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Everything posted by beck_hen

  1. Oh wow. I can't imagine anything I'd like to see more than those two Ashton pas de deux—if they can come anywhere near the Sibley/Dowell performances in the Dowell documentary at the NYPL, which are sublime. I've seen the Bussell/Cope version of Awakening and it didn't have the same magic.
  2. I was there last night too—apologies for being longwinded, I'll probably split posts... About the Peasant pdd I find Giselle the most perfect dramatic ballet, with no narrative interruption, IF the peasant couple acts as if they are in love. Then, there is a wonderful dramatic contrast between their sunny, uncomplicated love of equals and Giselle's doomed mismatch. Simkin's own dancing was spectacular (over-the-top and pulling it off), but he did a disservice to the narrative flow of the act and to Lane. Standard promenades and pirouettes had off timing where her lovely positions were not al
  3. A promotion or two or three or four is definitely in order. I am eagerly waiting to see who will be selected to compete for the Erik Bruhn prize. That will be a big clue, after all, the last competitors were Wiles, who won, and Hallberg, who didn't win but has since blossomed into a danseur of world-class stature.
  4. Forgive the bad pun, but somehow I feel this discussion has come full circle. If there is a consensus, it is that the fouettes are both fun and irreplaceable. In that case, Vipa's advice is best. It is true I've seen videos of corps members performing spectacular fouettes (Zhong-Jing Fang!)—there is no shortage of dancers who can do them. Meanwhile, I'll continue to enjoy some of the dancers who can just barely get through them.
  5. For me personally, they are not important. I accept the argument that they exemplify Odile's cunning and overpowering character, but I am still taken out of the flow of the story at that moment because we are all evaluating the technical feat. Plus, there isn't too much to discuss about this aspect of a ballerina's performance. Can she or can't she? If she can't, is she still worth seeing? I have never seen a dancer equally strong as Odette and as Odile, but I am more disappointed by Odettes without poetry than Odiles without fouettes. One role where I do expect pyrotechnics is Kitri. But the
  6. Hmm, maybe I will see that program after all. Thanks drb!
  7. I've only seen it twice, but I feel like I could never tire of Episodes. It's as if a gloriously weird dialect of classical ballet (and music) developed independently in a parallel universe. I think Janie Taylor's performance in the third section was the highlight of the ballet. It may seem to be a reach, but for me, the choreography of the third section references Coppelia. There's no Dr. Coppelius figure; the dancers are like dolls who teach themselves how to dance. There are some spastic movements but Taylor presented them as if they were completely natural and unpremeditated, like synapses
  8. Great news, and I think we saw it coming through his casting of late. I'll be the first, but I'm sure not the last, to say I'm a little curious about the lack of female promotions. At this point, I would love to see the corps ladies enter a POB-style concours for soloist spots. Either that or find a way to shrink myself and sprout wings so I can be the fly on the wall of Kevin McKenzie's office.
  9. I feel like the ballet is a contest between the choreographer and the dancers. There should be no doubts or fudging. They need to assert mastery. If you question what's happening at all, they're not doing it right. On the other hand, it's not that the piece can or should be 100% clean, given the element of risk and excitement in the choreography. Bart, you're an old NYCB fan, I think? As in that company's style and repertoire, there is somehow a distinction between good messy and bad messy, between pushing the envelope and barely keeping up. But really comparing casts was the only means for me
  10. I think the word we're looking for to describe it is "cathartic." (Of course, I can experience catharsis from a great Giselle or Swan Lake, but of quite a different kind.) I think Natalia's point about the intensity of live performance is important. The stage magic of story ballets can look dated and artificial compared to the special effects in movies, but this piece's effect could not be supplanted in that way. At one point I thought Tharp was trying to kill the dancers. She stretched the ballet form close to the breaking point (I find hers the definitive statement on this, and could skip a
  11. Yes and yes, and I'm one of those. Not that my seats are the best, but well placed in the section I can afford. It does make sense to subscribe, particularly since you can exchange out of the duds in your series. However, I'm always letting mine lapse until they finally call me not wanting to lose my subscription. This is mostly because of the casting issues mentioned. The "make your own series" was a new innovation last year, and I was really pleased about it. Maybe it wasn't that popular and got dropped, because I would have expected to see it mentioned in one of several brochures I've recei
  12. I can only echo that sentiment. I feel Lane has in her favor a fervency, freshness and innocence to her presentation that is unusual, helpfully married to technical aplomb. Maybe in the past this was par for the course for a young dancer, but more seem to be ironic, studied, coy, or simply direct rather than evocative. She dances her roles rather than "selling" them. What do I know? I'm young and jaded myself. I read somewhere a ballerina should possess generosity of spirit, and I have caught glimpses of that from her. Also, it was noted at the time, her performance as a lead in Quanz's Kaleid
  13. I'm thrilled Gomes has found another signature role, and will be lining up to see it! On Cornejo in starring roles: picking up the nuances of partnering is an area I need to improve in. However, as far as I can tell, Cornejo isn't the greatest at it, in a way that's not just a function of his height. I think ABT appreciates him and is eager to offer him opportunities, but this poses a problem... Parenthetically, sensing a lukewarm reception of Rasta Thomas here, I'm really hoping former ABTer Danny Tidwell doesn't follow the same peripatetic path. I saw that Complexions Ballet, where he was
  14. I think if you're as big a star as she is, the companies you guest with allow you quite a bit of latitude. She probably always does the pas de deux and her solo work the same way, and only needs to rehearse the blocking and mime scenes with the company. Of course, I also detect a hint of sarcasm in that review...
  15. Carreno indeed has prodigious technique and presence, but over the last four years I've attended a string of performances where he lacked chemistry with his partners. His Siegfried and Apollo looked cold and impassive compared to my vivid memories of him on the night of Susan Jaffe's farewell performance of Giselle. Of course, that was a special night, and one other poster wrote the only flaw in it was that Albrecht loved Giselle too much—he wouldn't have betrayed her. Even aside from flat partnerships, I've never seen him as a dance actor who disappears inside his roles. Of course he does in
  16. You all are whetting my appetite for the Met season! And it would only be carping to say I find Hallberg and Gomes better actors than Carreno, or the former soloist Erica Cornejo the best Cowgirl—an embarrassment of riches at ABT now. I'm glad people are noticing Abrera and Kajiya because they are my favorites as well. How will they be cast in Sleeping Beauty... I think Kajiya would be lovely as Princess Florine.
  17. Leigh, I was living in your universe. The two moments you mention struck me as major gaffes, although I experienced the overall performance as absolutely thrilling. Bouder has such audacity—she has the ability to be more in control than any other ballerina, but you can see her sometimes trying to exceed her own limits, watch her taking the risks. The timing and scale of her renverses in the Vision scene were on that edge for me. Can I pull it around at the last possible moment? Whew, watching her is like riding a rollercoaster. By this I don't mean to imply she fell out of character; I was ful
  18. That was the part that stood out for me, too, and I'm not sure I know what it means. But it does remind me of the close working group around Kenneth Macmillan described by Lynn Seymour in her autobiography. In the early years it included her and other dancers or designers for the Royal's touring company, I really forget the details. It is at least refreshing to expect the dancers to contribute to the content of his work, as opposed to the infantilization that often takes place.
  19. Okay, I concede she should not necessarily be let go, which I gather would be impossible to do anyway. However I don't feel that her public statements, focusing on her own political rights rather than the understandable offense taken by her colleagues and part of her audience, promote healing and moving on from this incident in any way.
  20. I agree with papeetepatrick that Clarke's potential employment woes are the just consequence of her poor decisions, rather than a political witchhunt. Almost all private companies today have mission statements, nonprofits or government-supported enterprises like ballet companies do also. As far as I know, for a ballet company today that mission or vision includes reaching out to the local community and fostering a new level of inclusiveness in the ballet audience. Ms. Clarke's public statements run counter to that goal; as an employee she cannot fulfill the mission of the organization. No, s
  21. My friend has been good-naturedly complaining recently about the celebrity trend to apologize without apologizing (Michael Richards, Mel Gibson, etc). The basic construction goes, "I'm sorry for offending you, but not for what I actually said." He finds this a bit disingenuous. However, Simone Clarke does not even apologize this much, and I find I like it even less. If I were British, I would vote with my dollars pounds and boycott Simone Clarke's performances (though the idea of changing the world through my spending patterns is laughably American). She has a right to her opinion, and I have
  22. I do think American Ballet Theatre, at least, should actively promote its own stars. It is interesting to note that Diana Vishneva is the star cited by Rockwell. She was created as one—by the Kirov. I can think of many Soviet/Russian stars who genuinely outshined almost all their American or European counterparts, but I do think they are granted a mystique that works to the disadvantage of the others. An American tendency toward egalitarianism prevents the audience from getting to know its own favorites, and the dancers from receiving the recognition they deserve. Also, it is not enriching to
  23. I am so pleased to read the thoughtful and articulate comments from Leonid, Helene, volcanohunter, et al, just as I would expect from them. Unfortunately for my own ability to contribute constructively, La Zakharova is involved... She is my pet peeve; for me watching her is like hearing fingernails on a blackboard. In my view, Zakharova is no Guillem, Maximova, or Plisetskaya, because she is boring. Her stage persona is haughty and cold—watching her is like touching dry ice—it looks frozen but leaves a burn. Mixing metaphors further: unlike the ballerinas mentioned, she doesn't modulate any
  24. SanderO, you should search the board for the posts/threads discussing "emploi"—they are very interesting explorations of this subject! I find the typing done by reviewers or posters to be valid rather than spurious a majority of the time. While dance training and viewing history are invaluable, the desire to know more, and reading the board intensively, should allow you to do it yourself pretty soon. I've found it helpful to look at videos of dancers from the past to establish the standard for comparison you mention. You may then reject or embrace certain conventional wisdom. For example, I'
  25. It is within the context of the Royal Ballet's history that the appointment is so shocking. I find it sad that, as Alexandra mentions, there is a trend not to believe in the power and possibilities of classical ballet. Ashton's own improbable story is the most inspiring counterexample to this attitude. A young man who is transfixed by Pavlova as a child in Lima, Peru, travels to England to take his first ballet lessons at age 20, studying under Massine, Rambert, and Nijinska! Nursing the dream of classical ballet for years, someone who would never become a great dancer went halfway around the
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