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Everything posted by Haglund's

  1. According to Suki Schorer's book, the ball is used on younger SAB students for them to get a feel for the curved position of the hand that Balanchine preferred. In this position, the pinky is raised higher than the others, and the middle finger comes closest to the thumb, which is not hidden but curved towards the other fingers. Vrsfanatic is right in saying one school's hand position would be reviled by another. I've invariably heard this hand position called rose petals or claws. That particular claw/petal formation of the hands and fingers has been a major complaint of classical ballet teachers since it began and has been politely referred to as choreographic. It doesn't extend the arm's line and really transforms the line of the arm into a line segment - as does severely breaking the wrist. The classical school wisdom that I always heard was that if you are doing anything that trunckates the line of the arm, you are engaging in someone's choreography. Same holds true for winging the feet.
  2. That's fabulous, 4mrdncer. Hands are probably the last thing to develop in American-schooled ballet dancers, regrettably, and they're the first thing to go when a dancer encounters difficulty doing a particular move in performance. Nothing wrecks a performance for me as a spectator more quickly than a dancer who doesn't appreciate what she is doing, or supposed to be doing, with her hands. Teachers struggle all the time to find imagery that the dancers can relate to with regard to hand shape. One time I saw a teacher get so frustrated that he said - 'Look, don't try to make this a religious experience. Just straighten the wrist, straighten the hand, and slightly curve the middle fingers.' I agree with regard to Ferri's hands. I recall that Marianna Tcherkasky's were especially exquisite.
  3. If you look all the way to the right on the menu bar there is a selection for Directions. You take the #7 train out to Shea and then there is a trolly to the park Why are these NYCB dancers portraying themselves as American Ballet stars? Why not NYCB Stars or New York Ballet stars or New York's Ballet Stars? The marketing name selected for this group invites confusion with ABT and hovers on the verge of misrepresentation.
  4. There has been some tweaking to the casting of Fancy Free. Hallberg will now be the second sailor for three performances.
  5. I've been trying for a half hour to cut and paste it onto a BT post, but it comes out impossibly jumbled. So, here's the link: http://citycenter.org/events/event_detail....vent_code=WDN08
  6. No kidding. They don't come any better than Conover for professional training day in and day out. If someone could figure out how to build a big garden a top 890 Broadway, they could have him in NYC at JKO.
  7. I secretly want Ethan and the girlfriend to eventually take over NYCB. Wishful thinking, as well. Stiefel's appointment as "Dean of Dance" is a great opportunity for him to ease out of his performing career, but it doesn't say much good about an institution that would appoint an academic dean who up front indicates that he's not going to be 100% committed to the job. The ballet faculty already down there is far above what Stiefel can presently offer, and it has actually produced professional dancers, including the girlfriend, as opposed to just running a summer camp for some kids. I just don't see Stiefel as having anywhere near the maturity, teaching experience or administrative experience that he needs to do the job seriously. The whole thing rings hollow.
  8. I think they do present the mixed rep pieces on tour as it is feasible. For example, last year in the middle of touring major productions, they threw in mixed rep programs in Reno and Minneapolis. A problem with touring only part of the company with a mixed rep is that you still have to pay the part of the company that you don't take on tour. I suppose they could stay at home and rehearse, but how productive are company rehearsals when only half the company is around? I really am interested in learning why this year's City Center season was cut back. Was it because of the number of empty seats during the mid-weeks last year, or because it was just plain cost prohibitive, or are they saving up to do something big. Maybe some brave soul could stand up and pose that question during the Guggenheim lecture/demos in October. In any event, I'm pleased with the 2008 Met Season and hope that we will see a lot of Nina along with some major debuts (Lane & Cornejo in Don Q.; Abrera and Cote in Giselle; Hallberg as someone's Albrecht; to name a few hopes of mine).
  9. It just occurred to me that the 2008 Met Season seems tailor-made for Nina. Could be bittersweet.
  10. The touring calendar also shows for Berkeley 4 performances of the new Millepied piece, 4 performances of the new Elo piece, 4 Baker's Dozen, 4 Sinatra Suites, 2 Ballo de Regina, 2 Fancy Frees and some un-named PdD. Of course they are presenting Sleeping Beauty all over the country. Who spends millions of dollars on a production and then sticks it in mothballs? No matter how bad it is, you keep tweaking it and presenting the heck out of it with the objective of recouping some of the investment. You see the same thing happening with the NYCB's R+J. If you've been following ABT for decades, you know that an all Tudor program is a hard sell to the general public -- in NYC or anywhere else. ABT tried to present such a program in Minneapolis decades ago and there were more empty seats than filled. There will always be a vocal minority of enthusiasts dying to see this or that, but if they can't find enough friends to fill the theater, should the company present it at a loss just to please them? No. The presenters in the tour cities have a big say on what's brought in, and they don't want anything that isn't going to sell to the general, non-ballet-saavy public. So, unhappily, ballet is a business, and the more it follows the traditional fiscal and management disciplines associated with running a business, the better off it will be in the long run. Otherwise, someday things could be so bad fiscally that we'll see a Swan Lake with a 6 swan corps and a lot of mirrors.
  11. Just read a bit further. ABT produced its first full length Swan Lake in 1967. Returning to the old "glory" days, whatever one perceives them to be, isn't the answer. Gone are the days when a week-night ballet audience is going to sit through a four and a half hour classic with every piece of mime and story line possible. To suggest that ABT aspire to the level of conformity or consistency at the Kirov or Bolshoi isn't exactly the best idea - unless I've been missing all those black, brown and golden dancers in the Kirov or Bolshoi and unless we recommend implementing the rigid homogenization process that would automatically deselect someone like Sarah Lane or Herman Cornejo or Misty Copeland or Carlos Acosta. That type of homogenization is integral to producing the oldest classical idea of consistency. The next time we get to see the Kirov here (in Washington DC in 2008) we should take a look to see if the type of dancers that American companies employ are excluded from their corps. As far as aspiring to the level of the Royal Ballet, complaints are everywhere about the effects of international dancers on the company and the ultimate loss of a Royal Ballet consistent style. I'm not going to try to explain ABT's latest Sleeping Beauty, but I will defend most of its current Swan Lake, including the consistency of the corps work, its line and attention to style including shape of foot, legs, fingers, wrists, hands, elbows, and heads. Granted, I have the opportunity to see the production at its best in the Met Opera House on a regular basis, and no, I don't care for the cuts made to Act IV, but I can very easily live with and totally enjoy the whole package. So if people are complaining about the corps' style, what are the specifics (e.g. last night five corps girls had splayed fingers or ghastly winged feet. Or, they couldn't keep a straight line in such and such.)? My memories of the Blair and Baryshnikov productions seen in other parts of the country are favorable, but to suggest that the old glory days produced a better corps than what we see right now is revisionist thinking. Everyone's first Swan Lake is their favorite and most memorable, isn't it? Mine was teenaged Cynthia Gregory's first perfomance as Odette/Odile during a season when Toni Lander was pregnant. Nothing will ever surpass my memory of that. I won't let it.
  12. Standards schmandards. Whose standards? It truly floors me to hear anyone refer to ABT's Swan Lake as the bottom of the barrel given the gobbledygook of the other version that appears at Lincoln Center where seemingly there are no standards for anything. It's an unhappy fact that a lot more than just historical consideration has to be taken into account when preparing and presenting a Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty and that major compromises are made in order to finally get the product onto a stage. Sometimes great reasoning may not appear to prevail at ABT, but usually it does. The present Swan Lake production may have shortcomings, but for the most part, it works very well and we're pretty darn lucky to have it for a full week at a time most years.
  13. I wouldn't call it conservatism in any form. If anything, it's ambitious -- unless, of course, we can tick off the names of a half dozen other major companies who can present eight weeks of full lengths. It's ambitious and it's doing on a grand scale what they do very well. I certainly wouldn't rate their Petipa productions as fourth rate. We may not be happy with certain aspects of them, but fourth rate? Nuh uh. The risk of the 2008 season will be Tharp. Given what she has and has not done in the past decade, you have to worry about how gimmicky the new piece will be. Everyone hopes for the best, of course, along with some fresh ideas from her.
  14. He doesn't get what the Met season is all about or why ABT audiences fill the house to the rafters for productions like SL, Corsaire, Giselle and yes even Sleeping Beauty. I'm reminded of the NY Sun's Jay Nordlinger's comment last year in defense of The Met's traditional productions of grand opera such as La Giaconda. All of the hype for the season had been around Anthony Minghella's new production of Madame Butterfly which received less than enthusiastic reviews. Minghella had said "I don't want to produce 'grand opera' - but the opposite." Nordlinger's response - "If this is to be the new Met, what a waste and a tragic one. Any little company in a black turtleneck and a beret can do the opposite of grand opera." He said that no house can do grand opera better than The Met. So, to Mr. Macaulay: -- Any little company in a black turtleneck and a beret can do "adventurous". Nobody puts together an eight week season of grand full length classics as well as ABT. Why waste the vast production benefits of The Met and the superb classical capabilities of the artists in order to produce what every little Podunk Ballet around the corner can do? Adventuresome and innovation were supposed to be what the ABT City Center season was all about. Has anyone out there yet heard why the adventurous and innovation season was cut back from 3 weeks to 2? If the 2008 Met season is as Macauly reports, we Petipaphiles are in for a treat. It will be ballet at its grandest which doesn't mean that the performances won't also be adventurous. It would be a benefit to everyone if Macauly would concentrate on writing informative and insightful performance reviews instead of trying to influence artistic managment decisions by beginning to slam a season eight months before it starts and driving audiences away from performances. If ever there was a critic with an agenda, it's Macaulay.
  15. That would be my hope - Abrera and Hallberg - which I think would be ideal. I've wondered what Tudor might have thought of those two. The Leaves pictures on the cover of the brochure and in the center are gorgeous. I noted in particular Julie's beautiful feet with the the very flat and tapered shoe. Compare that to the brick-like shoes that Gillian wears in the following photo of Fall River Legend. Even though Amanda McKerrow is setting Leaves, and presumably will do a wonderful job, it would seem a shame if Gelsey, who was in Tudor's original cast, could not also contribute. Maybe she will.
  16. Not sure if this now belongs in Heads up! or where. Sorry if I mis-categorized it. Some of the City Center casting just went up on the ABT website. Unfortunately, none of The Leaves Are Fading casts are identified. A few tantalizing tid-bits: Ballo: Murphy/Hallberg, Wiles/Beloserkovsky and Lane/Cornejo. Some performances not yet cast. Fall River Legend: Kent, Murphy and Wiles. Some performances not yet cast. Clear: Herrera and Carreno. (Those who have seen this piece should recall that the men are heavenly shirtless and lusciously lit. I cannot even imagine how incredible JM will be in this!) Some performances are not yet cast.
  17. The ABT website now has the new soloists in their proper categories. I noted, however, that gone was Carmen Corella.
  18. I definitely want to see the Met season devoted primarily, if not completely, to full length ballets. Mixed rep evenings that are limited to one choreographer are never truly 'mixed' (exception=Fokine). There is usually a sameness about what is going on on the stage - no matter who the genius choreographer is. And when you add the same composer to the mix, e.g., a Balanchine/Tchaikovsky evening, it becomes way too much of a good thing. ABT doesn't need to pander to the Balanchine repertoire in order to bring in audiences for a night of rep. They just need to advertise - anywhere - preferrably in a public place. (The Met Opera's incredibly successful advertising blitz under first year G.M. Peter Gelb could be a lesson to everyone.) Given the power to decide programing, I probably would not have chosen to bring back Othello this year. But the two performances of it that I saw were very, very enjoyable and I'm very glad that I had the opportunity to see them. A couple of seasons back, I thought that the choice of Robbins' "Faun" over Nijinsky's "Faun" for City Center was a bummer, but the performances I saw of Hallberg and Abrera sent me into hysteria for weeks. (We shall all have to just wait for Nijinky's version with Herman Cornejo.) I wasn't thrilled with the idea of Raymonda a few years back, because of the lack of plot and drama, but I dragged myself to see Veronika Part who made the evening most memorable. I'm not at all enthused about seeing Baker's Dozen this fall, but the dancers will probably make me love it. Basically, I'm happy to let ABT surprise me with whatever is up their sleeves, but I'd prefer never to have to sit through another HereAfter, Dorian, or George Harrison Tribute. I despise evenings of PdD - White Swan/Black Swan, Don Q, Corsaire, R&J, whatever - because they always comes across as low budget evening filler. To be truthful, I'd be happy with 2 weeks each of Swan Lake, Giselle, R&J and somebody else's Sleeping Beauty.
  19. All of these reports are so very much appreciated. It's a relief to hear that substantive changes have been made to the S.B. production and that they appear to be improvements. Thank you so much, 4mrdncer, for the report of Lane's debut. I started to tear up thinking how excited the dancers, the audience and her relatives must have been. Let's hope that her brilliance opens the door a crack for other under-utilized talent. However, we really should write a new rule that these kinds of performances may not happen on the road. So, they really got rid of the shower curtain?
  20. Corella isn't going to be a City Center? A definite loss for everyone. I noted in today's online Moscow Times that Corella, Stiefel, Kobborg and Tsiskaridze are taking their Kings of Dance gig to the Bolshoi theater in October.
  21. The brochures are in the City Center lobby. They have the same picture on the front as last year's -- Stiefel and Murphy in Clear (but with a light background instead of dark). The blurb in the brochure about the Elo-Glass dance describes the music as a piano solo. The brochure has all of the pictures we've seen before. They've inserted a beautiful Fabrizio Ferri photo of Michele Wiles in the center of the brochure, but she's in costume for, I believe, Sylvia. No relevance to the season, but nevertheless, a nice picture.
  22. Haglund's

    Sarah Lane

    Sarah Lane has been cast with Cornejo in Sleeping Beauty for Sunday July 22 in Orange County!!!!! Per the ABT website.
  23. In Saturday night's performance, Sarah Lane was Blossom, Marian Butler was Petal, Adrienne Schulte was Moss, and Kristi Boone was Twig. If they don't fast-track Kristi Boone to Odette/Odile, we will all miss out on something special. She has a commanding presence and steely strength not unlike Cynthia Gregory's. She's fixed those shoulders that used to ride up and the calmness in her upper body is now the antithesis of what's going on with the legs and feet -- exactly as it should be. Beautiful! Regal! Stepsisters Jackie Reyes (w/glasses) and Simone Messmer gave stronger performances than Wednesday's. Both sisters worked harder at annoying Cinderella. Craig Salstein was a standout, particularly in his comic interaction with the stepsisters, but with his overall dancing as well. He was also very funny Thursday night as Another Hired Escort for stepsister Marian Butler.
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