Jump to content
This Site Uses Cookies. If You Want to Disable Cookies, Please See Your Browser Documentation. ×

Ballet partnerships that are LIKEABLE


bart

Recommended Posts

Watching the Paris "Rubies," I found myself thinking: Dupont and Carbone are lovely and charming and dance elegantly. But I really missed Villella and McBride's totally different approach to the parts.

This led me to the thought that there are some partnerships that are truly likeable. This is not the same thing as "admirable," or ""technically brilliant,"" or even "two dancing as one." They don't have to be the best dancers. Something clicks, however. And is communicated to the audience. You care about them and want to hang out after the performance to here about how they felt about it.

I'm not good at dredging examples from my flickering memory, so I need some help.

Upbeat ballets: Patricia McBride and and Edward Villella.

Dramatic ballets: ?

Romantic ballets: ?

Classical ballets: ?

Are there any such partnerships that strike you as being highly "likeable"? What makes them that way?

Link to comment
Watching the Paris "Rubies," I found myself thinking: Dupont and Carbone are lovely and charming and dance elegantly. But I really missed Villella and McBride's totally different approach to the parts.

This led me to the thought that there are some partnerships that are truly likeable. This is not the same thing as "admirable," or ""technically brilliant,"" or even "two dancing as one." They don't have to be the best dancers. Something clicks, however. And is communicated to the audience. You care about them and want to hang out after the performance to here about how they felt about it.

I'm not good at dredging examples from my flickering memory, so I need some help.

Upbeat ballets: Patricia McBride and and Edward Villella.

Dramatic ballets: ?

Romantic ballets:

Classical ballets: ?

Are there any such partnerships that strike you as being highly "likeable"? What makes them that way?

Romantic ballets: Alina Cojocaru & Johan Kobborg :clapping: Their Giselle is truly enjoyable and their real love for each other really shows onstage.

Classical ballets: Lorna Feijoo & Carlos Acosta. :clapping: They both enjoy bravura and flamboyancy, aside from having a brilliant technique. They also come from the same ballet school/style, and that makes their partnership specially "likeable".(eg. Diana & Acteon in Youtube)

Link to comment
...This led me to the thought that there are some partnerships that are truly likeable. This is not the same thing as "admirable," or ""technically brilliant,"" or even "two dancing as one." They don't have to be the best dancers. Something clicks, however. And is communicated to the audience. You care about them and want to hang out after the performance to here about how they felt about it.

...Are there any such partnerships that strike you as being highly "likeable"? What makes them that way?

One that seems ended in its infancy:

Katie Morgan/Seth Orza at NYCB. They were paired in Romeo+Juliet and later in Wheeldon's Carousel. Ms. Morgan has that rare gift of telling a story, giving continuity to a dance, without acting at all (well, how can I presume to know how she really does it, but she projects such an innocence and dance-purity), while Mr. Orza creates a brilliant contrast to her luminous youth and glowing beauty. He has a forceful look, that on first impression one might feel would almost frighten such a pure innocent, yet his dramatic sensibility converts it into a pillar of strength that she can trust, by adding dimensions of tenderness and partner awareness. Especially in Carousel, which of course admits more dramatic freedom for the dancers, he creates a character who really sees his partner struggling with new feelings, and knows just when to hold back and when to bring back his strength. In response, Ms. Morgan literally grows up right before our eyes. In his review of all four cast of R+J, Mr. Macaulay of the Times ultimately seemed to prefer Katie Morgan's Juliet most of all the Juliets. Yet he wasn't as strong in his praise for Seth Orza's Romeo. I think that a great strength of Orza (in this partnership, at least) is to make you love his ballerina, something that I think might require a few viewings of his work to discover. That sensitivity to love may be why the partnership is no longer. For he left his position and rank at NYCB in order to go to a company in which he can be with his wife. I will sadly miss Seth with Katie as she grows into the even more dramatically challenging grand Farrell roles at City Ballet, where such romantic chemistry will be so crucial.

Link to comment

What Christian says about Lorna Feijoo and Acosta applies also to her sister, Lorena, when she dances with joan Boada in Don Quixote -- they have the same schooling, they both know how to be "Spanish," and they really enjoy each other -- fantastic connection between them.

There was something likable, also, in the partnership of Anthony Dowell and Antoinette Sibley -- both were rather cool emotionally, but their connection to each other was very tight -- they were like twins, and they let us into their world -- without coming out to meet us, they did not hold us OUT -- well, HER dancing had a lot of spontaneity in it, and like Cojocaru, she was a little person who danced on a really large scale, which counts for generosity big-time with me -- and his generosity lay in his way of being scrupulous, which was not somehow egotistical like Bruhn's or Nureyev's but more in the service of an ideal, which frequently registered as chivalrous (he's a little like Fadeyechev that way, though with a completely different body-type). this was fabulous in Swan Lake -- and also quite intriguing in "The Dream," where for most of the hte ballet he's supposed to be quarrelling with Sibley, and the tension was complex and fascinating....

Link to comment

Bart, the first names that come to mind are a real life couple who retired not too many years ago from your current home company, MCB: Franklin Gamero and Illiana Lopez! I'm sure you know how wide their range was; I only remember them in Diamonds and Stars and Stripes.

Link to comment

Hands down is Edward Villella and Patty McBride. Growing up in the 60's and going to NYCB on a regular basis with my parents I would sit dreamy-eyed in the audience and dream of being Patty McBride dancing with Edward Villella.

I love the parring of Julie Kent and Angel Corella in the classics. One pairing that I see on a regular basis is Nilas Martin and Darcy Kistler. That doesn't work for me, knowing that she is his step-mother.

Link to comment

Sorry, but though I've seen many other companies perform, most memories are from ABT ...

Makarova and Nagy, moreso than Makorova and Dowell because the generosity of Nagy's partnering, elegance and grace somehow seemed more caring/attentive than Dowell's, who could do so too, but also look like he was sort of a detached observer judging the effect as well. (Wish I had seen Dowell and Sibley live.)

Corella and Vishneva for the perfection of their Act2 Giselle pdd's etc. But in R&J, after seeing many many casts, and Corella with many other partners, I think he dances Romeo best with Xiomara: After seeing them perform immediately before/after others, or with other partners, it really was noticeably different. Corella and Kent, however, do have exquisite line in whatever they dance together. And I still remember that matinee Manon with Alessandra Ferri this past Met season--rough edges, but what a gutsy performance by both.

(Otherwise at ABT, I'm still waiting for partnerships to develop, since there still seems to be a lot of experimenting going on there. I tried to see Gomes/Part this past season, but injuries prevented it; only caught Hallberg in rehearsal or shorter works, ditto Carreno, and Ethan only twice.)

will edit or add more (as memory improves) later.

Link to comment

I was lucky enough to get my hands on that DVD of Giselle with Malakhov and Vishneva. That, to me, is the perfect partnership, not because of any special quality of the dancing (which is excellent...), but because...it just seems natural. As soon as Giselle enters, we know that she and Albrecht, just due to one glance together, are destined to love each other. Plus, it's Malakhov, and he's wonderful with any partner!

Link to comment
I only saw them dance together on video, but I have to add Jacques D'Amboise and Melissa Hayden. Having met both of them in real life, I can imagine that they had a good time together, and it shows in the videos I have seen.

I get the impression that he is and she was pretty feisty. That sounds to me like the basis for a pretty fun partnership, especially given the go-for-broke dance ethic Balanchine instilled.

Link to comment
Bart, the first names that come to mind are a real life couple who retired not too many years ago from your current home company, MCB: Franklin Gamero and Illiana Lopez! I'm sure you know how wide their range was; I only remember them in Diamonds and Stars and Stripes.
Unfortunately, I came to MCB only towards the end of their careers and saw them only a few times. I have been impressed, however, by how much real affection people down here have for them.
I only saw them dance together on video, but I have to add Jacques D'Amboise and Melissa Hayden. Having met both of them in real life, I can imagine that they had a good time together, and it shows in the videos I have seen.
Absolutely. They were my big favorites in my early ballet-going days, and I remember the huge, warm, and happy applause they received from the City Center audiences. Bigger and warmer than for any other dancer -- Tallchief included -- with the possible exception ofl Mitchell/Adams in Agon.
I get the impression that he is and she was pretty feisty. That sounds to me like the basis for a pretty fun partnership, especially given the go-for-broke dance ethic Balanchine instilled.
You may have a point, there. d'Amboise and Villella were the only Balanchine males who had this quality in the late 50s - early 60s, and both were much loved -- and uniquely loved, I think -- long after a new group of accomplished males joined the company.

I am in complete agreement with Printcess on the way Villella and McBride had of drawing you into a personal relationship with them as they danced. If Villella's comments at tonight's performance are anything to go by, one reason the Villella/McBridge partnership was both memorable and extremelly likeable is that Balanchine tailored this choreography -- and other things he did for them -- to their distinct personalities and talents.

Incidentally, I just returned from seeing a new partnership at MCB's preview of Rubies down in their Miami Beach studio theater -- Jennifer Kronenberg and Renato Penteado. They were clearly delighted dancing with each other, and brought qualities of New York street smarts, flirtatiousness, and "I can do that!" to this ballet that I haven't seen since Villella and McBride.

I've seen several NYCB revivals over the years, and have enjoyed the almost 18th-century elegance of the recent Paris performance on dvd. But each was a far cry from the way Villella-McBride did it (and therefore, from the way Balanchine planned it).

Kronenberg and Penteado brought me back to the exciting ballet danced by the original cast 40 years ago.

Link to comment

Interesting that you mention Dupont in Rubies. I have never experienced this partnership live but I find that she and Manuel Legris make a very comfortable and likeable pair, and perhaps had she been partnered by Legris in Rubies (as I think was originally planned???) the performance might have had a very different dynamic. (Just guessing, though...)

I also like Maximova and Vasiliev.

Link to comment
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...