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Imaginary reviews of imaginary performances

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My daughter is working on an assignment at college that I thought some of you might have fun with. The gist of it is:

Write a review for a piece that you have not seen, and that in fact has never been performed.

Snippets cut from your full review are welcome, but do give us the name of the piece and something of its flavor.

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She should read Arlene Croce's review of Bill T. Jones' "Still/Here," (Has the teacher?) She might get extra credit for knowing what happens, including the fallout and controversy,when this is done by a major critic. (Of course, that may take the fun out of the project.)

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She should read Arlene Croce's review of Bill T. Jones' "Still/Here," (Has the teacher?) She might get extra credit for knowing what happens, including the fallout and controversy,when this is done by a major critic.

With the note that the fuss was largely stirred up by Tina Brown, who solicited letters to the editor taking issue with Croce. This is not to say that the piece wouldn’t have drawn any comment otherwise, but the ‘controversy’ was to some degree a pseudo-event.

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I'm surprised that no one has submitted a fake review. After all, the Director of FEMA recently staged a fake press conference to make his agency look good. So why spend all that money to buy tickets, and why make a long trip to the theater, when you make it all up at home?

By coincidence DanceView Times just returned the following with a rejection slip. (No reason given.) The author, who has lost his posting privileges on Ballet Talk, would like to thank Treefrog for inviting him to write a review, and me for being willing to post it under my own pseudonym


Kirov's Long Awaited Petipa Revival Passionate but Sluggish

Last night, the Kirov Ballet presented for the first time in 135 years a ballet once believed to have been lost forever.

Its choreographer, Marius Petipa, is considered the preeminent genius of 19th century Russian classical ballet. Set to an original score by the firm of Minkus, Pugni and Drigo ("Dance Music by the Yard, 24 - 7') and with a libretto based on a traditional Russian folk tale, this $14,000,000 productdion was staged by a team of Americans renowned for the meticulous faithfulness of their reconstructions of other 19th century classics: Kevin Mackenzie and Peter Martins.

With a cast headed by Kirov superstar Diana Vishneva and guest superstar Angel Corella, how could such a venture possible disappoint?

Alas, the long-awaited return of Snail Lake to the Maryinsky stage was indeed a disappointment. The story itself -- a moving tale of a young Snail Princess kidnapped by Escargot, the Bad Snail Fairy, and forced to inch her way eternally along the dark shores of an icy and mysterious lake, or at least until a handsome Snail Prince arirves to free her from the Bad Snail Fair's spell -- was full of promise. But the dance elements were severely restricted both by concept and costuming.

Vishneva's Act I entrance, crawling on her belly with a large baroque shell covering all but head and single foot, was dramatic and beautifully executed. But even Petipa could not make much of her 53 minute solo, during which she managed to wriggle only halfway across the stage.

Corella, who usually thrills the audience witih jumps and turns, pursued her has ardently as possible. By the beginning of Act V, both had arrived at the other side of the stage in time for the final Grand Pas de Deux (that is, deux snails, duex feet, no arms, and quatre antennae). This beautiful adagio culminated in an extraordinary and suprising fish dive (plongee de poisson), during which a large plastic fish flew in from the wings and devoured both Prince and Princess.

Notable in the preformance were the four charming Little Pseudopods. The Kirov corps de ballet were especially impressive in the dreamy Waltz of the Conches. Of the many variations on the theme of wriggling and crawling, I especially admired the work of the soloists who performed Garlic and Butter. New York City Ballet retired principal, Jock Soto, was .. frankly ... creepy as Escargot, oozing menace along with a trail of shiny slimy stuff that covered the stage by the end of the performance. On a negative note, I detected a certain rigidity in those usually flexible Russian backs. I hope this is not a sign that problems are developing at the Kirov.

Valery Gergiev conducted.

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Carbro, I will pass your comments on to the author. It might interest Ballet Talk readers to know that the author also contributes dance criticism, under different names (and genders), to The New Criterion, the New York Observer, and the blog section of Vanity Fair. See the Wolcott/Gotllieb/Jacobs thread: http://ballettalk.invisionzone.com/index.p...c=25975&hl=

Most of these reviews, though not all, are based on imaginary performances of fictitious ballets. Most of the dancers he/she likes and disllikes are imagined as well, often in excruciating detail.

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Very well done indeed!

I believe a friend attended this same performance. She complained about the tempo of the music, although I cannot now remember if it was because the hapless Gergiev raced through the score inappropriately, or because he took it at the intended tempo, which has always been criticized as excrutiatingly slow. There's no pleasing everyone, is there?

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Treefrog, I believe that the reviewer failed to notice that Gergiev did indead "race" through the music and that the orchestra finished the score several hours before the end of the ballet. Ever the pro, Gergiev just repeated everyting ... several times. The New York Times reviewer, praising Vishneva's "sensitive musicality," apparently did not notice this.

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