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Thursday, October 17

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A review of New York City Ballet by Robert Gottlieb for the Observer.

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I hope Hyltin took solace from the lovely performance she gave in the central role of Serenade. As for Sara Mearns, in Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 she was strong and imperturbable, if somewhat muted, in the face of its daunting demands. (Oddly, she was even more muted in the thrilling “MacDonald of Sleat” solo in Union Jack—I thought it would be a natural for her.) Here was yet another breakthrough role for Unity Phelan. She, Ulbricht, Kowroski, Woodward, Mejia and Emily Gerrity were the season’s standouts, though even Gerrity and Phelan couldn’t make a silk purse out of Balanchine’s Kammermusik No. 2, with its grim Hindemith score and its endlessness. The audience responded to it politely, as usual.

 

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Louisville Ballet hires a woman as its resident choreographer.

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Before 2018, the Louisville Ballet company did not have designated positions for resident choreographers but did hire female choreographers for dozens of shows. So, while Schermoly is not the first woman to ever choreograph a show at Louisville Ballet, she is the first official resident choreographer, a years-long contracted position with the company that includes consistent commissions and collaboration. 

 

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Eugene Ballet presents "Swan Lake."

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The full Eugene Ballet Company, with Toni Pimble, artistic director, will perform Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet with the symphony, under the direction of Maestro Yaacov Bergman.

 

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Ballet X performs in Baton Rouge.

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Ballet X returns to Baton Rouge after a 2015 performance, due to popular demand by the community. The company is the premier contemporary ballet company. They are known for their athletic style and grace.

 

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Alicia Alonso has died at age 98.

The New York Times

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What made her long career all the more remarkable were her chronic vision problems. In 1942, when she was a young dancer with Ballet Theater, as American Ballet Theater was originally known, she suffered a detached retina that required three operations to correct and a convalescence that lasted more than a year. Largely bedridden, her eyes bandaged, she was forbidden to laugh, cry or even move her head.

BBC News

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Alonso then formed the National Ballet of Cuba after the revolution. According to a 1981 biography of the dancer, she was asked by Fidel Castro how much money was needed to form the ballet company.

She recalled telling Castro that she needed $100,000.

His reply was: "We will give you $200,000."

The Miami Herald

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She began studying dance as a young girl in the country’s first ballet school, run by the privately funded Sociedad Pro-Arte Grateli, where she fell in love with fellow student Fernando Alonso. While in her mid-teens she married him and, pregnant with their daughter Laura, followed him to New York. She would become part of the earliest incarnations of the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, part of the birth of ballet in the United States.

 

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More obituaries for Alonso.

The Guardian

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By 1959 she was at the peak of her international celebrity as well as her professional artistry. Yet when Fidel Castro’s revolutionary party came to power and Alonso was invited to return home to relaunch her company as the National Ballet of Cuba she responded almost immediately. With Castro’s support and financial aid, the remarkable process was set in motion by which Alonso, with the help of Fernando, turned Cuba into a world centre for classical ballet.

The Washington Post

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With that, Ms. Alonso founded the National Ballet of Cuba, which would comprise a school and professional company. To recruit dancers and drum up interest in ballet among Cubans, she had her fledgling group give small performances at unconventional places like farms, factories and on military bases. She looked for male dancers in orphanages and gave free tuition to those with potential.

Associated Press (via The Darien Times)

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To Cubans, who can be as fanatical about dance as about baseball, Alonso was simply Alicia — just like with Fidel, no last name was necessary. The state-run Suchel cosmetics company even developed a signature scent in her name.

 

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The Aiken Civic Ballet presents "Dracula."

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Dracula was added to the Aiken Civic Ballet's annual lineup last year. 

"We were looking for something a little different," Smith said. "A lot of times we do fairy tales. We do Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty."

 

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A report on the American Ballet Theatre gala with slideshow.

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The evening carried on with a gala dinner, the tables adorned with extra-long plumes of bright red feathers. Guests chatted over beet salad and roasted chicken suppers, while dancers—fresh from the stage—refueled. It never ceases to surprise how quick the ballerinas are to the dance floor after an evening of performing.

Related.

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An interview with Precious Adams. Video.

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But she ended up in a different kind of spotlight last year, after a conversation with her boss about pink tights made newspaper headlines,

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A review of American Ballet Theatre by Brian Seibert in The New York Times.

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....Efforts like Ballet Theater’s have been giving female choreographers more chances to create work and get it seen, more chances to do what male choreographers have always been allowed to do: sometimes make hits, sometimes make duds.

At the David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday, we got two duds. The bigger one was by Ms. Tharp, one of very few female choreographers in ballet to have had a long career of hits and misses......

 

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Reviews of the Joffrey Ballet in "jane Eyre."

The Chicago Tribune

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Christine Rocas is simply extraordinary as Bertha Mason, the crazed wife Rochester keeps locked away as he pursues Jane. This is Rocas like we’ve never seen her before; hair messily strewn about, barefoot in a tattered red dress, she dances with menacing reckless abandon. Bertha has a propensity for violence, setting fires to Thornfield Hall and biting Grace Poole, Bertha’s beleaguered attendant fantastically epitomized by Dara Holmes. Rocas’ final solo, amidst the smoke and flames of Thornfield’s final undoing, is a thing of passion, as Rocas gropes at Rochester while simultaneously gauging his eyes out.

The Chicago Sun-Times

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Amanda Assucena and Greig Matthews, splendid as the 19-year-old Jane and Rochester, were engrossing to watch as they grew closer, first stiffly as acquaintances with the traditional balance of power assumed, then tentatively, as the situation evolved, into new minefields of interest, jealousy and suspicion. Their powerful pas de deux at the end of the first act released, at least temporarily, a flood of inner conflict in the wake of a mysterious disaster that pointed to even more trouble ahead.

 

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A review of American Ballet Theatre by Mary Cargill for danceviewtimes.

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ABT's Fall gala abandoned the usual trappings -- not a fouetté in sight -- though there were some extended speeches, especially the one from Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the president of Celebrity Cruises, in which she quoted statistics showing the small number of current female choreographers and touting the fact that the ABT gala featured works by two of them.  Unfortunately, though enthusiastically danced, both were completely overshadowed by Balanchine's "Theme and Variations."

 

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