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Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami's Swan Lake.

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I would have probably skipped the posting on this performance, since I'm so dissatisfied with it , but it would be unfair to tonight's Siegfried, Taras Domitro, the latest defector of the Cuban balletic exodus...

This company is doing an immense effort to "continue" the tradition of the Cuban style and school in America, but something is not working. So far what i've notice they do is using by memory Mme. Alonso's versions on choreographies and revamping them, mixing them with substitutions on what they think are theie weakest points , with a weird result. Watching this Swan Lake tonight gave me the same impression as if i had ran into a very old friend who's in a profound physical decay but which i still recognize (barely) in certain mannerisms and signs.

The old choreography that i remember as the palm of my hand was there...but changed, altered, due to an abvious lack of high technical demands that it requires. So let's review it.

First, i gasp in dissapoint when i see a program change. Ms. Lorena Feijoo, the cuban SFB principal who is a member of CCBM also, is injured and will be substitued by Ms. Adyaris Almeida, the former CNB-Cincinnatti Ballet principal and former teen dancing partner of Rolandito Sarabia when both graduated from the ballet school at the same time. Oh well, i'm already predisposed. Act I started, as expected, with a "Pas De Six"as the Waltz. Here they performed just as i remembered, copycat, with the last triple series of over shoulder lifts followed by the three couples fish dives at unison...this is usually very effective, but it looked dangerous here, although no accidents happened, thank God. Then we had the highlight of the Act, the "Pas de trois", . I have to mention , specially, the two girls, Jordan Elizabeth Long and Grace Anne Powers, (which i saw doing Myrtha last year in her debut, at 14 and has a beautiful romantic line and perfect supple). Very nice Ms. Powers. Siegfried, Mr. Domitro, did show up already and is seated watching, as usual...(Domitro looks veeeery young, almost like a teenager). Speeding things up, the Queen enters, very regal, older, much more in the character than that young girl from the ABT's SB.

Transition to Act II without intermission...Lakeside, Rothbart shows up looking-(thank God)-very much like the big winged green owl fromn NBC and not like the ET/Alien look of other productions I've seen...Odette gets in the scene. Is Adyaris Almeida, . Note: About her i will just write what i liked...will omit the rest for obvious reasons. Going quick to the Love Duet we saw that her strengts are her very fast entrechats and batteries , precise balances and a lot of drama...(oh yes, mucho drama) .She also delivered a totally Alonso's style swan transformation at the end of the act. People, (he,he) went wild...oh yes, they remember very well...About Domitro, they arranged a solo for Siegfried set to the Tempo di Valse music from the original Act I (- the "Merry Makers PDD"-) . He did some beautiful jetes-menages...Intermission

Act III. Zcharda and Mazurka are identical as those from Cuba. Rechoreographied are the Tarantella and the Spanish. I missed the two sets of entrechasixes from the italians...

Let's skip all the rest, princesses and all...not interesting. So, ta-dah...Black Swan!!...Oh God...this was just...something. Did i see Gorski, Alonso, Petipa or what...? Oh yes, it was everything all together, and then, what everyone is expecting...the Coda. So here she comes and boom!, she opens with a set of quadruple pirouettes and repits it a couple of more times more while doing very extravagant fouettes, leg at a perfect 90 a la second all the time. She turns really fast, but travels really fast too..I'm scared. Then, she stopped...on pointe. Good, people is screaming and i'm happy.(- i was really afraid she was gonna fall). Audience is still going wild. Finally The Odile/Rothbart transformation reveals...Almeida reveals her histrionic qualities running all over the place while laughing , malevolent . Audiee screams in delight. I'm smiling...She totally fooled me. I didn't get the sautees sur le pointe en arabesque penchee that fallows the fouetees in the cuban version. Grrr. But still, she knows how to put lots of drama...Oh, yes, no fainting Queen. Shoot, i like the fainting Queens...

Transition to Act IV. All new choreography. In Cuba Alonso resolves quick the whole thing, resuming the act as a much shorter transitional epilogue with the sovietized happy ending. Here they wanted the real thing...the whole act including its colective suicide...everbody goes into the mattress and i wonder if they're scoring their jumps back there. Hers was fabulous. Absurd final...one doesn't know when we see the couple on top of a rock that moves center stage what happened to them, if they're alive or dead...or if this is heaven or ...Well, who knows...Note: I missed the very effective Siegfried/Rothbart fighting and Rothbart's spasmodic death onstage...

Music: The orchestra was a disaster. The score couldn't get any slower. Why didn't just played a nice Fedotov recording instead...? (And this observations goes for ALL companies and productions, if i may say)

Costumes: Medieval inspiration. Well done.

Corps: Aceptable.

Scenography: Let's not even go there...

P.S- I'll go to today's performance, but i must confess, i'll skip Acts I and II...Will get there just in time for the sautees of the Black Swan Coda. See, Hayna dances today, and (-this is from her own words-) she'll perform them. I sat behind her last night. :smilie_mondieu:

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Thanks, Cristian, for that report. It's good to hear about this company, especially since it has an important role to fill as a transition for many highly-trained Cuban dancers entering the US performance arena. BT'rs will also be interested to hear more of Almeida, who is joining Corella's new Ballet Nacional de Espana after a number of years in Cincinnatti, and who has not been discussed very often on this Board.

I loved hearing about the way the peformance both conformed to -- and did not -- your memories of so many SLs in Cuba.

Was anyone else there? Or does anyone else have impressions or memories of Cuban Classical Ballet performances?

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Hey Christian: Tried to PM you, but don't know if you got it. Just wanted to ask if you saw Joseph Gatti dance. He's one of this family's all-time favorites. Also, just to mention, you never have to worry about Adi falling. She is an amazing dancer, and just when it seems that she can't do more, she does. Surprised that she would travel in her fouettes. She can usually turn on a dime, so to speak. They are both audience favorites wherever they go. Thanks for keeping us posted.

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Thanks for that quote, Cristian. On the whole, I'd also go with dancing that comes to life rather than paint-by-numbers perfection.

Keeping in mind, of course, that a perfectly executed tendu, ronde-de-jambe, or arabesque can be as full of energy, commitment, energy, and command of space -- in other words, "life" -- as the biggest jump or multiple pirouette. Even in adagio.

Edited to add: I just came across the following, from an interview with Felicity Palmer in the April Opera News. She's talking about singers, but the same could apply to dancers.

With Maria Callas, she notes, "When I watched and listened carefully, I thought, "Well, okay, she died at fifty-three, but she died having given everything." I'm not interested in singers who don't give. That's one of the things when I work with young singers. I don't really mind whether it's perfect technically, but commitment. That's what Natalie Dessay has in spades. To watch her working on Fille [du Regiment] was astounding. Right through the run, she would come offstage and say, "I didn't do quite the right thing in that dialogue." What is exciting is this quest for digging deeper and finding something that needs to be improved. And that, for all of is, really goes on. We will never have plumbed the depths of anything."
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I was just watching this clip of Hayna during the Black Swan PDD. Oh, how did I love her here...That triumphant malignant laugh during her pose at the last sautee in arabesque at the Coda was worth the whole performance. AND the fouetees, AND the pirouettes...and yes, I DO TOO love her physique.


Domitro looks beautiful too here-(for those in San Francisco, watch him... :)

Edited to add: Domitro's clip is from the previous day performance with Adiarys Almeida.

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Is THAT Domitro? Fabulous....

And she is astounding -- awesome and stupid. never seen that combination before, well not since the Nazis. It IS evil. The dancer may very well not be stupid at all -- it''s odile that's stupid -- and it's really scary. like rape.

I was just watching this clip of Hayna during the Black Swan PDD. Oh, how did I love her here...That triumphant malignant laugh during her pose at the last sautee in arabesque at the Coda was worth the whole performance. AND the fouetees, AND the pirouettes...and yes, I DO TOO love her physique. Domitro looks beautiful too here-(for those in San Francisco, watch him... :)


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No. Hayna dance with Miguel Angel Blanco for that particular performance.

I'm sorry for the confusion about the male dancer. I was actually watching the two performances of CCBM at the same time, the one with Gutierrez and Miguel Angel Blanco, and in another window the one from the day before with Adiarys Almeida-(currently a Principal with the Corella Ballet)- and Taras Domitro-(SFB)-which is the second clip I posted.

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