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Where can I find DVD or VHS performance of West Side Story ballet? Amazon doesn't seem to have it. Does anyone know if any of the U.S. companies will be performing it this year? I think I just missed a recent performance (was it by NYCB in Saratoga Springs???)

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WEST SIDE STORY SUITE has not been filmed to the best of my knowledge, and has not been put on the market commercially.

as you likely know, the film version has been on video and dvd for some time now.

i don't know if the robbinsrightstrust lists current stagings of Robbins's work. perhaps it does.

i believe it's about to enter the repertory of Pacific Northwest Ballet. (the co. site should confirm this w/ dates, etc.)

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...Does anyone know if any of the U.S. companies will be performing it this year?

Agnes: San Francisco Ballet performed the Westside Story Suite last year, and will be doing it again this year during Program 6, April 3 through 9, 2009.

Peggy

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i believe it's about to enter the repertory of Pacific Northwest Ballet. (the co. site should confirm this w/ dates, etc.)

Yes it is (from PNB website):

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March 12–22, 2009

West Side Story Suite

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

PNB's salute to Broadway offers marvelously entertaining premieres by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Christopher Wheeldon paired with the reprise of Susan Stroman's TAKE FIVE. George Balanchine's Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, created for the musical On Your Toes, offers a parody of Broadway, Russian ballet and the mob. Danced in front of a ferris wheel, Wheeldon's salute to Richard Rodgers "…is so enriching that one hungers for more: too good to be enough" (The New York Times). The legendary singing, finger-snapping teens of Robbins' long-anticipated West Side Story Suite are guaranteed to elicit "rockconcert cheers" (San Francisco Chronicle).

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I thought this might be interesting to BT folks since it is rare for any of us to hear our beloved dancers singing on stage! This was written by PNB Artistic Director Peter Boal regarding West Side Story last 5/27:

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"Last week, I listened while most of our dancers sweated and squirmed through painful singing auditions for Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. To my surprise and theirs, we had several voices. The entire cast sings, with solo work going to Anita, Rosalia, and Riff. When Jerry auditioned the New York City Ballet dancers in the late 1990s, I was spared the humiliation. I remember Nikolaj Hübbe revealing that he turned white with fear before a note could be uttered. Jenny Ringer remembers singing “I’m a Little Tea Pot,” complete with hand gestures, because it was the only song that came to mind. One PNB dancer summed up the process by offering, “It wasn’t as painful as I expected.” I felt their pain and was truly grateful for their willingness to try."

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Thanks! I should start making vacation plans for March 2009. It's been years since I've visited the Seattle area. Is West Side only a ballet suite? Is there no full-length version?

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Thanks! I should start making vacation plans for March 2009. It's been years since I've visited the Seattle area. Is West Side only a ballet suite? Is there no full-length version?

PNB is doing the suite. I don't know this for a fact, but I believe that the term "suite" applies only to the music. That is, Robbins choreographed to a suite of Bernstein's music, so the suite is the ballet......the term "full length" does not apply. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

If you do come out to Seattle (and PNB is well worth it), here is the rest of that program.

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Broadway Festival

March 12-22, 2009

West Side Story Suite

Music: Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics: Stephen Sondheim

Choreography: Jerome Robbins

Carousel (A Dance)

Music: Richard Rodgers

Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon

TAKE FIVE - More or Less

Music: Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond

Choreography: Susan Stroman

Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Music: From On Your Toes by Richard Rodgers

Choreography: George Balanchine

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Note all are PNB premieres except "Take 5" which was done on the PNB dancers by Susan Stroman just last season for a world premiere. "Take 5" will float your boat too.....especially if you enjoy the Broadway Musical scene (it is a sort of balletic look at the artistry and artists of Broadway done to the never to be forgotten music of Dave Brubeck -- spiced with the unusual time signatures).

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Is West Side only a ballet suite? Is there no full-length version?

No, thank God.

That is, Robbins choreographed to a suite of Bernstein's music, so the suite is the ballet......the term "full length" does not apply.

I think you're right about that.

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The Suite is basically all the important dance moments from the musical--including the Somewhere dream ballet that was completely cut from the movie (and is gorgeous). I might have to go over to Seattle for this!

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If I'm not mistaken, when Robbins set the suite on NYCB, he added a new solo for Tony.

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The National Ballet of Canada performed this in the spring of 2008; it was part of a mixed program. I was really looking forward to it, and it had been advertised widely....in the end, it was not my favourite piece of the evening....for me, it was a bit too much like musical theatre - which I can go elsewhere to see. Just my personal opinion.........

m2

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Yeah there were amusing articles about the National Ballet learning to sing in the Globe and Mail I remember.

I guess for me that'd be fine--musical theatre is right up there with ballet as my first theatrical love--getting to see the tour of the reconstructed Chorus Line with the original Michael Bennett staging and choreography was prob the dance highlight of my last year--so to see really talented dancers dance the Robbins choreography woul dbe a thrill for me (especially since the current revival of WSS which is heading to New York, directed by the play's librettist Arthur Laurents who always kinda had a love/hate thing for Robbins actually simplifies America for the actress playing Anita, and worse, cuts Robbins Somewhere ballet literally in half).

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