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Everything posted by Ambonnay

  1. I was at the Guggenheim's Works & Process session yesterday, on the ABT Nutcracker. The dancers who demonstrated small excerpts from the ballet included (i) Daniil Simkin, as part of his solo, (ii) the two pairs of young Claras and Nutcracker Prines played by boys, and (iii) a trio of male corps members, including Michael Illyin, who portrayed an amusing/whimsically choreographed excerpt towards the end of the performance that I could not tell the context for. Panel Wes Chapman, Moderator Ratmansky, Choreographer Richard Hudson, Set and Costume Designer Ormsby Wilkins, Music Director -- Spanish Dance Jessica Saund, Sara Smit Gray David, Roddy Doble -- Coaching of Clara and Nutcracker Prince (Act I) by Ratmansky JKO School Dancers Theodore Elliman Catherine Hurlin Mikaela Kelly Tyler Maloney -- Coaching of one person cast in principal role, by Ratmansky Yesterday: Daniil S Tonight: Veronika Part -- Coaching of the Russian Dance, by Ratmansky Kenneth Easter, Jeffrey Golladay, Mikhail Illyin (there was not much coaching last night, due to time constraints) Some aspects I recall from the event: -- Ratmansky is staying true to the original Tchaikovsky score, and at the pace intended by the composer. That means that there is no slowing down like in certain other productions for the male principal solo. While conceding that Daniil is quick late on, Ratmansky did give Daniil S a number of pointers about transitioning more quickly into entrechat six, doing cerain steps more crisply. He gave Daniil S at least three or four pointers, and Daniil had to dance portions f the excerpt again to reflect Ratmansky's suggestions. The male principal's solo will be quite fast and technically challenging. There was no moving of excerpts around, or shortening or lengthening excerpts from the original score. -- We receiveda walk-through of the backdrops and backgrounds, some of which are shown in the ABT online "book" I linked yesterday. A lot of turqoise and blue hues for the land of the sweets. The large Christmas tree will be on the same scene as a large chair, which will be shown on the right of the stage from the audience's perspective. -- There will be a Sugar Plum Fairy in the land of the sweets, but her role is not the principal female role, which goes to the adult Clara that is envisioned in that scene. -- The first scene is in the kitchen of the household of Clara's family. People are preparing foods, and there are a lot of sausages and simmering large pots in the background. -- The child Clara and the Nutcracker Prince (boy danseur) will, it appears, be present in large segments of the production. Only after the two arrive in the land of the sweets (after Drosselmeyer takes them there on a sleigh) and there is certain dancing would the adult Clara and the male principal danseur appear (presumably as a dream realized or a dream?, according to the ABT online site on thisproduction). There was no explanation of the effect that having children performing in key roles in such large portions of the ballet would have on the appeal of the ballet, or the pros/cons considered to this approach. -- Both the child Claras are red-haired, like Gillian Murphy. They both have pale skin, like Murphy. One of them is considerably taller than the other. They both acted well with their bodies as well as their faces. -- The bumble bee-costumed danseurs will accompany ballerinas (from the corps, likely) who will be dressed in a lush medium pink costume intended to evoke a flower, with ombre effects. This was only one of a number of costumes shown to us by the costume designer, who was quite eloquent and who is most famous for the Lion King musical production prior to this. Some of the costumes for the other dolls that Drosselmeyer brings to the party are quite beautiful (eg a pair in black and white, with contrasting colors of squares on different parts of their costumes, the female costume having an Elizabethan-type stark collar). -- Some of the costumes (eg the young Clara's empire-waisted whitish gown at the party) are inspired by the Biedermeier period. Clara's father is in a lush hunter green velvet jacket, with tails behind. Clara's mother sports a lush burgundy colored dress. -- Ratmansky came across as a very effective and talented ballet person. His English is quite good, and he spoke eloquently and had a good sense of where he wanted to take the ballet. -- The dancers were in their workout clothing. For example, Daniil S sported bright orange/other colored legwarmers. The young Claras wore light pink leotards, and the Nutcracker Princes black leotart bottoms with white shirts.
  2. Some interesting information about the Ratmansky Nutcracker: http://www.abt.org/nutcracker/index.html
  3. Some additional thoughts on the Met season. 1) As mentioned by other members, Sarah Lane has not received any principal casting opportunities. What is more disconcerting for her is that Daniil S, who would be one of the more direct routes, if she were to find a relatively stable set of partnering opportunities with him, to her getting more principal roles, seems to have been paired with Y Kajiya. See Daniil's Don Quixote debut; Nutcracker performances by the same pair. 2) Hee Seo debuts as Giselle with Hallberg. She has worked with him some before (eg La Sylphide) and I think they make a nice couple on stage. I see Hee Seo also gets the second female part in Bright Stream. She is clearly still very much on track towards promotion possibilities in several years. S Abrera also has the same Bright Stream role casting, as well as a Myrta in Giselle. 3) Interesting that Stiefel pairs Herrera in Swan Lake, with Hallberg (as well as Carreno, in the special performance with the split Odette/Odile) pairing Murphy. 4) A repeat of the Osipova/Hallberg pairing for Sleeping Beauty will be interesting. I didn't see Osipova listed as a Giselle on the calendar -- did I just miss the listing? 5) I don't see Vishneva listed on the calendar for a Swan Lake. There is a "cast to be announced" indication a Saturday evening Swan Lake, but that might not be hers. Also, the matinee performance on the same day already has Gomes dancing Siegfried, so, if she were dancing that Saturday evening, she wouldn't be dancing with him (maybe Hallberg, whom she paired in 2010)? 5) Maria Riccetto gets a Coppelia. 6) The casting reflects, appropriately of course, Cornejo being honored in his final ABT Met season.
  4. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Osipova to have the opportunity to debut in Swan Lake, opposite Hallberg
  5. Today's write-up in the Wall Street Journal about B Millepied and his assistance on the Black Swan project mentions in passing that Millepied is now dating Natalie P (and therefore by inference no longer has I Bolyston as his girlfriend).
  6. I attended last evening's Fall for Dance program. Not particularly impressed with the performances, except that Yuan Yuan Tan was effective in an excerpt from the Diving into the Lilacs. She has elegant lines with long legs, and used the beauty of her form to effect during the PDD performance.
  7. The October/November 2010 edition of Pointe magazine contains an interview with Cornejo. An excerpt follows: "Q: You made your debt as Siegfried in Swan Lake with the Corella Ballet in February. What was that like? A: Dancing the classical roles is my dream. Since the creation of Corella Ballet, I've been able to dance two ballets I haven't yet performed with ABT, La Bayadere and Swan Lake. Q: How was partnering Natalia Osipova in ABT's La Sylphide last year? A: Incredible. She's amazing, and her jump was unbelievable. I was saying to myself, 'Oh my God, what do I do now?'... Q: Has your height affected your career? A: It's always been on the table. Argentine dancers, and Latin American dancers in general, are on the small side. I think what matters are proportions. It's been hard sometimes to change the way of thinking of company directors or coaches. Despite the fact that I'm small, my movements can be big, slow. That's why I think La Bayadere is one of my favorite ballets -- because the movement is adagio. People always see me as a fast mover, and I enjoy it, but I feel much bigger than that."
  8. Are Americans still prohibited, absent very special circumstances, from traveling to Cuba? It sounds like going to see this performance in Cuba would not be easy for most Americans.
  9. Gomes is scheduled to dance in Brazil again -- this time in a different part of the country. The following is from Gomes' twitter: "will be dancing don quixote at the teatro municipal do rio de janeiro, october 7 - 17 (special guests dorothee gilbert and sascha radetsky)".
  10. I received an e-mail reminder from ABT re the availability of general tickets starting Sept 26. Note physical box office is at Time Warner, if one chooses that route. The e-mail names the dancers who would participate in the performances. They are mostly corp members, except for Stella A, Sarah L and J Matthews. No principals are participating in the performances, although David Hallberg is presumably likely to appear at the after-party, and at the dinner preceding the event.
  11. Has anybody seen the Hong Kong ballet, or otherwise have an assessment of that troupe's capabilities?
  12. Ardani, the sponsor, recently announced on Twitter the following Switzerland and Japan news: "Natasha Osipova & Ivan Vasiliev will be performing at the sold out 10-year anniversary of Basel Theater in Switzerland on November 6th" "Our young stars Natasha Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev will be performing Jacobson's incredible Pas de Deux, music by Rossini, in Tokyo Oct.23-27" http://twitter.com/Ardani
  13. The ABT circulated an update on what certain dancers did during the summer. Here is the portion relating to Gomes/Ricetto: "Maria and Marcelo onstage at the Teatro Amazonas. ... Marcelo: "Maria and I were invited by Brazil's favorite ballerina Cecilia Kerche to dance in a gala at the beautiful and renovated Teatro Amazonas. The gala was in my hometown of Manaus in Amazonas, Brazil, and it closed the second dance festival in that city. We danced Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine and an excerpt from C. to C. (Close to Chuck) by Jorma Elo. It's always such a pleasure and very emotional to dance at home, but dancing with Maria and other dancers from all over Brazil, dancing where I was born, made it that much more of a memorable performance and moment in my life."" http://www.abt.org/contactus/enews/summervacation.asp
  14. I noticed this on the Youth America Grand Prix website -- 2011 US tour cities not yet announced. "After 10 years of sold-out performances at New York's Lincoln Center and New York City Center, Youth America Grand Prix’s spectacular "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" Gala is now available on tour to local U.S. audiences.” http://www.yagp.org/eng/video_show.php (note video not based on 2011 performers)
  15. I'm in the Waiting Room Queue website, although I also am not technologically inclined. I got into the Waiting Room shortly after 10:00 am, and was originally assigned a number in the 500s. Even though the ordering only starts at 11 am, my number has declined slowly and is now 473. At the bottom of the page for the Waiting Room, the following messages are noted: "This queue is shorter than the one at the New York City Center Box Office - hang in there! There will be little change in your queue number until 11am, when tickets go on sale." If you buy tickets on line, there is a "facility fee" of $3/order, plus a "Web per ticket fee" of $6/ticket (making the effective price $16/ticket).
  16. The NYT indicates that the period for the ABT Met 2011 season is May 16 through July 10. Alistair M asks: "How much has Mr. Ratmansky been shaped by Soviet thinking? Will his 'Nutracker' reflect the Soviet view that 'The Nutcracker' is about a girl's growth from childhood to maturity? The traditional 'Nutcracker' suspends narrative in its second half. Will this 'Nutcracker' try to impose plot suspense .... on a score that resists it? If the production succeeds, it could prove a breakthrough not only for Mr. Ratmansky and Ballet Theater but also for the currently much-vexed cause of ballet as theatrical drama."
  17. Members interested in the $1000 or $350 tickets should note that they are available now, via the ABT special events number noted in the press release. I just got a $350 ticket. One does not have to wait until September 26.
  18. Reminder the Fall for Dance reservation date starts this weekend (see above).
  19. "A New York farewell is scheduled for Thursday evening, June 30, 2011 at the Metropolitan Opera House. The evening will be highlighted by a special performance of Swan Lake featuring Carreño in the role of Prince Siegfried dancing opposite Julie Kent as Odette and Gillian Murphy as Odile." Exciting to have Odette/Odile split
  20. Carreno recently confirmed that he is indeed retiring from ABT in July 2011: http://www.yourobserver.com/news/longboat-key/A-and-E/090720107900/A-QA-with-Jose-Manuel-Carreo "When do you plan to retire from American Ballet Theatre? Next July. What happens then? I’ll be a freelance dancer. I’ll continue to teach and coach different places and of course concentrate on this festival [Carreño Dance Festival, which Carreno is launching]." I wonder whether Carreno's indication that he would become a freelance dancer after this retirement, tells us anything about whether the timing of his retirement was entirely of his own choosing? A related note that Carreno/Kent will perform in Sarasota in December 2011. "The festival will kick off Dec. 21 to Dec. 22 [2011] at the Sarasota Opera House with performances by Carreño and ABT partner Julie Kent; New York City Ballet’s Tiler Peck and Joaquin de Luz; Houston Ballet’s Joseph Walsh and Lauren Strongin-Ciobanu (a former principal with Sarasota Ballet); and contemporary dancers Drew Jacoby and Ruby Pronk."
  21. Pic from Hallberg tweet: http://yfrog.com/0lyp7aj
  22. Hallberg seems to be in pink for at least one portion of the Australian Nutcracker: http://yfrog.com/0f2xjij Australian coverage on Hallberg: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/dance/new-york-star-on-a-high-with-australian-ballet-20100904-14vdt.html "Fellow ABT principal Ethan Stiefel (of dance film Centre Stage fame) was a guest artist with the Australian Ballet in 2007. Artistic director David McAllister says that as Stiefel and Hallberg have the same agent, he was able to establish a relationship with Hallberg and lure him to Melbourne."
  23. Next on my list: Waiting: A Novel, by Ha Jin Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande: A Passion for Wine, by David Haziot and Anne Garde The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History, by Gregory Zuckerman
  24. Does any member have a sense as to why the piece d'occasion is referred to with the number 2? Was there a prior one and what was the length of it? I'm trying to figure out how long this piece d'occasion is likely to be, in deciding whether to buy a ticket or not.
  25. In a separate piece of news re: Teatro Colon: The September issue of Travel + Leisure has a small write-up about the Teatro Colon. It mentions that Le Corsaire is perfomed Oct 29 to Nov 7, "featuring Paloma Herrera". (That does not mean Herrera will be in all performances during that period, but she will be in at least some of them.)
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