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Andre Yew

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Everything posted by Andre Yew

  1. You're welcome! Cinderella and her prince also get their own dance, though they're dancing character steps (ie. not ballet steps). Bluebeard, 18th century Chinese stereotypes, and Persian stereotypes are just in the ensemble.
  2. That is an odd thing for her to say. If we take her at her word, the exemplars of the modern port de bras are Balanchine's and Forsythe's, neither work of which she's especially known for. I'd characterize both as taking the classical port de bras to ever more stretched out extremes, with Forsythe being an even more extreme version of what Balanchine did. There is more contrapposto in the body, with the shoulders and hips twisted apart each facing more disparate angles. The head is tilted and turned more. Basically everything is bigger, more exaggerated, and more aggressive, and the lines are longer. But that's kind of what we already have today with other Sleeping Beauties compared to Ratmansky's. So I'm not sure what she's getting at.
  3. Helene's comments remind me that the pointework in SB is really intense. It's all compact, intricate, and elegant, but so beautiful to look at. Throughout the night, I was thinking of the Danish style or maybe Ashton when I watched the footwork in the new SB.
  4. There were a few 6-o'clock penchees. I'm not sure how prevalent that was. I also just read the LA Times feature on it, and Ratmansky does say how difficult it was for the dancers to adapt to the different style. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-cm-american-ballet-theatre-sleeping-beauty-20151-story.htm=page1
  5. The Bluebird variation was the short version, though it felt slightly longer than the Russian one, but that may be my imagination. The whole BB pas was completely charming, and the grand pas actually makes sense now in terms of the steps they do: the version we normally see always felt asymmetric to me in terms of the steps she does versus what he does. I think ksk accurately describes what we saw on stage last night, and I think it's great. I think it's great that they have done all of this in service to the art of ballet. It wasn't about superstars doing tricks, but it was all in service to the dramatic arc of the story. The company danced beautifully and the mime, port de bras, and epaulement all had meaning. They showed that you don't need tricks to get the audience on your side. Yes, some of the dancers looked a bit uncomfortable doing it in the old-school style, but it's important for them to try rather than be stuck at where they are. I hope this, along with Ratmansky's long-term employment, is a sign of the direction ABT's going. This was the best dancing I'd seen them do in a long time.
  6. Passeo sounds like Naharin doing his usual remixing of past works. In this case, it sounds similar to a piece called Passomezzo that Hubbard Street carries. Here's a video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MchFB9z5X78
  7. The casting is in the electronic copy of the program: http://www.musiccenter.org/documents/2013-14/Romeo-and-Juliet-Program/#5
  8. Whether one agrees or not with Macaulay, the way he went about writing his review was not the right way to do it. Certainly negative reviews are necessary, and I'd argue that well-written critiques are few and far between today, but far more needed today than ever. The problem with Macaulay's review is that he's telling us about his internal emotional dialogue without giving us a basis on which to judge or even understand his pronouncements. It doesn't help that he uses somewhat disingenuous devices like his imagined Forsythe dialogue, too. Imagine two different people describing the same sunrise: "Ugh, why am I still up? I hate this job!" Or "That's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." Both are equally valid impressions of the same event, but how much does it tell someone who's never seen a sunrise before?
  9. Is there a way for non-Kickstarter participants to buy a copy of the film?
  10. There is an interesting interview with Allison about Breaking Pointe here: ... Allison insisted nothing on the show was staged. However, many moments seemed "insincere" because of the filming process. It took time to prepare shoots and, sometimes, restaurants or shops had to be closed in order to film without interruptions or complications. How to behave in front of the cameras, which were in her apartment some days from 7 am to 1 am, was a learning curve. Yet, there was no denying that some of the more dramatic aspects were played up for entertainment sake. ... We certainly didn't see a lot of the dancing through the first season. Allison explained that the rehearsal and performance sequences were sliced and diced to the extreme because of rights issues—not just for choreography, but for the music as well. There were a lot of technicalities affecting the aired rehearsal and performance footage, which other professional dancers may not be aware of.
  11. In both my posts, I said pretty clearly that the dancer has to take class to audition. They were invited for the audition in the first place because of word-of-mouth. They had to send in the standard package of headshots, CV, etc. You still have to see the dancer move in person, as well as how they get along with the rep and the company. I just quickly looked at the principal and soloist dancer bios on San Francisco Ballet's website, and only four dancers mentioned traditional academic schools in their training info. One is a prep school (Damian Smith), while the others are arts conservatories (Vilanoba, Scribner, Sofranko). Of those, only Sofranko lists a BFA in his bio, so the others may have attended summer programs. The data from at least one top classical company would seem to disagree with you.
  12. I know a few classical dancers who graduated from college before working, and their technique was pretty much in place before college. For girls, this is almost a given, and guys can on rare occasion start that late and make it. We're talking classical ballet here. Much (not all) contemporary/modern stuff is a bit easier for late starters. That's really great news about your auditions --- it's pretty hard to find jobs through that process. We'll just have agree to disagree on the word of mouth thing. The most common situation is that an AD knows he/she will have an open spot next season, and either puts the word out to their professional network (teachers, other ADs, dancers, etc.), or just calls up someone they've seen or worked with before. Open auditions can be useful here when the artistic staff has seen you several times, and an opening comes up. Different companies do different things, YMMV, etc. Even with the word of mouth thing, unless you're some kind of superstar, dancers still have to take class with the company or in some kind of audition to be considered.
  13. I wouldn't be so quick to judge the characters of the dancers based on the show. I have a feeling that the editing is pretty unfair to them, in the name of making TV drama. Dancers are generally recruited by word of mouth, which then gets them a serious audition, as opposed to a cattle-call. Some people get dancers from competitions: there's some amount of scouting that goes on there. In general, colleges don't produce many ballet dancers that can get a job in a good professional ballet company. The good ones skip college and pretty much devote their lives to their art and craft to reach that level, and they enter companies at or sometimes younger than college age. Beckanne is a great example of that, and you'll find dancers like her in all of the major companies.
  14. I wish they'd shown more of Christiana in Emeralds along with the correct music, because what little we saw of her looked very, very good. And if Sklute thought she was the best he'd ever seen, then her Emeralds must be very special indeed. And speaking of music, who is editing this show? When the correct music was used, it was all off with music from some other part of the ballet put on top of the wrong steps.
  15. Ford's used ballet in a previous commercial. I wonder if someone in the marketing department is a ballet fan.
  16. I also appreciated the dance they showed at the end because it was entirely classical, they showed it in its entirety, and it was shot sensitively. Unlike the crass commentary put on top of Petite Mort in Breaking Pointe, they let the dance speak for itself and subtly showed the effect classical dance can have (yes, I was a bit moist-eyed at the end). Amy Sherman-Palladino loves dance, and it shows. I can't say the same thing about the producers of Breaking Pointe. Those teen girls are definitely trained dancers even if many of them don't have the body type classical ballet asks for.
  17. Maybe this should be the videos of amazing turners thread. Here's Daniil Simkin doing some fancy turns and then an astonishing double tour that takes off from one leg!
  18. Yes, and it's wonderful, sincere, smart, and funny, but I was an unrepentant fan of Gilmore Girls. This series is everything Breaking Pointe is not, and to boot, it even has more dancing.
  19. Last night's episode was terrible in a different way, though it did retain the insipidness of the first episode. Like the first episode, I looked at the time remaining about 20 minutes into the show. Anyway, some discussion with friends have crystallized my thoughts on what's wrong with this show, and it is that this show doesn't follow one of the fundamental rules of filmmaking: show, don't tell. It's better to show an action than to have a character describe it in words. It is ironic that dance being a show-me kind of art is the subject of this show. For example, don't keep telling me the new girl is a freak at ballet, show me! Show me the relationship of Sklute with his dancers by more thoughtful footage of how he runs class or rehearsal than just showing one or two generic comments he makes, or having him awkwardly make pronouncements about them. They keep talking about how hard the art is, but the biggest consequence of that we see is people in PT. How about showing people struggling in class or with choreography? There is already so much natural drama in ballet (as the RNZB series showed) without people coming in and trying to play up relationship problems. Also, how many times do we have to hear Ronnie say that he should be a principal because he's dancing principal roles? I think last night's show had at least 4 instances of that. Show us Ronnie dancing the darned roles, and let the audience decide for themselves! There is so much more inherent drama in that than hearing one person complain about it because it now involves us in the judgment instead of being passive observers. Argh. This is such a stupid show. edit: the first half of this show used the dance sequences as basically fancier versions of scene transitions. It's like the show is a bunch of long, tedious emoting separated by short, little dancing sequences (that don't show much dance).
  20. I thought the show was terrible. There wasn't much ballet (either for the bunheads and balletomanes or revealing the inner workings to the lay public), and the people in the show all come off looking as fairly terrible people and perhaps not great dancers, which is a shame for such a good company. I blame the producing team 100 percent for this. The reality TV series on the Royal New Zealand Ballet done a few years ago did a much, much better version of this kind of show. We could relate to the dancers as people, and they showed the inner life of a ballet company. In contrast, Breaking Pointe was a ballet-flavored soap opera.
  21. I saw both shows on Saturday, with Boylston in the matinee, and Osipova in the evening. Duets was danced by what I was told was the 2nd cast, while the Wheeldon was danced by the first cast for both shows. Anyway, Duets was inadvertently funny for me, because I remembered thinking, "Wow, I didn't know Cunningham made a ballet," and just enjoyed his style of composition and structure with really balletic steps. Later on a friend told me he hated the dancing because the style was totally wrong, having seen the Cunningham company do it. The Wheeldon had his signature: it totally looked like his work, and the lighting was really, really gorgeous. However, like all of his latest abstract creations, it looked slick, expensive, and utterly soulless. It's like one of those model homes where you can't sit anywhere. There was some beautiful dancing (Misty's solo), but the whole thing amounted to not much. Now Firebird... I came into this with really high expectations, having being totally charmed by The Bright Stream (with Boylston as the Ballerina) last summer, and left pretty disappointed. First the sets: the stage looked crowded to me with all the obscene-looking tree things (I won't say what they remind me of), and the really cumbersome, unflattering Firebird costumes. The partnering also looked really awkward, and some of it looked costume-related. But really the biggest problem is that Ratmansky's zany humor just doesn't work with this music or the dramatic arc. Ratmansky's steps are really strong when they develop or demonstrate a character's personality, and I think that's why the Bright Stream worked really well. In Firebird, it's like we were thrown into a world with characters whose roles in the world were already set, so it was like Ratmansky was forcing his steps onto existing characters, and a lot of it came off looking really caricatured with no development or logic to the roles. The Count Chocula x spurned prom queen look was interesting, but why that look? It really didn't go with anything else that came before it in the production. The plot development was also a bit discontinuous and chunky. It's almost like he had watched too much SYTYCD, and adopted some of the stylized zombie designs that some of the choreographers there like to use.
  22. I had a chance this weekend to watch the PBS broadcast as well as the 1993 DVD, and it's interesting (for me at least!) to see this company occasionally as an outsider, in contrast to many here who have grown up with it because it's always striking to me how unique this company still is today. Their combination of speed, attack, and musicality is pretty much unmatched anywhere else, and gives their dancing a unique quality. I remember being struck by the same things when I saw the Moves company recently, too. Sure, there are things you can carp about (the high shoulders, and the sometimes ungainly arm lines), but as a whole, this company is really still one of the dance treasures of the world. On to specifics ... I am surprised no one else mentioned Hot Chocolate's Adrian Danchig-Waring who gave a weighty, core-of-the-earth quality to his role. When I first saw the movie theater broadcast, I thought, "Wow, he has great turnout!" Well he does, but what was really under that driving it was how into the ground he was, and how all his movement was initiated from the hips. It's almost like a modern take on that role. I wonder what he looks like in contemporary pieces. Anyway, for that alone, he was really unique, and I'd love to see him in other things. Speaking of going into the ground, it was great to see ballet dancers who do dance into the floor too. I think this was really obvious in the dolls dance in Act 1, where you can see Harlequin in soft shoes pushing into the floor. Gen Horiuchi's Tea on the DVD also shows this off to great effect. I'm not sure what else can be said about Ashley Bouder's Dewdrop that hasn't been said already. She gave a pretty phenomenal performance that really showcases what the company's about. For me, Waltz of the Flowers is really the center of this ballet. Another thing that's kind of unique to them is spotting front (it's really clear in Bouder's role, but it's everywhere), but is there some inconsistency in this? During the 2nd half of snow (before the big harp solo figure), a column of 4 girls chaine-turn from stage left, and every other one of them was spotting front. The others were spotting side. It was alternated, so I'm not sure if that was intentional or a mistake. The tempi between the DVD and the performance struck me as similar, that is, very fast!
  23. I saw the rerun this past Tuesday, and don't have much to add to what's already being said. David Hallberg was by far the best thing about this performance, and not only because of his beautifully poetic dancing, but because the rest of the performance and production was truly, truly terrible. He stuck out like a sore thumb, and I had to keep asking myself, why in the world did he go to the Bolshoi? What is he expecting to learn from them? The rest of the production was marred by a nonsensical plotline --- the fairies seemed to have forgotten all about the baby in the prologue, the knitting ladies are inexplicably persecuted by the king at the beginning of act 1, the sets seem to be some kind of commentary on global warming and rising ocean levels, and there's no rhyme or reason to the awakening in act 2. And why the heck would you give Carabosse such a long time for exposition when there had been no mime before and after to dramatically make sense of what she's doing? She looked like she was just a random angry crank who stepped off the street. Speaking of which, where was my titanic struggle between good and evil. Almost every musical cue in the prologue, act 1, and act 2 that points to this was squandered. The Lilac Fairy and Carabosse looked like they should have been tossing chairs at each other on Jerry Springer instead of fighting for the soul of the world. Zakharova's dancing was 1 dimensional --- I have never before seen the Rose Adagio reduced to such an undramatic plodding --- and was totally outdanced by Hallberg. Even her great gifts of beautiful feet and hyperextended legs looked like they were perfunctorily and haphazardly deployed, and never in service of the dancing. Hallberg on the other hand showed how you should properly use such gifts. A really stunning moment was the end of his act 2 solo where he came out of pirouette with a leg extended in front, and landed kneeling. It was like the perfect confluence of musicality, line, and drama. I was also shocked by the lackadaisical use of port de bras and epaulement by the company in general. At times during the garland dance, the kids looked better prepared than they did! In general, the rest of the company, with a few exceptions, looked lethargic. The only highlights in the rest of the company for me were the yellow fairy, any time character dances were done (why do they only come alive then?), and most of the fairy tale dances at the end.
  24. Program B was pretty great. Capped by Polyphonia and Hallelujah Junction, with Sonatine and Zakouski, it was more satisfying than the first night, which ended on a sour note. Polyphonia reminded me why Christopher Wheeldon was exciting everyone back then: it had invention, wit, mystery, even soul. It felt consequential. Then why does he look like bad copy of himself these days? Anyway, at times it was an embarrassment of riches: who do I look at? We had Sara Mearns, Wendy Whelan, Tiler Peck, and Brittany Pollack (partnered respectively by Christian Tworzyanski, Ask la Cour, Gonzalo Garcia, and Jonathan Stafford), and they were all fantastic. I was really happy to see Sara in a leotard ballet, and as expected, she was pretty darn great, especially her slow solo. Tiler's musicality really shone in her waltz duet, but really all the couples looked great. Hallelujah Junction is a great calling card for the company: it shows off the lines and speed that you can only find in this company. Janie Taylor danced the girl in white, and had a really dark quality to her dancing, like she was really angry or dancing from some really dark place. At times, she looked right on the edge of control. Daniel Ulbricht danced the man in black, and was just jaw-dropping in his virtuosity and speed, while still remaining really musical. The other couples (Ashly Isaacs, Antonio Carmena, Lauren King, Tworzyanski, Lauren Lovette, Allen Peiffer, Brittany Pollack, Taylor Stanley, along with Gonzalo Garcia as the 3rd lead) all looked great, too. The two pieces in the middle were OK, if a bit inconsequential. We had Abi Stafford, and Chase Finlay in Sonatine, and Tiler and Joaquin de Luz in Zakouski. I would happily see this whole program again.
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