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Everything posted by Buddy

  1. What appears to be an interesting debut, Alyona Kovalyova as Mekhmene Banu in Yuri Grigorovich's famous classic, The Legend of Love, May 29. Scanning the castings over the years, this has been a role that has generally been given to Maria Alexandrova, Ekaterina Shipulina and Ekaterina Krysanova, all appearing in this series, and Maria Allash, who's now Olga Smirnova's coach. And -- Olga Smirnova, who's been out for a long time because of illness, returned May 8 partnered by Semyon Chudin as Orlando in Christian Spuck's Orlando. Welcome back, Olga Smirnova !
  2. I just watched the video of the ABT live performances at the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, California from about a week ago. I briefly glanced at all the works but the one that I stuck with to the end was INDESTRUCTIBLE LIGHT Choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie Music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Neal Hefti, and Billy Strayhorn This was simply one of those new works that you say when it's finished, " That was good ! " The music list speaks for itself and the dancers didn't look like ballet dancers trying to do something else. They were genuinely jazzy, cool, fit the music just fine and did a darn good job. The choreography does justice to the music. It's fun, clever, virtuoso and believable. Here's a description of the program which can be viewed until May 26 for $25. https://mailchi.mp/abt/dont-miss-abts-special-events-and-exclusive-offers-784125?e=376617b4e6
  3. The world of George Balanchine does really surprise and delight me at times. My preference in dance is for the more graceful and dreamlike. George Balanchine is probably most famous for his genius invention and a more energetic and intellectual approach. But, he's also created some of the most beautiful lyrical works that I've ever seen. Now, as somewhat of a new discovery, are his waltzes. The performance by Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour is absolutely lovely. It opens up a new area of beauty. The waltz, as I recall from my teenage dance lessons and general tv viewing, is beautiful but perhaps more about uniformity than creativity. Then along comes George Balanchine with, as he did with so many things, a new world of possibilities. The waltz becomes a point of departure into dreamlike beauty. I'm very impressed with the lyrical invention of the Liebeslieder Walzer excerpt. By the way, the manner in which this was filmed, using the natural light from the huge front windows to create contrasting light and shadow on Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour, especially on their faces, is very finely and artistically done. Their silhouetting is also very effective. All this sent me on a quick exploration of the entire work and George Balanchine's Vienna Waltzes. I'm particularly caught up in Suzanne Farrell's solo dancing at the end of Vienna Waltzes. The idea of waltzing solo, in itself, is intriguing, and in such a personally expressive way. Then George Balanchine blends this into an artistically exciting, Broadway-like finale. And the way that he comes up with so many other possibilities throughout both these works is highly impressive. I look forward to exploring much more of this area of his creativity.
  4. Because I brought in Maria Khoreva's performance of Christopher Wheeldon's After The Rain as an example of the Mariinsky's ability to deal with a cross cultural and stylistic different situation, I also watched once again Wendy Whelan's performance. She's been credited at times with actually helping to create this work. Maria Khoreva is a very distinct artist, but she also shows where the Mariinsky as a whole is exceptional. That would be in -- beauty of motion. As an individual, she's very young but has very fine artistic maturity. In After The Rain, her expressive performance is one of a young woman, but one who has a great deal on emotional understanding. Her youth, for me, adds to the charm. Her Mariinsky fineness of dance, very impressive for her young age, is what sets her performance apart. All considered, I think that it's a very fine compliment to Wendy Whelan's (and Craig Hall's) more maturely felt and heart touching performance. Here once more (starting at 14:10) Wendy Whelan and Craig Hall, After The Rain.
  5. It was very nice to see this return to Lincoln Center. Hopefully before too long the company will be in full swing again. I particularly liked the Liebeslieder Walzer (excerpt). I think that it was a beautiful choice. Maria Kowroski and Ask la Cour were elegant. The performance was absolutely lovely. The choice of setting and photography was very fine. I also enjoyed much of Ashley Bouder and Russel Janzen in the Duo Concertant (excerpt) and found the large group Divertimento No. 15 to be fun and brilliant. It capsulised the way that George Balanchine could be in control of so many elements. When the work might seem to start drifting, something brilliant (footwork, formations) would occur to elevate and carry it away. I also liked the few moments at the end when several of the dancers were filmed closeup from the side, blocking the full view of the of the others -- someone seemed to be really thinking "Degas".
  6. Thanks, Helene, and some more. “His quietly expert handling of Miss Farrell in the ballet’s tumbled lifts recalls his reputation as one of the most secure and sensitive partners around. (Washington Post) "The man lived LARGE and with the most open and loving heart." (Harrison Coll, a dancer at New York City Ballet in Dance Magazine) (Thanks again to Jan McNulty for these)
  7. In thinking about the beautiful performances that we've just discussed and the many others, I recently discovered this. It somehow feels appropriate. It's a verse that the famous ballet dancer, Jacques d'Amboise found and sent to the well-known ballet critic Alastair Macaulay. I've already posted it elsewhere, but I'd like to put it here as well. Let The Beauty Of What You Love Be What You Do
  8. Jacques d'Amboise, who partnered Allegra Kent so beautifully, in what I consider to be one of the finest works of art that I've ever seen, sent this poem that he found to Alastair Macaulay in 2020. Let The Beauty Of What You Love Be What You Do https://www.alastairmacaulay.com/all-essays/hdqg2zmr539rtn3sio9kmm5pvye5i2 (Thanks to Jan McNulty at BalletcoForum)
  9. Agreed once again, ECat. Drew, when you get into some of the more beautiful adagio Balanchine, the Mariinsky can be pretty impressive. As a related example, here's what Maria Khoreva (with Vladimir Shklyarov) can do with Christopher Wheeldon's After The Rain. (Posted at Maria Khoreva's site) And if you turn Yekaterina Kondaurova loose on some of the jazzier stuff you might be in for a very pleasant surprise.
  10. A man with a very fine career as well as being a very sympathetic human being and social benefactor. As famous as he was as a performer, I always appreciated what he did after. Here from the New York Time's obituary: "He retired from performance the next year and turned his attentions to National Dance Institute, which takes dance into public schools and which he founded in 1976. "Now the goal is to offer free classes to all, no matter the child’s background or ability. Today the institute teaches thousands of New York City children ages 9 to 14 and is affiliated with 13 dance institutes around the world. The institute, which has its headquarters in Harlem, where Mr. d’Amboise lived, was profiled in Emile Ardolino’s 1983 Oscar-winning documentary, “He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’.”" (Thanks to Bruce Wall at BalletcoForum) And you might have heard me mention him here: https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/45542-allegra-kent-—-a-midsummer-nights-dream”-—-act-ii-divertissement-duet/?tab=comments#comment-433226
  11. I really agree with you, Drew, about Oxana Skorik's and Kimin Kim's very fine performance, especially in Act II. In regard to Maria Iliushkina, you probably recall a video of her entire first Swan Lake at the Mariinsky that was taken off the internet after a day. I believe that you didn't get a chance to see it, but I watched some and it did show at that time that she had the ability to well accomplish a full performance. Her White Swan Duet was particularly impressive and revealing. As unassuming as she is, she has persevered. There are early video clips of her performing Giselle and Odette at what seem to be non-Mariinsky galas. When the rest of the company was on vacation she performed the Lilac Fairy with a satellite company at the Mariinsky. She did another gala appearance, maybe as Odette, at what seemed to be a private Mariinsky gala. She's performed a least one extra stand-in evening, a Swan Lake, during this virus laden season. And of not unessential note she's done all these with very fine ability. I've also seen, as you have, how well she's held up and shone through the Raymonda performances, one the most demanding works for a ballerina. I believe that there are seven or more solos required. I haven't watched all the segments very carefully, but I've seen in at least one, how she's imparted a noticeably fine and personally styled nuancing that's very impressive. ECat, I also agree very much with your comment: "The videos up of Giselle with Skorik and Kim and indeed beautiful! I especially love their chemistry in the ACT 1 excerpt. Kim is such a strong and attentive partner. The lines that Skorik can achieve are sublime."
  12. A few more nice video clips can be found. One is of Giselle with Oxana Skorik and Kimin Kim. Oxana Skorik continues to 'experiment' in her nuancing, mostly by adding expression. In this performance I would say that it's most appreciated in her magnificent sculpture, which in itself conveys wonderful feeling. Kimin Kim continues to exhibit his remarkable dance prowess with a very fine development of character. Some more of Maria Iliushkina shows her most recent performance of Raymonda. They highlight her range, which adds insight into why she has progressed as well as she has. Her basic loveliness remains her outstanding feature and it can be seen in an older video from this series of her White Swan Duet (Swan Lake). All this, for me, continues to show that ballet is, in a way, a 'soul' of expression.
  13. I also feel that the young Bella Jones is a very lovely dancer and hope that she has a fine future in ballet.
  14. There've been three Raymondas in a row. A video from yesterday's features Yekaterina Kondaurova (with Andrei Yermakov) at her statuesque finest. The way that she can switch seamlessly from classical to any other style remains remarkable. Not only is she the Mariinsky's stellar performer of anything different from the classical norm, but she can do the hallmark of classicism, Odette/Odile from Swan Lake, as finely as anyone. Also interesting, her husband, Islom Baimuradov, will be appearing as Alexei Karenin from Anna Karenina, which will feature Viktoria Tereshkina. Like Yekaterina Kondaurova, he's an accomplished, multi-talented performer. He's primarily a Character/Actor, probably the finest after the amazing Vladimir Ponomarev, but also an impressively versatile dancer. Alina Somova and Maria Iliushkina were featured in the other two Raymondas, which should have been quite outstanding as well. Casting is now available for most of May. It looks quite fine. Some personal highlights are Alina Somova (with the remarkable Kimin Kim), Oxana Skorik, Renata Shakirova and Maria Khoreva as Giselle, Maria Iliushkina and Maria Bulanova (whom I'm liking very much in just about anything) as Medora in Le Corsaire and Yekaterina Kondaurova in The Four Seasons, which she makes quite special. Alina Somova in The Bronze Horseman also sounds very interesting. https://www.mariinsky.ru/en/playbill/playbill/?type=ballet&year=2021&month=5
  15. American Ballet Theater live tomorrow, Sunday, April 25, Costa Mesa, California, at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Tickets can be had starting at $25 here: https://scfta.org/events/2021/uniting-in-movement The news release and description: https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/orange-county/entertainment/2021/04/24/dancers-with-american-ballet-theatre-emerge-from--bubble--ahead-of-live-performance# (Thanks to Jan McNulty at BalletcoForum)
  16. Already posted from today's noon performance, Yekaterina Osmolkina (partnered finely by Alexei Timofeyev) in a very beautiful and very heart touching presentation of George Balanchine's magnificent Act II Divertissement Duet from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  17. Today, announced as "an Evening of Contemporary Choreography," with two creations by Mariinsky dancers. One brief video clip shows Kristina Shapran. Those remarkably articulate hands should be patented. The work is an older and charming one, "At the wrong time," choreography by Alexander Sergeev. Also performed, "Russian dead ends–II," with a cast including Renata Shakirova. The work is choreographed by Maxim Petrov, who has produced some delightful 20 minuters. I don't recall this one. It looks a bit more on the serious side.
  18. Advise: Attach your computer to my television, which flattens everything, and the world should be round again. 🙂 But still...."so grateful to be able to watch Part's O/O."
  19. Having watched all her performance a few times I've settled in, as I usually do, to the famous White Swan duet, which is in Act I or Act II depending on the production. This duet usually follows the same structure as the one developed in Russia which has been refined for almost a century. This speaks to the fineness of this duet, which for me, represents the essence of ballet. I had the pleasure of being at a reception in St. Petersburg where Veronika Part was present after having made one of her rare performances there. She's a very beautiful woman, but one who's also very modest and unaffected as are almost all the ballet artists that I've encountered. The reason that I mention this is to note the remarkable difference when she takes to the stage. On stage she becomes a larger than life goddess and her range of character is amazing. The transformation is mind boggling. Her 'charaterization,' I believe, is the heart of her performing greatness. To state it simply, although the effect far transcends this - it's her face and its expression that are the reason for this. All her other abilities, such as her remarkable dance motion, are used to support this. But this is where the essence is. This is where the meaning and the greatness are. Her mental agility is also quite remarkable. In contrast to some great stage artists, when the curtain calls arrive at the end, she's radiantly back to earth. I've also been watching a video of the young Galina Ulanova performing the duet. The most noticeable quality is her almost transcendent purity. She literally seems to float at times and her presence does the same. Veronica Part, on the other hand, is more expressive and dramatic, but still has transcendence. Her amazing ability, it seems to me, is to be able to transform, to merge seamlessly and instantly, transcendence and compellingly embracing drama. She not only seems to live the character but also to elevate it to something with an all encompassing significance and emotional poetry.
  20. Thanks, Jack. These young dancers are very impressive.
  21. No matter what we think or write, above all, this performance speaks for itself. The only person performing now that I know of who has done comparably is the Bolshoi's Olga Smirnova, and both these artists come from the same Vaganova/Mariinsky beginnings. Veronika Part is probably the more sensitive and refined, Olga Smirnova the more intellectual with much promising development to look forward to. I've also seen Gillian Murphy in about as many of these as I have Veronika Part. I've often compared them very favorably. Veronika Part, I would say, stands out in her completeness. The one person who could command the stage at the same level, but in a completely different way at ABT in this performance, was Marcelo Gomes. Ulyana Lopatkina, from the Mariinsky, might have been the finest Odette/Odile in pure beauty of dance. The person who commanded this role, for me, but again in another quite different way, was the legendary Galina Ulanova. Her's is a more transcendental world, but in terms of compelling poetry of presence I would say that Veronika Part is very comparable.
  22. Going into Day II. I've seen her perform this live five or six times. I've written pages about it, some of it can probably be seen at her topic. Much of this was done to keep what I saw as alive as possible for as long as possible. Now that I have this in front of me, I just sit there -- Spellbound In Awe.
  23. I've now finished watching all of her dance segments. * ! Excellent ! * At times * ! Amazing ! *
  24. Thanks, California. I've now see all of her dancing through the opening White Swan/Odette Act. This is pretty darn good stuff so far. Highly recommended !
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