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About cubanmiamiboy

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid balletgoer, fan
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  1. I might have an exception with Balanchine's, as his tempo is quite faster than the current norm-(usually dreadfully soporific), and his choreo is witty and doesn't involve contorsions. I might have an exception with Balanchine's, as his tempo is quite faster than the current norm-(usually dreadfully soporific), and his choreo is witty and doesn't involve contorsions.
  2. I made this trip to Berlin with Ratmansky's La bayadere as a centerpiece, and I'm glad I did. Vikharev recon didn't quite cut it off completely for me, so I had great expectations for this, and they were amply fulfilled. Ratmansky's recon first hints of novelty are when the bayaderes come out in Act I. They are in dancing shoes, not on pointes, so by the time Nikiya makes her appearance, her superlative importance as a character is evident, as she's the only one on pointe. The choreography for the dancers is also simpler...not as stylized as we see in Ponomarev et all-(Makarova and Nureyev). They are lighter and with less plasticity. For Nikiya's first variation we have Ponomarev. I assume is his, because I've read that Nikiya's dances are not notated all the way until the Kingdom of the Shades. And then comes the first really big surprise, which is the absence of Solor/Nikiya's pdd at their encounter. It is all mime here, and it looks beautiful. The music is sped up, and the whole thing happens in half the time we usually get with Ponomarev dancing choreo. Previously we had the beautiful section with Nikiya playing her veena at the temple's window while Solor listens from below. The window here is in a second floor of the temple, so when Solor calls her attention and they extend their arms to each other the whole thing looks very Romeo and Juliet. Nikiya rejecting the priest and the end of the act stays the same. Fast forward to act II. Priest has watched the lovers and the story stays the same. The Rajah is furious when the Brahman tells him everything, and when he leaves and calls for the Brahman to follow him, we know he will be taking part of the charade to eliminate Nikiya, albeit reluctantly. Gamzatti/Nikiya fight stays the same. Gamzatti is furious, and by the end of the act we also feel she will be taking part on the plot to eliminate Nikiya. The betrothal scene is of course shorter because the Grand Pas will be placed where it really belongs, in Act IV. Nikiya's dancing with the veena is also beautiful. Semionova did changed a bit her "happy dancing" ending, doing something different than the usual round of chainee turns. Again...I believe this variation is also Ponomarev. When Nikiya dies, all faces but Solor look as if they all know what's going on. The Brahman, the Rajah, Nikiya, Aya. The Brahman have the antidote, which I believe he has carried as a matter of ultimatum, if Nikiya decides to give up Solor and give herself to him. But that does not happen. And here comes The Kingdom of the Shades. For those who are familiar with Vikharev, you might remember this was one of the things we could see as a huge change. The whole addition of Solor's scene at his bedchamber with Gamzatti coming in and trying to persuade him, as well as Nikiya's shade, who makes her entrance on this act way before the Himalayas. Here Nikiya comes in and out, with Solor trying to catch her, very much as in La Sylphide, or Giselle. And here I have my first question that can be applied to certain sections reconstructed by both Vikharev and Ratmansky. If both were working from the notations...why is it that, let's say, Nikiya's variation in Solor's bedchamber when she first shows up is different on both productions...? And here they come. The shades descending the Himalayas. I have mixed feelings about it. The whole affair looks and feels way less dramatic, less hypnotic, less severe than the way we know it via Ponomarev/Makarova/Nureyev. The tempo is speedier, the cambres are not as pronounced, the arabesques are 90 degrees...not more. And the shades walk faster. The stage is also brighter than the mysterious, dark affair we know from the Soviets. Also, as the tutus are bell shaped, and longer, we don't get to see the elongated lines of the shades the way we're used to, which in cases like the Mariinsky, with their tall, military-like corps, can be mesmerizing. Again. this is a totally different concept, probably closer to Petipa, but the differences are palpable. Oh... and that little frappe they do right before the arabesque is also new to me. Vikharev certainly didn't have it. Ratmansky also changes bits of the choreo once the shades are all positioned. Gone are the tilted torsos we get in previous versions. The next big change comes via Nikiya's solo with the veil, which as some have reported, she carries herself, with an invisible string that pulls it up to the heavens after she does her grand pirouettes No Solor. When Nikiya's coda comes, we have her advancing in surprising sautes on pointe to demiplie and back to sautes. Very unorthodox, I must say. No Dudinskaya's changes. And then comes the ice of the cake. The spectacular grand Pas. Here Ratmansky outdoes everyone else. This pas is dramatically perfect...giving back to the ballet is most deserved logic and finale, after decades of tweaking and suppression. The ins and outs of Nikiya during the pas de quatre-(Nikiya/solor/Gamzatti/cavalier)- look and feel like a glove to Minkus music. Many of the musical accents that look so awkward when this pas is done in the Soviet manner, with only Gamzatti and Solor, look totally justified and used to their best here. And finally, Solor can act a bit, and at times he might look regretful or distressed at what's going on around him. Again, In Ponomarev we don't see this, and Solor looks weird, many dancers even making the character smile and everything, as if his affair with Nikiya has never existed. Definitely, things are in their right place now. Solor and Nikiya both lose the variations we know from Ponomarev, which I still don't know their rooting. Instead we have what was notated at the turn of the century when the ballet was last revived by Petipa for Pavlova. Solor uses an old variation from Le Papillon, and Gamzatti uses Dulcinea variation from DQ, which is what Olga Preobrajenska danced back then. The coda is also not the one we're used to from Ponomarev. That coda, which includes the music of Gamzatti's fouettes, belongs, in Ratmansky's, to the betrothal act. Here, just as with Vikharev, the coda music is different. Oh, and no fouettes for anybody. Not needed, really. What do I miss, honestly...? The golden idol. The temple destruction is done via digital projections, with a screen that comes down quickly which mimics the real props. So the destruction happens digitized, and then the screen comes back up in the middle of the smoke to reveal props of the destroyed temple. Here the laurels belong to Makarova's production over both Vikharev and Ratmansky. As I said before, the final tableaux looks way better in Makarova's. Ratmansky follows Vikharev, with Nikiya reviving Solor in the middle of the carnage. Ratmansky compresses two acts in one, intermezzo and two more acts in one. I'm not sure it works, as the acts really feel VERY long. I would have had preferred three intermezzos for sure. Anyhow...the performance was wonderful. This was historical, and I truly hope more companies can offer audiences the real La Bayadere and not a truncated, tweaked version. We're in 2019....we are not in Soviet Union and we don't have a shortage of machinery to get a temple destruction. Oh...and as a side note, national pride here at seeing a couple of Cubans making ballet history. Alejandro Virelles as Solor and Yolanda Correa as Gamzatti. I believe their originated the roles. Polina Semionova danced Nikiya, as I mentioned earlier. Bravi tutti!!
  3. Hello all!! Eat a lot, celebrate a lot, hit the gym gruelingly for the next week and everything will be fine..!! Much love from Berlin. Cristian
  4. Such wonderful news! I'm a hardcore supporter of ballet libretti faithfulness. We need to see the story as it was intended, just as operas. I need to go see this. Thanks, Roberta, for the heads-up!
  5. He has, and he's great partnering tall ballerinas. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10113834812686339&substory_index=2&id=6800018
  6. I will play Russian roulette like every year with my one performance. Luckily I won't be stuck-(for third time in a row!)- with Le Crone...🙄
  7. The article is not accurate. They describe the ballet libretto saying it finishes with Solor visiting Nikiya in the afterlife. Not true. The ballet finishes with a fourth act. A wedding and a temple destruction, death and afterlife lovers final tableaux. The Mariinsky's Soviet production has a truncated staging sans the real finale. But there are companies besides the Mariinsky where the real finale of the ballet can be seen. They also wrongly describe the Kirov "Shades" act in 1961 Paris as the first time this was seen in the West. Not accurate again. The first western production of the Shades act was staged by Eugenia Feodorova at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It premiered on April 12, 1961-(before the Kirov one)-with Bertha Rosanova as Nikiya and Aldo Lotufo as Solor. The author also gets wrong when he praises Ponomarev "stylized sets" to support the apparently "new", more sensitive perception of Indian culture vs what he describes as older assessments of the ballet which might had included westernized ideas of native India. He also muses on the possibility that the company might present this ballet in a more sensitive way for touring purposes. Well ... let's remind the author that the staging he saw uses Vikharev reconstructed designs of sets and costumes of the Tsarist production. Kirov-( and now Mariinsky)- is not the Alpha and Omega of productions. Not anymore anyhow. There is La Scala for Raymonda, the Royal for Nutcracker, Bolshoi for Coppelia, Zurich for Swan Lake and now Berlin for Bayadere. Mariinsky's Ponomarev will always be a truncated staging.
  8. Thanks for the link, dear! Carmen Suite is a wonderful jewel of a short ballet, where Tudorian "perfume" needs to be achieved in order for it to work. The ballet has an interesting history, not devoided of drama. Back when it was created in the 60's, Alberto Alonso had his wife Sonia Calero in mind as muse and potential dancer. Calero was part of the company as a character dancer, and back in the 50's she had been also quite a star in the cabaret circuit of Havana, where Alonso was a prolific choreographer. Eventually the ballet ended up being premiered, as we know, at the Bolshoi, with Plisetskaya as its star. She excelled on the role. At seeing this, Alicia Alonso immediately demanded for Alonso to rework the piece in Havana for her, which he did. This resulted in what I consider to be the ultimate incarnation of the work. Both divas' interpretations were great, but completely different. Videos exist of both versions for comparison. The Russian lineage of the work is out there, and can be seen on YouTube in the likes of Vishneva and Zakharova. Lane got to learn the sultrier Cuban version for Alicia, with the touches that Alberto Alonso's widow Sonia might know where on his mind when she Inspired him to create the work. Alicia didn't allow anybody to dance the ballet for decades while she did it. It wasn't until 2000 that the ballet could be seen again in someone other than Alicia. I saw it. Alicia was 80 at the time. I have a hard time picturing Lane as the powerful Carmen. When I think of her it is her voice from her Black Swan interview the first thing that comes to mind.
  9. I will be attending the Berlin production of Bayadere, which as we know is Ratmanky's effort at giving this much tweaked ballet its much deserved original former self back. For the ocassion I've been revisiting my videos, as a matter of comparison. This are Ponomarev -(Komleva/Abdeyev)-, Makarova -( Zakharova/Bolle)-...Vikharev recon-(can't remember now the leads)- and Ratmansky-(Selina/Simkin). Here are some thoughts. About the Ponomarev we all know its downs. I don't know if his production was the initiation of the ballet sans act IV and the tweaking of the wedding pas into a betrothal pas, but it was certainly the one that paved the path for the general knowledge of this ballet by XX century audiences-(well...mainly Soviet audiences up until Makarova). If anything, I guess we should be grateful that there was Ponomarev and Dudinskaya and Chabukiani for many of the details we might enjoy today-(fierce variations and codas, former miming passages now made into dancing ones etc...)...oh, and Gamzatti's fouettes-( 😉 ). I believe he's mostly at fault with his reworking of the wedding Grand Pas into the engagement nemesis. The pas basically loses all its dramatic power, the whole Nikiya's ghost interrupting is erased and Solor's smiley face while dancing with Gamzatti feels out of place. In every other version I've seen after Ponomarev-(mainly Makarova's at ABT)-, little, if anything, is given as a matter of clues about Solor's possible regret at getting married with Gamzatti. Ratmanky particularly works wonders on this in his Grand Pas. Solor looks very confused and distraught, even more with the logical re insertion of Nikiya's ghost at all times. Makarova then tries to fix some of this mess by the creation of her own act IV. Big round of applause for her, for at least giving due respect to the original libretto and for educating audiences in the real finale of the ballet-(wedding, interrupting ghost, fury of the gods, temple destruction, lovers reunited in the afterlife). I'm willing to bet that the generalized complaint on her production is the lack of Minkus score for the last act and maybe Lanchbery's re orchestration choices. But still...I think it is Makarova the one that really gave Bayadere its missing limbs for the XX century, even with Lanchbery's musical aditions and inventions. Vikharev is next, truly restoring the Grand Spectacle element of the ballet, re inserting many "lost" miming sequences and group dances and of course, his brand "new-old" grand Act IV which this time is very close to what the audiences saw back in Petipa's times. Sets and costumes are his big pluses, his recreation of the lost act with the real music-(or some of it)- and then the icing of the cake being the pas de deux a trois, with Nikiya's ghost in and out of the sequence and the temple destruction. For the first time we get the Grand Pas in its original place. Still, Vikharev seems to still be unable to totally break with Ponomarev. There's still a Golden Idol, there's still an initial dancing duo in the first Solor/Nikiya encounter and there's still Ponomarev choices for the Grand pas' Gamzatti and Solor's variations and final coda. Ratmanky's big bang is the restoring of many original miming sequences and his reworking of the last act , which goes even more true to the original as he re inserts the two variations that were danced by Gamzatti and Solor by the time the ballet was notated. Gamzatti's being Dulcinea's variation for DQ and Solor's being lifted back then from Le Papillon. Ratmanky's Pas de deux a trois/quatre-(with the introduction of Gerdt's substitute for the difficult sequences due to his age at the time)- looks excellent this time, and we even have which I believe is the original music for the coda. So that leaves the question of where the music for Ponomarev's staging for both Gamzatti's and Solor's variations and final coda came from. Now a comparison of the three temples destruction. Makarova's, Vikharev's and Ratmansky's. To be honest...the one that looks more powerful is Makarova's. The bootleg I have of Vikharev's is very grainy, so I guess the sequence might look better at the theater than on video. Ratmanky's is more visible according to my video. But Makarova's is definitely more effective. Also...the concept of the final tableaux with Nikiya and Solor reunited in the afterlife is better presented in Makarova's. Both Vikharev's and Ratmanky's have Nikiya's appearing in the temple and sort of reviving Solor in human form in the middle of the massacre. In Makarova's one can tell in the final pose that they are together in spirit somewhere out of this world. Generally speaking, I give Ratmanky's version the big prize. I can't wait to see it in Berlin.
  10. Nah. For some maybe, but not for all. Bayadere is everything. The Grand spectacle, the elephant, the Gamzatti-Nikiya cat fight, the parrots dance, the jumps, paint and sexiness of the Golden Idol, the temple destruction and even Gamzatti's fouettes for those who still have Makarova's or Nureyev. I wish a long life to the whole production and for the reconstruction to take rooting in other companies! Edited to add: And I TRULY hope that the Kingdom of the Shades never becomes a pseudo Symphony in C .
  11. Some nuances on the quadruple love story might have been lost once the Soviets got rid of much of the miming passages. One thing I appreciate from Ratmansky's recon for Berlin is his attention to those passages and their re insertion. The death scene of Nikiya can be quite confusing if the key players don't do their job properly via gesturing, glances etc. One thing I always find very intriguing is the frenzy dance Nikiya does with the basket. Some ballerinas do it with full ample smile, which makes you wonder what's going on in her head or in the librettist head. Even if she thinks it was a gift from Solor he's still getting married. I don't get that too much. One thing I do is attentively look at Gamzatti, Solor and Gamzatti's father and see what their reactions are while she's apparently happily dancing. And attitudes change from production to production. Sometimes Solor is looking down, as if he doesn't even want to look. Sometimes he sort of look as if he senses something weird and bad is happening. Gamzatti usually looks as if she's on it, and same with her father. But it is still a strange passage. I'm sure the original dancers knew more about the exact reaction the librettist and choreographer wanted from them, but now much of it is lost. Although as I said.... Ratmansky has wonderfully restored lots of it in his production. To me the basket and snake are being given to Nikiya as a plan from both Gamzatti and her father. Solor needs to be surprised when he sees the gift being handled to her for which he realizes that Nikiya believes it comes from him. The priest is not in the plan. He has the antidote with him, yes ..but I don't think that means he's part of the charade.
  12. Act of passion. For a split second in Nikita's head it is a matter of "it's either me or her".
  13. When Cynthia Gregory danced in Havana, she was favored by audiences. I think people detected and appreciated how solid and centered she was. She really embodied the Cuban likeness for such great "a terre" ballerinas . I'm sure Ashley Bouder would be a darling over there.
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