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Everything posted by volcanohunter

  1. Thank you for clarifying @Kathleen O'Connell! I was also thrown by the asterisk on the cast sheet. Indeed, it would have incomprehensible if Danchig-Waring had been forced to wait so long for the part. (The last male lead I saw in Chaconne was Philip Neal at his retirement performance 💔, which tells you exactly how long it's been for me!)
  2. They were confident debuts, very well received by the audience. I enjoyed Danchig-Waring in particular: the rapid changes in direction, emphatic croisés and elaborate style were all there. I'm at a loss to understand why he hadn't danced the part a lot sooner.
  3. The AP story on vaccine tourism mentions some of the issues holding up the Sputnik V review. "But the WHO has said global approval is still under review after citing issues at a production plant a few months ago. On Friday, a top World Health Organization official said legal issues holding up the review of Sputnik V were 'about to be sorted out,' a step that could relaunch the process toward emergency use authorization. Other hurdles remain for the Russian application, including a lack of full scientific information and inspections of manufacturing sites, said Dr. Mariangela Simao, a WHO assistant director-general." That's why another person quoted in the article says approval probably won't come until next year. By April? Who knows? It turns out it may not have been necessary for the National Ballet of China to cancel its tour, since the U.S. will accept two of the Chinese vaccines. There's no way, though, that the other two Russian vaccines will be listed by spring, so dancers who received those may be out of luck.
  4. The U.S. will be accepting the six vaccines listed by the WHO: Pfizer, Moderna, J&J, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac (CoronaVac). That means that in November vaccinated travellers from the UK and EU will once again be able to visit the U.S. It also means that Russian vaccines are excluded. (Little wonder that some Russians are engaging in vaccine tourism to Serbia and a few other neighboring countries.) https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-will-accept-who-approved-covid-19-vaccines-international-visitors-2021-10-08/
  5. Ontario has lifted capacity limits on concert venues. It's up to the National Ballet of Canada to decide whether to keep the 50% limit or open up all the seats. (And what happens if capacity restrictions return?) https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1000947/ontario-cautiously-lifting-capacity-limits-in-select-settings
  6. I believe Cranko wanted to use music from the opera, but the director of the opera house in Stuttgart forbade it. Ultimately I think it was the correct decision, because opera time is slower than ballet time, and Cranko would have ended up with too much music, and the ensuing cuts would have been controversial. The first act of the opera in particular is really long, but Cranko interpolated the rejection scene into the second act instead. (As it happens, he did use some music from another Tchaikovsky opera, Cherevichki, whose setting and subject matter are entirely different.) If music from the opera had been used, I think it would have sounded strangely bereft without vocals. (There might even have been a temptation on the part of some in the audience to hum the missing vocal parts. ) The score to Ronald Hynd's Merry Widow has that lacking quality.
  7. It drives me batty when ballet companies perform works that don't really require ballet dancers at all. I don't mean works by Graham, Cunningham or Limon, which constitute a significant technical and stylistic stretch for the dancers (one that they often fail), but the sort of pieces that make virtually no use of ballet dancers' training and technique--other than their bendiness, in which case rhythmic gymnasts would probably do just as well. What's the point? More basically, he may be worried about what McGregor's contortions would do to his back and hip sockets. Some dancers I know love doing McGregor. It's an exploration of what their bodies can do; they get a kick out of feeling muscles and connective tissues sliding over each other in unusual ways. What I can't always bring myself to tell them is that choreography which feels exhilarating to do isn't necessarily interesting to watch.
  8. I don't have the quote on hand, but Balanchine seemed to have objected to the adaptation of the poem. Russian audiences have also objected to deviations from the text, which absolutely everyone reads in school. I can understand that, because even allowing for necessary modifications when switching genres, I have a lot of problems with a lot of balletic and operatic adaptations of Shakespeare. ("This idiot person couldn't possibly have read the same play I did!" ) I also don't have the old Ballet Goer's Guide on hand, but I remember Crisp/Clarke described Union Jack as "affectionate," but clearly told from the other side of the Atlantic, which many British audiences find "disconcerting."
  9. It's one thing to send up your own culture, whether in Scherzo a la Russe or Stars and Stripes. Doing it to someone else's carries a high probability of causing offense. So yes, I get the distinct impression that Dromgoole's nose had been bent out of shape, which is why I can't take his criticism at face value.
  10. Dromgoole may have taken umbrage with what he saw as a perversion of his own culture. Even British critics favorably inclined to Balanchine would describe Union Jack as a work decidedly from the other side of the Atlantic. Balanchine was similarly outraged by Cranko's Onegin, and so were audiences when the Stuttgart Ballet first brought the ballet to the USSR. (Today Bolshoi audiences seem more willing to tolerate the completely inauthentic peasant dance, the fact that the sisters are present at the duel, Jürgen Rose's inaccurate flora and Tatiana's red dress.) When I took my future husband to see NYCB he was convinced he didn't like ballet, at least not the Soviet variety he knew vaguely from childhood. But for him Balanchine was love at first sight. "If only I'd seen this sooner, I would have thought completely differently about ballet." He became an evangelist for Balanchine. (I also knew a man who compared Agon to aerobics, but I never dated him.)
  11. The National Ballet of Canada has announced rules about vaccination, masking and capacity limits: The company will set up a tent outside the theater entrance for checking vaccination records, and people are being encouraged to arrive up to an hour and a half before curtain. Full safety protocols: https://national.ballet.ca/Tickets/Box-Office/Safety-Protocols-and-Procedures No children under 12 will be performing in The Nutcracker this season. Normally the company's production includes celebrity cameos in battle scene, but not this time around.
  12. I agree completely that this looked much better. Moving hair enhances the kinetic quality of a dancer's movement. More voluminous hair is also better at disguising perspiration. It's also obvious that facelift buns weren't always standard for women. Recently I came saw a video of a different company dancing a black-and-white ballet, and the gleaming, immovable French twists almost made it appear that the women were wearing racing helmets. A figure-eight bun at least looks like a bun, not like a part of an elongated cranium. I do appreciate that a dancer wants to be certain her hair will stay put while she's turning. But I'm very open to a rethink.
  13. There have been dancers who alternate between bald and wigged depending on the ballet. For example, at the Royal Danish Ballet Jonathan Chmelensky goes bald in contemporary ballets, but wears a wig in narrative and tutu ballets, such as the company's stream of Ballo della Regina during the lockdown. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet had a soloist named Alexander Gamayunov who was bald in Forsythe, but wore a wig in The Nutcracker. In both cases the wig was a version of the standard danseur coiffure. (It has to be said that Gamayunov pulled off the bad-ass bald look as well as anyone.) In recent years the Bolshoi's Vyacheslav Lopatin has been wearing a toupee in roles that require him to appear very young, such as Romeo or Lensky. Since Ratmansky was mentioned earlier, Lopatin wore one in Lost Illusions years before he began to wear it in anything else.
  14. Okay, but given that the women wear standardized hairstyles depending on leotard, tutu or tiara, you can kind of see how a default hairstyle developed for the men as well. And if the women are gelled and sprayed into total sleekness because strays and bangs would be distracting, it's not surprising that the men should also be sprayed into some degree of hair immobility. And this is more of a rhetorical question, but if the men were to start wearing facial hair, would unibrows become acceptable for the women? (And would NYT reviewers pass over the issue in silence?) I guess I bristle at the idea of men being afforded greater flexibility in these matters while the uniformity of the women's appearance goes unquestioned.
  15. Yes, many American opera houses and concert halls have also adopted the WHO list. If the U.S. accepts the WHO listings, it would be difficult to say no to Sinopharm or Sinovac, although there is undeniably a vaccine pecking order. AstraZeneca has also been vetted by drug regulators in the UK, EU, Canada, Japan and Australia. Sinopharm and Sinovac have not. (I'm at a loss to understand why AZ hasn't submitted its vaccine for FDA approval.) As for people worried about the fate of the Mariinsky's US tour, there's still the matter of the three Russian vaccines. The WHO and European Medicines Agency reviews of Sputnik-V have been stalled for months. The other two are still in phase 3 trials, but already being administered, and some dancers have received them.
  16. As of November, the U.S. will require foreigners travelling to the U.S. to be fully vaccinated. No indication yet on which vaccines will be accepted: the three authorized by the FDA, the six authorized by the WHO or a broader list.
  17. The United States has not yet implemented any vaccine requirements for entry into the country, although there has been some talk about introducing them. On the contrary, in the spring New York City was actively encouraging tourists to visit in order to get vaccinated - only proof of age was required; any passport and hotel address would do. (A tourist was bound to spend more money in the city than the cost of the vaccine offered free of charge.) At present, only a negative test is required to board a plane for the U.S., although on the ground vaccination is increasingly a requirement to access entertainment, and many venues are requiring them of all employees. Instead, entry is pretty much banned for any non-citizen/permanent resident who has been in the UK, Ireland, the Schengen area, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, India or China in the preceding 14 days. This may be the primary problem facing Chinese and European companies. A potential visitor could theoretically spend two weeks in a third country and then enter, but few have the time and resources. (I think it's absurd. Many of the permitted countries have far higher rates of infection and far lower rates of vaccination than, say, Denmark.) For the Mariinsky a bigger problem may be obtaining visas. When Russia required the U.S. to dismiss all local staff from its embassy and consulates, the U.S. pretty much suspended visa services. It was suggested at the time that Russians would have to travel to other countries to obtain visas. Absolutely. It is exceedingly difficult to engage in strenuous physical activity in a mask, but outside the rehearsal studio, the masks often go back on. At this point, though, many have already contracted the disease and recovered, so some may feel impervious.
  18. The situation with Russian vaccines has been further complicated now that two others are being administered, even though Phase 3 trials have not yet been completed. EpiVacCorona is already controversial and is meeting with a fair degree of resistance locally. The other day a Russian dancer posted that two months after receiving the third vaccine, CoviVac, lab tests showed it had not induced an antibody response in her body. Many high-art venues have stated that they will accept WHO-approved vaccines, which goes past the FDA list to include AstraZeneca, Sinopharm and Sinovac. The first has been administered to millions of Britons in particular. At the moment it is nearly impossible for tourists from the UK and EU to enter the United States, but no doubt theaters are hoping to see a return of European visitors sooner rather than later.
  19. This is a highly unusual career move for someone of her age and experience. Dancers have joined the POB after beginning their careers elsewhere, but they usually did it very early on, because the upward climb from quadrille through the competitions is a very long slog. Ludmila Pagliero did it, but she was 19 going on 20 when she joined, and her journey to étoile lasted nearly nine years.
  20. The Joffrey Ballet will require spectators aged 12 and older to show proof of vaccination. The Lyric Opera of Chicago will require proof of vaccination from all audience members; children under 12 cannot attend. The Harris Theater will require proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test. Lyric Opera of Chicago specifies that masks "worn properly over the nose and mouth, will be required for all patrons for the duration of their time in the opera house."
  21. The company could easily exempt children from the requirement.
  22. I've seen Ramasar as Demetrius. I suspect they're afraid of the queues for the women's toilets. Lots of people bunched up together sharing air, stalls and fixtures.
  23. I think I've been misunderstood. I was not horrified by what I saw in that clip the way I am horrified by Zakharova, Somova or Smirnova. Rather I found it soulless and uninteresting, lacking in phrasing or daring or energy running through the limbs and extending beyond them. I didn't enjoy any aspect of it, not the principals, not the demi-soloists and not the corps. That's what's so dispiriting. (Although yes, I despise arabesques--and attitudes--that rise above the head, unless they're actually supposed to be penchés.)
  24. Hmm. I guess ballet has reached a point where I can't enjoy it anymore. It's deeply sad for me, but I evidently after some 45 years, I have to get off the carousel.
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