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Program 3 reviews

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Seems reasonable to me that the only program we've written about is program 2 -- it's the only one that was really enjoyable

Program 3 is impressive.... And Helgi has made a beautiful new ballet -- for the men, 5 guys dancing to a Corelli concerto grosso (to that famous hit tune of the eighteenth century, "La Follia" -- you'd recognize it if you heard it, it's extremely danceable)

The ballet is sleek, elegant -- some very hard steps, some beautiful floating jumps (a kind of tour jete that floats horizontally in retire like a frisbee before a leg-to-land-on descends), grand pirouettes ending in fondu with a releve in ecarte, things like that -- actually very Danish, all about strength, but with line and finesse... he's come up with some lines that make men look very good, things that suit men's hips -- pirouettes in a high coupe back and so on, that look turned out even if they aren't...

And everybody in it is a CORPS boy, well except for Pascal Molat 9new French soloist), who's got some EXTREMELY beautiful grand batterie to do.....

Garrett Anderson is very appealing in some combinations that alternate Bournonville hobble-steps with big jumps in interesting positions; Jonathan Mangosing is breathtaking in a combination of fast multiple pirouettes in passe that end in fondu and go right back up into the world's slowest attitude turn; he repeats this 3 times, so you get to see it again, as if seeing were believing-- the attitude turns sometimes actually stop briefly and then continue...... literally incredible, except that other people you ask about it agree that that’s what he did. Mangosing has legs like a woman's -- round soft thighs, very high soft extensions, and an oozy quality to his dancing, like Allegra Kent had in Bugaku -- you can't tell where the movement is coming from, it's quite astounding. Dancers in the audience are very impressed -- and so is the rest of the audience. Tremendous applause.

Maybe Polyphonia would look more interesting on a program that didn't already have such an intense technical focus -- but the effect of the whole evening was like doing string-tests in biology lab -- did you ever do those? You’re using a microscope and trying to figure out by raising and lowering the lens, changing the focus: is the red thread on top of the green thread or vice-versa? Basic microscope skills, and they're fun to do -- but you couldn't spend the next 2 hours figuring out which foot was in back...... People seem to have liked Polyphonia at NYCB -- but you never know whether New Yorkers aren't just using Wheeldon as a stick to beat Peter Martins with. I wanted to like it, went back to see it again from the back of the dress circle, and it WAS more interesting, and more poetic, from further away and above..... but not killingly. The inner movements had the most kinetic appeal; and Kristin Long was marvelous, with a large dynamic range, sparkling at times, haunting at others.

Allegro brillante had exciting moments; Lorena Feijoo had a lot more success with it than Julie Diana, whose sweet mannerisms bothered me in this piece, and seemed to have made her partner, who shall remain nameless, extremely put out. Diana is not strong enough; she DOES have a musicality that's akin to Farrell's, but the little sincerities she sprinkled everywhere are not Farrellesque at all, and she lacks the alacrity in the thigh -- all those pique sous-sus's have to zing, like scissors closing.... Feijoo is wonderfully ready, but her temperament is too fiery, there's not enough TO this ballet for her.... Sara van Patten was lovely in the corps, as was Leslie Young, a radiant dancer.....

Many people here think Damned is a work of genius; I admire Possokhov enormously as a dance-artist, really he is extraordinary; and he did achieve a Gogolesque surrealism in Magrittomania, the dance of the petty-officials was sensational. BUt this version of Medea does not hold together for me. It DOES give Maffre a role she can gnarl herself into bizarre expressoinist shapes in -- but look what Lawrence Olivier could do with formulaic scripts. That's star-power, and Maffre has it, and she creates a sensation, but it's nothing like what Fiona Shaw did with Euripides, which was dead on.

THe music is wrong. (It's Ravel.) He uses the "Pavane for a dead Infanta" for the Creusa pas de deux -- which defeats the purpose. That music is hallowed; whenever it is used, it belongs to our girl, not to her rival. Similarly, the very disturbing OTHER concerto for the left hand is used, in very clever ways but against the real grain of the music, for the big events of Medea's story; that's just not what that music is about.

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(to that famous hit tune of the eighteenth century, "La Folia" -- you'd recognize it if you heard it, it's extremely danceable)

Recognize it? We can't escape it here. NYCB has not one, but two ballets (Chiaroscuro by Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Corellazione by Miriam Mahdaviani) to it. I can't fault choreographers for being attracted to the music. It is striking and beautiful.

I was one of the Polyphonia holdouts in NYC - it is a ballet that dancers make better with time though - they connect the dots the choreography might not do itself. Who did the solo female waltz in the cast you saw? That's the role that made Ansanelli in NYC, and the ballet was worth that alone.

Thank you so much for speaking up and reporting in Paul. You get a Board Host canapé of your choice. I recommend the cucumber rounds, although I also make fabulous mini-quiches.

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Darling Leigh, a cucumber sandwich would come in real handy right now. I near-about wore myself OUT writing that.....

the waltz girl was Kristin Long..... (Is that the role where the partner sort of goes spectral, circles her and disappears, and she kind of hovers and then continues by herself?)

and re la Follia -- Angene Feves, the Baroque dance specialist, has reconstructed a version of la Follia, very very interesting.... it's made for dancing. Seems like here were nearly as many covers of that tune as there have been of "Louie Louie...." (which was also made for dancing)

With respect to programming-- Polyphonia might feel VERY different on a different program.... it was amazing to us all, everybody commented on it, how well Elite Syncopations and Dances at a Gathering went together, and EVERYBODY loved Elite here -- many BA commentators have said how much they disliked it; maybe it was hte programming, maybe the current phony-war situation echoes something sort-of World WarI phony-war that's built into the raffish Edwardian music-hall milieu of ELite -- or maybe it flatters our barbary-Coast past here, but Elite closed that program in the most enchanting way.....

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So here I am in SF for business and too late for one set of SFB performances, and too early for Don Q. Ah well, at least I'll be back in time for Ringer's second Coppelia; I'll have to live without Borree's, at least for now.

So is that Maffre or Feijoo who's draped along the sides of the busses here in that billboard-sized ad for SFB in Possukhov's darn ballet?

I thought Elite Syncopations was ghastly the first and last times I saw it, 27 (Dear God!) years ago at the Met. In some ways, I don't think I've ever recovered from the sight of dancers like Makarova or Jennifer Penney in those -- costumes -- adorned with day-glow hands pawing them in indelicate areas. I suppose the costumes were to stand in lieu of the more-traditional orange fright wig to identify those of a harlot-ish persuasion. After all, this is a MacMillan ballet.....

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Yes, Paul, that's the waltz. Ansanelli was so touching in the part. Up until that point she was being marketed as a baby wind-up virtuoso (She jumps! She turns!) and Wheeldon gave her this simple part to a simple waltz. She was so alone and vulnerable on that stage - a little girl lost. She made the ballet and the ballet made her.

Elite in Toronto was fascinating, because the Canadians have been doing it since '78. Yes, it's vulgar, but they've turned it into a tradition on the order of a Christmas panto; in Toronto it's a beloved friend. They've also got personalities in each of the roles - their senior dancers (Martine Lamy, Rex Harrington, Xiao Nan Yu and Greta Hodgkinson) make it look like it was made for them.

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You are in town!?!?!

Call me -- I'm in the book,

let's have a drink or something.....

thANKS, LEIGH, FOR THE STORY ABOUT ANSANELLI -- i HAVEN'T SEEN HER YET, BUT i CERTAINLY HAVE BEEN HEARING ABOUT HER... That makes a great deal fall into place. Long did not make that happen -- she was haunting, it was lovely, but it did not well up and sweep us away.

Linsusanr, Balletnut, Rachel -- how did you feel?

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