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BalletNutter

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    parent of 2 ballet students; pr consultant to studio
  • City**
    Maryland
  1. 10 potential performances left between Dec. 17 and 24.
  2. Yes, I saw it in Baltimore last week and will see it in DC later this week. I loved it. Saw Michelle Jiminez and Runquio Du perform the Anacostia Indian pas de deux and it was some of the best dancing in the show. Erin Mahoney was well suited for Dew Drop. The sets and costumes are wonderful ... I liked the red cardinals!! I thought the sets, costuming and lighting for Snow with the whites and blues was exquisite. It's refreshing, different and makes seeing the Nutcracker for the umpteenth time really enjoyable. I think Septime is amazingly creative and has a win with this one.
  3. Is Jared Nelson still with Washington Ballet or has he left the company?
  4. Had an opportunity to see this amazing documentary last night in DC. Have others seen it? If so, what did you think?
  5. Your words are music to my ears MDT. Thank you. My dd will have the good fortune of attending Ms. Jaffe's first SI at PDT this summer. I am thrilled to hear all of these wonderful things about her teaching and her new studio. I also learned from PDT that Susan is bringing in her personal acting coach whom she's worked with for years for the last week of the SI for the students. This, combined with her own amazing credentials and talent, plus those of the guest faculty, should make for an amazing experience for these lucky ballet students. Thanks again for your feedback and information.
  6. If that was Craig Salstein at the Sunday matinee, he was great as Bronze Idol -- the audience LOVED him.
  7. I am not a dance critic by any means, just your average ballet goer, so I would probably be considered part of the audience that Ari said seemed "happy with the whole thing." While I agree that the corps continued to have its ups and downs, I thought the principals at Sunday's matinee were terrific. I was absolutely wowed by Jose Manuel Correno -- I thought he was exceptional. I also thought that he and Irina were well-suited -- and that she danced beautifully -- however, I do not have 20 years of Bayadere viewing to compare it to. I was not rooting for Gamzatti, in fact, just the opposite. However, I agree that Michelle Wiles was wonderful in her role.
  8. Just returned home with my dds from the Kennedy Center dress rehearsal for the Suzanne Farrell Tchaikovsky program. Wow! I was so impressed. The program was outstanding with some terrific principal dancers, none of whose names I know because there were no programs available. (I'll be seeing it "for real" on Sunday.) They performed Mozartiana, Serenade, Waltz of the Flowers and the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with a live orchestra. The entire program was stunning. Then again, I'm not a dance critic. However, I've seen her programs at the Kennedy Center since 1999 and she has clearly come into her own this season. There is a cast of 34 dancers this time around. I can't even pick a favorite dance -- they were each exquisitely danced. Just a magnificent performance even for a dress rehearsal. And the most fun of all was watching Miss Farrell in action with the dancers!! What a great afternoon ... made it all worthwhile taking my dds out of school early and missing ballet class to boot!!
  9. I, too, had the good fortune to see the performance and I echo Mike Gunther's sentiments. For me personally, Pas de Quatres and Poet Acts took my breath away. I thought they were each exquisite performances by the studio company dancers and Brianne Bland and Jared Nelson. Surprisingly, I was far more enamored with Poet Acts in the WB studios than I was at the Eisenhower Theater. I don't know why -- the proximity to the dancers, their amazing partnering, the new costuming ... not sure ... but I really loved it this time around. And I agree that having the opportunity to be 2 feet away from the dancers was a treat that my dds and I will not forget any time soon. Ms. Leigh: Beautiful work with the young trainees ... all was perfect, most particularly the costumes and hair. A slice of heaven to have an opportunity to see this classical piece so wonderfully done.
  10. Let me get right to the pointe ... Ballet Alert is the greatest. I wish that I had known about it 5 years ago. Keep up the wonderful work and many congratulations!!
  11. OK -- I'm going to provide my two cents on today's program. Hmmmmm ... interesting mix but overall not my cup of tea, quite frankly. Thumbs up: * Momentum pas de deux by Jared Nelson and Brianne Bland ... breathtaking actually. * Jonathan Jordan in Firebird * Michelle Jiminez, Elizabeth Gaither and the new Luiz Torres (is that his name?) in In the Middle Thumbs not so up: * Septime's pas de deux. What the heck was that? He mentioned in Ballet Talks that originally it was supposed to be Gabriel coming down from heaven telling the Virgin Mary that she would have Baby Jesus. Huh??? I guess something changed in the translation. Elizabeth Gaither is a lovely dancer, however. * With all due respect to all involved in this piece, I'm sorry but I felt that Jason Hartley's piece was totally out of place in this program. He is an outstanding dancer and athlete, however I'm not sure I understood the connection to ballet in this piece. Did anyone else? * Firebird choreography was somewhat flat ... I wish Septime had tackled it as he had originally planned. * In the Middle ... !!! In sum, I felt that the program was too far over the top for this company and a Washington audience. Many of us like to go to see more of the classical ballet and for me, classical ballet a la Septime. While I have been Septime's biggest fan because he has taken this company so far in terms of dancers and choreography, this program seemed to overstep this wonderful progression to the point of being too "out there." For the first time in several years, I was disappointed by the program. However, I remain optimistic that the rest of the 2003-04 season will be wonderful. By the way, can anyone tell me about the turnover in the company? There were quite a few dancers missing (moved on?). I am especially disappointed that Richard Crocil is gone -- the dancer from the Czech Republic -- he was fantastic!! Also, Kathleen Breen Combes -- she was terrific too. Seems there are lots of new faces. What happened?
  12. Thanks for the catch, Victoria, and thanks for your words of encouragement, Alexandra. I'll try to provide some feedback after the performance.
  13. I'm seeing it on Sunday afternoon -- can't wait. Saw Mr. Forsythe working with the company a few weeks ago at the WB open house for subscribers. It was exciting to watch him work with the dancers. I'll try to chime in after I see it ... but I'm afraid I'm about as close to being a dance critic as my dog. I'm just a Ballet Nutter. I'll probably love the whole thing -- sorry! I adore the WB under Septime's direction.
  14. We, too, began introducing the world of performing arts early on with our daughters. We began with performances that would appeal to their age group beginning at 3 years old ... performances of Peter Pan (Cathy Rigby flying across the stage), the Washington Ballet Nutcracker, Cats even (I know -- but it's a great show for little kids). Then I varied the venues ... did a lot of the Imagination Celebration series for young kids at the Kennedy Center in DC. These are performances targeted by age ... so we began with a mix of theater, dance and concerts in the center's smaller theaters. We saw an amazing array of very well done shows. I also kept them fairly well insulated from TV, video games and computer games while they were little. This is critical! Then they begin to believe that live theater, music and dance is the norm. On the ballet front, I began with story ballets (Giselle, Swan Lake, Midsummer Night's Dream, et al) only because I knew that they would appeal to them. This really turned them on, coupled with their start in ballet classes (age 4). The Washington Ballet has been fantastic for drawing children to their performances -- we've seen so many delightful story ballets from Peter Pan (Jared Nelson flying across the stage), to Where the Wild Things Are to Cinderella and so many more. Today, as young teens, they are absolutely hooked. About 2 years ago, I began to take them to all kinds of dance performances, including a modern series, and they are wild for Debbie Allen's annual show here in DC. I still try to keep them in story ballets when I can just because they love them but now I'm introducing them to a lot more Balanchine, Suzanne Farrell and other groundbreaking choreographers, like William Forsythe whom we will see on Sunday. I try to find "cool" shows to keep them interested [Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group (causes deafness) et al] and as many musicals as I can, including touring Broadway shows AND high school productions -- keep that in mind. Local productions are far more affordable and the kids can really identify with the younger casts. Finally, we try to take them to the smaller dance schools that also perform, like the Maryland Youth Ballet here in the DC area and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet near Harrisburg, PA. These young dancers are amazing, often have professional guest dancers and again, the girls can relate to the younger casts. My advice is: go to as much as you can with your child as young as he/she can sit through the performances. VARY the venues. MINIMIZE the pop culture garbage. Don't force one type of art -- it's a sure-fire way to get them to hate it as they get older. And, when they are older, you'll be able to enjoy those heavenly moments of sitting in the theater with your children enjoying the arts together.
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