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Lincoln Center Festival 2017


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8 minutes ago, cobweb said:

WOW.  I am relatively new to NYCB. Tell me - why did she leave??

Interesting woman. She started studying late and became an apprentice to NYCB just a few years after she began her studies at SAB. Rose up through the ranks quickly (despite an interruption caused by serious injury). Left NYCB because she was unhappy. Joined the Royal Ballet in England as a soloist, became a principal and after a few years stopped dancing, I believe at around the age of 28. Dancing wasn't making her happy, in fact it seemed to be making her unhappy. That's my summation as I understand the facts. Feel free to correct wise BT posters.

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14 minutes ago, cobweb said:

WOW.  I am relatively new to NYCB. Tell me - why did she leave??

 

She wanted to try the classics and was a principal for the Royal Ballet for a few years. But then she quit dancing altogether. There was a long piece on her in Elle magazine:

http://www.elle.com/culture/a39990/alexandra-ansanelli-prima-ballerina-career/

The piece requires some reading between the lines.

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On ‎7‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 11:16 AM, sandik said:

 

Last thing first -- your English says what you want it to say.  Which means it's far better than my Italian, German, French, or Japanese. 

 

I agree that in the US we tend to frame diversity in terms of black and white, when in fact we are a much more colorful country.  I live in the Pacific Northwest, and around here, our Asian and First Peoples populations are sometimes more numerous than our African American.  But even though those groups have a long history of unfair treatment from the white majority, we still, as a country, are grappling with the after effects of slavery.  And these struggles play themselves out in almost all parts of our culture.  It's messy, it's painful, and in some cases it does push other peoples aside, which also makes it unfair.  But honestly, it is such a stain on our heritage, that we really do need to do this work, as strange as it may seem to someone looking at it from the outside.

 

Explanations are not excuses, but they are explanations.

 Well said.  As someone who is an unabashed cheerleader for greater racial inclusion in the classical arts in America, I agree that the term "diversity" is too often used only as shorthand for "lack of black representation." 

 

And I wholeheartedly agree that it is ridiculous to expect to see what we in the West would define as "people of color" in ballet companies like the Bolshoi and Mariinsky that are so closely tied to national identity and are located in a largely racially homogeneous country. 

 

What I disagree with is the attitude still held  by some in the West, that brown bodies shatter uniformity and are therefore an attack on classicism.  Evidently, uniformity of style, movement and purpose is always trumped by the distraction of that dark girl in the line of Willies, Swans, Sylphs or Shades.  Evidently, other things in classical ballet may evolve, but not the need for everyone to have glowing white skin in Act II of Giselle. 

 

And the fact that these attitudes are expressed by some folks whose artistry I greatly admire like Mathias Heymann, is doubly disappointing.    If due to his Moroccan heritage, his complexion were darker making his being cast as James  in La Sylphide  a distraction, would he be okay with that commitment to white being right?

Edited by Tapfan
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4 hours ago, Tapfan said:

 What I disagree with is the attitude still held  by some in the West, that brown bodies shatter uniformity and are therefore an attack on classicism.  Evidently, uniformity of style, movement and purpose is always trumped by the distraction of that dark girl in the line of Willies, Swans, Sylphs or Shades.  Evidently, other things in classical ballet may evolve, but not the need for everyone to have glowing white skin in Act II of Giselle. 

 

And the fact that these attitudes are expressed by some folks whose artistry I greatly admire like Mathias Heymann, is doubly disappointing.    If due to his Moroccan heritage, his complexion were darker making his being cast as James  in La Sylphide  a distraction, would he be okay with that commitment to white being right?

 

This.  "Word," as the young folk say.

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Ansanelli was far and away my favorite ballerina during that period of the NYCB. I found her to be a most musical dancer. Interestingly, there was someone on Ballet Alert who followed every post of mine during that time with a post of his/her own informing me that she was the least musical dancer there! Since music was, for a very long time, my profession, I felt quite confident in my assertions. 

 

While at the Royal Ballet, Ansanelli continued to fight an injury. I've always believed that her unhappiness really stemmed as much from fear and worry about that injury as for any other reason, but that's me speaking with my pop-psyche hat on!

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6 hours ago, Tapfan said:

 Well said.  As someone who is an unabashed cheerleader for greater racial inclusion in the classical arts in America, I agree that the term "diversity" is too often used only as shorthand for "lack of black representation." 

 

And I wholeheartedly agree that it is ridiculous to expect to see what we in the West would define as "people of color" in ballet companies like the Bolshoi and Mariinsky that are so closely tied to national identity and are located in a largely racially homogeneous country. 

 

What I disagree with is the attitude still held  by some in the West, that brown bodies shatter uniformity and are therefore an attack on classicism.  Evidently, uniformity of style, movement and purpose is always trumped by the distraction of that dark girl in the line of Willies, Swans, Sylphs or Shades.  Evidently, other things in classical ballet may evolve, but not the need for everyone to have glowing white skin in Act II of Giselle. 

 

And the fact that these attitudes are expressed by some folks whose artistry I greatly admire like Mathias Heymann, is doubly disappointing.    If due to his Moroccan heritage, his complexion were darker making his being cast as James  in La Sylphide  a distraction, would he be okay with that commitment to white being right?

 

I cannot see how skin tone would be a distraction, but uniformity in terms of build and height is something that I would find aesthetically pleasing.

I had no idea that Mathias Heymann had Moroccan heritage, he always looked to me like the typical French heartthrob (or, at least, my concept of one).

And if I see someone as gorgeous as Calvin Royal III in the role of Prince Siegfried, or any other classical role for that matter, all I would say would be: "Oh yes!!!!!!!!" Would I like to see him among, say, the Bolshoi's uniform ranks? Oh, yes, please!!!!

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20 hours ago, vipa said:

For a great Diamonds pas check out Alexandra Ansanelli for what I think of as the right mood and feeling - simple but complex!

 

Wow!!!!!!

 

This blew me away!  She was amazing.  Thank you for posting this, I've never seen her dance before.  

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As I watch that video again I get teary. She seems driven by and embodiment of the music. What was the occasion of her dancing with Charles Askegard? The height differential is so noticeable that I wondered if one or the the other was a last minute substitution. To whoever video'd it - apparently from the audience?? - thanks!!

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29 minutes ago, cobweb said:

As I watch that video again I get teary. She seems driven by and embodiment of the music. What was the occasion of her dancing with Charles Askegard? The height differential is so noticeable that I wondered if one or the the other was a last minute substitution. To whoever video'd it - apparently from the audience?? - thanks!!

She was an amazing talent and this is truly one of the best performances of that pas ever. I don't know the occasion of the video but I am sure happy that it was recorded.

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I think you mean overbite. :) Back in 1989 I remember New York critics seeing such similarities in Yulia Makhalina, too.

 

As for Gottlieb's piece, I would just point out that she wasn't making a debut. She first danced the ballet on October 6, 2016, and she danced it again on April 1. That's not a whole lot of previous experience, but Vaziev has been pushing her hard, and gave her the grand pas from Raymonda, and the lead in Etudes as well. (Judging by YouTube videos, her debut was a disaster. Before anyone reminds me of her age, at the National Ballet of Canada Erik Bruhn gave Martine Lamy Etudes to dance at 18, and she nailed it.) Recently she also danced Myrtha.

Edited by volcanohunter
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Volcanohunter, I am just curious, why do you think Alena's Etudes debut was a disaster? I too saw the YouTube videos, maybe she did not deliver a historic performance, but I thought she was very technically proficient, especially given that she is only 18 years old and fresh out of school. I admit, I am not the one to judge technique (though I do notice obvious flops, like Dorothee Gilbert coming off pointe in Saturday's Emeralds), but I found no such obvious mishaps with Kovaleva. And how would you view her performance in the context of the generally under-rehearsed outings by the Bolshoi in Etudes, including the global broadcast of the first lineup?

I don't mean to start a debate, just trying to figure some things out, and would appreciate an educated viewpoint.

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On ‎7‎/‎27‎/‎2017 at 0:29 AM, canbelto said:

I was at Taming of the Shrew tonight. During the first act the fire alarm went off and it was chaotic for about 10 minutes. That unfortunately was the most exciting part of the evening.

 

 

A company member half-jokingly mentioned the alarm might have been a sabotage, set off by a rival.

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On 7/30/2017 at 1:22 AM, volcanohunter said:

 

As for Gottlieb's piece, I would just point out that she wasn't making a debut. She first danced the ballet on October 6, 2016, and she danced it again on April 1

 

 

Thanks for the links! Now I know how to spell her name in Cyrillic (Алёна Ковалёва), and how to pronounce it.  I wish US presenters and the US press had transliterated her name the way the Bolshoi does (Alyona Kovalyova) - it makes everything much clearer! 

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It would be nice if the Bolshoi could agree on a transliteration of her name. From day one the website has listed her as Alyona Kovalyova. She seems to prefer Alena Kovaleva, and it's probably transliterated that way on her passport. The Bolshoi translated her online mini-bio into English, and lord knows the English side of the Bolshoi site has huge gaps; many soloists haven't had their bios translated, and those of some principals haven't been updated for years and years. But they do translate bios when a corps dancer performs a leading role on tour, presumably so that any foreigner interested can get more information. But if a name is spelled differently in the programs, it rather defeats the purpose, and I can't really blame Gottlieb for not verifying the statements in his review, although I think he should have before letting romantic "you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!" fancies get the better of him.

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On 7/23/2017 at 7:25 PM, abatt said:

 

On 7/23/2017 at 7:40 PM, nanushka said:

 

Thanks, abatt. I strongly recommend Nancy Goldner's long analysis in Balanchine Variations and, somewhat less strongly, Laura Jacobs' essay "Balanchine's Castle."

Thanks, nanushka and abatt, for these links.  I have the Goldner essays but I'll read the other two.   

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On 7/25/2017 at 9:57 PM, vipa said:

For a great Diamonds pas check out Alexandra Ansanelli for what I think of as the right mood and feeling - simple but complex!

 

Oh my word!  What beauty.  Alexandra is stunning, fragile but imperial, her dancing is so lovely and she has such presence.  This is really special.    Thank you, vipa.   

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It would be interesting to know what the original generation of dancers (I am thinking of Allegra Kent, Karin von Aroldingen, Jacques d'Amboise etc.) who may have seen this summer's performances thought about it.  Their thoughts on how Balanchine's works are being passed down and out of New York City to other companies would be most welcome.

 

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