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siu

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About siu

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    Ballet Alert!

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Ballet Nacional de Cuba
  • City**
    british columbia
  1. Late as always, but would like to tell you how I got hooked on Ballet. I was in 6th grade when our music teacher scored some tickets for Swan Lake with Alonso. Seats were really bad, second balcony, second row to the right and close to the stage; sightlines were horrible (Horseshoe shaped auditorium) and had to stand and crane our necks to see something, but even then, the magic of the performance stayed in my mind, I decided that I would try another show, and the following week purchased a ticket for a Sunday matinee of Giselle, again with Alonso. That did it and tried not to miss a performance ever since. These days in my neck of the woods, my ballet viewing is minimal, but when the hunger arises, I pop one of my videos in my vcr and enjoy.
  2. I just posted my impressions of their last performance Saturday at the Cerritos Center. Look it up at the Ballet Nacionald de Cuba thread and give me your comments.
  3. I am back from my pilgrimage to Cerritos, CA. My long time dream of watching the Cuba National Ballet has finally taken place. Worth my time, effort and money? Absolutely. Was it perfect? No. Here are my thoughts: Last performance on their US tour; Don Quixote. Cast: Viengsay Valdes - Kitri, Joel Carreño - Basil, Victor Gili - Espada. Production: Dismal, the costumes are horrible, the head sock in the guys have to go, the gipsy costumes were too garish in different shades of neon green (not my favorite color), the dream sequence in pastel blue might have loked better under a different type of lightning, the dresses of the corps in the third act looked like out of a school production. I know they have budget limitations, but this was too much. The dancing: Glorious. It seems to me it is a very young company these days, the old stalwarts are gone. I am sure maturity will come in time; now it is a dazzlying energy on stage, with all the tricks in the book thown in and then some. Unlike other companies I have seen, they are really happy to be on stage and will go to any extreme to pull you in and share they joy. The technical abilities are far superior to the ones on display back in the 60's through the early 80's when I last saw them perform at home. The men are stronger, better trained. Much has been said of Ms. Valdes, I have now been witness of her extraordinary dancing ability and technique, that balance on the third act was something I never thought could be done, not even the queen of balances (in my opinion) Cynthia Gregory could have pulled someting like it, her jumps are great and although not the best turner I have seen, her piruettes and fouettes were great, a bit of travelling forward, but in a very straight line. Mr. Carreño gave me one of the sightest, swiftest and fluid variation I have ever seen, and his lift on one arm of Ms. Valdes in the first act was breathtaking. The stage seemed or is very small, and even with an abreviated company, when they were all in stage, it looked very cramped, so much that some of the steps were performed in a single spot. I wish I could see it in their home stage at the Gran Teatro de La Habana with the full company. That, I am sure, would make it a much better experience. I was very happy the audience received their performance with three standing ovation curtain calls and I am sure they, as well as I, can hardly wait for their next appearence. For you guys not familiar with the venue, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, it is a vey modern building, the lyric configuration is intimate, small theatre, slightly over 1400 seats, but as I said before, the stage is small, I guess they would have benefited of an extra 10ft to the sides and maybe another 15 in depth. Sightlines are great, I was seated in the second row center of the Mezzanine ans checked during intermission other locations in the theatre. If you buy seats for any future performance, whatever it is, Orchestra center last row in the first block and the first row center in the second block are tops. As usual, first row center in the Mezzanine or the first and second balcony are choice. For people with vertigo, avoid the second balcony middle to top seats, the incline is quite steep. Long, I know, but I hope you enjoy my comments. Your responses and questions are welcomed.
  4. siu

    Cuban Dancers

    Although I respect their decision, and his reasons, as given to the press are quite correct, I question the wiseness of doing it at the present stage of their dance careers. Cuban dancers may not have the luxuries of other dancers around the world who belong to an established company; shoes, proper diet, etc. but they have a long career, they will be members of the company until they decide to retire, sure, the money is not great, but many have stayed and survived. A dancers life in North America is tough, there is no job security. Should they have risen through the ranks on their own merit, a sure fire contract abroad woud have followed, and their dream would have taken place. Carreno, the Feijoo sisters, Acosta and others are proof that talent is recognized and in demand. I do not think that just for being a member of the company is a guarantee, if there is no track record. Correct me if I am wrong.
  5. It is a trademark of the cuban dancers to show-off their virtuosity on stage and very much expected by the home audience. The performances I have seen from visiting companies to Vancouver, including ABT, the dancing is just so, going through the motions and no more than that; cuban dances incorporate a lot of showing off as well, call it a macho thing when done by the guys and blatant flirting if its done by the ladies. Alonso was a virtuoso of balances and turns, her holding an arabesque on pointe in the second act of Giselle until the lily was taken from her hands by her leaping Albretch, to her trademark six opening piruettes, 32 fouettes and closing with six more piruettes in the third act of Swan Lake will always stay in my memory, Have I seen someone else manage that? Nope. And all that was done while her vision was just a blurr. The newer dancers have picked up on that, I am sure, and will do it.
  6. Please, post your impressions of their performances, I can hardly wait for my pilgrimage to Cerritos, CA to see them, but it will be nice to read your comments. Thanks, everyone!
  7. Thanks!!! I am checking it right now.
  8. I am hoping someone will tell me if the Cuban National Ballet has any performances scheduled for the West Coast, since New York, Chicago and Florida are well out of may way. I have not seen them perform since 1983 and are curious to see them again. If you guys have the chance, see everything! Don Q I have not seen, but the other program is a wonderful way of seeing their versatility of styles all in one night. Pity they are not dancing Grand Pas de Quatre or their version of Sleeping Beauty. Thanks to all siu
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