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Everything posted by BalletNut

  1. Another review, this one from the Contra Costa TImes, written by Mary Ellen Hunt. Edited to add: Interestingly enough, the von Buchau review says that the Polonaise danced by SF Ballet School students is from Eugene Onegin, and the Hunt review says it's from Sleeping Beauty. I'm sure someone who went to the gala can clear this up for me. (Hint, hint.)
  2. It's common for American cartoonists--and maybe cartoonists in other countries as well--to depict people coming up with "bright" ideas by drawing pictures of lightbulbs flashing over their heads. You're welcome.
  3. From today's Links, here are two reviews of the performance itself: SF Chronicle, by Rachel Howard Inside Bay Area, by Stephanie von Buchau
  4. Which dancers would be your ideal ballet couple onstage? Time and geography are, of course, irrelevant.
  5. Interesting post, Ballet lovers. I think the partnerships you mentioned in the second part would be very interesting to see too. It's always fun to come up with your fantasies about perfect ballet performances. Hmm, come to think of it, that's a topic with potential...
  6. In regards to ballet dancers doing modern dance, I think another way to look at these questions is to think of how the ballet community would react if the Paul Taylor Dance Company started doing Balanchine, or if Christopher Wheeldon began choreographing for modern dance companies. Of course, the analogy is far from perfect, since a) there are differences between modern dance and ballet companies and how they operate, and b) I'm not sure that the modern dance community is any more monolithic on this issue than the ballet community.
  7. Well, considering the "publicity" we got from John Rockwell's article, I wouldn't be surprised.
  8. Last night (January 26), San Francisco Ballet kicked off its 2005 season with its annual opening night gala performance. Here is a link to an article in the Chronicle which covers more of the "gala" aspect than the "performance" aspect. If anybody went to Opening Night, we'd love to hear all about it!
  9. OK, I'm giving this topic a HUGE bump , and it's not entirely on topic, but it's been bugging me for a while. On OBT's website, there is a picture of Gavin Larsen and Artur Sultanov in the Nutcracker, and I was struck by the huge difference in their heights: on pointe, she doesn't even come up to his shoulders. So, I'm curious, how tall are they? I've never seen such a pronounced difference in heights of ballet dancers, not even on the RB Sleeping Beauty video with Durante and Solymosi. Is there really that much of a difference in height, or is it just the picture?
  10. You've hit the nail on the head, Michael. As the cliche goes, "there's no such thing as bad publicity." There are more constructive, less "straw-dummy knocking" ways to respond to Leigh and Alexandra's letters in print, but Rockwell chose to address the matter in an abrasive, argumentative, and demeaning fashion. I suspect that if he were sincere and secure in his knowledge of the art form, he would have found other ways to respond than using thinly veiled insults and put-downs on people who do not agree with him. The weakness of this article speaks for itself when compared with the text of the actual letters. That being said, I'm sure Rockwell is patting himself on the back for this one. Now everyone will know that he's the face of Progress, and all those dorks at Ballet Alert are the ones keeping ballet from achieving hipness. On the bright side, at least he knows how to spell Alexandra's name... :giveup:
  11. Based on Balletresa's reply and what I know from ABT and NYCB's websites, I think it's Angela Snow and Ellen Ostrom (spelling?) and I'm not sure who the 3rd one is. Correct me if I'm wrong...
  12. OK, I'm going to be a flip-flopper and allow my position to twist in the wind according to the tide of popular opinion. After reading everyone's posts on the gossip issue, it is indeed a slippery slope, and I agree, it would degrade the credibility of this board; it'd be harder to tell what was substantiated or not. Besides, I was looking at an old Dance Mag, and there was a letter in Linda Hamilton's advice column from an NYCB dancer who was, shall we say, unhappy with what was being written about him/her on this board. I guess the point is, to the dancer being talked about, we're brutal enough even with the no-gossip rule.
  13. I think the level of moderation is just right; I don't feel stifled by it at all. In fact, I think that if it is relaxed too much, things might have the potential to get ugly. I'm not saying anyone on this board would start a flame war, but the current level of moderation keeps us all on our best behavior, and is what allows us to discuss controversial topics respectfully, which IMHO is a valuable skill to have. As for the differing levels of knowledge and experience, that could be addressed by having a forum for newbies to ask questions about what may be for others basic concepts ("What is the plot of La Sylphide?" or "How are ballets passed down?"). As I recall, there was a forum like that for a while, and I thought it was a good idea. If that isn't possible, Gentle Reminders that everyone is at a different level would work, too. I also like the idea of having an Unsubstantiated Gossip area, with a disclaimer, of course. Otherwise, I like the format of this board very much.
  14. I'll add my voice to the chorus: , Alexandra! You have created a wonderful, thriving community of ballet lovers from around the world. This is probably the only place on the internet where people can get together, talk about ballet, air their often radically differing opinions, and discuss them in a civilized and intelligent manner. You have provided a "safe space" to discuss ballet, and perhaps the only online discussion group I've been to (and I've posted on several) where I can state my opinions and be reasonably assured that I will not be sucked into a "flame war." I've seen plenty of flame wars on most of the other ballet/dance boards, and they aren't pretty; they are also hard to avoid, but you and your team have managed to do it. Congratulations, and thank you! Thank you also to the new moderators/administrators, and the continuing ones, for keeping this wonderful community alive. Ballet Talk has been a lifeline for me, and I'm sure it has for other Ballet Nuts (that's my name, don't wear it out :3dnod:) as well. So, another curtain call for Alexandra! Your efforts are appreciated, and you will be missed.
  15. Yes, I do hate it. You're not alone. Let me add the cases where they do away with the stage sets altogether and film it "on location" the way they did for the ABT Giselle with Fracci and Bruhn. And in that one, they also did plenty of facial close-ups and general photographic weirdness: what does seeing the double-vision manipulation of autumn leaves reflected in a stream have to do with Giselle? Which reminds me of Balanchine's Nutcracker, with that "photo montage" of Marie's memories of the Christmas party, and the flying bed. Oh, and they had a narrator too, and all those sound effects ("Ma-Gic, Ma-Gic") By the way, let me state for the record that while I agree that facial close-ups are annoying, close-ups on other body parts are even worse. Especially feet, which they tend to zoom in on during difficult, often climactic, parts of ballets, namely fouettes and beats. Grrrr. Bottom line: When I watch a ballet video, I like to pretend I'm seeing a performance in a theatre. If I want special effects, I'll go to the movies. The end. :glare:
  16. I guess they can call themselves whatever they want; I'm not going to stop them. (Seeing as how the inclusion of the word "American" in their name was not decided by the US government or We The People, but by ABT itself, well they already are calling themselves whatever they want. As it is written: "This is America..." ) At the same time, I don't recall Bush or anyone in his administration anointing ABT as The Official Ballet Company of the United States of America. :seehearspeak: Of course, this decision from Powell may constitute such a declaration. But all the same, I do find it rather pretentious of them to appoint or advertise themselves as our National Company. Maybe if they were the largest or were the undisputed guardians of the American style of classical ballet, or some combination thereof, they'd get away with it. But then there's that Other Ballet Company which just happened to be founded by the man credited with bringing ballet to America, and making a uniquely American style of ballet. All annoyance aside, I think it's great that a ballet company gets to have input to UNESCO, even though I'm not entirely sure what such a position entails, besides I have a feeling it's got something to do with "cultural diversity" or "freedom of expression."
  17. SFB's Ashton Program. I think I had finals or something. The Kirov in Berkeley, especially Jewels. Too &*$%# expensive.
  18. Just finished checking out the schedule on Marc's site, and I have a question about the "benefit" performances to be given by Lopatkina, Pavlenko, and Vishneva. What do they mean when they call it a benefit? Do proceeds go to worthy causes, or is it more like a gala celebrating the respective ballerinas? Any word on what pieces will be performed, and who the guest artists are? Just curious.
  19. Yes, the article is on For Ballet Lovers Only. Click here.
  20. The horribly depressing financial situations at Oakland Ballet, and DTH too for that matter. The costumes from SFB's version of Who Cares? will give me nightmares for quite a while. The fact that Cal Performances (Zellerbach Hall) always charges an arm and a leg for world-class visiting ballet companies, this year it was the Kirov and Bolshoi, and I couldn't afford even the cheapest tickets to see them. Musagete sounds horrible. I'm really glad I was not subjected to it. The repertory index entry on NYCB's homepage is disturbing enough in and of itself.
  21. SFB's Balanchine Programs, especially their performances of Square Dance and Serenade. Tina LeBlanc in everything, but especially Square Dance. The veritable cornocupia of ballet shown on television, especially NYCB's Live From Lincoln Center Broadcast, particularly the opportunity to see an unforgettable cast in excerpts from Liebeslieder Walzer. Brahms-Schoenberg was nice too. I didn't see it, but I have a feeling that if I had, SFB's Ashton/Macmillan mixed bill would be up here too.
  22. Short answer: Yes, it's worth it to get the tape (maybe it's on DVD too, at least it is in Europe) , because it's one of the best videos I own, and I own plenty. Long answer: The cast is as follows: Nikiya--Altynai Asylmuratova; Solor--Irek Mukhamedov; Gamzatti--Darcey Bussell; Brahmin--Anthony Dowell; Rajah--David Drew; and of course Kumakawa is the bronze idol, but next to these heavyweights, he almost looks like a side attraction... that said, he's quite impressive, lots of elevation. ABT also does the Makarova version, so they have some info about it on their site. Some character dancing, though not much; a fair amount of mime; and LOTS of "classical" dancing. The Royal Ballet corps is pretty good, not surprisingly, if not as uniform as the Kirov or POB. The choreography is "flavored" with what looks like Indian classical dancing, especially some of Nikiya's variations and the mime. Kingdom of Shades choreography is to die for. Viviana Durante is the third Shade, but looks out of sync with the other two. Lanchbery orchestration of Minkus: I'll leave others to debate the music. The ballet moves pretty quickly, theatrically speaking, but I must say that the final act where the temple is destroyed is rather weak choreographically, although Gamzatti's variation here is quite nice. Hope that answers your questions.
  23. More questions for the NYCB crowd: In the part between the battle scene and the snowflake waltz, does Marie's bed actually fly in the stage production, or is this just something they did for the video? And how does the stage production treat the "Sleeping Beauty" part? Am I correct in assuming they don't do a video montage of Marie's "memories" of the party scene?
  24. Ditto here, and is there a possibility that it may become commercially available?
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