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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:55 am 
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Quote:
American Ballet Theater Presents 'Giselle' With Four Casts

By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: June 17, 2006

Theoretically at least, the ballet classics are reinvented at each performance. But four different casts in the American Ballet Theater production of "Giselle," Tuesday through Thursday at the Metropolitan Opera House, suggested otherwise. Each pair of doomed lovers captured the essence of familiar approaches to this story of a young peasant seamstress, Giselle, betrayed by a deceitful nobleman, Albrecht.

All four men were only briefly cads, succumbing quickly to true love. The four women were all innocent dreamers, though Diana Vishneva was a wonderfully wild Wednesday-night Giselle. And so the five-toe-shoe award goes to Ms. Vishneva and Vladimir Malakhov for grand old larger-than-life performing, with Paloma Herrera and Marcelo Gomes (Tuesday) winning the prize for heart-stirring simplicity.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:30 am 
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And after fussing about the companies doing the same ballet in different cities, John Rockwell now blathers on about the relative merits of each production. Rockwell has his highs and lows, but this is pretty far down the list - it seems rather ABT skewed (though perhaps that performance is fresher in his mind) and referring to the Royal Ballet as "The Royals" is just downright odd.

Quote:
The Competing Visions of 'Manon,' a Tale of Sweet Seduction

By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: June 21, 2006

Kenneth MacMillan's "Manon," based on that hoary 18th-century French tale of a good girl gone from bad to worse, was created in 1974 at the Royal Ballet in London. It might seem unfair to New York audiences who didn't make it up to Boston last week, where the Royals presented "Manon," to discuss American Ballet Theater's version in tandem with what the Royals are doing with the same ballet now.

But comparisons are instructive, and not just between dancers on the same stage. Ballet Theater fans will be able to make those comparisons this week at the Metropolitan Opera House. Contrasting two performances of the same choreographic vision in the same décor, as incarnated by different companies with different traditions, casts light on the ballet itself.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:32 pm 
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/22/arts/22arts.html (scroll down)

Erica Cornejo will be leaving ABT after the Met Season to join her new husband, Carlos Molina at Boston Ballet as a principal dancer.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 4:17 pm 
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The NY Times's Anna Kisselgoff writes about Julio Bocca in preparation for his last performance with ABT:

Quote:
As Julio Bocca Moves On, His Passion for Form and Expression Is Undimmed

By ANNA KISSELGOFF
Published: June 21, 2006

There will be no forgetting the way Julio Bocca has danced at American Ballet Theater for 20 years. It has always been about passion and form: heightened passion filling out classical form.

On the eve of his farewell performance with the company tomorrow night at the Metropolitan Opera House, it is easy to remember that Mr. Bocca was a winner from the start. As a 20-year-old in his New York debut, he looked like Boris Becker, then a tennis star at his peak, and danced like a champion. Not everyone today has an image of Mr. Becker. But at 39, Mr. Bocca remains consistent and leaves a legacy for all dancers: bravura in the service of art.


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One of the photos accompanying the article shows Bocca in "Jeu de Cartes". For a trip down memory lane, you can see photos of Bocca and Lloyd Riggins in the same ballet with Royal Danish Ballet on David Amzallag's website: www.blueballet.net. You will need to go to the Misellaneous Photos section and drag down to John Cranko in the choreographer menu and 'Jeu de Cartes' in the ballet menu. I believe these images are probably from the early to mid 1990s.

Kate


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2006 3:38 am 
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The NY Times on Bocca's final performance:

Quote:
American Ballet Theater's Julio Bocca Dances Like a God, One Last Time

By JENNIFER DUNNING
Published: June 24, 2006

The rafters would have shaken at the Metropolitan Opera House on Thursday night, if there had been rafters, when Julio Bocca danced his last performance with American Ballet Theater, his home for two decades. One of the most humane and exciting of virtuoso dancers, Mr. Bocca is also one of the most beloved, and the company and the audience would not let him go. Curtain call followed curtain call, and no one in the jammed aisles seemed to want to go home.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:40 am 
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Quote:
Manon
by HILARY OSTLERE for the Financial Times

This is a week full of excitement - tinged with nostalgia but not regret - for Julio Bocca, 39, as he marks his farewell to American Ballet Theatre, where he has been a star for the last 20 years.

published: June 27, 2006
[url=http://www.ft.com/cms/s/354870de-0579-11db-bb76-0000779e2340.html]more... [/url=]


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:19 pm 
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ABT moves on to Swans and Sorcerers...

Quote:
Doomed Love, With Much Flapping of Wings, at American Ballet Theater

By JOHN ROCKWELL
Published: June 28, 2006

They're back, swanning about the big stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. In other words, the birds of American Ballet Theater's "Swan Lake," a Kevin McKenzie production dating to 2000, have migrated in for their annual visit.

Mr. McKenzie's take on Petipa-Ivanov tradition is not radical, nor is the hyper-traditional décor by Zack Brown. Those who want to see "Swan Lake" done grandly and unadorned by directorial conceit need look no further.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2006 3:36 pm 
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Joan Acocella is quite blown away by Diana Vishneva's recent Giselles with ABT:

Quote:
SECRETS
Joan Acocella, The New Yorker

Diana Vishneva, a principal dancer at the Kirov Ballet and at American Ballet Theatre, once told Francis Mason, of Ballet Review, that in any ballet she always tried to find “a particular thing that allows me to know what I am doing with the role, not just to do it beautifully.” She needed, she said, to find her own “secret.” Sometimes when you hear such words, you tremble. Many theatrical absurdities—chaste Carmens, happy Hamlets—have been perpetrated by people on similar quests. But, in a performance of “Giselle” with Angel Corella at A.B.T. in mid-June, Vishneva, who is now thirty, did find her own secret to that ballet, and the result was a show that left people sitting dazed in their seats afterward.

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Also, just for Michael Goldbarth, she bashes Kudelka's Cinderella one more time:

Quote:
So this season we got a “Cinderella” by James Kudelka, of the National Ballet of Canada, that looked as though he had made it with a gun to his head. He may have.


That was in a paragraph that began with ABT doing too many silly ballets instead of cultivating the talent that it has.

--Andre


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 Post subject: "Sylvia"
PostPosted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 6:12 am 
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Quote:
In Ballet Theater's 'Sylvia,' a Shepherd and Nymph No Hunter May Put Asunder
by JENNIFER DUNNING for the New York Times

Who would have thought that a ballet with such an impenetrably convoluted plot, featuring a lovelorn shepherd, a chill but ravishingly attractive nymph, an evil hunter, the gods Eros and Diana and scores of naiads, dryads, fauns, peasants, slaves and even a pair of goats, could be so much irresistible fun?

published: July 5, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:26 am 
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Quote:
From Ballet Theater, 2 Takes on Diana's Capable Handmaid Sylvia
by JOHN ROCKWELL for the New York Times

I preferred the afternoon edition, despite many virtues in the evening. At night "Sylvia" was a neat and well-mannered exercise in English ballet style. But in the day, it was also a surging paean to Amazonian womanhood pierced by the arrow of love.

published: July 7, 2006
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 Post subject: The Day's Chuckle
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 8:36 am 
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"Where both Dvorovenko and Part displayed an impressive upper-body flexibility while in a bolt-upright six-o'clock penchée, Vishneva's penchées were emphatically far from vertical. Was this an artistic choice? At this point, I think the battles over the aesthetic appropriateness of six-o'clock penchées in the White Swan are long over"

The above, from M. Eric Taub, writing on ballet.co, July 11th 2006

Let us leave aside that the "impressive upper-body flexibility" is a physical impossibility in this position from the Obstetrics textbook that the New York gentleman has just described.

But, our Balanchine fan is dead-right on one thing: "The battles over the aesthetic appropriateness of six-o'clock penchées" are indeed long over.

For the reason that "Western classical dance", at the present time, has long ceased to exist as an art form.

People who need to bone up so to speak, on Obstetrics, or other anatomical-physiological topics, attend the "ballet".

The rest of us stay home and study the source of the Ganges River on Google Earth. Highly recommended - although not frost-free up there amongst the Himalayas, it's at least pelvic thrust-free.

Thank the Himalayas we're not talking about the same thing, or it might all lead to the most dreadful confusion, mighn't it?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:46 am 
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In one of his better pieces, John Rockwell sums up ABT's 2006 Met Season and discusses some of the difficulties with programming.

Quote:
There’s More to Ballet Theater’s Repertory Than Crowd Pleasers

By JOHN ROCKWELL
The NY Times
Published: July 17, 2006

American Ballet Theater, which ended its eight-week spring season on Saturday night, is a great and grand international ensemble, one of the greatest and grandest ballet companies in the whole wide world.

Whether it or any company could be great and grand enough to fill the 3,900-seat Metropolitan Opera House consistently on the highest artistic level week after week is another matter. Ballet Theater needs the Met to certify its grandeur; the Met needs Ballet Theater to plug a two-month hole in its schedule with a lucrative rental. The match is not ideal.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:33 pm 
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I caught Act II of Thursday's performance of R&J, with Dvorovenko and Beloserkorvsky. What with distractions before and after, I could only make it to the one act and the reason I chose this act was to witness the sword fight scene again, not because I remember it being the best I had seen but to reaffirm that it was one of the least ferocious I've witnessed.

I wasn't disappointed in that the sword play seemed more choreographed dance than intense spontaneity. My companion, a dancer, concurred and ranked it well below Zidane's head-butt in drama. The audience was not lighting up in excitement.

Although ABT is known for allowing their principal dancers to customize individual performances, Beloserkorvsky as Romeo isn't to blame. Neither are Lopez as Mercutio and Saveliev as Tybalt. I have to think it might have to do with the combination of the MacMillan choreography and the staging by Julie Lincoln. It may also be the expanse of the Metropolitan Opera House, a large venue that sometimes sucks up the energy of especially younger performers who can't project far enough throught the entire house.

However, Part's Lady Capulet was anything but subtle -- it seems like she was making up for the lack of drama in the deaths of Tybalt and Mercutio by flinging herself every which way a la Graham which got more than a few giggles from the audience.

Was there anything I liked from the performances in Act II? Yes, Kirk Peterson's subtle expressions as Friar Laurence in the marriage scene. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:22 am 
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Quote:
Julie Kent, Not Yet Past Her Dancing Days, in Ballet
by JOHN ROCKWELL for the New York Times

Whatever her retirement timetable may be — she’s only 37 — Julie Kent celebrated her 20th anniversary with American Ballet Theater on Friday night at the Metropolitan Opera House. She danced Juliet in Kenneth MacMillan’s version of “Romeo and Juliet,” with Marcelo Gomes as her Romeo.

published: July 17, 2006
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