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Royal Ballet at the Kennedy Center
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Royal Ballet at the Kennedy Center

The Royal Ballet makes its first appearance in three years at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Sarah Kaufman reviews the Tuesday, June 23, 2009 performance in The Washington Post:

Washington Post

Jean Battey Lewis in The Washington Times:

Washington Times

Alastair Macaulay in the New York Times:

NY Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 1:36 pm ]
Post subject: 

Sarah Kaufman reviews the evening length production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's "Manon" on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at the Kennedy Center for the Washington Post:

Washington Post

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:17 pm ]
Post subject: 

Jane Vranish reviews both the mixed bill and "Manon" in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Post-Gazette

Author:  Andre Yew [ Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

I was lucky enough to see the mixed bill almost 3 times --- the open rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon (for only $10!!) was a dress rehearsal, and it looked like the dancers only marked things in DGV.

Though I liked Chroma (as well as Infra and Eden/Eden) a lot, it faded a bit over 3 consecutive viewings. What makes it interesting for me is not only its facility-on-sleeve kind of choreography, showing off the extreme facility of the dancers, but the different kind of energy and movement quality it asks from the dancers. As a piece of choreography, it may not last the ages, but it works very well as an exciting essay on movement. As such, I thought the contrast to the much subtler, softer Ashton that followed it (after an interminable 25-minute intermission) was very interesting, and only served to highlight Ashton's particular brand of classical port de bras. The contrast between the abstraction of Chroma, and the clear story and drama of Month was also very interesting. DGV for me was kind of synthesis of the two: it has clearly more classical port de bras, though Wheeldon does distort classical lines everywhere, has a more classical use of the corps, and it calls for the kind of extreme facility shown in Chroma. At the same time, DGV's rhythms and pacing was more varied and subtle than Chroma, which seemed to run with the knob stuck at 11. I thought the program was a great way to introduce the company to the public.

Things I liked: Edward Watson and Leanne Benjamin in DGV, and Edward in Chroma. They had perhaps the most idiomatic movement quality for those two pieces: sharp, discontinuous, and a little disturbing. Eric Underwood was similarly nice in Chroma (but not so much in DGV). Marianella was also very nice in DGV (but admittedly, she's my favorite RB dancer), but I would gladly watch Watson and Benjamin again. Sarah Lamb looked great for having just come back from injury not too long ago, and I would never have guessed that Chroma would fit her so well.

Rupert was a great surprise in Month, and I loved how Ashtonian his dancing style was --- the port de bras, the attack of his gestures all looked very right for Ashton: I loved his solo. Ivan Putrov the next night had a more anonymous, homogeneous execution. Alexandra won me over in a lovely, touching pas with Putrov, but her style did not fit in with the company at all. This was really apparent in her first solo with the fast footwork, when she was followed by the very idiomatic Iona Loots. Her attack was homogeneous, whereas Ashton has a way of emphasizing or punctuating the end of his phrases and steps, while going just as fast. A friend of mine was distracted by Alexandra's sickled foot at the beginning of the pas, but I was too distracted by other things to notice that. The audience received her very warmly, and it was really nice to see that.

Both Kolias were good, and handled the virtuosic part well, but I preferred Paul Kay for his greater ease, and his better-fitted wig!

I did not like the seams in the set of Chroma or the wrinkles in the colored rectangular backdrop --- it seemed to go against the minimalist design, and made it look cheap. The sets for Month were beautiful, DGV looked well executed except for a couple of minor lighting issues (they looked like fluorescent lamps flickering a bit as they initially lit up instead of coming on full strength).

After the Tuesday night performance, some friends and I went to the nearest 7-11 for some late-night food (the program was 3 hours long), and one of them caught someone humming the tune to DGV!

--Andre

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:45 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you for your comments on the Triple Bill, Andre. Did you attend "Manon" as well?

Author:  Andre Yew [ Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

Francis, I didn't stay for Manon. I have heard good things about some of the casts.

--Andre

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