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DVD and Film

'La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet' (2009): Documentary film by Frederick Wiseman
by Carmel Morgan

If you love dance, then you also probably love to see dance on film. Veteran documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet” has captured fabulous footage of the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet that’s not to be missed.

Bringing Balanchine Back: New York City Ballet
by Leland Windreich

During the heart of the Cold War a cultural exchange was struck between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. In 1962 and 1972 George Balanchine took his New York City Ballet to the major cities in the U.S.S.R, while the Bolshoi Ballet was received in American theatres. Balanchine’s abstract ballets played to full houses in Kiev, Moscow, Leningrad and Tbilisi, and audiences that had never seen a plotless dance work, some performed in practice costumes and no décor, were fascinated, puzzled, intrigued, mystified, thrilled and sometimes vexed.

coming: Gentot's 'Prima Ballerina'


Birmingham Royal Ballet
by David Mead -- November 29, 2009, Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham
You might be able to buy your own nutcracker doll in Birmingham’s huge German-style Christmas market, but to see one come to life you have to head off to the Hippodrome. With Birmingham Royal Ballet about to start celebrating the 20th anniversary of their relocation, it’s good to see that Sir Peter Wright’s moving-in gift to the city and the company, his quite superb “Nutcracker”, is still as magical as it was all those Christmases ago.

Pacific Northwest Ballet
by Dean Speer -- November 27, 2009, McCaw Hall, Seattle
Eckhard Thiemann, curator for Comfort Food may provide temporary respite from the clatter and chatter of the world, but Pacific Northwest Ballet's 1983 Maurice Sendak/Kent Stowell "Nutcracker" creation better temporizes the inspiration and lift we collectively need for the long term.

more coming

Forums Flashes
Direct from the CD forum...

National Ballet of Canada Nutcracker
by Kate Snedeker

The NBoC production is delightfully lavish in costumes and set, but weaker in storyline. Set in late 19th C Russia, it's full of deep hues and a set that is one of the best I've seen for any production in some time. Most of the first act takes place in a courtyard outside the home of the main family, and it feels at once authentic, cozy and three dimensional without sacrificing space for the story or the dance. The second act is a little overwhelmed by the Sugar Plum fairy's Faberge egg, but also very pretty.

To read more, click here.


The Solitary Discourse - An Interview with Sonia Sabri
by Shezad Khalil
"Traditionally, Kathak is a style of expression that is exhibited as that of a “one-person” show including dance, vocals (song and text), the playing of a musical instrument, mime and acting. During the time of the British Raj, the dance aspect of the form became the focal point; that is it took on more of a prominent role and this has remained so."

Interview with Larissa Saveliev, Founder of Youth American Grand Prix
by Saul Marziali

“I noticed soon there was not one competition for young dancers in the States. That is how I founded my competition which is called "Youth American Grand Prix" and -- imagine how time runs away fast -- this year we have already celebrated our 10th Anniversary!”


William Forsythe's 'Impressing the Czar' Performed by The Royal Ballet of Flanders
by Rosella Simonari -- October 24, 2009, Teatro Valli, Reggio Emilia
You cannot be indifferent to this piece; you either love it or hate it. It is monumental and complex, funny and surprising. William Forsythe first presented it in 1988 and in 2005 Kathryn Bennets, director of the Royal Ballet of Flanders after having been Forsythe’s ballet mistress for 15 years, reconstructed it to acclaimed success. Watching the piece now, it does not look that ‘old’. In a way it has become a classic in its own terms, thanks to its deconstruction and, at the same time, celebration of ballet.

CityDance Ensemble - 'Crush'
by Heather Desaulniers -- December 5, 2009, Music Center at Strathmore-Bethesda, Maryland
Intimate performance settings have the power to transform an audience. In a big theater, dance audiences become invisible and anonymous; nothing more than a sea of faces. In a small venue, there is no place to hide. As an audience member, more is expected of you and you can get much more in return. Close proximity alters perception, provides new chances for observation, and magnifies risk within the work. This weekend, CityDance Ensemble presented “Crush” in the education wing at Strathmore. This mixed-rep program proved that small spaces provide enormous opportunities. “Crush” was an invitation to engage and converse with the art and the artists. It celebrated a responsibility that is not always possible in large performance venues. Challenging performances deserve an equally challenged audience.

American Ballet Theatre - 'Giselle'
by Kathy Lee Scott -- November 6, 2009, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, California
The normally brilliant American Ballet Theatre brought a lackluster production of "Giselle" to the Orange County Performing Arts Center for a six-day run. At the Nov. 6 show, Xiomara Reyes portrayed the title role, partnered by Herman Cornejo as Albrecht. Jared Matthews danced Hilarion, with Stella Abrera as Myrta, Queen of the Wilis. Kevin McKenzie staged the ballet based on original choreography by Coralli, Perrot and Petipa.

The National Ballet of Canada - 'Sleeping Beauty'
by Toba Singer -- November 21, 2009, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto
Said to be set to the most faithful of orchestrations of the Tchaikovsky score, National Ballet of Canada’s “Sleeping Beauty” follows the familiar libretto. However, the Rudolf Nureyev version numbers the fairies in lieu of naming them and has the Lilac Fairy – in a costume layered like a frosted cake – floating in at critical moments, more in the persona of an eyes-everywhere Godmother, rather than dancing her benevolence as the story’s silken binding.

Raimund Hogue - 'Bolero Variations' and 'L'Après-midi'
by Mark Franko -- September 24 and 26, 2009, Dance Theater Workshop, New York City
Raimund Hogue’s choreographic style is 'severe' in the French sense of 'chastened' -- evidencing a reserve that is both modest and intentionally sparing of visual and kinesthetic stimuli. "Bolero Variations" (performed at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City on September 24, 2009) goes on for about one half hour before anything resembling dance movement occurs. Great weight is given to small things. With so much in the theatrical world that is familiar removed, the presence of what remains -- as if left over from a catastrophe as the ruins of a lost object -- gains special and incisive force.

Jasmin Vardimon Company - 'Yesterday'
by David Mead -- November 21, 2009, The Place, London
When is a celebratory retrospective not a retrospective? Perhaps when it is a piece called “Yesterday,” for this is a work that, while not exactly completely new, is more than a compilation of excerpts. For this look back that celebrates her company’s 10th anniversary, Israeli-born but British-based choreographer Jasmin Vardimon has taken a pair of scissors to her previous works “Justitia”, “Park”, “Lullaby”, “Tête”, “Lurelurelure” and “Ticklish,” and selected choice moments from them. With help from designer Guy Bar-Amotz, the duets, solos and imagery extracted have been interwoven with new material, video and animation. And quite cleverly it has been done too. Most of the joins are relatively seamless. You don’t realise you have jumped into another work until after it has happened.

Abbondanza Bertoni Dance Company - 'La Massa' ['The Crowd']
by Rosella Simonari -- October 24, 2009, Teatro della Cavallerizza, Reggio Emilia
There is a group of people around, on and under a wooden table. These people move as a group, all following the same direction. It is a compact group. Every now and then a member tries to get out, but he or she is invariably re-absorbed into the group. This is the basic dynamic of “La Massa” [the crowd], the Abbondanza Bertoni Dance Company’s latest dance theatre work, a choral work in the grotesque sense of the term, as there are ten dancers who basically remain attached to each other during most of the dance. In some phrases, they almost look like one big body, instead of a group of people. They are dressed alike -- evening dresses for women and suits for men. Their faces look alienated and transfigured by the fact that they stay so closely together.

Pacific Northwest Ballet - 'Director's Choice'
by Dean Speer -- November 7, 2009, McCaw Hall, Seattle
With the opening tableau of six men walking backward to the audience balancing aloft in each of their right hands the tip of a fencing foil, we knew we were in for a treat. Kylian explores the use of these foils as extended props -- another kind of dancing partner. They were turned, twisted, tilted, and bent into curves around the men's female counterparts. Speaking of theatrical trickery, two devices were used that delighted and added to the mystique of the proceedings: an enormous nylon "parachute" was swooped downstage by the men; then, after some dancing, it was swooped over the women who had joined them, and pulled off stage.

Meg Stuart - 'Auf Den Tisch!' ('At the Table!')
by Juliet Neidish -- November 6, 2009, Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York
looked forward to Meg Stuart’s new piece, “Auf Den Tisch!” (“At the Table!”), presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in partnership with Performa 09 (New York City, November 6- 7, 2009). Stuart, an American dancer and choreographer, has been living in Belgium since 1994, where she has created the body of her work. Press material called the work a “platform for action and reflection” and described it as a meeting of thinkers, musicians, actors and dancers at a table who “improvise, conferring about their pressing issues….” In Europe, a focus on theory and practice is currently affecting new choreography and performance. I was eager to see how Meg Stuart handled a piece about idea.

The National Ballet of Canada - 'The Four Temperaments,' 'Watch Her' and 'Glass Pieces'
by Kate Snedeker -- November 25, 2009, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto

The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and the Guangdong Modern Dance Company - 'Other Suns (A Trilogy)'
by Carmel Morgan -- October 30, 2009, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

Rambert Dance Company - 'Tread Softly,' 'Carnival of the Animals' and 'The Comedy of Change'
by David Mead -- November 3, 2009, Sadler's Wells Theatre, London

The National Ballet of Canada - 'The Sleeping Beauty'
by Kate Snedeker -- November 13, 2009, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, Ontario

Nejla Yatkin/NY2 Dance - 'Wallstories'
by Heather Desaulniers -- October 3-4, 2009, Dance Place, Washington, DC

CityDance Ensemble - 'Latitude'
by Carmel Morgan -- October 22, 2009, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Theater, Washington, DC

Keigwin + Company - 'Elements'
by Carmel Morgan -- October 22, 2009, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Terrace Theater, Washington, DC

Rosemary Lee - 'Common Dance'
by David Mead -- October 30, 2009, Borough Hall, Greenwich Dance Agency, London

coming: Best of 2009

editors' choice

· Sydney Festival 2010
Jan 9-30, 2010, Sydney
Part of a larger arts and entertainment festival.



For ballet-dance magazine

Executive Editor
Kate Snedeker

Executive Editor 2003-2005
Mary Ellen Hunt

Focus and Photo Editors
Elizabeth McPherson, Dean Speer

Associate Editors & Compositors
Lori Ibay, Holly Messitt, Francis Timlin, Lisa Claybaugh, Azlan Ezaddin

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