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About SandyMcKean

  • Rank
    Platinum Circle
  • Birthday 03/23/1945

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    totally consumed with balletomane fever
  • City**
    Guemes Island (90 minutes north of Seattle)
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**

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  1. SandyMcKean

    Current Dancer News

    OMG.....my dream girl! If there are 2 things I love above all else (except my wife, of course) they are: ballet and backpacking. (Well, I guess I have to add skiing to the list too.) I love mountain hiking so much I once took 5 months and backpacked 1000 miles without stopping except to re-supply. Not only is Leah gorgeous, and an innovative dancer overflowing with musicality, but she loves to hike!
  2. SandyMcKean

    Royal Ballet cinemas season 2017-2018

    I saw the RB's new Swan Lake in a local cinema a few weeks ago. I must admit I had mixed reactions (but then I have never seen the Dowell production). On this we totally agree.
  3. SandyMcKean

    Love & Ballet: June 1-2, 7-10

    I couldn't agree more......especially the "the musicality of her phrasing" part. Leslie isn't just a dancer, but an artist.
  4. SandyMcKean

    Emergence: April 13-14 and 19-22

    Helene, you produce such excellent reviews, and this time I was strongly attracted to your word "tanks".....it conjures up so many thoughts. I think I get what you are saying, but I was more interested in how that sentence gave me insight into how you see dance (not that I'm right, I'm just sharing my thoughts here). You and I speak often about dance, many times in person. I'm frequently struck by how we nearly always agree about the strengths of a particular dancer, but just as frequently disagree about which ballets we like . Your use of the word "tank" got me to thinking. You know 5 times what I will ever know about dance, but it just struck me that you may not give one aspect of dance the priority that I do; namely, drama. Outside of the dancers themselves, I submit that you place most weight on the choreography (hence "tank"); where I place the most weight on how the ballet, like other performing arts, creates drama (Gesamtkunstwerk, anyone? ) After seeing last weekend's 3 performances, and unexpectedly to me, I came to the conclusion that my favorite work was RAkU. Why? Drama! What I love best about ballet (true for opera and theater too) is the emotion it invokes in me, the new thoughts it creates for me, or perhaps how it can re-arrange my existing thoughts into a new order or into a new perspective. Even something like Agon, creates these feeling in me -- albeit on a very abstract level. For me, RAkU did that in spades. On my first viewing, I wasn't even sure I liked it; on the 3rd viewing, I was emotionally exhausted (a good thing in my world). I must say that much of that response was the privilege of having seen Noelani Pantastico play the Princess role twice. What ever else that lady brings to the stage, she strikingly brings drama. Much like she did with those 9 back to back performances of Juliette some years ago, Noe became her character in RAkU. With her, it's not a matter of her believably as a character, she is the character. Like a great actress, Noelani allows herself to experience real-time who her character is and how that character is feeling. Brava Noe! And Brava again. Not to diminish others. I give the highest marks to Kyle Davis for his creation of the Monk. He made me shutter with the despise I felt. He was relentless (not to mention his always superb technique and flow). I saw Lindsi Dec as the Princess too; and altho I can't give her the highest praise I give Noe, Lindsi came as close to Noe's level as is possible without having Noe's extraordinary acting gift. It was obvious last Saturday evening at the curtain calls after Lindsi's debut performance, that she had left it all on that stage.....she could hardly stand.....she was spent, and then some. (It was sweet to see her husband Karel take her hand as he stood next to her during one of the many ovations to support her as if to say: "I'm here; everything's going to be all right." Thank you PNB, and thank you to the art of ballet, for creating such exquisite drama in my being. Opera comes close, but for me, ballet is even more direct, even more powerful, and certainly the most beautiful at creating my connection to others thru art. Like it or not, be offended or not, be disturbed or not, RAkU is my pick for being the highlight of this adventurous and magnificent program. P.S. And yes, I am one of those who thought this program was the best I've seen in several years.
  5. SandyMcKean

    Royal Ballet cinemas season 2017-2018

    2 hours north of Seattle (near the Canadian border) at the Pickford Theater we get it on May 20. It pays to check you local theater listings.
  6. Amen to that! Everyone raves about her technical skill, and as a CPYB trained dancer that is not surprising, but for me even more thrilling is the way Leta interprets dance. She does a million little things that create art out of steps and positions: there's a slight hesitation here before she moves on; an extra flex to her wrist there that conveys meaning when none existed before; a turn of her head that has me think "her character is remembering"; and most of all, her sheer abandon to the joy of dancing. Leta is a treasure......and I treasure her. P.S. BTW, all of this is evident even in the short video clip above.
  7. SandyMcKean

    2018-19 season Pacific Northwest Ballet

    Now THAT'S a pair I love to see more of!
  8. I guess my problem is that I love ballet!
  9. I saw One Flat Thing 5 times when it was first done in 2008. The first time, I didn't like it at all. I wasn't of the mood, like some, that I should be angry and leave the hall.....I just didn't get it.....but I've learned over the years, that when I don't like something, it's usually me, and not the piece. Second time, it grew on me just enough such that I became neutral. Then in one of his lectures, Doug Fullington mentioned this technique where the dancers must key off each other instead of depending on the music. WOW.....the third time, I got it, and found the piece fascinating and exciting. The fourth time I started to see Balanchine here and there and every where (that's not surprising since those who know way more than I often talk about the connection between these two choreographers). All of this came into sharp focus the fifth time. Oh, am I glad I stuck it out! One Flat Thing is now one of my absolute favorite piece of all time.....right up there with Agon and Square Dance. In this season I've been looking forward to One Flat Thing more than any other ballet......except perhaps Ezra Thompson's new work. Ezra grabbed my eye years ago, and he keeps blowing me away with his talent, commitment, and his invention. Now to see all of that mature into a 22 minute statement is about as exciting as it gets for me. Imagine all of this is ONE program........yipee!
  10. SandyMcKean

    Swan Lake, February 2-3 and 8-11

    I saw all 3 performances of the 1st weekend. I loved them all for different reasons. For me Neolani Pantasico hit the ball the furthest. She had a superb balance of precision, emotion, acting, stage presence, power, and musicality. I was greatly disappointed that Elle Macy had to be pulled from the weekend (no, I don't know what happened)....she excites me like no other lately! I particularly enjoyed the 3 Wolfgangs: Moore was the dynamic pro that sets the standard (as he so often does), Davis was so elegant while extended, and Thompson (subbing for Moore) was so creative and character laden. Ezra has impressed me from when I first saw him in a PD class several years ago, and has continued to do so all along the way. Lately his dancing has become so refined....and that man is always aware of his character's motivations! I agree with Helene: Stowell is wonderful at telling story and creating community among dancers. IMO, it is this side of Stowell that makes Wolfgang work so well in this production. I don't usually see the depth in his choreography that I often see in others, but I always see his humanity.
  11. SandyMcKean

    Swan Lake, February 2-3 and 8-11

    Is she the one with a blue top and mid-thigh, black "whatever-they-are's"?
  12. Thanks for the replies. Well, I went to my local theater at 1pm and sure enough Hansel & Gretel did play at that time. As Helene implied, this performance seems to have been outside the normal MetHD process.....some sort of holiday presentation. It was abbreviated since almost all the between-acts interviews were cut, and indeed the entire intermission was cut. The 2017/2018 on-stage performances of Hansel & Gretel don't start until 12/18, and according to the synopsis, this cinema presentation I saw yesterday was a recording from 1/1/08 (Cootes & Schaefer) I'd never seen Hansel & Gretel before, but always wanted to. Frankly, I was disappointed. Probably just me (I was hang over from a wild party the night before ). In particular, I found the "food thing" over done. I was hoping to love the music given that Humperdinck's music is so closely related to Wagner (who is at the top in my pantheon), but I didn't. Lots of great colors in the orchestra as one might expect given the Wagnerian influence, but somehow the music left me flat emotionally. I think I was just having a bad day.........
  13. Does anyone know the facts here...... I plan to see Hansel & Gretel tomorrow (Saturday) in the cinema. I am on the west coast. Normally these performances start at 10am since they are live and the MET matinee in NYC starts at 1pm. However, Hansel & Gretel is scheduled to start at 1pm both here on the west coast and in NYC. I've checked several theaters in the Seattle area and they all say 1pm....but that does seem possible. (BTW, all other MET cinema performances for the rest of the season are scheduled for 10am as per normal; only Hansel & Gretel is at 1pm.)
  14. SandyMcKean

    Her Story: November 3-4, 9-12

    I don't care what you have to do to insure you see Plot Point more than once.....just do it! This is a ballet of pure genius. Such things only come around a very few times in a lifetime. The first viewing will almost certainly overwhelm you. Pite creates (....and that's the operative word when it comes to Crystal Pite....CREATES) so much new, so much detail in drama, movement, scenery, lighting, intellectual understanding, deep physiological resonances within you, and story, always story, that your brain just can't absorb it all. On first viewing, I found myself in a race with my brain attempting to "figure it out", or as I suspect Crystal might say "compelled to make story", of what my eyes were seeing and my ears were hearing, that I was left basically confused (but exhilarated). On my second viewing the next day, I could leave all that "making sense" behind; I already knew what was happening; now the sheer power of the piece could occupy my being. It was an experience I will never forget. I saw it a third time later that day, this was probably the most satisfying viewing of all three. In any case, just take my word....see this piece, but if you don't see it twice, you may not have seen it at all.
  15. SandyMcKean

    Her Story: November 3-4, 9-12

    Well, it's probably correct then. It confused me because for Plot Point for the last 3 performances, starting with the 3rd dancer down, the order of the characters changes (at least I guess that's what happens). So for example, Cruz's character changes to Foster.....not likely . From that point down none of the characters line up with previous performances as they usually do. Assuming the list of dancers is correct, no big deal, except it makes it harder for me to scan across to see which dancers in which cast I've already seen (I do that often in order to determine which night has the most cast changes, and therefore the night I most likley want to see on the 2nd weekend).