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 Post subject: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2001 8:30 am 
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This post acts as a starter for Programme 3. Below is an extract from one of our preview articles:<P> Image <BR><small>Julia Adam's "Night", Photo by Marty Sohl</small><P><B>Programme 3</B> opens with 'Night', another home-grown product, this time from SFB Principal Julia Adam, who has won much respect for her choreography as well as her dancing. The season brochure describes 'Night' as '...a contemporary odyssey into the dream world.'<P>Next comes <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000655.html" TARGET=_blank><B>'Prism'</B></A> by Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson, which was first performed to critical plaudits by New York City Ballet. I note that Tomasson has modestly included only one of his works in the season.<P>Finally, London gets a second chance to see the delicious <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000131.html" TARGET=_blank><B>'Sandpaper Ballet'</B></A> by Mark Morris - Yummie!


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2001 1:12 am 
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It's the same programm than in Paris, he was absolutely wonderful against the cast is different except for the last performance in Prism. <BR>We don't have the luck to see Julie Diana in first movement and Gonzalo Garcia in third. I have preferred to see him in this last one than Boada who was really deceiving.<BR>Tina LeBlanc in Night is asbolutely delicious, and it's in this piece I discovered the new principal Damian Smith.<BR>Sandpaper ballet please to me really much, but some dancers disappeared as Ikolo Griffin but it's normal if he goes to Harlem Dance Theater.<P>

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2001 4:48 pm 
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Though I'm not in a position to go, I've just read the initial responses to San Francisco Ballet's London appearance and I felt a sort of "me, too" compulsion to post some of my "notes" (from prior viewings in prior seasons in San Francisco) about Mark Morris' "Sandpaper Ballet" as a sort of preview for those who haven't seen it before.<P>“Sandpaper Ballet”: choreography Mark Morris; music Leroy Anderson; costumes Isaac Mizrahi; Lighting James F. Ingalls; premiered San Francisco 4/27/99.<P>Renee Renouf writing for ballet.co.uk suggested that “Sandpaper Ballet” confirmed Morris’ choreographic genius for ballet. I can only suppose that she meant genius for ballet versus that for modern dance (of which answer, the monumental “l’allegro, il penseroso, ed il moderato” suffices). Surveying past reviews it seems that it is something of a lightweight—“cheeky,” “delightful,” “great fun,” etc – in other words not quite worth serious thought; or, paraphrasing literary critic, Terry Eagleton, on serious academic pursuits, if a work of dance (or literature) is going to be taken seriously it would first be necessary to make, “the whole affair rather more intimidating and dispiriting.” As Eagleton does, I would like to suggest otherwise: “Sandpaper Ballet” is as worth discussing in detail as any other ballet that ends in madness and suicide.<P>Consider, for example, the ballet’s beginning. The lights dim and the orchestra begins. After a few seconds, we recognize the familiar tune, “Sleigh Ride.” But, this tune familiar from years of Christmas commercialism does not bring up the curtain. This song functions as the overture to full evening ballets and opera does—it gets everybody to sit down and shut up. This “sit down” function is why, I think, the overtures to “Giselle,” “Coppelia,” and “Sleeping Beauty” begin with such crescendos. But, the use of “Sleigh Ride,” a winter holiday tune in the middle of spring (premiered in April) also alerts the audience to expect the unexpected. Morris is saying that ordinary things will be used in extraordinary ways.<P>His plan is immediately implemented as the curtain rises to reveal the ensemble in Mizrahi’s fanciful white and green costumes. These are white unitards but with a green band across torso, trunks, skirts, and arms like a green swath. The green arms in particular look like long evening gloves but salamander green in color. The ensemble is dressed identically—no hierarchy of principals, soloists, and corps--the emphasis will be on choreographic invention rather than on individual performance (though there will be plenty of opportunity for that). The extreme bodily legibility reminds me of Suzanne Gallo’s best designs for Merce Cunningham’s company.<P>“The Typewriter,” the first dance introduces three important ideas. The ensemble are assembled in neat rows and columns and as the music plays they move from position to position along an imaginary keyboard. With the “carriage return,” a dancer must rush from the back row to an empty spot at the front like the carriage returning to the beginning of the line, or like getting to the last seat in musical chairs. Morris is pointing out the pleasure of movement games. But, these games don’t necessarily rely upon the dans d’ Ecole. This is a post-Judson Church lesson—non-dance movement--walking, turning, running, and standing are also legitimate. However, play and games aren’t as simple as that. During the second melody, the dancers step broadly, warily, watching each other as if ready to pounce, reminding us that ballet often shows an element of rivalry with characters watching each other waiting their turn to dance centerstage—precedents-- “On the Town,” or even “Giselle” peasants pdd, or “Swan Lake” Act I pdt.<P>Though the faultiness of my memory prevents a more indepth look at more of the ballet, I would like to point out that repeatedly, the ballet emphasizes traditional themes and makes contemporary allusions. For example in the third section, “Trumpeters Lullaby,” returns to the more traditional theme of romance and fantasy. A boy dances alone across the stage with superb brisé voles. He is looking for something or someone. He finds nobody. But, when he holds his hands before his eyes, a small ensemble brings onstage a girl held aloft. When the trumpet melody returns, she dances his introductory variation across the stage. The piece ends in companionship. Tina Leblanc danced this on the original cast and I always thought her wonderful in this section. “Balladette” is another take on the romance theme and was what I always imagined represented the residue of the ballet blanc in this work. This is an adagio pdd for a wide eyed girl and boy. He carries her in slow circles. They sit, legs entwined on the stage. It is a romantic’s idea of young love: pure and chaste and perhaps innocent in a sticky sweet way. I always liked Julie Diana in this part. 20th century dance put paid to that sort of romantic feeling, but it’s nice to visit it once in a while.<P>No doubt fresh insights will come from more viewing (a big *hint* to London readers). Here are a few more: The contrast between the all girls’ “Jazz Pizzicato” and the rivaling boys’ “Jazz Legato” again highlights rivalry as a general ballet theme. Think a little along the lines “Agon” or of the rival gangs in “West Side Story.” Tina Leblanc again was a standout as was David Palmer (alas, now dancing for his own company in Miami)—pure attitude and insouciance. In “Fiddle Faddle” there are allusions to Balanchine’s “Rubies” though the music is definitely not Stravinsky—think of the business and vivre of “Rubies” but redone for a cast of ducks and geese (to steal a phrase from Pauline Kael)—more neo-Looney Tunes than neo-classical. A girl (Megan Low) skips in and out of the wings setting up and defeating expectations that she is about to do something flashy—drawing attention to the ease with which ballet audiences are manipulated.<P>Leslie Young was wonderful as “The Girl in Satin” doing a slinky little dance that is a little ballroom and a little ay carumba. When the dance is over and she must return to her place in the ensemble, Leslie is pure attitude while the other girls look at her as if saying, “what’s her deal.” It’s the sort of thing you can imagine Moyna and Zulma saying to each other as Giselle wilts Myrtha’s rosemary. Could this be a humorous allusion to the final moments of the “Andante” movement of “Serenade” when the girl who walks in late finds her place in the ensemble?<BR> <BR>Finally, the parade ground maneuvers alternating with Busby Berkeley-like shenanigans of the concluding “The Syncopated Clock” again alludes to the Judson Church choreographers’ inquiry into the definition of dance—is it enough to have interesting movement patterns (like the band at a football half time show) or is dance something more? Is it out of place to observe that in the Busy Berkeley quotations of “Syncopated Clock,” the men spanking each other is performed in manner guaranteed to bring a smile to even the most tortured face.<P>Well, those are all my “notes” on one of my favorite works by San Francisco Ballet. I notice that the casts aren’t quite the same as I have seen, but with a company with such high caliber principals, soloists, and corps, I have no doubt that new revelations will continue to be seen in London.<P>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited August 13, 2001).]<P>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited August 13, 2001).]<p>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited August 15, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2001 9:14 pm 
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Rather than a '"me, too" compulsion', I see it as doing us all a favour. Many thanks Jeff. I saw 'Sandpaper Ballet' 2 years ago and look forward to a second viewing on Thursday. There is of course the Saturday matinee....


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 1:40 am 
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<I>“Sarabande” is another take on the romance theme and was what I always imagined represented the residue of the ballet blanc in this work. This is an adagio pdd for a wide eyed girl and boy".</I> <P>It's not sarabande but Balladette which is used for this pdd and Julie Diana and Damian smith were absolutely wonderful when I saw them in Paris.<P>You describe so well the ballet, Jeff, I would like see it again so I loved it.<P>16 aout 2001 :<P>Jeff make the correction about Balladette. But now he forget Sarabande Image Image which is just before Balladette, It's a piece for corps de ballet who must introduce the magnificent pdd Balladette. Perhaps Jeff will describe it better than me.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Cathy (edited August 16, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 3:38 pm 
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Oops! Of course you’re right, Cathy. My memory’s going to pieces-- next thing I'll be one of those people you see on the news with the police asking if anybody knows who they are and can they come and get him.<P>I’ll go and change it right now…. (FYI just had a post-modern moment where it is possible to go back and re-write the past… now your post will seem a little strange… sorry!) <P>Why we’re on the topic, why don’t you post your thoughts about “Sandpaper Ballet”?<P>I tried to assemble the suite of songs to help me remember the ballet better. Ballet and dance in general are the most evanescent of the performing arts because unlike perusing a copy of a play or the score of a symphony at our convenience, the music and our memory’s all we have after the ballet is over. I got these two audio CDs from Amazon’s site and all the songs of “Sandpaper Ballet” are on them taken together:<P>“The Typewriter: Leroy Anderson Favorites” Leonard Slatkin, cond. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. RCA Victor Red Seal.09026-68048-2<P>“Frederick Fennell conducts the Music of Leroy Anderson” Frederick Fennell, cond. Mercury Living Presence. 432 013-2<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Jeff (edited August 15, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2001 3:52 pm 
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"Sandpaper Ballet" will definitely be a hit again but I think "Night" will go down very well too in London. "Prism" has its moments, especially the virtuosic stuff from Kristin Long and Gonzalo Garcia, assuming they're both dancing.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 2:28 am 
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I put my comment when SFB came in Paris. I really enjoy Sandpaper ballet, and I was really sad to sse it just three times so rich is the ballet. I adore the Jazz legato for all the girls corps. And in Girl in Satin, Lorena Feijoo, Julia Adam and Muriel Maffre were so glamourous and so cute. I love also in Fiddle faddle, the Rubies evocation. It was Maffre, Stowell, Nedviguine and Smith who were the three men.<BR>Possokhov is really impressing in the leader role, he owns so strenght.<P>At this link you could see what I till write about this programm when I saw it in France. <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000852.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum4/HTML/000852.html</A> <P>I believe SFB is really one the most impressive troup of the world with POB. Able to all dance classical, neo-classical or modern pieces with so many talents.<P>You have also a double cd called <BR>"The Leroy Anderson collection" (MCA classics - ref MCAD2-9815-B) conducted by Leroy Anderson himself where you find all Sandpaper ballet music pieces. <P>On the Fennel Album you don't have Trumpeters'lullaby and balladette against you have all the other tittles. <BR>I adore Leroy Anderson music so typically american. I have the feeling to heard or to see Toon's music. You have on the Fennel CD, the famous Chicken hill.<p>[This message has been edited by Cathy (edited August 16, 2001).]

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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 3:00 am 
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In her terrific Day 3 Diary Emma Pegler describes the rehearsal of 'Sandpaper Ballet' and the fun that the performers had. <BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/sfb/sfblondon2001day3.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/sfb/sfblondon2001day3.html</A> <P>It's on again tonight and I'm sure that I'll have a lot of fun as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 1:32 pm 
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<B>Flash review - Programme 3 Thursday 16th August</B><P>Another evening which showed the Company on great form. Proceedings delayed slightly by an evacuation of the building at the second interval. See <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000016.html" TARGET=_blank><B>Alarums and Excursions</B></A>.<P>'Prism' by Helgi Tomasson. A neo-classical work to Beethoven and the most enjoyable of the three Tomasson ballets I saw this week. Lucia lacarra and her fiancee Cyril Pierre made the most of the romantic cemtral pas de deux with Lacarre's loving and assured interpretation with her favourite partner gaining much appreciative applause. Fully matched though by the reception for Gonzalo Garcia who danced with enjoyment, musicality, beautiful line and power in equal measure.<P>'Night' by Julia Adam. A series of dream scenes with Tina LeBlanc impressing the dancers I was with. The dreamy opening flying sequence was enthralling, but it was not until the zippy final sections that my interest was fully caught again. I'll see Yuri Possokhov's 'Magrittomania' again to-morrow and I think that that's going to be my favourite of the two recent works by Company dancers on show here.<P>'Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers' by Helgi Tomasson. A charming showcase for Joanna Berman and Possokhov with variations of pace and much fancy footwork executedwith aplomb by both performers.<P>'Sandpaper Ballet'by Mark Morris. The hit of the evening. Their relationship with the post-modern maestro is paying big dividends for SFB. If after seeing this you can't believe that the world is not such a bad place, then you really are a lost cause. Apart from all the fun with geometry and people being out of place, Morris makes this light music by Leroy Anderson sound great when normally we wouldn't give it a second thought. The post-coital section for Julie Diana and Possokhov was delicious, as was Lorena Feijoo's Spanish flavour dance and Guennadi Nedviguine's dancing throughout. The audience loved it.<P>Another evening of great dance from SFB. Their return tickets have been seized and they'll be staying here, now. Sorry to our American friends, but the Special Relationship can only go so far! <P> <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 16, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 3:23 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Their return tickets have been seized and they'll be staying here, now. Sorry to our American friends, but the Special Relationship can only go so far!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Hey! No fair! That's the danger of sending our home company abroad. People like them so much that they want to keep them.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 3:39 pm 
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Ballet broke my heart about 10 years ago. Of course there were times when I missed Ballet dreadfully, but I never went back. As fate would have it I found myself a decade later, going to see Ballet again for the first time, at the same theatre we last said goodbye. <P>San Francisco Ballet is probably the best company to go and see if you're a recovering Ballet addict.<P>'Prism' was athletic and sprightly, showcasing SFB's talent. Kristin Long had the ability to completely fill the Royal Opera House with her lively spirit and I found myself enjoying the piece vicariously through her dancing of it. Fantastically partnered with Zachary Hench and Vadim Solomakha, the pas de trois were a great.<P>Lucia Lacarra's pas de deux in the 2nd movement showed off her absolutely gorgeous lines however, it was a lacklustre performance, but she did came back in the petit allegro bits of the choreography - as it was amazing to watch Lacarra's long and sinewy frame move so quickly with such ease and grace.<P>Finally, the corps de ballet were magnificent. What I love most about SFB is how each dancer is an individual, yet they move in perfect unison and dance so well together. Ironically, I found 'Prism' difficult to watch because the movement is so stripped down of individual expression - the work would better suit a company with more conformity about it. <P>The second piece choreographed by former New York City Ballet dancer Helgi Tomasson was 'Chaconne for Piano and Two Dancers'. A lovely display of Joanna Berman and Yuri Possokhov's abilities, and a real electricity in thier duet considering there was little or no touching until the end. Possokhov is perhaps one of SFB's greatest assets. The man can DANCE. In fact, all the men at SFB are strong, graceful and wickedly impressive danseurs. <P>Julia Adam's 'Night' was a welcome contrast to Tomasson's work, with its strong narrative and relatively elaborate design elements. Here, Tina LeBlanc, the focus of the piece, takes us through her nocturnal world. She is an incredibly deft dancer with great presence - she is a stick of dynamite on stage. The choreography seemed langourous in parts, not for long, though as there were instances of quick darting, explosive movements and humourous quirky moments. <P>Finally, 'Sandpaper Ballet' by Mark Morris. The treat, the after dinner mint, the delicious pudding if you will. How can you go wrong - Mark Morris, Isacc Mizrahi, Leroy Anderson, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and SFB all in the same room - amazing. <P>The well-known 'Sleigh Ride' tune got everyone in the mood for what was to come(most needed especially after the evacuation of the ROH at the interval due to a fire alarm backstage). Anderson's score is a medley of 1950s quintessential all-American show tunes. Mizrahi's bright green and white costumes (a bit like The Riddler in Batman, the classic 60s TV series), is set against the usually red or orange backdrop and instantly brought to mind an image of Mark Rothko's painting '212'(1966). I don't think this is by accident, because Morris brings it all to life with a certain magic. Through all these devices, he conjures up the nostalgia of apple pie, milkshakes and long drives down endless stretches of highways in a blue and white '65 T-bird. <P>The magic is in the flawless choreography (Jeff you describe it brilliantly!) and the execution of the simple, clean lines, the rythmic variations and the tongue in cheek humour by one of the finest ballet companies around.<P>I think I like Ballet again. <BR><P>------------------<BR><chris/>


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2001 4:20 pm 
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Wow, Christine. I was moved reading your impressions. I have to admit that SFB has been the source of inspiration of many things in my life as well.<P>I grew up attending arts performances all over the world. But finding ballet and dance somewhat dull, I favored orchestral music, opera and theater. After settling in SF and enjoying several seasons of SFB, my life changed so completely that I am now hooked on ballet.<P>But it's not just ballet. Because SFB has such a varied repertory with commissioned works from modern dance choreographers, my eyes were also opened to other dance forms.<P>So, I owe SFB a lot. And, by association then, so does Critical-Dance!<P>SFB is indeed an exciting company: a high-quality company with verve, vitality and a greatly varied rep.


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2001 1:19 pm 
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Flash report from the last night of SFB in London<P>How does the saying go 'all good things must come to an end'? Anyway after a very exicting week we saw SFB's last performance on the ROH stage. Unfortunately the House was not sold out what really should have been the case considering the beautiful dancing to which we were treated.<P>"Night" was a huge hit and Tina LeBlanc's haunting performance brought the house down.<BR>Everybody just seemed to love the "Sandpaper Ballet". The audience just went wild.<BR>In the end the dancers on stage were joint by<BR>Helgi Tomasson and the other members of the company except for Yuan Yuan Tan who had come into the stalls to watch the performance of Morris's work much to the delight of autograph hunters. She had once again been very popular with her performance in the Pas de Deux in Prism.<P>The whole company was treated to their well deserved ovation which also expressed the appreciation for the Royal Ballet Sinfonia who played superbly at every performance I attended (6 out of 7).<p>[This message has been edited by OdileGB (edited August 19, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Programme 3 - 'Night', 'Prism', 'Sandpaper Ballet'
PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2001 2:21 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>.....at every performance I attended (6 out of 7).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Slacking again I see, OdileGB!


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