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Everything posted by fendrock

  1. The OP quoted a Bolshoi dancer who lived "behind the Iron Curtain;" for those who were geographically confined, art was a means of escape. Theater, museums, dance all provided a means of expression for those who were politically oppressed. In a market driven economy, entertainment wins out over personal expression. Consumers seek external engagement, rather than being forced to engage inwardly. Cultural education becomes less important and loses out. As a parent, I believe ballet has enabled my daughter to be more engaged with listening to music, both classical and world, than otherwise. We have also taken her to the theater and ballet. She has never had much use for museums. Artists need to be engaged culturally, and so will seek out cultural stimulation. But, as with most disciplines, not all who are exposed to culture will take to it, especially in a society that does not value it.
  2. Adding my kudos for Lorna Feijoo as Giselle -- we were also at the May 20th matinee. The man sitting next to us wiped tears from his eyes as the ballet came to an end. It was a very affecting performance. Yuri Yanowsky was a worthy partner. I especially liked the expression on his face in Act I when Giselle and the Princess learn about each other.
  3. What are your views about Boston Ballet? They qualify in terms of having a school, although I don't think any of the current company members trained there much if at all.
  4. In the recent production at Boston Ballet of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Demetrius and Lysander were duelling when one of them got his foil caught in the net curtain. It took some doing to extricate it.
  5. Jane, I was thinking about this, and I do believe that it reflects Balanchine's own views on faith. The Prodigal Son is based on a parable, a parable about the relationship between God and someone who comes to believe in God. It seems that Balanchine felt that a Christian builds his/her own faith in God; God does not reach out, or compel, belief.
  6. I saw a Boston Ballet production of the Prodigal Son a few years ago, and posted this as part of my review her: Today I was reading Barbara Milberg Fisher's In Balanchine's Company, and encountered this passage: I just thought it was funny she had the same question, and actually got an answer!
  7. James Kudelka's ''Cinderella'' portrays the Stepmother as quite the lush.
  8. fendrock


    Hans, My daughter attends a new school with some similarities to the one you envision. It is housed in an old mill complex rather than a warehouse. The complex also contains artist studios and even a group of craftsmen who handbuild harpsichords. The director started the school in March of 2005 with creative movement classes. In the fall of 2006, she added five ballet levels. I guess levels 1-3 are relatively standard (I haven't actually observed any of them). Level 4 ended up being kind of a beginner's teen ballet class with about 8 students, but it met three times a week. My daughter was in level 5, and was probaby a high intermediate level class with about 5 students. (Most of the girls had defected from other area schools for one reason or the other.) So there was a big gap in terms of the training between levels 4 & 5. Apparently the school had over a 100 students last fall, and has been so successful that the director is adding an additional studio for the coming fall (for a total of three). Obviously at this point the bulk of her students are the little ones. As one of the teachers said, "it should be a great school at all levels in about 10 years." The ballet school also rents out space to a well respected modern teacher. She offered two classes in the space this past year, and will offer four this coming fall. The tuition is pretty steep, but is competitive with rates in the area. Here is the web site that shows pictures of the space, class schedules, and tuition: www.theballetspace.com
  9. We saw the March 11th matinee with Rie Ichikawa as Lise, Roman Rykine as Colas, Christopher Budzynski as Alain, and Viktor Plotnikov as the Widow Simone. We also saw La Fille when Boston Ballet did it several years ago. The casting for Alain and the Widow was the same for both performances. Budzynski is excellent in this role; his zany smile adds to the character. This is the first time I've seen Rykine in a major role. He has the looks for a romantic lead! Thanks for posting the historic pics, rg. It is interesting to see how dancer physiques have changed.
  10. Nanatchka, I find your comparison with Cezanne very helpful, thanks. You've convinced me -- I will try and make an effort to see Cunningham the next time he's in Boston -- hopefully I'll be able to convince my daughter (the dancer) to attend as well!
  11. The documentary that I viewed was "Merce Cunningham: A Lifetime of Dance" (2000). It is true that I have not seen Cunningham live and perhaps such an experience would leave me with a different impression. Still, I can understand the frustration of the spectator depicted in a review I looked up in Arlene Croce's book - "We came here to see dancing. When are you gonna dance?" Perhaps it was a perspective imposed by the documentary, but it seems that at least some of Cunningham's philosophy calls into question how we define dance. Personally, I do see dance as closely tied to musical expression. Also, I did not mean to suggest that the dance was improvised. In fact, one could say that improvised dance is still under the control of the person doing the improvisation, whereas the use of chance means the choreography is no longer fully created by the choreographer. (Cunningham himself is shown talking about how he at first found choreography using chance "impossible'). I find it difficult to appreciate how the use of chance could dependably result in something with a meaningful phrase or line. Marga posted about she enjoyed Cunningham's technique -- is it possible that something can be a joy to dance and not easy for the audience to watch? The end of the documentary shows Cunningham incorporating new technologies into his work. For example, he experiments with choreography software, uses sensors to generate dancing images and utilizes lasers in his set design (if you can call it that). I found this stuff fascinating, and it occurred to me that the first radical elements he introduced (separating the music from the dance, etc.) were new and perhaps refreshing at that time in the same way the use of technology is now.
  12. I watched a documentary on Merce Cunningham today, and I don't understand his appeal. So many of his techniques seem like gimmicks to me -- the dancing is not with the music but just happens at the same time as the music -- the use of chance to generate choreography -- any "natural" movement is dance -- etc. What am I missing?
  13. If anyone goes this weekend, watch carefully when Cinderella puts on her other shoe at the end. Last Saturday, I noted that Romi Beppu put on the missing Ouch Pouch, prior to putting on the missing slipper.
  14. bbfan's reference is part of a Boston Globe article you can find under Links for May 15:
  15. I checked their web site, and it appears that the spring performance was early this month. Some of the BWNE staff will be teaching at the Walnut Hill Community Dance Academy in the fall.
  16. Danseur, I don't know how feasible it would have been to use a company member, but you are right, it would have been nice and would have shown the kind of "can do" attitude that would make us here in Boston proud of our local company and its own talent. Actually, this reminds me of a talk Nissenen gave when he first came to Boston. He said that he wanted Boston to be as proud and excited about its ballet company as it is of its baseball team. I wonder if he realizes that in both cases the audience loves to see a successful last-minute substitution? I suppose, however, this must be balanced against the marketing appeal of including an artist from a company seldom seen by a Boston audience.
  17. Since Karine Seneca joined as a soloist in 2004, I wouldn't exactly call this "promotion through the ranks." Nor do I see much evidence of it elsewhere -- Nissenen has had a number of new dancers join as principals (Lorna Feijoo, Roman Rykine, Nelson Madrigal, Reyneris Reyes) or soloists (Melanie Atkins, Mindaugas Bauzys, Sacha Wakelin).
  18. A search on www.boston.com didn't turn up the blurb. Did it say where Pollyana was going?
  19. There was quite a listing of Boston Ballet school students in the program, but the only obvious use of them was as pages (carrying the train and the pillows for the fairies). I think I may have recognized one of the older students as a (non-dancing) lady-in-waiting in the wedding scene. Does anyone else have the impression that Pollyana Ribeiro is dancing less these days than before Nissenen's arrival? She's one of my favorites, and I'm worried that she won't get to do enough dancing and will leave.
  20. Kelley Potter danced The Cat at the Sat. matinee and did get a lot of laughs. Puss N' Boots, the White Cat, the Wolf and the Beast all wear masks in this production. We were sorry not to see Pollyana Ribeiro as Princess Florine. How did she do? Also, the peasant dance with garlands was performed by company dancers in this production. Isn't this generally performed by children?
  21. We saw the Saturday matinee, with Romi Beppu as Aurora and Reyneris Reyes as her Prince. I believe this may have been Beppu's first performance as Aurora, at least for Boston Ballet. Melanie Atkins was the Lilac Fairy.
  22. My daughter is a student at the Walnut Hill Community Dance Academy, and you're right, it's a great program! I was thinking about Walnut Hill School, and wondering if one could really consider it a local ballet school (in competition with Boston Ballet School), since many families would love for their children to take ballet class there, but want their children to attend their local high school for academics.
  23. I need to think about this more fully, but I wonder if there would be an angle having to do with subsidizing the cost of ballet in order to increase attendance, which would build an audience, therefore making it less necessary to subsidize the cost. Do you think this is even possible, to fund a model with an intent to making ballet a viable "business," as it were? Some of the possible uses for the seed money would include: - Creating low-cost venues for ballet performances -- in areas with high population density. These need to be spaces where staging can be done economically. - Ticket pricing that fills houses, creating word of mouth - More programs in the schools to make dance a normal part of life (like sports!) - Perhaps even some PR funds, with thought to bringing people to the ballet who would not otherwise go
  24. I am sad to see BWNE go. It was the "other" ballet school in the Boston area -- now, Boston Ballet School is the only game in town! I think it was especially wonderful how they provided very professional performance opportunities for their students. My daughter danced in their Nutcracker for two years, and it was a nice production.
  25. Next year will be my sixth year as a subscriber to Boston Ballet. Despite the fact that I am a relatively new subscriber, I am already seeing some ballets for the second time. (Boston Ballet does three story ballets a year and two repertory programs.) We will see "Sleeping Beauty" this year for the second time in (I think) three years, and next year will be the second time for "La Fille.." (also in three years). Personally, I would prefer Boston Ballet to put on something they haven't staged recently (Coppelia comes to mind). What is your view about how often companies should stage the classics? Are some ballets worthy of being seen every two years or so?
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