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Casting for The Sleeping Beauty

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Cute video of Froustey rehearsing a variation.

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“Rehearsal is called Répétition in French.
As you can see here It also means repetition... most of the time a lot of repetition.”

 (Putting this here because I think it’s from Sleeping Beauty.)

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Posted (edited)


Speaking of SFB dancers with Aurora experience, there once was a young woman named Sofiane Sylve who danced this role and impressed many. But now she couldn't be bothered with pretending to be a 16 year old princess.   ;)

If you'd like to know how this looked, the DVD of Sofiane performing with the HET Nationale Ballet is still available on the Internet. It's not a perfect performance from Sofiane, I've seen her more relaxed and even more precise/articulate, but the performance is generally on a high level throughout (by Act 3 she has settled in and looks confident). Oh, and there's lots of fine classical dancing from the rest of the company.

We have an older forum thread that discusses the DVD:
https://balletalert.invisionzone.com/topic/17640-sleeping-beauty-w-sylve-dutch-national-ballet/

I especially like/agree with Alexandra's comments:

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The direction is very fine -- I liked Sylve. Not as much as Lezhnina (whom I've seen dance the role on stage) who has what is, for me, the perfect line for Aurora, and that beautiful Kirov schooliing. Sylve has facility and technique but no schooling, meaning you're not going to bask in the beauty of her lines or expressive arms. But the Act I solo is beautifully done -- there's a graciousness in her dancing that goes beyond merely "nailing it." The Rose Adagio is odd -- I've never seen anyone handle balance problems the way she does. That toe is planted, as though held to the floor by a magical turning magnet; there's no fear she'll fall off pointe. But she'll twist and shift a bit in the upper body and hips. I also liked her acting in the pas de vertige; it's very clear.

Related:
Former forum member Herman Stevens conducted an interview with Sylve that appeared on his web blog:

Dancing as a home. An interview with ballet dancer Sofiane Sylve.
http://www.hermanstevens.nl/result_weblog.asp?Id=42

Some facts about this production:

1) Sofiane had actually left Amsterdam to dance with the NYCB at this point, and was returning to HET Nationale as a Guest Artist. So it says something about her stature with the company that they would choose to film a production with Sylve rather than one of the current principal dancers. I'm sure there was controversy about that at the time.

2) One of the Pas de Quatre dancers was Felipe Diaz!

3) The DVD has some excellent documentary extras (mostly in English), including a segment on mime used in the ballet, and interviews with choreographer Sir Peter Wright (which includes great rehearsal footage of Sylve and Gaël Lambiotte as Prince Florimund), and Sofiane Sylve (with complete footage of her Dewdrop debut at NYCB!). In Sofiane's Ballet West Master Class Q & A video, she mentioned the historic home (built in the 1600s) she owned in Amsterdam, and in the DVD interview with Sylve, we actually get some glimpses of this home (with For Sale sign attached).

Edited by pherank

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Posted (edited)

Meet the Artist and Pointes of View related to The Sleeping Beauty

Meet the Artist interviews are 1 hour before the performance on opening night, Fridays, Sundays, and post-performance on select dates - check the schedule.  These are free to ticket holders and last about 30 minutes.

Meet the Artist - https://www.sfballet.org/explore/meet-the-artist

  • Saturday 3/9, 7:00 PM - Yasmine Naghdi, Principal Dancer of The Royal Ballet
  • Sunday 3/10, 1:00 PM - Julia Rowe, Soloist

Pointes of View lectures are on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.  You do not need a performance ticket to attend.  Enter the Opera House via the North Carriage doors.  These lectures last about 45 minutes.

Pointes of View - https://www.sfballet.org/explore/pointes-of-view

  • Wednesday 3/13, 6:00 PM - The Sleeping Beauty
    Frances Chung, Principal Dancer, and Esteban Hernandez, Soloist, discuss The Sleeping Beauty’s three pivotal dance challenges—the Rose Adagio, the wedding pas de deux, and the Bluebird pas de deux—with dance educator Mary Wood. 
Edited by sf_herminator
added Pointes of View

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So do we need a performance ticket for tomorrow, the Opening Night, to be able to attend the interview with Yasmine Naghdi? I have a ticket for her Wednesday eve performance.

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1 hour ago, Katia Kapustin said:

So do we need a performance ticket for tomorrow, the Opening Night, to be able to attend the interview with Yasmine Naghdi? I have a ticket for her Wednesday eve performance.

Yes, Meet the Artist interview is for ticket holders of that particular performance.  Please also remember the interviews are available as podcasts about one week after the interview.  They are available through all podcast venues such as iTunes and they are also posted here:  https://sfballet.blog/category/listen/.  It is only Pointes of View lectures which do not require a performance ticket.

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Thank you sf-herminator for providing the link! great to know we can listen via the link you provided. I am from Canada so not all that familiar with SFB but looking forward to their SB! 

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2 minutes ago, Katia Kapustin said:

Thank you sf-herminator for providing the link! great to know we can listen via the link you provided. I am from Canada so not all that familiar with SFB but looking forward to their SB! 

Welcome!!  So nice to have you visiting.  What part of Canada are you from?  Are you only seeing the Wednesday performance or are you seeing any others?

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I am from Quebec sf-herminator. SF friends got me a ticket to attend Wednesday 13th evening performance. We may attend another one :) 

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Performance of March 10, 2 pm, Bluebird Pas de deux: Esteban Hernandez replaces Nicolai Gorodiskii.  It’s always a pleasure to see Hernandez, but I enjoy getting a look at talented corps members, so a bit of a disappointment.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 – 2:00 pm

Aurora: Mathilde Froustey
Prince Desiré: Vitor Luiz
Lilac Fairy: WanTing Zhao
Bluebird: Esteban Hernandez
Enchanted Princess: Jasmine Jimison*

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Due to the interesting new casting, I purchased a ticket to each of the Saturday performances for Park/Greco, Naghdi/Walsh, to add on to the Froustey/Ingham Friday night performance I already had planned. 

 

 

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On 3/10/2019 at 3:18 AM, PeggyR said:

Performance of March 10, 2 pm, Bluebird Pas de deux: Esteban Hernandez replaces Nicolai Gorodiskii.  It’s always a pleasure to see Hernandez, but I enjoy getting a look at talented corps members, so a bit of a disappointment.

Sunday, March 10, 2019 – 2:00 pm

Aurora: Mathilde Froustey
Prince Desiré: Vitor Luiz
Lilac Fairy: WanTing Zhao
Bluebird: Esteban Hernandez
Enchanted Princess: Jasmine Jimison*

So much for seeing the "new talent", eh? Except that you got to see Jasmine Jimison who is just an Apprentice. How was that?

 

4 hours ago, Josette said:

Due to the interesting new casting, I purchased a ticket to each of the Saturday performances for Park/Greco, Naghdi/Walsh, to add on to the Froustey/Ingham Friday night performance I already had planned. 

 

Curious that Luiz is being replaced by Ingham for that one date. Not ideal, but Vitor may have a scheduling conflict.

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Luke Ingham danced last year.  I saw him step in for Carlo di Lanno at the last minute when Luke danced with Sasha De Sola.    From what I am advised, I don't think this was an issue of stepping in this season, but of distribution: Casting subject to change.  Luke was quite good and found a refreshing touch of humor in the hunt scene.    

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1 hour ago, Josette said:

Luke Ingham danced last year.  I saw him step in for Carlo di Lanno at the last minute when Luke danced with Sasha De Sola.    From what I am advised, I don't think this was an issue of stepping in this season, but of distribution: Casting subject to change.  Luke was quite good and found a refreshing touch of humor in the hunt scene.    

I like Ingham as an actor - he's an asset to the story ballets in that sense. I don't know about his 'fine classical technique' though.   ;)
He's a versatile dancer, and reliable partner, which matters. I was thinking that it might be odd for Froustey to then dance with a new partner. Ingham is considerably taller than Luiz isn't he? I would think that would shake things up a bit. But you would know better than I, as a a former dancer.

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15 hours ago, Josette said:

Luke Ingham danced last year.  I saw him step in for Carlo di Lanno at the last minute when Luke danced with Sasha De Sola.    From what I am advised, I don't think this was an issue of stepping in this season, but of distribution: Casting subject to change.  Luke was quite good and found a refreshing touch of humor in the hunt scene.    

 

13 hours ago, pherank said:

I like Ingham as an actor - he's an asset to the story ballets in that sense. I don't know about his 'fine classical technique' though.   😉
He's a versatile dancer, and reliable partner, which matters. I was thinking that it might be odd for Froustey to then dance with a new partner. Ingham is considerably taller than Luiz isn't he? I would think that would shake things up a bit. But you would know better than I, as a a former dancer.

Ingham has danced with Froustey on at least two occasions that I saw:  Giselle and Swan Lake.  As I’ve said before, I don’t think he’s best suited to white tights roles, but he’s a good actor, plus he and Froustey have excellent stage chemistry and he’s a secure partner, so I’d guess she already feels comfortable with him.

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16 hours ago, pherank said:

So much for seeing the "new talent", eh? Except that you got to see Jasmine Jimison who is just an Apprentice. How was that?

In the Blue Bird, Jimison was excellent; I suspect we’ll be seeing her in the corps next season, and in more solo roles over the next few seasons.  A very confident, charming, technically secure performance.  I did think her smile looked pasted on, but that’s understandable in a relatively inexperienced dancer making a major debut.  Aside from that, there was no visible tension, although I didn’t think she and Hernandez had much stage chemistry.  He danced beautifully, but he doesn’t project much to the audience:  looks great, not a lot of presence.

As for other ‘new talent’:  in the third act, the Jewels’ Cavaliers were Cavan Conley and Lucas Erni, neither familiar to me, and both scheduled to dance Blue Bird later this week (I’m seeing Conley on 3/13, and Erni on 3/16 matinee).  Very impressive dancing from both.

As to the rest of the performance (Sunday, 3/10):

Froustey was a delight, although a few of her supported turns with the suitors needed to be hauled back to the vertical, which I suspect was the fault of partnering, since she’s usually very centered.  The Rose Adagio went well, the balances somewhat less ‘milked’ than I’ve seen from her before, and the last one was pretty spectacular.  But her insistence on visibly holding on to the balance makes her look tense instead of relaxed and confident.

 Vitor Luiz gave his usual excellent performance: very clean, neat technique, and big, airy jumps.  Turns aren’t his strongest point, but the finishes are clean, which counts for a lot with me.

Among the various Jewels and Fairies, Ellen Rose Hummel stood out as Courage (I think that’s the one where she points her fingers). I really hope she makes it to soloist soon.

Speaking of soloists, Julia Rowe was the Meet the Artist interviewee.  She revealed that she will be debuting as one of the women in Shostakovich’s life during the Shostakovich Trilogy (second movement) later in the season.  

Edited by PeggyR
Added performance date

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Casting update for tonight: Thamires Chuvas replaces Jahna Frantziskonis as the enchanted princess. Jahna will now debut as the princess on 3/16 eve performance.

Also, I swear Ami Yuki was originally listed for a debut as the Lilac Fairy, but now that's gone from the casting sheet.

Edited by PeggyTulle
clarification of replacement

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14 minutes ago, PeggyTulle said:

Also, I swear Ami Yuki was originally listed for a debut as the Lilac Fairy, but now that's gone from the casting sheet.

According to my records, Yuki was scheduled on 3/16 matinee with Lucas Erni; Jennifer Stahl is taking her place.  I’m sure Stahl will be excellent, but I was looking forward to seeing Yuki’s debut. 

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Thanks so much for these reports, PeggyR, and all.

"I did think her smile looked pasted on, but that’s understandable in a relatively inexperienced dancer making a major debut."

> It's hard to imagine a young dancer feeling relaxed and "sunny" in the middle of their debut. Sheehan has that issue at times too, but occasionally the radiant smile bursts out.

"Froustey was a delight, although a few of her supported turns with the suitors needed to be hauled back to the vertical, which I suspect was the fault of partnering, since she’s usually very centered."

> I've seen this issue with various dancers lately, and I think it's a partnering issue, but more specifically, it's a rehearsal and possibly coaching issue. The dancers likely need more time to fine tune those steps, and get good advice. I've never forgotten the WBD video in which Tomasson is coaching Tiit Helimets and Sofiane Sylve in a Balanchine ballet  duet (Diamonds?). Tomasson has to council Tiit against stepping in immediately, on the beat, to hold Sofiane's waist, because he's likely to get clobbered, and throw off her momentum. But he had to fight his instinct to move on the "one" count instead of waiting for the "and": "one, AND …" In the HET Nationale Sleeping Beauty DVD with Sofiane the same problem occurred in which the partners seem to throw off her balance rather than actually help her stabilize her turns.  As soon as she was doing solo balances on pointe, all problems vanished.

"The Rose Adagio went well, the balances somewhat less ‘milked’ than I’ve seen from her before, and the last one was pretty spectacular.  But her insistence on visibly holding on to the balance makes her look tense instead of relaxed and confident."

> Likely only the people in the front of the orchestra section really notice this. 😉
The same issue with Sofiane in the DVD performance - and to some extent Sasha De Sola in that SFB video. I'm beginning to wonder if anyone really looks 'relaxed' and graceful in the Rose Adagio (especially when filmed up close). Aurelie Dupont's performance (on DVD) is one of the few in which the dancer appears almost 'relaxed and confident':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CUWI89Yz3E
[It strikes me as being very POB to milk the difficult movements. It is, I think, each ballet school treats differently thing.]

Sorry to hear that Ami Yuki didn't show - hopefully she just wasn't feeling ready, rather than yet another injury.

Btw, where's Aaron Robison in all this? Didn't he perform as Désiré at ENB?

Edited by pherank

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Not sure why some think Natasha Sheehan has not been utilized.  She danced in the corps in Don Quixote and I believe she is dancing in the corps for Sleeping Beauty. 

I only recall seeing Luke Ingham in Swan Lake.  He landed from his jumps with such a THUD, it was quite jarring.  He appears to be a good partner, though.

I was sorry to miss Wona Park in Don Quixote - did anyone see her as Aurora?

 

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, pas.de.chat said:

I was sorry to miss Wona Park in Don Quixote - did anyone see her as Aurora?

 

Can you go on Saturday matinee?

Edited by FireDancer

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On the subject of the Rose Adagio and so-called "milking the audience" (something Bolshoi dancers do a lot). It all really depends on how the ballerina projects herself during those difficult balances. The Rose Adagio is a great showcase of virtuosity, of mastering technic and having strength. If the ballerina looks strained and seems to struggle when holding onto each balance it may look as if she is "milking the audience" but if she fully masters her balances and holds each balance  with ease, then I don't feel the ballerina is "milking it". If she has full mastery of her balances why not showing it. I have seen several ballerinas holding on to each balance for what seemed liked ages and - because they did it with so much assurance and ease - it looked very elegant and natural, and fitted well into the story of Aurora having grown into a confidant young woman. In each one of the acts Aurora's age and personality are very different and the Rose Adagio balances illustrate her confidence and maturity. Beautifully executed and fully mastered Rose Adagio balances set a ballerina apart and deserve applause. 

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3 hours ago, Katia Kapustin said:

If the ballerina looks strained and seems to struggle when holding onto each balance it may look as if she is "milking the audience" but if she fully masters her balances and holds each balance  with ease, then I don't feel the ballerina is "milking it".

I disagree. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to Cojocaru's first Aurora with ABT. I had only seen her in the Royal Ballet's film, where her Rose Adage was stupendous. The audience at the Met greeted her rapturously. ABT audiences can be extremely enthusiastic, and when there are 3,800 of them, the effect can be overwhelming. So imagine my distress when Cojocaru began playing to that audience, mugging and holding on to her balances for a very long time, past any degree of musicality. The balances were confident and perfect, but she was definitely "milking it," and the audience rewarded her with very loud applause. I came away bitterly disappointed, and I still blame the audience to this day. :angry2:

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Posted (edited)

Tamara Rojo used to do exactly the same: hold and hold and hold for as long as she could.

Dancers not only dance for their audience but also for their own pleasure and satisfaction, and if they are technically capable of doing so - combined with artistry and musicality - thus giving meaning to their balances - I am happy to make an allowance for their own pleasure. They are artists after all, they have their own interpretation and give individual meaning to a role. 

(Perhaps the comparison is a bit extreme but one would not have told for example Jackson Pollock that he threw too much paint on his canvas. He simply expressed himself the way he wanted to express himself)

Some appreciate, others dislike it.

Edited by Katia Kapustin
to add text

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