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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 2:00 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area
I'm at a lost. What on earth hit the London critics? Surely, there is a way to criticize a ballet without resorting to the focused meanness. The imagery used is unfair to say the least.<P>I for one enjoyed "Silver Lining" for many good reasons not written about in the London newspapers, especially the sense of fun, enjoyment, and pure athleticism. Londoners, please do not let this London critics deter you. There is a lot to like in this ballet and in this Company. For some reason, these critics focused only on the bad bits (and beyond).


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 7:12 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA,USA
Hi from Seattle. I am sorry that Silver Lining wasn't well recieved from the critics and it isn't my favorite PNB Ballet either. But if it helps to balance things out, this season PNB moved into an arena as we build a new theatre ( McGraw Hall - which hopefully will become one of the best in the country ). During this move they put on a modern version of " Carmen" danced by Arianna Lallone with a backdrop of realtime video in what is basically a rock arena. They absolutely transformed the place. This was the single best ballet that I have ever seen - it is the only time I have seen classical and modern ballet blend perfectly into each other without a hint of tension, and what is perhaps more interesting is that I felt it captured the essence of Carmen better than the opera. So I would have to agree that PNB isn't The Royal Ballet or the Kirov, but there are moments where they do things that very few other companies can. I wish that London had seen that. Take care, Matthew<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2002 11:30 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Hi Matthew and welcome to CriticalDance. We're all looking forward to reading your comments over the coming months.<P>I take your point about the Kirov and to be honest I suspect that only Paris Opera Ballet can wield a similar richness of talent and quality productions today. However, this is all about Art and expression not league tables. I would much rather see PNB's "Midsummer Night's Dream' again than the cosmeticised Kirov production of "Manon". <P>The good citizens of Seattle can take a lot of pride in PNB, a fine ensemble company that can bring a wide range of work to life.<P>Even though it is clear that the London critics did not like "Silver Lining" most went out of their way to say that they are looking forward to seeing the Company in the Mixed Bill. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 05, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2002 10:37 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Yes, Matthew. I too saw "Carmen" and quite enjoyed it. I thought the innovative use of video and set pieces to be quite interesting. And the "story within a story, life imitating art" idea I thought was quite compelling.


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2002 12:35 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Review in the Sunday Times which is probably the most balanced I have read.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>In terms of its size and endowments, the Pacific Northwest Ballet from Seattle is one of the top five ballet companies in America, with an eclectic repertory of classic and modern works, and strong links — through its long-time joint artistic directors, Kent Stowell and Francia Russell — with New York City Ballet and Balanchine. It was the dancers’ Balanchinian finesse that most impressed on Pacific Northwest’s two earlier British visits in recent years, and for its return to Saddler’s Wells last week, Mr B’s Divertimento No 15 featured on a mixed bill. But the opening programme was something completely different: Silver Lining, a song-and-dance show conceived by Stowell to celebrate the “father of Broadway”, Jerome Kern. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-345478,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P>And a review of both pieces in The Observer.<P><A HREF="http://www.observer.co.uk/review/story/0,6903,750666,00.html" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited July 07, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2002 10:28 am 
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Does anyone know if Americans like 'Silver Lining' better than the London critics did? If it's had great notices there, I wonder if there's a taste gulf between US and UK ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2002 11:42 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
That's an interesting point Laurey. It would be good to know the answer. Perhaps some of the US mods will be able to help on that one.<P>Meanwhile another unimpressive review from Jenny Gilbert in The Independent.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>No one ever said it was easy choreographing to song lyrics. And no one ever said it was easy (or advisable) to persuade a Sadler's Wells audience to join a communal singalong after a ballet. Pacific Northwest, the Seattle ballet company that now ranks as the fifth biggest in the US, would have been on safer ground opening with a selection of Balanchine classics than the Jerome Kern medley it chose to show last Tuesday. PNB has a repertory bristling with Balanchine ballets rarely seen in London, but instead it brought Silver Lining, a big-budget, rhinestone-studded, full-evening creation by its artistic director, Kent Stowell. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/story.jsp?story=313057" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><P> But also a very positive and complimentary one from John Percival, also from The Independent.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>A big cheer for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Silver Lining, the show that opened their second London season, is pure entertainment and, at the same time, first-rate dancing. It is entirely their own, made specially for these dancers, but it extends them into something new: singing. Also, it joyfully celebrates their own American culture in the musicals of Jerome Kern. If only more companies would work like this. Kent Stowell made the piece, we are told, out of sheer nostalgic enthusiasm for the movies and shows that inspired his youthful self to become a dancer. The enthusiasm is clear, and he has succeeded in passing it to the company, who perform with a whole-hearted unanimity. There are lots of solos, duets and other small ensembles to show off the principals and soloists, but it is the complete group who are applauded from the very beginning, three dozen of them dancing to the title number, right through to the end, when more like four dozen join in the reprises, that make up the finale.<P><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/theatre/reviews/story.jsp?story=313170" TARGET=_blank> <B> MORE </B> </A><p>[This message has been edited by Joanne (edited July 09, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 3:31 am 
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Location: London
Laurey - I know that the company's calculation in bringing "SL" to town as the opener, was that it would appeal to a braoder audience - not just the UK ballet-goers, but those that normally go to musicals. And the latter is a big crowd of people in London - Londoners and tourists. That seems not quite to have worked but it was not an unreasonable assumption for a company not well-known in the UK. But it does seem that the US audience has affection for it whereas the majority of people who regularly review and attend dance in the UK really felt either indifference or dislike for the piece.<P>However, having said that, on the night I went to see SL, there was a very positive reaction from the audience and a couple of standing ovations. Remember, most of the reviews have not recorded the enthusiasm of the audience and even if the auditiorium was not packed to bursting point, there were enough people in the audience who had a good night out to justify the performance.


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 3:52 am 
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Location: London, UK
I was asked by a mother of one of the corps de ballet dancers on Saturday why I thought all the London reviews of Pacific Northwest Ballet full length ballet had been so bad. I told her, in all honesty, that I thought it was disappointment. Critics had high expectations of the company before its arrival, and had felt let down at what they had seen. The choice of show had not, perhaps, been wise given cross-cultural differences. The company had travelled a long way to perform in London. I think critics felt that they had not been given the opportunity to show us their best. <P>For me, Pacific Northwest Ballet’s matinee performance of Silver Lining was disappointing, not necessarily because it was a terrible show, but because it gave glimpses of the performance we might have seen. The company is brimming with talented dancers, who are technically able, lyrical, and expressive. But sadly, they were hidebound by a piece that did not use their talents, but rather tarnished them with tawdry choreography and gaudy ill-fitting costumes.<P>There were some terrific performances, nevertheless. Patricia Barker danced with confidence and style, and managed to be both delicate and commanding in her stage presence. Louise Nadeau and Olivier Wevers gave a sensous rendition of Whip-Poor-Will. <P>Kaori Nakamura and Le Yin deserve especial mention for a beautifully danced, technically thrilling pas de deux to a very dark version of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes. It was slightly marred by the fact that Kaori’s costume seemed to cause Le Yin difficulties in lifting her, but Le Yin’s fouettes and Kaori’s arabesques more than compensated. The extremely warm reception they received is perhaps a testament to the fact that the audience valued the balletic nature of their piece. <P>And this I think is the key to the whole thing: the company danced best, and the audience was most positive when the choroegraphy was balletic. I admired the enthusiam of the company as they tried to jive and bunny hop their way across the stage in pointe shoes, but despite the Come Dancing smiles, they didn’t look entirely convinced or secure. The alacrity, whilst admirable, seemed born of grim determination. Yet freed from the constraints of dancing out of their natural style, they were fantastic. When presented with pirouettes, arabesques and bourrees, they couldn’t have done better. But the virtuosity of ballet doesn’t always fit with the precision needed in Broadway set pieces, and the choreography seemed trite and unimaginative in spite of all the company’s bravura. <P>I left wishing I had had the opportunity of seeing the Mixed Bill. I left wishing I could see Pacific Northwest Ballet again dancing something else. Because I thought the company was great. Its just the piece was ill advised. Next time they travel to the UK, I hope they choose a better piece so we can really see what they can do. It is time for Pacific Northwest Ballet to really bring out the real silver, and put the lining away. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 9:37 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Is there a chance of getting an URL that works on the David Dougill review of Silver Lining (in the Sunday Times, July 7)? I have tried for a couple of days to get it to work, but have thus far failed. I registered with The Times months ago, and I must have the correct cookie, because their site recognizes me. Where I fall off the cart, however, is when I refuse to subscribe to a print edition; I am punted out every time. Please advise....


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 11:46 am 
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Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Francis, I have just noticed some small print regarding the on-line service:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Notice to readers of the newspaper edition online:<BR>Times Online has introduced an annual subscription fee of £39.99 for overseas readers of the newspaper editions. You will be asked to pay the subscription fee after logging in or registering as a new user.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I read this to mean that you will not be able to access the S. Times/Times articles for free. Can any other non-UK readers access this article:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-345478,00.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2101-345478,00.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: "Silver Lining"
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2002 1:05 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
I think your reading of the fine print is correct, Stuart. Too bad about that....


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