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Monday, October 10


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An interview with Mary Helen Bowers.

A dancer-turned-fitness guru, Bowers boasts a unique approach -- she offers live classes online to hundreds of international clients. Plus her sights are set on opening a studio in Paris in 2013.

"It's not the typical aggressive American workout," Bowers tells Relaxnews of her program, Ballet Beautiful. "It's more subtle, more feminine." She adds that French and Japanese clients are particularly drawn to the program, and the long, lean muscles and upright carriage it creates, all of which Bowers says can be achieved in as little as three hours a week.

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A review of Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker by Lisa Nanette Allender for Atlanta INtown Paper.

The Atlanta Ballet’s collaboration with master illusionist Drew Thomas has resulted in a production of “The Nutcracker” which ambitiously reaches beyond its already high standards to create a most unique version of the holiday classic.

You’ll know something truly magical is happening inside the Fabulous Fox Theatre as props and set piece levitate, while characters appear and disappear thanks to the incredibly clever use of scrims, lighting effects and gorgeous, lush, stage scenery.

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Nashville Ballet will receive an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Because these awards are given based on our likelihood for success in the creation of a new work, this award is a strong vote of confidence from the NEA in the creative prowess and administrative capabilities of Nashville Ballet,” says Paul Vasterling, Nashville Ballet’s artistic director and CEO and a 2012 First Night Honoree. “This grant will allow us to offer Nashville a new choreographed work inspired by the sounds of Music City.”

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A review of Tulsa Ballet by James D. Watts Jr. in Tulsa World.

Tulsa Ballet's first performance of "The Nutcracker" this year was full of new things. Some of these were planned, such as the ballet's much revised first act, choreographed by Bruce Wells, and the reintroduction of the character of Mother Ginger in act two.

Unfortunately, some of those new things were not planned - specifically, the injuries to several cast members that required a last-minute shuffling of dancers and roles.

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A review of Scottish Ballet's Nutcracker by Mark Brown in The Telegraph.

The element of psychological strangeness in the piece is given fabulous visual expression in Antony McDonald’s set and costume designs. Huge, monochrome cartoons (a hand holding a pocket watch; a terrifyingly massive mouse; Tchaikovsky himself) make, variously, disconcerting and humorous appearances. The nutcracker and the mice of Marie’s imagination are nightmarishly masked. Thus is the seeming tranquility of the Stahlbaum family Christmas called into question.

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Two reviews of Matthew Bourne's "The Sleeping Beauty."

The Financial Times

Bourne’s leaden-footed muse guides matters determinedly on the path of lumpen inadequacy and adagio-dance exertions. A great masterpiece lies brutalised out of recognition in Rosebery Avenue. My two stars are awarded for the devotion to duty of the cast.

The Telegraph

Carabosse with a son? Traditionalists may also bristle at (say) the Garland Dance becoming an Edwardian anyone-for-tennis fantasy, at the Rose Adagio being distilled to a flighty duet between Leo and Aurora, and at the fairies now being suspiciously nocturnal creatures; in fact, these novelties generally make good narrative sense.

The Evening Standard

Set first in 1890 (Aurora’s birth), then 1911 (her coming of age), Bourne has taken the era’s predilection for the supernatural to heart. He throws in a bit of Gothic fiction and comes up with a solution that’s pure Twilight. On paper it sounds great. But for a choreographer whose prime concern is storytelling, something about this surprise turn of events just doesn’t work. You’re left thinking: eh? For the second half Bourne picks up this thread and runs with it. Fairies, vamps, cults, sleepwalkers; are you keeping up?

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A review of José Mateo Ballet Theatre by Jeffrey Gantz in The Boston Globe.

...Local choreographer José Mateo’s chamber version, with a reduced cast and taped music, has a pleasing innocence about it, and many admirable details. The panel that functions as a curtain uses vivid colors to depict old-fashioned objects like a pocket watch and books from the 19th century on a dark-green background with a paisley pattern. Drosselmeyer appears against a backdrop of clocks; the second act is played against a backdrop of Ionic Greek columns. In his “Waltz of the Flowers,” Mateo dresses his dancers in shades of pink, yellow, and purple instead of having them all wear the same color. And in the opening act, at the Silberhaus party, the only woman who’s not sporting pantalettes under her hoop skirt is the daring one in the bright red off-the-shoulder dress.

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A preview of the South African Mzansi Ballet's new season.

The show welcomes guest artists Michaela DePrince, Ekaterina Khanyukova and Brooklyn Mack. DePrince will also return following from her spectacular visit for Le Corsaire in 2012.

A brand new Cinderella, choreographed by artistic director Iain MacDonald, will be performed to Johann Strauss’s only ballet score, Aschenbrödel, and serves as a lush, lilting accompaniment to the rags- to-riches fairytale, which takes place in September.

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A review of Scottish Ballet by Mary Brennan in The Herald.

Out went any hint of sugary-sweet dancing bon-bons, out went the 19th-century period style that made Hoffmann's original into a Dickens of a tale. In their stead, Page and McDonald conjured the heyday of the Weimar Republic – the Stahlbaums's Christmas party is a frisky-risque affair – and retrieved the dark menace of the Hard Nut story that underpins Drosselmeyer's gift of the Nutcracker Doll to Marie.

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Two Nutcracker related stories by Dana Gee in The Province.

“It is the type of ballet that allows for guest artists,” said Ballet B.C.’s artistic director Emily Molnar, who remembers first seeing the show when she was an 11-year-old student at the National Ballet School.

The average fee for a principal dancer per performance is anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000, with most earning about $2,000.


“We wanted to build a production to last and to really be thought of as one of the best,” said Goh, whose Nutcracker cost $1 million to create in 2009. “It’s quite a long-term investment. It is a production like Christmas we can repeat every year that is why we decided to do it.”

“The Nutcracker has always been our main production for many reasons,” says Royal City Youth Ballet (RCB) board member Neil Lyons.

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Two reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker.

The SunBreak

Kaori Nakamura danced Clara Sunday in one of her finest performances yet. She has been a PNB principal for fourteen years now and before that was a principal with Royal Winnipeg Ballet, but she still dances like a feather, as light as thistledown in her movements and intensely musical and expressive in her phrasing.

Her Prince Sunday was Jonathan Porretta, whose impish timing has often had him playing jester-type roles, but is now showing his ability as a more straightforward male lead. A wonderful dancer, he partnered Nakamura well, though there were occasions when he held her slightly off balance in turns.

The Seattle Times

You don't go to "Nutcracker" to be dazzled with novelty, but to be charmed by the familiar — by the delicious Tchaikovsky score (played by an orchestra that, as you'll see from an intermission peek into the pit, gets into the holiday spirit by festooning itself with colored lights), by the whimsical detail and cotton-candy colors of the costumes and sets, and by the way PNB's dancers, young and old, make it all look easy. On opening night, Kaori Nakamura and Jonathan Porretta, smiling as if in a happy dream, made a picture-perfect Clara and her Nutcracker Prince; making something sweetly intimate of their final pas de deux in delicate moonlight. Carrie Imler led the Waltz of the Flowers as if dancing on rose petals; Leah O'Connor tremulously brooded as a soulful Peacock. All have no doubt danced these roles countless times; all made them look new.

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A review of Nashville Ballet's "Nashville's Nutcracker" by Amy Stumpfl in The Tennesseean.

From the Victorian-postcard look of the ice skating scene at Shelby Bottoms to the enchanted world of the Sugar Plum Fairy, this “Nutcracker” is truly a feast for the eyes.

Likewise, Campbell Baird’s richly detailed costumes are positively breathtaking. And under the baton of guest conductor Christopher Norton, the Nashville Symphony performs Tchaikovsky’s glorious score with style and precision.

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A review of the National Ballet of Canada in 'Giselle' by Denise Sum for danceviewtimes.

Opening night belonged to Greta Hodgkinson, who was utterly heartbreaking as Giselle. She has danced this role countless times but never lets it settle into a routine. Instead, she creates a sense of spontaneity. Her bouyant jumps look completely natural and her port de bras (especially in the first act) is gentle and relaxed. She takes the audience with her as she discovers the excitement and wonderment of young love. While some might portray Giselle as naive, Hodgkinson's portrayal was that of a young woman who is aware of the darkness in the world yet who makes a choice to hope for the best. When Berthe warns her about the danger of dancing with a weak heart, Giselle is not in denial. She understands the risk of dancing -- and of falling in love. These things make her vulnerable but for her, there is no other way to live.....

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A review of San Francisco Ballet by Rita Felciano for danceviewtimes.

This year's "Nutcracker" introduced Australian soloist Luke Ingham to the company. He is tall handsome with good lines and nice elevation, a fine addition to the roster. Despite a couple glitches as Snow King, he attentively partnered a secure but cool Sarah Van Patten. Braving a veritable blizzard, the sixteen snowflakes deployed their running leaps and kaleidoscopically shifting group formation with aplomb. It was corps work at this best -- an indicator of just how fine a company SFB is.

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A story on Henry Leutwyler's new collection of New York City Ballet photographs.

The ballet company, founded by the venerable choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, who served as the company's General Director, allowed Leutwyler unfettered access to the workings of the group and he has compiled his work into a 488-page book with more than 270 photographs, aptly titled 'Ballet.'

Selections of his pieces are also on display at the Foley Gallery in New York.

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