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 Post subject: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2002 7:40 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
From the Houston Chronicle:

On the wings of 'Butterfly'
Welch displays his storied side
By MOLLY GLENTZER

Quote:
Stanton Welch has always been boyish and playful, but he was a virtual fountain of laughs during a recent conversation at Houston Ballet's studios.

Maybe the 32-year-old Australian choreographer was giddy from teaching his Madame Butterfly to the company. The highlight of the ballet season, it bows Thursday on a program with Ben Stevenson's Five Poems.
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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2002 8:01 am 
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From the Houston Chronicle:

<img src="http://images.chron.com/content/news/photos/02/09/21/poems.jpg" alt="" />

<small>Julie Gumbinner and Nicholas Leschke of the Houston Ballet dance to the music of Richard Wagner in Ben Stevenson's Five Poems.</small>

Ballet gives 'Poems,' 'Butterfly' worthy treatment

By MOLLY GLENTZER

Quote:
What treatment befits a legendary geisha most? Cio-Cio San, known for nearly 100 years as the tragic heroine of Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly, stepped ever so politely into dance at the Wortham Theater Center on Thursday. As Stanton Welch's first story ballet, this emotionally stirring and delicate Butterfly deserves a permanent place in Houston Ballet's repertoire.
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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2002 11:43 am 
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Location: Iola, Texas
I saw the Sept 21, 7:30 performance. I am in still in awe at what I witnessed.

The performance opened with the Five Poems. The costumes were simplistic beauty. Designed by Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) she also designed the set which was simply a blueish sea swirl backdrop. Nothing to distract from the dancing. It opened with two separate pas de trois groups, lifting the ballerina, leapfrogging over each other, while she cycled her legs, reminiscient of gazelles leaping on the Saringetti (sp) plains. Each poem had it own dance phrasing, accompanied by the beautiful soprano voice of Jessica Jones. Most interesting to me was the Fourth Poem in which the ballerina was carried aloft by three men, twisting, swaying, swooping and turning without every touching the floor. The Fifth Poem featured the entire ensemble, each repeating their particular phrasing, intricately weaving with the other poems. I might be a bit biased, but I really like the choreography of Ben Stevenson. My daughter and I really liked the Five Poems.

Madame Butterfly: What can I say except that it was absolutely beautiful. All the way home (1 1/2 hours) I kept saying and thinking, "That was a beautiful ballet." My daughter agreed with me - until she fell asleep halfway home!

This ballet was first premiered by the Australian Ballet in 1995. The scenery, costumes and properties were provided by The Australian Ballet. The choreographed by Stanton Welch. (I also saw his "Indigo" last year that he created for Houston Ballet. I loved it.)

I'm not going to give a play-by-play. The ballet was beautiful, the costumes and properties very colorful, the scenery simple and fit with the story. The movements of the scenery were for the most part done while the curtain was up. There was during the opening scenes a section that I must talk about - the reveal of Madame Butterfly to her betrothed. A scrim was set up in the back part of the stage, behind the houses and dias. A fogging machine filled the space behind the scrim with fog. (When I say "filled", I mean FILLED!) The scrim was raised and the servants of Butterfly danced within the fog, giving the audience flitting glimpses of their fans and dark headdresses. Eventually, Madame Butterfly was revealed from the fog. Fascinating! (Although, I do have to wonder how the dancers didn't choke from all that fog!)

It was obviously apparent that Pinkerton (Butterfly's betrothed) did not understand that what he was doing was a binding relationship. To him, having a geisha bride was just another thing to boost about when he got home. He flirted with the servants and scoffed the traditions of the Japanese culture. (Swiggig down the saké was an obvious faux pas.)

I found that one viewing of this ballet probably isn't enough. There is so much going on on stage during the ceremony. I found myself watching the main action and would miss something interesting that was happening to the side. So I would watch that and miss something else on the other side. There wasn't a lack of interest on stage.

I also have to comment on the pas de deux of Butterfly and Pinkerton. MB was danced by Sara Webb. I have seen her in other ballets and enjoy her dancing, but after last night, she will remain one of my favorite dancers. The role of Pinkerton was danced by Nicholas Leschke. (During the opening scenes he did this tour jump that looked like a tour jeté except that it ended with his leg up in devant rather than derriére.) This pas de deux was up there with the Spartacus pas de deux, but not quite as exquisite. (The difference is that in Spartacus, there is a true love between the characters that is lacking in the Madame Butterfly story.) At first, Butterfly is demure - a perfect Japanese bride. As Pinkerton continues his overtures, she begins to relent. Butterfly blossoms into a woman in love, in love with the dream of a perfect marriage and perfect love - with her dream. The loosening of the chains that bound her to the traditions of her geisha life and embracing her married vision was absolutely breathtaking. Sara Webb did a fabulous job of bringing this out. Her dancing was flawless and uninhibited and Nicholas Leschke's partnering was dead on. You got the idea that as he danced with her, he felt her passion and it drove him deeper in his lust for her. (Lust it was, since he leaves her soon after for his "beloved" back in America.)

In the second act, my daughter, of course, really enjoyed the antics of Butterfly as she teases Prince Yamadori, who wishes to marry her after 10 years have passed since Pinkerton left. He was obviously an older, fat man who was enamored by the beauty of Butterfly and wished to have her as a doll at her side. Butterfly hits him in the face and head with her fan and kicks him several times. His antics at trying to keep up with her and look at her face (and share the spotlight) had my daughter giggling in her seat.

The scene with Butterfly and her servant Suzuki (this name reminds me of when I was learning to play the violin using the Suzuki method.) in which Suzuki is trying to convince Butterfly that Pinkerton will not return and Butterfly is resisting. Suzuki was portrayed by Tyann Clement. There was such fury and stubborness in each of these women for their respective positions. I would have been surprised that neither one was injured during the grabbing, yanking and throwing of the other that each did during this scene. Eventually Suzuki relents, because she loves her Butterfly so.

The ending suicide scene was not too long or too short. Butterfly just missed Pinkertons return and finds his beloved "Kate" (Julie Gumbinner) standing with Butterfly's son. The truth is made clear - Pinkerton only returned for his son, not for Butterfly. She lets her son go, releases Suzuki from her service, throws aside the money that was given to her to ease her poverty and gives herself to the sword. Suzuki runs to Pinkerton, who arrives too late to prevent her death.

Wow.......

An additional note: My daughter was wearing her white flower girl dress from her aunts wedding. She fell in love with a white fan that was offered at the gift shop. Yep, I bought it for her. Everyone we met on the stair and in the restroom commented that she looked like a Madame Butterfly herself. Boy, did she like that!

An additional, additional note: Some asked last spring for a list of the apprentices for Houston Ballet. I believe they knew one of the new apprentices. The list in the playbill last spring was for the last season, but I now have the list for the new season....
Vaness Perovsek, Nathan Griswold, Amanda Harper, Alexander Kotelenets, Michelle Carpenter, Keith Glen.

<small>[ 09-22-2002, 13:44: Message edited by: ahallmark ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2002 12:17 pm 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Thank you very much, AHallMark, for this most interesting review. Glad your daughter enjoyed it, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2002 8:46 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Thanks for this, ahallmark! And what do you know? Jane Seymour designs costumes!


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2002 8:37 am 
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Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
From the Houston Chronicle:

Ballet search on hold, briefly
By MOLLY GLENTZER

Quote:
Houston Ballet's search for an artistic director is on hold while a contingent of staff and patrons -- including managing director Cecil C. Conner and search committee chair J.H. Jones II -- are in China for the premiere of Ben Stevenson's new full-length work.
The article goes on to talk about the upcoming season....

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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 8:46 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
From the Houston Chronicle:

McIntyre withdraws from Houston ballet search
By MOLLY GLENTZER

Quote:
News nuggets from the Houston Ballet's search for an artistic director:

Principal dancer Li Cunxin is rumored to be among the finalists. Li defected from his native China in 1981 and danced 15 years here for his mentor, current Houston artistic director Ben Stevenson. Is it any wonder the company's dancers, possibly fearing change, are said to favor Li after his recent audition? (Each finalist must teach a company class, lead a mock rehearsal and conduct a Q-and-A session with the dancers.)
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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2002 1:50 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
It's not suprising really that McIntyre withdrew from his interest for the AD position, what with ballet-making for companies becoming something he seems to be really good at. In addition to all the companies and cities mentioned in the article, he is in fact also in the SF Bay Area, with his "Like a Samba" being performed by Oakland Ballet in a fortnight.


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sat Feb 22, 2003 11:39 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX USA
Neary blows into Houston
By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

Quote:
They didn't call her "Hurricane Pat" for nothing.

Patricia Neary, the former New York City Ballet star, may have "the world's biggest bunions," an artificial hip and arthritic knees, but she still demonstrates dances en pointe at age 60.

Houston Ballet dancers got a taste of her energy as she coached them for The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine's 1946 masterpiece, which opens Thursday opposite Paul Taylor's Company B and Ben Stevenson's Twilight and Harlequinade pas de deux.
<a href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/ae/dance/1789164">click here for more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 12:08 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX USA
March 8, 2003, 3:56PM

Makhateli dances his way to London
By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

<img src="http://images.chron.com/content/news/photos/03/03/09/manon.jpg" alt="" />
Johan Persson
Dancers David Makhateli and Jaimie Tapper rehearse a production of Manon, which they performed in February for London's Royal Ballet.


Quote:
Houston Ballet principal David Makhateli is defecting to larger pastures. While most of the company was on break in January, Makhateli auditioned with London's Royal Ballet and was drafted to replace departed star Robert Tewsley as Des Grieux in two February performances of Manon. Makhateli and his Manon, Jaimie Tapper, appear on the cover of this month's Dance Europe magazine.
<a href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/ae/dance/1807775">click here for more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sun Mar 09, 2003 3:25 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Too bad for Houston. But great news for London!


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:24 pm 
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Posts: 1780
Location: Dallas, TX USA
'Cinderella' charms with fairy-tale results
By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

<img src="http://images.chron.com/content/news/photos/03/03/15/cinder.jpg" alt="" />
Mireille Hassenboehler and Lucas Priolo perform in the Houston Ballet production of Cinderella.

Quote:
With the clock nearing midnight on Ben Stevenson's storied career at Houston Ballet, his Cinderella had an air of nostalgia at Thursday's opening.

Created for the National Ballet in 1970, it was inspired by (but not a slave to) Sir Frederick Ashton's 1948 version for the Royal Ballet. It has been Stevenson's own magic pumpkin, performed by some 20 companies around the world.
<a href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/ae/dance/1819159">click here for more</a>

<small>[ 18 March 2003, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: gaeadea ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2003 1:19 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
News of a Paul Taylor premiere at Kennedy Center:

Quote:
Houston Ballet Shares the Stage with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in
Celebrating an Icon: The Legacy of Paul Taylor


Houston Ballet Press Release

Houston, TX -- From April 9 -- 13, Houston Ballet will unveil the world premiere of
In the Beginning, a new work by modern dance legend Paul Taylor for ten dancers set to music by Carl Orff, at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. In an unique collaboration, Houston Ballet will share the stage of the Eisenhower Theater with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a series of seven performances entitled Celebrating an Icon: The Legacy of Paul Taylor. <a href=http://forum.criticaldance.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=13;t=001104 target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 11:05 pm 
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Location: Dallas, TX USA
Houston Ballet celebrates Taylor legacy
By MOLLY GLENTZER
Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

Quote:
HOUSTON Ballet is in Washington, D.C., this week to present the world premiere of modern dance master Paul Taylor's newest work, In the Beginning. The dancers will share the Kennedy Center stage with Taylor's company in seven performances of Celebrating an Icon: The Legacy of Paul Taylor.

Choreographer Paul Taylor and dancers of Houston Ballet gather on the eve of the Kennedy Center premiere of Taylor's In the Beginning.
Taylor, polite and gracious at 72, slipped into Houston recently for two days to "clean up" the work in rehearsals.

"The whole relationship with Houston Ballet has been so pleasant," he said.
<a href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/ae/dance/1851744">click here for more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: Houston Ballet - 2002-2003 Season
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2003 9:08 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Intriguing program!

Quote:
Behold, on the Eighth Day, Bringing Forth Modern Dance

By ANNA KISSELGOFF, NY Times

WASHINGTON, April 10 — Ballet companies and modern-dance troupes don't usually share an evening, but the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts here is presenting an ingenious double-header through Sunday with the Houston Ballet and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
<a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/11/arts/dance/11BEGI.html target=_blank>More</a>


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