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Friday, October 24


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A review of the Royal Ballet by Louise Levene in The Financial Times.

The same urge to over-think her roles might easily have derailed A Month in the Country but Wednesday’s debut as Natalia Petrovna, while idiosyncratic, was surprisingly effective. From her first mercurial solo we feel the manic energy of a woman thwarted by her context. Osipova, perhaps sensing that her pert girlish features aren’t obvious casting for a languid trophy wife, concentrates on what lies beneath the veneer of well-bred ennui, each vignette working towards the final tragic renunciation as she realises that her emotions are too big for their dolls’ house setting.

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The new ballet-themed cable show, "Flesh and Bone," will be a one-season miniseries.

The trio and Starz put a big emphasis on authenticity when developing Flesh And Bone. That included lengthy and exhaustive search for real-life accomplished dancers to play the roles of dancers in the series ......

While that gives the drama instant credibility, it also has made production scheduling difficult because of cast members’ high-profile ballet commitments.

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Reviews of American Ballet Theatre

danceviewtimes (Mary Cargill)

In 2007 Shevchenko danced "An Episode in His Past" in the ABT Studio production of Antony Tudor's "Jardin aux Lilas"; Devon Teuscher was Caroline. Teuscher made her ABT debut as the oppressed girl, with Roman Zhurbin as "The Man She Must Marry", Veronika Part as "An Episode", and Cory Stearns as "Her Lover". In 2007, Teuscher was technically fine, though the hidden emotions remained by and large hidden. She is often cast in strong roles--she was a majestic Myrtha, and her Caroline now used that strength to create a complex woman, not a fragile heroine under everyone's control. This strength gave her dancing an interesting dimension and the audience could imagine how she had fought against her fate and feel her final, dignified but still rebellious resignation.

Zhurbin, one of ABT's finest actors, was stiff and hard as her future husband, but moved......

Marina Harss for DanceTabs (Thursday evening's performance)

It took the high spirits of Fancy Free to sweep away the deep Edwardian gloom. And what a trio of sailors! Marcelo Gomes was the leader of the pack; Cory Stearns the dreamy all-American boy; Herman Cornejo the feisty troublemaker. Stella Abrera showed a mix of grit and class as the no-nonsense working girl who first crosses the sailors’ path. One could almost hear Julie Kent’s thoughts in her rendition of the woman in pink who shares a tender embrace at the bar with one of the sailors. Each has made the character his own, with subtle shadings of timing and nuances of feeling. Again, tiny moments stood out, as when Kent wiped the lipstick off of Stearns’ face after a kiss that seemed to take them both by surprise. Cornejo – a little bull with rounded shoulders – threw off a series of perfect double turning jumps. Gomes flashed a wicked grin as he swiveled his posterior for the ladies. It was a hell of a performance.

and Wednesday evening.

If only the promise offered by Rondo Capriccioso had been borne out by the ballet that followed. Liam Scarlett’s With a Chance of Rain is the young Briton’s third ballet to première in New York in as many seasons. A pattern is beginning to emerge. There is his penchant for murky lighting and his taste for hyper-dramatic music, and most of all, his oppressive take on the relationships between men and women – with the men doing most of the oppressing. In Acheron, made for City Ballet last February, this brooding interaction between the sexes looked like a thematic choice. But now it seems more like a state of mind. It seemed Marcelo Gomes and Hee Seo might never detach from each other in the final pas de deux. To these now-recognizable characteristics, Scarlett added a strange, jokey coarseness that seemed completely out of tune with the work as a whole.

Leigh Witchel's review for danceviewtimes.

Is Scarlett doing this for cheap theatrics or laughs? He’s not the sort – Scarlett’s thoughtful, brainy and deliberate. In the duets it seemed as if he were trying to explode the concept of the pas de deux by forcing the ideal to coexist with a less exalted reality: “Dances at a Gathering” for the Age of Hookups. At least he’s trying for something. We’re going to have to watch the next few ballets to know what.

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A review of the Washington Ballet by Sarah Kaufman in The Washington Post.

This is a season of company milestones. The Washington Ballet is celebrating its 70th birthday, and artistic director Septime Webre is marking his 15th year at the helm. Perhaps that is what has put him in such an enthusiastic and generous mood, even for a man whose default setting is exuberant. This program, which opened Thursday and runs through Sunday at Sidney Harman Hall, is a gift to his dancers as well as a bonus for ticket-buyers, for it not only shows off the performers’ deft physicality, but also stretches them in its musical and stylistic demands.

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A preview of Milwaukee Ballet's "Don Quixote" by Elaine Schmidt for the Journal Sentinel.

Pink responded to questions by email from Tokyo recently, where he was setting his "Dracula" for the Tokyo Ballet. He explained that he "kept a lot of Petipa's original choreography" in "Don Quixote," adding, "This piece features some of the world's most adored ballet scenes, so there was no need to tinker too much."

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The Moscow Ballet gets a head start on Nutcracker season in Phoenix.

New in 2014 is an authentic Russian Christmas puppet play and Masha's magical Toy Cabinet. Wearing intricately detailed costumes, many with shimmering Swarovski crystals, the award-winning principal dancers and corps de ballet create a truly cultural experience for all ages. All the drama is set against the backdrop of Tchaikovsky's impeccable musicality.

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A review of David Rush's play Nureyev's Eyes by Mark Leib for Creative Loafing.

Then self-interest steps in: Nureyev learns that Wyeth is close friends with Lincoln Kirstein, head of the New York City Ballet, and just the man Nureyev needs to please if he’s to succeed George Balanchine as ballet master. I don’t think I’m spoiling the plot to say that Peterson’s finest moment occurs when he’s denied this promotion (to Peter Martins and Robbins), at which point he cries like a spoiled brat and reminds us that even the great have aspirations that, if quashed, can pain them just as severely as if they were unknowns aspiring to their first walk-on in summer stock. In this and all the other scenes, Peterson has the look and sound of the real Nureyev. It’s a wonderful performance.

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A review of Ballet du Capitole by Gerald Dowler in The Financial Times.

Countering the seemingly inexorable advance of contemporary dance in France, a few résistant directors are holding out for the country’s rich ballet heritage. One such is Kader Belarbi, an ex-étoile at the Paris Opera, now in his third season at the helm of Toulouse’s Ballet du Capitole. In an attractive double bill, he has presented works in sure revivals from two of the 20th century’s most notable contributors to French ballet, Serge Lifar and Roland Petit, thereby placing himself and his company firmly within their tradition.

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American Ballet Theatre's gala raises $1.4 million. Slideshow.

The evening featured three different ballets. The first was the World Premier of Rondo Capriccioso, which featured young dancers of all ages from the American Ballet Theater Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. Some of the dancers were practically toddlers and drew exclamations of delight from the audience, knowing they may be watching the next generation of accomplished principals.

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The Royal Ballet should do more Ashton more often, opines Judith Mackrell.

But for the dancers, these ballets are key. They demand an exceptional responsiveness to musical nuance; an ability to feel the emotion of “abstract” steps; and an understanding of period style. Dancing them, and dancing them well, equips their performers with skills that are not only essential to Ashton but are transferable across the repertory, from the 19th-century classics to Wayne McGregor.

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The Cuban writer and photographer Gabriel Davalos publishes a new book, "Sensual Havana."

The book will show 60 photographs about the skills of students from the National School of Ballet and soloists, principal dancers and leading figures of companies as the American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba and other foreign companies where Cubans had worked.

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Q&A with Mandev Sokhi of Ballet Cymru.

1. If you’ve not seen a ballet before then this is the perfect introduction.

Ballet often gets a bad name but Ballet Cymru is passionate about breaking down these barriers and introducing new audiences to the art form. We use classical ballet technique in new and different ways to make it interesting for both aficionados and new audience members alike.

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A review of "On the Town" by Sondra Forsyth for Broadway World.

great deal of the credit for that result goes to Bergasse, but the dancers deserve kudos as well. Chief among them is Megan Fairchild, the New York City Ballet principal dancer who is making her Broadway debut in the role of Ivy Smith. Except for a sweet scene in which she does some pointe work as a ballet student at Carnegie Hall, she proves herself to be more than capable of styles beyond her usual comfort zone of classical and neo-classical ballet. She also turns out to be a good little actress even though she's used to performing mime instead of delivering lines. She pretty much holds her own vocally as well. Her character, the winner of the "Miss Turnstiles" contest that is modeled on the actual "Miss Subways" contest dating from the 1940s, is taking singing lessons so that does give her a bit of a break Even so, she did just fine
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An item on Viengsay Valdes' plans and partners for the upcoming ballet festival in Havana.

The Cuban dancer will perform on November 4 the double role of Odette (the white swan) and Odile (the black swan) of the classic Swan Lake, accompanied by Ivan Putrov, who was a main dancer of the Royal Ballet of London and holds the title of Honorary Artist of Ukraine.

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A review of Alberta Ballet in The Three Musketeers by Stephan Bonfield in The Calgary Herald.

For me, however, it was the music that glittered most throughout as the paramount driver of the ballet. Taken as a pastiche of Malcolm Arnold’s symphonies and television scores plus one authentic scene composed for his incomplete Three Musketeers ballet, the orchestra performed solidly throughout, resplendently clear, and supremely well conducted by Peter Dala, particularly in the glowing sections of traditional harmony written for the beautiful love scenes.

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A story on L.A. Dance Project by Jordan Riefe in The Hollywood Reporter.

Last week Benjamin Millepied took over as head of Paris Opera Ballet in a move many in the Los Angeles dance community see as a betrayal just three short years after he co-founded L.A. Dance Project. “L.A. Dance Project is an artist collective that from the beginning was created in a way that didn’t require my daily oversight,” he insists in an email to The Hollywood Reporter. “I never positioned myself as the ‘father-figure’ artistic director and as a result the dancers and the company has (sic) found a distinct voice in many ways on their own.” To prove the point, the choreographer, best known for his work in the 2010 hit, Black Swan, is in Los Angeles with spouse, Natalie Portman, who took to Facebook to promote the company’s three-night stand this weekend at downtown’s Theatre at Ace, running Oct. 24-26.
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The director Toa Fraser says he took tips from Ethan Stiefel regarding the staging of Maori martial arts scenes in his new picture.

That said, Fraser filming the Royal New Zealand Ballet production of Giselle was a good primer for a film requiring its own choreography.

RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel offered him advice when Fraser mentioned he was doing a Maori martial arts film next. "He was excited and demonstrated the body language he recommended I use, for me and for the actors....."

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Ithaca Ballet performs this month.

First performed in the mid 1960s, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, choreographed to Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt, tells the story of the terrible consequences of ingratitude. Trenton Loughlin dances the dual roles of Trueson, the trusted schoolteacher in love with the mayor’s daughter Mara, and the inexorable Pied Piper. “I performed this role about 10 years ago, and it’s been enjoyable to revisit this role and do it again,” he said, explaining that in the intervening years he’s studied dance performance and choreography. This last has given him a particular appreciation for the Pied Piper ballet as choreographed by Alice Reid, founder of the Ithaca Ballet.

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A piece on Wendy Whelan's farewell by Deborah Jowitt in her blog, DanceBeat.

Anyone watching Wendy Whelan dance in all of the five ballets that she had chosen for her official Farewell Performance with the New York City Ballet, could understand Hübbe’s feelings well. It’s not just that she must weigh very little (muscles, sinews, and bones with a minimum of flesh covering them); it is in part her responsiveness to whatever partner she is dancing with. No matter how ostentatious a lift—say one of those soviet-style Waiter with Woman on Platter affairs—she somehow looks as if the move was her idea, and she’s happy (or disconsolate) to explore what it feels like to be held high and/or carried around. In many cases, you can believe that she has redefined the process for herself—not “I am being manipulated,” but “I am being assisted,” possibly with an added phrase: “by this really lovely man.”

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A review of American Ballet Theatre by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.

Roles don’t have names in this production, but balletgoers are likely to call the lead ballerina and her partner Raymonda and Jean de Brienne. On Thursday, these were danced by the refined Hee Seo and the exuberant James Whiteside, two of the company’s youngest principals. Though they may find yet more musical play and heroic allure in later performances, they served the choreography handsomely. In the imperious series of up-down, plunge-and-lift relevés retirés passes, retreating along the centerline, Ms. Seo accelerated from slow to fast with perfect smoothness and no change of gear; Mr. Whiteside’s final entrance of jumps was exhilarating. I look forward to subsequent casts and revivals.
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