public forum
home forum magazine gallery links about faq courtesy
It is currently Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:33 pm

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 98 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Author Message
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Dec 12, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 3663
Location: The Bronx is up; the Battery's down
Is she a good teacher?

The three biggest myths in ballet are:
  1. All dancers can teach.
  2. All dancers can choreograph.
  3. All choreographers can be artistic directors.

_________________
Jeffrey E. Salzberg,
Dance Lighting Design
http://www.jeffsalzberg.com


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 8612
Location: El Granada, CA, USA
She's a great teacher. I've seen her teach. She really connects with the students, they respect her, she respects them, and she is able to get her concepts across clearly. Those are all essential qualities in a top class ballet teacher, IMHO.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
I second LMCtech. And any school would be lucky to have Tina on board.

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1756
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
As this is part of the 2008-2009 season, I'm posting my review of the Jan. 21 Gala Performance here. Nearly five years living in St. Petersburg and seeing the Mariinsky dancers on a weekly basis has given me a new standard of classical technique and it is with that in mind that I review companies... So lest this sounds harsh, I'm simply applying the same standards here.

++

SFB Opening Night Gala “Russian Treasures”
War Memorial Opera House
San Francisco, CA
21 January 2008

By Catherine Pawlick

As tuxedos and evening gowns, diamonds and furs filtered into the War Memorial Opera House on Wednesday night, it was clear this wasn’t just any night at the ballet. On the heels of last year’s milestone celebration, the gala performance that introduced San Francisco Ballet’s 76th season this week began as the who’s who of San Francisco came dressed in their best to watch not only the ballet, but the other guests of the evening. Of more interest, however, was the program given the theme of “Russian Treasures” that oddly bore no noticeable relationship to the program and offered mixed caliber dancing.

Heralded as “one of the preeminent ballet companies in the world,” SFB’s status on the world stage must be questioned on gala evenings such as these. While the company espouses and enhances contemporary choreography better than many, it is nonetheless not a purely classical company of the traditional, old-world European sort. When one thinks of “Swan Lake”, the Kirov, Bolshoi, Paris Opera or Royal Ballet come to mind first, companies where the dancers have the same training and provide consistent approaches to the classical repertoire. A brief look at SFB’s roster provides further explanation: of those who danced on Wednesday night, Russian-born Maria Kochetkova, Cuban-born Taras Domitro and Lorena Feijoo, and Chinese talent Yuan Yuan Tan (trained in Shanghai and Stuttgart) provide the technical prowess needed to execute classical choreography on the program with refinement and accuracy. It is those trained in the European traditions who provide the backbone of this company, treating local viewers to international standards of dancing that are often otherwise absent from the stage. Without them many of the classical works in the repertoire would be left to gather dust. This evening, others offered adequate renditions of their respective pieces, but only those four had the requisite panache and fanfare that should mark an expensive gala event.

In addition to its foreign-trained imports, however, SFB’s strength lies in innovation and novelty rather than classical warhorses or reproductions thereof. With the gala's mixed bill full of short pas de deux and excerpts, there were a few promising moments.

Unfortunately the evening opener, Balanchine’s “Tarantella”, lacked the snap and precision that should accompany the piece. Frances Chung can clearly churn out the pirouettes and managed to emit an energetic aura, but for someone of her stature, closer attention to technique and utterly polished delivery would be expected in any European theatre. Her partner, Daniel Deivison, was an odd choice for a role that requires clean lines and pristine footwork. His role should be a show-stopper of magnetic exuberance; instead his footwork seemed ill-rehearsed. Dramatically, the couple invigorated. Choreographically, they disappointed.

One step higher was Katita Waldo in Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia”, her long limbs and perfectly sculpted feet providing visual relief. With Ivan Popov to partner her, Waldo’s lean physique mesmerized as Popov moved her through a slow series of poses, turned her en pointe like a man molding wet clay, and balanced her on his own limbs while prone on the floor. Gyorgi Ligeti’s music didn’t necessarily match the movement or the mood, but the imagery intrigued, and the minimalist purple leotards were a needed respite from the distraction of the first piece.

Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux” must be danced first with grace, and then with fire. Tina LeBlanc had one but not the other, accompanied by Isaac Hernandez, a new Mexican recruit who was nearly half her age. Here was an example of a polished ballerina who seemed tired, accompanied by a young man with raw talent who needs to hone his skills. Despite her loose port de bras, and his crisp double cabriole, the couple’s technical levels and ages seemed mismatched. Age in dance matters less than talent, but here it distracted from the impressions meant to be left by the invigorating piece. Images of the Kirov Ballet’s Olesya Novikova, an expert in this role, came to mind.

Helgi Tomasson’s “Confidencias”, originally created for Evelyn Cisneros, was danced by Lorena Feijoo with Latin flair and intensity. If the step patterns were basic, Feijoo’s proud carriage and fire engine red dress merged with her own lyrical intensity to save the piece from cliché. Feijoo is a company treasure; a shame that she couldn’t showcase her talents in a more technically demanding piece.

Local favorite Yuan Yuan Tan danced the Second Act Pas de Deux from “Giselle” with the reliable Ivan Popov. Here, Tan displayed artistry as an elusive, waifish sylph defending her beloved even in death. The only minor snafu was the timing of the pair’s pleading to the wilis for mercy (in which the corps respond with an arm gesture of refusal) which was significantly late, musically. Nonetheless the couple offered a brief glimpse into classicism that could provide an elegant full-length evening.

Among contemporary contributions on the bill was a pleasing excerpt from Finnish-born Jorma Elo’s “Double Evil”, a ballet premiered here in April 2008. Named resident choreographer at Boston Ballet in 2005, Elo’s work embraces classical costumes (tutus and pointe shoes for the girls) with modern, almost Forsythean movement. The excerpt began with three men in tight blue jazz pants, spinning, bending and turning, in tandem and then together. Three ballerinas enter with electric split jetés, and then the two groups form couples that swivel and twist. Flat hands begin a circular movement that leads to a torso contraction; a ballerina wiggles her spine like a snake, her back to the audience; and men carry women through sweeping movements in various pairings. Clever, intriguing and innovative, “Double” is worth a double viewing.

After a brief intermission, the company’s latest glory opened the second half of the evening. Bolshoi-bred Maria Kochetkova joined Joan Boada in Yuri Possokhov’s “Raymonda Pas de Deux.” Based on the classical version by Petipa, this rendition carved new choreographic territory for the couple, giving fresh meaning to the words “classical ballet.” While not typically a classical choreographer, Possokhov’s efforts here are laudable. The pas de deux sections utilized the classical paradigm in new movement combinations that didn’t cross the line into modern or even contemporary movement. Kochetkova’s impeccable technique sets the ideal for every member of this company. Her performance was flawless and highlighted by the utterly controlled legato fouetté pirouettes moving downstage in her variation. Boada brings artistry and partnering skills to his work but appeared to be not quite in top form.

Having heard much about French-born Sofiane Sylve, more than a few audience members were curious to see her debut in Forsythe’s electric “In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated”. Sylve provided a monotone, nearly unmusical interpretation of this impressive piece. Forsythe’s choreography may seem complex, but it is highly musical, and the movements in “Middle” must be accurately timed to provide full shock effect . With Pierre-Francois Vilanoba accompanying her, one wondered what went wrong. Hopefully simply more rehearsal time is needed.

Vanessa Zahorian, a technician and former favorite of this reviewer, danced adequately if a bit stiffly in the grand pas de deux from “Le Corsaire”, her sharpness dulled with the passing years, her retire passé in the fouettes lowered to mid-calf level halfway through the sequence. Her partner Taras Domitro stole the show however, with high-flying split jetés and multiple (if slow) pirouettes that awakened great enthusiasm in the audience.

Perhaps due to the previous day’s Inauguration festivities in Washington, the final ballet, “Stars and Stripes”, ended the evening on a patriotic note of invigorated faith. If there were a few missteps, the overall impression was nonetheless one of harmony, the dancers working together to present a unified impression of style, creativity and prestige in honor of our country. In that, San Francisco Ballet achieved what it set out to do.


Last edited by Catherine Pawlick on Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:02 pm
Posts: 1501
Location: USA-Switzerland
Catherine, thanks for your very interesting and extensive review.

I definitely agree with you about the excellent performing of Maria Kochetkova. Several months ago I saw her dance the final duet of Christopher Wheeldon's "Within The Golden Hour" and I thought that she was 'Spellbinding' !


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 5:57 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1756
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
She is a star at a very young age. I agree with the word "spellbinding"!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:35 am 
Offline

Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 5:02 pm
Posts: 1501
Location: USA-Switzerland
Hi, Catherine. There is a nice article about Maria Kochetkova in last month's issue of "Dance Magazine."

http://www.dancemagazine.com/issues/Dec ... all-Wonder


It says that she joined the San Francisco ballet in the summer of 2007 after spending about a year with the English National Ballet. She sent Helgi Tomasson (SFB artistic director) a DVD of her dancing with the encouragement of Christopher Wheeldon, who saw her when she was a last year student at the Moscow Ballet School ("the affiliated academy of the Bolshoi Ballet").

The article also says....

"....since Kochetkova arrived at SFB in the summer of 2007 she has learned quickly, and garnered attention nearly as fast. No new ballerina in memory has left such a deep impression on the company’s audiences in such a short time."

"But it was the SFB New Works Festival and premieres by Yuri Possokhov, Christopher Wheeldon, and Jorma Elo that thrust Kochetkova into the spotlight last season. Wheeldon’s romantic reverie on the duet form ["The Fifth Season"(?)] heralded a mistress of liquid phrasing....In every appearance, Kochetkova moved within an aura, eager and pliant....Some might call that aura style.

"....she will attempt her first Odette/Odile in [Tomasson's] new production of Swan Lake in February."


She also will dance in a new work by Possokhov (probably the "Raymonda Pas de Deux" that you just wrote about), a part in Forsythe’s "In The Middle Somewhat Elevated," Balanchine’s "Emeralds," and maybe his "Stravinsky Violin Concerto."


[PS--Catherine, the "Swan Lake" performance in February looks like a particularly good one to see. Since you are in that part of the world, if possible, you might like to get up to Seattle and take a look at Louise Nadeau, since she is retiring at the end of the year.]

[several typo corrections made]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2009 2:50 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12523
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
In the San Francisco Examiner, Janos Gereben interviews SFB Principal Dancer Yuan Yuan Tan and provides an overview of the 2009 season:

SF Examiner


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:01 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
The program for Tina LeBlanc's farewell has been posted with principal casting (always subject to change, of course).


Quote:
Tina LeBlanc's Farewell Performance
On Saturday, May 9, at 8pm, Principal Dancer Tina LeBlanc will take the stage for her final performance with the Company in a special program, highlighting her extraordinary artistry in some of her signature roles.

Programming

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine

TINA LeBLANC and GONZALO GARCIA*


"My Funny Valentine" (from ...smile with my heart)
Composer: Marvin Laird after Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
Choreographer: Lar Lubovitch

TINA LeBLANC and GRIFF BRAUN**


INTERMISSION

Pas de deux from Sonata
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov
Choreographer: Helgi Tomasson

TINA LeBLANC and RUBEN MARTIN


Pas de deux and finale from Theme & Variations
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreographer: George Balanchine

TINA LeBLANC and DAVIT KARAPETYAN
with Artists of the Company



* Guest artist - appears courtesy of New York City Ballet - Peter Martins, Ballet Master In Chief

** Guest artist

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 1:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
I'm looking forward to it!


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:13 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12523
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Rachel Howard reviews Program 8 in the San Francisco Chronicle:

SF Chronicle


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 12523
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Ballet Master Ricardo Bustamante reflects on Balanchine style in his blog:

SF Chronicle Blog


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:52 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 17498
Location: SF Bay Area
It was a list of who's who in the audience for Tina LeBlanc's farewell performance, including ballet luminaries from out of state.

They must have been pleased as the program -- both through LeBlanc's dancing and film clips -- was a showcase underlining this much-loved ballerina strength and technique along with her ability to inspire her partners and connect with her audience.

The audience was also touched by the return of former SFB favorite Gonzalo Garcia to avail himself as a devoted partner in the "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux."


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 6:20 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
Saturday was a lovely and touching tribute to Tina, and I'll post about it, probably tomorrow (no computer over the weekend and we're moving back to our old apartment post-floor refinishing...).

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 3:18 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 350
Location: San Francisco
Tina LeBlanc's Farewell Performance
San Francisco Ballet
Saturday, May 9, 2009, 8PM

After 17 spectacular years with San Francisco Ballet, Tina LeBlanc marked her farewell with an emotional and technically stunning program last Saturday. LeBlanc has anchored this company with her effortless technique, and pure, truthful style, and the audience sent her off in regal fashion, tossing flourishing bouquets of lilacs and roses while rising to its feet in rousing applause. Ballet clips and reflective interviews with other dancers, colleagues, and LeBlanc herself were interspersed throughout the evening, and these added a warm, introspective look into LeBlanc’s long career. Maybe the ballet will put these special treats up on the website for all to see?

On a personal note, I met LeBlanc a little under eight years ago. Fresh out of college, I got my first real job and at San Francisco Ballet not less. The summer before I had interned with Boston Ballet’s press office, but then most of the dancers were on summer break. I rarely interacted with the dancers in Boston, but at SF Ballet, they were everywhere: approving photos, giving interviews, taking class, talking on their cell phones, doing their hair in the elevator, and trying on pointe shoes. Just 21, I was understandably nervous about interacting with the pros, but on one of my first days, LeBlanc came by my workspace, radiating a tender friendliness, and introduced herself. If I could have, I would have hugged her right then and there… The next two years at the ballet moved at high speed, but LeBlanc’s genuine smile and down to earthness continued to stick in my mind as one great constant, both on stage and in person.

Saturday’s performance was no different. She danced effortlessly in George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.” Partnered by Gonzalo Garcia, one of her many great, former partners (who is currently dancing with New York City Ballet), LeBlanc stunningly floated through quick hops into attitude and swift pirouettes, all while looking like she was skipping across a meadow instead of powering through extremely technical choreography. As a contrast, her duet with Griff Braun (on loan from the Lar Lubovitch Company) in the “My Funny Valentine” excerpt from “…smile with my heart,” showed that even without pointe shoes, she’s still a force to be reckoned with. As she curled herself around Braun, she slowly drew a heart around his chest, but later brought out angst, passion, and admiration without being overdramatic or satirical as she and Braun delved through the poignant and musical choreography, accompanied by the stirring notes of David Kadarauch on the cello and Michael McGraw’s piano. The adagio from Helgi Tomasson’s “Sonata” proved women can wear white unitards at any age. Or at least if you’re Tina LeBlanc. Tomasson created “Sonata” after the death of a female friend, but as LeBlanc waved her arms towards a reaching Ruben Martin as she boureed off the stage, it felt more like transformation and evolution, not any defined-in-stone ending. Fittingly, the pas de deux and finale from Balanchine’s “Theme & Variations” provided a large corps de ballet processional and tribute to LeBlanc, which is the least that anyone could ask for. Partnered by Davit Karapetyan, LeBlanc danced through the final steps with tears in her eyes, officially saying goodbye to the stage and hello to the next chapter of her illustrious career.

The evening, though, wouldn’t be compete without numerous bows, a sincere smile, and an onstage tribute including former partners, more recent company members, colleagues, and family. While sad, the plentiful standing ovations proved that LeBlanc has touched many dancegoers, young and old. Here’s to her as she continues her journey both personally and professionally.

_________________
So two dancers walked into a barre...


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 98 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next

All times are UTC - 7 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
The messages in this forum are posted by members of the general public and do not reflect the opinions or beliefs of CriticalDance or its staff.
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group