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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. My local arts theater (medium sized town) is showing La Bayadere this Sunday (along with 5 other ROH ballets this season).
  2. 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 .
  3. SandyMcKean

    All Premiere, November 2-3, 8-11

    I love the violinists in the background!
  4. 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.
  5. 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]
  6. 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??
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. SandyMcKean

    2018-19 season Pacific Northwest Ballet

    Now THAT'S a pair I love to see more of!
  14. I guess my problem is that I love ballet!
  15. 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!