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Everything posted by julip

  1. Curious if there is insight on this... One of my worries in seeing the Balanchine Nutcracker at PNB was having to watch the single raised fingers in Chinese. Last weekend I didn't notice them, and then with the Chinese instagram video posted, yup, they took out the fingers. Has NYCB been doing this? or is this something new just for PNB.
  2. Well, you just inspired me to say more! I went again last night (Saturday) and I saw Dec in the PdD. I actually (shock coming) preferred her in the role to Imler. I can't believe that I just typed that. I hate to say it, but I think it might have had something to do with body type. Normally I'd rather watch someone with Imler's body on any given day, in any given role, but she just didn't look right in alot of the movements. Sense of Doubt, however, still didn't do it for me. Sandy M., I wish that I could agree with you on it, but I just can't. But, as Peter Boal kept saying in the Q&A, he's all about having pieces that make the audience have a conversation. Somehow I doubt he was referring to this piece, though, when he was saying that. Nadeau was the cast that I really, really wanted to see in Fur Alina, but it just didn't work out for me to see her. I did see Miranda Weese on Saturday, and honestly, I preferred Rachel Foster. It's nothing that I can put my finger on as to why, they were both beautiful, but there was something about Foster's performance that grabbed me a bit more. I am VERY glad to hear that One Flat Thing is coming back next year. I had heard it as a rumor from a couple of people, but it's great to know that it was said in the Q&A. I definetly want to see it several more times. I was astonished in just two viewings at just how much of the structure was revealed. In the second viewing the moments of stillness, unison, call and response...on and on...everything became clearer...but at the same time the chaos was even more chaotic. I need more! lol. Oh, and apparently by the last performance, the length was down to (i think) 15:4somthing. That, to me, is amazing. The piece originally started at, what, 32 minutes? Something like that. Increadible. Also, it's worth it to try to talk to the sound mixer for One Flat Thing. I was lucky enough to be able to sit beside him for both shows (Well, unlucky, I'm on crutches and was sitting in the wheelchair area). It was very interesting to hear about how it is done and the rules surrounding it...apparently he worked with Thom Wilhelm (sp?) in order to do it. Understanding how the music works really helped me understand and see more of what was going on on the stage.
  3. I rarely ever comment on the shows I see (at least in this forum), but dang this show is worth commenting on! Starting from the beginning, oh lordy why did I sit through Sense of Doubt yet again. Seeing it last year I just didn't get it. Not only did I not get it, but I was bored by it. A friend of mine said it all when she stated that "the only thing I'm doubting is if I just watched a ballet class or not". Watching it this second time, I was able to decipher a bit more why I just really don't like this piece. During the pre-show lecture, Doug Fullington was talking about how the title didn't mean anything, it was just the title of one of the pieces of music. Well, I can normally accept that, but in this instance the title does lend itself to a specific mood, wether the choreographer likes it or not. The music, costuming, and ligthing add to that mood. For the most part, the choreography does not. The choreography could just as easily be set to a pretty little Mozart ditty and come off just as well. I think if the entire work was to take on the same vocabulary and atmospher that the solo and v. v. ending of the finale, then I think I would feel differently, but it didn't, so...I was bored...again. I'm planning to go back again either Friday or Saturday, but I think I'll be arriving late as I really don't want to sit through that one again. "Fur Alina" I DO want to see again. Partly, because I want to be immersed in the atmosphere of it without being interrupted by a) the talking ladies in the back b) the cell phone that rang twice c) the exorbent amount of coughing and hacking that sounded like an outbreak of TB had suddenly hit the PNB audience. It was such a beautiful piece, with so many things unexpected. The turned in stances that punctuated the ending of such soft lyrical phrases, those keep coming back to me now. There was such sadness in them. Rachel Foster isn't a dancer that I normally notice, but this role is one that I will never forget her in. She really hit me. "Vespers" took me a bit to get into the groove with. My heart and mind weren't making sense of the rhythms with the movement and theme. It took a couple of minutes into the group section before my heart made sense of it all... I had to leave the mind behind. Once my body accepted--and loved the rhythms, with the theme and movement, then my mind was able to catch up with why it worked. It was like the internal rhythm when one is caught up in spiritual exctasy...balanced against the social network of a church community that is just so. There is order, and exctasy at the same time. It took me awhile to get there, to feel it, but I definetly liked it by the end...or half way to the end. By the time the six ladies repeated the contractions in the chairs on stage left, I was love. I loved, loved, loved "One Flat Thing, Reproduced". From the getgo, with that inital surge of rushing dancers pulling the tables forward, I was hooked. I am in awe and have such respect for just how cerebral Forsythe's choreography is, but that's not why I love it. There's a hundred choreographer out there who are cerebral, but they don't hook me in. There is something about his work that makes my heart pound a little--well, alot, faster. It makes me want to get up and run around and scream and dance and love and just be excited for life. I can sit down and discuss how brillant his choreographic techniques are, which I truly think they are...but there's so much more than that that catches me and makes me love every minute of it.
  4. For me, it is the Sendak designs that make the production. It really is a visual delight. I do love the ideas that go into this production, and honestly I don't think it's as bad as some people make it out to be. It is the only Stowell work that I like...at all. I like the fact that it tries to find new ideas in the Tchaikovsky score. It's not an easy thing to do, and for the most part I think the ideas have the potential to succeed. In my ideal world, the production would remain the same, but the choreography of the individual dances would be tackled by someone else. The OP has stated that they observed Drosselmeier in this production being more of a Buffoon. I think that observation might be changed depending on who is dancing that role. I've always thought that that character in this production was more sinister and disturbing that a buffoon. I would also have to disagree that Seattle needs a new Nutcracker. It is still a big, big money maker in this town. Not because of the choreography, but because of the Sendak production. Everyone I know who is not in the dance community absolutly loves this production. They all look forward to going to it year after year. Every student I've ever had loves to go, even though it's an hour commute each way. They still want to go year after year and don't get tired of it. To bring in a new production would mean a huge financial undertaking that frankly, I wouldn't want to see. I would rather those funds go into other productions...or, say...dancer's salaries. The Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker makes money, lots of it. Leave it alone, let it continue to make money instead of bringing in a new one that will rack up millions of dollars of new production costs. I do, however, think that the Mark Morris 'Hard Nut' would do wonderfully in Seattle.
  5. One of the reasons that Moore's interpretation worked so well for me, was that he seemed to be willing to make that sacrifice --over and over. There were many times throughout that I was convinced that this would all end in death, but he kept overcoming it to strive forward once more.
  6. For myself... I saw friday night's performance with Rachel Foster. I feel badly for saying anything negative, because to just get through this piece...wow. I really, really wanted to like it. I really did, but she just did not hold me. There didn't seem to be a connecting thread there. It did seem truly abstract, but not in a good way. I do have to say that a big problem for me that was distracting was the lighting...which afterward at the Q&A Peter Boal stated that the board had malfunctoned, and I am completely willing to blame my whole experience on that. I went back to see James Moore at the Saturday matinee. All I can say is wow. I know it was the same choreography, but it was a completely different dance for me. He has such an ability to take otherwise abstract pieces and turn them into narratives that take you along for the ride. The night before I saw nothing, but with Moore there was suddenly an archtypical hero-warrior journey. Once again he made me cry (#5). He seems to have this extra focus and intent of movement that you don't always see from ballet dancers, it doesn't show in corps roles, but as soon as he's in a soloist position it's amazingly evident. There was one moment in particular that I keep seeing over and over. He took a grande plie in 1st, downstage right, with the body curving over cupped hands. The light caught the sweat dripping from his chin, onto his hands and floor. In that moment I saw an ancient pose of an exhausted man bending over a stream and drinking from his hands. It was absolutly chilling. I was going to go three times, once each for Foster, Poretta, and Moore. Now I'm going to go four times....I've got to see him do it one more time.
  7. I am so, so very excited for this festival. I've been looking forward to it from the moment it was announced. It's a dance-geeks dream. I can't go on the weeknights, but I'll be camping out for the third weekend. Pre-Show, Post-Show, Inbetween Show (how exciting for the Crispin Spaeth group!) I'll be there. Between the RedHook and the trail mix, I'll be set. Although for the first time ever, I'm planning to watch something from the lobby. I'm excited for Pacific, but last time I saw Carmina I had a hard time not commenting throughout the whole thing. I'll just watch it from the lobby this time...or maybe they'll let me into that quiet room. I'm sure I could find a Cornish kid who loves to comment to go in there with me, it'd be a blast.
  8. I believe that I saw this a few different times on the Arts channel. The design looked as if it were in a swamp or other muggy environment with the tree of dead turning and turnning. There was a corps of dancers who more or less hung out on a platform around the tree, and there were a couple of soloists who would, indeed, run back and forth alot. Everyone looked very dirty. I found it to be quite beautiful, in a disturbing sort of way. It was very mesmerizing. If it is what I'm thinking of, it was a scene from an opera...but I cannot remember what it was. I'll keep an eye out for it, it shows every couple of weeks or so.
  9. I have this sudden image of George Bush doing the Roddy McDowell speech (as Augustus Ceaser) in Cleopatra. "Show me the way to war! Show me the way to Egypt!" while holding the spear aloft in front of the crowds. (I hope I got that quote right)
  10. I had a great long think in the car driving the last couple of hours, and I have a couple of thoughts to add to the conversation. -Does anyone do truly original Petipa choreography anymore? I was going through my mental checklist and I can't remember how much of all that I've seen were Person X after Petipa, and how much of it wasn't, if any at all. - How much of my seeing Petipa as uninteresting stemmed from my finding the music uninteresting. Not including the three Tchaikovsky ballets (though there are points during those where I want to pull my hair out), all of the music just seems to blend into one score lending the choreography to feel like it all blends into one ballet. I don't know the answer to that question at all. I'm still pondering it. Reaching back into my memory from long ago Dance History classes, I seem to remember that he did prescribe how many counts and how many different phrases to the composer, but I might be off on that. Yes, the ballets are historicaly important and they need to be done, and they need to be done well. But, I can't see them as being innovative because they weren't too far off the mark from what story ballets that had come from before. In a more modern example, Balanchine was innovative, but Peter Martins not. Yes, they're fun ... and I do love them! believe it or not! I just don't see them as good art, and to me good art is good ballet. Now I feel like watching Paquita.
  11. (oh yay! fun conversation! I have to actually put on my thinking cap this summer) But does fun to watch equal good ballet? Simply because a movie is fun to watch, does that make it a good movie? Is Petipa done so much because he was a good choreographer, or was it because he was in the right place at the right time and the Czar liked what he did. Do we accept his choreography as great because it was, or for some other reason. When I say that he isn't relevent, I mean he isn't to the world and our lives today. I do understand that his steps were relevant to the subject matter of ballet, but I would also say that Romantic ballets did it better and without as much obvious stopping between dancing and miming. And why have so few people been able to produce work of the same quality since? The list of Balanchine, Ashton, and Fokine is a rather short and limited list that disregards the possability of many gifted and talented choreographers who could have been great were they in the right place at the right time and in a dance community that felt that the art form should be pressed forward instead of only clinging to traditions of the past. How many great choreographers could there be out there but who aren't able to shine through because of the need to put disneyfied, full-length ballets on stage in regional ballet companies.
  12. Oh! and what would be a good ballet? I wish I knew. Those art theory classes were an exercise in redundency, going around and around in circles about what isn't art ... I wonder if we ever actually got to what art was.
  13. This all comes from my experience in an Arts College. In theory classes there is a mixed group not only of dancers, but visual art, theater, and music majors. So start off by imagining a militant art major sitting next to a bunhead. When I watch a Petipa ballet, I enjoy it and appreciate it. But it's not the choreography that I'm responding to, it's the technique and performance of the dancers. To me, if you focus on the choreography, there is neither intrest, relivence, or creativity. There is a stringing together of steps and style that is already set without it moving forward to further the art form. Now, that said, that is me in the 21st century talking. If I were an art critic circa 1895 I might feel differently. I am also not taking into account how Petipa fit into the history of ballet. In addition, if an individual dancer is able to put interest, relivence, and creativity into the set work by using breath, phrasing, and expression, then that dancer is creating a work of art, not the choreographer. ... I'm so going to get flamed over this...
  14. If you were to discuss Petipa ballets in a modern day Art School forum, I'm sure that the general attitude toward them would be that they were a bad ballet. And I must admit that if I weren't a dancer I would think that true, but I love them.
  15. Robert Barnett was from Wenatchee. He didn't choreograph alot, but I know he did about three works for Atlanta Ballet. I'm not sure if Pat Graney was born here, but she's definetly part of the Seattle scene. I could rattle off probably a dozen plus locals who are doing wondeful things in Modern dance, but I don't know if you're looking for ballet/nationaly known only. And why hasn't SandiK piped in on this yet?
  16. If the ballet fairy visited me... first I would want to take an advanced class and look as wonderful in reality as I do in my head. second would be In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, any role third would be my own choreography that I always want to do but never can lastly would be Giselle ok, I'll add Waltz Girl ... and Feld's Intermezzo
  17. I'm only now reading this forum after watching the DVD a couple of times through and again just now after listenting to the commentary track. It is very interesting to see the differences in opinion on the film...v. interesting. I must say my reaction for every time that I've watched it has pretty much been thank goodness someone has finally done an artistically viable film that just happens to be about the world that I know and love instead of the pop crap that I tend to consider to be things like Centerstage. But then again I have always been a fan of Altman's and his slice of life approach to film making. I was so happy and thrilled to see such a well known, historical piece like Tensile Involvement on film. It is one of those that I have always heard about, seen pictures of...it was thrilling to me. And the Lar Lubdovitch and Moses Pendleton works...stunning. Blue Snake, you know...just not something that I cared for. But then again I'm not a Cirque de Soleil fan and they both have a similiar quality to them. I sort of just check it off as one of those things that perhaps a cultural thing. Maybe. It's funny, my students will say that they've watching Centerstage or The Red Shoes and I'll sort of cringe and tell them to watch it for the dancing but not the choreography and most definetly NOT for the quality of the film. The Company I will suggest most definetly not only for the dancing and the choreography, but for the fact that IMO it is an extremely well done film.
  18. I understand what you are saying Leigh, but I don't think that I can bring myself to truly LIKE this ballet. Appreciating it is another thing, and I do. It's one that I've been able to see throughout the different points of my life, and while now I can look at it from an academic standpoint and stand in amazement at how Balanchine was able to create it...I still don't like it. It would be a great piece to watch for a composition class and write a paper on, there's just so much there, but it leaves my heart indifferent.
  19. Hockeyfan, I know exactly what you mean by the dissapointment over Silver Lining. I was dissapointed also about Firebird. At first when she was talking about doing Firebird next year I thought she meant Balanchine...then the truth came *sigh*. But it is appropriate, I suppose, to do Stowell's version. I should learn not to get my hopes up.
  20. Sunday, February 15th I think that HockeyFan has said it all...and I am glad that he pointed out Francia Russel's point regarding the penche in Agon. I for one was spellbound during Louise and Oliver's pas de deux, I think they almost made me forget about the choreography that I was watching...almost. I never look forward to seeing Divertimento--its sweet, its nice, its Divertimento. As a dancer and teacher I watch the dancers on stage and lover what they are doing, appreciating all the detail they put it. As a choreographer I watch it and think, 'wow, that Balanchine really knows his craft, gosh durn it...check out that canon.' It's all very nice, but I never get excited about it. Afterwards I'm grateful for the two-dollar coffee bar in the lobby. Then I see Agon...for the first time, ever. I see it, and as an artist I despair. It's just that good. I've always known it was a masterpiece, I've just never seen it before. I couldn't even begin to pick it apart it my mind while watching it. I couldn't begin to understand what made it so great, I just had to sit there in awe of it all. It's been along time since I was hit with the enormity of Balanchine's talent, I guess I needed a wake up call...and I got it. I didn't hardly register Brahms-Schoenberg for the first three movements, my brain was still reeling from Agon. Somewhere in my head I thought 'oh pretty' during sections...but that was about it. Until the last section of course, then I thought 'oh fun, I wanna do me some character again.'
  21. As I watched The Two Towers AGAIN yesterday, I was thinking along the lines that the older elves (Galadriel, Elrond, Celeborn) all seemed to have that more grounded feeling...maybe you only get that after 5000 years instead of 2000... I was also noticing that during fight sequences, Orlando's physicality to me became much more interesting. Instead of just floating above ground he seemed to become one with everything, the supreme action hero.
  22. Being known to be somewhat of a 'punk', I'm feeling a bit of internal pressure to answear to this thread. Maybe I should start by first stating why a good deal of people refer to me as...a 'punk'. On the outset its obvious...purple hair, tatoos, clothing you would never find in a department store, on and on. Then you dig a bit deeper and you see the music (fast, furious, no holds barred wether its Sex Pistols, Steve Reich, or Ritalin Kids). Go a bit further down that track and you see where it all comes from...a love of chaos (not anarchy), a love of extremes, a love of truth. Put them together with a personality that lives to the extreme in the moment...you get somewhat of that 'punk' personality. After stating all that, I feel like I can tackle this thread. Why do I, as a punk type...why do I LOVE ballet? Hmm, maybe I should break this down, why do I love to DO ballet, why do I love to watch ballet... Why do I love to DO ballet? It is extreme. it pushes everything to its maximum. It particular I love the extreme of the exhaustion. You go to a concert at a club and you can somewhat experience that. But its nothing compared to what taking a class in classical ballet technique does to your body. There is so much truth in it. Your soul is bared, your mind is completly open, and your body is broken down to its bare roots to express what nothing else could possibly do. It is not chaotic, however it is so dependent on the moment that it borders on that. If one step is taken wrong, then the body goes into chaos to try and regain itself...and that to me is exciting, walking that line between the ultimate control and chaos. Why do I love to WATCH ballet? ok, honest truth...if I wasn't a dancer more than likely I would never watch classical or romantic ballet. Modern and contemporary dance is a different story. Because I am a dancer, I understand the extremes of ballet and I can appreciate them...but they don't thrill me. Rarely has that happened, and those times it has always been contemporary ballet. The fact that there is not alot of truth in classical ballet on the stage turns me off also. It always hits me as contrived, not relevant, and not current. I want something that hits me as something real and in the moment, not something that was created over a hundred years ago. Alot of that is performance, and the fact that so many dancers don't seem to be willing to give themselves totally over and let go of that safety net of technique...and instead just trust that it will be there to hold them up, and in the meantime take the risk and push everything further. Theres nothing terribly chaotic about ballet, especially since not many performers are willing to push themselves that much further and take the risk. Holy cow...that got a bit long didn't it. Well, there you go... an answear from a 'punk' dancer. I think I'm going to go listen to The All American Rejects, they're one of those new punkers, you know (to quote Henry Rollins) they look like one of the Replacements thats been drug through the gutter for three blocks. m/ >-< m/
  23. ...please excuse me while I get all kinds of excited about the Tolkien thread, my true geekdom shines through on this topic... Indeed, as Major Mel was pointing out...the Tale of Luthien and Beren has so much dance in it. I was thrilled out of my mind when Butler Ballet was going to do it this year, then...alas, it had to be changed. I think I shed a few tears over that one. But on the subject or Orlando Bloom. I think I am the only person in the world who didn't enjoy his physicality in the role. He reminded me of the classical ballet dancers who cannot succed in the more contemporary roles because they aren't grounded and they have no sense of weight. I know, I know...he's an elf, they are light on their feet. But I always imagined that because of hundreds of years that they live, that they would be more grounded into the earth and more in tune with it with their physicality...instead of just floating above it. Ahhh, finally...my two cents worth on that topic. All of my fellow geek friends look at me with blank stares when I start talking about that.
  24. I didn't notice Pinkerton's friends that much. I did think Jonah Hooper did a wonderful job as Sharpless, though--and I would say that he outdanced Jim Stein. But, I think the physical characteristics of the leads played more in their casting than the dancing itself. Big burly man, little tiny woman. The times I have seen Atlanta Ballet since John McFall has been director I have been let down. The dancers still do a great job, but I just never find what they are doing to be interesting anymore. Maybe I was spoiled a bit growing up while Robert Barnett was still the director--then the ballet seemed to be much more well-rounded and interesting. Now its like watching Disney on ice.
  25. I haven't seen Atlanta Ballet in a couple of years, I happened to be in town, though so I was able to see Butterfly. The casting didn't bother me so much...the choreography was what really bugged me. I went into it with really high expectations because I had heard so many great things about Stanton Welch and Madame Butterfly, my mistake obviously. While it was the best new choreography for a new full-length story ballet that I have seen, it just seemed so trite. I felt that the choreographer tried to tell to much of the story instead of paring it down to its basics to let the audience truly understand what was going on without relying on the notes. In fact, the only part that I felt was interesting at all was the pas de deux at the end of the first act between butterfly and Pinkerton. With that particular sequence I could see that I would probably like Welch as a choregrapher for smaller scaled more abstract works. He had very innovated partnering that flowed in and out of movements without obvious breaks in movement, but the rest of the show I had to laugh at at times because it was so predictable and unimaginative. The dancers I felt did as good a job as they could with the choreography, and I personally had no problems with casting--and I would be curious to know what problems you thought there were. I saw the Friday Night cast. On an additional note, I heard a rumor that Madame Butterfly is Julianne Spratlin's last performance with Atlanta Ballet and that she will be dancing with Joffrey. I have to wonder if the lack of interesting repretoire is one of the main reasons this wonderful artist is possibly leaving.
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