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cubanmiamiboy

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Everything posted by cubanmiamiboy

  1. I was ruminating yesterday while browsing through old pages of BalletTalk. It has been 14 years since I joined, and what a great source of information has it been! Needless to say, there have been countless of posters who have contributed immensely to the bulk of this site with their viewing experience and knowledge. Some of them are gone to the heavens now...some others just stopped writing, but I certainly remember them all very well. So my big appreciation to some of the names I can think of from the top of my head. Mel Johnson-(RIP), PopularLibrary-(RIP), Carbro-(RIP), Estelle, Solor, PapeetePatrick, bart, Hans, Leigh Witchell, Leonid-(oh...how do I miss his posts!), Doug Fullington, atm711 and many others. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to all!
  2. I went to today's matinee of this program. It opened on Friday, but I had to work both Friday and Saturday nigh shifts, so today when I came back from work in the morning I stayed awake to go see this. I'm Old Fashioned. Robbins. Never seen it before. A balletic tribute to a Fred Astaire's ballroom-style number with Rita Hayworth that is played in a huge screen onstage before the dancers take center. I found it cute, although somehow repetitive at some point, very much in the way of "Dances at a Gathering", with combinations and more combinations of dancers doing similar stuff onstage. A couple of male variations looked like cut outs from West Side Story. My mom loved it, as anything Americana, telling me that it reminded her of the films she used to watch as a kid. As the 90% of the theater population today sort of fell under that age range and older, I guess people felt quite identified with the soul of this piece. At the end the whole ensemble takes the stage all dressed as Fred and Rita while the clip plays again on the screen and the dancers double up doing the same choreo until the end, when they turn around to wave good bye to the marching off onscreen couple, The Bitter Earth. Wheeldon I have seen a few pieces by Wheeldon and nothing I can remember has been particularly interesting. I thought this would be the case too, as it is usually with me and anything too contemporary-(there was a quote by the late Mel Johnson that would describe my distaste, but it would be too politically incorrect πŸ˜‰ ). Anyhow...this was not the scenario this time. The piece is a short pdd, and it had its big share of gymnastics, but still managed to look smooth and soothing, with the big help of Dinah Washington's soulful 1960's voice. Quite romantic and even somber and sad at times, it was danced by Ashley Knox and Carlos Quenedit-(ex Cuban National Ballet dancer). Tschaikovsky PDD. Balanchine Always a winner. always a show stopper. Doesn't it pick your curiosity on how the original choreo within Swan Lake might had looked like,...? Anyhow, the fish dives were daring-(real throwing, body extended with legs together, face almost touching the floor)- the and the tempo was fast. The dancers, Jennifer Lauren and my favorite Kleber Rebello did a beautiful job. Bravi. Symphonic Dances. Ratmansky. Only the middle section with the tuxedo like costumes for the men and the bright colored tunics for the women actually does something for me. The rest quite bores me, so I usually close my eyes and listen to the Rachmaninoff score.
  3. Nothing else has been said about it...
  4. OMG...! I remember that was basically the reaction of some of us when the company did their farewell tour! I saw it here in Miami, and after being aggravated and having fought with an usher for a chair for my mom-( the thing was presented with the audience "encouraged" to seat on the stage floor around the dancers)- I couldn't decide if I had to laugh or to cry at the choreo. I didn't have any previous reference whatsoever of the man and his work, and was expecting something along Taylor or Ailey lines. Needless to say, we left early. But this comical approach seems to be the best incarnation of the work.😁
  5. MCB needs a complete SL-( they do Balanchine's). And SB. And Bayadere. And Raymonda. Never gonna happen, but since this is a wishes thread.... ABT needs a proper Raymonda. Also, they need to claim their Tudor repertoire back and make a strong repository of it. There are people still alive who can be called. Hurry up before they die. Mariinsky needs to claim their imperial heritage back and get over with Vainonen, K Sergueev and Ponomarev. Everybody and their momma is doing Petipa, and Mother Russia looks from the distance. Not fair.
  6. Could Alvin Ailey be a proper repository...? They have a very well established, loyal following.
  7. I really can't see his works staged "regularly", and even less "for decades and decades", I'm afraid. His style is one that might not attract the big bucks for a ballet company, nor the proper amount of ballet lovers enough to make it a staple for a company. Graham struggles to survive, so does Tudor and even Ashton modern pieces. I can see Cunningham following. XXI Century seems to keep digging more and more into Petipa, as its timeless core seems to have no end. Maybe that's the key word here. "Timeless" Sleeping Beauty vs "timed" Beach birds....?
  8. Today's the day I got my toys as a kid. Despite having been banned by the communist regime, my family celebrated it privately. The Three Kings would come last night in their camels to give me the presents I had asked for in my letter. And today was the last day of our Christmas tree, put up in the back of the house. Strangely, the Castro government had set up a national raffle done in households precincts for the kids to get rationed toys coming from USSR or GDR, but any reference to the religious celebration was forbidden. Still, within my family it was still "Magi Kings Day". My mom used to go to the countryside and exchange her clothes with raffle winning tickets for me to have a proper Kings Day. I never knew until years later, as a teen. I hope the Three Wise Men/Magi/Kings bring you everything you ask for on this new year. On top of everything, health. Health for you and your loved ones! Me as a kid in Cuba in a closed doors church celebration of Epiphany. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10154486918974191&id=647664190 And here's a celebration of Epiphany by baroque Cuban composer Esteban Salas.
  9. I have the feeling Cunningham knew his work would work for a specific audience/fashion within a specific time frame, and that after that it would be seen as a vintage rarity. Hence his desire for a troupe dissolution at a specific time. I can appreciate his work as I appreciate Duchamp's "Fountain". As a curious memento from the art form. But nothing beyond that....and in small dosages, IMHO.
  10. As we know, Staatsoper has a Nutcracker that uses the Imperial era sets and costumes original designs. Choreo wise, this is not, technically, a reconstruction, but there comes a question about it. On this snippets, one can see choreo for both the Fee Dragee/Prince Coqueluche pdd and Candy Cane dances have a direct link to Petipa/Ivanov. The Fee Dragee pdd has survived quite intact via Sergueev/Markova in Europe and Fedorova in America. Candy Cane is more problematic though. We know Balanchine knew and staged its choreo by heart, knowing it first hand. But...is this choreo now Balanchine trademarked ...? Can it be used outside the Trust scope as another Imperial surviving piece...? Can it be used in Berlin without licensing or Balanchine's name...? Can the Trust limit its staging even if he didn't create it originally...?
  11. That sounds like a good plan to go see this. Yes. It has the length of a theater play, and the whole thing sounds like a big recitative set to music. Can't stand all that screaming, through....πŸ˜†
  12. I know! Everything has an audience, for sure. And I accept it is my limitation in finding beauty in Rubens, but not in Duchamp, in Puccini but not in Reimann or in Petipa but not in Cunningham.
  13. ...very tied with Lear! πŸ˜‚ At least way shorter than Reimann's, but tricky, because in Lear one can elope right after a shorter act I than the longer one act's Wozzeck! I would had eloped early on Wozzeck, but I was seated in the middle of a row, and would had hated to wake up the three men an a woman I counted were dozing off/sleeping in between me and freedom.
  14. Best: Ratmansky's Bayadere, Berlin Staatsoper. His last act Grand Pas and temple destruction is ballet history being brought back. Seeing Yolanda Correa as Gamzatti and Alejandro Virelles as Solor, two fellow countrymen as role originators was a moment of pride. Mariinsky's "Paquita" in DC. Again...an ode to a Petipa's last act, in this case one being preserved from Imperial times. Even if this production doesn't follow the original libretto, knowing that the Grand Pas is there and intact for future references is memorable. Tereshkina, of course, as the current Petersburg diva, and she excelled in it. NYCB' Nutcracker. You never go wrong with Mr B's Nut. It is a perfect happy place, and the best way to finish one's year. Manhattan's diva Tiler Peck on it was its crown jewel. Kleber Rebello as Candy Cane, MCB. For years I have considered him the best on this role. If the Trust will film it, they should get him, and he learned the role from Villella himself. He's superb, and I have seen countless NY'rs on it. Lauren Fadeley in Green, Dances at a Gathering, MCB. Never cared for this ballet, which usually bores me to tears. But she did something with this role that will always stay in my mind. She created a "story within the story" that truly captured my interest and made me go through this, to me, dull piece. Worst. There was really nothing I truly hated in ballet in 2019. I just stopped going to programs I knew I would hate, including those Lang's pieces at ABT. So my two picks for the worst of 2019 will be opera. 1- Aribert Reimann's "Lear" at the Garnier, Paris . 2- Albany Berg's "Wozzeck" at the MET I wanted to scream during both performances.
  15. Just turned three. The only thing she cared for was the mice. 😝
  16. I went to the premiere out of pure curiosity. Very few times have I walked out of a performance in my entire life. This was the case. I excruciatingly endured 1:25 minutes out of the 1:30 it lasts. My previous walk out was at Reimann's "Lear", this November at the Garnier in Paris.
  17. πŸ₯° https://www.facebook.com/100007047452281/posts/2631970156850347/?substory_index=48
  18. For what I saw in "Slaughter", she's not there yet for tutu roles. I saw her last night. Didn't even know she was not a company member. Quite strong and secure.
  19. None of the Russians for sure. Both Vainonen's pseudo Rose Adagio and Grigorovitch bizarre candelabra/praying stuff made me cringe. Balanchine's for its adherence to the original libretto, speed, witty choreo, for the kids, best tree transformation and of course...snow and flowers. Sir Peter Wright's for its preserved Grand Pas, best costumes and scenery. Alicia Alonso after Alexandra Fedorova. Because it is the one I grew up with and the linkage it contains to old school ballet-( ca. Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo/Ballet Theater 1940's)
  20. Balanchine 1954- Marie Stahlbaum Balanchine 1958 TV telecast- Clara Silberhaus.
  21. 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.
  22. 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!!
  23. 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
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