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RB: Serenade, Sweet Violets, DGV mixed bill, May 2014


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Was at the rehearsal, so here are a few pics:

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Serenade - RB: Serenade - Melissa Hamilton, Ryoichi Hirano lifting Yasmine Naghdi, Marianela Nunez
 © Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Sweet Violets - Lauren Cuthbertson, Steven McRae
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 

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DGV - Marianela Nunez, Thiago Soares
© Dave Morgan. Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr
 
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Set from DanceTabs: Royal Ballet - Serenade, Sweet Violets, DGV
Courtesy of DanceTabs / Flickr

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Watching Sweet Violets today at times, particularly when the piano was playing solo, it looked just like one of those old silent movies with the bad guy chasing the innocent girl.

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Went tonight. I've tried, I really have, but I just can't seem to warm to any Balanchine. Serenade was beautifully danced by the soloists, especially Nunez, the corps seemed a bit scrappy, but were good, but I just found it really dull. Was really distracted by Golding's weird grin/ pout/ teeth thing as well.

 

I loved Sweet Violets last time around and enjoyed it this time but not as much as I though I would. It still lacks a clear narrative (to me, at least) and I felt it dragged a bit.

 

DGV was stunning. My God Yanowsky is amazing. I know there has been talk on here of her retiring, but I hope that is years off. She was stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I realized tonight I need to book for her casts more often. All the other soloists were great, though I would say the women overshadowed the men, and the corps looked like they were enjoying themselves. I'm looking forward to seeing this next weekend with the less experienced cast, and i'm intrigued to see  how they do.

 

All in all, an interesting but patchy bill.

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DGV was stunning. My God Yanowsky is amazing. I know there has been talk on here of her retiring, but I hope that is years off. She was stunning!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I realized tonight I need to book for her casts more often. All the other soloists were great, though I would say the women overshadowed the men, and the corps looked like they were enjoying themselves. I'm looking forward to seeing this next weekend with the less experienced cast, and i'm intrigued to see  how they do.

 

 

From what I can gather, Anthony Dowell really appreciated Zenaida Yanowsky and cast her in a lot of ballets (and promoted her to principal just before he left), Ross Stretton pretty much ignored her, and Monica Mason treated her more like a soloist than a principal. It's nice that Kevin O'Hare apparently isn't bothered by her height and is letting her have an Indian summer, and that Christopher Wheeldon appreciates her theatricality, but there does seem to have been a bit of a wasted decade in her RB career.

 

I agree with you totally about Balanchine. I like a few things of his, but most of the time I come away completely untouched emotionally and occasionally bored rigid. BTW, is it just me, or do the costumes in Serenade look limp compared to the NYCB ones? There seemed to be a distinct lack of ethereality (etherealness?) about these costumes although I'm only going by photos, being on the wrong continent to be able to see it live.

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I came to know and delight in Ms Yanowsky's stage presence very much through the Mason incumbency.  Whether she might have danced more during that time may be a moot point, but I would enjoin one and all to unite in appreciating the treasure that she is NOW - a dancer with a range that runs from the total resignation of the Bride in Les Noces to the demented Queen in Alice, via the characterisation just displayed, to universal admiration, in Winter's Tale.  And no talk of retirement yet, please.

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I KNOW - because I have been told - what the narrative for SWEET VIOLETS is supposed to represent ... the Sickert/Jack the Ripper thang - but how is any innocent ticket payer supposed to know that Eddy is, in fact, the Prince of Wales ... I wonder, Is it just me or is this kind of mysterious concoction just the sort of thing that gives ballets which are SUPPOSED to have a linear narrative a bad rap?  Out of curiosity I walked about during the second interval last night  - and actually spoke to a number of paying audience members on the Amphi level (all previously unknown to me) as to their comprehension.  To a person they said they were mystified.  Two different people in two different groups said it was 'pretentious'.  I was, myself, shocked that Scarlett did not seem to make - at least to my eye - any further clarification in this regard - especially having had the luxury of an initial go-round.  Perhaps it was different on different levels of course.  My budget doesn't stretch to those I fear.  Perhaps, of course, I just don't understand.  To me Serenade as a work (and I thought Lauren Cuthbertson was the standout component in it last night) is much more evocative and, dare I say it, clear.  It invites its audience (well, at least me) to share and allows you the luxury of helping to define the characters as they respond to the music for yourself.  Blessedly there are no bitzy breaks in that zeal and we all I think have felt the embarrassment of the young lady who is late.  For me Serenade is much more universal in its appeal.  But that, of course, is just me.  . 

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I have looked, and it is true, and Ms Yanowsky has come very close to saying as much in interviews.

 

If that were the case, then why did Yanowsky not leave?

 

Roles include Odette/Odile, Chosen One in Rite, Manon, Sylvia, Myrthe, Terpsichore, Black Queen in Checkmate, Nikiya, Natalia Petrovna, Queen of Hearts in Alice (created on ZY), Marguerite(!), Raymonda and principal roles in The Lesson, La Fete Étrange, Ballet Imperial and Rubies.  Other principal roles created on ZY include Seven Deadly Sins, Electric Counterpoint, Castle Nowhere and Three Songs, Two Voices.

 

Doesn't sound that much like a soloist to me.

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I KNOW - because I have been told - what the narrative for SWEET VIOLETS is supposed to represent ... the Sickert/Jack the Ripper thang - but how is any innocent ticket payer supposed to know that Eddy is, in fact, the Prince of Wales ... I wonder, Is it just me or is this kind of mysterious concoction just the sort of thing that gives ballets which are SUPPOSED to have a linear narrative a bad rap?  Out of curiosity I walked about during the second interval last night  - and actually spoke to a number of paying audience members on the Amphi level (all previously unknown to me) as to their comprehension.  To a person they said they were mystified.

 

A general point rather than specific to Scarlett - I think choreographers can be very cussed and arty at times! Some really do feel that the movement and interactions say it all and that its for those in the audience to construct their own narrative or whatever. I've never ever believed it's that simple and  choreographers ought to do decent programme notes. Also not ones that talk in riddles. Clarity in the programme if not clarity on stage.

Edited by Bruce
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I came to know and delight in Ms Yanowsky's stage presence very much through the Mason incumbency.  Whether she might have danced more during that time may be a moot point, but I would enjoin one and all to unite in appreciating the treasure that she is NOW - a dancer with a range that runs from the total resignation of the Bride in Les Noces to the demented Queen in Alice, via the characterisation just displayed, to universal admiration, in Winter's Tale.  And no talk of retirement yet, please.

 

...and don't forget, before this season, Zenaida and Simon had started a family, so that removed her from circulation for a good while. As one of my fave dancers, I watched her as often as I could, and whilst she may not have been cast enough for my books, she was not cast down, as it it were, in 'soloist' type roles, as some principals have been.

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I KNOW - because I have been told - what the narrative for SWEET VIOLETS is supposed to represent ... the Sickert/Jack the Ripper thang - but how is any innocent ticket payer supposed to know that Eddy is, in fact, the Prince of Wales ...

 

I found that once I had in my mind who each character was (merely from the description on the cast sheet), it fell much more into place. Though still puzzled that the Prime minister had enough time on his hands to pop backstage dragging a poor woman en route to the asylum, just to tell the Prince of Wales' artistic buddy he was doing so - especailly as she was only a friend of said artist's employee. But there you go. In the previous incarnation, I really liked that backstage scene, but although the change in it is a useful plot device, for me it knackers my fave section.

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I think a synopsis would have been very useful for Sweet Violets but at the rehearsal there were no programes just the cast list. With the lighting it looked to me that they were creating an almost cinema noir interpretation with all the long shadows and very dark corners but it was not clear to me who the characters were and their relationship with each other. On the other hand I loved the Wheeldon, and having now seen three of his works with this, Alice and Winters Tale I am becoming a huge fan.

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I'm baffled how anyone can find Balanchine, and Serenade in particular, boring! Its distilled perfection of the music expressed as balletic dance. The steps are just gorgeous, the staging so minimal and gimic free, that all you have to do is absorb those beautiful steps, as the steps 'sing' the music. Every time i watch it, at the end I just sigh in a blissful state, and yearn to see it again.

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I find this personal insult to be very offensive. 

 

Very difficult. Always has been and always will. What are the bounds on talking about a dancer being too fat, too top-heavy, too short, too tall, having a teeth job. How does this relate to saying somebody can't' act, is always unmusical and off the beat, has poor technique etc? All of this impacts how you perceive a piece of dancing and feeds into liking a performance or not.

 

Some of this is covered in a recent thread in the About Balletco Forum area:

http://www.balletcoforum.com/index.php?/topic/6828-what-is-acceptable/

 

The thread is not in a mainstream section and may be missed by some.

 

The essential AUP words that cover this seems to be:

"Contributors must be respectful to others."

 

Given the mods haven't removed anything and three mods have posted in this thread (one in support of the words) it would seem acceptable to say things like this:

"Was really distracted by Golding's weird grin/ pout/ teeth thing as well."

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Personally, I dislike comments which I myself would find hurtful were someone referring to me. I try not to make them, as - artist in the public eye or not - I would not want to read that I have a "weird pout/grin thing". I think it could perhaps have been phrased less personally.

 

It's someone's opinion though, and clearly did impact upon their enjoyment of the piece. It's not clear cut as to whether it's disrespectful or not, hence that post has not been hidden.

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Great photos, xzDaveM!

 

Speaking of Golding, one of my freinds nicknamed him as "dancing Donny Osmond" ...  He(edited to say, Golding, not Osmond!) is a great dancer, though. I do enjoy watching him dance.

Edited by mimi66
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Given the mods haven't removed anything and three mods have posted in this thread (one in support of the words) it would seem acceptable to say things like this:

"Was really distracted by Golding's weird grin/ pout/ teeth thing as well."

 

This has been discussed by the moderators in response to a report on the thread and the decision was that there is no breach of the AUP.

 

In my opinion, facial expressions of a performer are a valid subject for criticism.  Some may like MG's funny pout; I do not and find it distracts greatly from what he's doing from the neck down (which is often, but not always, very good).  We know that MG can smile (it's there in one of Rojo's TV programmes), and it's a very nice smile, but he chooses to have a different facial expression when performing.  This, in my opinion, is valid criticism.

 

On a similar vien, I wish Osipova would lose the facial gymnastics in DGV.  A neutral face, as her predecessors in the role maintained, would be far more in keeping with the feel of the piece.

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I didn't read it as purely 'facial expression' observation. It mention's, in part I know, the 'teeth thing' and I think for me its seeing utra, ultra, white teeth which draw attention to the mouth and distract. I just point this out as a difference in how we read an apparently simple sentance. Anyway those words are OK with mods and that's good for people to know.

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Anyway those words are OK with mods and that's good for people to know.

 

I don't think that anyone is saying that the words are ok with mods: I find the criticism inelegantly phrased and wouldn't publicly write such a thing myself, but do not find it sufficiently offensive to think it should be removed.

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