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Everything posted by Rock

  1. Sandik! You shock me! Hahaha. There's a visible difference between legs that have tights on them and bare legs. It's like what they call 'flesh impact' in the movies. Skin catches light in a very different way. For theatrical dancing I find it generally inappropriate - meaning it draws the eye to the wrong thing. If you're there to see the dancing it's much more clear when tights are used. Skin causes confusing shadows. At least that's how I see it. Tutus with bare legs and pointe shoes is a very confusing thing to the eye I think. The shoes are satin so they've got a sheen, most costume fabrics have a sheen, and of course tights have a sheen - so you get a unified look and it's easier to see what the dancer is doing. If that's what you want - to see exactly what's going on. The other approaches have their uses depending on the piece and what the choreographer is going for. In the case of Cerrudo's naked boys I just couldn't get what the point was. As I said they were all terrific looking guys but you noticed what they were doing a lot less than you noticed their backs, their abs, their buns, et.al. That's where your focus went. Was that what was intended? My guess was what was intended was just to shock. And of course that's tiresome.
  2. True enough - she's wearing basically a bikini, but with tights and a covering of the mid section between. She's not "naked". I think there's a big difference.
  3. The Orpheum does indeed have a pit. I walked down the aisle to check it out - quite small. The all-Balanchine performances will be at Symphony Hall so I was hoping for the Symphony, but I asked and they said no - tape. Part of the fund raising problem here seems to be that a lot of the wealthy people keep homes here that they only use periodically - 'Snowbirds' they're called - so there's very little commitment to the community. I've no idea what the company could do to improve that.
  4. I read all of that discussion you suggested. It's sort of run its course so I think it's too late to point out to those suggesting Bugaku be attempted in practice clothes that that can only work with pure dance ballets, which Bugaku is not. There's a palpable subtext and a lot of formal, ritualistic entering and exiting and parading around - and then sections of undressing and dressing behind veils. Whatever would those dancers do without the veils and the costumes? With steps like at the end when the boys fluff the girls' capes. Also the set for that matters assuming that's removed as well. The dancers would be simply walking out on a bare stage rather than entering a ramp and walking forward down steps. And to what purpose? What would be gained? Those rituals are what they are. Or were what they were. Not all ballets age the same. Take Stars & Stripes - you can't look at that finale with the flag going up in this political malaise. It's embarrassing. Not to say it always will be, but one might propose that those kinds of triumphant national attitudes are a thing of the past.
  5. Bugaku is rarely done anywhere. I was told that in his later years Balanchine disliked it saying "the only thing that's worse than the choreography is the music." I believe it came at a time of heightened interest in Japanese theatre, that Lincoln Kirstein was involved with bringing some of those groups to NY, etc. I rather like the ballet personally, but I'm aware it's kitsch and a bit hokey. But it's also fun and unusual. I'll go thru the discussion about it. Thanks.
  6. I saw their Symphony in Three Movements when first staged by Ben Huys, I think it was last May. Very well done. The audience loved it. I don't recall seeing a Balanchine ballet where nudity on any level was used. Do you? Not even cut-outs or see-thru. He seems to have found a way to both be practical and yet also show off the body in the most effective ways to illuminate the choreography.
  7. I attended the Today's Masters program this weekend at the Orpheum Theatre. The first section was comprised of two pieces by Alejandro Cerrudo - 'Pacopepepluto' for 3 men to songs by Dean Martin and Joe Scalissi. Solos. Unfortunately the guys were wearing only dance belts, nothing else. Nayon Iovino, Helio Lima, and Alejandro Mendez - all excellent dancers who did as much as they could with the material, but of course all you could do is gawk at their nakedness. I don't understand the point of this sort of costuming decision. Is it supposed to add an element to the solos? What? I find it distracting, as if we're intended to just ogle their bodies rather than be paying attention to what they're doing. Does anybody else feel that way about nakedness on stage? I often feel that way even about ballets where the men are topless. To me it distracts from the dancing. You don't know where to look. Anyway, the PDD was alright, if mostly the same vocabulary. It was called 'Never Was' and was very well danced by Jillian Barrell and Nayon Iovino. The middle section of the evening had two pieces by Ib Andersen - Debussy's 'Afternoon of the Faun' (sic) which had 8 guys lifting Mr. Iovino - all of them wearing only very brief shorts. 'Pelvis' had 6 of the girls in dresses and Helio Lima in a gold outfit suggestive of Elvis in his Las Vegas mode with a lot of bumping and grinding. The last section of the evening was a new ballet by Mr. Iovino to a mix of various pieces of music. This was unusual, evocative, and imaginative. Again there were no pointe shoes but the girls looked sort of wonderful - leos and tights, easy to see their movements. One of them, Arianni Martin, stood out for her beauty and sensitive dancing - but they were all good. There was a PDD for Amber Lewis and Helio Lima, and another for Jillian Barrell and Alejandro Mendez. All very well danced. The company looked good. This was a program where some of the offerings had to be played to tape, but next up is their all-Balanchine evening of three ballets that cry out for live music - Prodigal Son, Symphony in Three Movements, and La Sonnambula. Somebody, somewhere, needs to underwrite a fund to pay the Phoenix Symphony to play for Mr. Andersen's performances. I hope that person will step up to the plate. The company deserves it.
  8. I went to Ib Andersen's Cinderella last night with the Phoenix Symphony and enjoyed it very much. Big, lush production with beautiful sets and costumes, excellent dancers, all parts well done. I was particularly amused with the two ugly sisters who had delightful, inventive material. That sort of thing has to be very hard to choreograph. It's not my favorite ballet score by any means, but the Symphony did a terrific job with it. Their next program - March 22nd - 'Modern Masters' - will present new ballets by Mr. Andersen, Alejandro Cerrudo (Hubbard Street), and Nayon Iovino, who's a principal with the company. I saw a ballet he did for the company last year and it was very good. This is a company with dancers on a high level and a very good director. What they need is more dancers and more money.
  9. I'm not there but I'm told it's controversial but very beautiful. Interested to hear the replies on why anyone would mess with it.
  10. sandik - can you be more specific about skills and composition techniques that can be taught?
  11. I totally agree with you Vipa. Those "See The Music" lectures - while often interesting and informative - are demystifying. When the curtain goes up on a work like Concerto Barocco, you're totally in a different place, its own world. After Bach's score is broken down for you that's no longer possible. Or at least it's more difficult to achieve. There's no mystery because you've been told what to expect, even what to think. It's even worse when dancers come out to talk. Turns out they're just people. Not these magic creatures capable of extraordinary, beautiful things. I don't want to know how hard it is or how many hours they spend in the theatre or how much they sweat. It takes away the fantasy. And nothing does that more crudely than ink. For me seeing tattoos, even covered tattoos, makes the experience about that person's life off stage rather than about the ballet they're supposed to be presenting. .
  12. I believe that jump is called coupé jeté en attitude. As to the foot in passé it's what is called over-crossed and is technically incorrect. The box of the pointe shoe should be just under the knee on the inside of the standing leg - only crossed about half way on the standing leg. Sometimes in supported pirouettes there's a fear of the passé leg's knee hitting the partner and one tends to over-cross.
  13. Natalia - I saw Clap Yo' Hands a few years ago at the NYCB with Robert Fairchild. I think they only put it in for one season. I'm told the reason it was dropped so quickly from the original production was that the guy - who has already done 3 PDD - then does his variation and Clap Yo' Hands immediately follows. Very difficult apparently. The ballet is already 40-some minutes long without it, so it is rarely done. Too bad. I thought it was wonderful.
  14. I don't know anything about Gia Kourlas or her background or interests, vipa, and I'm disinclined to spend time trying to find out. Reading her reviews says it all. Agree with him or not, Alastair Macaulay obviously knows something about ballet and enjoys the art form. He also can write. He's capable of giving you a reasonable picture of what he saw and how it made him feel. Writing about dance is like writing about music - basically impossible. Our responses to them go beyond words. But at least Macaulay tries. And in an honorable way. Kourlas has no conscience. She'll say anything. And unfortunately she usually doesn't know what she's talking about. I don't see her Odette/Odile goof as any big jump from her normal writing. Wrong girl. Wrong job.
  15. Your comments, mimsyb, make perfect sense and are written with a clarity that commands respect, whether one agrees with you or not. That is not the case with Ms. Kourlas. Her review substantiates nothing. It's just mean and snarky. I'm convinced she hates ballet and the people who do it. And I firmly believe she should not be writing about ballet. She gets things wrong constantly, because she's never taken the time to learn about an art form she clearly dislikes. I still remember a review of the NYCB where she said it was clear the technical level of the company had dropped since Balanchine's death because so many people fall down. As if in the really good rehearsals they teach you not to slip. Unbelievable.
  16. It's interesting to read all these rave reviews of the Swan Lake performance and then to see Gia Kourlas' sad, mean little review in the NYT. Contrary to all the posts here, she writes the same old stuff she always writes - it was boring, nobody but Gomes was good enough for her, Simkin can't partner, Hallberg was dull, the ballet didn't really start until Gomes came out. Not surprising from a modern dance person. But then she confuses Odette/Odile getting the parts mixed up. What does that say about the standard of dance writing at the NYT? If she can't tell Odette from Odile why would you listen to her about anyone's performance, or the tempi, etc. If they insist on retaining her why not assign her to performances that are more to her taste? That is to say, modern dance.
  17. I recently attended a Traviata at the Met, where I rarely go although I like opera very much. I used the translator on the back of the seat in front of me although I couldn't see anyone else's. I don't know how they do it. No glare, no distraction. I found it very helpful and you don't have to look at it all that much. Once you get the drift you can watch the stage, and it helps enormously to follow what's being said. The person who invited me didn't use hers at all because she knew the opera forwards and backwards, but I felt for those of us who don't know the works very well it's a wonderful help and not distracting to others in any way.
  18. Helene - This ending quote from today's NYT review of Ratmansky's Romeo in London speaks to what I meant about Osipova's company-and-rep hopping. "By contrast, the crowd scenes — where most versions of “Romeo” lapse into cliché — are entirely fresh. The whole production confirms that Mr. Ratmansky is the most gifted choreographer specializing in classical ballet today. Yet you can’t help wanting him to stay in one spot with one company around the year and mold its dancers fully as expressive instruments."
  19. Helene - I'm surprised at myself because I've never read any post by you that I didn't totally agree with. I don't think I can substantiate it, but this one time I don't think I agree with you. While I'm a fan of Ms. Osipova and enjoy her performances very much, there's something about her rabid company-hopping that grates. Maybe it's the "user" quality of it - what else can I get, both artistically and in terms of money. I've never met a dancer who dances for the money. Have you? One also gets a sense of little commitment. This ballet, that company, this city or that one. It makes one wonder what it is she actually cares about. Maybe ultimately it doesn't matter, but there is something about all this that makes me uneasy. A dancer's life is not just about "taking advantage of opportunities offered". That's hedge fund mentality.
  20. Natalia - please post more. Did you see the second program?
  21. Danilova and Doubrovska worked with Balanchine very early in his career. SAB is now run by dancers who worked with Balanchine in the 60's and 70's and who are more familiar with how his ideas and teaching evolved.
  22. Not at all. In the 60's and 70's the State Theatre's stage only had little marks at the front of the stage at Center and Quarter on both sides. They now have 8th marks as well as tiny dots that go all the way upstage. They are far more concerned with lines and spacing than formerly, and while it looks nice and organized there is of course less of the thrust and energy they used to have. You can't have both. Dancers can't move full out if they have to stay precisely in line. It makes them much more careful and more concentrated on following who's in front of them than on what they're actually doing themselves. Balanchine preferred the thrust and energy.
  23. Sorry to hear that the performance wasn't a particularly good one. I imagine different nights/casts did better than others. I can think of quite a few companies that could do with a little of the "academically correct" though. Balanchine performed without precision can be a fright. I happened to dig up the NYCB's "Bringing Balanchine Back" DVD to catch some glimpses of Serenade and that segment (with Darci Kistler) fairs pretty well, but Symphony in C, Symphony in 3 Movements and Western Symphony look all a muddle due to the Corps lack of precision. Energy and speed are there, but no precision. I laugh every time I hear the comments from the Russian dancers about NYCB: "The legs very good. The arms not so good." "Not so good" is putting it mildly - arms at every angle. And different degrees of curvature/straightness. No one seems to realize how much this blurs the choreography and renders it indistinct. Not so good. ;) Pherank - While most people would agree with you that the NYCB "lacks precision" and that their arms are "not so good", I would point out that his ballets are danced the way Mr. Balanchine liked them danced. He was very particular about port de bras in class, hands, and - particularly - fingers, but he was not interested in everyone looking the same - having their arms at the same levels and getting into strict lines. He called it "synchronized dancing" - like the Rockettes, whom he admired for what they did so well. But he was not interested in having his ballets approached that way. He wanted each dancer to dance as big as they could and if the lines weren't perfect, so be it. Same with the arms. Most ballet goers don't agree with him. But they also don't agree with many of the changes he made to his own ballets - like eliminating the birth scene from Apollo. To him the birth was old-fashioned and almost vulgar. He much preferred the condensed, more abstract version he did in the 70's. I myself very much like the Paris Opera approach to Diamonds. With all the beautiful feet and legs shown so well in perfect lines. To me it's more clear than how it's presented over there in NY. But I would never argue with Balanchine's right to present those works however he saw fit.
  24. Isaac is in med school. He hopes to become an anesthesiaologist.
  25. What a lovely girl. That was charming to watch.
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