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 Post subject: Cincinnati Ballet 2006-2007 Season
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2006 3:18 am 
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Review of the New Works Program presented at the Mickey Jarson Kaplan Performance Studio in the Cincinnati Ballet Studios in Cincinnati on October 5-7. Four World Premiers and two Cincinnati Premiers.

Taken as a view from eternity, the six pieces, four of them World Premiers, on Cincinnati Ballet’s New Works concert offered an unsentimental yet positive picture life. Aspects of this picture told of life as a tangled wreckage of nameless pursuits, crushing loss, de-railed hopes, as well as the singular achievements of human Olympians. And when framed by the Olympian example, the crisscross texture and dissonant mien of the concert’s middle pieces smoothed into a compelling figure of classical bearing.

Performed in Cincinnati for the first time, the short and tempered fury of “Remix ’03,” choreographed by Viktor Kabaniaev, introduced threads important to the fabric of the concert. As a work especially created for the 2006 Ballet ‘Olympics’ held in Jackson, Mississippi, it showcased the prowess of its male and female dancers in the medium of contemporary ballet. Additionally, Kabaniaev used contemporary music for “Remix,” in this instance a movement from “Concerto for Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra” by Philip Glass. And given the independence of the female role in “Remix,” the work anticipated the independence of the ladies in “Journey,” “Traces,” and “Ozhedanye.” And as an Olympic display for a male dancer, “Remix” foreshadowed the 10 Adonises of “Javelin.”

Conceived for and set on the talents particular to Senior Soloist Mishic Marie Corn by Victoria Morgan, “Journey,” the program’s first World Premier work, gave instance to an Aristotelian vision of life. The texture of her life fashioned by the deep, resonating voices of the multi-stopped solo cello of the Bach Suite #3 and the subtly moving projections of bark and limbs and foliage of a red cedar, the tall, quick, and elegant Corn moved with the divine purpose the metaphor -held in the choreography- of seedling to tree and its attendant search for the good life suggested. And for all of its intimacy, her pas with Jay Goodlett seemed more of a Jungian encounter with her animus rather than a human lover. Her “Journey” was indeed hers.

In contrast to the dark purplish red of “Journey’s” costumes, the two couples in the program’s second World Premier work, “Traces,” choreographed by Luca Veggetti, wore black. And within the piece’s faint atmosphere of sound, composed by Toshio Hosokawa, and Stygian shadow, the ladies in slippered feet moved silently and only the nakedness of their limbs made them more visible than the men. And as if to deepen the bleakness of “Traces”, the formal relationships between the dancers, their monumental stillness, and a whispering fraction of their gestures rhymed with the ethos of Noh drama. Conceptually, “Traces” looks at the ephemerality (as if it were a property) of dance. The title, then, refers to the scuffmarks, presumably the sad remains of a vanished dance being, in the marley on the studio floor. The “action” of “Traces” happens on the periphery of a highlighted rectangle of the dance floor. On occasion, however, a dancer would reach, but never enter, into the illuminated space and scuff with hand or foot the floor. A corresponding line would then appear in an image of a densely crisscrossed section of floor projected onto the backcloth. And so it went trace after trace after trace… until the final lights out.

Baffled. And struck fast by grief seven of the “Lost and Found” cast often suffered in stillness the loss of the eighth cast member. For her telling of a Dark Elegies-like lament choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett used piano works by Robert Schumann and fashioned her community out of four couples. Played live by Cincinnati Ballet’s Jim Hart, the Romantic Era music fittingly described the complexity of feeling experienced by the “Lost and Found” characters. Additionally, the Romantic Era ethos and piano sound neatly met the balletic language and familiar structure of this dance poem. Ladies on pointe and costumed in long unpretentious pastel colored dresses and men in pants and loose shirts, this well made work nicely showcased the solo and partnering capabilities of each cast member.

For the program’s third World Premier, choreographer Viktor Kabaniaev used the first two movements of “String Quartet #1(the awakening)” for string quartet and soundtrack by Christos Hatzis to fashion a dance of startling power. Set on eight ladies, “Ozhedanye,” or ‘yearning’ in English, Kabanaiev translated the clash of cultures depicted in the first movement by the sound of a rushing train and vocalizing Inuit throat singers into the restlessness as well as the paralysis that spelled out de-railed human hopes. Costumed in ordinary wear including flats, the isolated and loosely clumped figures that open the piece soon shed their insularity and rallied in the center. And there, in the eerie radiance of their self- luminosity, the mark of a Trad Burns lighting design, the rhetorical force of their collective, space consuming gestures shattered one’s heart. At that moment, one saw them as a band of living rather than dead Wilis. And hence, the eternity of dejection suffered by Myrtha’s bitter team the ladies of “Ozhedanye” may yet avoid. The work closed, for example, with a return to the opening scenario: ladies scattered about the dim space engaged in either frenetic motion or fixed in vacant stillness. One of them, however, set out on a lighted path across the space; alas, she turned back as the music fell into silence. “Follow the light,” said the Burns design, “and find the hope in rather than the sorrow of your yearning.”

Like speed lines, the bright curls of the woodwind figures that open Michael Torke’s “Javelin” sound the wake turbulence of the work’s soaring élan. And analogous to a javelin’s launch, the choreography by Kirk Peterson for this the program’s fourth World Premier expresses vigor and a view of life that looks ever upward and outward. For “Javelin,” Peterson graphically transposed images of the ancient Olympics taken from Greek art into contemporary ballet. Set on ten men (the Olympics were for male athletes only) and costumed (barely, for the athletes competed nude) in short white swimwear, the exposure of the finely muscled dancer’s bodies clearly connected the Olympian to the ballet world. In addition to the work’s signature javelin launching gesture were a series of heroic and spectacular demonstrations given by all in the cast of male bravura moves. Great turning leaps, gravity defying suspensions with beating feet, and a breathless number of exits and entrances always on the run mixed nevertheless with calmer circle and line dances. Although “Javelin” pictures Apollonian discipline and outlook, audiences of “Javelin” always went Dionysian.


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 Post subject: Links to two reviews of Giselle Cincinnati papers
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:28 pm 
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http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... 344/-1/all

http://news.cincypost.com/apps/pbcs.dll ... 362/-1/all


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 Post subject: Review: Giselle, at the Aronoff in Cincinnati, Nov. 3-5.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2006 9:14 am 
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Resonate with the promise of deliverance the Cincinnati Ballet’s Ballet Master-in-Chief Devon Carney’s Orphic vision of “Giselle” sounds the triumph of hope over melancholy.

It is, one thinks, by his willful inattention that Albrecht in “Giselle,” like Seigfried in “Swan Lake,” loses the love of his life; and because Albrecht and Seigfreid each fail to understand the particulars of his beloved’s life, each earns his Orphic mission into the underworld. And like Seigfreid in the dark world of Act IV of Cincinnati Ballet’s “Swan Lake,” Albrectht in the graveyard world of “Giselle’s” Act II seeks to redeem his love pledge.

Love might very well be blind, as the familiar saying contends, but it is certainly not odorless. And given Giselle’s effort to deliver Albrecht from the evil Myrtha and her crew of Wilis, she must have breathed in the sweet sent of his clear commitment to her even in the cloud of his rank duplicity. That is to say, metaphorically or otherwise, that the sent of love goes, a most sent does, all the way up its source. In this instance, it is Albrecht’s love for Giselle. And analogously, one of the triumphs of Carney’s “Giselle” is that the meanings of his mime and choreography, like the sent of Albrecht’s love for Giselle, go all the way up to their gestural fact. That is, one can follow; in fact immerse oneself in this “story ballet” without the aid or distraction of libretto or synopsis.

Moreover, in this realization of “Giselle” environmental aspects, including music, lights, and setting blend with action and character to frame, for instance, a grim perspective. While the sweet and airy musical depiction of the Wilis informs their alluring aspect; the mixing, however, of their personable features with their misty- graveyard -at -night habitat, their ever iterated “death pose,” and their man-eating intent prompt the thin cloud of duplicity generated by Albrecht in Act I to in Act II to thicken in toxicity. The Wilis, then, as Lorelei personify diabolic duplicity. And while, Giselle’s effort shields Albrecht from their ruinous grasp and celebrates, thereby, the Romantic notion of “redemption through love;” one, nevertheless, understands the Wilis to be a warning too against the duplicity of Reason itself. That is: the seduction into monstrous behavior by the appealing simplicities of airy thought. At what altitude of abstraction, for example, was Albrecht cruising at that made the barrier, despite Wilfred’s repeated reminders, between two simultaneous engagements of marriage in a monogamous world disappear?

Alone in the graveyard at dawn, Albrecht, compellingly performed by Alexei Tyukov, Anthony Krutzkamp, or Dmitri Trubchanov, has returned from the underworld a wearied and wiser person. And by curtain fall, he- like the self-blinded Oedipus Rex- showed that he had reached agreement with his world. And this, one thinks, promotes hope rather than melancholy.

One hopes too that Giselle’s defiance of Myrtha preempted her default induction into the evil Wilis team and thus saved her own soul as well. Whether performed by Kristi Capps, Janessa Touchet, or Adiarys Almeida each in her own way brought clarity to the role of Giselle and filled that character with tenderness and spirit. And whether she is on or off stage, Mishic Marie Corn is ever Lilac and one suffers a jarring moral dissonance when Corn performs roles such as Carabosse or Myrtha; nevertheless, the role of Myrtha requires the artistry she so handily brings to it and for all of her Lilac-like sensibility Corn made Myrtha, as did the wonderfully Gothic looking Sarah Hairston, the Queen of the Damned.

Damned or not, the soloist roles of Moyna and Zulma, attendants to Myrtha, and the corps of Wilis were performed as near as human dancers can get to perfection. Their military –like precision enhanced their malevolent threat and made them, thereby, ever so thrilling to watch. Alas, Hilarion cursed and undone by the frustration of his great expectations may however find sympathy and perhaps redemption for in Carney’s “Giselle” his actions make the plot sensible.

It was the sensuous details of Adam’a carefully composed music, however, that kept the otherworldly action of Act II framed in a human perspective. And where one would as ever happily list every orchestra member for his or her contribution, the Act II solos performed by oboeist Lorraine Dorsey, violist Carolyn Mason, and violinist, Kiki Bussell as well as the woodwind section generally earn special mention. Additionally, one wants to note that for each of the four well-attended, in fact crowded, performances of “Giselle” the Cincinnati Ballet received a standing ovation.


An extra-review editorial: for this viewer the Cincinnati Ballet makes, as it has for eight years made, Cincinnati a destination. Always filled with life, one has watched the power of Victoria Morgan’s artistic vision and efforts steadily lift the Company toward celestial excellence. The Company has, one thinks, achieved orbit.


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 Post subject: Review: Sleeping Beauty, Aronoff Center, Cincinnati Feb 9-11
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 11:58 am 
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Describing Janessa Touchet’s incarnation of Princess Aurora one viewer of the Cincinnati Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty,” said, “Saying that her dancing is ‘musical’ is an understatement.”

“Yes,” said another, “But (and not to dim your sense of her radiant artistry) I might rather say that when we speak of a dancer’s ‘musicality’ we are referring to an elastic, if you will, absolute that in this case Janessa’s Aurora personifies.”

And during the Rose Adagio of the Sunday matinee, Kirk Peterson, the choreographer after Petipa for this realization of “Sleeping Beauty,” said to this viewer as he fit the fingers of his hands together, “Janessa and the music are like this.” And with that simple gesture, Peterson put the ever-expanding want for physical or metaphysical explanations of ‘musical’ to an end. Yet, there is more to be said.

The honorific use of ‘musical’ also applies to musicians. The narrative importance of solos composed for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, violin, and cello to 19th century ballet, particularly to the big three, “Giselle,” “Swan Lake,” and “Sleeping Beauty,” is manifest. These instrumental colors stand to the ballet as ballerinas stand to the ballet. And for this production of “Sleeping Beauty,” Peterson connects Acts One and Two with an orchestral interlude held together by Tchaikovsky with familiar motifs and solo violin. In one section, for example, a delicate pas de quatre with solo flute, oboe, and clarinet, the violin weaves a picture of burgeoning love. (And for present day listeners, the use of the familiar “Tree Growing” motif from-or for the future- “Nutcracker” supports this sense of development.) Without the superlative musicality, musicianship, or skill of Kiki Bussell, violin, Evelien Woolard, flute, Lorraine Dorsey, oboe, and Eugene Marquis, Clarinet- in fact one must loudly credit the entire woodwind section- the narrative importance of the music that links Acts One and Two would have foundered – and wrecked the ballet that surrounds it.

Yet, one often hears comments such as, “What violin solo?” Caught, one thinks, in the whirl of intense aesthetic moments, the perceptual features of “Beauty”, for example, seemingly blend together. At such moments, the effort required to perform “Beauty” vanishes also. And Lilac commands such a moment. (One deletes ‘fairy’ from her sobriquet as a hedge against the Disnefying effect the word has on her character. Lilac, as one has previously written, and her sisters, including Carabosse manifest a reflex of the Valkrie tradition in literature. In this tradition, which includes Grendel’s Mother and “Beowolf’s” Wealtheow words such as adorable, cute, sweet, or laughable are inappropriate.) The regal grace of Mishic Marie Corn’s Lilac is that of an angel described by the Mannerist painter, Raphael. Brilliant, unstrained, and serene Corn’s Lilac contrasted sharply with the gloomy, self-hugging, and predatory alertness of Sarah Hairston’s Carabosse. One observed, however, that the ‘musicality,’ the sharp attacks and perfect timing (or maybe it’s tuning) of Jennifer Drake’s Carabosse spelled that character’s evil in capital letters.

Who could fault the Court of King Florestan for leaving Carabosse off of an invitation list? The presents of such a crashing bore (or is it boar?), particularly at a christening, seems more like an endorsement of her decent into monstrous selfishness rather than a demonstration of respect for Her Majesty. Nevertheless, it is Florestan’s avoidance of responsibility for this oversight rather than the faux pas itself that costs him, in one’s view, the capital of his Sovereignty. Even if Florestan managed to recover that loss, the moment, however, that forever bankrupts his kingliness and reduces his sovereignty to a level neither more or nor less than that of other mortals is his failure to heed Lilac’s prophecy. Florestan’s all-to- human hubris blossomed when he banished spindles from his realm - a futile gesture. And, if that isn’t bad enough, at the beginning of Act Two, he again acts as if he can avoid or defeat Fate perhaps this time absolutely by hanging the Norns. (These are the Nordic sisters three that weave each human’s destiny.) And when The Queen finally snips that thread of King Florestan’s mad folly the warmth and color of the Garland Dance signals the realm’s celebration of life’s fateful waltz.

In “Tchaikovsky’s Ballets,” Roland John Wiley points to the composer’s use of orchestral color and dynamic markings to musically embody the “mellow brilliance” of gold in Act Three’s Gold Variation. Eureka! And with this discovery, one now happily informs the idea of musicality with that of gold’s “mellow brilliance.” Hence, in addition to re-describing the musicality of Touchet in particular, the term also applies for the cast of “Sleeping Beauty” in general. Moreover, one also finds in the articulate or punctuated flow of the Gold Variation or better still the Garland Dance’s melodic sweep and staccato accompaniment a sonic “image” for continuity. The Garland Dance’s promise of fecundity anticipates Act Three’s resounding celebration of continuity. Here Aurora, after years of suspension, resumes her life. And the fact that Florestan’s Court went with her suggests that the liquid medium of heritage, self- possession, confidence, and independence indeed all that she is stayed its course. And she (like Beowulf’s Wealtheow whose story hers echoes) will become Sovereign. Yet, one thinks, that “Sleeping Beauty” transcends the crass materialism of political authority, and the Sovereignty one speaks of refers to the self-rule common to (and expected of) all. Although spectacular in regal décor, it is, nevertheless, folk tales, folk dances, particularly the Mazurka, and Blue Birds, for example, that dominate the divertissement of Act Three. It is, however, because the Apotheosis of “Sleeping Beauty” uses a tune popular in the 19th Century, “Vivre Henri IV,” that one rests the claim that the ballet reflects on common human experiences.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:11 pm 
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A pair of articles in tribute to Victoria Morgan's ten years as Artistic Director of Cincinnati Ballet:

David Lyman in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The Enquirer

Jerry Stein in the Cincinnati Post:

Cincinnati Post


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:39 pm 
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David Lyman reviews the Victoria Morgan tenth anniversary program in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

The Enquirer


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:50 pm 
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Quote:
Juxtapositions of Movement, Sound and Silence
by GIA KOURLAS for the New York Times
published: March 27, 2007

Works & Process at the Guggenheim, a popular series devoted to shedding light on the creative process through performance and discussion, presented three ballets by the Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti at the museum’s Peter B. Lewis Theater on Sunday night. They included a world premiere and a rare visit by members of the Cincinnati Ballet.
more...


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 Post subject: Cincinnati Ballet at the Guggenheim in NY
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:33 pm 
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The Guggenheim’s Works and Process program, given in the Peter B. Lewis Theatre, featured works by choreographer Luca Veggetti performed by four members of the Cincinnati Ballet and one guest dancer. And following a lec/dem format, panel discussions highlighting Veggetti’s aesthetic filled the two gaps between the presentations of his three pieces.
All set to music by composer Toshio Hosokawa, this program of brief works included “On the Edge of Silence,” danced by Cincinnati’s Kristy Kapps, Cervillo Miguel Amador, Janessa Touchet, and Dmitri Trubchanov with guest dancer R. Colby Damon and accompanied by flutist, Justin Bahrami. “Night/Sounds,” which featured dancers Kapps and Touchet accompanied by pianist Daniel Spiegel, and “Traces”(which appeared on the Cincinnati Ballet New Works program last fall) featured the four dancers of the Cincinnati Ballet accompanied by accordionist, Viviane Chassot.

Veggetti’s discussions revealed a synthetic as well as a synaesthetic sensibility. It is synthetic in the sense that while his work is profoundly influenced by Noh drama it mimics few if any of its conventions. Rather, he seeks to blend Noh’s synaesthetic idea, such as using sound, including silence to shape space as well as the art form’s pitting of opposites such as stillness/ motion, union/disunion, structure/spontaneity and so forth with his training in the traditions of ballet. His pieces, then, mean to be imprints, impressions rather than copies fashioned out of the combined pressure of Noh and ballet. Or perhaps if seen as a process they mean to trace a path along the boundaries of both traditions. And if these observations acceptably describe Veggetti’s aesthetic, his value, for instance, of process over the fixity of ‘work,’ then, one hopes, that it blows some of the fog away from his rather baffling comment that, “Impressions are more important than the dance.”

Baffled, indeed, does this mean, for example, that if a person applying for work impresses the interviewer that the interviewer might hire the impression rather than the person? Ask Alice. What is certain, however, is that the excellence of the dancers glossed over the bleakness of Veggetti’s Noh source. Moreover, they somehow managed to smuggle a small measure of life into Hosokawa’s shadowed sound and Veggetti’s wraithlike choreography.


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 Post subject: link to a review in the Cincinnati Enquirer
PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2007 9:34 am 
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Here is a link to a review of the concert that included pieces by Tharp and Elo.



http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ ... 90009/1025


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