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Found 11 results

  1. Yesterday's matinee was the last performance on the Mariinsky tour of California, La Bayadere at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall with Novikova, Kim and Batoeva. It was magnificent! Rarely do we see such dancing in the Bay Area, and the audience was over the moon. The scenery and dancers competed for space on the small Zellerbach stage but they made it work to create an escapist fantasy set in a mythical past. The elephant, the tiger, the parrots! Oh my! They even managed to get 32 shades on the stage. Kudos to the corps! The same cast (except for the principals) had performed the same ballet twice on the previous day and some of them looked a bit tired. However they gave it their all. I recognized the inimitable Yana Selina as the second shade and Maria Bulanova in the grand pas. Maria Illushkina was listed as one of two dancers in D'Jampe but I couldn't tell which one she was, nor did she stand out in the grand pas. Anastasia Lukina had a slight stumble towards the end of the third shade variation but was otherwise pretty secure. The crowd loved Phillip Stepin as the Golden Idol. Olesya Novikova as Nikiya -- words fail. I was sitting next to a young dancer who gasped each time Novikova held an impossible balance or went into a lift with all the insouciance of a person catching a bus. Her technical security allowed her to inhabit the role without pause. During Nikya's monologue the normally unruly Berkeley audience held its collective breath and you could hear a pin drop. Novikova rarely tours (she has I think 3 children) so we were very lucky to see this performance. I was expecting great things of Nadezhda Batoeva as Gamzatti, and those expectations were exceeded. What a glittering princess she was, what great technique and stage presence. I have never seen such slow and beautifully controlled Italian fouettes. She was an equal match for Novikova in the "cat fight" scene and added many interesting details to create a unique Gamzatti. For example, after Nikiya attacks her with the knife Batoeva conveyed Gamzatti's gradual realization of what had just happened and the evolution of this into a decision to punish Nikya. Kim was Kim, flying through the air. The audience went nuts. Bouyed by this, his last manege of grand jetes at the very end were if possible higher and more energetic than earlier in the ballet. He was better as a partner than expected. During the bows the mutual respect between Kim and Novikova was touchingly evident. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to see these great artists in person. I hope they return soon.
  2. La Bayadère Berliner Staatsballett. Ratmanksy - amazing production! Seminova as Nikiya, Virelles as Solor, Correa as Gamzatti. I love the way Ratmansky does Grand Ballet Kitsch with total seriousness and commitment. It was on the one hand watching the 19th. Century come alive, but with Bakst’s spirit hovering throughout, and a witty, knowing but academically informed 21st century approach. His use of mime is perfect - no other does it as well. It was truly a language in itself. The dancing first rate throughout (....although first night wobbles visible amongst the Shades, when they were on solid ground not the slope), Polina and Yolanda totally nailed it. Alejandro’s solo a little underpowered, but still a great performance. Loved the sets - the Himalayas in the background, great palace destruction, and fabulous costumes. Riotous applause!
  3. La Bayadere opens tonight. Please use this thread for discussion of performances. Thanks!
  4. Well, yes, it's La Bayadere, but not as you know it. Not, that is, if you have in mind Makarova's production for American Ballet, which has been presented by many companies internationally since then. The Australian Ballet is one such company, and their production of La Bayadere was the first in a series of steps that resulted in my present obsession with ballet. At the time however, I sat throughout the evening in horror. 'Haven't these people read Edward Said' was all I could think of. 'Don’t they know about Orientalism?' Greg Horsman (previosly ballet master, Northern Ballet, then ENB, now Ballet Master at QB) has significantly reduced the spectre of Orientalism in his reworking of the story. The time is early nineteenth century and Solor is son of the Rajah of Cooch Behar, a kingdom that has been locked in battle with the British. Peace is agreed, to be sealed by the marriage of Solor to the Governor General's daughter, Edith. Gamzatti is nowhere to be seen. Of course, Solor ia actually deeply in love with Nikiya and is horrified by his father's order. He consents, however, believing that he and Nikiya can elope. At their engagement party however, Nikiya, unaware of what is afoot, comes to dance, and, unable to resist, Solor embraces her. Confronted by her fiance's real affections, Edith stabs Nikiya to death. The following scene, the kingdom of the shades, is pretty much straight Makarova/Petipa, and leads into the wedding celebrations, where Solor, drunk on wine (and opium) collapses and is taken to his room. Edith tries to seduce him, and on being rebuffed, screams that she is responsible for Nikiya's death. In a blind rage, Solor strangles her and is in turn shot by British soldiers, falling through a window to his death. Obviously, with such a radical remaking of the story, there is a great deal of new choreography, and Greg Horsman has done a good job of integrating the original and the new. Principals Victor Estevez and Laura Hidalgo as Solor and Nikiya imbued their roles with tenderness, lyricism and passion. The role of Edith was the disappointment of the evening. Lucy Green is in general a fine dancer, but this time she had a petulant, self-centred brat to present, more suited to one of the ugly sisters in Cinderella than to an avatar of the aristocratic Gamzatti. The highlight of the performance, the kingdom of the shades was reasonably well done, though the staging, with the shades passing in front of a glorious yellow full moon, was wonderful. The music, under the direction og Nigel Gaynor, was outstanding, the score being extensively re-arranged and attempts made to in incorporate some aspects of Indian music, especially in the Prologue. Overall, a successful production.
  5. The January edition of the Dancing Times says that the Mariinsky Season next year will be from July 24 to August 12. They open with Don Q and follow this with Swan Lake, Anna Karenina (Ratmansky), and a Triple Bill (Carmen Suite; Infra and the Paquita Grand Pas), closing with La Bayadere.
  6. I received a leaflet for the Big Give today from BRB. This states that the company will be performing in Stanton Welch's staging of La Bayadere in autumn 2017. As far as I can gather this was first produced for the Houston Ballet and then mounted on the Australian Ballet.
  7. I was lucky enough to attend the 2 weekend performances of Makarova's La Bayadere in Amsterdam. I was not disappointed. On Saturday I saw Anna Tsygankova with Daniel Camargo in the lead roles with Wen Ting Guan as Gamzatti. The performance was very nice, however I much preferred Sunday's performance of the 2 I saw, which was danced by Anna Ol and Young Gyu Choi with Qian Liu as Gamzatti. I found the latter's portrayal of Gamzatti far more convincing than that of Saturday. As Solor, Choi was far superior to Camargo with far better acting skill as well as physical strength as a dancer - his turns and jumps were much stronger and he was able to carry out the required lifts correctly. On Saturday Camargo was not able to fully lift Guan and she sort of slithered down from the height of the lift far sooner than she should have done. That said he was an elegant dancer but I did not get much emotion from Camargo and did not really notice the mime when he danced whereas Choi was very clear with his mime. Anna Tsygankova is a fine dancer indeed executing her moves with grace and ease and it is always lovely to see her dance. Anna Ol was a gentle sensitive Nikiya and you could feel her despair and I really liked her performance. Hard to say who was better, if at all. The corps de ballet and divertissements were all beautifully danced. However the icing on the cake was The Kingdom of The Shades. Saturday night's scene was magnificent so good that a hush fell over the auditorium it really was a special thing to see. Sunday's KotS was very good too just a wobble short of Saturday's maybe, plus the audience was not as quiet. Either way though both Kingdoms were impressive and a credit to the ballet masters/mistresses. The music was fabulous under the baton of Ermano Florio it really was a treat to hear. Costumes were bright and beautiful. I was a little underwhelmed by the Bronze Idol (although he is coloured gold?!) I have seen more bravura choreography for him i n other productions but both Sho Yamada and OScar Valdes gave good strong performances on Saturday and Sunday respectively. At the curtain call on Saturday there was a bit of a flower throw anyway it transpires that it was Anna Tsygankova's birthday so that was nice to see! There are a handful of performances left so if you get a chance to see one I would recommend seeing the show. Photo - Anna Tsygankova/Daniel Camargo/Wen Ting Guan Photo - Anna Ol/Young Gyu Choi/Qian Liu
  8. Saw the Bayadere tonight and got on much better with that than their Swan Lake. Denis Rodkin is a marvel to behold in the flesh and gets enough to do as Solor, the company gets into the spirit of Bayadere with some delightfully hammy acting (particularly enjoyed the flouncy, cross Brahmin) and I quite liked Gamzatti as well. Kolesnikova's arm were beautiful and I felt she was more suited to Nikiya than O/O. The shades were a bit shady at times and as in Swan Lake, there were no real stand-out dancers. I think it's a shame that the company seems to have focussed on one dancer as their star but doesn't really seem to develop the lower ranks. I'm sure there is some talent there, but some of the variations looked very haphazard.
  9. In our daily trawl for ballet or dance-related Links, it's fairly rare to come across something from South Africa. However, something popped up by way of Twitter earlier today that seems worth sharing. Joburg Ballet which, according to the Company website, was only established in 2012 as a professional company, is planning a production of La Bayadère using students from its associated Academy to bolster its numbers. All in all, it seems an ambitious venture and some idea of what has been involved can be seen in the three video features here: http://blog.laugesorensen.com/?p=113
  10. Alexandrova injured on stage. And several times the corps crashed into each other as well. Really, really under rehearsed
  11. I'd meant to post something about this a month or two back, but recent reports in Today's Links (http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/1602-dance-links-wb-sunday-august-5-2012/, entries 6 and 7 at the time of writing) have made the subject topical again. The Paris Opera Ballet's March live relay of Rudolf Nureyev's production of La Bayadère has been shown in UK cinemas over the last couple of months, and also, I now see, in the USA. (It couldn't be shown live, because the date picked clashed with the Royal Ballet's live broadcast of Romeo and Juliet). It featured Aurélie Dupont as Nikiya, the newly-promoted étoile Josua Hoffalt as Solor and Ludmila Pagliero as Gamzatti. All the showings I could find seemed to be around lunchtime on a weekday, which will doubtless have reduced the possible audience, but did anyone else get to see it? I loved seeing the opulence of this production again: it really is stunning. Among the secondary casting, I have to admit to being very taken with Charline Giezendanner in the Manu, and later on as whichever Shade she danced: she has a very vivacious stage personality, which came over well in the former. It was interesting seeing Pagliero being promoted to étoile on stage - she'd taken on the role at the very last minute due to multiple injuries, not having danced it since the previous production run, I believe - but I was rather sorry that it took the focus so much off Dupont at the curtain calls: Gamzatti is very much the secondary role in this production, unlike in the Makarova production for the Royal Ballet, where the ballerinas are rather more evenly cast. I still wish Nureyev had been able to restore the final act, though - knowing that it might have been possible always leaves me with the feeling that this production is somehow incomplete.
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