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About Helene

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  1. Great interview with Carla Korbes by Michael Breeden and Rebecca King Ferraro for their Conversations on Dance podcast: https://conversationsondancepod.com/2020/01/21/carla-korbes-2019/ It was done at last summer's Vail International Dance Festival.
  2. Part two of the press release: UPCOMING SPECIAL EVENTS: PNB IMMERSION EXPERIENCE Tuesday, January 21, 5:00 pm The Phelps Center, 301 Mercer Street The PNB Immersion Experience presents a new way to enhance patrons’ performance experiences for the 2019-2020 season: The Cinderella offering will include an hour-long Immersion Experience Studio Rehearsal hosted by Artistic Director Peter Boal and featuring Company dancers rehearsing excerpts from Cinderella, followed by a Q&A with PNB artists and a tour of the PNB Costume Shop. Tickets ($40) are available through the PNB Box Office. (Immersion Experience tickets do not include a performance.) PNB CONVERSATIONS & DRESS REHEARSAL Thursday, January 30, 5:30 pm Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall Join a panel of PNB’s Cinderellas, in conversation with Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington. PNB Conversations offers in-depth interviews with artists involved in putting our repertory on stage. Attend the Conversations event only or stay for the dress rehearsal of Cinderella. Tickets ($30) may be purchased through the PNB Box Office. FUN FOR FAMILIES Special activities for children and families – including crafts and dance classes – begin one hour before all matinee performances. And Music Center of the Northwest will host their popular Instrument Petting Zoo at the matinees on February 1 and 9. BALLET TALK Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall Join Audience Education Manager Doug Fullington for a 30-minute introduction to each performance, including discussions of choreography, music, history, design and the process of bringing ballet to the stage. One hour before performances. FREE for ticketholders. MEET THE ARTIST Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall Skip the post-show traffic and enjoy a Q&A with Artistic Director Peter Boal and PNB dancers, immediately following each performance. FREE for ticketholders. YOUNG PATRONS CIRCLE NIGHT Friday, February 7 Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more info, visit PNB.org/YPC Join members of PNB’s Young Patrons Circle (YPC) in an exclusive lounge for complimentary wine and coffee before the show and at intermission. YPC is PNB’s social and educational group for ballet patrons ages 21 through 39. YPC members save up to 40% off their tickets. For more info, visit PNB.org/YPCx
  3. Casting for first weekend is up on the site: https://www.pnb.org/season/cinderella/ Here's a link to the downloadable spreadsheet: Cinderella 2020_01_23.xlsx Lots of debuts, in both the leads -- Leta Biasucci and Angelica Generosa as Cinderella, Kyle Davis as Prince, Elle Macy as Godmother/Memory Mother -- and in other featured roles. I'm glad to see this production back: there are so many opportunities, and Stowell really knows how to tell the story.
  4. Kent Stowell's "Cinderella" opens on January 31. There are three additional, non-subscription performances: Sunday matinee, February 2 (1 pm) Saturday matinee, February 8 (1 pm) Sunday evening, February 9 (7pm) Please note that all matinee performances begin at 1pm. Here is the first part of the press release: PACIFIC NORTHWEST BALLET presents January 31 – February 9, 2020 Marion Oliver McCaw Hall 321 Mercer Street, Seattle Center Seattle, WA 98109 Ten Performances Only! January 31 at 7:30 PM February 1 at 1:00 and 7:30 PM February 2 at 1:00 PM* February 6 & 7 at 7:30 PM February 8 at 1:00* and 7:30 PM February 9 at 1:00 and 7:00* PM *Added performances – best availability! SEATTLE, WA – Pacific Northwest Ballet continues its 47th season with the return of Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell’s wondrous Cinderella. Last seen at McCaw Hall in 2012, PNB’s production conjures rare enchantment from this best-loved fairy tale by recalling Cinderella’s long-lost mother in a tender memory scene and then returning her in the guise of the Fairy Godmother. As if stepping between the pages of a beloved story book, the ballet’s breathtaking beauty, in union with Prokofiev’s evocative score, vividly illustrates the familiar narrative and supports a rich array of character roles—from silly step-sisters to tiny dancing pumpkins to a gentle, handsome prince. And when her ivory carriage rolls to a stop at the entrance to a magnificent golden ballroom and Cinderella takes her first, shy steps into the midst of swirling, scarlet-clad dancers, all hearts go with her into this dream come true. Cinderella runs for ten performances only, January 31 through February 9 at Seattle Center’s Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. Tickets start at $30, and are available through the PNB Box Office at 206.441.2424, in person at 301 Mercer Street, or online at PNB.org. BOUT THE BALL CINDERELLA Music: Sergei Prokofiev* Choreography: Kent Stowell Staging: Kent Stowell, Francia Russell and Kaori Nakamura Scenic Design: Tony Straiges Costume Design: Martin Pakledinaz Lighting Design: Randall G. Chiarelli Premiere: May 31, 1994; Pacific Northwest Ballet Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes *Music details: Cinderella, Op. 87, 1940-1944, with excerpts from incidental music to Eugene Onegin [March, Scherzo, Prince and Princess], Op. 71, 1936; Lermontov film score [Mephisto Waltz], 1941-1942; A Summer’s Day Suite [Waltz], Op. 65, 1935-1941; Symphony No. 1 in D Major “Classical” [Gavotte], Op. 25, 1916-1917; The Tale of the Stone Flower [Waltz], Op. 118, 1948-1953; The Love for Three Oranges: Symphonic Suite, Op. 33bis, 1919/1924 Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Cinderella, conceived and choreographed in 1994 by Founding Artistic Director Kent Stowell, is a sweet and tender story of love lost and found. In sustaining this romantic focus throughout the ballet, Stowell has departed meaningfully from earlier modern versions of Cinderella, most of which take their lead from Frederick Ashton’s 1948 production for the Royal Ballet, which draws heavily on the English music hall tradition. These Cinderellas, Stowell believes, are more comic-tragic than romantic in feeling. And, wedded to the original 1940’s score, which Sergei Prokofiev modeled on the 19th-century ballets of Marius Petipa, they favor theatrical variety over narrative and emotional cohesiveness. Restoring the continuity of Cinderella’s story and its feeling became Stowell’s guiding principle in the design of PNB’s production. Central to this conception is the contrast between the Real World and the Dream World of Cinderella’s experience. As a young woman whose beloved mother has died and whose father has remarried, she dreams of the happiness of the past even as she tries to cope bravely with the unhappiness of her new home life. When her fairy godmother appears, and is the same figure as the mother she remembers, it’s clear that the love Cinderella experienced as a child remains with her in adulthood—a deep store of wisdom and hope to guide her towards future happiness. As she meets the Prince at the ball in Act II and as he searches for and finds her in Act III, the emphasis is steadily on the realization of a love relationship that restores a lost wholeness. To achieve this narrative and emotional continuity, some revision of the Prokofiev score was necessary. For example, Prokofiev wrote incidental music for the play Eugene Onegin that has been incorporated into Act I, making the dance lesson a meaningful contrast between Cinderella’s natural grace and the stepsisters’ awkwardness. A waltz that ended Act I now opens Act II, so that our first musical impression of the ball is of a glorious atmosphere for romance. And incidental music from Prokofiev’s opera The Love for Three Oranges provides ideal music for The Theatre of Marvels—a new scene conceived by Stowell that re-enacts the moral and psychological issues of the entire ballet. With resplendent costumes by Martin Pakledinaz and sets by Tony Straiges that evoke an exquisite 18th-century world, PNB’s Cinderella is a fully realized romantic fairy tale for our time. [Original notes by Jeanie Thomas, revised by Doug Fullington.]
  5. Those have been rarities in Met programming, and La Traviata was within easy reach. Mearns reached her goal and got a paycheck.
  6. I saw it in HD on the big screen the season it premiered, and I didn't remember there were dancers in it until listening to a performance on the radio where they announced Mearns' name. And know that I know, I can't recall any of the dancing or choreography. She got what she wished for. Nichols danced in a different production.
  7. It was not a matter of Jews not thinking they were not Russian: it was a matter of Soviets and Russians thinking that Russian Jews weren't Russian and encoding this into official nationality.
  8. I don't know if this is true in Russia, but during Soviet times, Jewish was designated as a nationality. You were Jewish, or you were Russian, or you were a another nationality.
  9. In the original Giselle, the Willis wore something on their costume to represent their lands, so they were never meant to be an undifferentiated, ghostly corps.
  10. In various publications dancers at NYCB spoke about how they had to powder down for Balanchine whenever they got sun.
  11. I'm not surprised in the least by huge blowback from Russian posters, nor that they contain racist invective. I'd be hugely surprised if she doesn't received death threats in return. That is the vortex of social media at its worst. In general, Russians are insulted when they're told to live by anyone else's standards, especially American standards -- and they'd have plenty of American racism to point out and call hypocrisy -- and they share with many Europeans -- and many Americans -- derision for anything they label "political correctness.". They are protective of their heritage and their elite students and adult performers, just as Americans do -- at least our heritage -- regardless of how racist that heritage is.
  12. I'm not seeing, in this thread at least, that anyone has argued anything else. I am guardedly optimistic that I'm seeing more black PNB students not only in the student shows, but in student roles in mainstage performances across ages. Not every student is headed for a professional career, and the overall odds are low in Seattle -- last year, despite several dancers leaving, the company didn't hire any PD students as apprentices* -- but if students of color aren't accepted and corrected, at minimum, and even encouraged in school from the beginning, then AD's can fall back on the tired excuse that there are no black or brown dancers to consider. *PNB, which historically relies more heavily on ticket revenue than other big Seattle arts institutions, and which declined ownership in McCaw Hall and has to pay rent, got murdered last season when it snowed during Sleeping Beauty. The company honored SB tickets for A Midsummer Night's Dream in Spring 2019, too. I'm not sure if/how much that bit into ticket revenue for AMSND, but I'm hoping the goodwill at least breaks even.
  13. She is hardly a recent African immigrant: she was adopted into an American family when she was four years old. As she said in this article/interview (with Marina Harss, when she was 18), "I wish that interviewers would ask me more about my incredible family and less about a part of my life that I would like to forget." She discusses race in that interview. I haven't yet read her book, the one she wrote with her mother, who was very pointed about the white default in ballet in a scene in "First Position," where she was dying her daughter's tutu straps to match her skin. I suspect they didn't pull punches in the book. She was interviewed a lot until management at Dutch National Ballet thought all of the press was a distraction. Precious Adams is another black ballerina who has spoken about the racism she encountered in training: she trained at the Bolshoi, where a teacher suggested she lighten her skin. Not at all. I think she was thoughtless and careless, and as a result of her thoughtlessness and carelessness, it led to cyberbullying and death threats, at the same time, obscuring the institutional target of her message. Who is posting that? Who is defending blackface? Who is saying that everything Copeland has accomplished or said is wiped out by this mistake?
  14. Yes, they sometimes do set themselves up by leveraging opportunities to be heard and visible, particularly when they make themselves available to the press to a great extent and have professional help in doing this. I think that's a good thing that she has been able to use it to expose institutional and personal racism that she's experienced and witnessed and to be a model of the possibility. Not all black dancers have backed down because Copeland received such criticism and hate. Michaela DePrince, for one. Unless she has a private social media account that was exposed, anything she says in social media is part of the continuum. It was an emotional outburst in which she made a blanket statement and tagged the handle of dance students, after which a set of her followers responded vilely. She did not take on the institution in any specific and meaningful way: she did not mention the institution in her post. And it is not a sudden thing that the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballets have their students use blackface in La Bayadere nor the first time that those students have posted photos of themselves on social media. I'd be shocked, *shocked* if she was suddenly aware of this.
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