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Has anyone out there seen one of the Coppelia performances, either in Naples, Miami, Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach?

Tonight was the "first performance" for both Tricia Albertson (newly appointed as a Principal Soloist) and Isanusi Garcia-Rodriguez in the leads. A very young cast, using all the apprentices in the group dances. (No principals. Apparantly Edward Villela and a group of principles had just flown north into the snow storms to perform in NYC.)

It's always exciting to watch young dancers new to major roles that have such a place in ballet history. Albertson and Garcia-Rodrigues projected the adolescent goofiness of squabbling boy-and-girl friend, and their different styles played off each other well. Garcia-Rodriguez (tall, slender, with long elegant legs) had an exceptionally beautiful line and very high elevation in every category of jump. And I mean HIGH -- no comparison with the other male dancers in the company. Whenever he moved he dominated the stage.

Albertson has been given a lot of opportunities by this company (I am thinking of the chance, last year, to do the lead in Ballo della Regina) , and this role played on her considerable strengths -- strong leg and footwork, good balance, a personality that projects the enormous pleasure of dancing.

I can't speak about the other casts -- but this one was a great hit with the audience. Lots of bravos. (Often a Palm Beach audience comes to life only when it time to dash for the valet parking; that did not apply tonight.) It was also fun to hear the enthusiastic cheers and applause among the dancers themselves on stage after the final curtain. Same thing happened after Albertson did B della R.

Is this a common way company members have of acknowledging and celebrating role debuts?

All the dancers on stage seem genuinely happy to be dancing -- especially in such a repertory. This is almost always the case with Miami City Ballet. I'm looking forward to the same ballet, different cast, tomorrow.

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(Often a Palm Beach audience comes to life only when it time to dash for the valet parking; that did not apply tonight.)  It was also fun to hear the enthusiastic cheers and applause among the dancers themselves on stage after the final curtain.  Same thing happened after Albertson did B della R.

Is this a common way company members have of acknowledging and celebrating role debuts?

The NYC equivalent is when the audience comes to life only when it is time to dash for the subway.

Most of the time when I've seen dancers applaud each other onstage it was for a retirement or a gala anniversary celebration.

Many thanks for your wonderful review. :wacko:

I hope you continue to post about Miami City Ballet and any other companies you see along the way.

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Sunday matinee performance -- traditionally the biggest crowd in this town. Principal dancer Deanna Seay as Swanilda, soloist Mikhail Nikitine as Franz. Well-danced, but generally less interesting than last night's performance. Biggest area of improvement over the previous cast was partnering. Nikitine, who trained in Perm in Russia and has danced in Moscow, Hartford, Fort Worth/Dallas, and with the Carolina Ballet, is handsome, elegant, and a generous partner. Seay has the steps, but perhaps not a lot of personality. Therae were a few of those times when you find the eye wandering towards, and becoming fascinated by, the villagers lounging around in the background.

During the pre-curtain talk, MCB's new ballet mistress Ileana Lopez -- who retired last year after 17 years as the company's most popular, and truly 'beloved' dancer -- discussed restaging the ballet to increase the amount of dancing, especially in Acts One and Three. A lot of repetitive miming was deleted, and Swanilda and Franz now express their characters and situation in dance more than in previous years. Indeed, Act One was a big improvement. No time wasted in getting to the dancing. Still, there was PLENTY of mime for those who love it and regret its passing. Once you get the idea that patting the heart means LOVE, pointing to your ring finger means MARRY, making small circles with your hands next to your ears means CRAZY, and whirling your arms above the top of your head means DANCE, you've pretty much got the plot. (Neither Swanilda nor Franz has a mother-in-law to explain -- yet.)

The Act three solos ( Dawn, Prayer, and Spinner) were beautifully done. Patricia and Jeanette Delgado repeated from the night before, but were more consistent and IMO sparkling. Haiyan Wu, who joined the company last year as a Principal (formerly dancing with the National Ballet of China), was superb is Prayer. Soft, airy movent, supported by strong technique. The big arabesque -- hands praying, one leg raised to heaven) was so secure that it seemed truly effortless and oddly spiritual (for something based in the physical). For me, the best moments in dance are those in which technique becomes invisible and the most difficult physical movements seem as natural and spontaneous as a child at play.

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I was at the Kravitz Center Saturday, January 22 evening performance. Although I try not to say anything less than positive about performance, I would have to say this performance was one that sent me running out the doors when the curtain came down. Unfortuantely, I was disappointed in the production as a whole.


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Vrsfanatic -- I'd love to hear some of your impressions of the Saturday evening performance. Especially, what about the production you did not like. I feel that I am re-learning how to look at dance after a long time away and nothing does this better than reading other people's responses to productions and performances I have actually seen.

I've been enjoying reading the Ballet Talk archives -- but there's so much detail about NYCB, ABT, etc., and almost nothing about local or even regional companies. Surely there are more than 2 of us in all of South Florida who saw and had feelings about this this MCB Coppelia revival.

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bart, thank you so much for these reviews. As you have noted, there are a lot of posters writing about ABT and NYCB and less of MCB. Many of us are very interested in this company and post after making trips to see them, but it's great to have somebody who sees them on a regular basis.

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I do see Miami City Ballet quite often in all Southeast Florida locations, although I do not attend Nutcracker.

I found that generally the production on Saturday, January 22 was not of a high level. The sets, designed by Arnold Abramson for ABT, took up too much space on the stage, leaving the dancers very little space to dance. The costumes in general, by Patricia Zipprodt, where okay until the 3rd Act the costumes for Dawn, Prayer and "Spinner". These costumes in general where much too long and full. The dancers looked like they were performing in their nightgowns.

In the 1st Act Mikhail Nikitine as the (Burgermeister) Burgomaster walked well and filled the stage. Marc Spielberger was an entertaining Dr. Coppelius. Truely, my image of this role is formed by having watched the memorable Stanley Holden, night after night. I did enjoy Mr. Speilberger. The Mazurka and Czardas were not danced with expressivity and I frankly found the choreography, lackluster. I am not convinced these dances were very close to the "after Arthur Saint-Leon", as billed, but I am not well versed in the original Saint-Leon choreography. I am however, well versed in mazurka and czardas.

The 2nd Act was quite tedious. With the omission of two dolls, the music dragged on. Watching Swanilda, dance all of that music took away from the story and the idea that this was a toy shop. I unfortunately, missed the speach by Ms. Lopez explaining why she omitted two dolls, so I was left wondering until friends asked me about it at intermission.

I viewed the first two acts from very high upstairs, the highest level, but moved downstairs to the orchestra for the 3rd Act. I was very surprised to find that I enjoyed the view upstairs much more. As for the dancing, without excitement and classical style. Except for I. Garcia-Rodriguez, M. Nikitine and M. Speilberger, I am not convinced the company was comfortable with this ballet. Expressions were too contemporary and character dances were not well done. The lighting, by John Hall was beautifully done.

Coppelia is not a heavy weight ballet by any means, however it does require character and style. This company performed this 1870 classic as if they were having lunch on Lincoln Road. Not exactly the style in which it was meant to be seen.

Sorry, I do wish I had enjoyed it more. Maybe program 3 and 4 will be more to my liking? :)

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Thanks for your comments. I agree that the stage was very crowded during the ensemble numbers, with a certain amount of dodging to avoid bumping into fellow dancers or scenery. This made it difficult to see the patterns in the group dances -- especially from the orchestra (easier from seats above). There was a building projecting from the wings (stage right) that had no function at all -- except to provide a backdrop for a bench where the burgomeister sat. It was sad to see the the ensemble dances so constricted for so little purpose. I admire the act one coreograhy, and also thought there was a lot of excellent dancing, including work from a couple of apprentices. But it was all too crammed in. And the Kravis has a rather big stage.

I also liked Marc Spielburger as Dr. Coppelius. Very quick, very sprightly, often funny -- and very quick on the temper-trigger. It was interesting to watch Evan Unk in the same role the next day -- much more deliberate, shuffling slowly, everything dampered compared with Spielburger. The virtue of Unk's approach was evident in act two when Coppelius was confronted by the rather gruesome remains of his doll Coppelia. He genuinely mourned her. And it was quite moving to see him do it.

There is a brief notice in Danceview Times this week about Edward Villella's visit to New York that weekend. 8 dancers are mentioned, but not named. Does anyone have more information about this event? Thanks.

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