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 Post subject: Eifman Ballet in America 2007
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:43 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
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Boris Eifman's 'The Seagull' brings inspired ballet solos and duets.
Lewis Segal, LA Times

Premiered in January and still reportedly subject to revision, Boris Eifman's "The Seagull" contains some of the Russian choreographer's most inspired solos and duets.

From the superbly twisty, stream-of-consciousness opening passage for Dmitri Fisher through its recapitulation into madness at the end, this two-act Chekhovian dance drama — given the first of four weekend performances with alternating casts Friday at the Orange County Performing Arts Center — confirms Eifman's knack for inventive, passionate transformations of the ballet vocabulary.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:47 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I saw the Sunday show at OCPAC, and found the show surprisingly palatable, given my previous very negative encounters with Eifman choreography. The dancers are amazing: beautiful ballet proportions, nice feet, great extensions, and they move with such commitment and energy! There were lots of great solos and duets as well, and Eifman's trademark use of ping-ponging between chunks of classical music was more seamless than it's ever been. Lots of interesting stage devices, including a box that deforms as the person trapped within it tries to escape, and the lighting was quite effective.

Ultimately, I'm not sure it added up to much, and there wasn't an emotional arc to follow --- lots of great moments, but I left the theater feeling unsatisfied.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:52 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
A review of Anna Karenina:

Quote:
Fresh look at the Eifman
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

A post-classicist, Eifman's direct lineage with the Soviet-era choreographers suddenly popped into focus (who knows why it took so long to realize that). The ballet was chockablock with sculptural stop-motion poses, and those were better appreciated from a distance. The ballet, with its gymnastic lifts, were, really, only one step removed from a warhorse like "Spartacus." The sheer power of the corps de ballet's horizontal and diagonal lines were naturally better appreciated from above – think Busby Berkeley or "Riverdance." Mass, unified movement has the force of a blunt object and Eifman is good at that.
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A review of the Seagull:

Quote:
'Seagull' doesn't soar
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

At the start and end of the Russian choreographer's brand new ballet, Treplev was curled inside a metal cube. This expandable set piece (cleverly designed by Zinovy Margolin) was the apt symbol in an otherwise jumbled two-act adaptation of Anton Chekhov's late 19th century masterpiece, presented Friday by the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
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--Andre


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:30 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Thank you for posting about these performances, Andre. There seems to be a great deal of ballet activity in SoCal just now, with LA Ballet and Joffrey added to the mix in a very short time span. I hope it pays off well for the companies and sponsors.


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 Post subject: Eifman Ballet in America 2007
PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 3:53 pm 
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Location: Southern California
With apprehension, I saw the Saturday evening performance of "The Sea Gull" at OCPAC. "With apprehension" because, despite the admirable prowess of Eifman's dancers, and his good ideas, considered individually, in the past I have found myself numbed by a nearly constant mood of Anguish in the pieces of his which have been presented over the years to OCPAC dance season subscribers. As he has, I understand, choreographed comic works as well, this may simply be a relic of scheduling happenstances; but I can't doubt that there are others who, like me, cringe when they look at the subscription season and see that, sigh, they once again have two hours of Anguish with Eifman awaiting them. That said, with this performance I found my great admiration for the abilities, discipline, and focus of his dancers renewed yet again. The sets and lighting in this production struck me as ingenious, even masterful at times. The hip-hop sequence which some reviewers seem to have been dubious about I found to be an excellent sequence which cannily gave the audience some relief from the dolefulness of the rest of the show. I suspect that Eifman anticipates that everyone in the audience will have some familiarity with the story in the original Chekov play from which this ballet is a transformation; unfortunately, such is not the case here, and I saw a great many bewildered faces in the audience. Afterwards, I found myself thinking of Marius Petipa. As we have Petipa's shows today, even in those cases in which those characters we love come to grief--indeed, even when everyone in the show comes to grief--Petipa varies the mood throughout and provides constant refreshment to the sensibilities of the audience member, which ends up giving more depth and poignancy to the doom of the principles in the story. With the inclusion of the hip-hop sequence in his Sea Gull, we see that Eifman, having mastered every other aspect of his presentations, will eventually master this aspect as well.

--Brent C. Dickerson


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:29 am 
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Boston Reviews

From Terry Byrne in the Boston Globe:
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Heightened emotions, breathtaking moves
Choreographer Boris Eifman takes the emotional frustration of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Seagull,” and amplifies it to a heart- rending intensity through choreography danced to the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff. The result is breathtakingly beautiful and surprisingly passionate.

More from the Globe...

From Jeffrey Gantz in the Boston Phoenix:
Quote:
Bird brain
Boris Eifman’s The Seagull

....
The Seagull, an adaptation of which the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg is presenting at the Cutler Majestic Theatre through April 1, is a deep lake of dreams and nightmares, love and betrayal, art and alcohol.
....
Boris Eifman deep-sixes the “minor” characters, leaving us with Irina, Trigorin, Treplev, and Nina, and he’s moved the action from the estate to the ballet studio .... . But the shift to the studio makes sense; we can’t assess writing and acting in a dance, only choreographing and dancing.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:58 am 
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From Marcia Siegel in the Boston Phoenix:
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Why blame Chekhov?
Eifman’s Seagull, plus [bjm_danse] and Susan Marshall

Boris Eifman and the Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg have been scavenging the literature of Russian drama, novels, and ballet for 30 years now in search of suitably theatrical subjects. ....Like all the other Eifman ballets I’ve seen, [The Seagull] skims over the hard parts of its antecedent, the quicker to plug in the choreographer’s signature elements: passionate lovers with emotional problems, expert stage effects, and plenty of dancing.

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 Post subject: Eifman's Seagull
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:02 pm 
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Posts: 341
Location: New Jersey
I haven't read any reviews of Eifman's "The Seagull" yet, either on this board or in newspapers, so I have no idea what the critical consensus is (if there is one). But I just saw this piece tonight at City Center in N.Y., and recommend it. Since some performances remain, I wanted to get my 2 cents out to anyone interested.

Of the Eifman works I've seen, this is by far the most accessible, and I think the most successsful. Not necessarily a great piece (some glaring misjudgments), but certainly interesting: If nothing else, Eifman is never dull. And the images that last, some of which are downright spectacular, are not just a product of smoke and mirrors as is often the case in some other of his work (sometimes literally) - in this piece, there are indelible choreographic images as well. And the danciers are uniformly superb, particularly Maria Abashova, who is outstandng.

More when I get more time to write a review. But "The Seagull" is being performed again tomorrow and Sunday, matinee and evening. For a glimpse of Eifman at his best, warts and all, go see it.


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