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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid balletgoer,fan,student/parent of dancers
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  1. Two more articles: May 31 and June 2 I don't buy the "artistic differences" argument that is being speculated about, e.g. the types of ballets performed--at least, not much. I'd guess it was more a conglomeration of reasons, and maybe some personal issues as well. I've enjoyed some of the changes Kage instituted since his arrival, particularly the reduced emphasis on story ballets, but in the past year that seemed to be changing back to what it was...a bit disappointing... And there have been quite a few dancers that I've been very sorry to see leave in the past four years.... Regarding financial issues: There has definitely been a big reduction in the number of dancers/performances/etc. in the past few years, probably to some degree reflecting the changing economy. We're about one to two years behind everyone else in that area, and just recently began noticing the effects of a strong recovery. On the other hand, in the past couple years, the company became unionized and there is a junior/trainee company. I can't help but think they already have somebody in mind....
  2. I didn't mind what height difference there was at all, and there really wasn't all that much, was there? However, I do think that there could have been a difference worth noting if Gillian Murphy's Odette was more fragile, delicate, and girlish (which I don't think she was), instead of being not at all fragile and more inhuman than human--otherworldly and maybe even a bit unbalanced/neurotic. I don't know if that's how she intended her Odette, but that's how I read it. I think Odette's situation would make anyone a bit crazy.
  3. I was disappointed by how rushed the whole performance felt. The story felt chopped; the pacing didn't work. Adding back some of the cut music and dance would create a more satisfying experience for the audience, I think...the heck with it being a longer production. I thought the heavy costuming and elaborate scenery was gorgeous but more suited to a theatrical production. I've been disappointed by the Broadwayesque look that ballet companies in my area of the country (Utah/Idaho) have adopted for their productions (and the ridiculously fast pacing and numerous scenes) and now I know where they're getting it....though this was orders of magnitude higher in quality. I think it must be something the audience demands--Andrew Lloyd Webber-ish. Also, I was a bit taken aback by the shorts and tights on the men, and some of the dresses on the women (princesses, particularly) didn't seem proportioned quite right to me. Too many historic periods and too many ideas maybe???? What do you all think? Other things: I was disappointed by how on top of the stage the cameras were; I wish there would have been a lot less changing cameras and focal lengths. For example, I didn't think it was very fair to the corps, at the end, to show them concentrating so hard; it ruined the illusion for me. And the pacing of the music bothered me a bit too; I think it's important in this ballet to balance equally the gorgeousness of the music and the dance, even if the dancers sometimes have to compromise or the choreography has to be changed. Also, I did fine with the whole ballet all the way through Odette's death leap, but Angel Corella's leap was too much like a dive onto a mattress for me--I didn't think his head would ever disappear--and Rothbart's straddle wasn't quite right. Unfortunately, we cracked up laughing at those two things. Darn it. Oh, and the swamp monster's chest makeup made me think of all the joking about the anatomically correct batsuit in one of those past Batman movies. I actually had to look to see if he was wearing some kind of padded 'swampman suit' before I could continue watching...which makes my point, I think. The audience shouldn't be so distracted by the costuming, should it? On the other hand, I really enjoyed the dancing, especially in the Act I pas de trois, and of them particularly Herman Cornejo. And Marcelo Gomes is truly wonderful. Gillian Murphy looks like she's going to become a truly dominating dancer...so incredibly strong. I thought that strength worked well for her as Odette; she was more of an intelligent and controlling, even ruthless queen with Siegfried. He really didn't have a chance with her at all. I thought her characterization established Angel Corella's; he really had no way to look like much other than somewhat bewildered, naive, and easily manipulated young man. She continued that manipulative behavior as Odile, but if she was trying to make him think she was Odette, I couldn't see how he could have been taken in. I think adding a bit more of that manipulativeness back into Odette would be more coherent. I wasn't that impressed with Odile's fouettes, not because Miss Murphy isn't technically and athletically impressive, but because I felt that quite a bit of her hard-won acting was lost in that variation. Still, I'm glad I saw it and recorded it. I learned a lot. Ah, I just read Natalia's comments about the editing that was done (which I accept as necessary in making films), but that fouette section did look odd to me. Maybe it was slightly different lighting, or characterizations, or camera angles the other nights? It could be what I noticed that made that variation seem so off to me. Of course, it could also be that I've read too much lately in too many reviews and articles about her tendency to put in as many turns as she can.
  4. Gades was an amazing man and dancer. I have all of Saura's videos with him and some bootleg copies of Gades company. The man was hugely influential...for me and many others.
  5. I think Ashton's stepsisters gently dither, futz and bicker; they're soft blurred pastels next to the bright, clear strokes of Cinderella. I've seen Stevenson's version so often, I tend to dread Cinderella...the slap-stick stepsisters in his version completely overwhelm. For me, the result is Cinderella is too much of a non-entity, an afterthought, even with a great dancer. I prefer the subtleties and the details in the Ashton version, particularly (as others noted) in Cinderella's pointe work, which help delineate her character more sharply than that of the stepsisters. The result is a ballet that revolves more around Cinderella, than the stepsisters. (This participating business is making me very nervous.... ... )
  6. I would describe the music more as "lush, yet minimal and angular"--somewhat contradictory. It has a peculiarly contradictory, somewhat "masked" quality in the 1st act, and I find Ashton's solutions for the stepsisters and Cinderalla quite interesting. I'm not entirely sure it's entirely successful by itself, but Ashton's, Helpmann's and Sibley's restraint and decisions about when and where (and where not) to place accents helps achieve an interesting balance between the choreography and the music. It's a fine line they straddle though... (I love Prokofiev and other 20th C. Russian composers, and am inclined to be forgiving when choreographers have clearly chosen to avoid the obvious choices in favor of more risk-laden decisions.) I do think the inclusion of the seasons is a bit off-the-wall, and some choreography is more successful than others, but perhaps this could be addressed w/different staging?? (I apologize for any inanities...I'm not particularly well-informed about ballet, but want to learn.)
  7. Saw Ailey II in Park City, UT, on Saturday (the 21st). They did brief excerpts from a number of Ailey warhorses, which is a great way for them to train and great for the audiences in the boondocks. Luckily, they also did a Nathan Trice piece, which was a breath of fresh air. I thought the company was better suited technically and heighth-wise to the Trice than the Ailey. They do have a couple women that look capture the movement style of the Ailey repertory nicely, not sure what their names are because there were a lot of substitutions. But in general, the men and some of the women danced as though they'd just memorized the steps. A lot of them also seemed to be lacking in ballet technique. It was like watching a lot of well-trained jazz dancers. Their heighth, or lack of, was also curious in that most were shorter than I'm used to seeing with Ailey dancers and the line quality didn't seem to be best for the Ailey repertoire. Despite all that, it was still worth seeing. I'd bet a couple of their women- both fairly short in height though--have a nice future.
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