  7. I saw it today at the sunday matinee and I would gauge the audience reaction as positive - there seemed to me a fair amount of ooohing and aahing. As far as the amount of dragging, I would say that there is maybe 10 seconds worth at the very end. However, the final movement does seem to fall into the category of a "dance of death," similar to Nijinsky's Rite of Spring or perhaps more closely to Balanchine's La Valse. However, it didn't creep me out or anything, and I found the second movement terrifically Romantic. I guess my feeling is that I found it to be a more abstract work than others are perceiving it. I would definitely recommend watching it from one of the upper tiers; the choreography depends heavily on floor patterns. One would miss plenty in the orchestra. Just wanted to do a quick edit after reading bobbi's post in the weekly thread. If I am not mistaken, the third movement was the one where Weese is dragged up the stage, concluding the ballet. I don't at all remember the second movement as being when this happens; it was like a coda to the end. As a result, I'm having a hard time placing the implied violence or abuse people are seeing in this movement. Though I obviously may be transposing movements.
  8. I pretty much agree with the sentiments above; it was a little strange. I definitely found it odd that, as mentioned above, Peter Martins seemed to think Sarah Jessica Parker was some reverential figure in the history of the NYCB. Juxtaposing Balanchine and Kirstein toasting to Stravinsky and SJP, Martins and Kevin Kline, two of whom are at best only marginally involved in NYCB seemed misjudged. Martins and Fiorato I think would have been the best choice possible, given the circumstances. I thought Concerto Barocco came off well, and Duo Concertante was, for me, the highlight of the night. I had seen it before from 4th tier a-b, but it came off better for me up close on video. It is really a kind of masterpiece, something I had not appreciated before. Also at the beginning there were these quick comments by NYCB dancers like "It's wonderful," "It's fantastic," and then finally Martins saying "It's Balanchine." I thought these were just some quick out takes from longer interviews that we were going to see later, and I was sorry that never came to be.
  9. I saw The Dream live last year with Gomes and Kent, but with nearly the same supporting cast. It was interesting to compare. Ferri for me was a revelation. I thought her acting and dancing was just fabulous, and unlike Kent was not wearing a strange looking wig. Does anyone know if she had previously danced this role with the Royal Ballet? Cornejo was great, as he was live when I saw him. I thought Gomes added a greater sense of "kinglyness" to the role and also seemed more exotic - he seemed less like a normal human than Stiefel did. Frankly, I'm not sure if this was actually present in the dancing and acting or if simply their physical differences made me perceive them differently. In any case, I'm glad I saw it.
  10. I could have sworn someone mentioned this in this thread but now I can't find it, but I think an interesting question to ask is if you were running ABT, and this were possible, would you trade (like a baseball trade) one of the "Big 4" male dancers (who I'm going to define as Carreno, Stiefel, Corella and Malakhov) for a top female ballerina like Cojacaru or Vishneva, to mention two who have recently danced w/ ABT. It's a question that I find difficult to answer - both on an artistic and economic level. Lot's of people love those guys, so would the economic loss of losing one be made up by the ballerina? I'll go out on a limb and say if I could get both Cojacaru and Vishneva for one of the men, I'd do it. One on one, I'd still probably do it.
  11. Thanks for all the info Alexandra, Leigh and Paul. For some odd reason I thought Forsythe was considerably older than he is. I like the dance club metaphor too - it makes me think differently about the textural density that I perceived in the work. Rather than the idea that all of the different dancers cohere into some sort of unity I had difficulty grasping, perhaps instead there is no real unity, only like stars in the sky we project constellations on. I really think there is something to Forsythe - I immediately loved the Kylian but the Forsythe has made me think much harder.
  12. I saw the Forsythe last night for the first time, and I kind of wish I could see it three or four more times. I found it to be a very difficult and complex piece that was at times texturally so dense that I didn't know where to look. One thing I did notice was that there seemed to be a core of three dancers who were on stage for almost the entire work and were for me a kind of anchor to keep my attention on. I think nysusan's science metaphor was rather apt - there was a kind of chaos becoming form thing going on. I definitely enjoyed the work and was fascinated by it, though it is difficult to describe or even express my feelings about it. I think for me it would requires more than one viewing for me to start to grasp. I don't know much about Forsythe's history, and I wanted to ask Alexandra what she meant about Forsythe and his native "dance" language. Is he more considered a "modern" choreographer who wandered into the land of ballet?
  13. I went to the contemporary works 11/02, and unlike Gia Kourlas's article I just loved the Kylian. Petite Morte and Sechs Tanze seemed to me very effective as companion pieces, and I hardly thought the only funny part were the dresses on rollers, though they were rather funny. I asked about the Kylian I think months ago, and Estelle replied that she thought Sechs Tanze was the funniest ballet she had ever seen, and I think I agree with that. I really cannot at all agree with this. Both ballets I thought were head and shoulders above the Duato and Welch I have seen (which is basically ABT's rep of these choreographers). I also hardly ever felt I was watching meaningless gesture, or something inexpressive. While I understand why she refers to "Mickey Mousing" the music, I thought these gestures were fairly rare and effective when used. In the final analysis I found Petite Morte very sexy, and Sechs Tanze very funny, also kind of sexy. Dorian I more or less agree with her about. What I liked least was the mish-mash of music, which seemed to distort the originals in a way that sapped them of any dramatic or expressive power. (That's another think I liked about the Kylian, I really heard the music in a new way). I also tend to agree it's too long; there's a lot of narrative that's mimed out, and I kind of felt it could all go - I didn't want to see the story acted out, as I wanted some sort of emotional commentary on the story. This I definitely got in Kent's solo as Sibyl and the duets between Dorian (Hallberg) and the portrait (Gomes), all of which were beautifully danced and choreographed. Basically, I think the ballet is good, it could be great if it were leaner and meaner, and with non-adulterated music. Maybe instead of Dorian I would have preferred something like Scenes from Dorian, If you know what I mean. Reservations aside, I think I would like to see more of Hill's choreography in the future.
  14. Sunday night, October 26, Masterworks program All in all, with few exceptions, I thought this was a pretty wonderfully danced program. Symphonic Variations seemed somewhat awkward, however. It also led off the program, changing places with Diversion of Angels. Right at the beginning, a ringing cell phone went off and seemed to distract the audience, and the dancing as whole seemed tense - almost as if everyone was extremely worried about making a big mistake and was trying too hard. A bit more "abandon" I think would have made this take off. By the way, I thought the ABT orchestra sounded fabulous here - an all together wonderful performance of the Franck. Diversion of Angels came off great. Tremendously energetic, with particularly committed dancing by Erica and Hermann Cornejo as the yellow couple and Sandra Brown as the Red woman. Sandra Brown has sure been a soloist for a long time; any reason she's not seen as a principal? Speaking of people who aren't principals, Michele Wiles was wonderful in the Raymonda excerpts, and is probably my favorite dancer in the world right now. Tremendously assured and charismatic, she just made me fall in love. Acosta looked great partnering her, with tremendous elevation on his jumps and a just elegant countenance. The Corps looked very good as well. Pillar of Fire I also thought was very fine, though I'm not old enough to have seen Tudor in the "Glory Days" when he was with ABT. Kent as Hagar I thought was very good - I always thought that she was one of the better actresses ABT has and brought out the inner emotion of the role very well. The psychology was clear, without being goofy or the ballerina appearing to be in physical pain. Reyes was good as the younger sister (I have a particular liking for Reyes so take that for what it's worth). All in all, I had a wonderful evening. Strangely enough, Sebastien Marcovici and Janie Taylor of NYCB were there and I wanted to talk to them but alas, I was afraid that I'd step on one of their feet and single handedly ruin ballet in NY or the like. It's hard to talk to strangers who don't really seem like strangers!
  15. What surprised me was that he wasn't her partner or Ballet Master or a professional relation, he was her husband! It was definitely one of the more unusual husband wife dynamics I've seen. Could they really just keep their work at work? I almost forgot the funniest part of the whole thing. He tells her to keep doing this combination which culminates in a big lift, and that he won't actually lift her until she gets it right. So she does it about five or six times and he doesn't even touch her or move, and she starts breathing heavily, at which point he yells at her "what are you huffing and puffing about, I'm doing all the heavy lifting!" I can't judge whether this relationship is good or bad either, but I must admit she seemed rapturous when she finally got it right.
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