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Stuttgart in Orange County

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Barankiewicz, Barankiewicz, Barankiewicz.

Stuttgart at Orange County Performing Arts Center. Thursday nights offering was a mixed bill: “the seventh blue”, “Cindys Gift”, and “Seventh Symphony”. All are on the modern side and this is not my cup of tea. “blue” was not on pointe, which is the kiss of death for me. Not a total loss, however, as Elena Tentschikowa danced the lead. She looked like she was on pointe (!), and her presentation was strong and her classicism was obvious. She was beautiful. “Gifts” was to very modern music; I hesitate to say “atonal” since I’m not sure of the word but that comes to mind. “Symphony” was classical, danced to Beethoven, four movements. I came alive, finally, in the second movement. This was a study in passe's and arabesques: sharp, clean, such understated movements but so brilliantly executed. Very interesting choreography in that movement. I found the choreography in “blue” and “Gifts” extremely repetitive.

Saturday night was Romeo and Juliet starring Sue Jin Kang and Filip Barankiewicz. What I love most about ballet is a ballerina on pointe, and my attention is concentrated on her during a performance. Not last night. Filip Barankiewicz was a revelation. Young (looked too young to be able to dance as well as he did), tall, and wonderful. He stood out not because of dazzling technique, though he certainly had that, but because of clean, complete technique. Not only did he do crisp double tours but his leap was surprisingly high (he looked like could have done another turn or 2) and he landed softly in a tight 5th position. His pirouettes and leaps that landed (don’t know ballet terms) in an arabesque with demi plie ended without a wobble and facing the direction they were supposed to face. His single turn leaps in attitude ended with the leg in attitude holding its position just a tad longer than the leap itself so as to extend the movement. And so forth. I prefer MacMillan’s R&J (dodging bullets here) but this offering was very enjoyable with lovely costumes and sets (especially Juliet’s bedroom; I want a bedroom like that!)


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Dancing daughter and I attended the Friday evening performance of Romeo & Juliet. It was a lovely performance with Yseult Lendvai as Juliet and Jason Reilly in his first performance as Romeo. The sets were beautiful. Far from an expert, but I was disappointed with the symphony who seemed to be struggling wit the Pokofiev score.

The timing of this performance couldn't have been more appropriate as dd has been studying Romeo & Juliet - reading the book and watching movie videos in school. She was on the edge of her seat watching the story unfold.

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Guest Shanynrose

My daughter attended on Tuesday with quite a few people from her ballet school. I wasn't able to go, so I'm relying on her reviews. Contemporary isn't precisely her cup of tea, either, but she did enjoy "Seventh Symphony." When she described the second piece ("Cindy's Gift?") that, according to my 10yo, involved an accident, a whole lot of stitches and "She died anyway, geeze!" I wished I had gone along just to see what in the world the subject matter was. :confused: I heard some of the younger attendees (11-12) discussing that piece the next day and their accounts were remarkably similar to my daughter's.

According to daughter, "Seventh Symphony" was "Very joyful!"

We recently moved to civilization from the sticks and I'm glad she got the chance to go. NEXT time the opportunity is contemporary or modern I think I'll go along, though.

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If by "civilization" you mean the greater Orange County area, you may want to check out some of the smaller local venues for modern and contemporary ballet/dance performances. Our favorite is the Barkley at UC Irvine but there are several in the area. The tickets are less expensive than OC Performing Arts and there is a much greater variety of modern and contemporary performances to choose from.

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Saw their Romeo and Juliet Thursday night in Berkeley. I hadn't seen this company for many years and had never seen this version of the ballet. The Prokofiev score is arguably the greatest ballet score ever written; even in a mediocre dance performance there is at least the music to relish.

I had seen the Stuttgart in more contemporary pieces, and was amazed at how beautifully they performed this classical piece. The male dancers in the troupe are standouts. Filip Barankiewicz danced Romeo with a strengh and beauty that was blissful. He also showed charm and humor - something we don't always see in a Romeo. Sin Jue Kang was lovely, although a few times in the pas de deux, there was a stiffness to her that seemed surprising. That's really just a quibble, as the dancing was thoroughly first-rate all around. A stellar company. What I particularly liked about this production was the dramatic quality - even if we all know the story, in this production you get caught up in it again. And here you have dancers whose faces actually yielded expression. They took on individual personalities; again something you don't always see.

Definitely try to catch this company if they're in your area. And if you haven't seen Prokofiev's R&J, do yourself a favor and see it!

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Guest mystargirlrocks

We took our dancing daughter to see Stuttgart perform Romeo & Juliet, in Berkeley Calif. last night. It was our first time seeing this company perform and we were all entralled and overjoyed at their moving and dramatic performance. Wow! is the best way to describe the experience.

The venue is not my favorite, as the Zellerbach hall is a vestage left over from the modern concrete buildings built in abundance in the 50's. But, the accoustics are outstanding, and the Berkeley Orchestra that accompanied the ballet were absolutely wonderful with the haunting score.

Jason Reilly was the Romeo, and was listed in the program as a soloist with no information about his background or experience. I don't remember the name of the dancer who played Juliet, off hand. Her first and last name begin with 'A' and she is from Spain. Anywat, she was amazing! An accomplished actress as well as dancer who had everyone on the edge of their seats to the very end, on their feet through 5 or 6 curtain calls.

See it if you can!!:)

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I saw the Thursday performance in Berkeley, with Bridget Breiner as Juliet and Jiri Jelinek as Romeo. I noted a couple of supporting dancers but my program isn't with me and I can only add the name of Robert Conn as Tybalt right now.

The Zellerbach is not my favorite place for ballet, either, especially for a production of this size (there was some bumping into the scenery), and the floor made the women dancers sound like clomping Clydesdales. I thought the orchestra was okay for the most part but things were a little chancy in spots, and I don't know if it can be attributed to the rigors of touring, but the dancing wasn't all it might have been to this inexpert eye.

It's always hard for me not to compare any R&J ballet unfavorably to Shakespeare. (Yes,yes, I know, the text is Prokofiev and not WS, but I can't help it. Also, my Berkeley program reads "after William Shakespeare" so I feel I'm justified.) Example: after Romeo has killed Tybalt and my mind immediately conjures, "O, I am fortune's fool" instead I usually get Lady Capulet having a fit that goes on for much too long -- here, she flung herself on Tybalt's corpse. This is bad for two reasons. One, it comes out of nowhere (but I suppose the choreographer(s) are simply doing Prokofiev's bidding?) and two, the big story at this juncture is Romeo and his exile – the title of the thing is not "Tybalt and Lady C," after all. The reduction of Friar Laurence is a problem. In Shakespeare, he's crucial – he has a lot to say, and comes out at the end to provide the postgame wrapup after everyone's dead – and here he's just a plot device, and a very limited one. (I much prefer the Lavrovsky friar, as seen in my video, to this one, though. Sometimes I wonder if I just don't like Lavrovsky better, period. Yes, it's dated. Yes, it's a silent movie. I don't care.)

In brief: Like Giannina, I do like the sets. I especially enjoyed the black-and-gold Pillow Dance – it looks just like the music – and the balcony scene is very pretty. Jeez, all the lifts. I was prepared, of course, but they strike me afresh every time. (I thought Breiner and Jelinek had a little bit of trouble here.

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