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 Post subject: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2001 5:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 130
Location: Southwick, MA, USA
Review: Richmond Ballet, February 9-11, 2001, at the Carpenter Center, Richmond, VA.<P> Bonded by their emphasis on couples and coupling, Vortex, choreographed by Kirk Peterson and Carmina Burana, choreographed by John Butler, met in a concert performance given by the Richmond Ballet that electrified the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.<BR> <BR> Each of the three movements of Vortex, set on the Violin Concerto by Philip Glass, features a distinctive couple. Additionally, a corps of four couples sets the choreographic key of each movement and links one movement to the next. At moment one of Vortex, for example, the corps of couples sweeps onto then across the stage ordaining the urgency of the music and announcing the thematic material that structures the ballet. <P>In the wake of the departing corps, the first soloist couple, Tristi Ann McMaster and Brandon Becker, gains center stage as the solo violin, played by Jeffrey Multer, enters the concerto. A brief and obsessively repeated arpeggio pattern briskly played by the solo violin vividly paints a sonic picture of a Slipstream, the title given to the first movement by Peterson. Moreover, Peterson mates the musical slipstream to a balletic one. One that he powers with the double-quick footwork or the petite allegro common to classical ballet. Additionally, the rapid turns of the female dancers, the spinning jumps of the male dancers, and the periodic propeller-like rotations of an arm define the first movement and credit its title. <P>The nightfall lighting, the dark murmur of the strings, the stillness of a male figure, the gray costumes, and the title, Stratocumulus, combine to fashion a ruminative mood for the second and slow movement. In this dreamy atmosphere, the female corps flies, it seems, unaided by their male partners. As if only a thought, however, they vanish as the female soloist soars out of the darkness to join the lone male. Stirred by the sweet, but elegiac sounds of the solo violin the second couple, Anne Sidney Davenport and Pedro Szalay, begin an expansive pas de deux. <P>In the Stratocumulus pas, the long shimmering phrases of the first movement condense or separate into motifs. The motifs lengthen in duration and mull themselves over in a repetitive process that looks contemplative rather than frenzied obsessive. Additionally, the unhurried pace of the pas lets one ponder on the moments of exchange when dance and music impetus meet and part. Such a moment happens, for instance, during the lifts that weave through the melodic leaps cycling in the solo violin. Although, moments such as these offer a pleasure on their own, pondering them, however, reveals a musicality unique to Peterson and a feature that makes his work interesting and, one thinks, significant. <BR> <BR>The third movement delivers the excitement promised by its title, Propulsive Transmutation, X-3. Indeed, Peterson transforms the concerto into double mach choreography. Thematic material taken from the first movement returns in the third amplified in power, speed, and intensity. The resistless spinning motions of the corps ultimately absorbs the third movement couple, Tiffanie Smith and Bryan Skates, as well as those from movement one and two into itself. Ever dissolving groups of dancers form, divide, crisscross or meet in exciting counterpoint. <P>The urgency of the motion, however, resolves into the calm that closes the work. Here, as if gently lifted by the rustling atmosphere rising from the music, the female dancers, a la Stratocumulus, soar off the stage until one remains only to vanish on the final sigh of the music. <P>The massive musical forces, the Richmond Symphony, its Chorus of one hundred members, and three vocal soloists, assembled for Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, easily, and happily, enveloped the audience in Richmond's Carpenter Center. Additionally, the dance forces included all sixteen members of the Richmond Ballet. <P>With our attention securely held by the familiar and dramatic opening, O Fortuna, the choreography, by John Butler, set out to do the same. Butler did so by duplicated the directness of the music with a ballet looking, but modern and very legible lexicon that featured held poses, broad gestures, and moves with work- a- day references. Moreover, he negotiated the daunting task of choreographically accommodating text and music by favoring the music. Although, the choreography abstractly interprets the narratives of the text, it stays pleasantly tethered to the music and successfully yields its ideas through it. <P>In addition to illustrating this feature of the dance, for example, Part III, or the Court of Love, also highlighted the abilities of dancers Anastasia Babayeva, Kristen Gallagher, Kevin Bowles, and Denis Gronostayskiy in singular way. In fact, the twenty-eight sections that divide the hour of Carmina offered the Richmond Ballet a rich opportunity to display its range of talent.<BR> <BR>In the end, however, the bright and powerful world of Carmina Burana offers little hope to escape by either love or faith the iron geometry of Fortuna's rule. <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited February 27, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:52 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Steve, many thanks for the vivid description of a fine evening. It's especially welcome as it's our first entry for Richmond Ballet.<P>'Carmina Burana' is rapidly becoming a favoured piece of music for ballet. David Bintley's ballet to the same music was generally well recieved in the UK. <P>Here's a link to Richmond Ballet's website:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.richmondballet.com/" TARGET=_blank>http://www.richmondballet.com/</A> <P>And here's a link to BRB's video clip of their 'Carmina Burana':<BR> <A HREF="http://www.brb.org.uk/brb_goodies/brb_g_bur.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.brb.org.uk/brb_goodies/brb_g_bur.html</A>


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2001 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Very enjoyable review, S. E. Arnold. Thank you.<P>Carmina Burana has long been a favorite of mine. I have a recording of it conducted by Orff. I also enjoy the Cartulli Carmina. <P>Once I did get to see Butler's Carmina Burana and enjoyed it enormously. <P>Thank you for bringing those memories back.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited February 20, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2001 11:29 pm 
SE, very enjoyable review. You have a sharp eye for the choreographic patterns.


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2001 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 921
Location: US
Nice to see a Richmonder here! I too am one! Image I'll be reviewing the new Kirk Peterson work for Dance Insider in May.


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2001 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 130
Location: Southwick, MA, USA
Please forgive the tardiness of this reply.<BR>I want to thank everyone for their kind and encouraging words. I must confess, however, that I am not a native of Richmond. In fact,it takes me ten hours of driving to get there.(The things we do for art.)<BR>Cheers, sea


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 Post subject: Re: Review: Richmond Ballet
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2001 10:21 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 921
Location: US
Ah Alas!<BR>I have found someone like myself. I will drive 10 hours to get to my home land, Cincinnati to see the ballet there so don't feel too bad Image<BR><P>------------------<BR><BR>"If it's self expression you are looking for the place for you is the analyst's couch" - Merce Cunningham


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