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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 10:11 am 
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MEH wrote:

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...it's a pity that reviews are usually just of the first performance, before people have time to settle into things.


I often think the same thing concerning Royal Ballet performances. Tamara Rojo once told a Friends meeting that she recommends to her friends to come to the third or fourth performance.

Also, Matthew Bourne is often very careful about waiting a few nights into a run before inviting the press. Once when he was presenting a show outside London initially and I asked for press tickets they said: "..do come but please don't review before the London press night."

It makes sense to me - performances and productions need a little while to settle in. On the other hand companies often want publicity to get bums on seats and if a review is too late in a short run then that won't work.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 10:46 pm 
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I saw Lily Rogers, one of the youngest members of the corps, in her debut last night as the Firebird. I thought she was wonderful: sinuous, elegant extensions, beautifully executed jumps, and tremendous stage presence (the red wig and heavy makeup do not become her, but her dancing outshines her costume). Sarah Van Patten gave one of her amazingly expressive performances as the Princess. This cast made Yuri's Firebird seem much more coherent to me; the music is thrilling. Lily and Sarah are dancing again on Sunday afternoon. See them if you can.


From Rachel Howard's blog:

"Lily Rogers made a stunning Firebird, assured and glamorous. Rogers is a tall, fine-boned dancer made more fascinating by paradox: She looks frail but dances fierce. . . .

more:
http://www.rachelhoward.com/


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:29 am 
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I was there too -- feeling a little under the weather, but it was well worth staying to see Firebird. I agree that Rogers' debut was wonderful. She has a naturally charismatic presence onstage, along with those near oversplit jetes and gorgeous arabesques and the audience went wild for her at the end. I think everyone felt we were watching something special at the start. I have to admit I wa a little disappointed that Ruben Martins' partnering of her was not as smooth as expected, although the choreography looks a bit tricky to finesse. There were a few slight bobbles, but all in all, she held her composure beautifully and never lost confidence.

The first time I saw that lullaby scene (after the "egg-flash") it was with Yuan Yuan Tan and I didn't think much of it-- it seemed to drag a bit. But last night I found it quite absorbing and almost too brief, which I think speaks to Rogers' abilities.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:05 am 
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I'm sorry I had to miss Lily Rogers' debut, but I hope to see her on Sunday. I'd like to see Alana Altman's performance tomorrow night, too.

I wouldn't characterize the chase scene as slow-motion -- the dancers are running quickly, but just not traveling much.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:55 pm 
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Well, we were I think all very sorry to find out today that Lily Rogers was unable to dance Firebird at the matinee. After her debut earlier this week, I suspect a lot of us were back to see her second outing in the role. An audible murmur of disappointment went through the audience when they made the announcement this afternoon.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 9:24 pm 
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Well, now I don't feel so bad that something came up today that prevented me from going to the matinee! But who filled in for her? I hope I didn't also miss another change to see Alana Altman in the role.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 10:00 pm 
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djb wrote:
But who filled in for her?


Yuan Yuan. I think Helgi made the right choice: it would have put too great a burden on Elana to have her replace Lily today. Yuan Yuan is the complete professional and took everything in stride; she was warmly applauded by the audience at the end.

Elana Altman danced in Blue Rose today so she wasn't really available; she has blossomed into a true ballerina--and a very busy one. I think she has now danced every single ballet in Programs 1 & 2--except for Aunis [the all guy piece].

After the announcement that Lily would be replaced by Yuan Yuan today, the woman next to me exclaimed, "We lucked out." "How so?" I asked, puzzled. "Well, we were hoping to see Yuan Yuan," she said. She and her family seemed new to ballet and probably had never heard of Lily Rogers. Sometimes regualrs like us lose our persepctive: we want to see the new kid, the star in the making; most people want to see the established stars.

PS: Mary Ellen Hunt did her first Meet the Artist interview before the performance today. She interviewed Gonzalo Garcia and "partnered" him beautifully. Brava mehunt! I hope you do more interviews for SFB.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:04 pm 
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bcx wrote:
Elana Altman danced in Blue Rose today so she wasn't really available; she has blossomed into a true ballerina--and a very busy one. I think she has now danced every single ballet in Programs 1 & 2--except for Aunis [the all guy piece].

I bought a standing ticket today and ran into two other friends who came to catch Firebird. I was telling them how I was sitting next to Lorena Feijoo's mother at the gala (when the Giselle pas de deux was over, the woman to my left whispered 'That's my daughter!'). A woman overheard me and said 'Well, I must tell you I'm Elana's mother'. She was there today to watch her dance in Blue Rose for the first time. I told her how wonderful she was in both Firebird (which I saw Friday night) and Artifact Suite (Saturday matinee). Her mother was very happy and extremely proud. She said that Artifact Suite was a difficult piece. I asked her if she still gets nervous before Elana peforms and she said Yes. When it was over she said 'I can breathe again!' and I congratulated her on Elana's fine performance.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 11:26 pm 
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Elana did have a lovely performance of Blue Rose, her arms and back are quite lovely. And I agree, bcx, Yuan Yuan was the right one to step in for Lily Rogers. That's the kind of pressure situation that no one would envy.

Thanks for your kind words about the interview with Gonzalo Garcia, although I feel I can't take too much credit -- sometimes I felt more like he was the one doing the supporting!

I'll be doing four more MTA's through the season, all of them before Sunday matinees. SFB is also doing podcasts of selected interviews which you can subscribe to on their website. As bcx and I were discussing this afternoon, it's so nice to have a chance to see this side of the dancers, how articulate and charming they can be.


Last edited by mehunt on Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:01 am 
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Congratulations, Mary Ellen, on hosting the SFB "Meet the Artist" series - a very nice compliment from the company to you. I'll certainly listen in to the podcast versions.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2007 2:35 pm 
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I'm glad to hear Lily did so well. She's a special dancer.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:53 pm 
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While the image of a strong performance by Joanna Berman in "The Dance House," which reportedly even wow-ed David Bintley who claimed the now retired ballerina could do no wrong, Tina LeBlanc eventually won me over. She has the requisite mix of restraint and explosiveness to almost make me forgot Berman's performance.

Although billed as a world premiere, much of this "Firebird" was initially created by Yuri Possokhov for Christopher Stowell's Oregon Ballet Theatre a season prior, with a few SF expatriates cast in the lead roles, namely Kester Cotton, Artur Sultanov and Kathy Martuza. Although the sets and costumes have been stylized and the choreography modified in sections, the same "goofiness" prevails as in the original that premiered in Portland. And, yes, the "keystone cops" chase scene also elicited laughter from the Oregonians but given the context of the choreography then, that section seemed more awkward than in the SFB version. Not bad if you can half-create the same work twice and call both world premieres...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 11:04 pm 
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And, oh, yeah, "Blue Rose"... Well, um, it gave Vanessa Zahorian a chance to star on stage, which for a lot of SFB fans is worth the price of admission.


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