http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/arts/ ... 4chan.html
OK. I officially no longer can stand Mr. Macaulay. His tirade about "Etudes" seems more an excuse to complain about something rather than an educated, measured review. I simply adore "Etudes", and it's my impression that in both France and Denmark (and often elsewhere), it's pretty much considered a masterpiece. Wonder how he'll review it when ABT performs it later this year...
I simply can't see how the ballet is not serious (or ludicrous, the utterly undescriptive adjective he uses) about ballet technique. To see the dancers lined up at the barre, only their legs lit, going through the basic tendus, is distilling ballet technique down to its essence.
Again, he point seems more about ripping apart something (or perhaps ripping apart the Kirov) than actually really reviewing it. Does he have any clue about the history? About why Czerny's music was chosen? (I think Riisager did a fine job - it's wonderful music and goes perfectly with the choreography).
It's not Petipa, but what it is, and I think is beautifully, is a series of "ballet etudes" that illustrate the path from the basic positions to the most complicated and technical of steps. And Landers highlights steps by using lighting, music and choreography to create memorable images. Often the dance may seem simple, but Landers is a master at making the most difficult things look very simple.
As to the so-called horrid face-down positions - my memory is that they're essentially very similar to the 'face down' positions of the swan corps in "Swan Lake". Hardly vulgar, and more a chance for the corps to rest and the soloists to show off the precision of their jumping than anything so visual appalling as Mr. Macaulay would have us believe. The section is supposed to emulate gypsy/folk music (it's in part a Mazurka).
Oh, and FYI Mr. Macaulay, in the jetes across the diagonal, it's not collisions that are a problem. I've seen many rehearsals of the ballet, and the real challenge is for the dancers to keep a straight line, and exit the stage at just the right point, and also to time the last jete. At the angle they are travelling, they have stop ASAP off the stage or they'll hit something, but yet, the shouldn't be seen slowing down on stage.
That said, I would think City Center to be bad stage for "Etudes" - it's small with very narrow wings. Etudes needs a large stage and space for the dancers to be able to slow up in the wings.