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  1. Is it fair to say that MacMillan maybe is an acquired taste? I just remember, in seeing his Gloria earlier this year, thinking that it took some concentration and commitment on my part to see and hear what he was trying to say. For me, it was kind of like reading an author like Thomas Mann -- a little dense with ideas and not immediately accessible. It was well worth the effort, but I can see where some (like a young student!) might not be as willing, especially when compared to Balanchine whose choreography I continue to find almost "talent-proof." It doesn't seem to matter how old or experienced (or young or inexperienced) the dancers are -- the geometry of his movement is almost always fascinating.
  2. My daughter was at the Friday night performance. She looooved the Balanchine Symphony and was not moved much by the MacMillan Song. Another opinion was that Greta Hodgkinson seemed off in her dancing that night, which breaks my heart to hear because I was absolutely mesmerized by her in Autumn of Kudelka's Four Seasons last winter. She gave Cote, Kish, Zehr and Konvalina big thumb's ups for their performances. Anyone else see the bill and have a thought?
  3. My daughter, as an NBS student, got to see the show last night and said it was wonderful (though she said she did prefer the Royal Ballet version that we got to see in June). She said Sonia Rodriguez and Aleksander Antonijevic were really good as Aurora and the Prince. Now, curiously, Brett vanSickle went on as the Bluebird: the online casting list (I know, subject to change) had Dong Hyun Seo listed. But my daughter said van Sickle was really, really, really good -- and not just because she and her classmates got to see him on the subway after the show (and compliment him, of course). I didn't have time to get more details about the costumes et al, but hope to in a later phone call. Oh, and even though she had nosebleed seats, she said she really liked the new theater and you could see everything clearly, even from way up high. BIG thumbs up over the Hummingbird.
  4. Or possibly Cory Stearns. He's an American who did his finishing training with RBS.
  5. Streep is an absolute master-class in acting. As I think most critics are saying, she is the reason to go see this (although Tucci is also quite wonderful). I was a little bummed with the major storyline changes in the latter half, although in the film medium, I suppose it works better. I remember feeling a little too stressed with the book as we experienced Andy's breakdown with her. But, at the same time, the Miranda character was unrepentently, unredeemingly negative in the book, and the film Miranda is actually more believable.
  6. I really prefer to take this approach, too, though much of it stems from an inability to identify and remember many of "the steps." I'm the same way with cars -- couldn't identify a make and model if my life depended on it. I find that when I focus too hard on the details, I lose sight of the overall production and, for me, the experiences loses so much of its power and emotion. It may be the Taoist in me, but I just hate to overanalyze. I admire and respect those who do want to (and can) delve deep into the details, but I enjoy my blissful ignorance and gut reactions immensely!
  7. those fish-dives by Cojocaru and Kobborg do deserve special mention! I think that was the first time in my ballet-viewing career that I have ever seen them done and not felt fearful for the ballerina's well-being. They were so powerfully yet beautifully executed. Such snap, crackle and pop!
  8. Awesome points, Mike. It calls to mind what I saw on Cojocaru's four-partner Rose Adagio support. Her first two turns were lovely and "adolescently" ambitious for their enthusiasm. I seem to recall there was a bit of a highly human bobble and hesitation on the third. But she regained her confidence on the fourth and finished it with the panache and chutzphah you'd expect to see of an Act I Aurora. I predict that Cojocaru, 7 years from now, will find a way to make even a bobbled third turn part of her character.
  9. On the Royal thread, I said that I felt like I didn't need to know the specifics of what this piece was supposedly about. And, even a few days later, I'm finding I still feel the same way. Perhaps I'm more forgiving of the creative urge. I tend to assume the best of the creating artist (in this case the choreographer) and try to process a work very (and perhaps too) generously. But it does raise the question for me, in reading people's various reactions to this work, if we, as audiences of the 21st century, haven't changed substantially from even a few decades earlier. Why is it so important to audiences now to know exactly what is being portrayed? Why aren't we comfortable experiencing something on a broad level and then applying our own personal interpretations? Have we become so conditioned by the specificity of TV, film, music and theater of nowadays to allow no room for a broad range of interpretations? I left my experience of Enigma Variations with the interpretation that the male protagonist had sent a son off to war and the telegram had informed him (and his family and friends) that the son was alive and safe. Why? I dunno. It's just what came to me in watching the sincerity of the performers' emotions. I'm certainly not saying that it's wrong if, as denizens of the 2000s, we expect specificity of our art, but I am wondering if this is, in fact, who we are now.
  10. Ewww, Sarah Kaufman from the Wash Post had some opinions similar to mine about Thursday's show. I totally disagree with most of her take on the mixed bill, so she's not allowed to agree with me on Thursday. anyway, on the "best Aurora" debate, I just have to say that Cojocaru is the best I've ever seen live. I never saw some of the other great names invoked perform live, so it's entirely possible that she could be the best a lot of us have ever seen -- even if she's got room to grow. Again, I am very excited to watch this already wonderful ballerina continue to mature!
  11. OK, first of all, my daughter and I win the award for "Lengths That People Went to in Order to See Wednesday Night's Show" (though Leigh still wins the overall competition on lengths to see the RB). Picture if you will, a woman and her daughter, sitting in an airport in Columbus, Ohio, getting their 12:15 pm flight to BWI cancelled because of "bad" weather, and being told they might get on as standbys on the already full 5:10 flight. Which would get into BWI at 6:25. For a show that starts an hour away at 7:30. Well, long story short, we made it onto the 5:10 flight. Which got into BWI at 6:35. Where a cab driver, for a mere $65 plus tip, hauled to get us to Kennedy Center three minutes after La Valse started. The toughest part of that journey was the loop-de-loop around the Kennedy Center. If it weren't for two illegal U-turns, we would have first ended up in Georgetown and then second ended up in Crystal City. My daughter slipped on a skirt in the cab. I fortunately was nicely enough dressed to begin with. We dumped our luggage in the coat room, watched La Valse on the monitor outside the First Tier, and then were seated in time to watch the rest of the show. La Valse looked a little out of synch on the monitor, but otherwise an interesting whirl of activity. Loved Tanglewood. It kind of reminded me of some of Stephen Baynes's work we saw in Australia (he's the resident choreographer for AB), but it felt more fully realized. Very sensuous in an interesting way. I look forward to seeing more of Marriott's work in the future. His choreography was innovative without being precious. Enigma Variations blew me away. It's so simple yet so rich. I've never seen anything like it and it really restored my faith in the ability of dance to be set in a ye-olde time period yet feel totally timeless. (that makes sense?) I (obviously) didn't get a chance to read any of the program notes before seeing it, and when it ended, I felt like I had about three possible storylines to explain what the telegram was at the end there. Yet somehow it didn't really matter. Something had happened to this guy, people cared deeply for him, and everyone was happy when it turned out OK. And it touched me. And I think ultimately that's what Ashton was trying to say about what Elgar went through -- he triumphed because of the people in his life. The dancing was simple and beautifully done. The set design was sublime -- such visual balance and textural richness! Finally, there was MacMillan's Gloria. Another one that I still don't know the precise interpretation on, but I decided to follow my instincts on this one and use the WW1-looking hats on the guys as my cue. Ultimately it all felt very "life affirming and triumphing over the forces of evil." Not in a grandiose way. Just very simply and in a quietly moving way. The two lead men, Gary Avis and Edward Watson, impressed me very much with their energy and commitment (as well as technique). Sarah Lamb, as the lead female, was impressive but I felt like she came out on the short end of some of the more gymnastic partnering moves. Hard to tell whose fault that was. But she projected a very strong and lithe presence. Loved the lighting design, especially with the closing images. Very powerful, and when we spent the next afternoon at the Holocaust Museum, I found myself channeling a lot of this piece. Can you really ask for anything more of your art?
  12. It took me 5 years of living in DC before I could drive to the Kennedy Center without ending up in Virginia! And danged if our cab driver didn't nearly do it to us on Wednesday night (but that's a whole other story for the other Royal thread). anyway, I just wanted to check in with my take on the Thursday SB (shout out to Pat, Art and Susan, met under the Kennedy head). You know, I appreciate the historical debate on the costumes and production value as much as the next BT person, but for me, what the Royal has imported is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I loved the richly elegant restraint of the set designs and the sumptuous costuming. It all provided a wonderful imaginative and textured setting to what should have been, and was, the focus of the production -- the dancing. The RB style struck me as being technique in service to artistry -- and not the other way around which too often seems to happen, especially as ballet becomes such a competition-driven culture here in the US. The steps in this particular ballet are rarely very complicated -- they're just done so well, and it was so encouraging to my daughter, the ballet student, to see what a difference exquisitely pure technique makes in performance. As others have said, Cojocaru's Aurora was wonderful -- the extension, the balance, the relaxed control and commitment. And I could see so much in her dancing with Kobborg that bespoke total confidence and trust. All that said, however, I do look forward to (hopefully) seeing her perform this role in 5-10 years. I wanted to see just a squidge more character development, something that showed me more of the impetuous teen that Aurora was in Act I and the woman she had become by Act III. That kind of acting, for me, is the only thing right now keeping Cojocaru from being a dancer we'll speak of in the same breath as Farrell and Fonteyn, but I do think she's on her way. The next several years will be exciting to watch. Loved the corps work. It's a lot cleaner than a lot I've seen this side of the Pond. Genesia Rosato's Carobosse worked for me: I thought she was pretty damn sexy, actually! Bummer about the balky carriage ride that the Lilac Fairy took Florimund on there in Act II: It was an otherwise really cool and visually magnificent scene. And Nunez as Lilac Fairy was lovely -- commanding but in a warmly maternal sort of a way. Lamb as Florine was excellent, though not the knockout I was hoping for. Perhaps she was whupped from the night before where she danced her tuckus off as lead female in MacMillan's Gloria? And from the godforsaken DC weather on Thursday (94 degree temperature, 2000 percent humidity)? In any event, it was a wonderful experience and well worth the journey. And I thoroughly look forward to the day, decades from now, when I'll be able to sigh over my sherry and say, "Ah, yes, I remember when we saw Cojocaru and Kobborg in Sleeping Beauty in oh-six...."
  13. Whoop-de-do...yes, that's exactly the term I was looking for!
  14. wild guess here, but given the dual mention of ABT and outrageous jump, I want to take a stab. Might it be a "540"? We saw Cornejo, I'm pretty sure it was, do it in Corsaire this past winter (though not in the coda pdd). I don't know ballet terms at all, but it looked like he extended one leg straight out then twirled the rest of his body around this axis a couple times (it didn't look like 3x, though 540 would suggest it was; either way, it was truly jaw-dropping stuff). A corps member we know told us afterwards what it was and that they call it a 540. He seemed to indicate, too, that the lead dancers are encouraged to unleash signature moves like that, even if they're not part of the historical choreography. And he said the company, when it was in an antsy mood during class, will sometimes start chanting "540, 540..." to get Cornejo to do it. ah, a possibly correct term just hit me -- maybe it's like a horizontal tour en l'air? Is that what you saw?
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