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Alexei Ratmansky Comes to NY (from The Nation)

A piece in The Nation from 2009, when Ratmansky announced he was joining  American Ballet Theatre. See the piece here.

And here is a short excerpt:

“But perhaps the biggest surprise of the ballet was Olga’s fiancé, danced on the first night by David Hallberg. If the other characters are one-dimensional, he is even more so, yet Ratmansky gives him two of the ballet’s most vivid moments….At the end of the party, the fiancé stands alone in the center of the stage and explodes with frustration: he turns on his own axis and jumps with one long leg out to the side, then does a series of small leaps in a circle, jumps from side to side and hops backward, kicking one leg forward over and over. He swings his arms uncontrollably. He stares at the ground, then at the audience. The stage fills with his disappointment. 
”Why is this happening to me?” he is saying, and we feel it in our bones. Ratmansky clearly saw a wildness in Hallberg–usually a gentle, noble dancer–that he wanted to set free, and did.”

Novice

Dear future readers. I have finally entered the digital age with the creation of this blog.  I ask for your indulgence, considering my slow learning curve. Mainly, I intend to gather together pieces written here and there, and perhaps to include some additional thoughts that seem to fit nowhere else.

Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Happy reading…

On the Bright Stream (Playbill)

From Playbill.

A short excerpt: “The Bright Stream, which is set during a harvest festival on a collective farm in the Caucasus and has a cast of characters that includes milkmaids, dancers in drag, a tractor driver, and a doddering “inspector of quality,” is not meant to be taken too seriously. The ostensible “message” of the ballet is the enthusiasm of “the people” for the birth of a productive new society in which decadent behavior is scorned. But…it is quite obvious from the beginning that such elevated ideals are merely the pretext for a funny story about romantic goings-on on a farm in late summer when a pair of attractive ballet dancers comes to perform at the harvest festival. The result is a romantic farce worthy of Marivaux, with secret rendezvous, mistaken identities, and a dancer who disguises himself as a dog in order to defend a virtuous young schoolgirl.”

The End: The Merce Cunningham Dance Company Takes its Final Bow (The Nation)

An older piece, on the closing of the Merce Cunningham Company and what it means for the future of the Cunningham rep, from The Nation.

Here’s a short excerpt:

“How had it come to this? The Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which since 1953 has fundamentally altered some of the most basic precepts of dance…is not a victim of the crummy economy or of evolving tastes. Nor is it the casualty of a struggle over ownership of the repertory, which was nearly the case with Martha Graham’s troupe. Cunningham, the company’s founder and raison d’être, died in the summer of 2009 at 90, one month after the death of Pina Bausch, the director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal. But whereas Bausch’s dancers are soldiering on, Cunningham’s company has come to a calculated end, one formulated over several years by the company’s administration and board, approved by the choreographer and announced one month before his death.”

Pina Bausch Rethinks the Legend of Orpheus (DanceTabs)

Read it here, in DanceTabs.

An Excerpt:

“I had to re-read the libretto when I got home in order to make sense of what I had just seen. Bausch eliminates context, and subdivides the scenes into abstract thematic chunks: “mourning,” “violence,” “peace,” and “death.” The themes are relatively clear, but the underlying narrative and internal monologues of the characters are not….Without an understanding of the specifics of the text, one aria tends blends into the next….Many details were lost; it was not  clear at what point Orpheus entered the underworld, or how, exactly, he managed to wangle his way to Eurydice’s resting place in the first place. Other mysteries: why, in the Underworld, is there a woman clutching a giant loaf of bread and another who reaches, endlessly, for an apple on a string?”

POB’s Dorothée Gilbert, or the Art of Dancing with the Eyes (The Faster Times)

From The Faster Times.

Here is an excerpt:

“It takes a while for a visiting company to make more than a superficial impression—especially after an absence of sixteen years—so it was astute of Brigitte Lefèvre (the company’s artistic director) and the Lincoln Center Festival to arrange a longer stay, two weeks rather than just a few days. Repeated viewings allow us to settle into the Parisians’ slightly unfamiliar style—so pristine, so erect— and to feel we are beginning to know the dancers…. Until last night (July 18), when I saw Dorothée Gilbert in Giselle, I had admired the company as a whole, but was not particularly drawn to any of the ballerinas; they have a certain cool reserve that keeps one at arm’s length. But Gilbert (an Étoile since 2007) is a dancer I would like to see again and again: she seems to have all the attributes of the French school but also to transcend them with her own personal qualities as a dancer and actress.  She has that special quality particular to great dancers: she fills the stage with her presence and makes you feel you are experiencing the ballet anew.”