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About ralphsf

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  1. ralphsf


    I don't think it's all a matter of technique. Quite simply, I don't like that generation of English dancers that Fonteyn belonged to. I've always felt the English have tried to lionize artists like Helpman and Soames who were just not great artists. She's never appealed to me because she just plain doesn't seem like a very expressive dancer. Even dancing with Rudy, I find her to be a cold fish and have always been perplexed by her stardom. Did she have an exciting stage presense? (in fairness, I've never seen her on stage, only in videos, including some from earlier in her career). I don't ex
  2. Kolpakova had a rep of being a brilliant technician but not a very expressive dancer. In the four or five videos I've seen of her, she seems like a very cold dancer and not someone who put much character into her steps. I suspect Fonteyn (not my favorite dancer either) was intimidated by Russian dancers. From what I've seen, I think Sizova and Shelest were hands down better than Kolpakova.
  3. To me, a much bigger issue than whether someone can toss off turns is... how to they use the movement to express what the character is going through, and how they phrase and dance through the music. I can't stand watching technicians do turns with blank faces or looking like they're grunting, not really hitting the beats of the music and generally looking like an elementary school gymnastics show. I want artistry, movement and performance, not classroom pyrotechnics. For pure technical turning, I don't think anyone could match Yoko Ichino for speed and holding her spot when she was younger. Do
  4. Sorry, I don't buy that Plisetskaya couldn't do the 32 turns. Look at her in the Little Humpbacked Horse video, and you'll see that she tosses them off without so much as a drop of perspiration. Where do you get this idea she couldn't do them? I think this idea was spread in Makarova's book in the 70's. If anything, Makarova had a hard time doing them... she was a magnificent dancer but not the strongest technician. Correct me if I'm wrong but, as I understand it, the version of Swan Lake Plisetskaya danced was the version by Gorsky from the 1920's which didn't use the 32 fouettés and that thi
  5. I (unfortunately) bought the Ananiashvi/Fedayachev Perm ballet video. Didn't like it. The dancing by the Perm ballet performers is fine. Of course, they have the stupid Jester, who is danced well in this production but, as always, superfluous and annoying. Alexei Fedayachev is not bad but I've always found him and his father not especially interesting. Father and son were both great partners but added little of themselves to the role and lacked excitment or drama. And as for Nina... well, I found her so-so. Her dancing can be so gawky and her limbs flapping all over that dispite her formidable
  6. Lack of attack when it's needed. I don't like mushy dancing. Sloppy work in the arms and especially the torso. I don't like dancers who are tight in the torso and shoulders. Related to lack of musicality (a big problem) is sloppy phrasing. Dancers who don't know how to punctuate a phrase. Dancers who don't hold their beats long enough. Dancers who look like they're counting onstage, not dancing and experiencing the music and/or performing a breathing character. General lack of stage sense and projection. I see many dancers who just look lost onstage. Ballet is a performance, not just an extens
  7. She also had a part in Billy Wilder's "The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes", where she is also very white skinned with intense red lipstick.
  8. I am also a big fan of the Bessmertnova/Lavrovsky Giselle from the 70's. Lavrovsky is the best Albrecht, period. While I don't think Bessmertnova is quite up to the level of Fracci, she's still very good. And the Myrtha, production, filming and mood of video are the best of all the one's I've seen. The Bruhn-Fracci Giselle has wonderful dancing (Toni Lander) but terrible camera work. Ted Kivitt's performance in the peasant dance is all but ruined by moronic cutaways and shot selection. Bruhn is wonderful, but I still find him to be somewhat of a cold fish (have you ever seen him in a performan
  9. Saw the Sunday matinee of this program. Pacific: Not a big fan of this piece. Not one of Morris' best for my money. I think it really should have been choreographed on a modern dance company... the ballet moves seemed pieced onto it. But it was well danced, especially by Kristin Long and Guennadi Nedviguine. Magrittomania: A great addition to the repertory. Yuri Possokhov might have limited choreography experience, but he certainly emerged full-blown with this piece. I love the way he linkes phrases in this work and uses focus and minimalism where needed to let the audience digest the moveme
  10. Here's info about the 2002 season at SFB: [san Francisco Ballet's 2001-2002 season will include the company's first-ever productions of George Balanchine's "Jewels" and Jerome Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering" as well as world premieres by Julia Adam, Christopher Wheeldon and Yuri Possokhov. The season, to be announced today by artistic director Helgi Tomasson, also will include revivals of what many consider the company's two most successful full-length productions, Lar Lubovitch's "Othello" and Tomasson's "Giselle." San Francisco Ballet is dancing the European premiere of "Othello" in Pari
  11. I don't think she's like a regular Balanchine prototypical American dancer (who mostly dance from the waist down), but she doesn't seem unually like a Russian one either. I always think most good Russian dancers have unusually expressive torsos, arms and backs and very clean line and phrasing. They are very well finished. That doesn't mean they're always better at dancing or better technicians. I think Zahorian has a bright future ahead of her. I would love to see her as Juliet. But there are a lot of good dancers among SFB's soloists and corp. It's a company that's really packed with talent.
  12. Does anyone who lives outside the US (or inside) have any information about the western European or US translation of Maya Plisetskaya's autobiography "I, Maya Plisetskaya." I speak a little Russian, but not well enough to read it (it's about 500 pages). I have seen the book selling in Russian book stores in San Francisco, and in online Russian bookstores like kniga.com. A russian teacher of mine read the book and says its incredible and was a huge best seller in Russia. It's a real tell-all about soviet ballet from the late 40's to the present. She goes into all the conflicts at the Bolshoi,
  13. The sets and costumes were pretty (well, NOT the ugly wig they stuck on the Prince), but they weren't really matched by the style of the performing. Russian ballet is full of demi-character moves. Some of the most famous solos have a lot of folk dance in them. The fairy dances of the prologue should be brimming with personality and spice. I just didn't see any of this. I think SFB actually has plenty of dough for their productions. Their Nutcracker is fairly lavish, just the choreography and staging are flat. What I find less than satisfying about Helgi's tenture is that his productions are of
  14. Dancers I wish I could have seen in person: Yuri Soloviev - Not a great performer, but an unmatched technician. Mikhail Lavrovsky - I've seen him in a tape of Giselle, Spartacus and dancing the variation from Don Quixote, and I think he's just amazing. He creates long phrases in his dancing like no one else I've seen. Alla Sizova - Her Aurora from the 1965 Kirov Sleeping Beauty (mentioned earlier on this thread) is one of my favorite performances in any video. As I understand it, she injured her back when she was in her late 20's and was never quite the same. An magical dancer. Carla Fracc
  15. I've seen two performances of SFB's Sleeping Beauty and have very mixed views of it. My big problem with it is the choreography and staging. I don't think much of Helgi Tomasson's choreography and stage craft, even though I think he's done a wonderful job putting together excellent talent in SFB. There are several key areas where I think this production has shortcomings: 1) Sleeping Beauty is a fairy tale, but this staging has little fantasy, little whimsy, no drama and not much magic 2)he's made the fairies all but meaningless... he's added cavaliers to the fairies in the prologue (a bad move
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