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A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev Feb 27, 28


tomorrow

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Sarasota Ballet seems to run on a staff of about 2 1/2 people (I exaggerate but not much) so not surprising if they can't keep on top of the social media. They did post the link to facebook today though. I think fb is a more reliable channel to follow them on than twitter.

It's a great article from Carrie Seidman.

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I am going to this show this coming weekend, so I will try to report. I like this little company very much. I have grown to like it better than Miami City Ballet. They are doing much more interesting things, and from what I have seen they seem to stress the upper body as much as the lower, which is something I really like.

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I'll be there too, Birdsall. Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates and no flights cancelled. Taking a chance on airline travel in the middle of winter.

Let me know if you have time to meet during an intermission.

I've just sent you a PM, Birdsall.

No snow predicted in DC area for this Friday/Saturday timeframe, so flights should operate on time. Ashton or Bust!

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In Sarasota and looking forward to today's performances, especially the rarely-seen JAZZ CALENDAR by Ashton/Bennett and staged by company heads Iain Webb and Margaret Barbieri. I wonder if the full colorful designs by Derek Jarman will be on view?

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I never saw Jazz Calendar, but it was the highlight of last night's performance! The designs were very colorful and fun, so I suspect they are the full designs and credited to Jarman, Natalia.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this frothy and fun ballet. It was very jazzy and modern, yet very balletic and beautiful. I thought Wednesday's Child had to be the sexiest ballet piece ever created! I think Jazz Calendar would me a great addition to any company's repertoire and Sarasota Ballet really came alive in it.

The show started with Balanchine's Apollo, and I was happy to get a chance to see the "birth" scene which I hadn't seen before in person. Ricardo Rhodes was a warm Apollo and was better at the grown man as opposed to the child (better in the second variation). I feel that when I've seen this at Miami City Ballet there was a more smooth and crisp attack to the moves, but Rhodes was more human and warm, so it was a case of losing something but gaining something else. I think when he relied on elegance he was more confident than when doing the acrobatics.

The show ended with Nureyev's version of Act III of Raymonda. Barry Kay's designs (sets and costumes) were gorgeous. The choreography was interesting when I compared it in my mind to the Mariinsky's version (the version I am most familiar with). Nureyev's version adds variations from other acts and a pas de trois, by the way. He seems to have taken the ballet and embellished it to make the choreography even harder. It ends up being almost like Paquita in structure! His version has a modern feel to it while still evoking the feel of Imperial Russia. However, this is where this sweet little gem of a company falls a bit short. After seeing Mariinsky dancers in the full Raymonda and having that in my mind I doubt any company can actually dance this ballet with the imperial hauteur that the Mariinsky does. Of course, this is a different ballet (Nureyev's) however related it may be, and Sarasota Ballet gave their all, and for a small company that is nothing to sneeze at! Danielle Brown created as much hauteur as a non-Mariinsky dancer can in Raymonda's variation doing Nureyev's "Oh, I have a headache" moment (hand up near forehead) better than more famous dancers. I point this out because I hate the hand on forehead moment in Nureyev's version but Brown made it more understandable as a movement of passion. Overall I enjoyed seeing this version very much although the male pas de quatre showed a weakness among the males with lots of messy landings. However, if you paid attention mainly to everything else they were quite admirable.

A very enjoyable evening but I feel this company's talents were showcased best in the Ashton ballet Jazz Calendar. There was a joy and love of dancing among all the dancers in that piece that you do not see in the international companies. That was the ballet I was the least interested in but the one I loved the most among the three!

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By the way, most may know this already, but Nureyev's Raymonda variation does the clapping very loudly. It is a bit jarring but more realistic than the silent clap. I remember seeing a documentary on his full length Raymonda and a dancer talks about how he wanted it loud and forceful. I had forgotten about that so was shocked when the first clap came in the choreography and it was loud! LOL

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thanks, Bart, for your report.

I remember that part in the Paris Opera Ballet Raymonda documentary. The justification for the loud hand clap was that at this point in the ballet Raymonda has grown up and become an assertive woman, as I recall.

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I agree with Bart. JAZZ CALENDAR was the unexpected hit of the day, complete with the delightful Derek Jarman designs and a first-rate jazz band playing Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's score. This masterful ballet is top-rate Ashton; perhaps early critics found it silly and trite but behind the fluff are some great compositions and eloquent moves. So many great episodes and teams of dancers that I find it hard to pick a favorite. We had at the matinee (which I preferred, overall):

Monday: sleek Amy Wood at the matinee, narcissistic perfection in the lone solo of the piece.

Tuesday: 'Monotones II Gone Wild!" The inimitable Logan Learned with Kyle Hiyoshi and Kristianne Kleine in a fringed version of the famous white Monotones unitards...all three magnificent!

Wednesday: I found it more sad than sexy, Bart. A weirdly depressing Rose Adagio for four slimy lizard men, gobbling up a maiden in distress...or perhaps Ashton's take on Balanchine's 'Unanswered Question' from IVESIANA?

Thursday: A fleet-footed ode to Travelers, deliciously led by Juan Gil with six looney ladies in blue unitards and zany orange curly-top caps. Love the various modes of transport groupings, especially when they portray an airplane. The backdrop seems to be the tall obelisk Washington Monument. DC would love it for this and for the jazz!

Friday: sensual gymnastics by Danielle Brown and Ricardo Rhodes in the pdd that Ashton created for Sibley & Nureyev. What a treat to finally see this performed live. (The grainy, b&w Esmee Wood film that some of you may have seen does not do it justice.)

Saturday: a men's ballet class to a wonderful brisk tune. Ashton does in five minutes, in more clever fashion, what is seen in longer ballets like ETUDES, CLASS CONCERT, and such.

Sunday: a brilliant finale with the complete cast led by Nicole Padilla in what can best be described as a zany, multi-colored Cookie Monster costume with canary-yellow pointe shoes. Love-love the grand finale where all dancers wave at the audience while bourreimg in a giant circle. Whee!!! Audience goes nuts!!!

Washington Ballet, for one, MUST acquire this work for its annual jazz programs featuring local musicians. JAZZ CALENDAR *must* be seen, performed often and become a modern classic!

RAYMONDA A3 was appropriately grand and regal. Danielle Brown reached an all-time high in the title role, absolutely exquisite in the solo with VERY loud claps. I loved the verb and gusto of the Hungarian dance crew, perhaps even more than the classical grand pas team. Kudos to the high-flying leaders of the Czardas/Palotas dance, Kristianne Kleine and Ricki Bertoni. I have no doubt that the spirit of Nureyev was smiling down at them.

It was a special treat to see this edition of RAY3, with the late-1960s designs by Barry Kay, more creamy/rust colored than the later Georgiadis designs for POB. (The Sarasota audience whooped and hollered upon curtain up, loving the luxury before them!)

It was also fascinating to view subtle choreographic details between this early edition of various stagings of RAY3 by Nureyev versus his early-80s staging of the full ballet for POB, e.g., the inclusion of three female solos taken from earlier acts, shown before the Clemence-plus-two female pas de trois, the famous male quartet, and the Henriette solo (especially magnificent as rendered by Kate Honea at last night's performance).

The evening opened with Balanchine's APOLLO in an oddly 'soft touch' rendering, with normally-great Sarasota dancers seeming to go through the motions cautiously. Even Leto couldn't quite 'part her legs' wide enough when giving birth to the Baby Apollo! Luckily,the evening progressed to two spectacularly-performed works, JAZZ and RAY3.

Another superb program by American ballet's 'little miracle company' on the Gulf of Mexico. Long may they flourish! Most definitely worth the trip in scary commuter planes at the height of winter.

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p.s. I'm still in '7th heaven' by what I witnessed in Sarasota yesterday. Above, I failed to mention the delectable performance of Ellen Overstreet (at matinee) in the 1st classical variation in RAY3 - the 'chimes solo' that Nureyev later assigned to 'Dream Henriette' in A1-sc2. Here, the music is much slower than in the Glazunov-Petipa original. Nureyev's steps are exceedingly difficult, taken at a dreamy undulating pace. What beautiful control from Ellen Overstreet! The way that she went into her final pose, full of 'French coquettish charm' and with a sly smile, is why I love ballet.

The three surprise variations from other acts of RAYMONDA that are inserted here are, for the record:

1. 'Dream Henrietta' fm A1-sc2, to chimes...what I describe above

2. 'Dream Clemence' fm A1, sc2, in which tambourine sound predominates

3. Henrietta's undulating solo fm the A2 Grand Pas Classique in Abderakhman's tent in the full Nureyev version

I wonder if the three 'odd solos' from different acts were inserted just now into the Sarasota staging or if they were a part of Nureyev's 1960s staging of this RAYMONDA ACTIII?

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I agree about the "soft touch' rendering of Apollo. I am very hesitant to be critical of a small company like Sarasota Ballet, b/c it is probably doing its best with the resources it has. I, too, was surprised that Apollo's mother did not open her legs wider, but maybe that was a choice by the company.....maybe they were scared it would look vulgar to the mostly retired crowd? Just trying to figure out why. Apollo's first variation was less explosive than what I have seen at Miami City Ballet. Tiny things seemed to have been simplified. Even the two handmaidens.....when they come out to give Apollo his instrument, the one sort of pushes the other as she crosses a leg over the other and the leg did not turn out as much as I have seen. 


But these are small details. Considering what they were aiming for and the delight they did give.....I was not disappointed. It was fun to see the birth of Apollo included. 


Jazz Calendar was so much fun as you relate above. I think for me Danielle Brown made Wednesday's Child sexy (I thought she was in control of the men and loving the attention) and the slow movements of the men along with the music created a mood I was not expecting. At the Friday night performance Elizabeth Sykes was a very cute and vivacious Sunday's Child (in the Cookie Monster outfit you described...LOL).....She had a smile and personality that was impossible to ignore. 


I wonder if when Nureyev staged the Act III of Raymonda as a ballet all on its own he decided to add those variations to make the grad pas grander and longer. That was all I could figure out. Maybe someone knows, b/c I too was surprised. I think the audience loved the lavish sets for Raymonda b/c Sarasota tends to do mostly mixed bills and often the sets are sparse in mixed bills, so they were excited to see the Royal Ballet's sets. 


Looking forward to Sarasota Ballet's The Ballets Russes program on May 1!


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Fantastic article on Sarasota's mixed bill in honour of Rudolf Nureyev with some comments from the great Laurent Hilaire (good enough for the Nureyev Foundation, not good enough for Paris...) and Margaret Barbeiri. Do wish Sarasota updated their Twitter account more often as I only saw it by chance. http://tinyurl.com/qac24w

Not sure what the situation is, but this link is dead -- does anyone have the full url to the original article?

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I agree about the "soft touch' rendering of Apollo. I am very hesitant to be critical of a small company like Sarasota Ballet, b/c it is probably doing its best with the resources it has.

Who staged this production? There are at least a couple of different "vintages" of Apollo, with different approaches to issues like flexibility

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I checked my DVD of the 1980s telecast of the complete Nureyev RAYMONDA with those three solos from acts other than A3. They were performed by Henriette and Clemence just as we saw in Sarasota (same slow pacing, nuances, etc.). So my question for long-time followers of the various Nureyev RAYMONDAS (either the lone A3 or the full three-act version) is if Nureyev crafted those three female solos in the '60s or the 80s, in which case the stagers of the Sarasota edition chose to 'puff up' the act to give more young dancers in the troupe a chance to shine?

Related to this...

Sarasota did not include the adage for Raymonda and Jean that ends the POB version, set to music from one of the Glazunov entr'actes. What we saw on Sarasota ended with the Galop for full cast, as Petipa-Glazunov intended. I believe that the pdd adagio was created just for the POB.

I checked my DVD of the 1980s telecast of the complete Nureyev RAYMONDA with those three SOS from acts other than A3. They were performed by Henriette and Clemence just as we saw in Sarasota (same slow pacing, nuances, etc.). So my question for long-time followers of the various Nureyev RAYMONDAS (either the lone A3 or the full three-act version) is if Nureyev crafted those three female solos in the '60s or the 80s, in which case the stagers of the Sarasota edition chose to 'puff up' the act to give more young dancers in the troupe a chance to shine?

Related to this...

Sarasota did not include the adage for Raymonda and Jean that ends the POB version, set to music from one of the Glazunov entr'actes. What we saw on Sarasota ended with the Galop for full cast, as Petipa-Glazunov intended. I believe that the pdd adagio was created just for the POB.

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I agree about the "soft touch' rendering of Apollo. I am very hesitant to be critical of a small company like Sarasota Ballet, b/c it is probably doing its best with the resources it has.

Who staged this production? There are at least a couple of different "vintages" of Apollo, with different approaches to issues like flexibility

Sandra Jennings

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the version of Nureyev's Raymonda Act III I saw done by English National Ballet a couple of years ago also had extra solos from the other acts included; I assumed it was to make a "best of Raymonda" ballet.

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Natalia, I believe that when Nureyev first mounted Act 3 of Raymonda for the touring Royal Ballet it was exactly as it had been danced in the full-length version he made for them and had only one solo in it. When he re-did it for the Covent Garden RB in 1969 he added 3 more solos from elsewhere in the ballet, and it's been given like that ever since, so far as I know.

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Thank you, Jane. So the 1969 CG Royal Ballet version must be what Margaret Barbieri took as her benchmark as she staged the Sarasota version. (She did the bulk of the staging; Laurent Hilaire offered fine tuning near the end of the staging process.)

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I agree about the "soft touch' rendering of Apollo. I am very hesitant to be critical of a small company like Sarasota Ballet, b/c it is probably doing its best with the resources it has.

Who staged this production? There are at least a couple of different "vintages" of Apollo, with different approaches to issues like flexibility

Sandra Jennings

Thanks!

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