CriticalDance Forum

San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'
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Author:  Rubies [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 9:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

so, azlan, what happened in rubies last night? and why did it look like lucia and cyril were improving? do tell!

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 10:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

From the Chronicle.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Ballet's 'Jewels' needs polish <BR>Berman, Maffre and Garcia exquisite, but corps looks shaky<P>Octavio Roca, Chronicle Dance Critic<P>Of all the American choreographers of the past century, George Balanchine was the most popular and the most prolific. He was also the master of brevity: There are but a handful of full-length works among the 425 mostly short dances he created between "La nuit" in 1920 and the revised "Variations for Orchestra" in 1982. "Jewels" may be the strangest among these, a full-length ballet without a plot.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><P>Once again, Mr. Ulrich and I saw totally different performances even though we were at the same show. "Cyril Pierre, in splendid form..."? Who is he kidding?<p>[This message has been edited by LMCtech (edited March 14, 2002).]

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

And from San Jose.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Balanchine's dazzling `Jewels' finally joins S.F. repertory<BR>By Anita Amirrezvani<BR>Mercury News<P>The San Francisco Ballet performed the complete ballet for the first time Tuesday. A splendid addition to the company's repertory, it undoubtedly will be performed many times in the future. (The program repeats today through Sunday.)<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A>

Author:  Rubies [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

That wasn't Allan Ulrich's review, that was Octavio Roca's!

Author:  gmsf [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Wednesday night Jewels:<P>Emeralds... I've seen this piece three times on three different companies and I still don't like it. Can't stand the way Balanchine uses the corps in it. I thought Feijoo and Yuri did a pretty good job, but still didn't quite hook into the style of it (actually, the Feijoo solo was lovely). Katita Waldo's solo was good. Am I crazy or has she been improving a lot lately? As usual, the Karinska costumes for Emeralds are hideous. I felt sorry for the dancers for having to wear them. <P>Rubies... Maffre was perfect, Zahorian was fun but didn't give it the nonchalance it needed. I liked Nedviguine's performance, but he did seem a little laid back. I thought the corps looked a tad sloppy at times but they were in to it. My favorite of the three.<P>Diamonds... The corps looked better or, at least, cleaner. But the classical style just wasn't there. The too-skinny Lacarra was wonderful. Yes, the arms were a bit overdone but the woman is just so comfortable on stage. She takes her time when she phrases while everyone else looks rushed. Not a Balanchinesque performance, but gorgeous. Pierre was... Pierre. A few nice moves along with a lot of sloppy work and LOUD landings on jumps. He had a horrible expression on his face the entire time he danced (I think he was breathing through his mouth). I hope he likes Germany, good bye.<P>Also, I saw Berman's pre-show talk. As usual, a very charming woman and artist. I'm glad she's still going to be connected to the company.<BR><P>------------------<BR>cheers,<BR>ralph

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 3:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

I apologize for the mix-up on the Chronicle review. The teazer said Ulrich, the review said Roca. What are they doing to me? I still stand by my comment, though, whoever the critic was.<P>Anyway, here's the Examiner.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Ballet that sparkles<BR>By Rachel Howard<BR>Examiner Dance Critic<P> We've come to see, during the last 50 years of his work's worldwide domination, what dancing Balanchine can give to a ballet company. Less often glimpsed is what a company's breakthrough performance can give back to Balanchine's legacy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank><B>more...</B></A><BR>

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Mar 15, 2002 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Rubies, do I know you? Are you trying to goad me into trouble? Well, what the heck. Zahorian slipped and landed badly on her right foot at the beginning of "Rubies." Like RalphSF said, she looked good but perhaps needed a little more hip action...<P>Also Improv Night = Improvisation Night. Me thinks Lacarra and Pierre flubbed it and made up steps. According to an ex-NYCB/Mr B dancer I ran into, the slow tempo might have something to do with it -- the dancers can tire out if the tempo is slow, and tire they did.<P>RaplhSF, what did you think of the men in general?<P><B>Thursday night impressions:</B><P>Okay, I'm tired of giving my impressions. DavidH? Anyone else?<P>Oh, alright, I'll say one thing. "Emeralds" looked much better, perhaps with the injection of Muriel Maffre as the second girl.

Author:  Rubies [ Fri Mar 15, 2002 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Sac Bee review<P><BR> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>S.F. Ballet's 'Jewels' a rare, shining gem<BR>By William Glackin<BR>Sacramento Bee<P><BR>George Balanchine's "Jewels" is a title familiar to many ballet fans, but mostly as the trio of ballets from which comes the popular "Rubies." To be able to see all three in one evening, the way they were first performed in 1967, the way the San Francisco Ballet is doing them now as the fourth program of the season, is a rare treat.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><B><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank>more...</A> <P></B><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Rubies (edited March 15, 2002).]

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Mar 17, 2002 12:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

<B>From Saturday night</B>:<P>Loved Julie Diana and Vadim Solomakha in "Diamonds." The four soloists were also near perfect (Catherine Baker, Sherri LeBlanc, Leslie Young and corps member Dalene Bramer as an unannounced replacement for Tiekka Schofield).<P>Yuri Possokhov looked great in "Rubies." Tempo seemed a little better or maybe I'm getting used to it.<P>And they finally got it right in "Emeralds." Well not perfect but the mood was right.<p>[This message has been edited by Azlan (edited March 20, 2002).]

Author:  Jeff [ Sun Mar 17, 2002 9:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

“Jewels”<BR>War Memorial Opera House<BR>Friday, March 15, 2002<P>I have read that Petipa often imagined his ballets set amidst the halls, <I>salons</I>, ballrooms, and gardens of Versailles. Certainly this is true enough of the great Tschaikovsky ballets. Likewise, this production of Balanchine’s “Jewels” also imagines palaces, though not pre-Raphaelite, fairy tale palaces behind lurking Hundred Year Forests. Perhaps, more like settings of Dumas père and <I>roman feuilleton</I>.<P>Miami City Ballet’s production seen in Berkeley in 1999 showed the ensemble before a black backdrop with a galaxy of stars—green nebulae for “Emeralds,” red for “Rubies,” etc. The dancers looked like they were dancing in space. Here, Tuohy gives “Emeralds” and “Rubies” palatial black curtains and sashes for the wings; “Diamonds” has pearl curtains with gold sashes.<P>In the palace of Susan Tuohy’s design, “Emeralds,” is the setting of medieval romance, nostalgia, and mystery; the middle ballet, “Rubies,” is romp-and-dodge amid neo-classical boulevards; and “Diamonds” is indeed all <I>gloire</I>. To see “Diamonds” is to see the truth of what one critic wrote (can’t remember who), that were all of Petipa’s ballets to vanish, “Diamonds” would tell us everything we need to know about the Imperial Russian Ballet.<P>Of the three ballets, “Emeralds” intrigues the most with hints of untold narratives. Lorena Feijoo and Yuri Possokhov dance the principal couple in “Emeralds” and their dancing is beautifully crafted. The hide-and-seek theme seems less important here than capturing a sense of impending separation, especially in the closing moments of the grand pas de deux of the “Epithalame” movement—Lorena and Yuri step backwards out of our view, gazing upwards, their arms raised in a gesture of beautiful resignation.<P>The “walking” pas de deux (set to Faure’s “Nocturne”) is for two sleepwalkers—<I>somnambulisti</I>—Julie Diana and Damian Smith. As Croce wrote: “It [the pdd] wanders on, beat by beat, until, to a sudden sighing cadence in the music, it passes away into the night. Balanchine is not often given to such stylization, and for him to keep the dance so still is also unusual.” The “beat by beat” (pedantic) visualization might be the sleepwalkers tuned to the peals of watchtower bells. <P>However, there is a sense that the “Emeralds” is not quite ready. Either the company seems to have gotten shorter or the stage larger. Or, perhaps it is the tempi, slower than I remember. In the “Sicilienne” movement, Julie Diana executes the port d’bras a little too crisply though she always looks great. The entire ensemble seemed too solemn this evening. Or, its me—Friday evening at the ballet is the most difficult—coming away from the accumulated hassles of the week.<P>“Rubies” features the same black curtains as “Emeralds,” only now the green backdrop and faux ivory chandeliers have been replaced by a black backdrop with streamers of colored rhinestones of a patriotic red-white-blue scheme. The colored lines wiggling out of sight at the top of the stage reminds me of colored pennants flying from the tethers of balloons at car dealerships.<P>For this dance, which has been in the company’s rep for years, Kristin Long and Stephen Legate are the principal pair. Muriel Maffre characteristically dances the Tall Girl’s role, the soloist ballerina. She is even better than I remember. Better yet, her legs are even longer than I remember. Or is it only now all the dancers are at the right height and fill the stage.<P>Though many critics have called “Diamonds” the least interesting choreographically, it has also been called the “applause-machine” by Lincoln Kirstein. I’m not sure if he was being ironic, but it reminds me of what one of my lit professors said, which is before you criticize Shakespeare, try writing something—anything—sensibly in iambic pentameter.<P>Of “Diamonds” Rachel Howard wrote in her recent review, “bravura dancing restores its spark” and “‘Diamonds’ requires a very special ballerina, a risk taking <I>princess</I>” (my italics). For Yuan Yuan Tan, the steely glamour is there. In the exquisite “Diamonds” pdd she is partnered by Roman Rykine and their performance is larger than life and beautifully proportioned. Those lingering balances on pointe ... those deep plunges! –but without the sense that her unsupported foot is about to konk her partner on the head from behind. This is the “Diamonds” pdd imagined without Suzanne Farrell and it is stunning. My only observation is that YY’s big smile seems a little incongruous amid the grand scope of the dance.<P>I’m not sure I agree with Arlene Croce about “Diamonds” first movement being “a plodding waltz that lasts forever.” The corps looked great to me and it couldn’t go on too long for this viewer. But Croce is right about the ensemble repetition of “diamonds, diamonds, diamonds”—the shapes and the steps are like light repeated to a sparkle by lapidary facets whispering of “diamonds, diamonds, diamonds.”<P>Kathleen Martuza, Tiekka Schofield, Nicole Starbuck, and Leslie Young danced the soloists roles in the “Scherzo” with suitable panache though needing a quick check on stage placement; likewise Peter Brandenhoff, Michael Eaton, Steven Norman, and Chidozie Nzerem. <P>Michael McGraw was the piano soloist for “Rubies,” his performance a ‘jewel’ in its own right. Neal Stulberg conducted the entire evening.<P>Final comment: Sheryl Flatow’s program notes are even better than usual this time, no doubt because the entire issue is devoted to the production. But, perhaps somebody could clear up one mystery. Julie Diana, Leslie Young, and Lucia Lacarra are featured on the cover of the Program, but what ballet are they costumed for?<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited March 18, 2002).]

Author:  Rubies [ Mon Mar 18, 2002 8:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Great observations! Did you see multiple casts? <P>Just a quick note on your last comment: <BR>It seems that SFB's ad campaign has been centered around nude colored clothing while bringing out a certain aspect of the ballet/program. Glass Pieces had the stop light, Angelo had the leaves. For Jewels, the dancers in the ad are adorned in.... jewels!

Author:  Azlan [ Mon Mar 18, 2002 11:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Jeff, wonderful observations! One correction though: I believe, for the second or third time, corps member Dalene Bramer replaced Tiekka Schofield in "Diamonds" in an unannounced substitution.

Author:  Rubies [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

So mehunt, what were your thoughts on Jewels? You've been so quiet!

Author:  Azlan [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 5:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

Yeah, MEHunt... We're waiting...<P>BTW, we did get confirmation that Dalene Bramer replaced Tiekka Schofield in at least the Sat night and Sun matinee performances of "Diamonds."<P>Here's my dream cast based on the performances I saw:<P>"Emeralds" - Joanna Berman and Yuri Possokhov; Muriel Maffre and Damian Smith; Parrish Maynard, Sherri LeBlanc and Catherine Baker.<P>"Rubies" - Kristin Long and Gonzalo Garcia; Muriel Maffre.<P>"Diamonds" - Julia Diana and Vadim Solomakha; Sherri LeBlanc, Dalene Bramer, Catherine Baker and Leslie Young.

Author:  Jeff [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: San Francisco Ballet 2002 - 'Jewels'

“Jewels”<BR>Saturday matinee, March 16, 2002<P>If between “Jewels” as a homage to ballets past and Tuohy envisioning palaces I was tempted compare this ballet to a “memory palace,” I sense that would be wrong. “Memory palaces” were mental constructs—mnemonic techniques—intended to etch raw memory into living consciousness so that medieval scholars and mystics could retain in prodigious detail the accumulated wisdom of the ages. But, more than just raw data storage, the <I>ars memorativa</I> served medieval scholars and mystics who could explore the past in the fantastic architecture of their memories. I believe Jesuit “Spiritual Exercises” were to some degree based upon these arcane mnemonic arts.<P>Would Balanchine have considered “Jewels” an extended meditation on the past—French romanticism in “Emeralds,” American sprightly neo-classical attitude in “Rubies,” etc? Probably not. Ballets—any dance—exist only as they are danced.<P>On my second viewing of Lorena Feijoo and Yuri Possokhov in the “Prelude” section of “Emeralds” I see how they emphasize the moments of small drama—beautiful rounded lines, subtly extended Odette balances on pointe, the briefest moments of stillness almost hidden within the circle of the corps girls. This is a nice reading, set apart from Miami City Ballet’s Mary Carmen Catoya and Carlos Guerra’s elusive hints of sad, untold stories. <P>I have always loved the opening of the “Epithalame” section when the ballerina and the danseur enter from opposite sides of the stage, arms held out as if reaching to each other. They walk first towards the orchestra then each other along 3 sides of a rectangle—this formal design repeats the music’s stately progression. When soft horn melodies usher in the dance’s change to circular forms, it is like the dawn of a summer morning. However, these jar somewhat against some rough hand holding later on, reminding me of what Basheva’s criticism about pdd “grappling.”<P>Katita Waldo and Stephen Legate also have a spot of rough hand holding in the “Nocturne,” but only a moment. The pas de trois, Catherine Baker, Sergio Torrado, and Sherri LeBlanc are pretty much “on,” but not quite all “on.” Ballet masters/mistresses, more hand holding lessons, <I>please</I>.<P>Did I hear Tina LeBlanc wasn’t sexy enough for “Rubies”? Ouch! … my butt is still scorched and its Tuesday. Or, maybe it was Gonzalo Garcia, who kicked ---. <P>Leslie Young—wow! Her performance is somewhere between the Doxy Triumphant and the Master of the Revels at a 3 ring circus. She even manages to look great in that funky “Rubies” jester beanie cap that Karinska makes the Tall Girl Soloist wear. If “Jewels” is imagined in a palace, then this “Rubies” is in the room where people have fun at. In the SFB “Nutcracker” thread, somebody said, “I’m always getting Leslie Young as Arabian”—was it a lament? Doubt it—I could never tire of seeing this Tall Girl.<P>Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre contrast with the previous evening’s YY Tan and Roman Rykine. I see a lot of the Raymonda in her performance—the hands-behind-head gesture. Also, Raymonda is there in the head dress—the ornament has the same flat round top as the Raymonda costume when they staged Nureyev’s Act III recently. Actually, I think I liked her dancing Raymonda better than being Raymonda-esque here.<P>Again, the corps looked great in “Diamonds.” In the concluding “Tempo di Polacca,” when the corps come out in the long promenade with the girls in those long white gloves, its like you can almost hear the sound of money. Here the ballet is closest in spirit to what it must have been like to be with Balanchine at Van Cleef and Arpels. Memory palaces must be built on memory money.<P>I’m still undecided about the faux chandeliers. They look decidedly “faux.” And, the lighting for “Emeralds” looked too bright. Just as there is a fine distinction between the shape of stones in emerald cut and the shape of Chiclets, there is a fine line between the green of this “Emeralds” and the color of green Chiclets.<P>Rubies and Azlan, thank you for your kind remarks. And, of course, the corrections on the casting. I’m going to get a miserable grade on my midterms (this week), but this “Jewels” is worth it. But, I still don’t understand the deal on the pictures and costumes for Julie, Leslie, and Lucia. Is it really just an ad for Tiffany’s? How disappointing.<BR>

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