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Everything posted by Eileen

  1. I have always wondered if the tempi and interpretation directions in the score when Robert Irving was music director are still followed. After all, Robert Irving was responding musically to the dance that Balanchine was at that time creating and recreating. I imagined Irving's notations to the score were preserved like the bible of costume swatches the company keeps so that costumes when renewed are true to the originals. Now a Times article describes how the new music director, Andrew Litton, asked for a tempo change in Waltz of the Flowers of Nutcracker last year. Does anyone know if there is a consistent standard for tempos and interpretive nuance that is followed by conductors year after year at City Ballet? A change in the music means a change in the dancing. This is an issue that has mystified and interested me.
  2. Thank you California and Kaysta for your information.
  3. When will NYC Ballet be performing at the Kennedy Center? Can't find mention on either website.
  4. Eileen

    Steven McRae

    I also love his tweets or instagrams which include his adorable daughter, Audrey Bluebell.
  5. Eileen

    Steven McRae

    Yet not well known outside the Royal Ballet and its overseas aficionados - like me.
  6. Eileen

    Steven McRae

    How lucky you are to see three R&Js with Steven McRae, as well as company class on stage. He is amazing in company class, as I've seen on YouTube, he stretches more intensely, he gives the class everything. I know his dancing from discovery of the Royal Ballet on YouTube. I have several DVDs of Fille, Nutcracker, and his mad, manical Hatter in Alice. But happily, I do plan to see his performance in Rhapsody in simulcast in New York next month. It was the January 26 performance in London. It would be fantastic to go to London to see McRae in R&J. He brings such passion to the role. That and his sky-high extensions.
  7. Eileen

    Steven McRae

    I find Steven McRae absolutely brilliant. He has incredible extensions for a male dancer, and his emotional genuineness sparks every performance. I'm also a fan of his baby, Audrey Bluebell (yes, that's her name) whom he features in his tweets. McRae is a true actor-dancer; in the Bailey's commercial a few years ago he was mesmerizing. Does anyone else care for Steven McRae? He's the one with the flaming hair and flamingly decorated leg warmers. He is always noticeable; he makes sure of it.
  8. "Anyone interested in the critic's response to the revival can find them on Ballet co Forum's web site's links with the daily press..." How do I find this link, specifically to Rhapsody and Two Pigeons?
  9. Just learned from a Royal Ballet tweet that Violette Verdy has died. I am so grieved. I have passed her on the streets of the West Side and she exuded joyful life. Her recorded coaching sessions were a reflection of whom she was, an exuberant spirit and brilliant executant. She will be missed as a dancer, a ballet mistress, and a human being of striking joie de vivre. There's an obituary in the February 9 NY Times.
  10. Thank you, volcanohunter! It was exactly the information I needed.
  11. I'm hoping to make it to New York City on Tuesday, Jan. 26, but I can't find any information as to whether Rhapsody/Two Pigeons will be playing there. I've used the link above, fandango - checked out the usual suspects like Walter Reade Theater. Anyone with information I'd appreciate hearing from.
  12. Eileen

    Joy Womack

    I agree with all the comments here about Joy Womack. I have found myself looking at her vlogs, and am simply bored. I am not of the generation that recorded every thought, or expressed my emotions for the world to see and hear. I do want to add that Joy is eliciting resentment due to publicizing her life in the US, where she comes from a family that, to Russian eyes, is living in luxury. And her apartment may evoke envy from dancers who have less space and comfort. For all her training and dedication, she is absolutely naive about politics in Russian ballet, and in Russia in general. You don't stick your head out in Russia, you don't stand higher than the rest, or they will resent you. And though there are many vlog shots of Joy walking to the gym at 6 a.m. and stretching on machines - the performance material is rare and often seen from an acute angle. So it's hard to evaluate her talent. I wonder at times if the video she made praising Russia - was there a quid pro quo? Are they keeping her for publicity value? Helene's comment sums it up. She is not very important in the scheme of things.
  13. I also am greatly impressed by principals Edward Watson, who contorts his entire body in Winter's Tale, with the beautiful Sarah Lamb, the delightful Lauren Cuthbertson as Alice, and the adorable Yuhui Choe, whose crisp movements as Columbine in the clip I viewed were - priceless. So many extraordinary dancers to discover! Even if I never see the Royal Ballet in London, I follow it as best I can via YouTube and DVDs. Perhaps one of the Royal's performances will play at a cinema in my area, or I can catch it on one of my New York trips.
  14. Thank you so much; I am touched.
  15. Spending most of my life in New York City, NYC Ballet was my introduction to ballet. I discovered different music, different ways of moving - my former impression of ballet was the ABT style, costumes, sets, story ballets. But Balanchine taught me his way. Circumstances led me to move to a mid-sized US city without a quality ballet company. I turned to YouTube and discovered - the Royal Ballet! How different it was from the Balanchine company. How much softer, the beauty of movement, not just the emphasis on technique as in NYCBallet. At NYCB, mime was hardly a factor in Balanchine, except in Midsummer Night's Dream. At the Royal, mime was an essential part of the dance. And acting! The dancers are actually actor-dancers. I have purchased DVDs of Alice, Nutcracker, and La Fille - what a delight they all are! I have become an afficionado of Steven McRae and even Audrey Bluebell, his inimitable baby. I notice that in his list of accomplishments, right after listing Principal of Royal Ballet, he writes "Father". I love his dancing. He works extraordinarily hard to achieve extensions that male dancers usually can't hope for. And he has such conviction and emotional awareness in every move. I've also noticed that in the Prince's solo in Sleeping Beauty, he keeps his face and body in profile, whereas Polunin in the same solo has his back to the audience. McRae is truly a creature of the stage. Balanchine was a genius, but he sacrificed delicacy and beauty for strength, speed, and choreographic innovation. Ashton was also a genius, but a traditionalist. And a grand tradition it is, too. How I loved seeing Monica Mason teaching Kristen McNally the role of Carabosse. Every movement had import, was exact. Every rehearsal recording teaches me something new about the Ashton and Macmillan style.
  16. Thank you, Royal Blue, for this eloquent description of the ballerina's art, and for your interesting review. I am so glad you are writing for this forum. I rely on those who can see NYC Ballet to keep me apprised from afar.
  17. The link to the American in Paris ballet is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLQPBcm5umc
  18. I have written on this topic under Aesthetic Issues, and if any of you are interested, you may comment on this link: http://balletalert.invisionzone.com/index.php?/topic/39806-an-american-in-paris-1951-movie/ I'm afraid I'm rather critical of the ballet sequence. It's on Youtube. Thank you for your interest.
  19. I viewed the 17 minute ballet from An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, and the question occurred to me - what must Balanchine have made of this production? The studio spent $500,000 on this sequence, and it is evident from the elaborate costumes, cast of hundreds, and sets. Nonetheless, no aesthetic taste is displayed. I was greatly dismayed by the entire scene. I don't compare Gene Kelly to ballet dancers, for he is a jazz and tap dancer. Oh, he is listed as choreographer in the credits, inconspicuously, under the heading "Other Crew". An American in Paris, the ballet sequence in the film, is, in a word, truly dreadful. In 1951, the studios were competing for audience with television, so upped their game with visual pyrotechnics. These visuals are, to put it bluntly, unnecessary. The scene opens with mysterious dancers in huge skirts and veils throwing their veils over Gene Kelly's face. This is the type of episode that is unnecessary. It is repeated in various ways over the 17 minute sequence. Crowds fill the screen, marching on and off. There is constant movement, but none of it is meaningful. I must mention Leslie Caron. She was a ballet dancer, but she is given little to dance despite substantial time on film. The pointes of her toe shoes are very small, so it would be impossible to dance on toe for any length of time, as dancers do today. She will stand on toe for a moment, then go back to flat. She'll strike a pose, and Gene Kelly lifts her and does acrobatics. That is most of their pas de deux, lifts by Kelly. Caron could not possibly dance in those weak toe shoes, not at today's standards. The supporting cast of dancers are - well, garish, over-costumed in technicolor. They have the 50's figure, the women are showgirls rather than ballet dancers. Caron is slimmer by comparison, but her wide grin is jarring, and her costume is again, overdone. Now for the praise. It is only for Balanchine. In 1970, Balanchine choreographed Who Cares to Gershwin music. His aesthetic is so completely opposed to the 50's extravaganza I saw on film. His dancers are sleek, neat, with the emphasis on dance, not costumes or scenic excess. The backdrop appears to be New York at night, with buildings casting a glow. The dances perfectly reflect the music. While Gershwin is not my favorite music, I appreciate what Balanchine did with limited money, and limitless dancers. What would Balanchine have thought of the film? Hollywood. And when Balanchine choreographed sequences for Vera Zorina in early 40's films, the choreography was tasteful. Balanchine rarely substituted showbiz for substance. Balanchine and Gene Kelly? Artistry versus raz-ma-taz.
  20. Thank you for this information, Amour. I'm glad she was "taken in" to the company. She has such spark.
  21. This is wonderful news. I follow City Ballet from afar after years of attending the ballet when I lived in New York. I once heard that Andrew Litton had been underestimated, and now it's great to learn he will be leading City Ballet's orchestra, with its sophisticated repertory. And if anything is truly needed, it is more recording of City Ballet repertoire. I have the Balanchine Album and it is a priceless record of the music as Robert Irving conducted it during Balanchine's time. It is absolutely essential that more repertoire be recorded by Andrew Litton, demonstrating the tempi and interpretations that City Ballet uses. I've often wondered if each piece of music is always played at the same tempo and with the same musical emphases at each NYCB performance. Are there definite metronome markings on the conductor's score? What flexibility, if any, does an NYCB conductor have to "change" the music according to his taste, as an orchestral conductor can do? If anyone has the answer to this question, please do comment.
  22. Her last name was not given. I'm sure we'll get informed reports once the season starts. Since I am now exiled out of town, I rely on the perceptive comments of reviewers here.
  23. How is Mimi doing in the last row of the corps de ballet (I assume)? She was featured in Teen Vogue's series Strictly Ballet along with a group of other SAB advanced dancers, a few of whom were chosen as NYCB apprentices. Has anyone spotted her on stage? Or any of other apprentices? She was very beautiful and poised.
  24. Does anyone know who was chosen as apprentices?
  25. Kudos to Kathleen O'Connell for her beautifully expressed description of a Midsummer performance. Many of the posters here write as gracefully as the dancers dance, and Kathleen is one of them. Wish I could be there.
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