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Friday, April 17


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Finding tutu-makers is becoming a challenge.

The shortage of costume makers (stitchers in industry speak; tutu-makers in public parlance) is causing headaches at opera and ballet companies around the world.

“Opera houses in smaller cities are in a terrible situation,” says Rainer Gawenda, head of costumes at Bühnenservice Berlin, the Berlin opera house’s joint costume and set workshop department. “And it’s about to get worse because many older tailors and seamstresses are nearing retirement.”

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Reviews of the Royal Ballet.

The Telegraph

Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée is classical ballet’s supreme romantic comedy: a heartfelt tale of benignly illicit young love, but also a giddy whirl of dancing chickens, halfwit suitors and curmudgeonly guardians. Watching a superlative performance of this masterpiece is like being whisked blissfully off to a sun-kissed Suffolk meadow in the height of summer. And, on the first night of this revival – touchingly dedicated to Mary Clarke, the distinguished ballet writer who reviewed Fille’s first ever performance on January 28, 1960, and who died last month – the sun shone very brightly indeed.

The Guardian

Muntagirov, making his debut as Colas, is more dreamy-romantic than roguish farm boy and, as the two lovers plot their secret assignations, it’s generally Lise who seems to be in charge. Yet, as an interpretation, it makes touching sense. While there are moments in the key pas de deux where the couple’s dancing falls a little way short of sublime, the chemistry is always sparking between them. And when Muntagirov is dancing his solo variations, he rises to moments of transcendence, his long legs and arms sustaining beautiful shapes in the air and finding their own music within the choreography.

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A review of the San Francisco Ballet in Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy by Rita Felciano for danceviewtimes.

Into all this turmoil shoots a straight arrow--a laser beam of what could be Puck on speed. Taras Domitro was brilliant last year. And here he started out as explosive and sharp as before. But then he didn't return to the stage. On a minute's notice Francisco Mungamba was pulled from the corps to step in for the injured dancer. It was a career-making moment for Mungamba who took on the precarious balances, elevations and crystalline beats as if he had performed them hundreds of times. After that final series of spectacular whipping turns, he dropped as if the ground had swallowed him up.
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A story on the BBC Young Dancer competition by Lyndsey Winship in The Guardian.

Mainly what it takes is a massive amount of hard work. The BBC crew has been following 20 dancers – the five finalists in each category – as they go through their practice regimes of daily dance classes, pilates sessions, weight training and physio. “You have to sacrifice a lot,” says 17-year-old Hamish Scott, the youngest finalist in the ballet category and a student at Elmhurst school, who is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Carlos Acosta.
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An item on David Hallberg in VOGUE.

It turns out that bringing together members of five leading international ballet companies hardly requires introducing them to each other. According to ballet star David Hallberg, who should know, most of the world’s best dancers already know each other. “Ballet is incestuous,” he says, explaining this evening’s sole performance of a program called “Legacy” at the David H. Koch theater, part of the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition. “This world is smaller than small.”

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A review of "An American in Paris" by Brian Seibert in The New York Times.

The other main source of the dance vocabulary is Hollywood dance musicals of the golden age. This “American in Paris” is a dance show because the boy can win the girl only through dance. Ms. Cope, like a Ginger Rogers character, resists Mr. Fairchild’s words and gives in to his moves. (Less than convincing when delivering brash American dialogue, Mr. Fairchild is fully persuasive and charming when in motion, the control of his off-balance phrase endings communicating the carefree confidence that his line readings don’t.)

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A story on the investigation of former Royal Winnipeg Ballet teacher and photographer Bruce Monk.

An article in the new issue of Maclean’s magazine says five of his former students have come forward to police with allegations that he persuaded them to pose in nude or seminude photos when they were under 18. Monk declined to comment in the article and called the allegations “ridiculous.” Attempts to reach Monk on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Winnipeg police raided Monk’s apartment, which he shares with his wife Gail Stefanek, on January 7, the article states. Stefanek is a former dancer with the RWB.

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A preview of Houston Ballet Academy's spring recital.

With music by Benjamin Britten and choreographed by Houston Ballet's Artistic Director Stanton Welch, The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is one of those pieces both illuminating and just plain fun to experience.

Now, student dancers in the Houston Ballet Academy will have a chance to show how they negotiate it as part of their Spring Showcase which this year will feature four Stanton Welch creations, said to be the most in any Spring Showcase.

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An interview with Wendy Whelan.

She talks. She teaches. She raises money for charitable causes. And, perhaps above all, she still dances.

"I feel really good physically," she says in a recent phone conversation, noting she's probably at 75 to 80 percent of her peak capacity. For someone the Times called "America's greatest contemporary ballerina," that's still an extraordinary level.

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A review of the Youth America Grand Prix gala by Gia Kourlas in The New York Times.

Perhaps the evening was plagued by too many pas de deux: The Bolshoi stars Evgenia Obraztsova and Semyon Chudin tended toward efficiency in their rendition of Pierre Lacotte’s “Pharaoh’s Daughter,” and Melissa Hamilton and Eric Underwood of the Royal Ballet rarely rose above a mechanical display of contorted classical technique in Wayne McGregor’s “Qualia.”

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