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Helene

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  1. The two ballets that I disliked most the first time I saw them, but came to love are strangely related. When I was in Jr. High and early High School, my best friend loved the ballet. Her father was happy to drive us to Lincoln Center, drop us off, go crosstown, and work in his lab for a couple of hours before picking us up. Since she was related to the "wheels," when choosing performances, we followed her two strict rules: 1. Makarova was better than Fracci, so we went to performances with Makarova, and shunned those with Fracci, even though this meant we never saw Fracci's constant partner Erik Bruhn and 2. Because she was unable to guess which night Fonteyn and Nureyev were to perform with the Royal Ballet (and probably was "stuck" with Seymour or Beriosova, poor girl), we could never buy tickets where the casts weren't announced well in advance, in a full page ad in The New York Times. Hence, no City Ballet, and if ABT performed Balanchine in the early '70's, we never went. In my junior year of high school, after my friend moved back to Japan, I went to a summer program, where the directors decided -- rightly -- to expose the group to some culture, but -- wrongly -- decided that the boys would be bored by the ABT triple bill. (Hello -- girls in tights?) So off to Philharmonic Hall we went. It turned out that this was the Saturday night in July '74 when Baryshnikov made his debut in Giselle, and it was 15 years before I could hear Bach's 5th Brandenburg Concerto without feeling a pit in my stomach. I'm not really certain what was on the original triple bill, but I remember this as the first time I missed Jardin aux Lilacs. I did my post-college pilgrimage to the Boston area, where I was a Marketing Director's dream -- someone who heard an advertisement for the Boston Ballet, and because of the theme from La Sonnambula playing in the background, bought a ticket. Just on that turn of music, I had great expectations. But I turned into the Marketing Director's nightmare: I hated La Sonnambula, I hated the Bruce Wells piece to music by Ginastera, and I thought the classical showpiece (can't remember which) badly performed. In the meantime, I had missed Jardin aux Lilacs twice more, once when it was dropped from the program, another time because my bus from Boston was very late. When I moved back to New York, I bought tickets to an ABT triple bill. Finally I was going to see Jardin aux Lilacs. Martine van Hamel came onstage, danced a little, and suddenly, her partner was carrying her into the wings in his arms. At first I thought, "how atmospheric," but then the stage was empty with the music playing, and the curtain came down. I read in the paper the next day that van Hamel had broken her foot on stage. There was an intermission, and the curtain rose on Bouree Fantastique. After some cast switching Harriet Clark stepped into Tanaquil LeClerq's role, and she was witty and delightful, like champagne. By the end of the ballet, I was in love with Balanchine's choreography -- probably the biggest DUH of my life. I started attending NYCB constantly, waited years for La Sonnambula to be revived, and I've loved it ever since. Jardin aux Lilacs was harder, because by the time I saw it, and with Pillar of Fire being one of my favorites, my expectations were so high, that I was bound to be let down. It took two more tries for me to appreciate the ballet, but now I look forward to it. I keep trying to like Giselle, but I like neither the music nor the characters and don't love the style. So I see the ballet only if there's an angle: Dance Theater of Harlem's Bayou version, the Alonso-coached National Ballet of Cuba, ABT, because I was starved to see the company, and that's the only thing they brought to Seattle. I guess I don't hate it as much as I used to, because I do keep going. Not exactly a conversion. I really did like Peter Martins A Shubertiade only after the third time I saw it in one week. Whether I like Dances at a Gathering depends on whether I found it a bore the last time (then I'm pleasantly surprised) or surprisingly good the last time (then I'm bored.) But seeing it so many times made me appreciate Jerry Zimmerman as a great Chopin interpreter.
  2. I just received an email from PNB to announce the following marketing offers besides the standard discounts for low-demand Nutcracker performances: *For $100 per ticket for most Nutcracker performances, up to two people can sit in the orchestra pit *A new restaurant is opening, and for $20, patrons get entree samples and drinks, with proceeds going to the ballet. (It's on a Sunday night, when many Seattle restaurants are closed or hosting private parties.) *A local TV host and his wife will play the grandparents in one Nutcracker performance *Before two Nutcracker performances the first 1,000 children will receive Nutcracker bobbleheads *Using the PNB link to amazon, PNB earns 5% of purchases. Yikes, bobbleheads.
  3. Wasn't this supposed to be one of the retroactive ironies of the movie The Turning Point, where Adelaide -- supposedly the Lucia Chase character -- asks Anne Bancroft's character to coach Lesley Browne's character in one of the major ballets (Sleeping Beauty maybe?), and then comments something about everyone getting old and having to move on?
  4. Correction to my earlier post: On Friday night, Mladenov danced the waltz and Ritter danced the Elegy guy. On Saturday night, Ritter danced the waltz and Du danced the Elegy guy.
  5. I think those two things are related. It's been my experience that unless the curtain is up and there's both music and stage action, too many audience members at the ballet and opera think that it's perfectly fine to talk over the overtures and musical interludes. The "action" over the overture may be to pre-empt the chatting. Unfortunately, nothing stops the "How about those Mets?" discussions between the two parts of Liebeslieder Walzer.
  6. If this is true, then Divertimento No. 15 has to be an exception, because it requires five principal female parts. Since the original choreography was for Kent, Hayden, Adams, LeClercq (Fourth Variation), and Wilde, those are formidable footsteps in which to follow. (I'm not counting Caracole, because the [/i]Choreography by George Balanchine catalogue said the choreography for it was forgotten, and Divertimento was created anew.) Looking at the repertoire for this season's tour, only Divertimento (5) and Serenade (3) have more than one female principal, and only Chaconne has extended soloist work. Has anyone seen Program C, the "Balanchine Couple" program? If so, what was the casting like in that program?
  7. I traveled to Berkeley this weekend to see Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and was the only Seattlite in my hotel there to see the ballet, not to see Cal trounce the Huskies in the football game Saturday afternoon. It took seven hours to get to Zellerbach; unfortunately that made me half hour late to the opening ballet, Divertiment No. 15, one of my all time favorite ballets But I did get to see The Waltz of the Flowers, named "Tempo de Valse" on the program, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Serenade on Friday, and the whole program on Saturday. I was surprised when the ushers let me in to see the end of Divertimento No. 15; I came in as the second-to-last pas de deux was ending. I did manage to see Shannon Parsley and Runqiao Du dance the final pas de deux. My general impression was the Zellerbach stage was much smaller than I remembered, and that the performance felt cramped and tight. However, since I was so crabby about my late plane, getting lost on the way from the Ashby BART station, etc., that I tried to get that out of my head and watch the performance of that ballet on Saturday with fresh eyes. "Tempo de Valse" was performed in dresses that are cut and styled like the standard Serenade dresses, except with soft chiffon instead of several layers of tulle. The corps was in medium pink, the soloist flowers were in pale blue, and Dewdrop was in a very light pink, with her skirt cropped to mid-thigh. At first I thought, "Yay, gone are those awful Karinska Flower dresses and that corset for Dewdrop," yet while Dewdrop's costume was an improvement, what I missed was the volume of skirts for the corps and soloists, especially the way they expanded in the arabesques and went "poof," "poof," "poof," "poof" during the pas du chats. Both Bonnie Pickard (Friday) and Shannon Parsley (Saturday) danced expansively as Dewdrop. They were similar in their lightness and precision, with long legs making very clear images without being sharp. I was happy to see that Farrell has chosen some big dancers -- tall, with wide, muscular backs, legs, and even breasts -- and they moved big. The corps and soloists filled up the stage. The soloists stood out a bit more in their blue costumes -- the Karinska lilac isn't that big a contrast to the Flowers' pink -- and I was aware for the first time that the soloists end up in the corners at several points. It was disconcerting to hear Nutcracker music when it was nearly 60 degrees outside, a true Southern Hemisphere Christmas experience. Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux followed. Peter Boal performed both nights, and except for a bit of showing off in some very high cabrioles, which knocked him a bit off line, he was strong and elegant throughout. On Friday he partnered Jennifer Fournier. From the start it looked like a bit of a struggle between them, and her performance looked to me like it got smaller in each section in which she was partnered. I don't think she smiled more than once or twice or looked up, eyes or body, to the Balcony. While I didn't think Fournier was doing anything mannered or particularly unusual, there was something missing, and it took me until Saturday to figure out what it was. Serenade was danced by Chan Hon Goh as the Waltz Girl (with Alexander Ritter), Shannon Parsely in "Scherzo a la Russe," and Natalia Magniacaballi and Momchil Mladenov as the Dark Angel and Elegy Guy. I knew I was in for trouble when Goh started to act; I found it very jarring and put on. I wondered if I was seeing a different version from which I was used to, but Saturday's performance confirmed that I was seeing a distortion of the choreographic line. By contrast, Parsely's performance was a reprise of her Dewdrop: light and clear, with fine, sweeping energy in the first movements and suitable gravity in the Elegy. She reminded me of Kyra Nichols in the part. Natalia Magniacaballi danced with beautiful carriage and legs that never seem to stop stretching in arabesque, even when she was being turned at the thigh, and the way she expanded in all directions when the turning stopped was, in my experience, unsurpassed, without being mannered. Saturday's performance of Divertimento No. 15 unfortunately confirmed my first impression on Friday, which is that half the dancers -- corps and principals -- tightened up from the waist up when performing it. One dancer who didn't was Alexander Ritter, who in the short role of the Theme gave the most fully shaped and musically danced performance of any of the men both nights; surprisingly I found his dancing more pleasing than Boal's. Ritter took up the right amount of space for each move and phrase, not only in this ballet, but in two performances of the first man in Senerade. Frances Katzen, who was quite lovely as one of the Flowers soloists, and Bonnie Pickard were hard to watch in the First and Second Variations because their upper bodies were so tight; I started to watch only legs. The same was true during their pas de deux. That changed when Cheryl Sladkin took the stage in the Third Variation. While she doesn't have the extension of the first two, she was the first soloist to be fully lifted from her waist and to dance from her sternum. What a difference it made, because while it looks like she takes tension in her lower arms, her arms motions flowed from her open chest and shoulders. Her legwork was very clear, and the steps and shapes really projected. She also drew my eye consistently in the Serenade ensemble. I'm not sure what Momchil Mladevov's particular draw is: he has very long legs that seem separated from his relatively short torse, his legs seemed a little gangly, like a newborn colt, and he didn't point his feet. His Fifth Variation looked blurred to me. Dancing the Sixth Variation and the lead was Jennifer Fournier. She looked happiest and most expansive when dancing this solo, but seemed to clam up again when being partnered in the centerpiece pas de deux. I skipped over the Fourth Variation woman deliberately, because April Ball entered and blew me away. She's one of the bigger woman in the company, and she ate up the stage. It was like an infusion of energy from another planet, and, yet, there wasn't a movement she did that looked out of place or proportion or strained. It was as if she there was a magnifying glass in front of her. When she was partnered by Ritter in brief passages in the last movement, it was a match made in heaven, because the were so perfectly modulated and in tune. Chan Hon Goh danced the Saturday performance of Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. I was dreading it a bit, expecting more acting. It wasn't as bad as I expected, although I felt she marred it again with an occasional mannerism. For example, one of my favorite moments in the opening partnered turns down to one knee, repeated, where, usually, the woman looks up with open shoulders. Goh looked down and gave what seemed to be a little bow to her partner. In general she seemed more preoccupied with him than I'm used to in Balanchine ballets. But, on the whole, she seemed happy to be dancing, and was lighter and quicker than Fournier had been on Friday. Serenade was danced beautifully by all the principals. I think that Parsley swapped roles and danced the Waltz Girl, and that Bonnie Pickard did the Scherzo a la Russe, but I could be mistaken. Both were quite lovely. And it may be shallow, but I love it in the Elegy when their hair is loose, and there's a blonde, redhead, and brunette. In some of the reviews there's been criticism of the corps. I found the corps to be pretty disciplined. What I didn't expect was that the pairings of corps in the Menuet in Divertimento No. 15 would be so far off; at least two of the pairs were dancing to different tempos. But that was an anomaly. I finally realized what it was about the Company that made some performances, like Fournier's and Goh's, not fit: Farrell has chosen a group of dancers who ride the wave of the music, and when that happens, the ballets look so right. The dancers in the Company dance as if they need to dance, and even after a long tour, there was life and little fatigue, even in the warhorse, Serenade.
  8. There's a Pacific Northwest Ballet version that stars a young Patricia Barker. The sets are by Maurice Sendak, and the overture and ballerina doll scenes were among those that were adapted to the screen in a very charming way. I was living in NYC at the time I first saw this, and it was my introduction to the Company.
  9. I just received an email from the Royal Ballet. They have a special ticket offer through 20 November for a triple bill including Wheeldon's Polyphonia, Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, and Kylian's Sinfonetta: "When you book a top-price seat for the evening performances on 18, 21 or 25 November you will pay £39.60 (usual price £66), and for the matinee performance on 15 November you will pay £31.20 (usual price £52).When booking for this special offer, choose Orchestra Stalls, Stalls Circle or Grand Tier and enter your preferred number of seats next to the 'email offer' concession." Here is the link to the Royal Ballet ticket site in the email. I just checked the website. They may have assigned a certain number of seats to "email" offer, because I didn't see any available in Orchestra Stalls for the 18 November performance. (If available, they are displayed on a separate line with the special price.) To see availability after selecting a specific performance of "Polyphonia Triple Bill," click on the picture of the section on the left side of the screen. I hope someone will see this, take advantage of the offer, and post about the performance(s). I'm jealous that I won't be able to see this program
  10. The Metropolitan Opera did another triple bill soon after the Stravinsky. It was a French triple bill, including Satie's Parade, Ravel's opera L'Enfant et les Sortileges, and Poulenc's Les Mamelles de Tireseas, the latter with sets by David Hockney. Notably, both this triple bill and the Stravinsky one consist of modern works. Maybe there's hope that if Stravinsky was good box office, this one will be revised as well -- with good choreography for Parade -- and that the Met may expand to other programs.
  11. The first time I watched ballet I was a small child and have no idea what it was. I suspect that since my parents and grandparents were devotees of the Ed Sullivan show, it was broadcast on this show. I only know that my parents told me they couldn't pry me away from the television, and I was inconsolable when it ended. Oh the days before VCR's! The first ballet I remember seeing on TV was Pillar of Fire with Sallie Wilson. The first ballet I saw live was Swan Lake with Makarova and Nagy, and Marianna Tcherkassy in the Act I pas de trois when I was 13.
  12. I start with three subscriptions to Pacific Northwest Ballet, University of Washington Dance Series, and Seattle Theater Group. If I love something, or Mark Morris is in town, I'll get tickets for more than one performance. I also try to attend ballet and opera performances whenever I travel. I used to travel a lot for work, and one year, I saw all but one San Francisco Ballet program while working with a vendor in the East Bay! It's much more possible when work is paying for the flights and hotel room I live three hours from Vancouver, and I usually drive there for one or two dance performances a year. Now that Christopher Stowell is running Oregon Ballet Theater in Portland, I'll probably attend a few performances there each year as well. When I visit friends in NY, I try to sneak in performances, and I've even started travelling beyond the Bay Area to see specific companies, especially in this Balanchine Centennial year.
  13. I was looking at the Ballet Arizona website, and in their FAQ was the following Q&A: 'How do you pronounce artistic director Ib Andersen's first name? 'His first name is pronounced eb with a long "e" sound as in beet, and tree. Ib was born and raised in Denmark.'
  14. PNB's Ballet NOW! program, which closes tomorrow night, consists of four pieces: Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Mercury to a Haydn symphony from NYCB's 1992 "Diamond Project," William Forsythe's Artifact II from the longer Artifact choreographed in 1984 to solo violin music by Bach, Kent Stowell's 1997 Palacio Dances to music by Bolcom, and Val Caniparoli's Torque to silence and two pieces by Michael Torke. I saw this afternoon's performance. My impression of Mercury when I saw it in '92 and during PNB's 1995 run was that it was a waste of time for principal dancers, whose joie de vivre seemed forced. While two principals did perform today, the mostly young cast was truly convincing that not only were they given great opportunities, but that they really liked their jobs. In the first movement, Pantastico was superb, and although she is way beyong the choreography technically, she danced with committment and a clear sense of rhythm and shape. Her partner Jordan Pacitti had very soft, clean movement. I thought a little "oomph" was missing, but he was very nice contrast to Pantastico. In the corps choreography Nicolas Ade "popped," with energy and musicality. What I did find interesting though was late in the first movement, where the corps men partnered Pantastico. Three of the men, including Ade, partnered her like corps men. But the fourth, Karel Cruz, managed in three relatively short phrases to convey the sensitivity and attention that eluded Pacitti. When the men had mini solos in succession, it was Lucien Postlewaite who was most impressive. The second movement is really a set-up for the guy. Stacy Lowenberg showed good cheer throughout, even though the choreography was made for partner Jonathan Poretta to shine. What was great about Poretta's performance was that he was attentive to Lowenberg throughout, and didn't try to hog the spotlight that was already his. I found Kylee Kitchens disappointing in the third movement adagio. Unless he's dancing Corsaire, her partner Stanko Milov tends to be one of the most self-effacing partners in the company. Kitchen's movements in the adagio didn't have much weight or shape, and she couldn't match him in presence. As leaders in the fourth movement, Mara Vinson was a wonder, with beautifully articulated feet -- in the air, because there wasn't much pointe work -- and she matched Noelani Pantastico's energy and strength. Le Yin also danced softly and roundly, which is unusual for what I've seen of him so far. What was consistent with my memories of past performances was that the second half of the fourth movement, when all of the couples and corps members are onstage, is where the ballet really starts. But there was some wonderful dancing in the 3.5 movement "prelude." Artifact II opens with a black wing panel downstage, but open wings going back, so that the lighting is exposed. The corps, dressed in gold unitards, surrounds the two sides and upstage. Downstage center is a figure in a dark grey unitard, facing upstage, with a couple to her right -- Patricia Barker and Jeffrey Stanton in this performance -- dressed like the corps. Almost immediately, when Bach's music starts, the second couple -- danced here by Melanie Skinner and Casey Herd -- emerges from the upstage row of corps. Whenever The Other Person (as the woman in grey is known) is onstage with the corps, the corps follows her arm and hand motions, like a giant game of "Simon Says." There's even a section where the two principal couples, alone on stage with her, also follow her movements. The pas de deux that the principal couples perform through various "movements" -- broken by the sharp "thud" of the curtain dropping quickly -- are very much like the ones from "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated," which is not surprising, considering the power of Bach's solo violin music. The corps worked seemed very architectural to me, as they formed various line patterns on the stage in each movement. (Only once did they run, across the stage from one side to the other.) In one notable movement, where The Other Person was absent, they fell to the ground in a row upstage, and proceeded to break unison. An arm would pop up here or there in the line, until they started to cross their arms over each other, with some even creating a chain between them, the only real communication up until that point. I found the corps to be very powerful, and even though I'm not sure exactly what the whole thing means, I have a sense that the ballet was saying something very real, though pattern and movement. I usually don't like Melanie Skinner's dancing -- I find her a bit rigid -- but Forsythe's choreography fit her like a glove. In this cast, she looks like Patricia Barker's sister, and the two couples seem related, partially because the two women have a marked physical resemblance, but also because they move in similar ways, at least in this ballet. (The two leads in the other cast, Lallone and Nadeau, are about as opposite as you can get.) Skinner danced like Barker's equal and without apology, which was wonderful to see. Palacios Dances was a Silver Anniversary Celebration tango-based "puff piece," originally choreographed for Patricia Barker. Barker always looks strained to me in pieces where she's supposed to act "light." This afternoon, it was danced by Louise Nadeau and Paul Gibson. I never thought I'd hear myself saying that Louise Nadeau was wonderful, but she was. The emphasis was on leg work, and hers was crisp, yet light, with terrific tango rhythm. I always love seeing Paul Gibson; there just wasn't enough of him in this piece. What saved Nadeau's performance from the technical people were her bright red tights, for the lighting had the pair in the shadows, which is not Randall Chiarelli's mo. The same was true in Torque., which followed. I know that dancers need new ballets to grow, and that often artistic directors will look at a dancer in a new light when an outside choreographer brings out that dancer's best qualities. I also know that some attempts have to fail, and I'm usually willing to sit through the failures. My litmus test for new ballets is whether it would be worth an injury to rehearse and perform it. My answer for Torque is "no," especially for the women. Caniparoli's choreography looks like much of Peter Martin's corps choreography to Michael Torke. I suspect this has to do with the music phrases; I don't remember any other Caniparoli choreography having the same frenzied look to it. What happened to the women was almost criminal: in the blur of racing limbs and chaine turns, rather than bringing up the level of corps woman's dancing to the level of a principal, it talked down to them so much that it brought Principal Kaori Nakamura's dancing down to the level of the corps. I don't think there is any woman in the company who could have made much of this choreography. Torque is ultimately a men's ballet, and I think Caniparoli should have stuck with an all-male cast. He had one interesting solo for the man in orange, danced by Kyon Gaines, in which there were a lot of angular versions of steps and jumps. (It could have been something I ate; the friend I went with just loved the ballet, although her binoculars may have focused a little too much on Casey Herd ) The only thing that made this worthwhile for me was the performance of Lucien Postlewaite, in gold. He ate up space in every direction, a true stage animal. He looked like he was having the time of his life. And he's only an apprentice! I don't know how he partners, but he has the stage present and physical gifts of a Principal Dancer. He's the most talented man I've seen come out of the corps in the last ten seasons.
  15. Sorry, I just edited this out -- I was duplicating something I said on an earlier post.
  16. Alexandra, Thank you so much for the link to Rita Felciano's review. (According to the program, the company will perform the piece in Santa Barbara (CA) and Cleveland, too.) I had forgotten to mention Maria Ros' exquisite lighting. Seattle audiences have been very lucky the last month: first Jennifer Tipton's lighting for the Seattle Opera's production of Mourning Becomes Electra, and then Ros' for Kvarnstrom. The dancers looked so much like people, that it never occurred to me that they were at rehearsal! (Edited to fix spelling)
  17. Oh, yes! Loscavio's performance of "My One and Only" is worth the price of the video tape alone! I attended the entire Balanchine Celebration performance. As usual, the internationally known guest artists got ovations, especially Darcey Bussell -- I think I'm the only person on Earth who hated her performance in Agon -- Manuel Legris in the Square Dance solo, and even Patricia Barker, who some may have known from PNB/Sendak's version of the Nutcracker on VHS and who others thought was Kyra Nichols. No one seemed to know who Loscavio was, and there was little anticipation in the air when she came out. She then performed the most fantastic version of "My One and Only" and blew the house away, eliciting one of the biggest ovations of the entire celebration from the shocked audience.
  18. K. Kvanstrom & Co. brought a piece called "Fragile" to the Moore Theater in Seattle last night under the aegis of the Seattle Theater Group's dance series. The set was quite beautiful: it consisted of a light gray square dance surface and a white hanging mobile-like structure that looked like a Calder mobile with Noguchi shapes hanging from either end of what looked like the Nike "Swoosh" hanging upside down. The dancers entered at the beginning of the piece and sat their water bottles down along either side of the dance surface. This is where they rested when they weren't dancing, until the very end, when they left the stage into the wings. The five dancers in the piece wore black pants and various stretch tops and shirts in muted colors. The piece opened in silence, with each dancer walking downstage, pulling out a Poloroid, displaying the picture to the audience, and putting it on the stage apron. (I was on the verge of immediate hatred.) Then they started to move, and in various combinations, didn't stop moving to a mostly driving electronic score to music by Anders Jacobson and Amon Tobin and occasional bouts of silence, except where they pulled out more photos and occasionally took photos of themselves during the piece. The dancers were so strong for so long, that only when a silence occured toward the end, and the breathing of the two women onstage was prominent (deliberately, I think), it finally dawned on me that they had been dancing in very long stretches for over an hour. Many of the patterns were repeated throughout the piece. There were a couple of low, distinct turning lifts, one where a dancer would seem to launch diagnonally upwards into the arms of two other dancers while the movement, made stiking because it always seemed reversible, and a movement where a dancer would fall backwards on a diagonal into the arms of another dancer. Most of the rest of the phrases were done in unison or with two groups each doing their own movement. There were movements of great sensuality, yet the performance was so low-key and unselfconscious that it never came close to being exhibitionish. The five dancers were all over the map. Of the two men, one was tall and thin, and apart from exceptionally beautiful ballet feet, he looked like the Dance Guy in college who took up dancing first a year ago and who was cast because he was tall and male and was interested in dance. The piece called for a lot of elastic movement that rounded in constantly changing directions, and the energy of his movement stopped at his waist and died in his inflexible back. By contrast, his shorter, more compact counterpart looked at first like someone who had been chosen randomly off the street, but who, from the moment he started to move, performed great feats of shape and concentration, without ever looking "dancerish." Among the women, there was one tallish, dark-haired, extremely thin woman who was all limbs and angles. The choreography was beside the point for the way she moved, with one exception: for 10 seconds, she did a series of writhing movements downstage left, which was the only thing all night that made sense of the title of the piece. The second woman had sun-bleached blond hair and was the same height, but looked like she had been fed at least daily. She had the most cut arms and shoulders I've ever seen on a dancer. She was able to move with the roundness of the choreography, and many of the arm and hand gestures looked clearest and most differentiated when she performed them. The third woman, who looked like a normal person onstage (but I'm sure was quite thin in real life), had pulled back blond hair and was a revelation: she danced like a constantly contracting and expanding double helix. I could not keep my eyes off of her, because her energy was so continuous throughout her body, and she looked just as strong at the end of the dance as she did at the begining. (According to the program, one of the woman was born in 1965; none of the three woman looked 38 years old, even during the bows.) The strange thing to me was that the really good man and the extraordinary woman weren't really interesting when they danced together. None of the dancers were playing to the audience, and it didn't seem to be a competitive issue. They had similar energy and strength. The really good man looked great with the woman with cut arms, perhaps because they seemed to be having more of a conversation. I'm not really sure what the piece means. I haven't seen much modern dance outside of the Paul Taylor/Merce Cunningham/Jose Limon/Mark Morris veins, and I saw Martha Graham Company for the first time last week. (Where I found in Diversion of Angels some of the seeds of Paul Taylor's style. Imagine, I had thought he sprang from the thigh of Zeus!). So I have no clue if the piece was derivative. But the choreographer was never in my face, and the performers didn't demand my attention, although several commanded it. The piece wasn't avante garde or faux outrageous or pretentious in the way that attracts the "I'm deep enough to understand the existential crisis behind this piece, and you're not" audience. I do know I saw some beautiful movement to music I liked performed by two great dancers and one quite fine one, and I was sorry when it was over. Did anyone see the piece at Jacob's Pillow last summer? If so, I'd really appreciate your take on "Fragile."
  19. I'm so glad you posted your review! Maybe Urlezaga will be able to bring his company on a North American or European tour, like Julia Bocca is doing. I would love to see Stekelman's choreography -- you've whetted my appetite
  20. In Seattle it's an auxiliary station of our public TV station KCTS, and it airs on cable on Comcast channel 75. It's on every day between 4-5 pm and 5 am; they loop through the entire broadcast several times a day. A co-worker once called it "Highbrow MTV."
  21. Zhulin is not only coaching and choreographing for his wife, Tatiana Navka, and her dance partner Roman Kostomarov, but he's also coaching Men's singles skaters Alexander Abt and Vakhtang Murvanidze, both very artistic skaters. Navka and Kostomarov just won Skate Canada, beating last year's European silver and World bronze medallists, Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviyski.
  22. One of the most frustrating parts of watching figure skating on US TV is that not only are the events not televised live, but that after Skate America, broadcasts come after the next event are finished. Grand Prix events are scheduled weekly, beginning with Skate America (then Skate Canada, Cup of China, Trophee Lalique, Cup of Russia, and NHK Trophy). Their names are Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. From the description on the ISU website, they weren't flawless in either program, but even so, I can't wait to see their performances, because they have such superior line.
  23. Your news of Gillian Murphy's Hagar was good news I've been waiting for Hagar to re-emerge since I saw Sallie Wilson's performances, even if her interpretation is a different one. Especially if her interpretation is a different one!
  24. Cool report -- thank you! I wish I could have seen these performances. If I have a chance to see the Kirov, I will look for performances where Gumerova and Zhelonkina have been cast. Emeralds is so hard to cast, and I've seen so many misses over the years. It's great to know that Gumerova was wonderful in it.
  25. Thank you for your review. I'm 3,000 miles away, and living vicariously through it
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