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Alberta Ballet - Don Quixote


Stecyk

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Calgary Herald: Review: Alberta Ballet dazzles with Don Quixote (see excerpt below)

Alberta Ballet marked its 48th season Thursday night at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium with Don Quixote, that wonderful monument to excess and a remarkable, Spanish-themed classical extravaganza.

It’s a sign of how much Alberta’s largest arts organization and second largest dance company in Canada has changed. Only very good companies can mount Don Quixote because the pressure to both delight and get it right is high, but Alberta Ballet delivered unequivocally.

As a layperson not versed in dance, I enjoyed Thursday's performance. I particularly enjoyed Hayna Gutierrez as Kitri and Jaciel Gomez as Lorenzo. And, I thought the costumes were gorgeous and the lighting was very good.

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Calgary Herald: Review: Alberta Ballet dazzles with Don Quixote (see excerpt below)

Alberta Ballet marked its 48th season Thursday night at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium with Don Quixote, that wonderful monument to excess and a remarkable, Spanish-themed classical extravaganza.

It’s a sign of how much Alberta’s largest arts organization and second largest dance company in Canada has changed. Only very good companies can mount Don Quixote because the pressure to both delight and get it right is high, but Alberta Ballet delivered unequivocally.

As a layperson not versed in dance, I enjoyed Thursday's performance. I particularly enjoyed Hayna Gutierrez as Kitri and Jaciel Gomez as Lorenzo. And, I thought the costumes were gorgeous and the lighting was very good.

I'm glad you liked Gutierrez' Kitri. She definitely knows the role very well from her Cuban ballet years. She has one of the best pair of steel legs I've ever seen and the type of physique I really love to see in female dancers ...and she definitely knows how to nail those pointes like very few ballerinas. Her fouettes were always single, but text book perfect...never rushed, always on time. She was one of my favorite Kitris of all time.

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cubanmiamiboy, thank you for your reply and your enclosed YouTube of Gutierrez. Alberta Ballet is lucky to have her.

The whole ballet company seemed to enjoy performing. Don Quixote was one of Alberta Ballet's stronger performances. Unfortunately, our ballet company lacks sufficient resources for live music. Given how well everything was presented--including a live horse--the lack of live music was notable by its abscence.

For those that might be attending in Edmonton this coming week, the two dancers for Kitri are Hayna Guitierrez and Nicole Caron and the two dancers for Lorenzo are Jaciel Gomez and Garrett Groat. Guitierrez danced all three evening performances and Caron danced the one matinee. Gomez danced one evening and one matinee; Groat, two evenings.

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Regarding Jaciel Gomez, the program states:

Jaciel Gomez

4th Season with Alberta Ballet

Pinar del Rio, Cuba

Favorite Repertoire includes Swan Lake, Giselle, Mozart's Requiem

We're fortunate to have our Cuban born dancers.

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http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Review+Alberta+Ballet+dazzles+with+Quixote/10239106/story.html



"Hayna Gutierrez impressed the moment she appeared on stage, her recognizable lines and clear contour commanding instant attention. Her Act III grand pas de deux with Gomez was stunning, including a fabulous set of centre-stage fouettés that brought the house down. I do enjoy Gutierrez’s composure, comic acting and splendid sense of timing, in addition to a natural stage demeanour of prima ballerina sympatica, to which we can all relate with her every move.


Jaciel Gomez dazzled with both his solos and pas de deux. His ability to seemingly hang in space, suspended in mid-grand jeté is thrilling, and while completely solid in long-leggedly bedazzling technique, it is the warmth he naturally exudes from the stage that charms the most".



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Yes, though, I seem to recall she was alternating with another dancer Akiko Ishii. I believe I saw Akiko Ishii in the lead role. The performance was last March.

I usually make a mental note to see which role she is dancing.

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Cristian, you should know that this Don Quixote differs substantially from the Cuban version and any Russian-based production. Apart from Kitri's entrance and the grand pas de deux, for which the Cuban version was used (with alternating single and double fouettés), nearly all of Kitri's choreography had significant alterations, and not for the better. To a large extent, Gutierrez had to re-learn the role to Ben Stevenson's specifications.

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No, I was astonished, but the diagonal was changed beyond recognition.

Ben Stevenson, apparently, doesn't like the sort of repetition of steps that is pervasive in this ballet, so the final diagonal was cluttered up with a variety of different steps, and the same happened to the hops on pointe in the vision scene, as a result of which neither diagonal was nearly as effective as it normally is. There were practically no overhead lifts, Cupid was danced by a man--a disruption of the 'white act' aesthetic--and there was no Queen of the Dryads; her music became a dance for two women, and while it ended with some Italian fouettés performed as a mirror image, the rest of the choreography was different (i.e., easier). The music at the beginning of the gypsy camp scene was interpolated from La Bayadère, but that's fairly common nowadays. I don't know why the Lanchberry orchestration is so popular, because it makes a busy mess of the score.

The castanet variation suffered the worst of the alterations, because in addition to the final diagonal being unrecognizable, we didn't get the three Plisetskaya leaps in a row: there was one leap, and then some other steps where the second leap should have been, and then there was the final leap. I suspect that Stevenson thought the choreography needed more variety, but the unintentional effect was to make anyone familiar with the ballet suspect that the dancers couldn't execute the traditional steps.

I was extremely disappointed that Espada's cape-twirling diagonal was cut. (I live for that!) Since this Espada had less than beautiful posture [!], it's possible he couldn't have done it properly. What upset me most of all was that Don Quixote himself became a doddering, bowlegged buffoon and the object of low comedy. I am always offended by this sort of portrayal of the elderly in ballet, but here is was especially inappropriate.

It's not that it was awful. There was an excellent quartet of street urchins, and Gamache was very funny. But I would much rather have seen Gutierrez doing Kitri's choreography straight up. She was obviously the reason the ballet was presented in the first place--she danced five of six performances--so it's a shame she wasn't always allowed to be her Cuban Kitri self.

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I'm puzzled by your report, volcanohunter. DQ is a busy ballet itself...no need for that many changes and extras. There was another thread a while ago about the impact-(or lack of)-resulting from the suppressing of "iconic moments" in given ballets. You give the best answer here. Shame, shame... (and a shame Gutierrez didn't get to to the sautees on pointe...she's an EXPERT on that field..!)

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