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19-21 November, 2010, Program B, Kennedy Center, Eisenhower Theatre

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Very briefly, as the hour is late: Monumentum/Movements, led by Natalia Magnicaballi with Momchil Mladenov (Monumentum) or Michael Cook (Movements), looked to more than one experienced Balanchine-watcher like the best performance of it since Balanchine's time. Not that it gets performed that often now.

La Sonnambula, led Friday evening by Violeta Angelova (The Sleepwalker), Michael Cook (The Poet), Momchil Mladenov (The Baron) and Kendra Mitchell (The Coquette), was very effective, if a few telling details here and there could have been* realized, this staging was certainly well along in the right direction.

Eight by Adler has such good dancing in it, you don't care if it looks a little trite. Magnicaballi never let go, never blurred or smeared her Broadway- or night-club like material, and the nine men gave it everything they'd got. Ted Seymour (in "Hey There") brought quite a lot to it, and to her, for example.

*"better" is the word missing here, of course; the hour really was late.

Edited by Jack Reed
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Thanks as always for your reviews, Jack. Monumentum/Movements was thrilling at the rehearsal yesterday afternoon, and the fact that the orchestra (led by Emil de Cou), the pianist Glen Sales, and the dancers had some understandable coordination problems in the latter meant we had the chance to see it all twice. Magnicaballi marked a lot of it the second time through, but that hardly mattered because the choreography for the corps is as interesting as that for the principals.

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RUN!!!!! Do not walk---to see this program.


That's all I can say, as I have connection to the company, but the dancing was superb: nuanced, passionate, technically sound and Eight by Adler was vastly more enjoyable than I had anticipated........

Goes again tomorrow night @ 7:30.

What a great afternoon!

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After today's matinee performance of program B, there was a Post-Performance Discussion, which ran abut 30 minutes.

Elisabeth Holowchuk, Michael Cook, Natalia Magnicaballi, and later, Matthew Renko took questions

Q: How is it to do something that's older than you are? EH. Ballet has to be passed down from person to person; it can't be learned from video. MC. The ballets don't feel old, we have the music and lighting, they're not stale.

Q: What's the narrative for [La Sonnambula]? There's no synopsis. EH. The Baron is married to the Sleepwalker, the Coquette is his mistress, who falls for the Poet. It's what the opera is based on, not necessarily the same for the ballet. I looked it up.

Q: We didn't hear your toe shoes. NM: Noise is not good. I use less glue. I don't like hard shoes. I use one pair for each performance. [some gasps in the audience]

Q: What led you to become dancers? MC: I went to a neighbor's recital. I was asked to try class. I liked it. It's given me what I do. NM: It makes me vibrate to look beautiful. It feels like home. MR: It's connection to the music, adding something to it. EH: My older sister did it. Worked my way in from the door, I was shy. Dancing, I can express myself without talking. I can be free, not put in a box like in ordinary life.

Q: How is Suzanne Farrell different from others you've worked with? MR: She's completely involved with everything in the company, not distant like some other companies. NM: She made me the dancer I am today. [voice becomes thick] I love her... We get to the theatre at 10:30 and work 12 hours [some gasps in the audience] ...

Q: How was it to dance [Eight by Adler, in which Magnicaballi is onstage for all but one number]? NM: All my weight is on my metatarsals when I put my [character] shoes on. She works with me.

Q: How important is rest? NM: Sleep, and what to eat. Like in army. You know what to do. I eat pasta for ten days.

Q: There's such a limited repertory on dance videos. EH: It's complicated, rights of choreographers and musicians.

Q: Do you live here? MC: We would if the company got more money.

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Here's a clip of Farrell herself dancing the first (?) section of Eight by Adler with Chicago City Ballet way back in 1984. Did anyone here see this? Jack? I'm not a big Broadway-in-toe-shoes fan (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue excepted), and for my taste, this is a little awkward, but I'm sure some disagree. I did love what Magnicaballi made of the ballet as a whole.

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