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Everything posted by Kanawha

  1. I was at ABT's Thursday evening mixed rep performance. 'Theme & Variations' didn't give me the goosebumps that it has in the past but I don't fault the dancers for that. I think I was sitting too close to the stage to get the real effect of the complete sweep and movement of the piece. I always knew that this ballet was Balanchine's mini tribute to the glory of old Czarist Russian Ballet, but I learned something new about it also that evening. I attended a talk given by Kevin McKenzie & Alexei Ratmansky and one of them said (I think it was Kevin) that it was akin to a mini Sleeping Beauty when Mr. Balanchine created it for ABT in the late forties. I've seen this ballet probably close to dozen times but after hearing that statement, I was finally able to really see SB in so much of it. DUH! Talking about missing the obvious! Ah well, this is why I love to go to those seminars. "Lilac Garden" is always beautifully done by this, it's home company, but Julie Kent seems to gain more depth in her roles each time I see her. My husband & I feel like we have watched her grow up on stage and it's been a lovely experience. A small minus - I know the lighting is always dark and moonlit but it seemed particularly dark this time for some reason. "Duo Concertant" has never been a top favorite of mine even when NYCB does it but it was a treat to watch David Hallberg & Maria Riccetto grace this piece. I look forward to watching Mr. Hallberg progress as he is already such a fine dancer in the Eric Bruhn tradition. God Bless South Dakota for sharing one of its' sons with the art form . I heard the soft moans when it was announced that Mr. Stiefel & Mr. Cornejo were out for "Fancy Free". Still, Jose Manuel Careno was there to provide his perfect pirouettes and Craig Salstein & Sascha Radetsky filled in quite admirably. Maria Riccetto & Isabella Boylston were appropriately sassy & spirited as the girls the fellows try to impress and Karen Uphoff was in full glamourous allure as the one they chase off after to bring down the curtain. All in all a good, not great, evening of ballet. Right now I don't have time to post my full impressions on "The Bright Stream", but sufficient to say I loved Victor Barbee's Buster Keatonesque perfection, Gillian Murphy's brilliance, David Hallberg's brilliance, and Mr. Ratmansky's dance creation. Don't miss this one with either cast.
  2. I am so very sorry to hear of this. We always looked forward to seeing her during the ABT rehearsals coaching the dancers. We send our heartfelt sympathy to her family, friends, and all of the ABT Family. We will miss her greatly.
  3. Yes, please keep me too! Thanks
  4. Natalia, thanks for the wonderful reviews. Let me just add something about Brief Fling. As much as I adore & admire Cornejo's dancing, I found him 'too classical' for Tharp. The only reason I noticed this was because the Kennedy Center opened a rehearsal that afternoon and I got the chance to see Marcelo Gomes in the same role. His performance was more attuned to Baryshnikov's head and shoulder movements from "Push Comes to Shove" and it just rang more Tharpian for me. I will be interested to see if anyone else noticed the difference. Ditto on Wiles' Hagar. Either I'd forgotten how moving this ballet can be or Michelle really knocked it out of the ballpark. I was in tears by the end. Flames of Paris pdd - All I can say is, "Ah... youth and energy" and smile. I'm much agreed with you on Gillian in the "Allegro Brilliante". Wouldn't it be loverly' to see what Balanchine would have created for her?
  5. Just a quick entry before I start work - I was there Tuesday night and there were many things I did love about ABT's new production. Call me gaudy but I did enjoy the brilliantly colored costumes and glitter. The cast was very good. I sat fairly close to the stage and even though Paloma was technically strong and has such a lovely face for Aurora, I had the sense she was emotionally detached. (Did I detect a tad of annoyance with her partner or was it my imagination?) Halberg danced with his usual classic elegance. It's a perfect role for him. Still, they partnered well and deserved the bravos they received. I beleive the Lilac Fairy is, indeed, the role made for Veronica Part. She was beautiful and enchanting and it was the first time I have really warmed up to her. With apologies to the purists, I'll state I like this two act version especially after sitting through the production the Kirov brought a few years ago which was stated to be close to the original one in content and costume from Czarist days . Now that was a long sit and, if I remember correctly, contained long stretches without any real dancing. So, I thought this overall production was good, costumes were more than beautiful, and sets were acceptable. But, I did have a couple of issues with it and now for the negatives - I didn't like the spiders that attended Carrabosse or the costumes of the cavaliers that attended the fairies. I didn't like the end of Act I when the Lilac Fairy locks the King & Queen out of the spell. Now they will grow old and die and not get to see their princess awaken and be blessed with the love of the prince. (They didn't appear in the last act did they?) I didn't like the fact that the prince killed Carrabosse. I'm surprised Martine Van Hamel (that night's role) did't grab the sword and whack him with it. There's a grand dame you don't mess with. As much as I would like to see Gelsey Kirkland in this role, it is hard to believe she could bring any more to it than Martine does. What a great actress. So delightful to have ABT follow close after the Kirov last week! I look forward the weekend.
  6. Hans, I'm not sure about the week's other Solors but Sunday afternoon's Solor at the KC did take a puff or two off of the old pipe while watching the snake charmer.
  7. ABT's website has finally posted the "Sleeping Beauty" casting for their January performances in Washington, DC - January-29 7:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty P. Herrera D. Hallberg Buy Tickets January-30 7:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty X. Reyes H. Cornejo Buy Tickets January-31 7:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty J. Kent J. Carreño Buy Tickets February-1 7:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty I. Dvorovenko M. Beloserkovsky Buy Tickets February-2 1:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty M. Wiles D. Hallberg Buy Tickets 7:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty G. Murphy E. Stiefel Buy Tickets February-3 1:30 PM Washington DC The Sleeping Beauty X. Reyes H. Cornejo I wish we had some character casting info too.
  8. Since the 2008 Spring Season casts have been announced for the Met I wonder... does anyone have an inkling of what the casting will be in Washington for Nutcracker in December or Sleeping Beauty in January? (Fingers crossed & hoping...)
  9. Bingham, it's not too early for me to hope that they would do Ashton's "A Month in the Country." I've been wishing for that one for a long time!
  10. I was attending a performance of the Paris Opera Ballet in the eighties at Wolf Trap. They were doing Nureyev's "Swan Lake" on a very hot, muggy summer's night. Sylvie Guillem was mesmerizing everyone as Odile when her sequinned black swan bodice split down the side as Nureyev was spinning her. He looked only mildley alarmed when he saw what happened and she danced to the wings and shortly reappeared in a very basic, not so glamorous black tutu that was still passable as a swan costume. That wardrobe malfunction made the night even more hot and muggy for the male contingent in the audience. At least that's what my husband told me. I was amazed they were able to find a replacement costume so fast! (Sigh...I miss the top ballet companies at Wolf Trap these days.)
  11. Well, did anyone go? What did you think of Fadayev & Obratzsova?
  12. I was able to see all three casts of "Othello" during this run. A side thanks to the powers that be at the Kennedy Center for those $20.07 tickets. I was able to obtain some in the side orchestra which were wonderful because we had row R where there is an aisle between that row and the rest of the rows so there were no worries about the tall guy coming in and blocking the view. I was trepiditious about seeing this ballet because I had seen it in New York years ago and my fading memory of it did not leave me leaping to go again. However, after seeing the Gomes/Kent/Cornejo/Radetsky/Abrerra cast on opening night, I was surprised to find myself looking forward to going again and seeing the other casts. Gomes' evolution as a dancer is apparent to me everytime I see him. He just gets better & better with each viewing. I thought I would never see him in a role more compelling than his elegantly evil von Rothbart. But now, just as I can find no satisfaction in any other von Rothbart, I found the other two Othellos pale in comparison. I don't want to anger the Hallberg & Thomas admirers on this board, because I too am a fan of both, but Katie bar the door and send in Gomes! A friend remarked that Iago has the best choreography so Othello must have the presence to be compelling enough to carry the role and Gomes was definitely the alpha male Othello conveying not only murderous rage and revenge but also the tender side of his feelings for his wife. Which brings me to Kent's Desdemona. She was the only one who made me cry. That was quite a feat given the the lack of development in her character's choreography. I think the Lubovich choreography looked better on Kent & Gomes than it did on the other two casts. They looked more comfortable and confident in it. She is the only principal dancer left at ABT that danced this role a decade ago. Julie's long beautiful leg and arm extentions in the swirling lifts and turns brought an extra elegance and poingnancy to the ppd's. Herman Cornejo, who is one of the very best dancers at ABT, seemed a bit reined in by the choreography. I wanted to see his flying elegance and precision but whether it was the steps or the characterization, it did not come through in his Cassio. It seemed as though Lubovich did not want Cassio upstaging either Othello or Iago and so set his role at a lower temperature. Not to mention he was woven in and out of the court scene with the commedia dancers. Now there's a thankless role. Even though the dancers executed well, god bless 'em, I found them as annoying as the court jester in "Swan Lake." I blame the choreographer not the dancers. Radetsky was fascinating as Iago. The first night he was just a tad over the top but by Saturday night he had made the adjustments needed to merit a top notch performance. And Stella Abrerra, who looks as delicate as fine china, held her own in the rough and tumble role as his unfortunate wife. Even though there were many good things to be said about the other two casts, this cast was the touchstone for me for this ballet. Because of that, I chose not to attend my beloved ABT's last performance today. I want to savor last night's flavor a little bit longer and I look forward to the reviews of what I miss this afternoon. p.s. Thanks, Paulo for answering my question on the last time "Dark Elegies" was performed in DC - much appreciated.
  13. Natalia, I know Susan Jones does most of the corp coaching but I believe that Irina Kolpakova may have had a hand in it, too, to add that Russian touch. Bravo to the corps.
  14. I am still bleary eyed after going last night, getting home late, and rising at 5:30 this morning for work. Oh, why didn't I take today off? But here are my takes on last night. For me it was the best mixed program ABT has brought here for awhile as far as ballet choices. It was a very blalnced blend. (Sounds like coffe doesn' t it...hmmmm I must need another cup.) I'll leave the technique observations to the more knowledgeable on this board but I thought the corp in the 'Shades' did a beautiful job. Jose Manuel Carreno looked stronger than Paloma Herrera last night but they partnered together nicely and Paloma's lightning turns didn't miss a beat. The shades soloists were Copeland, Abrerra, and Part. I liked all three but I am still trying to warm up to Part. Is it her height? I'm not sure. How have I missed "Dark Elegies" in the many years I have been seeing ABT? It has replaced "Leaves are Fading" as my favorite Tudor ballet. Julie Kent's solo especially moved me to tears. Does anyone remember if it has been done here in the last 20 years or so? If so, shame on me for missing it. Lastly, "Rodeo" with it's bright, energetic score - is there a better actress at ABT than Xiomara Reyes? She was a very believable Juliet and I don't think Agnes DeMille herself could have been a better cowgirl. Who would have thought a Cuban trained dancer could have captured so well the American essence of this work. And kudos to Sasha Radetsky for his cowboy boot tap dance. All in all, a very satisfying evening for me that sent me home happy. It's been ten years I think since I saw "Othello" and I don't remember much of it so I am looking forward to it. But I wish I was going to see the mixed program again tonight!
  15. This topic brings to mind my mother, God Bless her soul, who gave me a love for both cats and dance. I don't think she could have been happier than when she had a cat on her lap while watching a Fred Astaire movie. Today, my family would not be complete without those beautiful and funny creatures. Luckily, my husband is a patient man who also has affection for all pets in general. I have a tabby, Roxanna, with very pronounced markings on her face. It looks like perfectly applied stage make-up for a sylph, especially the dramatic eye liner. Then there is KC, our solid white kitty with big green eyes. She is 19 now, but in her heyday she was the White Cat of Sleeping Beauty. I have also noticed a couple of our cats like to watch the movement of dancers on some of the ballet DVD's. They like the men's high jumps and turns and the willis in Act II of Giselle. But, truth be told, they prefer watching ice skaters over dancers. I think it makes them jealous to think that a mere human can move in that manner. I, being a good cat mom and wanting to keep their self esteem intact, always explain to them the special circumstances that enables people to do that. But it's nice to know they can appreciate lovely movement too - other than birds flying past the window.
  16. I believe I could get excited about Gillian Murphy's Aurora! However, I'm not real excited about "Othello" being the full length at the Kennedy Center early next year. I wish it was "Sylvia."
  17. I, too, was saddened to read of Mr. France's death while skimming through this topic this morning. In the book "Private View" published in 1988, there is a section about him and it speaks of his devotion to Mr. Baryshnikov and to ABT. Also, if I'm not mistaken, in the film "Dancers" Mr. France makes a cameo. There is a scene where Baryshnikov is viewing some snippets of film of the new costumes for Giselle and Mr. France comes into the 'scene in the scene' to adjust the train on Bathilde's gown. My sympathy goes out to his friends and family.
  18. Andre posts, "...we'll be seeing the beloved Farmer designs from RB's recent SB production back with ABT next season." Andre, that must be why Kevin McKenzie was in attendance at the Royal's final SB in Washington. I was hoping it was a sign that ABT might be looking to share the production. We've waited too long a time for a new full length SB from them.
  19. Here's one that no one has mentioned. I don't know if it was one that drew an audience but I always found a special chemistry was evident when Leslie Browne and Ricardo Bustamante danced together. Their Romeo & Juliet was danced with passion and abandonment even in a rehearsal I once saw.
  20. I was at the Friday night performance and there is very little I can add to the reviews already posted here. I've enjoyed reading them all. I will say I found Act II very moving. I was most impressed by Tereshkina's Myrtha above all and it was wonderful to see the Kirov's production again. (Weren't they at the Kennedy Center in the early nineties with their Giselle?) But, I wondered if anyone noticed what happened when the bouquets were brought out during the bows? Two of the Kennedy Center ushers brought out three bouquets. I presume they were meant for Pavlenko, Kolb, and Tereshkina. Unfortunately, the ushers handed Tereshkina's to the conductor who had come on stage by then. He looked surprised but graciously undid the wrapping and poured the flowers into the orchestra pit to share the accolades with his musicians. It was a noble move but I felt bad for our very deserving Myrtha who went bouquet-less. I wish I could have been in NYC for the ABT Giselles too. There were so many wonderful things going on this past weekend and I wanted to enjoy them all!
  21. Just a quick, light observation on this topic. Last year I saw a Yankees game and noticed Alex Rodriguez using the rail on the dugout as if it were a ballet bar. He had his foot on the rail with his leg extended and was stretching his arms to his toes. No one would dispute that he is a very fine athelete - but from watching him "at the bar," no one would mistake him as a dancer either. Athletic grace is amazing, but a dancer's grace is on another level. (Though I have seen some 4-6-3 double plays that were so graceful they almost seemed to be choreographed.)
  22. Paul and Jane D., I have seen "Yankee Doodle Dandy" but not for many a year. Cagney was wonderful in that film! It's funny but we always think of Astaire & Kelly as the great Hollywood dancers and we tend to leave Cagney out of the group. Your descriptions of his footwork makes me hungry to see the film again. By the way, can anyone think of any current dancers that resemble either Astaire or Kelly as per this thread?
  23. I always thought Nureyev resembled Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Tyler is of Russian-Italian decent and has those classic cheekbones. Kevin McKenzie resembles Patrick Monahan of Train. Leaving the world of music, Baryshnikov reminds me of James Cagney in some of his scenes from "White Nights." And (coming out of the past) I just ran across a photo of Angel Corella wearing a mustache for "The Merry Widow" where he looks quite a bit like Johnny Depp.
  24. I always wished I had been able to see Kirkland & Fracci as Giselle but, alas, I came to ballet too late! Fracci's video performance with Bruhn is a favorite, as is the Baryshnikov/Makorova version. I join others in begging for the Misha/Natasha version to be distributed on DVD. My VHS tape is getting rather ragged. As for performances I've attended, I have a wonderful memory of my first live performance of Giselle at Wolf Trap's Filene Center with Marianna Tcherkassky and Fernando Bujones. I can still be moved to tears remembering my reaction to the beauty of the corp when they did the hops on one foot weaving their lines back and forth across the stage. Seeing it from the loge that night took my breath away. That feeling has always stayed with me and was probably what really got me hooked on ballet. Just to add the perfect touch, there was a full moon above the theater that night that made our wooded surroundings seem part of the staging. Later on, I enjoyed Cynthia Harvey as Act I Giselle but I can't remember who her partners were. My favorite Act II Giselle was Alessandra Ferri and, of course, Julio Bocca as her Albrecht. More recently, I have really loved Julie Kent and Jose Manuel Carreno. My initial reaction to Julie in Act I is that she's too tall for Giselle but by Act II all I can see is a Giselle whose love comes from such a spiritual place that it will protect her Albrecht from any harm the willis could bring to him. Needless to say, Giselle is my favorite ballet and I hopefully look forward to seeing many more pairings in the years to come. Here's hoping I haven't found my favorites yet.
  25. Does anyone know if there is somewhere I can find full casting for the Royal's Kennedy Center run in June? I saw the Kirov's on the KC website but couldn't find it for the Royal - at least as of Sunday.
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