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BalletNut

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  1. Perhaps it's not an entirely plotless ballet in the purest sense of the word, but I've had lots of fun coming up with "stories" about the four couples in Davidsbundlertanze. And none of my "stories" have the least thing to do with Robert Schumann either, at least not that I know of.
  2. San Francisco Ballet has announced its repertory for the 2006 season. In addition to the new Nutcracker that premiered in 2004, the company will perform the following ballets: Program 1 Swan Lake (Tomasson after Petipa, Ivanov/Tchaikovsky) Jan. 28-Feb. 5 Program 2 Apollo (Balanchine/Stravinsky) Blue Rose (Tomasson/Kats-Chernin)--Premiere Quaternary (Wheeldon/Bach, Cage, Part, Mackey)--SF premiere Feb. 14-25 Program 3 Spring Rounds (Taylor/R. Strauss)--SF premiere Magrittomania (Possokhov/Krasavin) Rodeo (de Mille/Copland) Feb 16-26 Program 4 Afternoon of a Faun (Robbins/Debussy)--SFB premiere Other Dances (Robbins/Chopin)--SFB premiere Dybbuk (Robbins/Bernstein) Glass Pieces (Robbins/Glass) March 7-12 Program 5 Allegro Brillante (Balanchine/Tchaikovsky) Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers (Tomasson/Handel) Sandpaper Ballet (Morris/Anderson) The Fifth Season (Tomasson/???)--Premiere March 28-April 8 Program 6 Falling (Welch/Mozart) Rubies (Balanchine/Stravinsky) Artifact Suite(Forsythe/Bach, et al)--SFB premiere March 30-April 9 Program 7 Sylvia (Morris/Delibes) April 21-May 5 Program 8 Elemental Brubeck (Lubovitch/Brubeck)--SF premiere Continuum (Wheeldon/Ligeti) Reflections (Possokhov/Mendelssohn) April 25-May 6 You can read more about the new season here. SFB's official website is http://www.sfballet.org. In the interest of neatness, I am keeping this topic closed, but feel free to discuss the 2006 season in the forum below.
  3. I have one pair of autographed pointe shoes, which I bought years ago after a performance of Phantom of the Opera. They were being sold to benefit AIDS research or something like that, and had been signed by all the ballet dancers in the cast, so I'm not sure whose shoes they were exactly. All I know is that whoever danced in them has exactly the same size feet as me. Well, we could be drinking champagne out of them, or cooking and eating them, or whatever else balletomanes did with the shoes of Romantic ballerinas...
  4. Here is the SFB press release on this issue: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 16, 2005 SAN FRANCISCO BALLET ANNOUNCES MUSIC DIRECTOR AND PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR ANDREW MOGRELIA’S RESIGNATION Maestro To Focus On International Orchestral Conducting Schedule and Music Director Duties At The San Francisco Conservatory of Music SAN FRANCISCO – April 16, 2005 – San Francisco Ballet announced today the resignation of Music Director and Principal Conductor Andrew Mogrelia effective at the end of the company’s current repertory season May 8, 2005. Mogrelia will focus on his music director duties at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and international conducting and recording engagements. He will lead and conduct a special community concert celebrating the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra’s 30th Anniversary on Sunday, April 24, 2005. “Andrew has brought a vitality and extraordinary standard of excellence to our Ballet Orchestra for the past two years,” said Helgi Tomasson, San Francisco Ballet Artistic Director. “I have enjoyed working with him and greatly appreciate his musical expertise and integrity.” Mogrelia will be returning to a more active schedule of international guest conductor engagements and recording projects, including upcoming appearances with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the English National Ballet at Royal Albert Hall in London and concert work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in Glasgow. He also was recently appointed music director for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra, where he will conduct regular public concerts and oversee guest conductor assignments and workshops. “Being part of a company as prestigious and highly acclaimed as San Francisco Ballet has been hugely rewarding, “ said Mogrelia. “While I will greatly miss working in-residence with the Company and especially this brilliant ensemble of musicians, I am excited by the ability to again accept a number of varied guest conducting opportunities both here and abroad and embark upon my new duties at the Conservatory. In the meantime, I look forward to conducting the Ballet Orchestra in our upcoming 30th Anniversary Concert.” Mogrelia has conducted orchestras across the globe, including the Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Scottish, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Dutch Radio Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. From 1992 to 2002, Mogrelia was conductor-in-residence at Birmingham Conservatoire. Mogrelia also has an extensive discography for Naxos and Marco Polo, including orchestral works by Handel, Suk, Novak and numerous complete ballets by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Delibes and Adam, many of which received critical awards. He has worked previously with numerous ballet companies, including the English National, Dutch National, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Finnish National, Norwegian National, American Ballet Theater, Australian Ballet and West Australian Ballet. San Francisco Ballet plans to appoint a new music director and principal conductor as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified. San Francisco Ballet Orchestra Anniversary Concert for the Community Founded in October 1975, the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra celebrates its 30th Anniversary this season with a special community concert at the War Memorial Opera House on Sunday, April 24 at 2:00 p.m. Conducted by Music Director and Principal Conductor Andrew Mogrelia, the performance includes Stravinsky’s Divertimento, “The Fairy’s Kiss,” R. Strauss’ Oboe Concerto and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2. Tickets are $10 each and are available online at www.sfballet.org or by phone at (415) 865-2000. Net proceeds will benefit San Francisco Ballet’s community outreach programs.
  5. This topic is a spin-off from Treefrog's topic on the Chicago advice columnist who gave Giselle relationship advice on how to deal with Albrecht: OK, here goes: You're an advice columnist like Amy, or Ann Landers, or Dear Abby, or, heck, Miss Manners. A character from a ballet--say, La Bayadere--writes an angsty letter to you begging you for advice on how to deal with her/his problems. In this case, you might tell Solor to go to rehab to deal with his opium habit. You might tell Gamzatti to get over herself. Those are just examples. I'm not going to get into what you might say to Nikiya...So, what kind of letters would ballet characters write to you? What kind of advice would you give a character from your favorite (or not) ballet?
  6. Thank you for the perspective on the programs, Globetrotter. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Oh, and you're welcome, Helene. I'd steal the blue dress in a heartbeat, myself. Matches my eyes.
  7. Well, I went to see Program 6 on 4/16/05, and here are some thoughts on each of the ballets. Symphonic Variations (Ashton) Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long, Vanessa Zahorian, Damian Smith, Nicolas Blanc, Jaime Garcia Castilla The genius of Symphonic Variations (and Ashton in general) is the subtlety of it, the way that you don't know how brilliant it is until it's over, and you realize how much you enjoyed it. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, but it's not that kind of ballet anyway. LeBlanc is quite a good Ashton dancer, and gave the kind of performance that, like the ballet itself, isn't immediately breathtaking but rather nuanced and delicate. Blanc was the only dancer that generated applause before the curtain, following a very powerful yet restrained variation. The rest of the cast was up to the technical demands of the ballet, so far as I could tell, and their expressions were more of a cool repose than out-there-ness, but, again, it isn't an out-there ballet. The choreography, and the Franck score, transitioned seamlessly from tender and lyrical to cheerful and lively, punctuated by some transient sculpturesque moments, and ending with something much quieter than a bang, but still well-defined. Of the three ballets I saw, this was my favorite. Audience response was restrained, which could mean one of two things: it's just not the kind of ballet to make you whoop and holler as an expression of appreciation; or else people thought it was boring and were giving only polite applause at the end. Half-empty or half-full? Depends who you ask. Dybbuk (Robbins) Pascal Molat, Sarah Van Patten I might understand why there was such a muted reaction to the Ashton, but I'll never understand the enthusiastic huzzahs that greeted the end of Dybbuk (unless the audience was just glad that it was finally over). I read the program notes beforehand, I read the reviews, I read the previews and the history, and I still had only the foggiest idea what was going on in the ballet. The problem in my case wasn't, therefore, a lack of background knowledge on the subject matter, but an inability to connect the choreography with that knowledge, other than recognizing the tefillin-like elements on the men's costumes. That is, I couldn't tell from watching the ballet what exactly was supposed to be happening, how much of the ballet was indeed a distillation of the original play, and how much was Robbins making abstract dances, and how to tell the two apart if there was in fact such a distinction to be made. I found myself squinting at the cast sheet to see which movement I was watching at the moment, first as a way of trying to keep up with the action, and then as a way of figuring out how much longer it was supposed to go on. For what it's worth, the program notes by Nancy Goldner mention that while Helgi Tomasson (who danced the premiere) felt this was Robbins' best ballet, Robbins differed in his opinion (as reflected by the numerous cuts and revisions he made to this ballet in later years). Having seen it, I'm inclined to agree with Robbins rather than Tomasson, and the only explanation I can think of myself for why SFB would spend time staging and performing Dybbuk (all program notes extolling the importance of preserving "lost choreography" notwithstanding) would be in celebration of Tomasson's association with the ballet, this being his 20th anniversary as the director of the SF Ballet. Be that as it may, the dancers mostly did their best with what they were given, particularly the male corps which was excellent as usual. Pascal Molat was expressive as the unnamed male lead (based on a dramatic character named Chanon from Ansky's play), which is more than I can say for Sarah van Patten as the bride (Leah in the play). She had pretty much the same expression on her face the whole time. Why she was cast in a role created for the expressive Patricia McBride is beyond me. I did like the hora/circle dance that opened and closed the ballet, however. At the same time, while the audience went crazy yelling "Bravo," all I could manage was, "Mneh..." Lambarena (Caniparoli) Tina LeBlanc, Kristin Long, Courtney Elizabeth, Megan Low, Dalene Bramer, Nicolas Blanc, Stephen Legate, Chidozie Nzerem This ballet was obviously choreographed with the express purpose of being a crowd-pleaser, and I don't mean that as an insult. It would have pleased me a lot more, however, if the score included only African music and no Bach, because it struck me as odd to see dancers doing African-style dancing to purely classical music. Which leads me to wonder whether it's any less odd to do more or less "classical" (ballet) steps to African music. But I digress. The point is, Lambarena is probably as good a "fusion" ballet as one can reasonably expect. It would be better without the slow part toward the end where they turn on the leafy lace-pattern dim lights (they've been doing a lot of ballets with that particular lighting effect, and I'd rather they wouldn't), but I still liked it. It didn't disagree with me the way Dybbuk did, probably because it was a lot less pretentious. It isn't pretentious at all, in fact; it's just some dancers in some really gorgeous costumes (designed by Sandra Woodall) doing some interesting moves to some interesting music. The dancers all seemed to be enjoying themselves quite a bit, and LeBlanc, in the role created for Evelyn Cisneros, was at her energetic and exuberant best, while Nzerem was his powerful, athletic, muscular best, doing leaping turns that had his back parallel to the stage in midair. I must sound like a broken record, but every time I see him, I have to ask, why is he still listed as a corps dancer? (And why are Certain Other People soloists and principals, but that's neither here nor there). Blanc and Legate were also excellent, although I was puzzled by the fact that both were wearing their hair in ponytails, as I don't recall either of them as having particularly long hair. The other women were good, but would have sort of blended together if it weren't for the fact that their costumes were different colors. Did I mention how much I adore the costumes in this ballet? Gorgeous! I especially liked the finale, nice, happy, energetic, and fun. The crowd went nuts for this ballet, of course, as always. Like I said, it was designed to be a crowd pleaser, and the crowd was pleased. If anyone else saw either of these programs, feel free to give us your reports. I'd be especially interested to hear what other people thought of Dybbuk.
  8. Absolutely; I've had this problem myself, especially with certain touring companies (NYCB, Bolshoi, Kirov) where the cheapest tickets were around $40. Maybe it's peanuts to some people, but that's not cheap at all for a lot of us, especially when you've got to buy more than one ticket (for your date, spouse, kids, etc), and when, as you've said, you need to pay for gas/parking (or public transit) and dinner on top of that. Of course, the price issue could apply to male fans as well...but since statistically women are paid less, it could still be seen as a "question for women."
  9. I'll be going next week. Will comment when I see it. I believe they are putting on the full original Dybbuk, not one of the subsequent adaptations of it. Has anyone been yet? Comments?
  10. Well, I hope they find another ballet company to replace SFB this year, but I haven't heard of any such plans yet. I should have said "ballet fix" instead of "SFB fix," in my opening post, as there isn't usually much ballet in the Bay Area over the summer. But I'm sure if PNB comes down again, they'd be very well received, as would any other ballet company. And you're right, sandik, it'd be worse to have no ballet at all. At least SFB will be back next year, knock wood. I'm just curious to see if that $15 million renovation would result in any improvements as far as dancing conditions are concerned.
  11. Huzzah! I've been looking for the Ferri-Eagling R&J forever! Thank you, Kultur! :huepfen024: :party-smiley-017:
  12. Visiting ballet companies in the Bay Area almost always perform in Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, which I understand has a pretty small stage that limits which productions can be staged. Large companies like the Bolshoi sometimes look crowded on that stage. So, my main beef with Bay Area tours is twofold: we don't have enough large theatres that can be used for ballet (lots of large theatres, but they're used for other things, namely Broadway musicals; plus the Opera House is occupied by the SF Opera when SFB isn't using it), which limits companies that tour here, both numerically and logistically--they can't always bring what they want because the stages aren't big enough. There also doesn't seem to be much synthesis between who brings what; one year we saw no fewer than three different Giselles (ABT and Cuba, plus SFB). Of course, many people would drool over the chance to compare and contrast three different productions of Giselle, but still...
  13. Yes, she is quite beautiful, and the woman in white taking bows (Terioshkina?) is nothing to sneeze at either. (Neither is Cojocaru, by the way.)
  14. As I recall, ABT also "shared" Othello with SF Ballet, even exchanging principal dancers between the two companies. Speaking of SFB, the pattern seems to be that after premiering a new production of a full-length ballet (such as Don Quixote or Giselle), they generally do an "encore" the following year, and then let it rest for a while before reviving it again. (They didn't let Giselle "rest" very long before they brought it back again, though. Not that that's a bad thing.) As far as ratios go, the company does Nutcracker and eight separate "programs" in its season, of which two are usually (though not always) full-length ballets. This season it's Giselle and Romeo and Juliet (Tomasson). In general, they revive premieres of one-acts the following year as well. I generally think this works pretty well, complaints about specific programs notwithstanding. There are some ballets I could watch year after year and never get tired of, and others that I see once and hope never to see again, and still others that fall somewhere in between.
  15. Although, if Paris Hilton shows up at a gala performance...
  16. It also depends on what kind of roles would be available for a "mature" dancer to perform, and whether or not those would fit his/her talents and capabilities. This varies enormously from company to company. One would also have to take into account the fact that dancers' abilities and technique also vary for each individual, and some age more gracefully than others. For example, it sounds like Hart may have been able to make the transition fairly smoothly. Others, particularly the ones whose earlier careers were built primarily on technical fireworks, would have to find other strengths to focus on as their physical capabilities change. It's easier for some than others. I think many--certainly not all--dancers retire while they're still in their prime so people will wonder, why is s/he leaving now, instead of why don't they retire already, or why didn't they retire sooner? Sometimes you'll hear more than one of these things being said about the same dancer, though not usually from the same person.
  17. According to the SF Chronicle, SF Ballet is not appearing in this year's Stern Grove Festival (free outdoor concert series in San Francisco) this summer. While I wish the company the best in Paris, I'm disappointed to hear this, because it means San Franciscans will be deprived of their only chance to get an SFB fix this summer. Of course, there's always next year, and at least Paris will get to see them. Hopefully their Paris appearance won't be cut short due to cold, foggy weather...
  18. I know that for the two videos they taped for PBS (Le Corsaire and The Dream), they were accompanied by a local orchestra in Orange County where the performances were filmed.
  19. Another option is to have a "dancing double" like they had in Center Stage for "Eva"--the actress was Zoe Saldana, and her dancing double was Aesha Ash. As with Center Stage, all the close-ups would be of the actress' face (in identical makeup), while the longer shots of the performances or choreography would be of the actual dancer. This still doesn't answer who the "dancing Margot" would be.
  20. Thank you for posting the thoughtful reviews, Quiggin and art076. I especially think it's interesting hearing about Feijoo in Sanguinic. She does seem well suited to it, but I'd personally love to see her in Choleric. She just seems like a very "choleric" dancer at times.
  21. In my experience, it's quite common. I've heard it from a few (straight) men, that the reason they had a hard time watching ballet was rooted in the whole "men in tights" phenomenon. One even said to me that he disliked ballet precisely because "I'm not comfortable enough with my sexuality to be able to watch a man putting himself on display like that," and another time, at a hardware store (yeah, I know...) I mentioned La Sylphide in a conversation, and I just happened to mention the kilts, and the clerk said, "God, imagine, a bunch of boy ballerinas in skirts!" I'm not sure whether to call this sentiment homophobia per se, but it's definitely got something to do with a discomfort with the association of homosexuality with classical ballet. If there was no taboo against homosexuality, this wouldn't be as much of a problem as it is, just as if there was more gender equality, the tag of being "female" or "effeminate" wouldn't drain as much prestige from a career or interest in the arts as it does. In any case, it wouldn't do much good, in my opinion, to try to "macho up" the arts, or by trying to erase "gayness" from ballet, because the lack of "masculinity" (that is, heterosexual masculinity) isn't an actual problem that has been measured, but a popular perception which isn't based on truth but on stereotypes. Rather than dumbing it all down to make people like it, or at least understand it, it would be better to have an effort to educate people, which is what it sounds like Alexandra did with the La Sylphide tape at her lecture, for example. If they see "normal" people explaining the arts to them, it might be less intimidating or less embarrassing. This wouldn't necessarily solve the question of how to get men into the door in the first place, however.
  22. And the Linda Merrill who was already in NYCB had changed her name too; she used to be Linda Rosenthal.
  23. Thanks for the report, balletdad. I usually sit in the balcony myself for financial reasons too. Glad you enjoyed it.
  24. There are pluses and minuses, and they depend on the company, community, and ballets being performed. For example, in the SF Bay Area, the War Memorial Opera House is a pretty good fit for SF Ballet, from what I can see. It's large, but not so cavernous that the company has trouble filling a decent amount of seats, and not so tiny that it sells out every time. The main issue with larger opera houses--and this is a problem at the Met in NYC--is the sightlines, both in terms of things getting in the way and just too much distance from the stage if you're not square in the front of the orchestra. At the War Memorial Opera House, there are some, not many seats with an obstructed view. I've never had the pleasure of sitting in them, so I don't know how obstructed it is. What I do know is that in the Balcony and Balcony Circle (the highest balcony in the house), the top of the proscenium cuts off the upper half of the sets in story ballets, which is a bit of a problem in Swan Lake, where you can't see the vision of Odette in Act 3, and R&J, where the balcony gets cut off. On the bright side, the stage isn't cramped, but that could be because SFB is an official tenant of the Opera House and can design most of their productions to fit the stage. The other venue that sees most of the Bay Area's ballet (and modern dance) performances is Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, namely touring companies (Bolshoi, Kirov, ABT, NYCB, Farrell, DTH, etc). I don't know off-hand how many people it can seat, but it looks about 1/2 to 3/4 the size of the Opera House, and the stage is somewhat smaller, but it's perfectly acceptable for smaller productions. The sightlines are much better, owing to the fact that the mezzanine levels aren't so high up and far back; you can get away without binoculars, which isn't always possible at the Opera House. However, larger productions can look a bit cramped; I noticed this in the Bolshoi Swan Lake, and was afraid the Prince would kick somebody. I may have heard somewhere--possibly here?--that touring companies often are limited in what they can bring to the Bay Area because of the small stage at Zellerbach, which is unfortunately the only venue suitable for larger ballet productions that is available for touring groups. There are other theatres which could easily host large companies, of course, but they're all "taken," either by the SF Opera (when SFB is on hiatus), or by tours of Broadway musicals. So when a major ballet company tours to the Bay Area, chances are they will be at Zellerbach. The only time this wasn't the case was when SFB did an exchange with POB and POB performed in the Opera House. I wonder what dancers and choreographers look for in a theatre, and how it overlaps and diverges from what audiences look for.
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