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NextStage

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  1. I saw him as Romeo when Stuttgart came to CA earlier this year and was impressed. He's good-looking, had nice, clean technique (including strong, beautifully placed, consecutive tours en l'air!), and was quite decent dramatically, too. Had I not read later that it was his debut engagement in the role, I never would have guessed!


  2. Sorry I can't answer any of the questions...

    Just thought I'd give a "heads up" that San Francisco Ballet has Monotones I & II scheduled in their 2004 season. It will be performed w/ Symphonic Variations (SF Ballet premiere) and Elite Syncopations in April. Got this info. from the company's website.


  3. 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.

    The company is scheduled to perform at the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts (So. California) on November 14 and 15. The venue's website is www.cerritoscenter.com.

    Hope this helps.


  4. Although I didn't get to see very many of her performances, count me in as one who really enjoyed those I did see! I agree with many previous posters that Tcherkassky danced with a soft, lyrical quality (that belied inner strength)... It seems that I tend to like dancers who have clean technique and use it expressively in on a more subtle than bravura manner. And am I correct in thinking that Baryshnikov actually set Clara in his Nutcracker on Tcherkassky (even though Gelsey Kirkland dances on the video)?


  5. Okay, okay; yes, I went (same performances as Steve). Also saw their Swan Lake in Berkeley... much preferred La Bayadere. For what it's worth, I'll remark on the main dancers/dancing more than the choreography or production values, since that's what I tend to watch more.

    Galina Stepanenko danced Nikiya to Nikolay Tsiskaridze's Solor, and Anna Antonicheva was Sergei Filin's Nikiya; I preferred the latter pairing. Stepanenko is a strong, solid dancer (her fouettes in Black Swan were doubles into à la seconde for the first half, on a dime...); IMO, perhaps too strong as Nikiya. I liked Antonicheva's softer edge and her characterization better. She did not bowl me over with anything in particular, but I thought she gave a technically secure and dramatically appropriate performance. While most of the audience went wild over Tsiskaridze, I was not as impressed. I can see potential, but was disappointed that he didn't seem to do justice with his physical gifts (above-average flexibility, long legs, good feet, nice overall proportions)... he was inconsistent in fully stretching his legs in jetés, and in fully pointing his feet (looked "sloppy" to me, especially in Swan Lake). To his credit, though, Tsiskaridze did make use of his potentially beautiful line during perfectly-placed double tours en l'air, and that was exciting to see (and he was much better as Solor than I thought he was as Siegfried). I quite enjoyed Filin's performance... his dancing was powerful and elegant – nice ballon, light landings, clean lines. He, too, did beautiful arrow-straight double tours. I felt that Filin was a stronger and more attentive partner than Tsiskaridze. Filin and Antonicheva had a satisfying rapport with each other, considering that I found, for the most part, a lack of dramatic expression and "chemistry" between the principals (both in 2002 and on this visit).

    In all the performances, I most enjoyed watching the gorgeous Maria Alexandrova. On top of clean, elegant technique, she brings the "right" dramatic expression and a musical movement quality to her roles. In the Swan Lake I saw, she danced a warm "friend to the prince" and Spanish. She stood out to me as one who consistently invested in her characters. In La Bayadere, Alexandrova was a marvelous Gamzatti (Friday evening) and third solo shade. I was very surprised to find that she's not yet a principal, having remembered her well from the Bolshoi's visit in 2000.

    On Saturday, Maria Allash also did a fine job as Gamzatti. Tall and regal, she was very secure in her technique and characterization. I was impressed by the clarity and precision of Morihiro Ivata's dancing as the Golden Idol. I wish I had seen him as the jester in Swan Lake (but NO, I don't like the jester in Swan Lake; it's just that their production has one...). As mentioned by others, the corps de ballet was notable for its stylistic uniformity and generally excellent unison. The company has been on tour in the U.S. for little over a month now, so I can forgive the few wobbles that existed (fatigue factor!). All in all, I enjoyed seeing the company again, and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to do so.


  6. Chiming in late, but better late than never, right? I hadn't originally planned to attend any of these performances, but by chance was able to catch those of July 11 and 12.

    As Jacqueline mentioned, the opening night cast was quite an assemblage of talent and the audience absolutely ate it up (Giannina would've hated all the clapping and whooping...)! Corella deservedly brought down the house with his exciting pyrotechnics and joy. I felt that Ananiashvili and Bocca danced well, but not with the oomph and commitment that I've seen from either of them in other performances. Many have commented on Murphy's recent improved characterization of roles, but I still do not see it, personally. Technically, of course, she is solid. I agree that Birbanto was well-danced and acted by Joaquin de Luz.

    On the second night, I felt that Ethan Stiefel was "over the top" as Conrad, and he seemed to really be pushing the bravura steps in "competition" with Gennadi Saveliev's Lankendem. Saveliev did a move I'd never seen before – kind of a barrel turn with an extra whip of a leg over the other before landing (yes, audience was gasping in surprise and then roaring), and he did the deep plies. Although the excitement level was high, I think both got out of control at points, lending to some sloppiness. I was more pleased with both lead women – Paloma Herrera danced well as Medora (this role seemed to suit her temperament, and she looked good physically), and Xiomara Reyes was a pert Gulnare. Herman Cornejo danced a very satisfying Birbanto. On both nights, the corps looked quite good; unison and clear patterns were evident.

    Saving the best for last, my favorite performances, far and away, were Jose Manuel Carreno's. He danced Lankendem on the 11th and Ali on the 12th. As usual, he greatly impressed me with his elegant, solid technique and expression_– as crazy as it may seem for the roles, I felt he brought a degree of dignity to them both. And, quite simply, the quality of his movement takes my breath away...

    At any rate, while I had wished that ABT brought something other than Le Corsaire to Los Angeles (considering they'd danced it in Orange County in the recent past), I was glad to see the company again, and perhaps the success of the short run may be a positive step in the direction of bringing more major ballet to L.A. The Disney Hall is scheduled for completion in little more than a year, and that will supposedly open up the Dorothy Chandler for more dance/ballet. I know that the two friends who went with me to the performances really enjoyed the ballet and would probably go more often if it were more readily accessible. We can hope, at least (and must start somewhere)!


  7. Just a note, though you may already know this: On DVD/video (?) Yoshida can be seen dancing with Cope in the Act II pas de deux of Dowell's production of "The Nutcracker" for the RB.

    Count me in as another Yoshida fan. The few times I've been lucky enough to see her she has always impressed me with the purity, grace, and elegance of her dancing. As others have mentioned, Yoshida's technique and dramatic expression are solid, yet subtle... I find it very beautiful! I'm sorry to hear that she hasn't been given many roles last season, or the one upcoming. I wish I could see more of her, but it looks like there won't be many chances (compounded by the fact that I'm in the U.S.).

    At any rate, to Tracey and anyone else who attends, enjoy the performance of Don Q.!


  8. "Distant Dances" is the title of Sono Osato's autobiography. Alexandra mentioned the book in a post toward the beginning of this thread. Osato was a dancer with the Ballets Russes in the 1930s, with Ballet Theatre in its early years, and then went on to dance on Broadway. Count me in among those who read this book with much interest and enjoyment!


  9. "Distant Dances" is the title of Sono Osato's autobiography. Alexandra mentioned the book in a post toward the beginning of this thread. Osato was a dancer with the Ballets Russes in the 1930s, with Ballet Theatre in its early years, and then went on to dance on Broadway. Count me in among those who read this book with much interest and enjoyment!


  10. Just a quick correction: the book is by Maurice Sendak, not Mercer Mayer. It's a well-known children's book, about a boy's imagined adventures. I haven't seen the ballet, so wouldn't know whether to recommend it or not. If you see it, please let us know what it was like!

    An interesting side note, Sendak did the set designs for Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Nutcracker" (their current production, and one that was released as a movie quite a few years back).


  11. Some of my impressions...

    National Ballet of Cuba

    Orange County Performing Arts Center

    Saturday, Oct. 20, 2001, and Sunday, Oct. 21, 2001

    "Coppélia" (Alicia Alonso, after Saint-Léon, and Petipa version)

    Music by Léo Delibes; Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ivan del Prado

    Set design and Costumes: Ricardo Reymena

    Swanilda: Alihaydée Carreño (Sat.), Viengsay Valdés (Sun.)

    Franz: Joel Carreño (Sat.), Victor Gili (Sun.)

    This is a vibrant production of "Coppélia;" the costumes are brightly-colored, and the dancing full of life. The story is told through strong, spirited dancing and clear mime sequences (although there was no clear reference for the sheaf-of-wheat dance).

    In the Saturday matinee, Alihaydée Carreño danced Swanilda with sharp, fleet strength and attack, and the youthful playfulness that one expects of her character. Although I wished at times that she used a little less "force" (in some développés, for example), she had great technical control and balances. Viengsay Valdés, on Sunday afternoon, danced an even more wonderful Swanilda. She had the same kind of technical security and bravura as A. Carreño, but with a softer edge, and she used her large eyes to good advantage in charmingly effective facial expressions. Of special note were her three arabesque balances en pointe in Act III (consistently solid and held long), and her series of varied turns (begun w/ a triple pirouette, into fouettés with the leg in low attitude, and then "regular" fouettés).

    Joel Carreño was a delightful Franz. He posesses an elegant line and an easy ballon; it was pleasing to see his fully stretched legs and feet. In the Act III pas de deux, he sailed around in perfectly placed, multiple pirouettes in attitude (beautiful!), and did some of the fastest grand pirouettes à la seconde that I've ever seen live. His entrance into tours en l'air were somewhat "cheated," but well-placed in the air and finished with control. Victor Gili was charming and exhuberant as Franz, if not as technically accomplished as either his partner or J. Carreño.

    I was also impressed with Ivis Díaz, who danced the Prayer solo on Saturday with an unforced, seamlessly lyrical quality (she was also one of Swanilda's friends on Sunday). As with the Miami City Ballet, this company's pointes were very quiet. In these times when there is a prevalence of "incredible ballet bodies," I found it (perhaps strangely?) refreshing to see high-quality dancing by dancers who did not possess extreme hyperextension, "banana feet," etc. I appreciated the general attention to detail in this production, and was glad to be a part of the audience treated to these enjoyable performances.


  12. I attended the same performance that Giannina did; in fact we were only one row and a few seats away from each other. I had only seen the full "Jewels" once before, and looked forward to enjoying it again... I was not disappointed!

    Each section of the ballet was well-danced, with the differing moods/styles expressed with commitment. As Giannina mentioned, Catoya and Kronenberg were very pleasing in their respective principal roles; I quite liked Deanna Seay, in "Diamonds," also. The entire company looks good -- healthy-looking bodies, and strong dancing. I usually sit in the orchestra section when attending the ballet, but enjoyed being able to more fully appreciate Balanchine's choreography from the balcony this time. I also noticed that the company is quiet on their pointes (it's been my experience that pointe shoe noise usually seems "louder" if I'm sitting higher up).

    Live musical accompaniment would have made this performance even more enjoyable, but I'm grateful that the company made a stop at Royce Hall at all (it'd been many years since any classical ballet was seen there), and that I was able to partake of this quality performance. I hope Miami City Ballet will tour to So. California more often.


  13. Not all-encompassing, but hopefully helpful:

    ABT - San Diego, Sept. 14-16; mixed-rep and Giselle

    ABT - Berkeley, Sept. 19-23; same as in S.D.

    Miami City Ballet – UCLA; Oct. 12 & 13; Jewels

    Ballet Nacional de Cuba – Orange County Perf. Arts Center; Oct. 18-21; "Alonzo Gala" and Coppelia

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: NextStage ]


  14. Okay, I'll chime in by saying I'm definitely one who prefers to see ease and grace over virtuosity (not that the two can't coexist; I think the energy and excitement of virtuosic moves can still exist with clean, well-executed technique). It's those qualities, done with quality, that take my breath away...

    I mentioned that I felt "relaxed" while watching Nina Ananiashvili dance on the Bolshoi's recent tour (I think this is what mbjerk was referring to when he mentioned "letting the audience enjoy... by never showing stress or strain"). Even though Don Q. has its lion's share of virtuosic pas, I liked the fact that Ananiashvili danced with a sense of "quiet strength" instead of bombastic virtuosity. On the same note, it was the graceful, floating quality of Maria Alexandrova's leaps which set them apart from so many others, and captivated me. Another memorable moment in my balletgoing was the first time I saw Jose Manuel Carreño do his famous slow, "floaty" pirouettes -- they were supremely graceful and elegant ­ he ended up in a perfectly placed retiré, which was held for a split second before his foot was placed back down. Sigh. IMO, such beauty is priceless.

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