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(Dec 2009-Jan 2010)

[new] Los Angeles Ballet
by Kathy Lee Scott -- Decemeber 26, 2009, Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach, California

A subdued Los Angeles Ballet performed "The Nutcracker" a day after Christmas at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, Redondo Beach, Calif. All the dancers were there, but they seemed to want to be home.


Beyond The Sugar Plum Fairy -- Comparing Three Productions: NYCB, Washington, Grand Rapids
by Heather Desaulniers

The holiday season is full of combinations: Santa and reindeer, tinsel and ornaments, and an excess of food and wine. Children and “The Nutcracker” are yet another inseparable mixture.

The National Ballet of Canada
by Kate Snedeker -- 12 December 2009 matinee, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, Canada

Though signs of the recent snowstorm were far and few between in downtown Toronto, the flakes flew on the stage of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Festival Ballet Theatre
by Kathy Lee Scott -- December 12, 2009, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, California

A rainy day failed to dissuade people from attending Festival Ballet Theatre's December 12, 2009, performance of "The Nutcracker," held at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine, California.

Birmingham Royal Ballet
by David Mead -- November 29, 2009, Hippodrome Theatre, Birmingham

Pacific Northwest Ballet
by Dean Speer -- November 27, 2009, McCaw Hall, Seattle

DVD & Film
(Dec 2009-Jan 2010)

Prima Ballerina: Two Film Portraits, a Film by Laurent Gentot
by Catherine Pawlick

The world’s vast treasure chest of ballet films, still considered miniscule by many staunch balletomanes, now boasts one more gem in its collection. Laurent Gentot’s “Prima Ballerina: Two Film Portraits” provides sketches of two leading ladies from the richest traditions in classical Russian ballet: Uliana Lopatkina and Svetlana Zakharova, representing Russia’s Mariinsky and Bolshoi theatres, respectively.

'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.

Forums Flashes
Direct from the CD forum...

Kirov Ballet, 2009-2010 Season
by Buddy

A lot has been written here about Alina Somova, so I would really like to add a few more words. For me, like all 'ballerinas', she first of all represents an ideal of womankind in general. I could probably just as easily be writing about Veronika Part, Gillian Murphy, Maria Alexandrova, Ekaterina Kondaurova or any number of other 'ballerinas' that have touched my heart deeply in the last year or so. They each have a different artistic approach but to me they are all beautiful.

To read more, click here.


best of 2009 features

Phoenix of the Ballet: The South African Ballet Theatre's Success Story
by Kate Snedeker
Even considering the current economic downturn, it’s unlikely that any other company has emerged from adversity like The South African Ballet Theatre. Eight years after rising from the ashes of the former State Ballet Theatre in Pretoria, the company is thriving...

Diaghilev's Theatre of Marvels: The Ballets Russes and its Aftermath
by Elizabeth McPherson

Maximizing Potential/Warding Off Dance Demons - An Interview with "Down Under" Physical Therapist Lisa Howell
by Dean Speer

Many Tools, One Toolbox: An Introduction
by Liz Lerman, Founder and Artistic Director of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange

best of 2009 reviews

American Ballet Theatre in London - 'Swan Lake'
by Stuart Sweeney -- March 25, 2009 -- Coliseum, London
American Ballet Theatre's season of full-length ballets might well have seemed a natural progression after the success of the Sadler's Wells visit, a couple of years ago, with one act works. However, bringing “Swan Lake”, in particular, to London can be a mixed blessing -- full houses are virtually guaranteed, but the critics see so many productions of this famous and revered ballet that any problems or deficiencies stand out more clearly than usual.

Keo Woolford - 'I Land'
by Carmel Morgan -- May 2, 2009, Dance Place, Washington, DC
The description of Hawai’ian native Keo Woolford’s one-man show “I Land” admittedly intrigues. It’s not often you see a performance billed as combining hula and hip hop. Woolford’s semi-autobiographical tour de force does that and more, and the multi-talented Woolford does it all with aplomb. “I Land,” which was created by Woolford in collaboration with director Roberta Uno, is both reverent (he refers to one hula master as a “Hula God”) and irreverent. The melding of touching and uproariously funny moments makes for a great evening of dance/theater.

Tour de Force: A Gala Dance Spectacular
by Kathy Lee Scott -- May 21, 2009, Orange County Performing Arts Center, Costa Mesa, California
Fourteen prominent dancers from around the world gathered to perform 14 dances during the “Tour de Force: A Gala Dance Spectacular” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, California. At the May 21 show, traditional ballet pas de deux interspersed with modern dance. All performers delighted the full audience, who gave them a standing ovation.

From Jacob's Pillow - David Roussève/REALITY and Groupe Emile Dubois
by Theodore Bale -- July 18, 2009, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Becket, Massachusetts
The recent performances of David Roussève/REALITY’s “Saudade” and Groupe Emile Dubois’ “Des Gens qui dansent” on the same summer day at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival unleashed an intriguing paradox: research-based performance and choreography, as fragmented and speculative as it might seem, is acceptable from a French ensemble but unwelcome from an American company.

Emio Greco | PC - '[purgatorio] POPOPERA'
by Heather Desaulniers -- September 25, 2009, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland
I am not a literary scholar. Yet, I was about to see Emio Greco | PC’s “[purgatorio] POPOPERA,” a work that had drawn inspiration from Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” I felt competent to survey it from a movement perspective, but the literary component was uncharted and somewhat uncomfortable territory. Not being familiar with the epic poem, I did some last minute cramming, which provided the narrative story, main characters and thematic purpose. So, with what I hoped was the general gist under my belt, I ventured to the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Rosas - 'Rosas Danst Rosas'
by David Mead -- September 11, 2009, Sadler's Wells Theatre, London

In 1983, “Rosas danst Rosas” saw the arrival of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker as a choreographer of true international status. Now in its third stage production, besides the two filmed versions, it remains a contemporary dance classic that is both stunningly simple, yet incredibly complex.


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.

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.

San Francisco Ballet - 'Jewels'
by Becca Hirschman -- April 25, 2009

George Balanchine’s “Jewels” is well regarded for its homage to modern ballet’s roots. This plot-less ballet, which debuted in 1967, is comprised of three abstract sections: “Emeralds,” “Rubies,” and “Diamonds” to represent France, the US, and Russia respectively. While the choreography may not be groundbreaking, dance aficionados still praise “Jewels” for its wide range of emotions and for being one of Balanchine’s timeless ballets.


'Swan Lake' - Nina Ananiashvili Farewell
by Jerry Hochman - July 25, 2009

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

LADO - 60 Years of Celebrating Traditional Croatian Music and Dance
by Heather Desaulniers -- October 9, 2009, Music Center at Strathmore-Bethesda, Maryland

Erik Bruhn Prize Competition
by Denise Sum -- March 18, 2009, Four Seasons Centre, Toronto, Canada

coming next month: Flamenco Deconstructed, Eureka Dance Festival, Lesole Maine's Dance Project, Northern Ballet Theatre and more interviews

editors' choice

· Cool New York 2010 Dance Festival
Jan 27 - Feb 10, 2010 -- John Ryan Theater, Brooklyn, NY
This two-week event will feature the works of 63 contemporary dancemakers.

· 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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