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 Post subject: Hamburg Ballet US tour - 2007
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:16 pm 
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A preview of this week's performances by Hamburg Ballet in Orange County:

Quote:
Student of the dance of life

David Ng, LA Times

The intrusion of messy life into the world of dance lies at the heart of Neumeier's "Death in Venice," his overtly homoerotic adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella that the Hamburg Ballet will present this weekend at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. (The work had its U.S. debut at BAM last week.) Tonight through Thursday, the company performs Neumeier's "The Lady of the Camellias," adapted from the Alexandre Dumas Jr. play.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:22 pm 
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I love Neumeier's piano analogy below, both for its novelty and how it expresses his Expressionistic style.

Quote:
Every dance tells a story in Hamburg Ballet
Laura Bleiberg, The Orange County Register

Neumeier has an international cast of dancers for whom he tailors specific parts. No matter what the ballet, though, one of Neumeier's guiding principles is that ballets are like dreams: Don't try too hard to decipher them, just experience them. Dance doesn't express information well. Rather, it can convey "everything that cannot be said in words."

"I have this theory that watching ballet as a human being is as if a piano were hearing a piano playing. The piano knows instinctively what it's like to have its keys pounded upon and what sounds will come from that. The human being watching the ballet instinctively knows what it feel like to be suspended in an arabesque."
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2007 10:24 pm 
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Another preview:

Quote:
A ballet's novel approach
Courtney Croitori, The Orange County Register

"Never judge a book by its cover," the saying goes. In this case, the ballet is the cover and director John Neumeier lures you with two novel-based ballets whose stories are told and illustrated by his Hamburg dancers.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:49 pm 
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Here is Lewis Segal's review of "Lady of the Camellias" from the Tuesday, February 13 performance at OCPAC, in the Los Angeles Times:

LA Times


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 5:29 am 
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Quote:
Death of a Choreographer
Thomas Mann's tragic genius-monster joins in the dance
by DEBORAH JOWITT for the Village Voice
published: February 13, 2007

The primary message is that the life of an artist—even a famous, successful one—can be hell unless he's in creative touch with his inner child; i.e., his emotions. Because Neumeier has transformed Mann's tragic hero from a writer into a choreographer, Gustav von Aschenbach's infatuation with the beautiful young Tadzio seems more about envying the spontaneity he doesn't find in the ballet studio than about craving gorgeous male flesh; there's plenty of that around.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:35 pm 
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This may surprise some but I actually liked "Death in Venice" more than I thought I would. The ballet seems to be formulaic at times with its "impressionistic" references to the literary work and the payoff doesn't always match the hard dancing but overall there was enough to keep me enthralled, especially in the sometimes out-of-turn choreography. The dancers in particular were an absolute thrill to watch.


Last edited by Azlan on Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:26 pm 
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I saw the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances of Hamburg's Death in Venice at OCPAC, and for some reason I really liked it on Sunday, but didn't on Saturday. Perhaps it was just the amount of stuff coming from the stage, and I could better comprehend it the second time around. The ballet has lots of things happening at once overlapping each other. They're really beautiful and technically accomplished dancers, including one dancer, Helene Bouchet, with legs that went on forever and amazing feet.

The emotional arc was clearer on second viewing, and the choreography seemed less like busywork and fit the story more. The staging choices also became clearer. Death pretty much pervaded every moment, and thinking back, it was just one big downhill journey for Aschenbach, with really no hope of redemption of any kind, even in the final moment which played to music of transfiguration (Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan & Isolde). Even in the lighter moments, it always felt like what Aschenbach wanted was walled away behind glass, almost mocking his inability to reach it.

I still think Neuemeier jumped the shark with the Jethro Tull KISS-faced (whiteface with black flames painted around the eyes) guitar players, though. All in all, a pretty creepy, crypto-Gothic ballet.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:30 pm 
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Quote:
A way back to freedom
Lewis Segal, LA Times

Superbly danced by the Hamburg Ballet, John Neumeier's two-act "Death in Venice" boldly updates the story and subverts the central issues in the celebrated 1912 Thomas Mann novella of the same name.

Set to mostly recorded music by Bach (sometimes jazz or rock transcriptions) and Wagner (sometimes live piano reductions), this surprisingly personal, stream-of-consciousness dance drama from 2003 came to the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Saturday as evidence of the large-scale creative experiments that European ballet companies continue to offer their audiences but that haven't been consistently attempted in this country for the last quarter of a century.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:35 pm 
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Quote:
A powerful, provocative 'Death'
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

John Neumeier's two-act ballet, "Death in Venice," was a satisfyingly rich, though imperfect, adaptation of Thomas Mann's 1911 novella of the same name.

If the cerebral Mann did not, on first regard, seem obvious as fodder for a ballet, this story of an elderly writer's "manic" obsession with a teenage boy actually fit snugly onstage, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 5:47 pm 
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Yes, Andre, I agree about Helene Bouchet. She and Laura Cazzinaga and Ivan Urban and Alexandre Riabko and American Lloyd Riggins were more than worth the price of admission. I will suffer any choreography just to see these and the other dancers on stage.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:27 pm 
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Another important thing I forgot to mention was how dramatically committed these dancers are: it's an integral part of their movement instead of something layered on top.

--Andre


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