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Everything posted by Dale

  1. Here's my best and worst of 1998 (New York): Disappointment: Ballet Frankfurt in Edios Telos. Interesting in spots but, to me, a lot of psudo-intellectual Euro trash. Disappointment 1a: The Snow Maiden -- beautiful sets, costumes, and dancing but boring choreography from Stevens. Zzzzzz! Also: Peter Martins' new ballets. Stabat Mater (see Snow Maiden) and River of Light (been there, done that!), Concerti Armonici (Brandenburg Part II). Surprise: San Francisco Ballet. I really enjoyed this company. Very appealing. The gala night at the City Center was fun and a great way to sample visually the entire roster, especially Muriel Maffry, Yuri Possokhov, and Lucia Lacarra. Ballet of the Year: Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude by Forsythe. Fun, fast and furious. Funky costumes too. Great dancing by San Francisco Ballet. Known by Heart: Great vehicle by Tharp for Ethan Stiefel, Susan Jaffe, and ABT. Best new production (evening length): Le Corsaire. I know that some consider it a hodge podge of past productions but I thought it was fun and a perfect showcase to display ABT's star principal dancers. Best Performance: The first night of the rivival of Jewels at NYCB in January. Perfect cast -- Alexopolous and Weese in "Emeralds", Margaret Tracy, Nikolaj Hubbe, Monique Meunier in "Rubies", and Kyra Nichols and Philip Neal in "Diamonds". Best Individual Performances (not mentioned above): Darci Kister in Diamonds and Meunier's debut as Siren in Prodigal Son. Best costumes: Alain Vaes for Variations on a Nursery Song by Richard Tanner. Beautiful velvet bodices over short puffy taffeta layered skirts. I'm sure I'm forgetting a whole lot but there it is. -- Dale [This message has been edited by Dale (edited 01-01-99).]
  2. I love watching Kyra Nichols. She just so in command of her technique and a master of shading and nuance. I think her Scotch Symphony is simply beautiful. She takes the tragic heroine route while the aforementioned Weese is more the bonny lass (so to a point is Margret Tracy). Nichol Hlinka too. Maybe they all learned the role from the same dancer because, before those three took over the role, the ballerina part was played a little more dramatically. At least by Farrell and Kistler, who I also saw. (and Elena Pankova) On the other hand, sometimes Kyra is a little too understated. I think she failed to register as Euridice in Orpheus on Opening Night. Dale
  3. As a former musician, I'd be loath to get rid of all those jobs!! And I like the flexabilty and collaboration that comes with having a live orchestra. When I think of taped music, I think of those "Stars of the Kirov" groups that come around: taped music, programs changed at the last minute, never knowing what dancer is going to perform. All poor planing that almost defeats the usually fine dancing. A few seasons ago, the NYCB had a ballet to Wourinin's (I might have spelled his name wrong) two-piano transcription of an orchestral piece by Schoenberg. The two pianos were on stage. I liked the ballet very much and never missed a performance. However, the next season the costumes changed and the pianos were replaced by an orchestral version. But when I looked into the pit, it was dark. When I asked one of the information people what happened, they said I must of got two ballets confused. They were really demeaning. Well, the next time the ballet was performed a protesting member of the orchestra thrust a flyer in my hand. It said that the Schoenberg performance was the first time in the 48-plus (or so) years that NYCB used taped music. I never could understand why the company just didn't have the orchestra play the piece live. It's not as if they couldn't handle it. Dale
  4. I hate that kind of dancer, who grins and flirts shamelessly with the audience. If a smile is the result of the joy they feel, that's fine, but if it's plastered on their face regardless of what they're performing, it's very annoying. About dancers growing: Just because a classisist doesn't turn into a dancer who throws himself around emoting, doesn't mean he hasn't grown. He might be growing by refining his technique, going deeper in his roles.
  5. Well, I've been watching a lot of skating (it is on all the time!!!), and they almost exclusively use taped music. However, the use of taped music is looked down upon in ballet performances. Why?
  6. When it was first broadcast, it was postponed because of Desert Storm congress voting. Channel 13 (WNET in New York) promised that it would show it after the voting, which ended at, I think, about 1 am. I fell asleep only wake to see the last two ballets, which I recorded. It took another year or so for them to show it again. Dale
  7. The pas de deux from Martins' "Ecstatic Orange" was on a PBS program about eight years ago, along with Beethoven Romance, Barber Violin Concerto, Valse Triste, and Sophisticated Lady -- all by Martins.
  8. I read Dance Magazine, Ballet Review, and sometimes Dance Now. I've read Dance Times a few times at the NYC Performing Arts Library but found it just once at a newstand. I soon will be receiving Ballet Alert etc.. as a birthday gift. Ballet Review is really one of my favorites but I don't know why a magazine that has "Ballet" in the title has so many articles on Modern Dance, which I know I should like more than I do. Dale
  9. Hi, I've been on vacation. What I love about Croce's reviews are that they were a record of a performance. Many reviews use about 70 percent to explain the history of the ballet and the form and the rest on the dancers, as if wasn't important. Such as, "The swan queen was danced by Kyra Nichols, ably partnered by Damien Woetzel." I want to know about the quality of the performance, what choices the dancers made, etc.. Croce did that. To Margo -- I have the tape and viewed it about 100 times. I know Suzanne Farrell chose not to participate because she was working on a movie, eventually done by the same director and producer. And she was mentioned by Tallchief and Ashley with a clip of her dancing Terpsichore to Peter Martins' Apollo. However, there was just one brief still photo of Patricia McBride in Raymonda Variations. Her place as a Balanchine muse is sometimes lost. She's also one of the few Balanchine top dancers not to write a book (to return this post to written word). -- Dale, who has been Nutcrackering it lately.
  10. Somebody asked for this so here it is...ballet vidoes we wish for! I'm hoping for the re-release of Don Q. with Baryshnikov and Harvey as well as ABT at San Francisco and ABT at the Met. All three were Dance in America programs and broadcast before I had a VCR. The ABT at the... vidoes were for sale but I failed to pick them up before they were discontinued. I'm very annoyed. I'd love a tape of those dance bits from the Bell Telephone Hour and the Ed Sullivan Show. I've seen a few at the Broadcasting Museum in New York but it's not the same as being able to watch at home. At the NYPL Performance Library they have three "private viewing" tapes of NYCB Dance Emergency Fund. Kistler and Zelensky dance the pas de deux from On Your Toes. Dale
  11. I agreed with many of the previously mentioned selections. I'm at work so I don't have my bookshelf at the ready but some of my favorite books are the three Arlene Croce collections. I always refer to them before seeing a ballet either for the first time or if I haven't seen it in a while. I wish I could write like her. When I was little, I really thought I could see the ballets just through her words. However, later in her life she got very bitter. Is she still alive? Another favorite is the Balanchine Muses book. Again, I don't have it in front of me but almost every muse of Balanchine's is interviewed in transcript form with a studio shot and archieve photos. Only Tanaquil Le Clerq is missing. And I believe Diana Adams didn't want to have her picture taken. It goes from Tamara Geva to Darci Kistler. I really love that book. Another is "I remember Balanchine." edited by Francis Mason. It's sort of funny to read former company members disparaging some of the other dancers. Well, not funny but intriguing. I also enjoyed the somewhat new bios by Tallchief and Kent. I adore picture books, the latest which is the Romeo and Juliet book with Angel Corella and Paloma Herrera. In January, the NYCB should be putting out a 50th anv. program and a catalogue of their current photo exhibit. I Dale
  12. It's strange but I had a similar experience with Stevenson's Snow Maiden. When I saw the ballet last season, I actually cried. It was not the first time I cried at the ballet but usually I get the chills or experience an incrediable high. I was surprised to have it happen during this long ballet because during the entire evening I was thinking that it would be a really good ballet if only a semi-talented choreographer had done it. Nina A. and Angel Corrella were great as were the costumes and the scenery but most of the choreography was boring and academic. It had a few nice touches, such as her symbolizing snow falling by twinkling her fingers. But in the last act, the Snow Maiden goes to look for her love. She finds him at his wedding and tries to dance with him but he spurs her. It was heartbreaking the way Nina played the moment. It choked me up. So let's just say that she's a great ballerina and Stevenson is a 1/3 of a talented choreographer. That's why I suggested he go watch the classics. He choreographs like a person with 1/2 the alphabet. -- Dale
  13. I'm a big Suzanne Farrell fan. She was the dancer I grew up watching. She was so daring and danced on such a big scale. Yet, she brought an inner romance to her parts. She could be very classical or completely out there. I think she had the most amazing legs, staring with those full thighs and ending with her long, sensitive pointes. Watching her dance sometimes was like a holy rite. Farrell became the prototype of my favorite type of dancer. While a enjoy or enjoyed Patricia McBride, Makarova, Nina A, Miranda Weese, and others, I look for those Farrell qualities in other dancers. Now, my favorites are Monique Meunier, Maria Kowrowski, Darcey Bussell, Diana Vishneva, Ulia Lopatkina, Darci Kistler, and Paloma Herrera. Especially Meunier, who has such a wonderful lush way of moving. She just loves being on stage. -- Dale
  14. I loved Farrell and Martins. They complimented each other so beautifuly. He was more daring when he danced with her and she was more beautiful than ever. While I was thinking about partnerships, I was reminded about a quote from Darci Kistler, who believed her frequent injuries were sometimes due to not having a regular partner she could get used to and who would know her moves. This was before she began to dance with Jock Soto and Igor Zelensky. Speaking of those two, I nominate them as great partners along with Adam Luders as caring partners. No matter who or what size or the ballet, these men always treat their ballerinas as wonderful, special, creatures that should be cared for and displayed.
  15. I'd like to nominate most choreography by Ben Stevenson. I respect his desire to create evening-length works but most of his choreography is just so simple, better for a ballet school showcase. I don't understand because I've read good things about the Houston Ballet dancers, but could he be working off their capabilities? It's unfortunate because many companies are doing his Cinderella, including ABT. He moves the story along fine but his dances are just so boring...the dancers have nothing to do. It also gets repetitive. I also felt this way about the Snow Maiden. He should go out and watch Balanchine, Ashton, and real Petipa. I can't understand why ABT does his Cinderella when the Ashton is so good (having seen it a year ago when the Royal visited). -- Dale
  16. What about commercial tapes that are no longer available? Or available only in Europe? I'm interested in any of the Dance in America tapes, except the ones released recently by Nonsuch. Or those recent Royal Ballet galas that are shown on BBC. -- Dale
  17. I'll be expecting donations from all of you shortly for the tickets . Seriously, I think I'm leading towards either Jaffe or Nina A. I read that Viviana Durante will be guesting in the part. Scheduling will also be taken into account as my first interest lies in NYCB. Their seasons overlap much more this coming Spring than in the past because the Kirov is coming in July. -- Dale
  18. I look for a combination of technique, musicality, "soul", stage presence, and love of performing. If a dancer is short in one department, they can make it up in another. But I don't like when a dancer distorts the choreography to cover up a deficiency. Just don't perform the role or part. But I also judge dancers by the type of ballet and rep I enjoy. For example, I grew up on and love the Balanchine style as shown at the New York City Ballet. For that reason, I've always prefered a Tallchief or Farrell to dramatic dancers that many love.
  19. Alexandra -- I guess I could include Hubbe as a dancer who one day be considered great but the fact that he is injured so often hurts him. As far as my list, I listed those dancers who, by the time they finish their careers, possibly could be considered on the same level as those you mentioned. But it's such a different time now. Dancers just aren't the big personalities that they were in the past. When was the last time a ballet dancer was on the cover of a non-dance magazine? Nureyev and Baryshnikov were two of the greatest dancers ever but they were also international celebrities. Nureyev, with his ambigious sexuality, partied at Regine's with Princess Caroline, collected fine art and lived life in a grand manner. Baryshnikov dated and fathered a child with a movie star, and appeared in films and TV. They also defected during the Cold War. When I said Russians are a dime a dozen, what I meant was that if a Russian leaves his homeland, big deal. It's not an international incident. -- Dale
  20. I find MacMillan's work so fussy. I've never warmed to it. But maybe it's a cultural thing (English vs. American).
  21. Dale

    Natalia Makarova

    I saw Makarova do Swan Lake and it was very beautiful but the white acts were soooo sloooow! Same with Giselle.
  22. Dale

    Gelsey Kirkland

    It's a shame that Kirkland is so under-represented in videos. But I gather she was better to watch in person. I saw her when both she and I were very young but I hardly remember that mutch.
  23. To answer Alexandra's question, the male dancer (I think) seems to be developing on their own. But I also believe that many contemporary choreographers don't appear to be comfortable working with women on point, such as Duato's two works for ABT and Parsons' for NYCB (and others). This, of course, hurts the women instead of the men. They are unable to stretch or even use their full technique. About great men, the climate is different from the time that Baryshnikov and Nureyev defected. The Cold War is over, Russians are a dime a dozen. But I put forth these dancers: Igor Zelensky, Peter Boal, Yuri Possokhov, Vladimir Malakhov, Damian Woetzel, Farouk Ruzamatov and Irek Mukamedov (sp?). Maybe Julio Bocca. I can't add the Paris dancers because I haven't seen enough of them. Possokhov really impressed me when I saw the San Francisco Ballet. Zelensky is much more than a cavalier par excellent, he just isn't given the chance (I saw him do a fabulous Four Temperments -- 3rd mvt. I always thought he'd be good in Agon). In a few more years I'd add Jose Manuel Carreno, he has it all. Angel Corrella needs to gain a little more emotional depth (but I still love him) and Ethan Stiefel needs to become a better partner. ABT and NYCB have tried to pair him with everybody but he just seems dance better by himself.
  24. I'd love to see them all but I read in the New York Times that all but Nina A. simplified the role.
  25. When I come into contact with people I admire (with varying degrees of fame), I just try to be honest. Ed's idea of pointing out a specific point shows that you actually understand what they're involved in and not just going up to them because he or she is a name. However, I would add not to approach people when they are involved in a private moment or eating dinner. I figure, `What would I think if someone came up and complimented me?' I'd probably be embarrassed but pleased. But `How would I feel if someone came up to me while I was arguing with my mother or coming out of a bathroom stall?' I'd be pretty angry.
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