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Amy Reusch

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Posts posted by Amy Reusch

  1. My daughter went with a crowd from BU's honors college opening night and they all adored the Forsythe and Glass Pieces.  I was surpised Agon was less well received, but I think their ears and eyes have been more trained for the other two... Remembe back when the repetitiveness of Philip Glass & Steve Reich was controversial?  This generation grew up with that style of music  as soundtracks for movies and tv advertisements (different sure, but more similar than 12 tone)  And the Forsythe sure speaks to the Instagram generation.  Balanchine's Agon lines are best delivered clean cool and with stillness.  Not made to be punched or muddled.  The timing is tricky... as is the movement intention... if there is no reach in the extension because it came so very easily, perhaps it misses a subtle dramatic quality... and yet if the reach is over emphasized, the sophistication is lost.  Decades ago PA Ballet used to do a killer Agon, but the dancers had the advantage of being closer in time to the originsators.  Not sure what the answer was, but I imagine the casting makes a difference.  I don,t have my program handy (which oddly had the wrong cast anyway,  but I wrote down the corrections) but some of the dancers seemed better in it than others... who looked like they were doing Rubies or Forsythe or Elo perhaps... the muscle memory must be so close in some of those movements!   I remember liking the blonde dancer in the pas de trois.  The toss somehow did not quite hit it though.  And there were some strange overly fay wrists in some sections that I don't remember having that quality in other productions... bent, sure, but not flipped.

  2. So happy that my daughter me (nice role reversal) to see Boston Ballet's rEVOLUTION on Friday, Feb 28.

    i was really looking forward to Agon, one of my favorite Balanchine ballets... and I was looking forward to seeing Forsythe's In the Middle, somewhat  elevated....  as I had never seen his work live before, only on the flat screen.   I was mildly curious to see Glass Pieces, but not particularly, as the video clips I've caught in the past never particularly piqued my interest.

    But wow!! Glass Pieces!!!  Boston Ballet really gets this piece!  And Lia Cirio, wow, just wow!  I've seen her dance every few years, but hadn't seen her lately... she has truly come into her own... as if she stole the "evolution" in the title to show just how far she has come.   

    But, back to Glass Pieces...I have never seen Einstein on the Beach, (and my memory is infamous) but someone who was in it described how he just continually jogged across the stage always in the same direction... imagining what this might have looked like has stuck in my head for almost 40 years... is Robbins dancers among walking people derivative?  I don't know, but it was so effective...it was like watching Dances At  Gathering performed in the subway walkways during rush hour.  Cirio however was in Facades, which I was sorry to learn was not called Ahkenaton... as it seemed performed against a Nile of corps dancers...  The Coda was my daughter's favorite and much as I admired Boston Ballet's male contingent in it, the choreography mostly reminded me of Robbin's Broadway work, which I think I am just the wrong generation for.  But I loved watching the large ensrmble manage to fill the stage with tremendous energy travelling in every direction without crashing into each other... loved the eye contact between the dancers, hard to explain, but what a company!

    I had never heard Thom Willems' music with the extremely dimensional sound design.  I was familar the music, but it was as if it had been taken apart with certain elements exaggerated and given direction. It was kind of distracting... as if it was darting around the house while the dancers were behind the proscenium.   The dancing was fantastic, with all the dancing virtuostic but certain dancers asserting their own signature onto the movement more convincingly than others.  I have always felt no one quite looks at home in the movement as much as Guillem did, but some of BB's male principals pulled this off as well.  Wonderful to see.

    i must be getting old.  Perhaps I am losing night vision, but the only lighting I liked (and liked quite a bit) was for Glass Pieces.  For both Agon & In the Middle... the hot highlights on the dancers were hard to look at... in Agon, the men's white Tshirts were so flourescently bright it distracted from the movement.  For In the Middle.... the hot light from above made my irises want to close down like a video camera, making the shadowy black even more shadowy.  I would say sit closer than under the balcony if you go, perhaps it looks better up close..



  3. A Brisé is a glissade through fourth that is "broken" by a beat... so the carriage of the weight/jump is different from an assemblé.  I would say there is more floating upward elevation in an assemblé battu than in a brisé which more of a traveling step along the ground. Brisé volé is a little different, but that really isn't an assemble as it is landed on one leg, not two assembled together.  

  4. 13 hours ago, FauxPas said:

    Here is Olga Spessivtseva - not pigtail but a kind of ponytail.

    I see little or no resemblance to Smirnova, who I like very much but prefer as Raymonda or Odette to Giselle.  Great Giselles are kind of a ballerina breed apart.


    I was thinking not of that film, but rather the photos...( I wouldn't have called a resemblance from the film either)...  more the small head and the neck line more in evidence here...



  5. Would really like to have more of the pantomime explained... what was the thing where they strike 3 times on their arm as if hitting chimes... what was that broken cross sign made in Act II?  I missed the foreshadowing of Giselle's weak heart during the peasant dances.  Why did Loys send all the peasant girls away before the aristocrats arrived?  I appreciated what the camera was trying for in the arabesque voyagé crossing but wished they perhaps had more practice at it as perhaps with a little tweaking it would have succeeded better.  Was the lighting was adjusted for the video, was it brightened?  It seemed like it might have been.   Could Giselle not have have looked at Albrecht in the dancing before Myrtha arrives, it is as if she can't see him?  Surely Giselle can see Albrecht, it would be the mortal having difficulty seeing the spirit, not the other way around?  Giselle directing Albrecht to the cross was so beautifully and clearly done here, it would be hard to miss that plot point..  I am still waiting for a graceful femme fatale Myrtha... everyone in the role seems to show strain in their arms during the jumps and the lillies just make it more abrupt.  Certainly her line was beautiful, but does Myrtha's coldness always have to be so taut & stony, it always has been in the productions I've seen but it has not won me over.  Did the original Myrtha really have a great success with such an interpretation?  Does cruel always have to be harsh arm movement? I kept wondering if Smirnova would have evoked Spessitseva had anyone seen both perform live.  Her acting was beautiful, as was that of a great many in the cast.  I would see this again in a moment.  Especially if they could widen the the shots just a bit... the Willis looked so beautifully trained, particularly when they toss Hans to his death but the camera was almost too close for us to see the successional transition.

    I want to watch again to see how Giselle was wingless and then after spinning at Myrtha's order, the wings were visible.   I guess I have always managed to miss that detail!

    All that said, I could watch Artemy Belyakov all day long... and then some.

  6. Oh god yes, the lillies... they should have taken them off their plastic stems amf put them on florists wire... something... anything...   I had forgotten but my companion and I both deplored the lillies...


    and yes, the veils... the willis did have them on but the losing of the veils happened so much in the wings that it was pretty unnoticable...   I can understand why getting it to happen like they did at Paris Opera  might be beyond Boston's means, but what happened here was almost pointless...   POB veils at about 18 seconds in:  

    re the talented Hilarions... are those lifts in the second act dangerous if there is any prior back injury?  I am not making assumptions, I just wonder if there is a reason like that which might leave a principal out of the pool for Albrecht... 

  7. Apologies for taking so long to report back...


    Oga was a delight... if you ever wanted to explain the difference between the movement signature a principal and someone only able to support  a corps de ballet role, show them Oga's work with steps below 45 degree extensions... so beautiful!!!  No tricks to distract, just beautiful movement.  Truly a charming Giselle.   Her Albrecht, Derek Dunn, I could watch execute jumps all day... that one diagonal run of Brisés would have been worth sitting through an entire performance of mundane work just to catch.

    I enjoyed seeing the willies flickering in & out from the wings,  something I don't recall ever seeing before.  The sets were charming.

    Isaac Akiba was the best Hilarion I've ever come across (not that I have seen dozens of productions, but I have seen a few).  He held the stage with a brute force that made me want to see him bring life to other roles... has he played a role in Corsaire yet?  He could be very worth seeing in that.  The man is not afraid to act with the energy he puts into his character's sequences of steps.

    i hope they do Giselle more often.


    Things I would love to see changed..

    the lighting design... in the second act, I did not mind the swirling lights giving the "other worldly" vibe, but the erractic xmas lights were just plain distracting.  And the cross on Giselle's grave being upstage did not help Albrecht's entrance (or is that Hilarion's?) this  long slow walk toward nothing in particular with lots of light effects...   the cross was rarely visible... not sure what was up with that... and it almost seemed like they could not afford enough followspots?  Often Giselle & Albrecht were entreating a Myrtha left wholly in shadow.

    The props...  I felt like the props department thought everything must be extra extra because surely we would never "get it" otherwise...  so Albrecht has a short red ermine trimmed cape  (might have been borrowed from a Snow White production?) for his first entrance... And his sword looks more like Excalibur than the quivering rapier needed for the snake moment in the mad scene.  Myrtha wears a big crown in case you didn't get that she was Queen of the Willis, and her asphodel sprig is so large that it is terribly distracting when she has to get rid of it off-stage...  also, strangely, the peasants have bright shiny solid gold goblets stored in the cottage in case visiting aristocrats stop by.  I just don't get what the deal was with the props department... they clearly didn't take the job seriously.

    Coaching of Albrecht in Act II...  he has to sense Giselle's presence... not just turn and look her immediately straight in the eye... it should be like sensing at the back of the neck that someone is watching...  if he sees her plain as day, why does he miss her when he reaches for her later...

    In the act 2 pas de deux, that lovely adagio was missing legato in the dancers' musicality... i don't know if it were the conductor playing with it or the dancers themselves, but the setting Giselle down on pointe shouldn't be so precisely accented to the note... it's not a moment to express precision... it should be like a dream...

    I missed the power of the Willis' rolling gesture of pointing... it was more like a Busby Berkeley wave than the inexorable command the drama requires...  and I have to say that one of the Russian touring pick-up companies did a better job of the willi's arabesque voyagé crossing,.. the willis should not appear to hop, no air time in the chugs... it spoils the magic, they lose that ghostly crossing clouds affect when gravity appears to jar the arabesques, or even merely dancers popping up individualy... floating has to be communicated or the moment is nothing...

    Some of the dancers in the ensemble's of Act I were lovely, but many needed more practice with the Romantic style of epaulement and heads... they were trying to get the heads right I guess, but with the slamming force of a leg extension in Forsythe... not with a soft tilt.. 

    Hopefully the Peasant PDD went better in other performances.

    Coaching of Giselle's mother... she never so much as looks at Albrecht... which seems a little weird... that she doesn't give this interloper even a passing glance... especially since she clearly is happy with Hilarion's courting of Giselle.

    Why was Bathilde's father younger than Albrecht?  Surely a ballet master could be pressed into service here!  The young man was tall, yes, but he looked barely 18.  And why on earth did the Prince put his mouth on his servant's hunting horn?

    All these things could be easily fixed in future performances... and we would have the  magic that has carried this masterpiece  over 175 years...


    I loved Chisako Oga's Act I, though I thought her mad scene could use a little more angst..  she is still so young, perhaps she has not yet had her heart broken to know how to express that desperation? She was so gorgeous in the floating lifts (this might have been all to Dunn's credit, but there is one crossing where he carries her and she seems so light as if he is carrying a spectre not a real woman... and surely she had something to do with managing that).  I don't know if it was a costume problem or what, but I was surprised her line didn't haunt in Act II.  Sure, she is petite, but so too historically were a great many magnificent Giselles, and frankly it should not be danced by a tall ballerina if rules of emploi are followed? Peasants are supposed to be shorter the aristocrats  I believe? So why did her line not extend? There probably isn't a female dancer in Boston Ballet or among the apprentices without line, so surely it isn't her physique... did the costume dwarf her or did she just not emote the extensions?  Did her fingers curve and not suggest eternity? What was the problem?  I could not figure it out, but I hope someone does and corrects it... she was a perfect pre-mad scene Giselle, best I have ever seen... she should be allowed to grow into Act 2.

    In all fairness, this was her debut with Boston Ballet, and not being first or  second cast, perhaps this was her first time on stage with that conductor and that orchestra and in that lighting with that partner... she did a gorgeous job of what could not have been ideal conditions.

  8. I'm looking forward to seeing Chisako Oga debut in Giselle.  I was worried about a Saturday Matinee cast, the only time I could make it, but I am quite looking forward to seeing her take on the role... she is young but charming and promising in what I could find of her online.

  9. I believe I arrived at the dance department at Purchase as a student the year BJ Sills arrived as a professor.  I believe she learned to teach on us, and I believe she eventually became a good teacher because she was willing to work at it.   She was the first teacher I had ever encountered who taught from a notebook, (and not the last, though I could number them on one hand).  It may have been what helped her improve.

    I can tell you almost none of the freshmen female dancers considered themselves to be modern dancers when they first encountered Ms. Sills.   The conversion to modern  dancers (by the time they graduated, the proportion had reversed)  was influenced perhaps more from the excellence of the modern instructors and their belief in the students' professional potential.  In the late 70s not many professional ballet dancers had been produced by colleges... almost the fact that one was past 16 and not in a ballet company already was an indication of lack of future there... though I do remember a senior joining ABT and someone from the class after me rising to become a principal at Houston Ballet.  I also remember a couple of students who had danced professionally before entering Purchase, but generally they did not stay the four years as it was a conservatory and they were interested in a more traditional college experience.  Eventually, however, most classmates went on to dance professionally with non ballet companies (Cunningham, Graham, Limon, Tharp,  Taylor, Nikolais/Louis Tricia Brown, etc. or form their own companies, like Doug Varone & Terre O Connor).

    Nor do I remember anyone being rude in class to BJ, or speaking disrespectfully of her...although I do remember once a student asking why she never gave port de bras back, (or perhaps, why only once per class).  I also remember she did not have an answer for him.  Perhaps it seemed rude to ask a question about  why she was teaching a certain way, given the tradition at SAB, but this was college and students are encouraged to ask questions.  I do remember a lot of negativity for one of her colleagues, so perhaps she meant not only toward herself, but toward her colleagues.... but one has to remember... just because these were ballet students does not mean that that they were trained by teachers in the Balanchine tradition.... there was more division back then between the ABT/Joffrey/European tradition and the Balanchine tradition... perhaps more difference than there had been in the early days of City Ballet, and perhaps more difference than there is now... if you were brought up by teachers adamantly saying "never do it this way, you will ruin your knees [or your Achilles]" and then a teacher asks you to do exactly as you had been warned not to... well, the teacher might encounter push back... before the wonders of orthoscopic surgery, knee injuries could be the end of things.   There was a feeling at the time that SAB could make demands on the body that were risky and if many students were injured as a result, well, there was a never ending supply of students waiting to replace the them... sort of a natural selection process... which might work fine for the look Balanchine was cultivating in his company but could be lousy from the perspective of the individual taking that injury risk...  I also remember some teachers received more respect than others perhaps just based on their personality interacting with the students, and it was not necessarily down a clear  NYCB/non-NYCB divide.   

    However, I do not remember BJ being treated with disrespect, and I also do not remember her pushing Balanchine technique as othrs did... it was a more straightforward class.

    i guess we all remember different experiences...   

  10. I enjoyed White Crow... I took a 20 year old who knew almost nothing about Nureyev and it touched her...  i had little hope for the movie, after all who could match Nureyev's charisma, but I thought it was well done.  One get's the turmoil involved...   I thought it interesting how the actor tried to portray Pushkin... seemed close to the youtube clips... but Lifar made out like a bandit...

  11. 12 hours ago, California said:

    I'm pretty sure he grew up in NYC and was recruited from one of their outreach programs. 

    I thought I remembered  a  short documentary about this ,( black-and-white images of riding the subway come to mind but I don't know why ) ...  I could not locate the video I remembered, but here are two others ...   I don't believe he mentions an outreach program but he mentions that he was on full scholarship ...

    By the way, there are a few moments of Karin von Aroldingen in the first video...




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