CriticalDance Forum

Tokyo Ballet's Giselle
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Author:  Fouette [ Wed May 08, 2002 5:31 am ]
Post subject:  Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Gorgeous! The Chinese audience is usually quite cool, but tonight they were yelling "Bravo!" until the curtain came down. The Tokyo Ballet deserved it too! They had the best corps I've ever seen for Giselle - it was almost like the Shades scene for La Bayadere, with lots of arabesques and really neat formations. The dancers were marvellous as well - Albrecht performed really clean, consecutive entrechats (earned a lot of applause). The ballerina who danced Giselle was extremely light in both acts, but the mad scene could be worked on a little more. Her death was kind of anticlimatic. The costumes were beautiful for the Wilis - the skirts were longer than usual and I thought it created a very ghost-like effect (speaking of which...Myrtha's bourees were seamless). The story was a little slow in the beginning though. All in all, an awesome ballet! Has anyone else ever seen it?

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Wed May 08, 2002 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Fouette, you'll be even more impressed if you see the Kirov's production, especially their incomparable corps de ballet.<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Kevin Ng (edited May 09, 2002).]

Author:  Basheva [ Wed May 08, 2002 5:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

I have not seen the Tokyo Ballet perform Giselle - so this is interesting information, Fouette.<P>Do you know who the dancers were? Were there any reviews in the English language newspapers?

Author:  Fouette [ Thu May 09, 2002 1:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

This is one of the countless times I've seen Giselle, but one of the few that really made an impression on me. I have an ABT version with Erik Bruhn and Carla Fracci, and that's one of my favorites. One thing I missed was the diagonal of saut de chats by Myrtha, ending with a kick-the-head saut de chat, with the corps in a diagonal formation. That's one of the highlights in the Giselle by the National Ballet of China.

Author:  Basheva [ Thu May 09, 2002 6:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

I also have the tape of Carla Fracci and Erik Bruhn dancing the full length Giselle and it is extraordinary - you are right.<P>Carla Fracci was a transcendent Giselle. She was also wonderful in a tape that was a documentary on the ballet Giselle. On this tape several outstanding ballerinas who danced this role are interviewed and parts of their performances shown. And Carla Fracci certainly stands out. I also fell in love with Karen Kain....and I always loved Alicia Alonso in the role.

Author:  Xinxin [ Fri May 10, 2002 4:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Dear Fouette, thank you very much for your report. <BR>I saw this Giselle as well, both in May 8 and 9, and I think the second night was better than the opening night. <BR>So I would like to talk with you more about these shows and give you a little more detailed information.<P>In the opening night, the company's No. 1 prima-ballerina Saito Yukari danced the title roll with Takagishi Naoki (the company's tallest )as her Albrecht. But we did not enjoy Act 1 very much, because Tatahashi San looked a little heavy on feet and Saito San was not like a lovely village girl at all. The mad scene did not move us either. <BR>But the second Act turned quite nice, owing a lot to the excellent Myrtha danced by Iwaki Yukie. She has excellent feeling in dancing. Monna and Zyulma were quite nice too. (In the second night, I met Takahashi San, the first Albrecht, at the theater and asked him their names. He told me that the one with a round face, who impressed us a lot in the first night, was Koide Reiko, who was just promoted from the Corps de ballet, and the other one was Sano Shiori). <P>In Act II, Takagishi San danced and performed much better. He did some marvelous lifts and showed us wonderful technique (28 emtrechat six in the pdd. He jumped too hard that he sometimes could not hold her body very well, but no one cared, because he was just like a hero at that moment). He had a very good manner in dancing too. <BR>Kiruma Kazuo, who danced Hilarion, was very good too, both in dancing and acting.<BR>We did bravi for Takagishi San (Albrecht), Iwaki San (Myrtha), Kiruma San (Hilarion),Monna and Zyulma (could not tell the dancer's names at that time though). But I guess most bravi (the loud ones) came from the comapny's off- stage members in the seats. <BR>We did not like to bravo Giselle (Saito Yukari San) because we did not enjoy her acting and dancing very much (sorry, I know it must have been very hard for her to recover from her injury few years ago. She was a fine dancer, but not my girl). <BR>First Act pdd was danced by Arai Yuko and Goto Haruo San. It was nothing special.<P>We were interviewed by a Journalist from Yomiuri Shinbun after the opening performance. I told him the major male dancers of Tokyo Ballet were better than our male dancers in the National Ballet of China but our girls are better than the Tokyo's, and also told him that we did not like the corps de ballet of Tokyo's because they looked too heavy for the ghosts.<P>We went to the theater again in May 9 with great expect. Because the second night would be danced by the company's (real) best ballerina Yoshioka Mika and one of the most popular male dancers (in Japan) , Shuto Yasuyuki. <BR>I first "found out" Yoshioka San about 2 years ago, when I saw the company's Bejart Gala in Tokyo. She danced Bugaku then. Her beautiful line was very outstanding among the Japanese dancers (she is about 167cm tall, with beautiful long neck and limbs). Since then I have seen quite a few performances with her and the company. But actually I did not enjoy those shows very much, not even Sleeping Beauty with Viladimir Malakhov as the prince, because those ballets were not very suitable for her. She is a more lyrical dancer than a powerful one. And this time, Giselle was just the role for her. She acted and danced so excellent, that finally I felt she was better Giselle than Viviana Durante. <P>Shuto Yasuyuki was very nice too, though lacked in hight (about 172cm only I guess, while Takahashi San was about 187cm tall), he was lighter and acted better than Takahashi San. He looked rather childish than noble, but I think his interpretation was quite convincing. His variations in the second Act pdd was easier than Takahashi San's (no 28 emtrechat six and less turns) but his technique was quite steady (though not as trong as Takagishi's). <BR>Myrtha was danced by Endo Chiharu San, she has bigger scale than the first Myrtha (Iwaki San), but her dancing was slightly less wonderful.<BR>Corp de ballet made big progress in the second night (I guess the Japanese journalist must had passed our comments to them), their movements was as unified as in the first night but no more noisy shoes(but I still think the corps de ballet of National Ballet of China is the best in Asia if they work hard, since most of our dancers have more beautiful and longer lines, and more classical style).<BR> <BR>In short, the second night, Tokyo's Giselle was the best Giselle since the Paris Opera Ballet's ones (in 1998) I have ever seen in Beijing. So this time we gave them lots of bravi from our hearts.<P>When I told Mr. Takagishi San that I hope to see him again in Beijing, dancing Bejart's Bolero, he responded immediately: Yes, I like to dance it in Beijing.<BR>A nice guy!<BR>Sorry for my poor English and spelling. <BR>Just for your information.<BR>Dear Fouette, are you living in Beijing?<P>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 10, 2002).]<p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 11, 2002).]

Author:  Basheva [ Fri May 10, 2002 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Hello XinXin - thank you so much for giving us this review. Your English and spelling are just fine. I understood everything you said.<P>Once again, thank you.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 10, 2002).]

Author:  djb [ Fri May 10, 2002 3:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Thank you, Foutte and Kevin Ng, for your reviews. I wish it were possible to see the major dance companies from all countries.<P>I wonder whether either of you know of the Asami Maki Ballet from Japan. This is the company I saw perform at the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) in 1990. I remember being especially impressed by the men. The program was a collection of short pieces, including several of the classic ballet pas de deux. The last piece on the program was a ballet based on Japanese themes.<p>[This message has been edited by djb (edited May 10, 2002).]

Author:  Basheva [ Fri May 10, 2002 5:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

It has always been my hope that as ballet spreads to more an more cities in Japan, China, and all over Asia, that those cultures will add their own themes, stories and myths to the tapestry of ballet, and enrich it enormously.

Author:  Kevin Ng [ Fri May 10, 2002 5:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Djb, I am sure that Xinxin will know about the Japanese company Asami Maki Ballet.<P>While half of the Kirov Ballet is touring Mexico this week, the other half is still performing at home. On 14 May there is a Japanese dancer Rika Ishi guesting with the Kirov dancing La Sylphide. <BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>Xinxin, do you know of this Japanese dancer?

Author:  Fouette [ Fri May 10, 2002 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Xinxin - yes, I do live in Beijing. I saw the May 8th performance, and also thought that the mad scene was unconvincing. I didn't really like Giselle in the firstact - she had too much of that "parallel second position" thing going on. I know it was supposed to signify shyness, but too much was too much. I got annoyed after she stopped during the variation, right before all those hops en pointe. Argh! Enough was enough! I wish I saw the second night as well. I didn't think the corps in the second act was half bad - they looked pretty good, but their shoes were quite loud. The second, as a whole, was quite impressive. <BR>The male in the wedding pas de deux had a bad habit of flipping out his elbows whenever he opened second during his preparation for pirouettes. <BR>I loved the scenery!! They were the best part of the production!<P>I'm inclinced to agree with you, Xinxin, on what you said about Tokyo's dancers compared to NBC dancers. NBC is sadly depleted of males, but I do like the really tall guy Huang Zhen, and the one who won third prize at a Japanese ballet competition with Meng Ning Ning (who won first) - I think his name is Yu Bo. Han Bo is ok in Don Q, but he looks a tad bit too nervous sometimes. Sun Jie seems to be the strongest male dancer in NBC, but as his background is from Chinese ethnic dancing, he isn't as classical as the others. <BR>For girls I really like Zhu Yan and Meng Ning Ning. They're both exquisite dancers. I'd like to see Meng Ning Ning in more principal roles. The up-and-coming Wang Qi ming and Wu Haiyan I don't really care for - both seem too skinny to be really believable in their roles. <BR>I'm going to see their full-length "Swan Lake" tonight! My teacher is performing. Image<p>[This message has been edited by Fouette (edited May 10, 2002).]

Author:  Xinxin [ Fri May 10, 2002 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Hi, last year when I was in Japan, I saw Maki Asami ballet as well.<BR>There was a wonderful male dancer called Kojima Naoya. Kojima San got a gold medal at Varna competition (at junior level) in 1989, and danced for ABT in 1994. He is also the No.1 male dancer with the New National Theater Ballet (Maki Asami San is now the director of New National Theater Ballet). I have always enjoyed his dancing and acting very much, and taken him as the very best male dancer in Japan (I like him more than the Japanese super star Kumakawa Tetsuya). There were 2 female stars too. The older one is called Kusakari Tamiyo, and the younger one is Ueno Mizuka. But actually I don't like them very much. My girl is Yoshioka San with Tokyo Ballet. She might not be a very good Kitri or Aurora, but I am sure she is the very best Giselle in Japan (#### Yoko San used to be a wonderful Giselle but she is getting old).<P>Ishii Rika San was a ballet student in Moscow in 1987, with a scholarship issued by the Japanese government. She danced at Bolshoi as a guest artist in 1990-1995, and joined Kirov in 1997.<BR>But I have never seen her on the stage in Japan.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 12, 2002).]

Author:  Xinxin [ Fri May 10, 2002 6:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Dear Fouette, thank you so much.<BR>You know our NBC so well!<BR>It was a real pity that you did not see the second night Giselle. She was better than Zhu Yan and Wang Qiming (Zhang Jian is a wonderful swan but not very good for Giselle).<P>Have you ever seen Ta Mila? He used to be the No. 1 male dancer with NBC. I think he has more classical stile than Sun JIe( but Sun JIe is very good at acting), but Ta Mila is no longer with NBC. Kevin knows where he is.<P>I will not go to see Swan Lake. Because I have seen too many Swan Lakes in Beijing, and the dancers don't like to dance it anymore. <BR>I saw Coppelia with Wang Qiming, Yu Bo and Sun Jie (but not in the opening night).<BR>I would like to talk with you about NBC later.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Xinxin (edited May 12, 2002).]

Author:  Polaire [ Fri May 10, 2002 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Fouette---- it seems that u r so familar with the National Ballet of China. So tonight u will come to Peking Univ. to see Swanlake? Can u give us some review about the performance, thank u. <BR>BTW: I will also in the audience tonight.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Polaire (edited May 10, 2002).]

Author:  Basheva [ Sat May 11, 2002 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tokyo Ballet's Giselle

Polaire - welcome to the board - it's great to have you join us.<P>This is very interesting, learning about what is happening in China!

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