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ABT To Unveil New Sleeping Beauty For 75th Anniversary


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Regarding the fish dives, Jann Parry wrote this, in a review of the Russian Ballet Icons Gala, which took place on 8 March:

The gala opened with the Act III wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, performed by Ekaterina Osmolkina (Mariinsky) and Guiseppe Picone (ex ENB and ABT, among other companies). No fish-dives in this version – the Russians regard them as vulgar, and Osmolkina could never be vulgar. She has the grace notes of an imperial Petipa princess, delicate wrists and elegantly inclined head, with a beautifully secure technique.

Like the big Act II PDD lifts that were retained in PNB's version of "Giselle," I was disappointed to learn that the fish dives were included in the new ABT version. The rest sounds wonderful.

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Regarding the quote above: does that mean "the Russians" don't find the prevalent, extremely high extensions in The Sleeping Beauty vulgar - not to mention all the splayed-leg lifts found in Grigorovich's pas de deux? Someone help me out here. I wonder who the source is of Jann Party's comment. (I also thought that professional reviews were not to be alluded to or quoted in this forum.)

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The company forums are to discuss reviews of what you've seen; professional reviews are available widely in the Links forum. Professional reviews can be discussed in the "Writings on Ballet" forum. Background and historical information, like the information I quoted, are fine to be discussed, as are descriptions from reviews of other performances that describe content, like the information I quoted.

What isn't allowed is discussing the discussion. If you have a problem with a post, please click the "Report" button and describe what the issue is.

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Regarding the quote above: does that mean "the Russians" don't find the prevalent, extremely high extensions in The Sleeping Beauty vulgar - not to mention all the splayed-leg lifts found in Grigorovich's pas de deux? Someone help me out here.

Yes, it is impossible to reconcile a heightened sensitivity to vulgarity with tolerance and even encouragement of crotch splitting during the Rose Adage. If the aversion to the fish dives stems from a devotion to historical choreographic purity, great, although there is little evidence of this. But an argument that "the Russians" oppose them on aesthetic grounds doesn't fly.

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I finally have some time to chime in regarding the Suday matinee with Seo/Stearns/Shevchenko/Gomes. Zhurbin/Underwood = King/Queen. Prologue Fairies in order: Hamrick/S. Williams/G. Bond/ Z. Fang / A. Giangeruso. Bluebird = Lane and Zhang

I know Seo has her detractors, but I thought she was radiant and totally on-form in this role. Probably the most well-rounded Aurora I saw this week, and she looked genuinely happy to be dancing--not just acting happy. If you are deciding whether it's worth it, I think it is. She has great chemistry with Stearns, who was not so wooden and seemed really engaged with acting in the role. Shevchenko, as Josette noted, was technically wonderful as the Lilac Fairy and also gracious and warm (and managed to overcome her slight height)--great casting. Gomes was a hoot as Carabosse; this is also great casting. I thought he had some costume malfunctions in the prologue with his cape and hat. He was gripping it like it was going to fall off for the first few minutes. If this was not a malfunction, then it's a weird choice; but it if is a malfunction, he certainly never broke character while it was occurring.

I've been seeing Elina Miettinen in the corps all week, noticing her as the petite but precise girl in the front and for the matinee she was a convincing White Cat (with Alexei Agoudine). Really lovely dancer. I would like to see Lauren Post and Gemma Bond together as the third act fairies; both have been the neatest most precise ones this week and they would look great together. Lane was expansive and delicate as Princess Florine, and while Zhang didn't make as big of a splash as Simkin as Bluebird, he certainly partnered her well.

Unfortunately, I swapped my sides for the last show (from house left to house right) to get a different perspective and wasn't able to see much of Zhurbin and Underwood's stage acting, aside from what was done in center stage. I would encourage people to avoid a far house right seat for this production, though I was closer so that enhanced the performance in different ways (and that was the reason I swapped, despite thinking it would block some action). When I sat far house left for the first two shows I hardly missed any big moments.

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Regarding the quote above: does that mean "the Russians" don't find the prevalent, extremely high extensions in The Sleeping Beauty vulgar - not to mention all the splayed-leg lifts found in Grigorovich's pas de deux? )

A cultivated taste for Grigorovich is a bit of an enigma to me as well, but one could legitimately say that high extensions that are appropriate in one ballet are vulgar in another. But I'm really writing just to note on Osmolkina's behalf (and putting aside any claims about "the Russians") that, in the video I have seen of her Aurora, she does not dance the role with extremely high extensions. I doubt she looks like a 19th-century ballerina, but she also looks nothing like the young Zakharova (for example). I haven't seen Osmolkina live, but I would like to do so. "Vulgar" is something she certainly does not seem to be.

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Regarding the costumes: They are fabulous and wonderful. So many textures, so many kinds of fabric, so many colors and surprises. Like the antennae atop Violente's head (in homage to Nijinska's antennae in the same role). I was lucky enough to attend three performances last week in Costa Mesa (Boylston, Vishneva, Herrera), and you could actually hear the audience responding to the costumes. This sort of display is well in keeping with late 19th-century custom, and with what Diaghilev was trying to do with The Sleeping Princess. I love leotard ballets too but seeing these sumptuous costumes reminded me of the power of visual dazzlements.

Ratmansky's production made me feel as though I had never seen Sleeping Beauty before. Incidentally, my favorite Aurora was Boylston. She (and Herrera too) were affectingly girlish. If you're going to see this in NY, save your pennies and see as many casts as you can. Ratmansky pays so much attention to what other directors might consider optional add-ons -- stage business, characteristic nuances, use of the eyes -- instead of focusing just on the classical choreography and reducing Sleeping Beauty to a series of famous numbers like the Rose Adagio and big third-act pas de deux tied together with some mime scenes. He also uses the music to great effect, taking full advantage of its riches.

One regret: though I liked the pre-performance lecture, I was sorry the lecturer said that both Ratmansky and his wife Tatiana Ratmansky (who is simply marvelous in the role of the Queen) were "second-rate dancers." She said this in at least two of the lectures. Whaaa !?!?!?

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Alexei Ratmansky does tend to speak of his own dancing in self-deprecating terms, especially when comparing himself to classmate Vladimir Malakhov, but no, he was not a second-rate dancer, and people shouldn't take him at his word on the matter. In the most recent season of city.ballet. a number of NYCB dancers spoke glowingly of the expressiveness of his body. As for his wife, I sincerely doubt the speaker had seen enough of her in performance to make an informed assessment on the subject.

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It is terrible that the lecturer spoke of Ratmansky as a second rate dancer. Although (as well as Malakhov) he was not admitted to Bolshoi Ballet, he was a brilliant dancer at Kiev Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet, especially fabulous in Bournonville. Many of his footage can be easily found on YouTube and his performances were broadcasted often on Japanese TV. He was trained by the legendary teacher Pytor Pestov at Bolshoi Academy. The dancers at Bolshoi have often said his experience as a great dancer was helpful to work with them as he can show them the movements.

His dancing in La Sylphide and Tarantella on YouTube are really on of the best, this remark really makes the lecturer sound silly. She must not have even bothered to google his name.

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His dancing in La Sylphide and Tarantella on YouTube are really on of the best, this remark really makes the lecturer sound silly. She must not have even bothered to google his name.

Or she may have taken her tone from his self-description -- if he was self-depricating, she might have thought that was the "official" tone.

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His dancing in La Sylphide and Tarantella on YouTube are really on of the best, this remark really makes the lecturer sound silly. She must not have even bothered to google his name.

Or she may have taken her tone from his self-description -- if he was self-depricating, she might have thought that was the "official" tone.

I agree that he does come across as very humble and self-deprecating in his interviews. Wonder who that lecturer was, and if she ever saw him or his wife actually perform? She probably shouldn't have made that comment, it seems a bit rude to me.

I'm biased, because I kind of think Ratmansky is a genius (even though I don't totally love everything he's done), but after seeing him dance in you tube videos and watching him choreograph, I wish there was more video footage of him dancing in his prime. I find him fascinating.

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His dancing in La Sylphide and Tarantella on YouTube are really on of the best, this remark really makes the lecturer sound silly. She must not have even bothered to google his name.

Or she may have taken her tone from his self-description -- if he was self-depricating, she might have thought that was the "official" tone.

If that is the case, she should have stated something like "in his own words, he and his wife were second-rate dancers", or whatever he actually said.

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Regarding Sandra's observations and question regarding chaine turns on demi or full pointe: I can answer that while chaine turns are usually notated on demi-pointe, they are also sometimes notated on full pointe, and both variants are sometimes notated within the same ballet and even the same dance. Two examples are Sleeping Beauty and Le Corsaire (Pas de trois des odalisques).

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Regarding Sandra's observations and question regarding chaine turns on demi or full pointe: I can answer that while chaine turns are usually notated on demi-pointe, they are also sometimes notated on full pointe, and both variants are sometimes notated within the same ballet and even the same dance. Two examples are Sleeping Beauty and Le Corsaire (Pas de trois des odalisques).

Thank you Doug! I had also been questioning how chaine turns were performed in Petipa's time, but I was convinced that the Italians would have done them on full pointe back then, especially Pierina Legnani and I know that Virginia Zucchi famously performed an entire variation en pointe. So thank you very much. smile.png

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Thank you! I might be able to use this for my dissertation, but where did you get it from?

Cathy Turocy included this in one of her newsletters, but if you're planning to use it in an academic paper, you'll need to find a better source. Try contacting Hammond directly.

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The controversy over "new" vs. "old" or "familiar" vs. "unfamiliar" isn't limited to ballet reconstructions. From "The Guardian", in the context of the XV Tchaikovsky Competition:

And yet amid all the performances of Tchaikovsky’s music (each of the six finalists must play one concerto by Tchaikovsky, plus one other barnstorming showpiece of their choosing), and despite the fact that five out of the six have chosen by far Tchaikovsky’s most famous concerto, the First, you won’t actually be hearing the piece the way the composer himself knew it. In other words, the “Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto” that every pianist plays is not the same version of the piece that the composer himself conducted for his last concert in St Petersburg’s Philharmonia (the hall where the violin division of the Tchaikovsky also has its ultimate concert tonight), just days before his death in 1893.

http://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2015/jun/30/tchaikovsky-competition-gerstein-rubinstein

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XV Tchaikovsky Competition winner Dmitry Masleev and other audience favorite Lucas Debargue, a jazz pianist/literature student turned classical pianist only four years ago, might have been able to play either the very original or Tchaikovsky's modified version without being booed off the stage, but I suspect anyone else would have had the same icy "we want what's familiar" reception that many gave to the Mariinsky "Sleeping Beauty" reconstruction.

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