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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:07 pm 
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A preview of this weekend's Kings of Dance:

Quote:
A balletic royal flash
Victoria Looseleaf, LA Times

In fact, the four high-profile men who have united for a series of performances in Southern California and New York this month aim higher: They're billed as "Kings of the Dance," and they'll strut their stuff together for the first time Thursday through Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 9:15 pm 
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Another preview, this one more interesting than the LA Times's:

Quote:
Four kings
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

A quartet of the world's leading dancers converge on Orange County to prepare a new production.
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There's also an associated side bar with some comments on and by the 4 dancers:

Kings of Dance


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:26 am 
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Was anyone else at the Kings of Dance performance last night?????
Bravo to all involved in bringing these four incredible artists together and for devising a program that had artistry and not merely a technical fireworks showing. My being was lifted away while watching Kobborg perform Rushton's "Afternoon of a Faun". This was worth the entire entrance fee. Also, my first viewing of Nikolay Tsiskaridze - this is a special dancer with enormous talent. His group of solos from Carmen were the surprise of the night for me. A must see.

Act I......the program was rearranged from its first announcement, opening with Wheeldon's group piece for the four men. A musical working of Shubert's "Death of a Maiden" which show cased nicely each of these men's fine talents.
Much of the movement was quite contemporary and blended well with all of the dancers. Infact, these four looked amazing dancing together. And when they were together or interlacing movements with one another, there was a good feeling of community among them. Very satisfying.......especially to see four such fantastic dancers melding their talents together so seamlessly on stage.....that was a 'wow' for me.

Act II.......
The Lesson was performed by Kobborg as the teacher. (originally it was listed as Angel dancing the Teacher on this night.) It was as creepy as the reviews I had read. wonderfully performed by Kobborg and a treat to see Cojocaru as the pupil and Yanowsky as the pianist. A moody piece, but it did not put a damper on this evening of dancing, incredible dancing.
Even if you did not like this ballet, and there is alot to be repeled by these characters, you could admire the dramatic talent within the work.

Act III....... was filled by four solos, one for each dancer. The ranges were vast in style and content here which was designed for this I would think.
Ethan danced admirably in "Wavemaker" but the choreography went nowhere for me and there is so much more he could have been given to show his talent. Nikolay came next with his Carmen solos. This is a must see. Brilliant and humorous as well. It was the unexpected thrill of the evening for me. Until Kobborg danced "Afternoon of a Faun". Kobborg transported me to the forest and his creature like rendering was amazing and musically satisfying while listening to Debussy's tone poem. This is a performance I wilol never forget. Angel follows and does what I think Angel does best. Smile and jump and turn and be charming. Stanton Welch's "We Got It Good" was nifty theatrical Broadway type show piece for him and it was a ton of fun watching Angel in his tux pants, an unbuttoned white shirt with bow tie undone and hair fixed so it would move to the music. What a kick.

Ofcourse, they did an encore.....which was what one might consider typical for a night like this. But it was OK by me. THese four dancers deserved to blow off steam after the great artistic work that came before.....

Go see this if you can........oh....and there is a wonderful film before the concert with rehearsal footage and interviews with each gentelman and a few of the choreographers. Bravo to the presenters of this!!!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 11:18 am 
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Sounds fantastic, glad you enjoyed it so much. I just hope that this is a show that manages to cross the Atlantic!


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2006 1:40 pm 
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I am sooo glad you mentioned this! I thought it would sound too over-the-top to mention that a tour of this production would be a boon to ballet and a terrific success.........not sure how these guys could fit this in to their already busy careers however. I still am amazed at how they did NOT fall into the trap of total glitz and glam. This production did have artistic value and integrity. :!: I could go on about specific performances, but I think it is better to see this for yourself.......and somone mentioned to me that they are filming this for T.V. as well. So, Cassandra, you may well get to see this via satalite!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:54 pm 
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Quote:
In 'Kings,' pomp but little circumstance
Chris Pasles, LA Times

Sometimes single events define an era. In 1845, for instance, an enterprising London theater manager, Benjamin Lumley, persuaded four of the day's leading ballerinas to perform together for the first time. The result, "Pas de quatre," choreographed by Jules Perrot, made dance history and set the seal on women's dominance in ballet for more than a century.

Thursday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, another adventurous producer, Sergei Danilian, assembled a quartet of leading male dancers to show that in our time the center of gravity in the dance world has shifted to the other sex.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:56 pm 
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Quote:
'Kings of the Dance' celebrates masculinity
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

The "Kings" format – which has continuously changed since first announced – worked, if in a slightly schizophrenic way. The 10-minute "meet-the-guys" video, which opened the three-act show, put us in the realm of a lecture-%demonstration. Four new solos; one new 13-minute group ballet; and Flemming Flindt's 1963, one-act shocker, "The Lesson," gave the program some artistic chops.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:42 pm 
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"The Lesson" doesn't seem to be performed very much in the US. I have seen it but once, with SFB a few years ago, with Possukov as the Teacher. It was a treat to see it here in Orange County, with an all-Royal cast. They were all highly effective in their roles.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:22 pm 
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I saw the Sunday show (Tsiskaridze dancing the teacher) at OCPAC, and I did not enjoy the show. Wheeldon's new piece, "For 4", exemplified what was wrong: the show was an empty candy shell, promising so much within its sweet shell but disappointingly empty, even bitterly soulless. Wheeldon creates such beautiful movement and arrangements, but in the end his work didn't really tell me anything new in exchange for sitting through it: I didn't gain any new insight or appreciation in the music, for example.

And so it went on like that for the rest of the show: some beautiful, and some unfortunately questionable material, but all ultimately irrelevant. The classical male variations, the core of the male ballet dancing repertoire, were given short shrift by being videotaped, danced in warm-up clothes, and edited to just the tricks. Yes, they're mostly about the tricks, but if shown incomplete, they don't show the 300+ years of male attitude and stagecraft that have grown up around those cool moves: far more compelling were the archive videos of Baryshnikov, Nureyev, Bruhn, Vasiliev, and Dowell shown in the lobby which displayed both a variety and a larger part of the classical male repertoire. There was variety and personality shown within those ostensibly highly-defined classical roles that went missing on stage. There was that classical male persona missing on stage.

This is not to say that the live dancers had no personalities: Corrella's piece by Stanton Welch lived (and it lived very well) on Corrella's stage presence and personal charm, Kobborg's mysterious feline creature in "Afternoon of a Faun" was uniquely his, as was Tsiskaridze's turn as three characters (one female) in Petit's Carmen. Christe's mind-numbingly dull movement doodle for Steifel would have successfully resisted any amount of talent to make it any good or even interesting, unfortunately.

However, it seemed the show tried too much to apologize and discount classical male dancing by offering unproven, untested alternatives, and hollowed out the classical male dancing role doing so. Except for some of the technical tricks, anything the male dancers did could have been done by a female dancer: there wasn't much that required a unique male temeperament to pull off successfully.

The few exceptions proved to be unfortunately destructive to the public perception of the male dancer: is Flindt's misogynistic "The Lesson" really a good showcase for male dancing? Is a gender-bending Carmen done with an amazingly convincing fey attititude really how we'd like the public to remember male ballet dancing? In this male-dancing niche of ballet that is so full of misconceptions already, is it bravery or stupidity to put on a show about that adds to those misconceptions?

"Kings of the Dance" is an appropriate title, as ballet was conceived and codified in the French court, and retains many of its courtly traditions. But the title, which promises so much, is the only thing in the show that has to do with royalty or the royal male temperament that naturally goes along with ballet.

--Andre

edit: corrected error about Tsiskaridze's Carmen roles


Last edited by Andre Yew on Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:40 pm 
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I understand your perspective and empathize with your disappointment of this Kings of Dance concert. But I coulld not disagree with you more. What I enjoyed and grasped at my viewing was four extemely talented male dancers of our time giving us the opportunity to see them dance what they wanted to dance and have total artistic control, without the restrictions of their perspective companies.

It gave me a chance to see them dance pieces that they wanted to be seen in, experimenting with new work that was personally chosen.

And if I were to sit that night viewing archival classical variations might I not be saying to myself, "Well, Nureyev did it better," or some other comparison of yore? I have seen Corella dance Don Q so many times, that would bore me as well.

These men came out on their own terms and I applaud them for that. They took risks in presenting new ballets that had a contemporary edge whether they were successful or not. Flindt's ballet gave these men a chance to dig into an extremely dramatic role aside from technical feats. I found this daring.

My delighted surprise of the night was that these men did not spend all their time preening and strutting ballet forte. Yes, the solo created for Ethan was not memorable, but I felt his dancing was. It was fascinating for me to watch Nikolay stretch himself in Wheeldon's group piece that was very modern in movement and used a vocabulary other than classical.

But then again, I am one who enjoyed hearing the Three Tenors singing
renditions of popular music as well as their usual arias! Their instruments define them. And I for one enjoyed watching each one of these men using their classical training to show you more about themselves and what they love to do.......dance.......in its many forms!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 6:29 pm 
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As a note, City Center is offering 20% off orchestra and grand tier tickets for the first two nights. I wonder if it's a sign that pricing tickets at $150 was over-reaching and those seats haven't sold so well.

They're also still advertising Alina Cojocaru, though I believe Gudrun Bojeson is doing "The Lesson" in New York. Cojocaru is still scheduled to dance with the Royal Ballet on the 25th, which means that the only performance she could possibly do in NY would be on the 23rd.

Kate


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:10 pm 
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A wrap-up review of Kings of the Dance from Laura Bleiberg. From her first review, she seemed to have a more positive impression of the show.

Also interesting, seeing that New York's offering discounts on the most expensive seats, is that Saturday and Sunday were almost sold out, and the other nights did very well too. Of course, our highest prices were half of NYC's prices.

Quote:
Dance: Four Kings get a good hand
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

It was, quite simply, astounding to witness the deafening roars for the encore portion of "Kings of the Dance," which concluded Sunday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Show after show, the crowd bellowed as dancers Angel Corella, Johan Kobborg, Ethan Stiefel and Nikolay Tsiskaridze soared through a routine of oversized leaps and side-by-side spins. It wasn't that their feats were undeserving, but who knew that turns with the leg à la seconde could trigger such a fuss?
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 5:09 pm 
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I see that Laura Bleiberg had some of the same impressions about this event as I did. It was wonderful to see the photos from the concert that accompanied this article.

Cheers to the Kings.....wishing them well for their NYC showing!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:16 am 
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The New York Times reports on the upcoming NYC performances and comments on some of the problems.

Among the issues have been Roland Petit rescinding permission to dance his ballet due to set issues. Also, Ethan Stiefel won't be doing the "The Lesson" in New York, due to ongoing knee problems (one wonders if he really should be doing the program at all... it's great to have the best dancers onstage, but should it be at the possible expense of their future health?)

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/arts/ ... ted=2&_r=1


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:11 pm 
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I wonder what kind of knee problems he has, because he was doing a lot of jumping.

--Andre


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