CriticalDance Forum

Diablo Ballet 2005 - 2006
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Author:  DavidH [ Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Diablo Ballet 2005 - 2006

From the Bangkok Post

Diablo Ballet has a reputation for staging outstanding performances and the choreography not only reflects modern but also classical ballet.

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Nov 10, 2005 10:39 am ]
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The Contra Costa Times features a piece on the Thai tour and a preview of the November 18-19 performances in Walnut Creek, by Caterina Mellinger:

CC Times

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:21 pm ]
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Press release

Viktor Kabaniaev wins the Grand Prix in Palm Desert, California.

Diablo Ballet Apprentice Program Director Viktor Kabaniaev won the Grand Prix ($5,000) in the Professional Division and First place ($500) in the Pre-professional division in the DANCE UNDER THE STARS CHOREOGRAPHY FESTIVAL in Palm Desert, California.


Walnut Creek, California – Viktor Kabaniaev and Tina Kay Bohnstedt, Artistic Directors of the Diablo Ballet Apprentice Program are pleased to announce that Kabaniaev’s ballet, Go Girls, has been chosen to be performed in the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, November 12th and 13th, in Palm Desert California. The Dance Under The Stars Choreography Festival is a celebration of dance that includes choreography competitions for professional and amateur choreographers, master classes, school residencies, educational workshops and performances. From over 100 applicants, the selection committee of choreographers, dancers and dance activists selected 13 professional and 24 amateur finalists to compete for cash awards at the McCallum Theatre in front of a live audience and a panel of judges.

The eight dancers from the Apprenticeship program that will perform Mr. Kabaniaev’s work are: Ashley Cabrera, Haley Cabrera, Haley Lamb, Emily Liu, Irene Liu, Molly Mather, Meredith Novak and Elizabeth Storm.

The purpose of the Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival is to move dance forward, as an art form, expressly through the support and promotion of high quality choreography. The Grand Prize in the Professional Division is $5,000, with a $2,000 Grand Prize in the Amateur Division.

The Diablo Ballet’s Apprentice Program, in partnership with the City of Walnut Creek’s Civic Arts Education, is a handpicked class of young dancers (ages 11-1Cool with outstanding potential. In its inaugural season, this Program brings the excitement of close contact with a professional company as it prepares young dancers to enter the working world as professional dancers. It also provides performance opportunities with the Diablo Ballet.

Under the Directorship of Viktor Kabaniaev and Diablo Ballet’s Tina Kay Bohnstedt, the class participates in an extensive schedule of daily classes, rehearsals and performances. In addition to daily technique classes, the dancers also participate in repertory and pointe classes. For more information about the Program, please call Diablo Ballet at (925) 943-1775 or Civic Arts Education at (925) 943-5842.

Author:  Toba_Singer [ Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:05 pm ]
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Magic Toy Store, Diablo Ballet, Dean Lesher Center, Walnut Creek, CA

“The Magic Toy Store,” (“Boutique Fantasque,” original 1919 version by Leonide Massine) looks to have become a viable alternative to the ubiquitous “Nutcracker,” for those “Bridge and Tunnel” dance fans unwilling to endure the double jeopardy of holiday traffic during bridge construction. Diablo Ballet’s version has grown over the years, from something along the lines of the Massine version, to a longer, more elaborate one, additions having been made by Nikolai Kabaniaev, the company’s co-artistic director.

The story derives its inspiration from the folk tale, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” and is about the after-hours love that flourishes when nobody’s minding the store between a toy soldier (danced by Jekyns Pelaez) and a ballerina doll (danced by Mayo Sugano). It opens with chimes that signal closing time, then a soldier appears, who knocks on the cupboard of his beloved, who steps out, in full ballet princess regalia, and they show us how they feel about each other, tiptoeing around in the evening shadows. While the Soldier’s costume is not all that soldier-like, and he could be taken for just another doll, the Ballerina Doll is so picture perfect in a white confection of tulle and spandex that it seems almost criminal that the Royal She has been confined to her cupboard until “liberated” by her Soldier. They dance an adagio to music by Gioacchino Rossini, and Ms. Sugano’s generous ballonés, regal arabesques, and disarming head poses, illuminate the darkened stage. She is more enthusiastic about the potential of her lifts than her partner, and he doesn’t always seem ready when she is, but she covers adroitly.

The dotty shop keeper is danced expertly by Viktor Kabaniaev. Lucky for us, he received the Vaganova Institute’s nonpareil character training before making his way to the stages of the Golden Gate. You have the teensiest suspicion, but are never quite sure, that our store keep has helped himself to a little something to take the chill off a winter’s night. He bumbles around, as the principals return to their cupboards, and then manages to pull off several double tours in spite of his sizeable girth. A family of three arrives, with Lauren Jonas, the company’s artistic director, dancing the role of the mother. She is vigilantly maternal, except for a curious little hip swivel that she manages to let loose every now and then. The couple’s little boy is danced by company apprentice, Emily Liu, whose facility and character work show not only her capacities, but a good grasp of the comedic timing required of her. Unlike “Nutcracker,” where the divertissements are intended to be foreign and mysterious, “Magic Toy Store” brings us quirky characters, looking more neurotic than exotic. For example, there’s the Waiter, danced with polish by Andrew Allagree, who pulls out multiple and perfect pirouettes, while holding a champagne bottle in one hand and a champagne glass in the other. Try that some New Year’s Eve! There are the Devil and She Devil, whose roles don’t entirely make sense, but whose dancing does. A second more non-traditional family arrives at the toy store. The dominatrix mother (Bryon Heinrich) leads with her transgender, the father (Lauren Jonas) is under her thumb, and their pigtailed daughter (apprentice Olivia Crowell) is a temper tantrum in teapot, whose goal is to have the soldier as her toy store booty (in the old-fashioned sense of the word, that is). With the help of the Fairy Doll (Amy Foster Bernsten) and a waltz of the cupboards, the Soldier becomes more emboldened and dances snatches of the “Nutcracker” Russian variation convincingly enough to make us feel that he can come out of his cupboard and own his feelings valiantly. The Ballerina Doll emerges from her closeted life, as smooth as silk, and filled with delicate hegemony, as love triumphs over greed.

The piece reads a little unevenly, in part, because the lighting is somewhat static. The stage has to be in shadow to show that the store is closed when some—but not all—of the action is taking place. Also, the opening and closing and stepping in and out of cupboards, makes the choreography ungainly in places. The cupboards are unfinished inside, and certainly, a Ballerina Doll of the stature of Ms. Sugano’s character, would have a velvet, or silk-lined cupboard. The Waiter might have a cupboard whose insides had shelves and wine steward’s accoutrements displayed. The Soldier might have weapons of minimal destruction stored in his cupboard. If the doors were removed and replaced with painted scrim, the opening and closing could be mimed or danced, and contribute to telling the story, instead of partly obstructing it.

The show runs under an hour, and unlike “Nutcracker,” when the house lights come on, the children who make up the majority of the audience seem enlivened and engaged, rather than pallid and cranky. Many could be observed dancing in the aisles, and that’s the whole idea, isn’t it?

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:04 pm ]
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From the Contra Costa Times.

Diablo Ballet doesn't often have missteps, but last Friday's show at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts was one of its most low energy and least satisfying openings in recent memory for this homegrown and hardworking company. Even the performance of KT Nelson's "Walk Before Talk," a signature work for the company, was not as clean or as exciting as usual.

The premiere of co-artistic director Nikolai Kabanaiev's "The Legend of Taj Mahal" was the centerpiece of the evening. It's a work they hope to tour to India in the future, but it almost certainly will need more thought and honing before it's ready for another outing.


Author:  LMCtech [ Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:02 pm ]
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From the SF Chronicle. Why do I feel like only a man could have written this review...

Diablo Ballet premieres extra erotic 'Taj Mahal'

Michael Wade Simpson, Special to The Chronicle

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sex at death. What could make a more satisfying story than that? An old man has a fabulous erotic dream about his long-dead wife and then hits the trail himself. Right on. And in the case of Diablo Ballet's new ballet, "The Legend of the Taj Mahal," which premiered Friday night at the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, this dream comes with Bollywood glamour: turbans, veils, moonlit palace. Rarely has sex in the suburbs been so exotic.

If you neglect to read the program notes, Nikolai Kabaniaev's new ballet looks like a dreamy puzzle at first, lots of moody music (by Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass and Ravi Shankar), a lovely version of the Taj Mahal at night (scenic design by Kelly Finn and Rich Walston) and a young dancer in a gray wig wafting around the stage (Andrew Allagree without enough character makeup as Old Shah Jahan). Indeed, it takes quite a while for things to get rolling here, dancewise and storywise. Kabaniaev, who trained at the Vaganova in St. Petersburg, Russia, home of the Kirov, clearly knows his mime, but this is not "Sleeping Beauty" -- American audiences were trained by Balanchine to prefer actual steps. Still, he sets a scene.


Author:  DavidH [ Tue Nov 22, 2005 12:23 pm ]
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From the SF Chronicle. Why do I feel like only a man could have written this review...

Why do you feel that way LMC?

Author:  Trixie G Street [ Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:48 pm ]
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Regarding the above The Magic Toy Store review:

The story derives its inspiration from the folk tale, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,”

From Australia Dancing:

La Boutique fantasque was the first of Leonide Massine’s works to be seen in Australia. Massine was responsible for both the choreography and the libretto, with its notable links to Die Puppenfee (The Fairy Doll), an old German ballet that had been revived by Serge and Nicholas Legat in St Petersburg early in the twentieth century.


their pigtailed daughter (apprentice Olivia Crowell) is a temper tantrum in teapot, whose goal is to have the soldier as her toy store booty

The pigtailed daughter wants the Ballerina, the boy wants the Soldier. :lol:

Author:  Toba Singer [ Sat Nov 26, 2005 6:47 pm ]
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Ah Trixie G Street, some day all ballerinas will receive military training, and all soldiers, ballet training, and it won't matter who wanted what, but for now, thanks for clarifying... :oops: indeed!

As to the provenance, there appear to be various sources... :?:

Author:  Trixie G Street [ Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:30 pm ]
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Well accuracy counts for something, right? :?:

From the Telarc site regarding La Boutique Fantasque:

The Rossini-Respighi ballet La Boutique Fantastique (The Fantastic Toyshop) was done at the behest of the Ballets Russes impresario Serge Diahgilev and its composition was as much his creation as Repighi's. Diaghilev made the selections of works to be included, their order, cuts in the music and generally shaped the entire ballet. The story was based on a Viennese ballet of 1888 by Joseph Bayer titled Die Puppenfee (The Fairy Doll).

Author:  Toba Singer [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 8:01 am ]
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Yes, the record should be correct. On the subject of accuracy, I have been wondering about Boutique Fantastique versus Boutique Fantasque. Both words appear in my Larousse, and seem to have essentially the same meaning. Which appeared in the original title--do you know?

Author:  Guest [ Sun Nov 27, 2005 3:44 pm ]
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Speaking of accuracy....the daughter, played by Olivia Crowell is not a member of the Diablo Ballet's Apprentice Program.
Emily Liu is the only apprentice member in this production. :wink:

Author:  Toba Singer [ Tue Nov 29, 2005 3:05 pm ]
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Thanks, again :oops: :oops: :oops:

Perhaps it's a fantastique time for me to hang up my opera glasses
:( :( :(

Tant pis!

Author:  Guest [ Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:32 pm ]
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Toba first of all:

Perhaps it's a fantastique time for me to hang up my opera glasses

That would be a big NO! :shock:

Secondly, we have received a very good review from India-West of The Legend of Taj Mahal - the review is not available online yet. I'm hoping to remedy that soon. In the mean time a quote from the reviewer Viji Sundaram:

"The lighting and the dancers Mughal costumes, not to mention the fusion music provided by Peter Gabriel, Ravi Shankar and Philip Glass beautifully captured the ambience of Shah Jahan's court. The costumes seemed not to hamper in any way the free and graceful movements of the dancers, who held the audience spellbound throughout.

India-West, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Targated at Asian Indians, whose numbers now approach 2 million in the United States -- India-West is an indispensable part of the Indian American community and those interested in South Asian affairs.

Author:  DavidH [ Mon Dec 05, 2005 2:55 pm ]
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The above post was made by me!

I hope can fix this "guest" glitch challenge.

Happy Holidays!

David H

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