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Swan Lake, April 8-12, 2015


Natalia

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Principal casting is now posted at the KCen website:

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/RPWLB

Anaya and Kimura are new names to me.

PRINCIPAL CASTING (as of 4/7; Please note - Casting is subject to change)
Wed., Apr. 8 & Sat. Eve, Apr. 11
(Maki Onuki/Miguel Anaya)
Thu., Apr. 9 & Sun. Eve, Apr. 12 (Misty Copeland/Brooklyn Mack)
Fri., Apr. 10 & Sun. Mat, Apr. 12 (Ayano Kimura/Jonathan Jordan)
Sat. Mat, Apr. 11 (Aurora Dickie/Tamas Krizsa)

Also, it now appears that there are a few dozen balcony seats for sale at the KCen website for Thursday night--all at $225.

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Principal casting is now posted at the KCen website:

http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/event/RPWLB

Anaya and Kimura are new names to me.

PRINCIPAL CASTING (as of 4/7; Please note - Casting is subject to change)

Wed., Apr. 8 & Sat. Eve, Apr. 11 (Maki Onuki/Miguel Anaya)

Thu., Apr. 9 & Sun. Eve, Apr. 12 (Misty Copeland/Brooklyn Mack)

Fri., Apr. 10 & Sun. Mat, Apr. 12 (Ayano Kimura/Jonathan Jordan)

Sat. Mat, Apr. 11 (Aurora Dickie/Tamas Krizsa)

Also, it now appears that there are a few dozen balcony seats for sale at the KCen website for Thursday night--all at $225.

There are now seats available for all but the Sunday evening performance, $225 for a Misty performance and $155 for a performance sans Misty. I might consider forking out that kind of money for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a legend. Unless the WB has managed to borrow more than just Misty Copeland from other dance companies, the swan corps is going to consist mostly of students. I'm not a big fan of Misty's partner, Brooklyn Mack.

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Just noticed that Misty will be interviewed during the 6pm NBC4 local news hour today (Wed, 4/8). I'll have to set my DVR, as we'll be on our way to the 2nd NYCB program tonight at the KennCen.

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Hey, hey, hey - it's Misty'n'Mack SWAN LAKE day!

Off to my spa and beauty salon appointments. Picking up my gown from the dry cleaner. One of those events...balletic Senior Prom!

So it's "Merde!" to Washington Ballet tonight.

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Just noticed that Misty will be interviewed during the 6pm NBC4 local news hour today (Wed, 4/8). I'll have to set my DVR, as we'll be on our way to the 2nd NYCB program tonight at the KennCen.

Link to the NBC4 interview: http://www.nbcwashington.com/multimedia/Misty-Copeland-is-Breaking-Ballet-Barriers_Washington-DC-299120721.html

More on NBC4 FB: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153257329628606&set=vb.35277543605&type=2&theater

Natalia, can't wait to hear your report.

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Nice try, mom. That's the one-act version at DTH, a company composed of mostly black dancers.

Funny how some folks are so irked by Misty's success and potential promo to ABT principal that the'll spend hours and days digging up news clippings to try to pooh-pooh her accomplishments. Sweet.

Keep digging! :)

Clue that may bring happiness to Les Miserables: Perhaps Caridad Martinez danced O/O at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba while she was a principal there and, if so, her Siegfried may have been one of several male principals or first soloists of color in the company? The Cubans, unlike DTH, perform a complete SWAN LAKE. Ms Martinez is now on staff with Ballet Hispanico in Brooklyn, so she's definitely trackable. Dig on!

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Oh, that's interesting. So, Freddy Franklin staged a Balanchine version of Act II? This article mentions a completely different couple. I only brought it up to say Misty and Brooklyn are not the first. I don't have a problem with them being the first. I am actually a fan of Brooklyn's and I consider him a friend. I am anxious to hear of his success.

http://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/15/arts/dance-harlem-s-one-act-swan-lake.html

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That's not what anyone is saying. It's being made a fuss over because the event is unusual and hasn't happened before. In a company where most of the dancers were black, it would happen often. There's no asterisk.

Anyone who attended care to comment?

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Just out of theatre. Full report tomorrow. For now, I can sum the entire experience in onE word: MAGNIFICENT! (Update: Thurs morn and expansions are below.)

M&M great...but I'm more overwhelmed by the production than even the dancers and the whole skin-color hype. This production is based on the N. Sergeev staging for Saddlers Wells (now the Royal) in 1930s, my dears...meaning NO 1040s/50s Ashton additions and NONE of Vaganova's emendations and corps patterns, let alone Konstantin Sergeev's dances. Instead we saw huge amounts of mime restored, and enhanced roles of Benno, the Tutor, and the two "swan leaders" in A4 in the drama. Odette often dialogs with the clusters of big or small swans. We know so much more about the characters than in any other production. Still, lots of dancing remains, in many cases far more difficult steps - more lacy footwork and taquate quality. For example, one of the fiendishly difficult solos is danced by an unnamed court lady who is being instructed in dancing by Siegfried's tutor, who performs a long series of traveling entrchats six,as we saw with Raymonda in A2 of the Vikharev recon at La Scala in 2011!

Of course crowd went nuts at all of our two stars' entrances, exits, in betweens. Misty absolutely gorgeous Odette, which I enjoyed even more than her Odile, although her fouettés, spiced with doubles at the start, sent audience into frenzy. Balances rock solid. But it's her poetic Odette and delicate nuances that surprised me. Everything gentle; pyrotechnics secondary, yet solos in the big set pieces far more intricate than what we're used to seeing.

In addition to Misty and Brooklyn, kudos to the pas de trois dancers Maki Onuki, Tamako Miyazaki and Jonathan Jordan. They were also to have performed in the A3 classical diverts (part of series of classical pieces danced in place of the usual national dances which I surprisingly did not miss at all!), but Maki Onuki seemed to have been replaced by another dancer, but who? [uPDATE: It was Ayano Kimura, I was later told.] Definitely not Maki dancing with Jon and Tamako in that ultra-difficult 'new' classical pas de trois at the ballroom that included music used by both Ashton and Balanchine in later choreographies. Also, I was surprised to see a 'new' male pas de quatre at the ballroom very similar to RAYMONDA.

My favorite personal detail from this staging, which is a mirror into Tsarist times: the Big Swans' dance in A2 includes blowing of kisses to their fellow swans standing on sides. This happens during the middle part of the music as two of the big swans perform the familiar developes in parallel, while stretching out arms. Now we know that Lev Ivanov peppered that now-familiar port de bras with kisses! The entire production is ultra sweet but that gibes with what I know about 19th-C court-sponsored ballets. Think of all those kisses blown by Bournonville dancers, for example. Ultra-conservative, ultra-sweet, ultra-adorable.

I look forward to seeing this again on Sat night and absorbing more details. Leads will be Maki Onuki and the new hot/shot who joined WB from Cuba this year, Miguel Anaya.

Sets/costumes borrowed from Ballet West, so very safe-traditional, which audience loved and cheered whenever curtain up.

My seat was phenomenal; dead-center 3rd row balcony. Thanks , StubHub!

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Forgot to add to my full report, above, kudos for the lovely contributions of the Evermay Chamber Orch in the pit...only about 18 musicians, sounding like a full-blown symphony orch most of the time. Only in one or two spots was the sound a little tinny.

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Thank you Natalia for this report. Congratulations to Misty Copeland for this milestone and personal best debut as O/O flowers.gif!

May she build on this accomplishment and go forward. May her dancing speak for itself and not the p.r. machine.

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A co-worker who went to the Wednesday "preview" (since she had bought season tickets, she only paid $24 for her seat) said that Maki Onuki turned in a very good performance as Odilia/Odette.

There are a few tickets available (as of 5:30 Friday evening) for all shows, including Misty's Sunday evening performance (still $225) and even some $75 seats available for the Saturday matinee (bet those get snarfed up pretty quickly).

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Thank you Natalia for this report. Congratulations to Misty Copeland for this milestone and personal best debut as O/O flowers.gif!

May she build on this accomplishment and go forward. May her dancing speak for itself and not the p.r. machine.

Hadn't she already done it on tour somewhere?

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Copeland performed the ABT production on tour in Australia. From Natalia's description, the Washington Ballet production sounds quite different--at least in some sections. So, I guess this could be called both her "American" debut as Odette-Odile and her debut in Kirk Peterson's production...but Mme Hermine is correct that it is not her first full-length Swan Lake.

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The one review I read called Copeland's Swan Lake a "work in progress." To my mind that's what it should be. The hype is very unfortunate. I truly don't know what to make of the ticket prices and the reported audience reaction to her entrance, as if she was an established star. Perhaps she's an established star to an audience that is totally non-critical in terms of ballet. These are difficult questions. As a long time ballet fan, I confess I've never been impressed by Copeland's imagination as an artist. If her amazing PR machine translates into more kids of color being interested in ballet and better ticket sales for DTH I'm all for her self promotion. The jury is still out.

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I went to the Wednesday "preview night" performance.

Overall I liked it very much--love the new/old staging, especially the swan corps, which I thought was magnificently rehearsed. Loved having live music, and thought the orchestra did a very nice job.

As for individual dancers: Miguel Anaya was a fantastic prince--beautiful line, catlike jumps, great emotion. Maki Onuki was technically lovely, as always--with an especially remarkable balance in Act II (I think). But her acting left me a bit cold. Sona Kharatian was a wonderfully

regal and insistent mother, and Giselle Macdonald was delightful in the small solo toward the end of Act with the master of ceremonies (Luis Torres).

The musical interlude was very nice, although it seemed a bit out of place in an already long-ish (ok, by Washington standards!) evening.

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The one review I read called Copeland's Swan Lake a "work in progress." To my mind that's what it should be. The hype is very unfortunate. I truly don't know what to make of the ticket prices and the reported audience reaction to her entrance, as if she was an established star. Perhaps she's an established star to an audience that is totally non-critical in terms of ballet. These are difficult questions.

I,too, am baffled. Tickets to see the Mariinsky SL (including Lopatkina, arguably the best O/O around right now) topped out around $155 at both BAM in January and the ROH last August and those were for orchestra and front mezzanine seats. Tickets to the Bolshoi's SL in NYC last July topped out at around $300 and again for the best seats in the house (and except for Smirnova, I believe all casts had leads who were principal dancers). Also, clapping at the first entrance or at the end of an Act is fine but at every entrance and exit the crowd going nuts?? DC regularly gets all the big companies (Boshoi, Mariinsky, ABT, NYCB) so it's not like they are a city that never gets an opportunity to see ballet (and some really excellent ballet, at that).
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Just out of the Sat matinee, which I exchanged for tonight's show due to church commitments tonight. While Aurora Dickie and Tamas Krizsa are both long limbed and talented, being particularly good in adagio (except for shaky lifts), they were shy of the technique and flair of Misty and Brooklyn. The big dancing stars of the afternoon, for me, were Andile Ndlovu (man of both pas de trois) and the extraordinary ladies of the A3 pas de trois, Tamako Miyazaki and Ayano Kimura...who also danced this at the opening, in place of the announced Maki Onuki. Morgan Rose and Carly Wheaton were also fine in the better-known pas de trois in A1. Kudos to Luis R. Torres who mimed and 'horsed around' with brio as the Tutor Wolfgang in A1 and wielded a mighty stick pounding the stage at least 100 times as the Master of Ceremonies.

I'm now officially enamored of this Sadlers Wells-1934 Nikolai Sergeyev version, as staged by Kirk Peterson...who now enters my Pantheon of Immortal Stagers of Rare Classics, along with Vikharev, Burlaka and Lacotte. My four heroes!

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Given the upbeats reviews here and from my co-worker, I decided to take advantage of the cut-rate $75 and take in the Saturday matinee. It was a pretty good show, but maybe I would have enjoyed a second trip to NYCB's Program A more. Tamas Krizsa is a good actor, and that helped him overcome his limitations as a dancer. He is especially expressive with his eyes. I second Natalia's opinion of Ndile Ndlovu.

What I didn't like about the performance had nothing to do with who was dancing what part. Rothbart was very passive and not at all frightening. I prefer my villains to be visibly evil, rather than just standing around in a fearsome-looking costume. The swan corps added little to the production. Memories fade, and at my age fade quickly, but my remembrances of other productions have a bigger role for the swan corps.

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