CriticalDance Forum

2013 White Nights Festival
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Author:  Buddy [ Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Catherine Pawlick wrote:
I heard now there are 2 of the 60 on board...

Two is even better than 1. :D

The "MT2 "rehearsal stage"", is this in addition to the planned rehearsal areas that you questioned the architects about at the press interview? Does it make the initial perception of adequate ballet rehearsal space seem better?

Do you think that alternating the same dancers from the raked stage to the unranked one is a major issue? Mariinsky dancers seem to be able to do anything.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

I personally think that while the dancers can handle it, ligaments are ligaments and they get accustomed to what they're accustomed to. So I think time will tell... But as Kondaurova said, they already dance on flat stages during tour and at the Concert Hall. It's just that all studios are raked... I can say one thing that the shift back and forth is not easy on the ligaments.

The MT2 rehearsal stage is basically just a huge warehouse space. No mirrors, no barres. The building section (backstage half) of the theatre, those 5 floors' worth of rooms, have a huge amount of wasted space - large corridors that *could be* studios, and tiny rooms with doors on them without any specific designation. From what I have seen it's a poor design and waste of money. And no, there is not enough rehearsal space there, especially if they ever intend to close down MT1 fully for renovation.

Also that half of the building is really not finished yet. This is in part why it is still empty...

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Premiere: Concerto DCSH, along with
The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the Middle Somewhat Elevated
Mariinsky Theatre II
Saint Petersburg, Russia
5 July 2013
by Catherine Pawlick

Alexei Ratmansky's Concerto DSCH is an appropriately Russian representation of Shostakovich's Concerto No. 2 for Piano with Orchestra, mixing expressive neoclassical movement with emotional displays that imply but never quite insist on a specific storyline. The choreographer's visual presentation began on Thursday night at the Mariinsky II Theatre with Nadezda Batoeva churing out powerhouse pirouettes and later an allegro solo flanked by the sleek and athletic Alexander Sergeyev and Vasily Tkachenko. Nods to Leningrad Symphony, another decidedly Russian (Soviet) ballet set to Shostakovich's famous Seventh symphony, abound - a fist held to the chest in a gesture of determination, sternum to the horizon out of pride and hope, a row of women communing on the floor, hands entertwined.

The adagio, led by the tireless Ekaterina Kondaurova alongside the handsome Andrey Ermakov, depicted tender love, fear, evasion and chase. Dressed in pale mint and pink, the couple embodied springtime and hope, decorating the lyrical pas de deux with questioning looks or sideways glances. The choreography itself is far from simple: a 360˚ flip that ends in a shoulder sit, or Kondaurova swung around by her harms, her legs reaching high above Ermakov's head.

The mood shifts to playful briefly before a more somber tableau section follows, where distinct movements then melt into more lyricism before the playfulness resumes. Batoeva and Sergeyev in a quick duet, with his high-kicking cabrioles and her --again, pirouettes -- transmitted energy and verve.

If the first cast offered a more abstract, removed presentation on an emotional level, the second cast brought more lyricisim and emotional depth. Svetlana Ivanova and Konstantin Zverev danced with particular poignancy, while Valeria Martionouk replaced Batoeva in the powerhouse role, adding distinct humour in the section where the trio tosses each other back and forth in a series of sautés, as if in a tennis match.

In all, Ratmansky's creation is an energetic, multilayered and symbolic depiction of Shostackovich's musical score, and one that warrants repeat viewing.

The two ballets that preceded the opening night evening were from the Forsythe bill, starting with In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and followed by The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude. Middle repeated the revival cast from this March in an equally electric rendition of the pulsing fervour that characterises this ballet.

The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude
featured Keenan Kampa, Ekaterina Ivannikova, Yulia Stepanova, Vasily Tkachenko and Aleksey Timofeyev. Of the five, Kampa appeared most well suited to the choreography, dancing in perfect synchronicity with Ivannikova in the diagonal section. Tkachenko's increasing technical prowess was notable and he proved a pleasure to watch. The quintet delivered a sharp, well-rehearsed performance.

For the Ratmansky premiere, Mikhail Agrest conducted, and Vladimir Rumiantsev, brought in from Moscow, played the piano.

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Concerto DSCH is an interesting work. I think Ratmansky is a much better choreographer (at least for the Mariinsky) than Forsythe or Preljocaj. Of course, dancers want to branch out and do all sorts of things, but I think Ratmansky bases his choreography on old-fashioned Russian ballet, which we all love, and goes from there and brings it into the 21st century by adding his own ideas and even some pop-style steps. He includes bourrees, leaps into men's arms, lifts that are pretty, turns that excite, Russian folk elements, neo-classical shapes for the corps. Basically, he seems to know what has worked for a couple of centuries and doesn't throw it away. He uses it as a base and molds it into something modern.

My only complaint is that there is so much going on in Concerto DSCH that you don't know where to look, and while you concentrate and watch the soloists you are missing little things that the mini-corps is doing. You see one thing and miss others. Maybe that is Ratmansky's point so that you will come see it again or maybe his point is that in real life so much is going on that we always miss something depending on where we look.

It does seem to be the trend to have lots going on and not directing the audience's attention necessarily like ballet used to do. Lots of new ballets are using this ultra busy concept, not just Ratmansky.

Overall, it is much more enjoyable than most modern ballets I have seen. I would see it again, although I don't think I will ever consider it in the same league as Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty, etc., but, of course, it is a totally different animal anyway.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival


An interesting point - maybe Ratmansky's subtext though is that the music is multi layered? Much of the pure classics give us just the one focus (ie Swan Lake adagio, just 2 people on stage moving). Those of us (*raising my hand*) who have seen it literally hundreds of times know all of the steps, from corps to soloists. But if you think about it, the same thing goes on in classical works -- we are just so used to seeing them that perhaps the complexity is not at first visible. For example (again Swan Lake) in some of the transitional scenes or even part of Act I, when the corps is doing one set of steps while Siegfried and Odette do another...

I do hear what you are saying though about visual complexity-- the tempo in DSCH is much much faster, therefore the step patterns are faster, the movement is faster, the eye has to work faster. True.

Here everyone is dancing to different layers of the music as well. I also think it warrants repeat viewings for this reason. If it did not, it would be boring, and people would tend to say "Oh I've seen it already, and once is enough." Here once is not enough and I think therein lies much of its draw and his talent.

I watched two rehearsals, two stage run-throughs, and both premieres. I can say after that much exposure I have an idea of what to look for and where. But the same would be said of anyone who sees Swan Lake for the first time; I am sure there are some things they miss too, where 6 viewings (or fewer) would give them the general structure of the ballet visually and choreographically...?

An interesting thought for discussion, thanks for pointing it out...

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

A note: Last night Evgeny Ivanchenko and Oksana Skorik delivered one of the most beautiful performances of Giselle ever!

Author:  Buddy [ Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Bravi !

:D :D :D :D

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

You could be right about the fact that we know where to look b/c the Petipa classics are so familiar, but I do think Ratmansky tends to have at least three things going on very often. I think Petipa had the corps doing the same thing in the background and maybe two soloists up front, but really 2 main things (groups or 2 sets of choreography) to look at. I could be wrong. I would have to analyze each ballet on video to see if a lot is going on or not.

But here is an example, in the Little Humpbacked Horse there is the underwater scene and when the Sea Queen comes out with the sea horses, you want to watch her b/c she is often played by a good soloist, but then you also want to be watching what the corps does (and they do quite a bit and even when they seem like they are doing the same thing they are not always doing it at the same time) and also what Ivan and the Humpbacked Horse are doing (even if they are mainly acting).

That is just one example of 3 sets of groups doing different things and you want to see what each group is actually doing. There were other scenes with just as much going on.

I felt like Concerto DSCH and also Symphonic Dances in Miami had about 3 things going on quite often.

I am not trying to argue.....just explain why it feels like it is hard to figure out what to look at when new to a Ratmansky ballet. I think he tends toward more going on than Petipa, but I am going to keep an open mind and maybe you are right about a lot going on in Swan Lake, for example, also, but we are just used to it. Also, speed, as you say, might also make me feel this way.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

PN, you bring up good points (I'm not arguing either). It's an interesting topic. I'm going to think through this out loud (on paper) : maybe some of the difference is that in Petipa the action (plot movement forward) is slower and usually as you note just one "event" is happening at once. For example, the swans stand in formation, Siegfried enters, Odette explains to him not to shoot the swans. Throughout the white adagio we have the corps moving but 1) they move in unison, doing the same steps or mirroring each other and 2) the focus is on the main couple.

In Don Q (It's not Petipa, but I mention it for sake of contrast) ...there is more action, in fact the same with most comic ballets (La Fille Mal Gardee for instance). So we have the crowd in the background, Basil flirting with women, Kitri flirting with the Don...there's more going on but the plot idea is singular: Kitri and Basil's relationship.

Or OK - Bayadere, Act I (Mariinsky current version). The whole meeting between Nikiya and Solor is usually the main actors downstage (Nikiya + Brahmin or Nikiya + slave) and upstage the slaves or the girls doing whatever as background. So youre right: still 2 main pairs of characters (leading roles plus corps)

The fairies in Sleeping Beauty dance one by one. Aurora dances, and all others watch. The cavaliers step in to support her, but they're background to her balances and her dancing. There's not a lot of overlap... so you have a strong point.

At any rate, so far I think I agree with you in terms of comparing the complexity and layers of onstage activity in Ratmansky's works vs Petipa...

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Sat Jul 13, 2013 1:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

I do think with multiple viewings audiences start to "catch" everything. I will be seeing both Humpbacked Horses at the end of this month, so I will be able to judge then if Ratmansky still feels busy or not!

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Jul 14, 2013 12:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

I think with LHH you will still feel it looks busy. Just my prediction. It's a pantomime/action-packed you probably already know... Curious what you'll think though.

I dont think I'll be there for those 2 perfces but will be on the 31st in case you wanted to put faces with names!

Author:  Tiara [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

PenneallaNorma wrote:
I do think with multiple viewings audiences start to "catch" everything. I will be seeing both Humpbacked Horses at the end of this month, so I will be able to judge then if Ratmansky still feels busy or not!

I have to say that when I saw LHBH last month, I was of the opinion that this ballet is "bitty" in the extreme, and actually, a complete waste of scheduling. The Vaganova trained dancers certainly deserve better than this dreadful Ratmansky ballet. And as for the new MT2 - it is completely devoid of any atmosphere or, apparently, air conditioning. Vive The Real Mariinsky Theatre and the great Mariinsky classics!

Author:  PenneallaNorma [ Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Tiara, I don't think anyone would disagree that the historic theatre is where everyone wants to go see ballet most of all. I am sure it will be the big draw for anyone visiting St. Petersburg for the first time from now until the end of the world. It is magical. I can't imagine going for the first time to St. Petersburg and only attending things at the Mariinsky wouldn't feel like you had the authentic Mariinsky experience.

I also think Raymonda, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty, etc. are always going to be the ones that put most of us in ecstasy. Those are also the ballets people will always want to see the Mariinsky dance.

But I find the Little Humpbacked Horse to have some nice choreography. I don't think it compares to Petipa, but for a "modern" ballet it is much, much better than something by Forsythe, in my opinion.

With all that said I do understand your point of view. Humpbacked Horse does not make us swoon the way Sleeping Beauty will.

Author:  Catherine Pawlick [ Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2013 White Nights Festival

Just a note that the White Nights festival has officially closed out for 2013.

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