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About SandyMcKean

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    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. I watched this rehearsal video last night. What a treat! So well done like everything Lindsay Thomas does (I assume it is her video). Focusing was a problem, but that is to be expected in an ad hoc situation like this. Thanks PNB for getting me "in the studio". BTW, does anyone know which part Francia did in the original cast?
  2. I loved this rep. I saw all 3 performances on the 1st weekend. Strangely, my favorite was different at each performance: Bacchus on Friday night, The Trees on Sat afternoon, and Kings on Sat night. I'm sure part of that is where you sit. I sat in the front row for The Trees when it became my favorite, and I sat in the Dress Circle when Kings was my favorite. I really, really do think that The Trees should be seen from close rather than from far. Most of all I was just in awe of how fabulous our PNB dancers are. Is there anything they can't do.....and do superbly? All seemed to be having the time of their lives....just plain having fun. They work so well together as a team. If I had to pick a stand out from all the many, many terrific performances, it would have to be Elle Macy in Kings (Merchant right behind in Trees). That Elle Macy floors me these days is no surprise....she's been the apple of my eye for a couple of seasons now 😏
  3. Agon has been my favorite ballet for many years. So glad to be able to see it again. Last time they did it, Leslie Rausch just blew me away. Somehow her impressive musicality even extended to these essentially impossible to count rhythms.......Stravinsky must sit on her shoulder. I get all excited when I think of our "even-more-accomplished-and-polished-dancers-since-last-time" doing it. For example, imagining Elle Macy in Agon makes me swoon.
  4. Dreamer, I've been a huge fan of Leslie's for many years (ever since she first caught my eye in the back of the corps....to use your words: "I don’t think you can look at anyone else when she is on stage.") Your entire description of Leslie and her artistry above is so well put, it even brought some moisture to my eyes.
  5. My local arts theater (medium sized town) is showing La Bayadere this Sunday (along with 5 other ROH ballets this season).
  6. I am thrilled that my local "art" cinema finally posted its dates for the ROH season. This theater doesn't do them on the "official" dates, but does them later and always on Sundays late mornings (which works really well for me). Here's a few they posted: - Kenneth MacMillan: Mayerling - at Pickford 11/18/18 @ 11:00am - La Bayadère (production by Natalia Makarova) - at Pickford 12/30/18 @ 11:00am - Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades - at Pickford 3/3/19 @ 11:00am - MacMillan: Romeo and Juliet - at Pickford 7/21/19 @ 11:00am No Nutcracker or Die Walküre though .
  7. I can hardly believe it, but my local theater in a small town (Anacortes with 17,000 people) in the very NW corner of the USA is showing it, but not until November 24th.
  8. All is well....... FPF called it. I searched the web and found a name, and after a couple of calls, tracked down the guy who represents the Royal screening effort here in America. I just got off the phone with him. He assured me that the Royal will be doing both opera and ballet screening for the 2018/2019 season. I was worried that with the Mayerling live screening scheduled in just 2 weeks, it was too late for the Royal to get it together. He pointed out that the Royal makes no effort in the USA to schedule its screenings near the live date. Indeed, they are usually 6 to 12 weeks out. He said they were very close to announcing the USA program. So stay tuned! We had quite a conversation. There was good news and some not so good news. The good news is that the Royal is committed to continue screening in the USA. The bad news is that there is a lot of debate within that part of the company as to how much effort and resources should be expended in the USA. He didn't say it exactly, but I'm sure it's about butts in the seats. He did say that the company is analyzing what titles play best in the USA. I asked that please, please, please don't do just Sleeping Beauties, and that the ballet art form needs to support lesser known pieces to keep the art alive and vibrant. He totally agreed, and assured me that the Royal will never abandon screenings of new and unusual pieces. I asked about the complaint I hear here on Ballet Alert a lot; namely, why don't they do a better job of "getting the word out". He admitted there is much to improve on that front, and that they (or at least he) are working on it. He felt the websites are not easy to use, and that there is no consistency in the screening dates so launching a media blitz is impossible because the screening date can be months apart in different locations around the USA. Finally, one little tid-bit. He said for the Royal they get better attendance at the ballet screenings than at the opera screenings. I found that pleasing since I am first and foremost a ballet fan. But I do go to lots of opera screenings too (probably more than ballet since opera more available in my area), and I find larger audiences for opera than ballet. He thought the reason ballet out performed opera for the Royal was the competition from the Met Opera screenings which dominate the market. [later edit......BTW, this guy lives and works in New York]
  9. Say it isn't so! I can only find these broadcasts in 1 theater in the whole of the USA (NYC of course). If I can't see Steven McRae in Mayerling I'll going to kill. Is this some sort of British punishment for our crassness in electing a fool as President??
  10. 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!
  11. 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.
  12. I couldn't agree more......especially the "the musicality of her phrasing" part. Leslie isn't just a dancer, but an artist.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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