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Ballet by the Water 2003

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Casting for the 3 evengings (Aug. 19-21) is up on the webpage: http://www.national.ballet.ca/Media/showPr...ease/20030807-1

I'll be volunteering on the 19th and 20th, but I may end up going on the 21st too because Xiao Nan Yu will be making her debut as Terpsichore :thumbsup: I think she would be exquisite in the role! I'm also really looking forward to seeing Guillaume Cote's Apollo.

Anyone else planning on attending? Let's keep our fingers crossed for good (non-rainy, non-windy) weather for all 3 nights!

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I think it only apropos we also review Ballet by the Water here! Responding to the Michael Crabb quote posted by Paquita in another forum:

  It is an insultingly loathsome ballet that demeans womanhood. To include it in a program that inevitably attracts family audiences verges on irresponsibility.

Tudor, its creator, was one of the 20th century's most influential choreographers,  but Judgement was surely his most hatefully trivial, throwaway work. Apart from its woman-as-whore sexism -- to be fair, they ultimately triumph as thieves -- Judgement of Paris is barely competent at the mere level of choreographic craft. To place it on the same bill as Balanchine's Apollo, arguably the greatest ballet ever made, is to tempt disaster, especially when the target of Judgement's whoresome trio is as unconvincingly callow a roué as Ryan Boorne.

:wink: I have to agree 101% with Paquita. :yes: Quoting a review by budding ballet critic, Michael Goldbarth, of a regular season performance by the National Ballet of Canada:

As for the rest of the evening…Judgement of Paris was likewise good fun but belongs on a smaller stage like the Premiere Dance Theatre. 

To compare a light piece like this to Apollo would be similar to a film critic reviewing an Adam Sandler comedy (Happy Gilmore) and bemoaning it can’t be on par to a masterpiece like Lawrence of Arabia or It’s A Wonderful Life. I laughed (LOL) watching Happy Gilmore and watched in awe at the cinematography of Lawrence of Arabia and went through a box full of nose blowers crying my eyes out during It’s A Wonderful Life! You can enjoy both genres of movies-as you can ballets.

Showing Judgement of Paris was perfect for a small venue like Ballet by the Water and also perfect for a mixed card appealing to a wide audience. In this case the audience (as usual) was right! In the end, it’s only their opinion that counts. Everybody, even a snobbish critic like Michael Crabb, is entitled to his opinion though. I also think this was an important piece to show if only to make ballet more inviting for those intimidated by the snobbish stigma of its Paris Opera past through serving up the desserts of the ballet. In this case, :P the yummy Lorna Geddes, bouncy Jennifer Fournier, and the sultry Victoria Bertram! :wub:

I think it reasonable to assume Anthony Tudor had no intentions of topping a classic like Apollo when he created this obvious fluff chef d’oeuvre back in 1938. I can only surmise that grizzled veteran ballet critic Michael Crabb suffered some sort of heatstroke reviewing :sweating: under the unrelenting hot sun at Harbourfront! :sweating: Crabb spends most of his existence reviewing inside the cozy confines of air-conditioned venues like the Hummingbird Centre.

I was actually quite surprised so much attention was paid to a FREE performance during the pre-season. Perhaps the NBoC has regained its lost glory of the 70s and 80s when Toronto was a hotbed for ballet! Now I’m sorry I couldn’t make it down to Ballet by the Water to see what all the hullabaloo was about!

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So, those who went, what did you think? I saw the first two nights.

Apollo (without the birth of Apollo and with a modified ending as the stairs wouldn't fit on this small stage) was deffinately my favourite piece. It a ballet I never tire of seeing. Like the music, each time I experience it is slightly different. It's also interesting to see different dancers in the role of Apollo. Prior to Ballet by the Water, I've seen Rex Harrington and Geon van der Wyst. Last week I saw two much more streamlined and classical dancers, Aleksandar Antonijevic and Guillaume Cote. Both were wonderful, although their approaches were very different. Antonijevic was very regal and Cote was more youthful and energetic. Chan Hon Goh danced Terpsichore both times, cool and elegant. I enjoyed Rebekah Rimsay's Calliope, her Polyhymnia less- as she had to struggle a bit on the pique turns. Granted it is a hard diagonale, especially trying to keep the arms in place. I could only think back to Greta Hodgkinson's flawless execution of those steps... Jennifer Fournier's attempt was also a bit stiff. Jillian Vanstone danced Calliope very well on tuesday. But I think I enjoy watching Calliope's variation no matter who dances. It is just so perfect for the music. Vanstone also appeared in Intermezzo and Napoli. She is exceptionally talented and versatile, I look forwards to seeing her grow as an artist!

The company danced Napoli excerpts at the Harbourfront pretty much the same as they did earlier in this year's winter season- with exuberance to spare, but a lack of technical refinement. Especially in the men, steps looked forced or uncomfortable. But the leading man (who dances first in the Flower Festival pdd), Cote on tuesday and Antonijevic on wednesday, carried the performance well. Their partners were Heather Ogden and Rebekah Rimsay respectively. I found Ogden distant and prefered Rimsay. As it was in the Hummingbird, Martine Lamy, for me stole the show, although she had a smaller role- beautiful port de bras, floating jumps, and solid balances. Je-an Salas and Tanya Evidente brought appropriate flair to the tarantella.

Judgement of Paris has been discussed in another thread. All I can say is that it was very, very funny!! The first cast was the same one I saw earlier this year, Lorna Geddes, Jennifer Fournier, and Victoria Bertram, who were all hillarious. The second night Xiao Nan Yu danced Venus and Alejandra Perez-Gomez (corps) danced Minerva. Perez-Gomez has a fantastic sense of humour! Although much younger than Bertram, she held her own next to the experienced veteran. Xiao Nan Yu looked less comfortable in this comedic ballet. Her approach was far too subtle.

Intermezzo was a fitting closing piece. Brahms' dreamy melodies and Feld's careful partnering were brought out skillfully by Stacey Shiori Minagawa and Piotr Stanczyk (blue), Heather Ogden and Nehemiah Kish (orange), and Jillian Vanstone and Patrick Lavoie (Red). It's encouraging to see these young dancers breathing new life into this ballet.

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