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Dale

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Everything posted by Dale

  1. Rather than saying I agree with Gottlieb, I would rather say I understand what he wrote. Diana L. made a good point that Martins doesn't seem to have much confidence in the soloists or understudies, and the "sink or swim" phillosophy going on at NYCB. I thought Gottlieb's critisism of Van Kipnis was a little harsh. He said that she should have been coached by Kyra Nichols, for whom the part was created. First, we don't know whether she did or not. And secondly, maybe Nichols isn't interested in coaching. I disagree with Gottleib when he says the NYCB doesn't have the dancers, I think they do, they just don't get the proper chances. Gottlieb's comments on ABT were interesting as well. I've long questioned the policy of five casts for five nights of a ballet. It seems that come hell or high water, every couple is going to dance Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Q., Onegin, Sleeping Beauty etc... But we've discussed here that each of those ballets carries with it different qualities. Some dancers might be versitile enough (I think possible Kent and Nina A. fall into this catagory) to pull it off, but maybe Herrera is more Don Q. and SB than Giselle and Swan Lake. Or Tuttle is right for Giselle but not Swan Lake. In addition, hardly any of the dancers get a second crack at a role. Lets say Irina Dvorovenko performs Swan Lake in NY and discovers something that she would like to elaborate on in a later performance or Kolpokova says after the performance, "Maybe you should do this or that with your arms in this scene..." But Irina is only performing that role once during the Met season. She has to wait until September to get a second performance during a tour of Israel or a third in February when ABT visits, say, Detroit. It's very hard to develope a role like that.
  2. Adding to your list of still performed: One act -- Façade (Colorado Ballet performed it at the Joyce in 2000) [ 07-10-2001: Message edited by: Dale ]
  3. Manhattnik, well done. And that point about Pavlenko is a good one -- pro Petipa not anti-Balanchine. I forgot to address the question about Fourth Ringers at NYCB. I think the real question is, why not at other companies. I'm proud to be part of this group. And I'm glad, for whatever reason, the company still offers discounts so I can be so devoted. This year I thought I would go to ABT more if I good standing room tickets -- but they were as much as family circle. And tickets at this fall's ABT season at City Center are extremely high. I think it should be lauded that we go to the theater, not always to see some star performer but a company and its rep. It also is possible that Balanchine devotees get a greater chance to watch his ballets than those who are interested in Ashton or Tudor. Not that quantity should be equated with quality, but NYCB has two very long seasons in New York and another in Saratoga. I have a much easier time feeding my appetite for Balanchine than some other might for another choreographer. In addition, ABT is at the MET for more than a month and two weeks at City Center. With so many companies performing in Manhattan and the surrounding areas, including Long Island and Northern New Jersey, those living in the New York metropolitan area have the possibility to see a great amount and a large variety of ballet every year.
  4. Jane, this is what you had in an earlier post: "As for the question of loving best what we first know: certainly for me it's true - to adapt your own words, I will not and do not need to defend loving Ashton's works best. But that doesn't mean I couldn't or didn't recognise the genius of Balanchine when I saw it - love is something different." Thank you for clarifying. But I didn't mean for you to defend your stance. I agree that you can recognise genius without taking it to heart, just as we can love something we know is frivolous or less than genius. Not that Ashton falls into that catagory.
  5. What a thorny topic I'd like to address a few points first. 1) I agree with Leigh in a) In the Kirov post, Marc seemed to make a simple equation that If a dancer is a true Kirov dancer (with all the special, positive attributes that implies) that this dancer will not like Balanchine. That somehow, liking or enjoying dancing his works betrays the Kirov spirit. And I wished him to elaborate. B) By lumping and putting a tag on an audience from a specific city, my opinions can be shrugged off or are tainted. If I don't like a dancer or if I write something about a ballet it can be dismissed with, "Oh, well, you know, she's from New York." or "She likes Balanchine." I think that is unfair. 2) I disagree with Diana L. and Mary on two minor points they made. Birmingham Ballet did not draw well, not because they weren't "Balanchine" (they did dance Slaughter on Tenth Avenue), but because they decided to perform Edward II, a ballet which received poor reviews at home from English critics. So I don't think there was any "New York" conspiracy at work. Just poor programing. I wished they had brought their Ashton works. Mary said that when New Yorkers see the Royal Ballet they only see Swan Lake or Giselle. The last two times I saw RB in NY there wasn't a Swan or a Willi in sight. I saw several Ashton works, and loved them. 3) Jane said that she sees Balanchine's greatness but cannot love his works. Can you love two choreographer's works? I think you can, especially when they appeal to two different sides of ballet. As soon as I saw Ashton's Cinderella, I thought that it was a great work and I did love it. That doesn't make me any less of a Balanchine devotee. Now onto being Balanchine-centric or New York-centric, and whether New York critics form something of a Balanchine-inspired mafia. New York used to be (and the case can be made that it is still, but in a lesser sense) the dance capital of the United States. When most of the top critics were starting out or were being "educated" about dance, New York was a vibrant center of dance -- modern and the ballet boom. Balanchine seemed to be something of a center of this. The way many speak about going to City Center, getting a cheap seat, and watching Balanchine's latest masterpiece...the era has grown to mythic proportions. It has become romanced. This time and those ballets were very important to them. Now, I have to admit this happened before I was born, so I didn't experience it but read about it from critics such as Tobias, Croce, Gottlieb...etc.. It colored good/bad the way they see dance. As I'm sure a certain time of fertile creation colored the critics of England and continental Europe. So I agree with many of the posts that said New Yorkers will be protective of Balanchine, English people will see ballet through Ashton glasses, Germany with Cranko's etc... I think a perfect example of this were the reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet's performance of Midsummer Night's Dream in 1999. Before the telecast on Bravo, I went through the archives or the Times, Telegraph and ballet.co.uk to see what the reviews were, and so many, right off the bat, said, "Oh, it's not as good as Ashton" "Ashton is a much better storyteller." "Balanchine doesn't even have the two leads dance with one another." As if there couldn't possibly be two wonderful ballets made to the same score and text source. Why not? And I'm sure if those two ballets were performed in Hamburg, there would be German cricits saying the two ballets weren't nearly as good as Neumiere's. Now about New York. I don't know whether this is true or not, especially in a digital world where a multi-million dollar company can be run in the nude from a bedroom in Kansas or Rochester with a computer, but New York is the center of commerce, publishing, media, a portion of the entertainment industry, and a host of other businesses for the United States. Even CNN, which is located in Atlanta, is building a big New York office in Columbus Circle, and my company ESPN, is moving many of its offices from Bristol Conn. to Manhattan. This is just a fact, to get into a huff about it (if you're from somewhere else) isn't going to change things. I don't think it makes New York or New Yorkers better. I love San Francisco, Washington D.C., and London. Personally, I learned not only about Balanchine from growing up watching the NYCB, but my ballet manners. Balanchine taught me to want the music to be played at the proper tempo, dancers that respect each other, the audience and the dance, no plastic grins or theatrical grimaces, men who partner well and treat their ballerinas with respect, that costumes and scenery need not be blooted and gaudy, that the corps can dance too. Many other things. But this does not mean that I can't enjoy or love other companies, that I want them only to dance Balanchine. And if they do dance Balanchine, that it has to be exactly like the New York City Ballet. I wouldn't want a company to lose its character, but then again, it shouldn't dance Balanchine in a way that is against Mr. B's principles. Just like I woulnd't want to see Ashton performed in a way that trashes the way he would want to see it done. Well, that's all a bit of a jumble, I hope it makes sense. [ 07-08-2001: Message edited by: Dale ]
  6. I think there must have been a mistake a long time ago... "I said Cone! Not Corn!"
  7. I know that production -- the dancing, the costumes, the choreography -- all of it is so smooth, creamy and satisfying.
  8. I think of the current NYCB dancers, Yvonne Bourree seems much more relaxed in Robbins ballets than the Balanchine rep. I think she is much better in character parts, where she is told what to think, what to feel. Or it could just be that she submerges her fear of performance into the character. In any case, during rehearsal of Robbins ballets, he often asked the dancers to think about their characters -- who they were, their parents and friends, create a story, etc... They didn't just have to represent the music (although more than that goes into dancing Balanchine).
  9. I was reading a first-person history of Les Ballets 1933 and Diana Menuin said Balanchine regularly played the piano during rehearsals.
  10. I wouldn't expect to have Baryshnikov on the cover, but they should have had dancer/choreographer. However, if they don't have a "best" for orchestra, conductor, jazz musician, soprano or fine artist I would understand the omission. Time did a America's Best about 20 years ago (God, I feel old now!) and Suzanne Farrell was profiled as America's best ballerina. It was a nice full-page article with a small picture. This is perhaps where a good public relations person came come through. Time most likely had an ad in the media trade papers to sell ad space for the special issue. Those advertisements have deadlines. A good pr person for a top company or orchestra could get in touch with the arts editor and pitch them an artist from their organization. That doesn't mean that they'll use the artist, but it could work, especially if they make things easy for the busy editor with suggestions on photos, availability, good story lines etc...
  11. This is seems to be a good place to get my recent night of horror. On Tuesday at NYCB's Midsummer, the woman next to me was snorring so loud that people several rows away turned around 2) a woman not in front of me but two rows ahead sat at the very edge of her seat so she could stare into the orchestra pit, thus blocking the whole of the right part of the stage from my line of vision. I couldn't understand this as she was sitting in the first row of the balcony and easily see without sitting so far foward. 3) the lovely people in back of me whom were discussing all the costumes and dancers at length while the ballet was going. But what to do? Cowill, I would have resorted to the, "Ahh, can you tap on the woman ahead of you." bit to the person just in front and then try to make hand gestures or wisper for the couple to move apart so you could see (the same thing happened to me at a performance of the Joffrey at City Center). I also asked my Russian teacher for the expressions, "Can you please be quiet?" and "Can you please sit back?" to help me for whenever the Bolshoi and the Kirov comes into town. I found that some people are pleased that you took the effort to speak to them in their own language, that the will in fact sit back and stop talking. About cell phones, I've just given up. I figured there was something wrong with my hearing that when there are announcements at theatres or tennis matches to turn cell phones and beepers off, I just missed the part that said, "except the woman in section 4, seat 13, you can keep yours on." In story ballets, I accept the fact that there will be at least one phone ringing per act.
  12. I had heard that they wanted to do "Dream" in New York. But that was about a year ago, and as you said, many plans, including the new Sleeping Beauty, had to be put on hold. Somewhere else on this board, someone said that ABT is going to do Raymonda. The company has brought in a few productions from National Ballet of Canada and they did Dream last season.
  13. Manhattnik, the two performances weren't exactly alike. As atm711 pointed out, AC added a little something on Wednesday mat. and almost flubbed the catch. My main beef was some of the changes he did to his variations. I think it was his first one. To me, it just seemed like he inserted his favorite steps and the additions weren't done in a musical way. On the other hand, I agree that the total evening was very satisfying. Reyes and Cornejo were spectacular in the Blue Bird pas de deux and Kent and Malakhov were lovely as was Wiles and Gomes in Theme and Variations. A debut for Wiles, yes? And Barker must have read the Jack Anderson in the Times (the review which took the slow tempos to task) because Theme's tempos were much improved. It was fun to see the company really push itself to catch up.
  14. I've got to agree with the 4ts section when the four women enter during Melancholic. There's just something strangly sinister about them. And in the last movement, when the four leads of other sections make a box around the Choloric woman and the strings switch to a pizzicato. -- also, the finale of Balanchine's Swan Lake, when the music gets all shimmery and Odette bourrees out. -- the 1st section of Union Jack, when the dancers just slowly march in, accompanied by just drummers and the low brass section. -- Serenade, when the corps girls start circle the stage in pique turns. And I agree with Manhattnik, the Preghiera section of Mozartiana. And there's probably too many more to mention. But I'm envious of Mel. What was Opus 34 like?
  15. Korbes is certainly one dancer to watch. Walker was part of one of the great workshop clases at SAB. In Serenade, Walker did the Russian Girl, Meunier was the Dark Angel, Tanya Gingerich the Waltz girl with Arch Higgens her partner. They did Episodes and Symphony in C that year. I remember that Meunier and James Fayette did the 2nd movement of Sym. in C (it was incredable) and Ethan Stiefel and Walker did the 3rd movement. The were so small but really flew. With they way they've approached their roles, it's no wonder Edge and Rutherford are admired. Rutherford really should be promoted to soloist, but of course, then we'd never see her Re: Titania. Let's not forget Riolama Lorenzo also did the part at NYCB recently. She had such a gorgeous arabesque and was equally good as Helena (or Hermia, I get the names confused. The one in maroon).
  16. First, I'll back up any sentiment that questions why Evans and Meunier are so undercast at NYCB. At least Evans had a few performances of Cortege recently. Meunier went three weeks without a single performance. She should have taken over for Kowroski in Episodes, not Korbes. At least she's going to be doing a few Midsummers. (And I'd also like to add the name of Saskia Beskow, a corps dancer, to the mix. I don't know why she's never gotten more than one or two solo things [mostly in the evening-length Swan Lake or Nutcracker]. She's a very strong dancer and is just stunning to look at). Anyway, back to the ballet. Although Tanner's ballets won't change the world, I have always find them to be at least interesting, make the dancers look good and beautifully dressed. I loved this ballet's costumes, they reminded me of those push-up popsicles And it was good to see the young men get a chance at leading roles, ones that hopefully will prepare them for bigger roles in the future. Because unlike their female counterparts, the new men find it difficult to crack into Peter Martins' rotation. Martins is very willing to throw first-year corps dancers (talented as they are) into the lead role of some of Balanchine's hardest ballets (but never into his own as the cancellation of serveral of Martins' ballets this year has shown), he is very hesitant to try out new men, save Jared Angle. Charles Askegard deserves a medal this season for the way he's partnered simply everyone all the time recently. But he doesn't need to carry the load alone --Fayette could be used more often, in addition to Fowler and Higgins. And would it hurt to try Marcovici in a few more things. He should have had a shot at Prodigal Son by now, although I'm glad to see him cast in Square Dances for a second time. Rant over, back to the performance. I thought the women came off extremely strong in the Tanner piece, but I can understand some people's reservations about Taylor. Although I loved her in La Valse, she is a bit stronger overall in pieces made for her. In Divert. #15 earlier this season, she seemed a little stiff, mostly in the upper body, and can appear, I don't exactly how to put it, sort of out of control. Or operating all on the same speed/volumn. There is a lack of building or crafting a performance from her. But I'm sure this will come in time, she's still so young. Taylor was very pretty in the last ballet of the evening, Harmonielehre. She danced as if she had no bones and was just an apparition. The last movement, with the corps women barefoot, Fayette holding that little girl, and the strange curtains overhead, was very eerie.
  17. Katja, maybe others have a more complete answer but I have noticed VM taking on more character sort of parts than cavalier roles recently. Maybe its a combination of things -- a desire to do different parts and declining physical powers. Although he is not old, he was considered quite a jumper several years ago but he does not seem to have that sort of power now. But then again, maybe he has decided to show off different aspects of his dancing -- musicality, footwork, etc... On the other hand, it could just be a matter of casting and who looks good with who. Dvorevenko has been used a lot this season (with reason) and she's usually paired with her husband. Nina A dances with either Bocca or Carreno, who also partners Jaffe and sometimes Herrera. Gomes is a guy on the rise and is getting a lot of the lead roles that require splashy technique. Plus Stiefel and Corella get many of the first nights with Kent. Malakhov has been dancing a lot with McKerrow, but her career is winding down. I believe some have said she is retiring soon. And Ferri is on maternity leave, so several factors could be weighing on the roles VM is getting.
  18. Yes, Bobsey. Please keep going to the ballet and write what you think. I didn't mean to be a downer, I just don't like the choreography changed. I've been reading about how Petipa ballets used to look and I don't want in 10-20 years for people to watch a Balanchine ballet and think, "Well, what was so special about that." So when I saw changes, a red light went off for me. But I did enjoy things Wednesday afternoon. Jaffe and Malakhov were very musical. I agree with ATM about Malakhov not getting the credit he deserved for his sensitive dancing. And even out of context, the Sleeping Beauty portions were done well, and a pleasure to watch (even though I don't like the McMillian choreography). Just to show how nuts I am, I'm going to this program two more times. Juliet -- I like the Royal's new SB too.
  19. I went Wednesday afternoon. Theme & Variations was with Kent and Carreno. I've seen him dance this better, he seemed a little out of sorts. She appeared underpowered and, although I don't think she's particularly suited to the work, I also have seen her do better as well. I have a problem with this work at ABT as the tempo is ponderous. So slow that the slow sections lose their poetry and the fast sections have no punch or verve. It looked like a classroom exercise, which although Balanchine used classroom steps, it should look like heaven. The pas de deux was strange because Kent seemed to be phrasing totally on the solo violin, so when the violin stopped a phrase and waited a second or two to pick up the next phrase. Kent followed. But Balanchine didn't. He kept the choreography going so there were so many dead spots. In addition, Kent and Carrano changed the choreography a bit (I know the differences between the ABT and NYCB versions, that wasn't it). That, unfortunately, was the theme of the Tchiakovsky pas de deux. Putting aside Tuttle's "ultra-brite" smile, Corella decided he wanted to make up his own choreography. The male solos in some of Balanchine's show pieces are often have multiple versions, and I've seen them before. This wasn't it. The changes were purely to give AC more jumps and spins and were unmusical. At one point, he walked around while the music was going on just so he can add a non-Balanchine authored jump. And at the end, when the man travel behind the woman before she jumps into a fish dive, he added more leaps. I was so upset I didn't applaud. The Balanchine Foundation should know what's going on over at the Met. This was not GB's piece. It was almost a welcome relief when the Nutcracker came on with Jaffe and Malakhov, very classical, respectful and musical. Gillian Murphy was very lovely in the Rose Adagio, more stately than sweet. Nina A was her usual self in Aurora's Wedding and the rest of the company tried their best to overcome McMillian's choreography. Sasha Radetsky was very good in the Blue Bird pas de deux. Shelkanova was nice as his partner and one of the few to anticipate the music in the Theme (demi soloist).
  20. As I wrote to someone recently, I could have managed the same stage effects with a slide projector, some felt and several chop sticks. I won't even get into the "choreography." I'll reserve that for another space. In addition to the hype the company put out, I think many critics felt that the money could have been used elsewhere, especially when ABT was forced to cancel their new production of Sleeping Beauty because of a lack of funds. [ 06-13-2001: Message edited by: Dale ]
  21. I guess I missed the bias. I thought RG made his points clearly and backed them up with examples. Whether I agree with a critic or not, that is one of the main things I want to get from them. He also addressed the claims of the company that the production would have cutting-edge stage craft, was good entertainment for children, dramatic choreography etc... And although he was critical of the production, he did not trash the dancers. Later in the article, I think he also wrote fairly about ABT's modern program, giving positive notices to the Tharp and Taylor. Although I don't think it is wrong for a critic to be the lone voice in a sea of differing views, Greskovic didn't say anything more harshly or biased than New York Magazine's Tobi Tobias or Clive Barnes of the NY Post in regards to ABT's Pied Piper (to name two critics). And Barnes is usually very generous with his praise. [ 06-13-2001: Message edited by: Dale ]
  22. Meunier was a late substitute in the Walpurgesnacht on Thursday, but other than that, she will go at least three weeks without being cast in anything. I have no idea why. She seems healthy now. Is she being held back so she won't injure herself, or is she just out of favor? I don't know too many companies that would keep a principal dancer in her prime out for so long. Meunier and Ringer were both in the 2nd cast for Cortege but as the ballet was cancelled twice, they never got on. A shame. I hope she and Hubbe will do Prodigal Son sometime this season. They were wonderful a few years ago, but MM hasn't been cast in it since, despite rave reviews.
  23. I heard that there is another new Peter Martins ballet this season, but have no more information. What I'm interested in is: will this new ballet replace something else on the schedule? Does anybody have any more information? Thanks.
  24. Thanks Alexandra, I never got to see Mazzo in that role but one of my first Nutcracker's was with her in it and I found her charming. But, hey, I was, like, three or four and I was charmed by everyone. Kirkland was my first Sugar Plum and I was hooked on ballet from then on. I think Mazzo's big problem early on was that she was not Farrell. Taking over many of SF's roles, she was naturally compared to Farrell. But they had much different gifts. Obviously, Farrell (my personal favorite of all-time) is considered one of the greatest dancers but I think Mazzo had qualities that have been very hard to find now when casting her roles. The casting of her role in Stravinsky Violin Concerto has been rather tricky over the last few seasons at NYCB. Borree looks like her physically, but dances very small and lacks Mazzo's projection. Guerin guested in the part, but I think she was too authoritative. Balanchine's choreography for Mazzo was very interesting. The way he had Martins put his hand over her face and eyes put her in a subserviant position that Balanchine would never do with Farrell. Yet she wasn't especially pliable, like Kent. But back to Diamonds, it's pas de deux is such a wonderful thing for a ballerina. It still works as a "swan lake" like moment and I've seen some dancers do it as a "Grand Pas de Deux" and it still works. It has so many climaxes to it too, and is quite long. However, I've never seen any other dancer have quite the daring as Farrell -- the way she leaned and swooned in her partner's arms, it was as if she didn't care if he was there to catch her, she was going to do it anyway. Now, the dancers seem a little nervous. Although I've seen Lopez with Miami, I'd like to see some of the other ballerinas coached by Farrell in this part (Cincinnati and Canada) to see if they throw caution into the winds.
  25. This is a wonderful thread.. so much to think about. I have to say I've been haunted by the Kirov's reconstruction of Sleepting Beauty ever since I saw it at the Met two years ago. It was facinating to see a ballet with eyes of a different generation. To see a work as it was before TV, films, videos etc... Doug, I really enjoyed your article on SB when I read it in Ballet Review. I can understand why (given the social and political connotations of the time) the mime and certain sumptious portions of Petipas ballets were removed but why were the solos, especially if they were more difficult, changed? And why did Konstantine Sergeyev change Sleeping Beauty? He was considered a very controlling director, did he just want to put "his" stamp on the rep.? And Doug, why did Lacotte not use the noted choreography where it could be found and fill in the rest through memories and his own in-the-style of Petipas choreography? There is more to bringing a ballet back to life than costumes and scenery. Did Lacotte do the same thing with Paquita at POB? James, I think you'll find Zakharova's Aurora interesting. She opened the Kirov's run of the ballet at the Met in 1999 and some of the things she did caused a gasp of astonishment to roll around the theatre -- astonished by the things she could do physically and astonished that she would do it in this ballet. Although I appreciated many aspects of her and Vishneva's perofmances, it was generally considered that Altynai Asylmuratova was all-around the better Aurora. Unfortunately, we did not see Ayupova, who did not perform in New York during the run.
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