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2017-2018 season: Washington Ballet


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On 2/5/2018 at 11:48 AM, koshka said:

Unpaid Saturday parking is still available in the area, though you might have to walk an extra block or two or do a bit more scouting. ;-)

What I find more frustrating is the high rate of broken/nonfunctional parking meters or pay stations, which makes the parking effectively unavailable even if one is willing to pay the $2.30/hr. 

After encountering 3 non-working meters in 1 evening, I came to the conclusion that they have disabled the meters at least in the area south of the GWU campus in favor of pay-by-phone parking.

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On 6/29/2017 at 3:19 PM, balletgirl22sk said:

Cranko's is the best. I was a super many years ago when Stuttgart brought it to NYC and Philly.

I can understand that a dancer would feel that way. It has lots of opportunities for great solo work (which at the "preview", Oscar Sanchez as Mercutio took full advantage of) and the "Tarantella" section allows lots of others to let loose. I found it to be emotionally a bit flat (I didn't feel romance between Juliet and Romeo) and thought that it was a little deficient at telling the story (maybe it's fair for Cranko to have assumed that the audience knew the story). Wednesday was hardly the best day to enjoy a drama about people killing each other. I might give it another shot over the weekend.

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On 2/15/2018 at 6:00 PM, YouOverThere said:

I can understand that a dancer would feel that way. It has lots of opportunities for great solo work (which at the "preview", Oscar Sanchez as Mercutio took full advantage of) and the "Tarantella" section allows lots of others to let loose. I found it to be emotionally a bit flat (I didn't feel romance between Juliet and Romeo) and thought that it was a little deficient at telling the story (maybe it's fair for Cranko to have assumed that the audience knew the story). Wednesday was hardly the best day to enjoy a drama about people killing each other. I might give it another shot over the weekend.

I made a second trip yesterday, and still came away with the impression that it's just an OK ballet. There were some really strong sections (balcony scene, bedroom scene, various solos for Mercutio), but they were intermingled with not-so-good sections. In particular, I thought that the ballroom scene just wasn't good at all, with unconvincing encounters between Romeo and Juliet and between Romeo and Tybalt, and this dragged down the rest of the show. The "Dance of the Knights" was lackluster, with the women wearing such massive gowns that it just wouldn't have been possible to expect them to do much. The finale seemed rushed, especially when compared to the length of Juliet's visit to Friar Laurence in which he gave her the feigned death potion. The wigs that Lord Capulet and Lord Montague wore made them look like members of a German heavy metal band - and too young to be the fathers of teenagers. EunWon Lee made the best of it, giving a strong dramatic performance in the 3rd act that made it worthwhile to watch.

Julie Kent has seemed to lean towards works that were important in her career (I don't know if anyone besides me didn't know before this week that Cranko's Romeo and Juliet was the first ballet she danced in with a major professional company [as a supernumerary with the Joffrey Ballet]) or works with some sort of ABT connection. Hopefully, she'll eventually move away from this and establish a Washington Ballet identity.

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Just checking in & it appears that no Ballet Alertniks attended the Three World Premieres program at the Harman Hall downtown. One colleague with whom I spoke attended the first night (officially a preview) and said that all three works have their positive points, but the “Big Hit” was Menagerie by Clifton Brown, to live Rossini cello & bass duo. “Highly musical, to the point, full of humor.”

The Gemma Bond piece featured hero of the night, Brooklyn Mack, as lone man partnering seven women in difficult PDDs, while Gomes’ piece yet again seemed to focus on his usual theme of a conflicted man running away from a society in which homosexual affairs are hidden. “It just went on forever...”  according to my friend.

All three  choreographers came out for bows, including Gomes, who apparently left for Russia right after the preview and didn’t make the official premiere the following night.

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1 hour ago, CharlieH said:

Just checking in & it appears that no Ballet Alertniks attended the Three World Premieres program at the Harman Hall downtown. One colleague with whom I spoke attended the first night (officially a preview) and said that all three works have their positive points, but the “Big Hit” was Menagerie by Clifton Brown, to live Rossini cello & bass duo. “Highly musical, to the point, full of humor.”

The Gemma Bond piece featured hero of the night, Brooklyn Mack, as lone man partnering seven women in difficult PDDs, while Gomes’ piece yet again seemed to focus on his usual theme of a conflicted man running away from a society in which homosexual affairs are hidden. “It just went on forever...”  according to my friend.

All three  choreographers came out for bows, including Gomes, who apparently left for Russia right after the preview and didn’t make the official premiere the following night.

OK, I admit that I did attend this (more than once), but I was going to spare everyone from my usual uneducated "review" which generally consists of little more than "I liked this. I didn't like that." I agree that all 3 have their pluses but they all showed the inexperience of the choreographers. Bond in particular might have tried to crowd too many things into her piece, as young choreographers (and composers) often do. But on my first trip, I liked her piece the best (perhaps biased by her choice of music), changing my mind to Gomes' piece the second time. If there was an allusion to homosexuality in Gomes' piece, I missed it. To me, it was about someone who wanted to break away from the safe, comfortable home of his childhood and experience the rest of the world. I do think, however, that Brown's piece is the most "mature" of the 3 and therefore the one likely to be performed again somewhere (at least without revision).

One thing that did strike me was the lack of a role for Rolando Sarabia in this production, after he played only a minor role in Romeo and Juliet. As far as I know, he only appeared as a substitute. When he did appear in Brown's piece, he seemed to be the most polished of the men in the performance, though he still might have had some sort of injury that limited what he could do that wasn't noticeable.

It was great having live music at least for 2 of the 3 works!

Edited by YouOverThere
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1 hour ago, YouOverThere said:

OK, I admit that I did attend this (more than once), but I was going to spare everyone from my usual uneducated "review" which generally consists of little more than "I liked this. I didn't like that." I agree that all 3 have their pluses but they all showed the inexperience of the choreographers. Bond in particular might have tried to crowd too many things into her piece, as young choreographers (and composers) often do. But on my first trip, I liked her piece the best (perhaps biased by her choice of music), changing my mind to Gomes' piece the second time. If there was an allusion to homosexuality in Gomes' piece, I missed it. To me, it was about someone who wanted to break away from the safe, comfortable home of his childhood and experience the rest of the world. I do think, however, that Brown's piece is the most "mature" of the 3 and therefore the one likely to be performed again somewhere (at least without revision).

One thing that did strike me was the lack of a role for Rolando Sarabia in this production, after he played only a minor role in Romeo and Juliet. As far as I know, he only appeared as a substitute. When he did appear in Brown's piece, he seemed to be the most polished of the men in the performance, though he still might have had some sort of injury that limited what he could do that wasn't noticeable.

It was great having live music at least for 2 of the 3 works!

YOT, thanks for this. Re homosexual theme, my friend explained that the two “demisolo” guys are gay, hugging and such behind the backs of their respective girlfriend. As soon as one of those guys “conforms” by proposing to his girlfriend, and the ensuing wedding takes place, the boyfriend is visibly upset, so that he’s the only member of the wedding party to not applaud. All of this seems to inspire the leading guy to grab his suitcase and run away in the midst of the wedding celebrations. (He doesn’t want to live a false life.)

Of the two or three legit reviews out there, it seems that George Jackson “got” it but Sarah Kaufman doesn’t mention it. I don’t recall if Macaulay mentioned it. 

Edited by CharlieH
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5 hours ago, YouOverThere said:

OK, I admit that I did attend this (more than once), but I was going to spare everyone from my usual uneducated "review" which generally consists of little more than "I liked this. I didn't like that."

Pish tush -- we all have opinions and they are all welcome here.

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