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NOW will somebody tell me about the Pied Piper?

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I think I should have brought some kids along for this performance!!! This is the first time I've seen anything with magical scenary in ballet -- I felt as if I was in a planetarium while watching the performance. I do think they could have made the ballet much more simple, especially in terms of the costumes, sets, and scenary. I also thought there was no real dance scene for all the other characters, who sometimes looked as if they were simply roaming around on stage in heavy costumes. Herman Cornejo has great potential as a dancer, and this work does suit him because it includes a lot of jumps and pirouettes, but as an audience, I would have liked to see a more "interesting" choreography. Were those steps really necessary or were they used to simply "impress" the audiences with the dancer's bravura? The producers seemed to have tried hard to capture and impress the audience, but really, simplicity would have worked better in a story like this. What did others think?

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Thanks very much for getting the ball rolling, Terry. From reading the press releases before the season opened, it looked as though there was an awful lot of emphasis on design and magic -- which would be great, if it all comes together.

I'm curious if there were a lot of children there -- ABT has been billing this as a family production -- and, if so, if you could tell any reactions? (Sometimes children are bored to tears at "children's ballets." The last time the Royal came to DC they brought a double bill of "The Dream" and "Beatrix Potter." The kid in back of me finally stopped kicking the back of my seat two minutes into Beatrix; fast asleep :) )

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I *like* Beatrix and Dream......

However, I'd also like to hear reactions on this new Pied Piper. I was across the Plaza all weekend.....

Considering the hype, I suspect that the costuming, sets, lighting, and extravaganza/attempts to impress were more notable than the dancing/choreography. Now I love extravaganza, and will travel many miles for it, but I'd rather see the POB purple parrots in Bayadere than pasteboard rats. I don't imagine that there was too much dancing, esp. for the women, who had Kingdom of the Shades on the program as well that evening.

I'd really like to hear some more impressions--- ;)

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I was there for the premiere on friday. I had mixed impressions of Pied Piper. Coming in from Toronto, I really wanted to love it ( and I thought La Bayadere act 2 was wonderful! Especially Stiefel.) but I came to see ABT's excellent dancers, and in this ballet as Terry said, there was no real dancing except for Angel Corella. He literally had to carry the show, and thank god he did! I was in awe of his incredible stamina, because he was on stage most of the time doing leaps and turns. Such energy in his dancing! I liked the music, and some of the special effects were neat, but I'm getting sort of sick of effects because too many productions now are focusing on that rather than the dancing. Just one note, in all the advertisments they have Corella wearing this blue/red/green long sleeve bodysuit- and in the performance there was no such costume. Instead it was a little brown crop top with a pleated skirt. No complaints, I was just suprised, I kept looking for that other costume!

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I just came back from the Monday perf of Pied Piper. It was music to my ears! As I was leaving the Met after the performance, there're 3 or 4 gen-X boys right behind me talking very enthusiastically about the ballets they just saw. So I turned around and struck a conversation with them. That was their first ballet-going experience and they all came to see the Pied Pipper. The twist was the ballet they were so excited about was Act II of Bayadere! They all exclaimed that they wanted to see "the whole Bayadere." They weren't impressed by Pied Pipper. If the goal of Pied Pipper is to get new audience into the door, it seems to be working. I think Act II of Bayadere is a better piece to introduce ballet to beginners. Do we call this "bait and switch?" And there were more children around at Met than usual.

As for Pied Pipper, I think it's over-hyped but I love the score. They tried to make the ballet looked like a Broadway production. Dancing wise, there's not enough of it and Corella had to carry to whole show. All the talks about the new technologies, props, sceneries, stage design & magic just heightened my expectation and I came home unimpressed. But still it was an unique and positive experience and I have to give credit to ABT for its new approach and direction in staging new ballet.

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Mussel -- what a great story! Though one has to admit (and perhaps gen-xers should be warned) that the rest of Bayadere is not much like the Shades scene! Still, they might like Act II of Swan Lake...

P.S. Looks like I will have to take a pass on Pied Piper, but I can't say these reports are causing me much regret...other than Corella.

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For me, it was a complete disaster. I don't think Baryshnikov in his prime could have saved this work. I expect it will join the junk heap where ABT's "Othello" resides. I can't imagine taking small kiddies to this one---the story is downright depressing. I have always admired Corigliano's score for the movie "Red Violin" and I looked forward to this one--but I found myself almost lulled to sleep. The backdrops and light show were far more engaging than anything that happened on stage.

And Paquita, I also wondered where that blue costume was.

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The design reminded me, at first, of a computer "screen saver" (I mean the part at the beginning with the projection of the big moon and then the clouds, and the sunrise, etc.)

Thereafter the sets and projections were right out of Super Nintendo. (I've watched far too much of that with my teenagers over the years -- that is definitely what I'd compare the blocky cartoonish landscape to).

Finally, when the "children" materialize in spinning projections overhead, we return to "Screen Saver Land" ... or perhaps are beamed into the light show from a Nineteen Seventies Heavy Metal Concert. Something from Deep Purple.

The rat costumes looked very like the Raptors in Jurassic Park. Perhaps they didn't want rats that looked too much like those from Mr. B's Nutcracker?

And the blue pajamas on the kids looked very like the green suits worn in correctional facilities in NY State.

The plot -- a Freudian Pied Piper is divided into three personalities, discovers his powers, banishes the raptors after they tickle him with baby raptors on sticks, is then shunned by the Burghers who act as if they've charmed the Raptors, but finally leads the children of the town into Super-Nintendo-Land -- is far too involved to be conveyed and, even if it could be conveyed, would still be ridiculous.

I thought Herman Cornejo almost worth the price of the ticket, but the piece also, by the end, made him look bad.

The first five minutes of Bayadere, the entrance and evolutions of the female corps, was quite beautiful. (As always). And Ekaterina Shelkanova was very very good in her variations and her pas de trois. But I have to recant much of the praise I've been bestowing on Ashley Tuttle lately. At least for today. Tuttle struck some beautiful poses today . . . when she caught up, that is, and got there. (Lovely cambered back, arm held high; or attitude en avant). The problem was what happened on the way. Very stiff and unmusical between the poses, not moving well at all, and sketchy and unstable in the big developpees, especially those to her left. Picone didn't help either.

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I looked at the Royal video of Act II of Bayadere just before attending the Wednesday matinee. To me Picone was equally as impressive as Mukhamedov. It was disappointing not to see Corella, as scheduled, but Picone was very good. And good thing he was to help save the day, for Pied Piper was a disaster, I thought, dark gloomy and cartoonish.

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I feel like I'm the only one who liked this ballet. I saw it last Saturday night with De Luz as the Piper. He was wonderful and should be a prime candidate for promotion. It's a difficult role and he danced it well. The corps and children were also wonderful. Okay, it doesn't look like a "real" ballet but David Parsons gave it stylized, rustic choreography. The ABT orchestra sounded like a major symphony orchestra. They clearly enjoy the challenge of Corigliano's score, even if the audience and critics don't.

Why is hype all of a sudden considered a bad thing for dance? It's tiring reading and/or hearing about sequels to medicore films, reality television and untalented celebrities who achieve fame for their personal lives rather than talent. I like seeing Angel Corolla's picture plastered all over NYC. (Even if he's not in the same PIPER costume.) In the long run the publicity should be a good thing for both ABT and the Parsons Dance Company.

And what if arts organizations like ABT stopped taking chances? Even as much as we cherish certain ballets, must it always be the same thing?

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Good for you, Patricia :) It's good to hear a different view, and often people are reluctant to post when they go against the tide. I'm glad you did.

You asked why hype is considered bad for dance. I think the hype in this case was criticized because it concentrated on everything BUT dance, and was selling the ballet as though it were a Broadway show or a new Disney movie. It's good to draw people in, yes, but, as is often talked about on this board, for ballet, not the special effects.

I think it's wonderful for ABT, or any company, to take chances, but this seemed like a calculated grab for a huge big hit, not taking chances at all, to some.

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