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 Post subject: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2004 6:06 am 
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Romancing 'Giselle'
By Lisa Traiger
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, October 15, 2004; Page WE22

Quote:
GETTING TO THE CORE of a 19th-century romantic ballet such as "Giselle" is as challenging for a choreographer as finding a fresh point of view for a new production of, say, Shakespeare's "Hamlet." So says Septime Webre, artistic director of the Washington Ballet, who has been doing just that for months now to prepare his company to dance the maudlin classic.
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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:41 pm 
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'Giselle': Welcome Pirouette Into the Past
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 23, 2004; Page C01
Quote:
When the contemporary-centric Washington Ballet started putting on old-school full-length productions a few years ago -- "Romeo and Juliet," "Cinderella," "Coppelia" -- the results were serviceable but unremarkable. None of the story ballets has been a particularly good fit for this troupe of able dancers with uneven acting skills.
"Giselle," which the company is performing for the first time in its 27-year history, is a significant step up. The modesty and gentleness of this work's mid-19th-century origins have been preserved, even as the dancers have endeavored to inject some potency into its tale of scorched innocence and transcendent forgiveness.
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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 3:22 pm 
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Giselle
The Washington Ballet, Friday 10/22/04
Eisenhower Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC

I went to see "Giselle" by the Washington Ballet with a little trepidation...my lovely local ballet taking on one of the most revered classics. But I was not disappointed (sigh of relief) The Washington Ballet did this dance justice, and performed with precision, beauty and panache.

Elizabeth Gaither performed as Giselle and in the first act did a credible job, her acting is excellent, she played the coy, sweet peasant girl to perfection, but her dancing seemed to me a little flat and her right foot seemed to be bothering her a little. Then came the mad scene. Wow, what a wonderful actress Beth became, she played the part perfectly, it would have been so easy to overact but she did an incredible job of acting mad but oh, so sad and poignant. Runqiao Du as Albrecht was good, his dancing is powerful but not particularly spectacular. His acting passable. As Hilarion, Alvaro Palau was alright, but exhibited no real passion in his acting or dancing.

Laura Urgelles was wonderful in the Peasant pdd, her smile was so genuine and her dancing was light and joyful. However her partner, a new member of the Washington Ballet, Marcello Martinez, looked rather nervous and quite shaky in the lifts. But in his solos Marcello showed increasing confidence.

The Washington Ballet used their Studio Company to fill out their numbers and they did an excellent job. In the first act the corps dancing was good, although a couple of the men had a few bobbles. But in the second act, the corps de ballet performed amazingly. I was astounded by their accuracy and precision and timing. The Wilis were wonderful.

The second act was dominated by Giselle (as a ghost) dancing to save her 'lover'. Elizabeth Gaither has always seemed to me to have a most ethereal quality and as a Wilis she absolutely shone. Ethereal, ghostly, light, transcendent, (I cannot think of enough adjectives to describe her). I would say Giselle, in the second act, is Elizabeth Gaither's role, it fits her style and acting ability beautifully.
Runqiao Du showed off his power in the second act, his lifts were effortless, Giselle was weightless in his hands. But again, his dancing is good but did not make me want to cheer out loud.

Erin Mahoney, as the queen of the Wilis, was very vengeful. But the corps, as the Wilis, gave the performance of their collective lives. I can honestly say they were the best I have ever seen, any time, any place. They were so well rehearsed, so well placed according to size, and so together, they performed as one, rather than as individuals. They got a huge round of applause.

The sets, by Simon Pastukh, and the costumes by Galina Solovyeva were lovely. The set for the second act was applauded before a single dancer showed.

Overall, I would say Giselle is a triumph for the Washington Ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:22 am 
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It looks like the ballet season in Washington is heating up.

The Washington Ballet will present the world premiere of Trey McIntyre's intrepretation of the Rite of Spring February 23 through February 27 at the Kennedy Center's Eisenhower Theater.
The program will also include George Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Christopher Wheeldon's There Where She Loved
To purchase tickets:
visit www.kennedy-center.org/tickets or call 202.467.4600.


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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2005 12:55 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Joanne Lunsford posted 19 February 2005 10:53 PM

WASHINGTON BALLET HOT HOT HOT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Rite of Spring performed by the Washington Ballet Company is the best thing to happen to ballet in the DC area since I have lived here. The Washington Ballet is pure joy do not miss it.
POWER and PASSION and GREAT Dancers!


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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:25 am 
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Ballet Fans in La Plata Get an Early Taste of 'Spring'

By Susan Barton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 20, 2005; Page SM03

Quote:
Ballet enthusiasts -- especially those used to frilly tutus, tiaras and classical music -- may have had a surprise yesterday, when the Washington Ballet presented a preview of its "Rite of Spring" at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata.

Filled with love and betrayal, the ballet's story is as powerful as the music it is performed to, said Septime Webre, 42, the company's artistic director
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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:11 am 
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Ever On Their Toes
Christopher Wheeldon's Dance Is in the Details


By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 24, 2005; Page C01

Quote:
So many details. So little time. Christopher Wheeldon, the understated and overbooked resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet, has only a few hours to get what he wants out of the Washington Ballet dancers who will perform his work "There Where She Loved" tonight at the Kennedy Center.

And in his eyes, nearly every step of one particular passage is just not good enough.
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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:06 am 
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A Choreographer's 'Rite' of Passage
By Lisa Traiger
Special to The Washington Post
Friday, February 25, 2005; Page WE24
Quote:
IT WAS THE BALLET heard 'round the world. In 1913, when "The Rite of Spring" premiered in Paris -- with a pulsating score by Igor Stravinsky and groundbreaking choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky -- the audience went rock-concert wild, drowning out the music and pelting the Ballets Russes dancers with epithets. The ensuing pandemonium brought on a police raid. At the ballet.
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And another point of view:

Pointlessly Provocative 'Rite of Spring'
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2005; Page C01
Quote:
The notion of sacrificing yourself to appease the gods -- or at least your mother -- looms over Trey McIntyre's bold but unwieldy interpretation of Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," which the Washington Ballet premiered Thursday at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater.
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 Post subject: Re: Washington Ballet 2004-2005
PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 8:10 am 
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The Washington Ballet at the Eisenhower Theater, Kennedy Center, Washington DC
February 24, 2005
Triple Bill: Stravinsky Violin Concerto; There Where She Loved; Rite of Spring, The Engagement.


On a cold and very snowy night I braved the icy roads of Maryland and DC to get to the Kennedy Center to see the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s Rite of Spring, and the company premieres of Balanchine’s Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Christopher Wheeldon’s There Where She Loved. I was not disappointed, each piece was very different in style, yet provocative in its own way. There were a couple of cast changes, and one of my favorite dancers, Michele Jimenez, did not dance at all. The Eisenhower Theater is a much smaller venue than the Opera House and offers a much more intimate setting. The sound was good with the live and recorded music being at just at the right volume.

Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Igor Stravinsky.

One of the black and white dances, the choreography is a bit softer and more fluid than works such as The Four Temperaments. I love Stravinsky and this music was delicious, and even though it was recorded, the quality of the recording and sound system was very good.
Erin Mahoney danced with Brian Corman and Sara Ivan (substituting for Michele Jimenez) was paired with Runqiao Du in the Toccata and the two Arias. In the past couple of years Erin has become an impressive dancer, her technique is improving, her confidence is evident and, even though she drops her left shoulder occasionally, she looked every bit the part of a ‘Balanchine’ dancer with her long arms and legs, and her sharp, crisp movement. Brian Corman is new to the Washington Ballet this season, but what an exciting dancer he looks to be. Brian has charisma, his partnering of Erin Mahoney was excellent and his style is well suited to Balanchine. Sara Ivan, also in her first season with the Ballet, did not appear suited to Balanchine last night, her performance appeared strained and flat and that seemed to affect Runqiao Du’s performance, which looked quite tense. Sara Ivan’s extensions were good, but the smaller movements were quick and blurred. The corps was a little ragged in the Toccata but improved as the piece progressed, synchronizing their movement better, although the lines were still a little off kilter. The Aria I with Erin and Brian was simply delightful and a joy to watch. Prior to the start of the performance Septeme Webre described the Capriccio as having the energy of a hoedown, and the entire cast did a wonderful job creating the energy and joyful dancing to finish the piece.

There Where She Loved, Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Music by Frederic Chopin and Kurt Weill.

I must admit to a personal bias here, I adore Christopher Wheeldon’s work. I was not disenchanted. In an article in the Washington Post he describes the piece as “a sketchbook of unrelated little dances, linked as suite”. He also says, in the same article, that he thinks of himself as a romantic and in 2000when he created the piece, he was interested in romantic themes.

There were seven ‘little dances” each exploring a different aspect of love. “The Wish” had one woman dancing with four men, Laura Urgelles dancing with Jonathan Jordan, Aaron Jackson, Brain Malek and Brian Corman, sweet, but of all the dances the least impressive.
“Surabaya-Johnny” had one man, Brian Corman, as a ‘use ‘em and lose ‘em’ type. Loving each of the three women and then rejecting them. My German is very limited, but the tone of the song sung by Mezzo Soprano Shelley Waite was very mournful and anguished. Again Brian Corman was outstanding, his cavalier attitude was just right. He danced with an attitude, sexy, aggressive and careless. Of the women, Sona Kharatian was tremendous, and Sara Ivan looked much better in this piece than she had in the Balanchine.
The title dance “There Where She Loved” was beautifully danced by Brianne Bland. She is another dancer who just keeps improving in technique and confidence.
The most fun dance of whole night was “Merry-Making” with Jonathan Jordan as a man with too many beautiful women to choose from. The audience were laughing and clapping as he puzzled over each of the three lovely ladies.
Perhaps the reason I like Wheeldon so much is the musicality of his choreography. His dances sing to me in a way I find difficult to explain. When I had the opportunity to see him in rehearsal a year ago, I was deeply impressed by his attention to the small, expressive details of the dance. The movement of a shoulder, the angle of a hand, the connection of movements were of as great importance as the actual steps of the dance itself.
The music for this suite of dances was superbly performed live by Pianist Margarita Gramaticova, Soprano Dorothy Kingston and Mezzo Soprano Shelley Waite. The costumes, designed by Holly Hynes, courtesy of the Royal Ballet, were very romantic soft greens and purples.

Rite of Spring The Engagement, Choreography by Trey McIntyre, Music by Igor Stravinsky.

Perhaps with time the choreography of this dance will become more cohesive and more fleshed out. But for the world premiere I found the choreography to be less than impressive. In too many scenes there was too much running back and forth, no solos or pdd that were developed, lots of emoting, but very little real dance. The story has it all, sex, drama and murder, but unfortunately the story is told in a blunt and unsubtle way.
There were some stagecraft devices that had an impressive visual impact: Opening to the ballroom scene, and the reddish silhouettes of the orgy scene. But even the silhouettes were used too much by the end of the dance. It was unfortunate that Trey McIntyre’s work followed Christopher Wheeldon’s. The comparison was dramatic and less than favorable for Mr. McIntyre.

That said, the dancers did an excellent job with the material they had. Laura Urgelles, who was substituting for Michele Jimenez, danced The Hostess, a young virgin on the eve of her engagement. The dance opens with her before a mirror, she is obviously upset and her Assistant, danced by Brianne Bland, consoles her. She is dressed for the ball in a brilliant blood-red gown, the black curtains part just a bit to reveal a manic ballroom scene. In bright, white light the hard, cruel looking men and women swirl around in a most menacing way. The Hostess almost loses her nerve until her Mother, danced with conviction by Erin Mahoney, drags her into the fray. Enter the Fiancée, danced by Jonathan Jordan, a vicious young buck dressed in a shining silvery suit. The Hostess is obviously repelled by her suitor, and the Mother is just as obviously attracted to him. The Hostess escapes the ball for a few moments with her Assistant, where they rest together and end with a kiss. The Mother observes the kiss between the two women and a nasty confrontation ensues. There is an orgy scene with the men appearing naked (dressed just in their flesh colored dance belts). Eventually the Mother comes in with the Fiancée, who is naked except for gray cloak, and after having her way with him, she sends him to her daughter. The Fiancée appears to rape the Hostess. The Hostess in pain and anguish murders her Mother.

The dancers of note were Laura Urgelles as the anguished Hostess. Brianne Bland as The Assistant, she was sweet and caring, and probably had the best solo in the choreography. Erin Mahoney did a wonderful job of acting The Mother, a horrendous woman who set her daughter up to be raped. And Jonathan Jordan as The Fiancée, is another young dancer who has been with the Washington Ballet for a few years now, and is developing by leaps and bounds.

The wonderful music by Stravinsky, which caused a riot in 1913, was recorded.

<small>[ 27 February 2005, 09:11 AM: Message edited by: corrival ]</small>


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 1:52 pm 
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Press reviews of Washington Ballet's production of Septime Webre's "Romeo and Juliet."

Jean Battey-Lewis in the Washington Times:

http://washingtontimes.com/entertainmen ... -8906r.htm

Sarah Kauffman in the Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/ar ... Apr15.html


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:54 pm 
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The Washington Times' Ann Geracimos and Kevin Chaffee review the proceedings at the Washington Ballet Gala at the Eisenhower Theatre at Kennedy Center on Tuesday, April 12:

http://washingtontimes.com/entertainmen ... -6180r.htm


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:30 am 
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Ballet's Italy Tour Canceled Over Dancers' Meal Ticket
By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 13, 2005; Page C01

Quote:
The Washington Ballet, embroiled in a bitter union dispute, has canceled its first foreign trip in five years because it couldn't reach an agreement with its dancers over meal money.

The nine-day tour of Italy, planned for July, was intended as the grand finale to an unusually successful season. The Washington Ballet premiered its first new "Nutcracker" production in more than 40 years, as well as its first work by acclaimed contemporary choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 1:09 pm 
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Please continue discussion of the AGMA v. Washington Ballet situation in our Managing Dance forum:

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15369


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 8:16 am 
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Washington Ballet's Italian Faux Pas De Deux
By Daniel Williams and Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, May 3, 2005; Page C01

Quote:
FLORENCE, Italy -- The Italians have a phrase for the Washington Ballet's cancellation of its summer tour to Italy: "Brutta figura." Or just "Figuraccia." Both mean doing something shameful, tacky, cutting a sorry figure, as in "Il Washington Ballet ha fatto una figuraccia."

It was not only the company's abrupt cancellation of its July performances at three Italian dance festivals that hurt. It was also the timing and the style, especially in a country and in an art where form matters. And even U.S. diplomats say that, given the political climate, the sudden withdrawal of a Washington institution from a European event can have implications beyond the dance world.

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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2005 10:00 am 
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I'm taking my mother to this on Mother's Day, sounds like it will be fun

'7x7: Unplugged': Short & to the Pointe

By Sarah Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 6, 2005; Page C04

Quote:
A lot can happen in seven minutes. Or very little can happen. But always, something happens, and that is the appeal of the Washington Ballet's program of miniature premieres, "7x7: Unplugged." Seven works, each by a different choreographer and each roughly seven minutes long, add up to art for the short attention span.

The program draws on the premise of the "MTV Unplugged" series of acoustic rock, which is to pare a performance down to its most raw and unprocessed elements. So sets and costumes are minimal, skin and muscle are maximal, and the effect is singularly physical. All in all, it's an impressive show.

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