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 Post subject: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2002 3:13 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article in the Times.

Quote:
New York is the proud owner of two big ballet companies. On the one hand is American Ballet Theatre, America’s answer to the Royal Ballet, a company where productions come big and well-padded and where stars are promoted like royalty. On the other is New York City Ballet, the company George Balanchine founded and ran until his death in 1983, and there is nothing like it anywhere else in the world. This is where Balanchine’s pure dance revolution flourished, where the stars were the ballets themselves and where sleek, chic, plotless classical dance reached fabulous new heights of daring, imagination and physical virtuosity.
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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2002 3:19 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
To put it in perspective I have just paid to change the date of a flight so that I can see the NY dancers at Sadler's Wells.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2002 12:01 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.sadlers-wells.com/whats_on/autumn2002/images/side_concertantes.jpg" alt="" />

press release:

A rare opportunity to see some of the greatest dancers in the world today, Danses Concertantes is an intimate programme set to live chamber music from principals and soloists of New York City Ballet.

The ensemble includes principal dancers Peter Boal, Wendy Whelan, Jock Soto, Yvonne Borrée and Jennie Somogyi, soloists Jennifer Tinsley, Alexandra Ansanelli and Sébastien Marcovici as well as Jason Fowler and Craig Hall.

The programme is:

"Duo Concertant" - Balanchine

"In the Night" - Jerome Robbins

new commission - Benjamin Millepied

"Polyphonia" - Christopher Wheeldon

Here's the link to the full information on the Sadler's Wells site

Stuart adds: I can't wait!

<small>[ 09-19-2002, 14:08: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2002 10:29 am 
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Location: London, UK
Just so you know, I bought a ticket for the Saturday matinee for a friend today - so there are tickets left.

I had been thinking that something this exciting would had been long sold out- but fantastically, not.

So if you are in London, do go along! I don't think I can wait til Saturday - I look forward to everyone's reviews!


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2002 11:29 am 
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Location: London
Homage to Balanchine

New York City Ballet: Danses Concertantes
by Judith Flanders, Evening Standard


Quote:
It is nearly two decades since the full New York City Ballet appeared in London. For the moment, Balanchine junkies across the city will have to make do with a small fix of 10 principals and soloists from the main company in a chamber performance.
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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 1:43 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article in The FT.

Quote:
The successful recipe, as a good cook will tell you, demands the best ingredients, respect for food, and an absence of fuss. This is what, balletically speaking, you can find at Sadler's Wells this week, where 10 fine New York City Ballet dancers and three admirable musicians are producing a perfect meal under the title Danses Concertantes. It is, in our own debased, fast-food-poisoned dance world, a feast I would urge you to taste.

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And in The Telegraph.

Quote:
At last, an evening of unconfined joy at the ballet. It has been a dim year for ballet-lovers on the domestic front. And here come nine of New York City Ballet's elite to blow a breeze of American sophistication through the murky air and declare what ballet is at its best - simply, fine music married to fine moves by a fine mind.

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<small>[ 09-27-2002, 03:51: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:04 am 
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Location: UK
Quote:
Originally posted by MariaR:
Just so you know, I bought a ticket for the Saturday matinee for a friend today - so there are tickets left.

I had been thinking that something this exciting would had been long sold out- but fantastically, not.

So if you are in London, do go along! I don't think I can wait til Saturday - I look forward to everyone's reviews!
I agree! I couldn't wait and went last night as well! There were a lot of people queuing for standbys but the theatre looked packed to me.

I thought it was terrific - one of the most enjoyable evenings of ballet in a long time. I'll write a more detailed review of the performance and post-perf talk later but I think the eye-catcher for me was Yvonne Bouree.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2002 5:16 am 
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Hi there - I'm new to this site but certainly not new to the Rambert - so apologies if I'm in the wrong place.But saw the company last night at the Lowry and what a joyous satisfying evening. Ok so the packed house with hundreds of children made it feel like I was in the audience of Crackerjack, but what a response. All the pieces were stunning and I could have sat through every performance this week. Come back to the Lowry soon. I think I first saw the Rambert back in the early 70's at the Royal Northern College. One piece I remember from the 80's featured the stage littered with a car crash and its debris with the music coming from the car radio, as the dead bodies danced their farewell. Any clues as to what that was? I think it was around the time of the Tetley Tempest. Sorry if I get the details all mixed up.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2002 7:50 am 
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Hi Barry and welcome to Criticaldance. We do actually have a topic dedicated to the Rambert Autumn tour, so I'll copy your post there as well.

So back to "Danses Concertantes" here.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2002 7:52 am 
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This is the last night of "Danses Concertantes" and as i am in glorious Tallinn I don't know what the ticxket position is like. But just to say that it a superb evening of ballet from the last 30 years. Catch it if you can.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2002 2:50 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Observer.

Quote:
Peter Martins, who inherited George Balanchine's NYCB in 1983, has endured critical sniping in his attempts to balance the company's Balanchine repertoire with new works. This juggling act is what Ross Stretton fumbled in his forward planning for the Royal Ballet. He was not perceived as a safe pair of hands, either for the dancers' careers or our flagship company's future. The Royal Ballet's identity is defined by what, as well as how, it dances; diffuse its heritage repertoire with duff productions and it resembles any other would-be 'international' outfit, beefed up with guest stars.

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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 3:48 am 
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“Danses Concertantes” (24th September) was an excellent evening for a variety of reasons. We saw fine dancers, excellent rep and the uncommon concept for the UK of a chamber group of ten performers creating a magical evening of ballet. I would be delighted to see more in this format, which is a regular feature in the US with companies such as Diablo and Maximum Dance. There have been similar programmes before during the Summer break for ballet in NY, but this one worked the best yet for me and a packed Sadler’s Wells is clearly a great venue for the project.

I’m always keen to see works by Jerome Robbins, as they are few and far between in the UK. His “In the Night” is danced to a selection of Chopin Nocturnes and, although more conventional than much of Robbins’ output, I was impressed by this neo-classical work. In half-light against a starry background, Yvonne Borrée and Sébastian Marcovici performed the dreamy and sensual first section with great feeling as they crossed and re-crossed the stage, often backwards. The second section with Jenny Somogyi and Peter Boal never quite came to life. It has a Central European atmosphere and a few fluffed moves suggested that the dancers had little experience of performing this together.

The fiery third section with Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto as the troubled lovers was a revelation. Whelan has come to all three of these NY Summer sessions in London and previously I have never been a great fan, while acknowledging her great technical ability. She seems to have filled out slightly, which improves her line and her expressiveness also made a stronger impression on me this time. It was a fine performance with great attack and she is clearly in the first rank of dancers worldwide. Soto complemented her wayward passion and provided the necessary balance in the on-stage conflicts and reconciliations. It was quite a whirlwind. The finale with the three couples meeting and performing ensemble combinations is a fitting conclusion for the structure.

Next we saw Benjamin Millepied’s “Triple Duet”, a world premier set to the Bach Partita in A minor. Millepied was also the Artistic Co-ordinator and Artistic Co-programmer for the show and is to be congratulated for his selection of ballets and dancers. However, his new work never drew me in. Rather than a duet it is almost an assisted solo for the woman, excentuated by the contrast between her short red dress with white tights and her partner’s grey outfit. Alexandra Ansanelli danced the steps beautifully, but hardly ever looked at her man, keeping her smiles for the audience. Craig Hall, a relative newcomer to NYCB made the most of his short solo and indicated that he will go far in this great Company.

“Duo Concertante” is a charming and clever ballet with the two dancers taking necessary breaks from their labours by simply listening to the eponymous work by Stravinsky. This device never seems contrived and given that the score is so ravishing, it is little wonder that it holds them in thrall. The music dates from the early 1930s and is from the same period as “Apollo”. Although “Duo” was first staged as recently as 1972, I was intrigued to see glimpses of Balanchine’s earlier choreography in the steps, performed here by Peter Boal. There is a sweet sense of romance in much of the work, prevented from a saccharine after taste by the more troubled final section as the two dancers seek each other on a darkened stage with sometimes just a hand illuminated. Once again Yvonne Borrée impressed with her fluid and emotional interpretation.

Finally we saw the London premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia” to a selection of music by Ligeti. Taken together with his “Tryst” for the Royal Ballet, it is clear that Wheeldon is one of the leading choreographers currently working in ballet and this piece stood up very well in comparison with the Balanchine and Robbins works that we had seen earlier. While showing the influence of the former, there were sufficient new steps and variations to show that Wheeldon is one of the few taking the neo-classical form forward rather than just creating pale imitations of past glories.

After a slightly busy opening that probably looks better on NYCB’s huge home stage at the Lincoln Center, we see a series of duets and other combinations. Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto had a fine slow pas de deux with some lifts that took my breath away and a stunning ending as she passes between his legs. The finale explores a series of variations on a gestural shape with the arms to the front and one hand up and the other down. I can’t believe that it is a coincidence, as this is the symbol for the Lord of Dance from bharatanatyam and if this deity was looking down on Sadler’s Wells he would have heartily approved of this vibrant and well-crafted ballet.

Overall this was a very successful visit, which has gathered much deserved praise, and I hope this encourages a similar Trans-Atlantic excursion next year.

<small>[ 10-01-2002, 05:55: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 10:53 am 
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Location: London UK
In recent years my taste in music has started to shift a bit as I have now begun to appreciate chamber music a great deal more and orchestral music a little less. The Danses Concertante programme at Sadlers Wells also seemed to operate on the Less is More principle with just ten dancers and three musicians. These were chamber works of the very highest calibre, well chosen and beautifully performed.

In the Night is a very familiar Ballet to me, a Robbins work once danced regularly by the RB, it features three couples dancing to four Chopin nocturnes; the first couple represents young love, the second sophistication and the third appears to be experiencing a stormy relationship. The first two couples were very good indeed, displaying a complete understanding of the roles they were dancing, but I have to say the third couple, Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto were outstanding in their portrayal of two people for whom love was turning into a battle ground.

The second work of the evening, Triple Duet, was simplicity itself: just two dancers and a flautist. The music was by Bach, a composer that I feel always presents a challenge to choreographers as its not so easy to fit steps to the intricacies of the baroque style. But Benjamin Millepied, the young choreographer of the piece experienced no problems and produced a stylish number that was both confident and inventive.

Balanchine’s Danses Concertante is similar in form to the preceding piece with once again two dancers and a musician, this time a pianist, all on stage together. At first the dancers do nothing: they stand behind the piano and listen. So we listen with them to one of Stravinsky’s most lyrical compositions and it is almost a jolt when the listening dancers start to move and we remember we are at a ballet and not a piano recital. A little joke of Balanchine’s I wonder? The pas de deux that followed was danced to perfection by Peter Boal and the gorgeous Yvonne Borree in an unusual duet that included the dancers moving in and out of a spotlight on an otherwise darkened stage, illuminating just an arm or a hand. A totally unique and satisfying work.

Could Christopher Wheeldon follow in Balanchine’s footsteps and become a genius of the dance? There is a tiny possibility that he might. If a long way off being considered a genius, on the evidence of Polyphonia he is already a highly accomplished choreographer. This ballet is very impressive indeed, his inventiveness never flags and he has that crucial ability to match movement to music in such a way that only the greats have shared. When I saw Tryst earlier this year, I thought Wheeldon good, but not outstanding with only the pas de deux displaying the originality I look for. Polyphonia is quite different, both assured and involving, taking the idea of an abstract ballet to another plane. I discover he is British. How did we allow him to slip through the net?

This was an outstandingly satisfying evening of ballet at the very highest level. During the intervals my companion and I reminisced about the good old days when NYCB danced in London and we saw those huge Balanchine production numbers that filled the stage with dazzle and panache. I would give a lot to see the company in its entirety again as watching the ten New York ambassadors’ I saw that evening I was reassured that their company still occupies those upper slopes of ballet’s Olympus.
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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Tue Oct 01, 2002 3:19 pm 
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thanks for your reviews Stuart and Cassandra. After such a good reception it would be nice to think that a few more US companies will venture to the UK.


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 Post subject: Re: Danses Concertantes
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2002 11:53 pm 
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Dances Concertantes
Principals and Soloists from NYCB
Sadler’s Wells
Tuesday 24/09/02

New York City Ballet has not visited London in many years but this week we get
the chance to see a group of 10 Principals and Soloists perform an evening of chamber
ballets at Sadler’s Wells under the title Dances Concertantes.

The evening opens with Jerome Robbins’s “In the Night” set to a selection of Chopin’s
Nocturnes. This charming piece shows us 3 couples, each describing a different mood
of love. Wendy Whelan and Jock Soto especially stood out as the third, most playful
and temperamental pair. Although quite beautiful and pleasant the 32 year old choreography seemed pale compared to the rest of the evening.

“Triple Duet” a brand new work by NYCB Principal Benjamin Millepied receives its
premier tonight. Joined on stage by Flautist Sylvian Milllepied, Alexandra Ansanelli
and Craig Hall, both in simple practice clothes, take us through a series of 2 Pas de Deux
and Solos. The fluid and dynamic movements of the choreography combined with Johann Sebastian Bach’s music show clearly that Millepied should try his hand at further works.

Next Yvonne Boree and Peter Boal stole the show in George Balanchine’s witty “Duo
Concertant”. The dancers are joined by a pianist and a violinist on stage and start out
just listening to Stravinsky’s music before embarking on their dances. Their playful
moving sequences are intersected with them listening to the musicians again without
their pauses ever seeming like an obvious device. In the end Yvonne Boree phases in
and out of a single spotlight. The piece is a perfectly designed work of art which left
me wishing to see more of Balanchine’s varied works than we get the chance to in
London.

The evening closes with Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia”, a ballet in ten brief
sections reflects the mood of Gyorgy Ligeti’s piano pieces it was choreographed to.
Wheeldon himself has described it as ‘romantic with comic twists’. The beginning
with four couples in front of a plain back cloth on which their shadows are visible
looks a bit cluttered at first but the following sections of ensemble work and Pas de
Deux, especially a central one with Wendy Wheelan and Jock Soto blend into a
beautiful and harmonious whole with the score.

One cannot help but wonder what a resident choreographer like Wheeldon could
do for the Royal Ballet. Hopefully he will come back to work with the company
again after having made a start with “Tryst” last season. If “Polyphonia” is
anything to go by he should come back rather sooner than later.


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