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Everything posted by M&S

  1. Happy 20-year anniversary OBT. Only thing missing was some Canfield during today's Retrospective Montage. Who do you think was behind that? Otherwise, a wonderful show full of strong dancing and mile-post performances.
  2. That's great news. We are very happy. However, we did receive a notice from OBT this past week stating that our Sunday matinée tickets were being moved to Saturday for a couple performances. My guess is that it's due to the cutting of performances and saving on auditorium rental.
  3. Sunday, June 08, 2008 2PM matinee...another great performance by OBT. Act I: Rubies by Balanchine. We saw the company perform this in 2003 and enjoyed both performances. It is a fun ballet to watch and it looks like the dancers are having fun right along with the audience. Hope they firm up a few things if they are going to perform this ballet at the Kennedy Center. One of the lead females struggled and shook during a few of her positions, and we were unmoved by the lead male. Act II: Tolstoy’s Waltz by Christopher Stowell. This ballet was magnificent. Christopher really pushed the envelope with this one. In it Stowell finds the balance between classical and advent garde. Ann Mueller was outstanding, as usual, and the pas de doux with Kathi Martuza and Artur Sultanov could not have been more captivating. They were well matched and bold with their movements. Gasps could be heard at multiple times throughout the performance. We left with a new level of respect for Christopher Stowell after this show. Act III: Raymonda by Yuri Possokhov (after Petipa). As we were waiting for the show to start, my wife mentioned to me that her and a previous partner (a former board member for the SF Ballet) walked out in the middle of a performance of Raymonda in San Francisco when Rudolf Nureyev was the lead male. I had never heard of him before, but my wife tells me he is (or was) well known. I guess they had some issues with costume choices or Nureyev's take on the theme, or something....and felt the need to "make a point" as it were. Regardless, nobody left during today's show. I am not a big fan of the tutu, but the costumes today were beyond beautiful. Alison Roper was stunning! She is always stunning! Ronnie Underwood is perhaps the strongest male dancer in the whole company, and we need strong male dancers like him. It was pure pleasure to watch. This is why we go to the ballet! We are thankful to have OBT. We are especially thankful both Alison Roper and Ann Mueller dance for this company. We dread the day when one, the other, or both leave. We have watched both these women since 1996 and they just continue to amaze us with both their strength and their grace. In a company that seems on the young side to us, these two dancers really stand out and have for a long time. We find them fascinating. Questions or comments on ballet etiquette. How does this compare to other venues around the country? Take into consideration that we choose to go to the Sunday Matinee, realizing full well Sunday matinee is when parents are most likely to take kids, the atmosphere is a little less formal, etc. The tickets still cost us around $75.00 each (which some of you will find inexpensive). To us, $150 is a significant amount to pay for two-three hours of entertainment. With that in mind.... We had a man in front of us take off his shoes and socks during the performance. He would slip them back on during intermissions, but took them off and aired his feet out during the performances. For the most part, he sat with them crossed...the sole of one foot facing the aisle. Just enough in front and to the side of me that my peripheral vision engaged whenever he wiggled his toes. A woman behind us gave her child a cellophane wrapped bag of goodies to eat. They did not get eaten during either of the two intermissions, but were held in anticipation of the show. Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle....munch, munch, munch. I can excuse the occasional parent who needs to leave with a child, but do they need to come back in? We have monitors in the lobby. One lady left and returned with her child twice from the row in front of us. Lastly, what do you do about people who keep talking? Either telling the person next to them what just happened on stage or chatting away about non-ballet related events? I was instructed at some point in my life that going to the ballet was special, and that talking, unwrapping cellophane, crunching plastic water bottles, and going barefoot were unacceptable. Have the standards changed? Have I become an old fuddy-duddy? Am I a 40+ year old beer-drinking gun-nut ballet snob? I am glad people are supporting the ballet and the arts in general. I want more people coming to the shows, but at what point do you tell people that their behavior is inappropriate? Is this an "only in Portland, Oregon" thing?
  4. We liked James' rock ballets and "Jungle"...and really most of his new work. I love that the company does classics - I will never get tired of seeing "Serenade". I just love to be surprised with new and unique moves, non-traditional ballet music, and choreography/dance that generally pushs the envelope.
  5. Excuse my lack of experience on these boards. I came home from the ballet today and was hungry for further discussion concerning the experience. My wife introduced me to ballet in 1996. Since that time we have been faithful supporters of the OBT. We miss James Canfield, but have tried to keep open minds because we really do enjoy going to the ballet. Today's performances at the Newmark Theater in Portland (April 27, 2008) were outstanding. The lighting, dancers, and musical scores reminded me of reasons I love going to the ballet. Alison Roper brings something to the stage that I find lacking in many other dancers. Her expression and movements do not appear forced, but create the perception that she truly enjoys what she is doing. We almost left after seeing Kent Stowells' "Through Eden's Gate" for a second time. When we saw it last year we double checked the program, thinking it was a quirky ballet from the early 80's. As it turns out, it "new." Cheesy set, boring choreography, etc. It made us miss James all over again. What's Christopher thinking? I figure the OBT board was looking for a move toward more classical ballet when they hired Christopher, but I just don't get the attraction to repeats of Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, and day-glow paint on one-dimensional sets. Trey McIntyre's "Just" and Balanchine's "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" were outstanding! Sometimes I feel like our yearly membership only encourages the crowd that wants more of the old and less of the new...or at least newer pieces that reek of old age. Was anyone else there? What is your perspective? Again, I apologize for my newness on these boards. I do not come from a ballet background and do not speak the language. I have however, been in love with ballet as performance art for the past 12 years thanks to my wife who grew up going to the ballet in San Fransisco.
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