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Found 9 results

  1. Aside from Skylar Brandt's performances, I was not as wowed as I was hoping to be by this performance. I was especially unenthused about the premiere of Bernstein in a Bubble...Here's my review; has anyone else watched this yet?
  2. The Australian Ballet's Melbourne year had been scheduled to start with a new Graeme Murphy, The Happy Prince, but due to Mr Murphy's health that has been postponed. Instead, they brushed up the Ratmansky Cinderella that closed 2018 in Sydney. Our subscription night was last Friday (22 March) and we saw Ako Kondo and her husband Chengwu Guo as Cinderella and the Prince. Having last seen the now-retired Leanne Stojmenov with Alexander Campbell in those roles, I was distinctly underwhelmed by Kondo and Guo. I hadn't seen them dance together for a couple of years and they have improved as a partnership but despite their individual general excellence and their real-world marriage, it's not a partnership I will rush to see again. Far more engaging were the Terrible Trio of Stepmother (Dana Stephensen), Skinny Stepsister (Ingrid Gow in the role she created) and Dumpy Stepsister (Jill Ogai). They work brilliantly together, and Ogai and Stephensen are now even better matches for Gow than they were in December. I still laugh every time Gow lifts her skirt, exposing her French knickers, as she carefully grounds (grinds?) her pointe shoe before pirouetting. I still find the Planets (instead of fairies etc) unattractive and confusing as a concept, as certainly do all the children I've seen and heard at performances of this production. Even mental repetition of the old mnemonic doesn't help me identify them all correctly - I found out last Friday the one I thought was Mars was in fact Uranus! The Prince's tour of the world only really works with a dancer who can engage the audience with his acting. In the hands of Guo it was just...blah. I also find the quartet of Prince's Friends seems to have degenerated into slapstick and sloppy dancing, very rough around the edges, which it certainly wasn't intended to be. I would have enjoyed the opportunity to see Sharni Spencer (who made an excellent début In December) with Brett Chynoweth, but was unable to afford an extra ticket, the only available ones being $274 for not-great seats at a Saturday matinée. Overall, the good bits balanced out the weak bits but it'll be a while and I'll check the casting carefully before I see this production again.
  3. Opening this thread in hopes of reports from @jmb, @DD Driver and @Bluebird before I make it to Sydney! Alexander Campbell is dancing the Prince to Leanne Stojmenov's Cinderella on 12 and 14 December, otherwise only Ty King-Wall and Chengwu Guo, just two of six male TAB principals (one doesn't do it, two injured, one in Birmingham with BRB) and a wealth of talent from the middle ranks ie soloists Brodie James, Cristiano Martino and Marcus Morelli, and coryphée Callum Linnane. In the Cinderella role are both Stojmenov and Lana Jones in their final performances before retiring, also Ako Kondo and Robyn Hendricks, plus senior artists Dimity Azoury and Jade Wood, and soloist Sharni Spencer - I think her debut main stage principal role. Opening night was last Friday, after which Wood was announced as winner of this year's Ballet Dancer Award. Room for at least one promotion...but it won't be the night I'm there as I'm supposed to have Stojmenov and Campbell.
  4. Just some set up shots from Anna Karenina's rehearsal today. Konstantin Zverev - Count Vronsky and Diana Vishneva - Anna Karenina Diana Vishneva - Anna Karenina and Artists of the Mariinsky Ballet Anna Karenina - Diana Vishneva More pictures on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk
  5. In the late nineteenth century the ballet reformers in St. Petersburg thought that the emphasis on technical developments for their own sake had gone too far.Even Petipa wrote that the Italian school was in danger of destroying ballet. The response of the ballet reformers in St Petersburg was to emphasise the purity of the French school.As a pupil of the Imperial School Pavlova was singled out, not for her technical skills but for the purity of her dance.Then Fokine created a revolutionary work without any choreographic pyrotechnics evoking the French romantic ballet, Chopiniana known to the West as Les Sylphides. Fokine's aesthetics dominated ballet for a time in Russia and for far longer in the West where choreographers continued to create ballets which emphasised balance, order and mood rather than creating works which were "displays of dance". Should the various attempts to reconstruct ballets ranging from LaCotte's La Sylphide and La Fille du Pharon to Ratmansky's Corsaire, Don Quixote, Paquita and Sleeping Beauty be seen as part of a single movement or are there several strands at work? Was LaCotte merely using the idea of reconstruction of long lost works as a cloak of respectability for the creation of works that were essentially new ?Are some of those working in the field trying to recapture the imagined purity of past performance style and practice in a way reminiscent of the Early Music Movement of forty or fifty years ago ? Are some simply against extreme movement and others trying to reassert the supremacy of the choreographer over the performer? Given the amount of time that restoring a ballet takes when there are still former dancers who remember dancing in it are Ratmansky's attempts to restore both choreographic text and performance style of a number of Petipa's major works a good use of his time and creativity ?Do we need to know what Petipa's choreography really looked like or is it enough to praise it however altered what we see may be? Are attempts to reassert the supremacy of late nineteenth classical choreography and dance style and performance practice a thinly disguised attempt to remove every aspect of Soviet balletic practices and style or are they directed at the practices of a few individuals? Is the authenticity movement a welcomed back to basics or a potential block to technical advance?
  6. I attended the premiere of Ratmansky's Sleeping Beauty with Svetlana Zakharova and Jacopo Tissi as the lead performers on Saturday night. First thing I have to say was too look for the set english word to describe the performance as a whole...and it is GORGEOUS! In a world of cut budgets, and downscaling of set design and costume, the stage and (most of) the costumes were the most extravagant and gorgeous I have ever seen. It reminded me of Hollywood sets in the Golden Era of stage design...amazing, awe inspiring, and delicious! A lot has been written about the inspiration and research that Ratmansky undertook to make this staging as close to Petipa's original, and fantastically the programme all 150+ pages included a lot of the original drawings and research which demonstrated the aims of Ratmansky. It is with this point, the audience would be split. There is very little dancing in the whole performance, with a lot of posturing and acting and ,most of the dancing on Demi-point and with low arabesques and the legs not being raised above hip level. This for me resulted in a very natural fairy tale piece of beauty and history that took me back to my childhood, and the innocence of beauty and simple imagination and stories. Which I loved!!! With each of the 3 acts defining the story in amazing sets, and all of the cast looked free and like they were having fun, especial in the final act where the fairy tale characters were playful and full of energy! Then we get to how this project fits into the 'modern' age and how it fits with all of the additions and changes since this faithful original reproduction. First, Jacopo Tissi is a beautiful dancer, however there was very little dancing for him apart from a variation in the third act that involved very fast small movements, and like 'hopping' for his lines and length it was not very suitable to his natural skills, but there were some glimpses of fantastic quality. Zakharova seemed a bit nervous in the beginning, and the role and the choreography on mostly demi-point did not showcase her fantastic ability either. However her variation in the final act and her arms were beautiful! Massimo Murru was great as the Carabose with such amazing set design and costume in the background, deserving of a hollywood Oscar. I felt the music was slower than it was supposed to be as some of the variations were quite 'laboured', so maybe not as Ratmansky designed. At the final curtain of Ratmansky's premiere of Sleeping Beauty with Svetlana Zakharova as the lead on a saturday night in Milan....(I emphasise these points as I had my expectations of a respectful and great reaction for the choreographer and Etoile) The crowd politely clapped for each of the cast in the first curtain call. As the curtain closed after the first call 80% of the parkett stood up and headed straight for the exits. I was aghast and totally shocked, as the the lead characters came in front of the curtain to some applause and to see the backs of the people leaving. After opening again to show the full ensemble a group of the crowd formed at the front of the stage to take photos, but the parket was largely empty. In talking to some audience members, they said they are used to the speed and dancing of Nureyev's version and simply didn't take to the project with the 'lack of' technical dancing and show-off variations. Regarding Polunin etc... he was not missed in this role really, as there is not much opportunity for the prince to show off his dancing skills to the fullest. I would expect a future star in Tissi however. I personally left very happy, having seen the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life regarding stage and design, and having a part of my childhood given back to me with an innocence and naivety. Whatever the reviews, I think the world needs a reminder of why Ballet exists and why people love the escapism of a Fairy Tale night. I can't wait for how his Swan Lake will look in Zurich, which will be a crowd that I am sure will rapturously applaud a beautiful project! I would not be so confident that the crowd at La Scala will be wildly excited for their premiere this season, but I think Swan Lake will be back to the times of Pavolva, and I can't wait!!!!
  7. I realise there are a goodly many on this Forum who dislike Ratmansky intensely (as has been clearly voiced hereabouts for some time*) but whatever else he may or may not be to you he is internationally certainly hailed as one of if not THE most noted choreographer of our current age. One of the great boons I, myself, profited by when I was privileged to be able to work in NYC during the end of the so-called dance boom were the free educational programmes open to all sponsored not only by NYCB (Kirstein knew these were key if they were to build an audience who would be able to grow with new works celebrating the ever necessary future) and the New York Public Library. The latter continues in offering these programs for FREE and so .. October 8, 2014, 7 pm — 9 pm Alexei Ratmansky in Conversation with Paul Holdengräber Co-presented by the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University, the New York Public Library hosts Alexei Ratmansky, in conversation with Paul Holdengräber, to speak about his life’s work performing and choreographing for some of the world’s greatest ballet companies, including the American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet. Video Recording: http://media.nypl.or...8_Ratmansky.mp4 *Bruce Marriott made an astute and - as ever - well written point on another page about the dangers of 'over praising' without stated reason. I agree. However, what I, myself, find even more disturbing are those who dismiss out of hand without giving reason as to why. To my mind (and I realise I may be far off many other people's mark) that is not simply unfair but downright cruel. As my mother, herself a high court judge, used to say - in either regard - 'If you can't give a reason why it is better to say nothing.' I find as I continue to grow older much value in her wisdom.
  8. The first night of The Flames of Paris is tonight, so please post about it here.
  9. Just heard on Radio 3 that the Mariinsky is bringing Ratmansky's Cinderella to the Edinburgh Festival this summer, Gergiev conducting.
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