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Drew

Atlanta Ballet 2019-2020 Season

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Posted (edited)
On 3/21/2019 at 8:58 PM, Drew said:

Atlanta Ballet has announced next year's programming which includes premiers by Dwight Rhoden and Claudia Schreier as well as a production (unspecified) of  Giselle:

https://www.atlantaballet.com/news/2019-2020-season-announced

 

OK, it is a little weird that there is still no mention of which Giselle production will be presented. I wonder if this is just an oversight on the website. Do printed materials say the same thing as on the website?
EDIT: I just noticed that the individual Giselle webpage states, "Choreography after Marius Petipa, ‎Jean Coralli‎ & ‎Jules Perrot". But no mention of who will be the main choreographer.

Is there anything in particular people are looking forward to? Or not?

Edited by pherank

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Posted (edited)

I am looking forward to the Schreier and Rhoden premiers but disappointed with some aspects of the season which seems to me on paper far more contemporary/eclectic than neo-classical/classical and with more repetition of choreographers and even works we have seen in very recent seasons than is ideal especially given the absence of a strong core repertory of classical and neoclassical ‘standard’ works that have proven their staying power. It does not help that one of the choreographers they are bringing back was far from one of my favorites. I think budget plays a role in these decisions and (also budget related) the need to find works that will not suffer as much from lack of an orchestra since only some programs will have one. But I am speculating.

Last year it took some time before the company clarified which production of Sylphide we would see; for whatever reasons that seems to be the pattern they are following with Giselle as well. They do have a production they have done in the past (I think by McFall), so who knows?  I thought the company made a strong impression in Sylphide, but don’t know how keen I am to see them in Giselle. Certainly I may be hard put to buy tickets to Giselle if, as with Sylphide, casts are kept under wraps until it opens. (So if anyone from Atlanta Ballet reads these boards: please....when it is a full length nineteenth-century ballet, casting matters to some audience members at least.)

Edited by Drew

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I do not like their upcoming season at all. It is too contemporary for me. Before I moved to this area, I taught at Sarasota Ballet which had a nicely mixed rep of Ashton, Balanchine, classics, and some modern. I miss S Ballet.  I like a lot of the dancers in Atlanta but don't plan to see hardly any of their programs next season....

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2 hours ago, Drew said:

I think budget plays a role in these decisions and (also budget related) the need to find works that will not suffer as much from lack of an orchestra since only some programs will have one. But I am speculating.

Sadly, budget plays a huge role in every aspect of a ballet company. It's a shame AB isn't able to use a live orchestra more often. Audience members that aren't used to seeing live orchestras often don't realize that a good orchestra can play a wide range of musics/sounds for all manner of effects. Prerecorded music just doesn't have the same impact - it also doesn't give one the impression of "getting your money's worth".

Not revealing the choreographer behind Giselle gives the impression that Nedvigin very much had someone in mind (and a particular approach), but didn't know if he could convince the board to find money for the high-profile production.

53 minutes ago, balletgirl22sk said:

I do not like their upcoming season at all. It is too contemporary for me. Before I moved to this area, I taught at Sarasota Ballet which had a nicely mixed rep of Ashton, Balanchine, classics, and some modern. I miss S Ballet.  I like a lot of the dancers in Atlanta but don't plan to see hardly any of their programs next season....

The young audience, and the young dancers, are mostly oriented towards contemporary dance. Those are the times we're living in. Classical ballet often seems like something most Americans have to be "tricked" into appreciating. That said, I know AB would like to see you at some of their performances - they may win you over. If people don't show up, it's guaranteed that there will never be any money to put on evening length classical ballets.

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Posted (edited)

I can't speak for @balletgirl22sk but I don't think the Sarasota model necessarily suggests a desire for evening length classical ballets and certainly that's not what I personally want to see the company dance at this point. But perhaps the Sarasota model does suggest that there are still 20th-century one-act classics worth doing that the company could consider alongside its various commissions. And 21st-century repertory, too, that is more ballet-centric than, say, Ekman (which is on next year's schedule).  And that I would like to see. But the budgetary/music issues the company faces we have already discussed above...perhaps they are getting feedback from audience members, too, who want more contemporary programs in the mix. I don't know.

Nedvigin's approach has been notable for the reintroduction of one nineteenth-century classic a year in addition to Nutcracker; that approach was by no means unknown under McFall though not during his final seasons.  At the same time nineteenth-century classics are a very heavy lift.  I sometimes find myself kind of wishing there would be a more bite size approach to 19th-century choreography with things like the one act Pacquita grand pas that Nedvigin staged his first season as part of a mixed bill; of course such one act excerpts expose the dancers rather mercilessly and that is genuinely an issue to ponder. I don't doubt directing a ballet company counts as one of the "impossible professions"  even if Freud doesn't include it.

This season's final big event was a Liam Scarlett premier: Catch --  to Glass's first violin concerto. That was an ambitious commission from a high-profile ballet choreographer, and it was danced to live music. The result was something of a crowd-pleaser too. That's all on the plus side. That said, the performance I saw (a matinee performance cast with some dancers from the premier and others who were new to the ballet) looked a little under-cooked. I gather the ballet had to be not just choreographed but gotten up on stage in three weeks, and it did seem as if a few more rehearsals might have been valuable. I did very much get a kick out of seeing Scarlett in the audience.

Edited by Drew
typos

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44 minutes ago, Drew said:

I can't speak for @balletgirl22sk but I don't think the Sarasota model necessarily suggests a desire for evening length classical ballets and certainly that's not what I personally want to see the company dance at this point. But perhaps the Sarasota model does suggest that there are still 20th-century one-act classics worth doing that the company could consider alongside its various commissions. And 21st-century repertory, too, that is more ballet-centric than, say, Ekman (which is on next year's schedule).  And that I would like to see. But the budgetary/music issues the company faces we have already discussed above...perhaps they are getting feedback from audience members, too ,who want more contemporary programs in the mix. I don't know.

Nedvigin's approach has been notable for the reintroduction of one nineteenth-century classic a year in addition to Nutcracker; that approach was by no means unknown under McFall though not during his final seasons.  At the same time nineteenth-century classics are a very heavy lift.  I sometimes find myself kind of wishing there would be a more bite size approach to 19th-century choreography with things like the one act Pacquita grand pas that Nedvigin staged his first season as part of a mixed bill; of course such one act excerpts expose the dancers rather mercilessly and that is genuinely an issue to ponder. I don't doubt directing a ballet company counts as one of the "impossible professions"  even if Freud doesn't include it.

This season's final big event was a Liam Scarlett premier: Catch --  to Glass's first violin concerto. That was an ambitious commission from a high-profile ballet choreographer, and it was danced to live music. The result was something of a crowd-pleaser too. That's all on the plus side. That said, the actual performance I saw (a matinee performance cast with some dancers from the premier and others who were new to the ballet) looked a little under-cooked. I gather the ballet had to be not just choreographed but gotten up on stage in three weeks, and it did seem as if a few more rehearsals might have been valuable. I did very much get a kick out of seeing Scarlett in the audience.

Re: the performance of Classical ballets - the company really has to be fully prepared (as in many weeks of rehearsals, and of course years of the appropriate training) to pull these off, or the critics and balletomanes will be merciless. ;)   The problem is, there's no way to disguise a lack of technique/proper training.
Good or bad, putting on Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, etc. is a huge undertaking for any company - it's so demoralizing for the dancers to put 100% into their roles and then hear form the audience that things just didn't look good, because the company wasn't up to the task. I think Nedvigin is sensitive to this issue (but also eager to get AB to the proper level of execution).

A programming approach that I think works pretty well (for both small and large companies) is to present a single act of a classical ballet, and get the dancers to learn that section inside and out: La Bayadere Act II, or divertissements from The Sleeping Beauty, etc. That way the season can be peppered with classical dance along with Neo-classical and contemporary programs. A full length Swan Lake, Giselle, and Nutcracker, as AB is going to attempt next season, is about as much as they are likely to be able to handle (hopefully). The company will have to be bigger and more used to classical roles before it can dream of more.

 

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I wish he would add some Balanchine. I saw them do Tchai Pas last season. I'm not going to spend money on a ticket so see a bunch of new works- I have been in the business of dancing professionally and teaching since the 70's and I know what I like and what I don't. I don't have the money to just go to support the ballet.

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