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lara

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  1. Paquita, What is HMV?????
  2. Leigh, Your comments are right on and for me, very educational! I had to laugh at your description of one ballet that went from merely "disjointed and confused" to "pernicious and bad for ballet." Funny description, but rather sad overall. >>I understand that most people judge a ballet solely on its danced performance, I don't entirely; I want to see intelligence in its creation as well. There are plenty of good dancers out there, more than there is good choreography nowadays. To me, it's one of the saddest things about ballet right now that all this dancing talent has so little to harness itself to. And seeing excellent dancers in mediocre or worse choreography is a sore point for me, so I understand Segal's objection to the idea.<< Being so new to the apprectiation of dance I am afraid I do not have the skills yet to see beyond the performance. What I find curious about critics is that what one sees as derrivative or poor choreography, another critic just as educated and informed, will see something entirely different. Hard to know what to think in that case. I went to see Complexions partly because I had read a terriffic review I think in the NY Times. I hope you get to see this company as I would really love to hear what you think of the choreography!
  3. I read the LA Times review and the opinion of the reviewer is totally opposite to mine - and contrary to other reviews I have read including one in the New York Times. Lewis Segal sounded almost too personal in his attacks on Rhoden. I think the Segal must be very well educated in dance and choreography whose experiences allow him to compare Dwight Rhoden unfavorably to Merce Cunningham. Other critics have had a different opinion. A company succeeds when it allows me to access deep emotions. When it shows me beauty in a new way. I can generally see if a dancer is sloppy or awkward, or falls off pointe or has real problems partnering. When that happens then I can say that a performance failed me in some way. Or if the dancer is so unemotionally connected to his or her partner than it is alienating to the audience also. Complexions satsified the ballet lover in me and also disappointed that same person. But, I could not say whether or not the choreography was pedestrian or mundane - I could only say that parts of the evening's performance I liked and parts I didn't. Guess that is why I am NOT paid the big bucks for being a dance critic! :-)
  4. posted November 05, 2001 11:44 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Complexions was created by Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden in 1994. Richardson was formerly with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theater, where he performed the lead role in the company’s premiere of “Othello.” Rhoden, who is the company choreographer, also danced with Alvin Ailey as well as several other companies but is known now for his innovative choreography. This company is really different than anything I have seen to date. A eclectic mixture of styles from contemporary ballet to Broadway-type show-stoppers, gymnastics to modern. I was amazed! I preferred the balletic numbers overall but enjoyed the rest as just pure entertainment. The opening number “From Me to You in About Half the Time” was incredible. All through it I kept thinking “wow!” Rock solid ballet technique displayed by innovative choreography. Think if you will, “Steptext” by Forsythe, but with more emotion. Edwaard Liang, a former NYCB soloist, deserves special mention. My seat had terrible site lines so much of his performance was lost, but what I saw was outstanding and he received a large ovation from the audience. Dance legends Carmen de Lavallade and Gus Solomons, Jr. performed a piece called “It All” to music by Bjork consisting of lots of arm movements and emotions. I figure that the lady must be in her 70s but still elegant and together they were very expressive. Since I was having such a hard time seeing, I decided to move from my Row C center seat to the back of the theater during the first intermission. Much much better! I wasn’t being beaten to a bloody pulp by the music and I could see! The orchestra seats in the front of the Ahmanson are horrid. Not raked and one seat directly behind the other. So, if one has a big-headed guy sitting in front of one, one can’t see! After the intermission Sheri “Sparkle” Williams performed a piece call “Growth” and her skills as a physical fitness trainer were well used. The audience loved her non-stop athleticism. After the first two numbers, this one was rather a surprise and I finally figured out this was not your mother’s night out at the ballet kind of company. Music by James Brown set the tone for Sarita Allen and Marc Mann dancing the blues in an excerpt from “Please Please Please”. Another crowd pleaser. And then the dancer I most wanted to see — Desmond Richardson in a solo. First off this man has a body that has no fat on it, nary an ounce and every muscle is finely delineated. He looks like a moving sculpture, body that is art, passing through time and space with power and grace — all parts connected, never stopping but heart-stopping in beauty and complexity. A hand movement that looks like Michelango’s David come to life. The only number after that that made any real impression on me was Ave Maria performed by Valerie Madonia and Meredith Rainey. Her steely strength en pointe was another highlight and he was a perfect partner. It was too bad that this powerful number followed Richardson’s as I was still rather stunned from his solo. The last two numbers in the Act I were nice, but, just nice. “Givin’ Up” with Don Bellamy and Michael Thomas and “Wiegen Lied” with a host of dancers were not striking. Just nice. Act II was not exactly my cup of Earl Grey. “Higher Ground” set to music by Earth Wind & Fire was just too Broadway for me. Not that it wasn’t good, I just preferred the ballet numbers more. It was a fun and highly energetic piece — I don’t think the dancers hardly stopped moving at all while they were on stage. But after the first numbers this was a light-hearted let down. Although the rest of the audience would disagree with me! For more on this fascinating company including some awesome photos check out their web site http://www.complexionsdance.org/home.htm
  5. This is another interesting interview with Stretton and much like the others he seems to be trying to do some damage control with promises of more Ashton and McMillan in the future. I thought one comment by Ms. Brown very interesting in that she says Stretton likes Rojo and Cocojaru. Well, that is evident in the castings already announced. In the upcoming Onegin Cocojaru has been given 10 performances, more than anyone else - closest to that number is Adam Cooper doing 9. I don't see Alina as Tatianna but maybe she can pull it off. I do wonder at his choices - he mentioned Sylvie could dance at the ROH forever but she is hardly cast in anything. Not sure that is because of her other commitments but his casting certainly has generated a lot of discussion in the UK! It will be a very interesting three years watching the company as things settle down and Stretton settles in.
  6. Alexandra — >> the Mukhamedov comments were one red flag for me, the Wildor ones another. << The Sarah one was really bad! Saying that he just couldn't understand why she left as she was slated for Onegin was major spin control. I think I wrote a friend that the man comes off rather slimey slick. But he is getting good press today after last night's opening of Don Q.
  7. According to MapQuest.com there are six states with a town called Swan Lake, GA, MS, AR, OK, KY, NY. and I liked the typo making Google into Goggle. I was almost boggled.
  8. >>The Nadine Meisner interview looked rather like early damage control.<< Yes it did didn't it. And in that he implied that what happened with Irek was a done deal before he arrived. And when I watched Ballet Boyz second film they talked to Irek then and he said it was his last night of doing Manon forever and he was gone. Interesting then, the recents reviews of Mukhamedov's dancing in his gala evening. Leaner and still wowing them in London.
  9. I was noticing on ABT's site that Sascha Radetsky is dancing many soloist roles and was wondering if he has been officially promoted yet. He is still listed in the corps. He is featured at least seven times during the City Center Season and is performing during the opening gala in Symphony in C. Is it is the usual thing to give so many soloist parts to a corps member? Personally I think it is neat that he is dancing so much! [ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: lara ]
  10. Giannina, >>These men start spinning her from the first rotation, vigorously and visibly...their hands coming more than half way around her waist.<< This is something I noticed too - and have noticed especially with ABT. Check out the video ABT Now and watch the pdds. Especially the Black Swan with Jaffe and Carreno. And to a somewhat lesser degree Corella and Herrera in Don Q, and Bocca and Ferri in R&J. The men turn the women from the beginning rotation. I also saw this very plainly in ABT's Corsaire. Is this a new style or just trying to get more turns in?
  11. National Ballet of Cuba: Impressions on a gala evening. What a magical Friday evening at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with the National Ballet of Cuba. With only a couple of flaws it was a wonderful evening with a top-notch company. First on the program was Giselle with Lorna Feijoo and Oscar Torrado as Giselle and Albrecht. After a rocky start the truncated version of Act II in the forest made me a little confused but the dance was pretty splendid with the exception of Felix Rodriguez as Hilarion. The gentleman was frankly pretty awful. Overweight with no apparent dance skills that I could see. The corps dancing was uneven and as they left the stage I thought “Oh no, what is this all about.” Luckily the entrance of Feijoo and Torrado erased all doubt from my mind and I sat entranced through their pas de deux. She was fluid and emotional and he was the perfect heartthrob partner making the lifts look effortless and artistic. Her footwork was precise and she also made it look easy. As they danced I was moved so that I had to force back small tears at the beauty of it all and the emotion that was created. I thought that this was what Guillem’s Giselle should have been like emotionally and wasn’t. Next were scenes from Act III of Sleeping Beauty with Laura Hormigon as Princess Aurora and Nelson Madrigal as Prince Desire. The grand ballroom promenade was appropriately grand with only one “off” little thing that I am sure most people didn’t notice. But the wig on the king’s head was WAY askew and looked as if someone had dropped a nasty bit of ratty brown carpet on his head. I had to try very hard not to giggle. The wedding pas de deux in this ballet is one of my favorite’s with what I call one-arm drop lifts. I know there is a technical term, but I don’t know it. Even with expecting those three moves I was thrilled at the execution, more daring than I had ever seen before. At the last one, an inadvertent “Holy Cow” escaped my lips to the chagrin of my friend who was sure that the 10 rows in front of us heard me. Hormigon’s legs were almost over her head as Madrigal held her perfectly still after nearly dipping her to the floor. The whole auditorium exploded with applause. Madrigal’s variation produced more gasps even though his jump landings were a tad off. But again, I don’t think most people noticed. Bringing up the end of the first half was scenes from the Nutcracker with the Waltz of the Flowers and a pas de deux between the Lilac Fairy and her cavalier performed by Galina Alvarez and Joel Carreno...brother to ABT dancer Jose Carreno. According to the program he graduated from school in 1998 and is already a Premier dancer. To my untrained eye his partnering looked rough but his jumps and turns were right on and was another crowd pleaser. Which brings up a sore point with me. Is it only American audiences or does everyone clap after the “tricks” whether they be fancy footwork or soaring leaps. It seemed limited to the back of the house and up in the “cheap seats” but the applause was disruptive, especially during delicate little moments. And this company does the very Russian thing of taking bows after every solo or variation. Now that REALLY interferes with the flow of the dance. It reduces portions of it to an exercise that says “Hey, look at what I can do.” After the interval came scenes from Coppelia. These I could have done without. Not my favorite ballet to begin with, but a completely non-charismatic Octavio Martin as Franz — another plumpish male dancer — created a dud. Hayna Gutierrez won the audience over at the end with some lovely footwork on the diagonal across the stage. I wish I knew the names of all these steps! Don Quixote was quite nice with very charming dancers Victor Gili as Basilio and Viengsay Valdes as Kitri. Jaime Diaz was a stand out as Espada, the lead toreador. He had beautiful feet and extension and was really quite splendid. Back in the corps was a dancer that looked like a younger, thinner, taller Acosta. This excerpt was not as exciting as I hoped but still very nice. I think the long breaks between Basilio and Kitri dancing together and their variations flattened the excitement. Gili was one of the few dancers that looked like he really loved what he was doing. I had rented a pair of opera glasses and was able to watch faces and this man didn’t just have the obligatory smile plastered on but was actually having fun while working. Swan Lake was next with scenes from Act II and again Lorna Feijoo and Oscar Torrado did the honours. And oh my. They really are wonderful together. Another teary moment for me. An odd moment came in the beginning with the corps. All the dancers lined up with beautiful arms MOST all pointing one direction with the exception of one poor girl. Her arms were going the opposite direction! At first I thought maybe each dancer was alternating but on closer inspection I thought, nope, she is the only one that has arms pointed the other way. And it was the kind of still moment where she couldn’t exactly “fix” the problem without it being very obvious. It is this kind of moment that makes live ballet so vital! Bringing up the end was a banal, but pretty piece call Sinfonia de Gottschalk with small “curtain call” solos for the principals and a last chance for the corps to shine. When it was all done I thought, is that all there is? I wanted more! What better compliment to a company, yes?
  12. >>I think there are many boards who don't have a clue what the artistic position of the director is.<< Then by what criteria do they hire an artistic director? I am having a hard time accepting that people who sit on a ballet board do not know anything about the ballet or how they want their company to look!
  13. Alexandra, >> Now it will have a much more contemporary twist -- not, it seems, from any request from dancers or audience, but because that is the background of the director. The same thing is happening in Scotland, where Scottish Ballet is being turned from a classical ballet company to a contemporary dance company. What do you think about this?<< I think the change in the direction of the Scottish Ballet came not from a director but from a board that made the decision to change the company from classical to contemporary. If this really happens after all the dust settles from the battles that are forming, then the board will seek out a director to steer the company on that new course. I was thinking that a board hires a director knowing what that director likes, how they perceive dance etc. And that they agree with whatever changes that director will bring with her/him. That the change is not sprung on a company willy nilly nor is it a surprise to the governing board. If the board has a choice of which director to hire they will hire the one they feel will take the company the direction they want it to go so the "whim" of the director really has not much meaning, don't you think? Lara
  14. I believe one can still view the tapes at the research library in New York though. This program has a call number. *MGZIC 9-611 It would be interesting to know what the parameters are for viewing materials in the research library.
  15. Speaking of Radetsky, is five years a long time to be in the corp? Do some dancers just never make it out of the corp? What happens to them - let's say after 10 years or so? Does a company keep them on?
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