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Found 6 results

  1. Last weekend I had the pleasure to see Cranko's Romeo and Juliet in Munich. Main cast: Maria Baranova, Jinhao Zhang as R&J, Shale Wagman (Mercutio), Robin Strona (Tybalt), Yago Gonzaga (Benvolio). It was the 3rd of only 3 Romeo and Juliet performances this year (will be up again next year). The orchestra was fabulous. I was sitting in the first row, where the sound can be a bit strenuous, but it wasn't the case and I thoroughly enjoyed the music. I was very touched by Maria Baranova's Juliet, which was a debut for her in Munich. She really captivated this character, and especially in 3rd act won me totally over. Her dancing and acting was just heartbreaking. And the impact the role had on her was obvious in the first curtain call for R&J only, on the dark stage. She was still totally immersed in the final scene and couldn't let go. Jinhao supported her and for the curtain call with the entire cast, she was more back to life then. As for Jinhao Zhang: he was a reliable and strong partner, I just missed a bit a more diverse facial expression. Robin Strona's debut was a strong and irreconcilable Tybalt. Yago Gonzaga was a Benvolio I almost didn't notice, as he was very laid back in a way in his debut that night. It looked to me as if there hadn't been enough rehearsals with the props for this cast; for example, at one point the cape got stuck on Shale Wagman's foot. With such a lot of debuts (8 in total), not enough rehearsals with props is a very risky thing to do, in my opinion. Shale Wagman debuted as Mercutio and was....well Mercury Wagman. A role, as if it was made to be danced by him. Mischievous, flirty, fierce in sword fighting and heartbreaking and convincing in the death scene. Again, the phenomenon happened: as soon as he enters a stage, all eyes are on him. I spoke with other people so it's not just me who marvelled about him... 😃 In Act 3 Paris was so stiff that it was clear that he wasn't sure where to go/move. Pater Lorenzo entered the stage, when the staff who put the garden onstage hadn't left the stage yet. And Mercutio's sliding across the stage in his solo didn't happen, because Shale's foot got stuck on the floor. 🙈 He managed to catch himself very well though and finished with the required roll forward. Anyway. He really owned this role. And the audience around me gasped and laughed and clapped. It was a very joyful evening, Cranko's Romeo and Juliet is just a brilliant ballet. I wish I could insert here my video(s) from curtain call but they are obviously too large.
  2. Last night, after the final performance at Festival Peralada, Laurent Hilaire announced backstage the promotion of Shale Wagman to New First Soloist at the Bayerisches Staatsballett. From all the performances I have seen him in, I can only say: massive congratulations, well deserved! Picture posted by Bayerisches Staatsballett:
  3. I'm back from Munich and was lucky to see both Triple Bill performances which opened the Ballet Festival Week. Here are some impressions: The 3 pieces complimented each other. Dawson's "Affairs of the heart" is an essence of " l'art pour l'art" for me. "Pictures at an exhibition" by A. Ratmansky showed a colorful interpretation of life, with a strong political reference to the war in Ukraine, and Marco Goecke's "Sweet bones melody" had a more subtle, very touching message about the need for peace. Affairs of the heart" by David Dawson (world premiere on Saturday) The beautiful and haunting music by Marjan Mozetich (violin concert, same title as choreo) served the breathtaking beauty of the choreography in perfection, and vice versa. Stage setting was just a wall with geometric forms and changing colors from yellow, pink, blue to grey. All dancers were dressed in lightblue/grey leotards (with long legs for the men). 4 couples, three female and 2 male soloists presented this new creation. The program book contains insightful interviews with Dawson and dancers Shale Wagman, Carollina Bastos and Emilio Pavan about the process of creating this piece, that is a wonderful addition to the performance. I felt indeed the heart all dancers put into this piece. They danced it with so much, grace, elegance and dedication (abandon ? I struggle with translation here ), it really made me forget the outside world. Soloist Shale Wagman was a kind of a virtuous and elegant cupido, inspiring and spreading love across the stage and between the couples. He had 2 solos alone onstage as well. His fluidity in dancing and excellent classical technique, e.g. long manege jumps, illuminated the stage, and I am very grateful to David Dawson that he saw and "used" Shale's artistry to the maximum. On the Staatsballett website is also a 7 minutes video with interviews and dance clips about this production. "Pictures at an exhibition" by A. Ratmansky (created in 2014 for NYC ballet). Music: M. Mussorgski, piano: D. Mayboroda Stage setting was also just a wall with video projections of partial Kandinsky paintings. The costumes complimented these projections, for the ladies with featherlight transparent dresses with color patterns, their male partners in sleeveless shirts and long pants w matching color patterns. It was pretty colorful onstage, lol. A highlight was seeing Amar Ramasar, former dancer with NYC ballet. He was only meant to coach in this production but ended up onstage as replacement for Osiel Gouneo who was ill. Prisca Zeisel, principal dancer, danced the solo parts but was obviously already injured (although I noticed it only at curtain call). For the second night, Rebecca Horn from Wiener Staatsballett jumped in for her, which was another blessing to see her very strong, mischevious solo. I should know the paintings/musical parts Amar and Rebecca interpreted but I'm so tired...sorry. I also noticed some choreographic nods to Ballet Russes. My favorite part was the PDD danced by Jinhao Zhang and Kristina Lind (who jumped in for Madison Young, she is injured). Very tender, light and lyrical. In the very end, the Ukrainian flag was projected on stage wall, as final picture. It was a strong signal, and raised of course lots of applause. For curtain call, Ratmansky held the Ukrainian flag above his head, again and again and again. I know that Munich is partner city for Kijev, but I had a hard time accepting that he used this evening as a political statement in such an overwhelming manner. It caused a lot of applause just for this statement and distracted from the piece and the dancers, imo. But well. On second night, the applause was dedicated to the dancers. "Sweet bones' melody" by Marco Goecke (world premiere on Saturday) Sorry I cannot describe what pulls me into Marco Goecke's pieces. It's certainly an "either you love it, or you hate it" stuff he creates. Here, we had a dark foggy stage, dark confetti (like ashes) falling from the "sky", costumes dark long wide trousers and dark top with glitter. I wonder why none of the dancers stumbled because the trousers were far too long. Top solo by Jonah Cook and ehm...yes Shale Wagman😀. I literally searched for the ice skates he must have had on his feet (not, of course). The many many whirlwind turns across the stage were executed with SUCH a speed and precision, it was unbelievable. My neighbors in row gasped. And then he stopped dead where/when he had to and moved on with his solo...boah. Altogether, I applause all dancers who trip, run, bend, cramp etc in the usual speedy, hasty Goecke moves. It's a marathon from A to Z, but I hear the dancers love his pieces. Well me too but I can sit. The magic moment was when all dancers were on stage, standing heads down immobilized, and from the off, Florian Sollfrank's voice whispered a poem by Else Lasker-Schueler, "Weltenende". OMG that was so moving. Could have been the end of the piece, but it wasn't. The piece went on then a bit more, and in the end, a single dancer emerged from the dark back with a white dove in his hands. For premiere night, the bird even flapped the wings a bit but was attached to the dancers hand by a string, so it could not escape. It was the final scene, a far more subtle but very moving and powerful longing for peace and hint what has been lost in so many parts of the world. A very very wonderful new triple bill for Bayerisches Staatsballett, if you can, go see it. Check out the videos on their website, and or instagram/Facebook. The company is in top form (minus the poor injured) and have a great week ahead. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  4. Moving this out of the "Germany ..." thread so it doesn't get lost among 3 dozen pages: Munich:
  5. On November 27, 2021 I was lucky to see a fierce Shale Wagman debut in Balanchine's Rubies, as second part of the famous Jewels ballet. Shale partnered Carrolina Bastos who performed this for the first time as well. Both were on fire, and had a good chemistry. I loved their witty, sexy flirts, performed with great energy and flexibility. From my point of view, this piece fits like a glove for Shale, since with his experiences in all kinds of dance long before he took lessons at he APG school, he knows how to switch on also "jazzy moves" for Stravinsky's tunes. Again, my first thought was: gosh he OWNS the stage. The jumps, as high as flexible. Twirling like a red flash while turning and crossing the stage. And the looks he gave Carrolina - challenging, enjoying, loving, and flirting, all was there for this witty sexy Rubies couple. I also liked the part where he literally kicks his feet at the other male dancers and chases them across the stage. Thunderous rounds of applause were the reward for this awesome debut. Lots of Bravos, the loudest coming from some rows behind me where Shale's Mother screamed. She had come all the way from Canada to see him finally perform at Bayerisches Staatsballett. I had the feeling everybody gave their best with the applause and trample to spread love, energy and gratitude to these wonderful dancers, actually for all 3 parts of Jewels, since only 25% tickets were sold due to Corona restrictions. I would also like to say some words about Emeralds and Diamonds from this night. Vera Segova debuted in Emeralds alongside Vladislav Dolgikh. She was very delicate, elegant and performed the soft elegiac tone in perfection. Vladislav was a good partner for her. A detail that catched my eyes: he has a wonderful way to point out his feet and to set the foot on the floor so elegant and soft, it made me think of Hallberg's beautiful feet. They were wonderful together. Bianca Teixeira, Antonio Casalinho and M. Fernandez performed the Pas de Trois. A good trio, both in technique and synchronicity, led by by A. Casalinho. Madison Young and Jinhao Zhang were the Diamonds solo couple. Madison Young is just as elegant as soft especially in her port de bras, as you want yo see it. And I want to see her Odette! Soon hopefully. As for Jinhao Zhang: he is a perfect partner for her, presenting his ballerina in the best supporting way, and performed superbe jumps and maneges in his solos. Since I saw the performance on Sunday again I can also report another debut: Elvina Ibraimova debuted as Soloist in Rubies. Her performance was much more energetic and eye-catching than Prisca Zeisel's the night before. Some general remarks: every evening, some 30 anti-vaxxers demonstrate in front of Bayerische Staatsoper since it's a prominent area with a square. They make a lot of noise with speeches and music. They did so while we entered the building. It made me so furious I wanted to scream in their faces. Also on Sunday morning was another demo not far from the Opera House. The performances are still going on, with 25% tickets to be sold. But the dancers are very concerned. It felt awkward to get a test to enter a theatre. To present your vaccination certificate, personal ID and the test to strangers (at entrance). No, I am still not used to it. But I would present them my first tooth I lost as a child if it would get me into the theatre. I was beyond grateful for some beautiful hours, keeping the madness outside. I knock on wood and pray that they can continue to perform. Link to Shale's Instagram post about the debut. Sadly, my own pics and videos are a mess. I was too nervous. https://www.instagram.com/p/CW08rqIsvOM/?utm_medium=copy_link
  6. Good Afternoon, I have been lurking quite a bit but this is my first post. Does anyone have any experience of the Ballet Academy/ Hochschule für Musik and Theater in Munich? Best Regards,
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