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Amy Reusch

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Posts posted by Amy Reusch

  1. I think doubles certainly add an element of risk and skill (requiring strong center of balance), and if one is trying to do doubles in the same amount of time as singles (though usually a double replaces two singles in fouettes), there is significantly more force... as the dancer tires, center of balance can begin to go awry... slight errors begin to accumulate that are easier to save with a single than with a double.

  2. Not to mention that doubles are actually a "rest" for the dancer (one less relevé ... one less whip of the leg)... and  changing spots is impressive from a technical standpoint but doesn't have much more  to say aesthetically.

  3. I saw Moscow Festival Ballet's "Giselle" last night, a dreary cold rainy Tuesday night in Storrs, CT  at Jorgensen Auditorium at University of Connecticut.   It was the sort of weather that brings out injuries in dancers, so I am grateful for any effort they made, particularly on this stage.  I have to explain that although the University of Connecticut built this auditorium from scratch as a performing arts venue, the sight lines from the orchestra do not allow the expensive seats to see the dancers below the knees unless one is in the very back of the house where there are some risers, and the balcony is so very far back from the stage that is difficult to see the dancers, the sound system is so-so, and there is no fly-space... so production values of touring companies are severely limited... and this company or it's sister business entity, the Russian National Ballet, come  through this space once  a year, so they are aware of the limitations before they arrive.    Also, on a series of one-night-stands, it is probably a challenge to get much going as far as lighting is concerned.   Jorgensen did not include the casting in the program, so I hope the dancers manning the concession stands understood me when I asked for the names.  I managed to call Hillarion "Gurn" but luckily she just blinked... :) and when I clarified, the huntsman suitor of Giselle, gave me a name.

    For Coppelia, this means no balcony for the doll.  For Giselle, it seemed to mean only one hut, to no hut for Albrecht to hide his aristocratic signifiers.   

    So.. usually, I do not expect much in terms of production values...

    However, the last time I caught this company's Giselle, the corps de ballet was so gorgeous that the Willis were worth the ticket price regardless of sets & lights...   and I have told people to come, because despite the limitations the dancers are beautifully trained.  

    The men carried this Giselle.  


    The Albrecht, Evgeniy Rudakov, was worth the ticket... beautiful danseur noble elegant line... expressive epaulement, every gesture and port de bras evolving from his back... lovely soaring arc to grand jetés, sensitive partnering.    A true artist, he was faithful to his art despite the lowly surrounds, giving us a poetic expression of this old classic.  Often in the variation with the Willis, I find many Albrechts master the turning leaps only to misunderstand and overdo the cambrés on landing, looking awkward.  Rudakov's cambrés swept from the landing of the jump in a way that made perfect visual sense, with never a loss of grace.


    The Hilarion, Dmitry Sitkevich, carried the show with his heartfelt acting... while Albrecht, as an aristocrat, has to be somewhat restrained in his expression, Hilarion has no such restrictions.  We totally believed him, and frankly his acting made up for the rest of the dancers... I would go see this man dance any story ballet.   The roar that greeted him at bows showed the audience agreed with me.  It was louder than the status of the role normally  garners, proving that there are no small roles when the dancer is great enough.


    The Giselle, I did not ask for her name.  She had some lovely moments, toward the end of the ballet, but she left me pretty cold.  I think she might have been dealing with an injury because she took the famous Spessitseva hops en pointe from the opposite diagonal, only did 4 in a row before breaking it up with a pas de bourrée, and fell out out even those.  She was not having a good day.  The weather might have been to blame, but she definitely "was not feeling it" last night.

    The Peasant Pas de Deux, danced by Aleksandra Krukova and Sergey Kotov, was fine...   I applaud Kotov for opening with those lovely double cabrioles, for giving more than one would expect to see at this venue... and Krukova hung a lovely triple tour piqué en dedans...    


    Alas, the corps de ballet's training was very uneven.  It could be the space and the lack of rehearsal in it, or the ghastly weather, but they were often not together.   I had been looking forward to the arabesque voyagé section, so transcendent the last time around, but it was nothing here... hopping instead of graceful, not together.  I kept wondering if there had been injuries and they had filled in with some domestic dancers... some of the girls in the corps had that beautiful Vaganova grace, and others were just kind of clumsy.  Sadly, these less-than-ideal dancers were not on the periphery, but front and center, making them hard to miss.   There is that lovely part in the Willis where they pair up, holding hands, circle each other with a step piqué double frappé side (or something like?)... well, some of the dancers bothered to do the double beat, and others just skipped it... it was just kind of sloppy.   I kept thinking I've seen smaller regional companies do better with this, and in the past the training of the dancers of this company has been so beautiful...   I don't know if word has gotten out about how grueling the tours are, or things are not as desperate in Russin as they were a dozen or so  years ago or what, but it was not good.   Of course, and American company would have go on strike if the program did not bother to list the cast... so, probably we will never see the smaller regional companies touring the college circuit.  I miss the old days when the National Endowment for the Art funded a lot of touring by American companies.    I sound nationalistic here, and I'm not really, the Russians are often lovely, and populate American companies too... It's just that out here in the hinterlands, the public is exposed to so little ballet, there are ballet students who have only heard of Misty Copeland (on talk shows and commercials)  and the girls on Dance Moms... Copeland is okay --at least they have heard of her -- but they need to see a full ballet live on stage, not an abbreviated segment on a television show...  there is so much more to it.. they so badly need to see the art form faithfully presented as originally intended.


    Forgot to mention the scenery,  costumes and lighting.   I don't think it's fair to talk about the sets given the limitations of the space, so I'm not going to talk about that backdrop, the singular hut, or the cross.  The costumes were fine, although for peasants the emphasis on a bright pink and gauzy  costumes made one sure these were originally intended for Coppelia. The pink leggings for the men seemed odd too.   The duchess's gold lamé probably doubles for the Queen mother in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty.  Perhaps the LED lights were not cooperative, but the Dawn that arrives makes one think "Red Skies in Morning, Albrecht take Warning" (which considering the night he just had, might have seemed appropriate), rather than the redemption and safety of morning. 

  4. I returned Saturday night and Mearns did not disappoint!! She was absolutely sublime!  And all of it looked better.  


    Which gave me the happy thought that maybe long after Mearns steps off the ballet stage (far in the future), we will still be able to enjoy her artistry in this repertoire... how old was Annabelle Gamson when she danced her last Duncan?

  5. 18 hours ago, vipa said:

    Interesting project for Mearns. Isadora Duncan was a fascinating woman in many ways, but I can't imagine that her creations have been passed down with any accuracy. Not that they should be, it seems to me she was a woman of a particular era. I don't really understand any of the attempts to recreate her works.

    Vipa, I think it is fascination with a legend... just as we try to put new male virtuoso dancers in Spectre de la Rose... we all want to catch a glimpse of a legend... 

    And of course, no one alive has actually seen Isadora dance (except for that flurry out from the shrubbery & back in again... which I feel I caught a glimpse of in Mearns on Sunday).   Who knows how much of what the disciples passed on was the disciples interpretation of what they remembered... what was disciple and what was Duncan?  

    We have a sense of Duncan's spirt from her dancing and a sense of the strictures of the time... 

    Whenever it was upper body expression (torso, arms, head, focus), I thought Mearns triumphed...   when she was trying to step out of her legs muscle memory, I thought she was slightly less so... as if she were trying desperately not to do ballet's version of similar steps but was trying to exist in someone else's skin and someone else's muscle memory.  Watching her, it felt as if those bits were going to evolve into something more as she performs the piece over and over... 

    Whoever does Duncan has to look like they improvised the movement themselves... like it was born that moment...   so much of this worked...  Butterfly worked particularly well (Hello Loie Fuller?), and Petals.   With Petals, though, I wondered why they did not fall until the last moments of the dance... I have seen others do this dance, so long ago now that I cannot totally trust my memory... and I was sure there were moments earlier particularly where petals had fallen in the past.   I wondered if she used real petals and could not crush as many hidden into her fingers as one could with silk petals?  

    In the Funeral piece, she seemed sad, frail and vulnerable... but for some reason I wanted to see the agony of tragedy in her... not sure where this desire in me came from... perhaps from watching Annabelle Gamson or some Hollywood clip?  It could be totally misplaced.  I just wanted to see the "powerful tragic Isadora", and Mearns was lyrical here.

    Also, I think she was trying not to use ballet's gravity defiance in some of the skipping jumping moments... I wonder if this is the disciples passing down memory of an older Duncan.   I am not sure it fits with a childlike persephone-esque moments... what child ever was earthy in their skipping?  Is it not always a temps levé feeling?  I wondered how much of this was a coaching request.   

    There is a remarkable amount of Duncan on youtube these days (truly the internet is a modern miracle), so one can see others in these pieces.  Mearns' delivery is as extraordinary as the artist she is.  There is this curious clip (not Annabelle Gamson)

    and this lovely clip of Loretta Thomas... which reminded me more of Mearns' performance than some of the others.  There are several videos of director Lori Belilove there as well.


  6. In fairness, tricks are easier to make a short video statement with.  I was just surprised to see Swan Lake sold that way... sure the black swan pas de deux, but some stuff that came out from the company on facebook was about how well the dancers were technically handling the "difficult" white pdd, as if the technical tricks were the focus of that choreography.  I've never seen the "tricks" there promoted as such rather than the soulful expression... very weird.

  7. On 12/4/2017 at 7:16 AM, miliosr said:

    I had the opposite thought regarding the continuing magnitude of Corella's stardom. Ever since he went off to found the Corella/Barcelona Ballet in Spain, I've felt there's been a cooling off to his fame. I really felt that way when he had his sendoff from ABT, which (in my opinion) had a perfunctory quality to it. Oh well, I guess these things are hard to quantify.

    I agree that McKenzie isn't going anywhere. He's only 63. And it's easy to underestimate how much good will he has with the ABT board given that he got the company through the near company collapse in the early-90s, the dot com collapse (and attendant funding collapse) in the early 00s, and the Great Recession (and attendant funding collapse) in 2008. Actually, the two plum positions to be had sooner rather than later are those of Helgi Tomasson (75) and Peter Martins (71) (although I think Peter Martins may go out feet first.)

    Yes, she deserves consideration as well. The field shouldn't be limited to these "primo ballerino assolutos".

    It is surpriisng how quickly dancers are forgotten, it is truly the most ephemeral of the arts...   

    I apologize for being off topic of PA B's Season, but wouldn't Julie Kent with David Hallberg make a great artistic management team for ABT?  

  8. 22 hours ago, Peg said:

    Wikipedia says ‘natural causes.’  I’m wondering if it was related to the spinal tumor which ended his dancing career and was removed in the late 1980s. 

    It seems this was the case... his family posted on Facebook:  

    "Sean was diagnosed in January with a recurrence of the tumor that ended his dancing in 1986. He was placed on radiation, but his immune system could not tolerate the effects of that therapy. He died quickly and peacefully in his beloved Palm Springs; his family was there, and he was well-cared-for by the professional staff at the hospital."

  9. One thing I did not understand... they said several times that this was the New Stage... which I see from Wikipedia was  built in 2002 to the left of the historic theater...  but weren't all the sudience shots and the talk of the chandelier from the historic stage?  Isn,t the Bolshoi stage actually a rather large stage (or is this a misunderstanding of mine?)  and was it simpler to remount the Canadian production onto a smaller stage?


    i would like to add that I wasn't crazy about the lighting design.  I did not like the dancers moving forward out of their light and I didn't like the sudden darkness on Juliet after she was introduced to Paris (perhaps this was to mask a scene change?)

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