Forward to Petipa

“Honestly, I just can’t stand seeing productions of the classics any more, because I know how far it is from Petipa’s intentions,” Alexei Ratmansky told me a few months back, when we began discussing preparations for his new Sleeping Beauty, based largely on his interpretation of historical sources. He said many other things too. You’ll find them here, in this extensive q&a.

 

Alexei Ratmansky in Sleeping Beauty rehearsal.Photo by Rosalie O'Connor.
Alexei Ratmansky in Sleeping Beauty rehearsal.Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

Catching up

This time of year, it’s hard to keep up with the goings-on in the dance world (particularly ballet). Here is a round-up of recent performances and news:

Evgenia Obraztsova in <I>Romeo and Juliet</I>.<br />© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)
Evgenia Obraztsova in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor.

1. Herman Cornejo and Evgenia Obraztsova performed a touching rendition of Romeo and Juliet at the Met. It was Obraztsova’s début with the company—here’s hoping this new partnership will blossom in coming seasons. Here is a link to my review, for DanceTabs.

https://i2.wp.com/cvj1llwqcyay0evy.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/gs-herman-cornejo-happy-jump_1000.jpg
Herman Cornejo at the same performance. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

 

2. New York Theatre Ballet, alias “the little company that could,” held its first season in the sanctuary at St. Mark’s Church, its new home. On the program were works by Frederick Ashton, Richard Alston, David Parker, Antony Tudor, and the young choreographer Gemma Bond. The space fits the company beautifully, and the inclusion of live music (piano and voice) made all the difference. Here’s a link to my review, for DanceTabs.

New York Theatre Ballet in Anthony Tudor's Dark Elegies.© Yi-Chun Wu. (Click image for larger version)
New York Theatre Ballet in Anthony Tudor’s Dark Elegies. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

3. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater closed out the season with a Rennie Harris’s moving Exodus (new this season), Robert Battle’s No Longer Silent (a company première), and, of course Revelations. Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

4. And finally, Julie Kent gave her final performance with ABT, a finely-etched portrait of Juliet in the well-loved Kenneth MacMillan production. As always with this thinking ballerina, every detail was beautifully distinct. It is difficult to imagine works like A Month in the Country without her.

Julie Kent, the soul of simplicity, as always. Photo by me.
Julie Kent, the soul of simplicity, as always. Photo by yours truly.

 

ABT Marks 75 years

Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in Pillar of Fire. Photo by Marty Sohl.
Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in Pillar of Fire. Photo by Marty Sohl.

In its first week, the company performs works from its first decade. See my review of two programs here.

Chopin Dances

Yekaterina Kondaurova and Yevgeny Ivanchenko in Jerome Robbins’ In the Night, by Julieta Cervantes.
Yekaterina Kondaurova and Yevgeny Ivanchenko in Jerome Robbins’ In the Night, by Julieta Cervantes.

You can read my review of the Mariinsky’s all Chopin, all piano triple bill, for DanceTabs, here.

 

 

Ballet for the Masses

Oksana Bondareva, Ivan Vasiliev together with Angelina Vorontsova and the company in The Flames of Paris. Phot by Stas Levshin, courtesy the Mikhailovsky Ballet.
Oksana Bondareva, Ivan Vasiliev together with Angelina Vorontsova and the company in The Flames of Paris. Phot by Stas Levshin, courtesy the Mikhailovsky Ballet.

After a few performances of the Romantic classic Giselle, the Mikhailovsky Ballet moved on to far more original fare: the 1932 Flames of Paris, by Vasily Vainonen. Conceived as a thinly-veiled tribute to the October Revolution, the ballet is a celebration of group action, as represented by the  company. The ensembles are as important as the soloists, if not more so. Ditto with “character” (i.e. non-classical) dance. The style ranges from Auvergnat clog-dances to 18th-century court dance to Soviet heroism. The story is rip-roaring, more Scarlet Pimpernel than fairy-tale or reverie. Simply put, it’s great fun, and fascinating to see a ballet in a style we never see nowadays. (Though, in its own way, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice is not far off.)

Here’s my review, for DanceTabs.

First Impressions: The Mikhailovsky Ballet

Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov in the Mikhailovsky's production of Giselle. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov in the Mikhailovsky’s production of Giselle. Photo by Paul Kolnik.

 

The Mikhailovsky Ballet had its New York début this week in Giselle. Opening night was led by a starry cast: Natalia Osipova and Leonid Sarafanov. Here’s my review of that performance, as well as the one at the following matinée, with Anastasia Soboleva and Victor Lebedev as Giselle and Albrecht. Soboleva is a find.

And some background on the company.

Ballet as Pop Art

Maria Alexandrova in Bolshoi Ballet's production of Don Quixote. Photo by Damir Yusupov.
Maria Alexandrova in Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Don Quixote. Photo by Damir Yusupov.

I think it’s safe to say that no-one dances Don Quixote like the Bolshoi. The ballet is shallow, it’s showy, but, particularly in the first act, its exuberance is a kind of paean to the art form itself, the joy of the stage, the stirring effect of dozens of bodies moving with the kind of amplitude and produced by years and years of training. Here’s my review of one of the Bolshoi casts, for DanceTabs.