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 Post subject: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 4:19 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
A short preview:

<a href=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/03/30/PK278650.DTL target=_blank>Jewels in motion</a>
Octavio Roca, SF Chronicle


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 1:48 am 
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
The suspense is killing me!

Some casting information from SFB’s website:

Program 6 Casting

3 Apr, Evening - 8:00 pm

JEWELS

Conductor: Mark Stringer

Emeralds

Lorena Feijoo, Yuri Possokhov
Julie Diana, Damian Smith
Parrish Maynard, Catherine Winfield, Leslie Young

Rubies

Piano: Michael McGraw

Vanessa Zahorian, Gonzalo Garcia
Muriel Maffre

Diamonds

Yuan Yuan Tan, Zachary Hench*

Dalene Bramer, Kathleen Martuza, Catherine Winfield, Leslie Young
Peter Brandenhoff, Steven Norman, Chidozie Nzerem, Sergio Torrado

*Denotes premiere in role

5 Apr, Matinee - 2:00 pm

JEWELS

Conductor: Mark Stringer

Emeralds

Lorena Feijoo, Yuri Possokhov
Muriel Maffre, Benjamin Pierce
Sergio Torrado, Catherine Winfield, Leslie Young

Rubies

Piano: Michael McGraw

Kristin Long, Joan Boada*
Elana Altman*

Diamonds

Yuan Yuan Tan, Zachary Hench
Kathleen Martuza, Nicole Starbuck, Rachel Viselli, Courtney Wright*
Michael Eaton, Moises Martin*, Ruben Martin, Hansuke Yamamoto*

*Denotes premiere in role

5 Apr, Evening - 8:00 pm

JEWELS

Conductor: Mark Stringer

Emeralds

Yuan Yuan Tan*, Damian Smith*
Katita Waldo, Stephen Legate
Pascal Molat*, Nicole Starbuck, Vanessa Zahorian

Rubies

Piano: Michael McGraw

Lorena Feijoo, Yuri Possokhov
Muriel Maffre

Diamonds

Julie Diana, Vadim Solomakha

Dalene Bramer, Kathleen Martuza, Catherine Winfield, Leslie YoungPeter Brandenhoff, Steven Norman, Chidozie Nzerem, Sergio Torrado

*Denotes premiere in role

****

Yuan Yuan Tan in “Emeralds”? … delectable …

****

And, for those who would like to relive last year’s San Francisco Ballet’s Jewels:

San Francisco Ballet "Jewels" 2002

<small>[ 01 April 2003, 02:51 AM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2003 12:04 pm 
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Location: San Francisco, CA
And pascal molat in the trio..... What fun!

ME:)


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 1:46 am 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Some quick notes:

Nice conducting by Mark Sringer and great piano playing by Michael McGraw but the tempo seems even slower than last year. I guess I'm used to experiencing Rubies on the edge of my seat.

Lorena Feijoo and Julie Diana were beautiful in Emeralds but was it just my imagination or did Feijoo look a little awkward in her solo and did Diana look too regal?

Excellent partnering work by Yuri Possokhov, Damian Smith and Parrish Maynard in Emeralds.

Gonzalo Garcia, Vanessa Zahorian and Muriel Maffre were tres sexy in Rubies but I would like to have seen more flirting. Miami City Ballet's remain my favorite.

Yuan Yuan Tan and Zachary Hench took everyone's breath away in Diamonds. However, Tan begin fading near the end of this energy-sapping ballet. It's times like this that I appreciate the manly strength of Kyra Nichols and the stamina of Wendy Whelan at NYCB.

However, to be honest, I was distracted by the soloist partnering of Chidozie Nzerem and Dalene Bramer -- they make for such an exciting pair and, in my eyes, Bramer was in character more consistently so than any of the other dancers in soloist roles. Yet both Nzerem and Bramer are still corps members -- I hope they make soloist next season.

Special points go to Elizabeth Miner, Amanda Schull and Garrett Anderson for stage presence.

Endurance awards go to Brook Broughton and Joanna Mednick for dancing all three ballets, and dancing beautifully at that.

More notes later.

<small>[ 04 April 2003, 04:03 AM: Message edited by: Azlan ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2003 2:09 am 
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I loved the few moments in Emeralds when Possokhov, Maynard and Smith danced together. They're among the most stylish men in the company,and I wish there had been more for them to do together.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 12:45 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
The opinion of the local press:

Quote:
S.F. Ballet's 'Jewels' a multifacted gem
Balanchine's three-part dance returns in a polished production

Octavio Roca, SF Chronicle Dance Critic

George Balanchine's glimmering 1967 "Jewels" is the strangest among the master's works: a full-length ballet without a plot. <a href=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/04/05/DD179279.DTL target=_blank>more</a>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 3:34 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
San Francisco Ballet's 'Jewels' a treasure at last
By Stephanie von Buchau for The Daily Review

GEORGE Balanchine once suggested that if you didn't like his choreography, you could always close your eyes and listen to the music. Easy for him to say. The finest abstract choreographer of all time had impeccable musical taste.

San Francisco Ballet proved that Thursday night when they revived "Jewels," Balanchine's 1967 tribute to three balletic eras, with different casts, costumes, choreography and music, at the War Memorial Opera House.

After the poorly chosen and executed music of Program 5, the sixth subscription program was balm to the ears, not the least because conductor Mark Stringer had the orchestra purring, easily producing the best musical evening so far this season.

"Jewels" opens with "Emeralds," dressed in green by Balanchine's house designer, Karinska. An homage to the dawn of Romantic ballet, the era of "La Sylphide" and "Giselle," it features two lead couples, three demi-soloists and a 10-person corps.

click for more


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 11:21 am 
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I saw that Elana Altman, a corps member, was doing the "Rubies" soloist role on Saturday. Did anybody see her?


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 1:31 am 
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
I'm sorry this posting is so long, but class readings put me in an analytical frame of mind...

The story of how the idea for a gemstone themed ballet suggested itself to Balanchine during a visit to Van Cleef & Arpels’ New York salon has become by now so nigh universal as to not bear further repetition. Balanchine, the story goes, needed a block buster ballet and what better to capture the imagination of the audience than a full evening, storyless work of three sections, each based on a precious gemstone. “Emeralds,” set to music by Gabriel Faure, is a sensuous, utterly feminine reverie with hints of sublimated passion, nostalgia and even regret. Jazzy, sexy, and saucy “Rubies” is set to the “Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra” of Balanchine’s friend and long time collaborator, Igor Stravinsky. The evening concludes with the regal and formal pageantry of “Diamonds” set to movements 2 through 5 of Tschaikovsky’s Symphony No. 3 “Polish.”

The selection of precious stones was particularly astute. Other ballets have of course been concerned with the symbolism of precious minerals and other decorative materiel—there is, for instance, the pas de quatre of gold, silver, diamonds, and sapphires from “Sleeping Beauty,” Act III, and also something golden in the Soviet era “L’Age d’Or” to music by Shostakovich (... so I imagine since I haven’t seen this one myself). Balanchine’s “Symphony in C” was originally choreographed as “Le Palais de Cristal” for the Paris Opera Ballet. “Ballo della Regina” seen recently on the Opera House stage was, I think, based upon a tiny episode from the opera “Don Carlo” concerning a pearl fisherman.

But, what do precious stones mean? What does it mean when a ballet is made “about” emeralds, rubies, and diamonds?

A gemstone in the rough looks pretty unassuming—a little shiny, perhaps with a little color, but essentially an uninspiring rock. But, cleaned, cut, and faceted to a lapidary shine—a step cut emerald, a ruby baguette, a diamond brilliant—it has transformed into something else entirely—marks of wealth and power. But, not just wealth and power—poor bronze, iron, and steel can do that just as well.

Gemstones—particularly diamonds—signify power in ways not available to lesser ornamental materiel. Look at the Koh-I-Noor, the Cullinans, the Orloff, the Hope Diamond. These are stones that signify not just wealth and power, but imperial wealth and modern state power in the most spectacular way imaginable. In gemstones, issues of memory, power, and spectacle become inseparable from their artistic function—and I think Balachine is at his most genius recognizing this.

“Jewels”
San Francisco Ballet
Saturday matinee 4/5/03

The ballet’s first part, “Emeralds,” I think remembers most clearly that jewels have what I shall call a “secret life” (after Arjun Appadurai’s phrase, the “social life” of commodities). Jewels have always been surrounded by exoticism and legend—the Koh-I-Noor, the Hope Diamond, the Affair of the Diamond Necklace. The world of “Emeralds” is a private reverie of courtiers and ladies in waiting. There is a princess but her dances are filled with images of the most transient of touches and the lingering regrets of parting. Lorena Feijoo and Yuri Possokhov’s dances are smoother and silkier than last year’s. In my favorite section, the “Epithalame” Grand Pas de Deux, are there hints of not only nostalgia and regret but also tragedy – never shown but only hinted at in the way the ballerina so seldom looks at her partner? ... a meaning to their exit not very commonly seen in a ballet--stepping backwards from our view?

Muriel Maffre’s chooses more rounded, legato arms for “Sicilienne.” I wonder if I don't actually prefer Julie Diana’s more regal forms. The "Entr'act Andante moderato" pas de trois for Catherine Winfield, Sergio Torrado, and Leslie Young is pretty much “on.” If Julie Diana and Damain Smith last year were sleepwalkers, sonnambulisti, today we see Muriel Maffre is the sleepwalker and Benjamin Pierce her attendant (or confidante?). Does this remind me of the mesmerism pas de deux in an Astaire/Rogers movie (sorry, can’t remember which one). Pierce's conception is a wonder--he guides, supplements, extends, protects the sleep walking girl. Sighs and pauses.

The ending is a bang up job for the entire “Emeralds” cast but ends with a coda for the 7 principals. Why the coda, the “Mort d’ Melisande”? As one by one the four ballerinas leave the stage to the three men, kneeling on the stage with one arm in a gesture somewhere between supplication and resignation, the funerary theme, I think, may well remind us that the secret lives of jewels is not only exotic but dangerous.

If “Emeralds” hinted at the older jewelry narratives of Nadir Shah, Tavernier, and Louis XIV, “Rubies” is of a different, newer order. Instead of intrigue in the courts of Europe, “Rubies” is all bright lights and pizzazz. Technophiles may recall a modern day jewelry narrative not of state war and diplomacy, but of Bell Laboratories, Hughes Aircraft, and the development of laser technology. Synthetic rubies were at the heart of the first laser (which is actually an acronym for Light Amplification Stimulated Emission of Radiation), which could emit 694nm coherent radiation as the result of pulses of light directing onto rubies as the lasing material.

“Rubies” is indeed full of bright flashes and pulses of energy—of dance energy. Kristin Long -- wow! She is so on -- especially fast and clean turns. Joan Boada looks just a little short for her but he puts such energy into his solo variations. Elana Altman is in the corps but gets the soloists role. Tall and thin -- she doesn't seem to quite fill the outsize jesterish role of the Rubies soloist. Over the years, I have gotten used to Leslie Young or Muriel Maffre here. But I am more than willing to learn new things in Altman.

In the semiotics of jewelry, the association of diamonds with spectacle and power are unmistakable. Theatrical spectacle and artistic power are ballet’s prerogative as well. But, like a real diamond, the ballet lives a kind of paradox. They compress into one potent symbol the public and the private, the juridical and the individual (as Marcia Pointon says in her discussion of jewels and luxurious consumption).

In this sense, “Diamonds” the ballet shares traits in common with its namesake. Both the gemstone and the choreography it has inspired are virtually indestructible—both meant to outlive their possessors. A dancer or a company may be privileged to “own” it during their lifetime, but in a metaphorical sense, the ballet belongs to no one individual but to the art of ballet. Of the “Diamonds” pas de deux, I read that Suzanne Farrell imagined the moment where she gestures one hand behind her head, the other extended forward, as like shooting an arrow. She wrote tha Balanchine didn’t give her those movements but trusted the choreography to her instictive artistry. Her energy, her hyperextensions and plunges made the image of the shooting arrow her “Diamonds.”

For Yuan Yuan Tan, I see Raymonda’s exoticism in the same hand behind the head gesture. Her other arm isn’t shooting energy but is for a reaching and possibly a salute. This is Tan’s “Diamonds”—a bridging with ballet’s imperial past. As with last year, her performance is a revelation – confident and understated but epic on scope and conception. When Zachary Hench, Tan’s subtle and sympathetic partner, closes the pas de deux by kissing her hand, he only repeats the tribute I believe the audience feels.

The four soloists, Kathleen Martuza, Nicole Starbuck, Courtney Wright, and Leslie Young, and a bright and clean corps set off the principals well. The concluding "Polonaise" is the big finish—loud and bright perhaps a little too busy. Suzanne Farrell had pointed out the ways in which the fast and furious movement of the corps surrounds the stillness of the principals. The ballerina might be simply promenaded in an arabesque pose but all is glamour and brilliant cut gemstones when set off against the corps like a brilliant cut in a setting.

In her discussion of the semiotics of jewelry, Art historian Marcia Pointon lists a few of the "great jewelry narratives" -- the story of Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, Pliny's account of Cleopatra swallowing the pearl, John Donne's poem "The Relique," Bizet's opera "The Pearl Fishers," Anita Loos' "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," and Ian Fleming's "Diamonds Are Forever."

I wonder if we shouldn't add Balanchine's "Jewels" to that list.

I can’t find my cast list now, so I can’t tell you for sure, but I believe Michael McGraw played the piano soloist in “Rubies” and Guest Conductor, Mark Stringer conducted.

<small>[ 08 April 2003, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Jeff ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 7:37 pm 
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Location: Irvine, CA
Rubies: SFB vs Miami City Ballet

I am coming up from my home in Orange County this weekend and will see Rubies (in Jewels) along with Program 5. Two performances each. I will especially enjoy Waltz Project. SFB seems to perform it more often than its "home" at NYCB.

Then I immediately go off to Yunnan Province China for a couple weeks. I would like to stay there a bit longer, but I am hurrying back May 1 so that I can enjoy Miami City Ballet, doing, et al, Rubies, at the Cerritos Performing Arts Center.

So I'll be able to see whether I agree with Azlan as to which Rubies I like better!


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 11:30 pm 
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I saw just Emeralds tonight. Yuan Yuan Tan looked lovely in the first pas de deux, with Damian Smith. Katita Waldo did the best 2nd solo I've seen in SFB. Her upper body looks so free, but she was in perfect control. Watching her, I see that it's possible to have excellent technique and still have beautifully shaped hands that never show strain. I wonder why that's so rare these days? In her pas de deux with Stephen Legate, the stop-action parts were softened, giving the impression of a series of impulses, which I liked.

The pas de trois was danced by Elizabeth Miner, Hansuke Yamamoto and Amanda Schull. While this trio didn't always have the polish and harmony of the other cast I saw (Catherine Winfield, Parrish Maynard and Leslie Young), each dancer individually was enjoyable.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 1:08 am 
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
More random thoughts from a 2nd look at this ballet:

“Jewels”
Saturday evening 4/5/03

Dance critic, Jack Anderson, once discussed “Jewels” as that aberration, the full length “abstract” ballet (or “storyless” using Balanchine’s preferred term) in the language art theorist Clement Greenberg applied to visual modernity (and taken up by David Michael Levin). It might be worth walking through that argument for just a moment.

A Jackson Pollock is one of those canvases of drips, splatters, and splotches, right? First, these canvases tend to be humongous--invoking a monumentality that is unmistakable. Second, Pollock canvases have no beginning and no end. Its almost like you could clip out any square patch of a Pollock and it would look just like another complete (though smaller) Pollock. And, third, there is no subject—no representation, no mimesis. It is all form, or rather the form becomes its subject.

What is the equivalent in Balanchinean terms? “Jewels” does achieve a monumentality almost by virtue of its very chutzpah in enticing an essentially narrative junkie public into the theater for 2 and ¼ hours of visual splendour unimpeded by plot, character, setting, story, etc. Moreover, each section – “Emeralds,” “Rubies,” and “Diamonds” – can be staged alone. San Francisco Ballet has had “Rubies” in its rep for years and I remember seeing New York City Ballet, I believe, perform “Diamonds” by itself on Tschaikovksy night. And, finally, what ultimately unifies the entire ballet are the dancers.

“Emeralds”

Observers often describe the dreamy, “underwater” quality of “Emeralds” movement. In the “Prelude” Yuan Yuan Tan shows us why. Her movements are so pure, so silky smooth, it seems unreal. The effect is mesmerizing but perhaps not quite right. Should the Emeralds ballerina always be an empress? In the “Fileuse andantino” her turns seem particularly silent and smooth. Katita Waldo in “Sicilienne” is probably the most satisfying of the “Sicilienne” ballerinas because she opts for simplicity in her port d’bras. No acting, no Parisiennes in her boudoir, just a dancer dancing Balanchine in the andante mode (to borrow a phrase from Arlene Croce).

The grand Emeralds pas de deux seems a little akilter. Tan’s razor edge glamour seems too sharp. Its almost as if the Diamonds ballerina was impersonating the Emeralds ballerina. The “Nocturne” is for Katita Waldo and Stephen Legate—no sleepwalkers, just beautiful, peaceful movement. The “Entr’act” pas de trois for Nicole Starbuck, Pascal Molat, and Vanessa Zahorian is right on the money and the hands holding looks elegant.

I’ve often wondered why Balanchine added the coda “Le Mort de Melisande” some time after the ballet’s original premiere. As canny a stage craftsman as Balanchine would know that the audience would mistake the “Allegro vivo” finale for the real finish and start applauding. The coda with its hints of mortality and finality would come as a rebuke. Perhaps he’s reminding us that at its deepest level ballet is ultimately a tragic universe.

“Rubies”

Lorena Feijoo and Yuri Possokov, who lucky audiences saw in the afternoon dancing the leads in "Emeralds," now take on "Rubies." Her technique not as crystalline nor pristine as Kristin Long’s, but Lorena is more than a fair substitute. She and Possokhov play up its sensual aspects. But, Possokhov makes a poor imitation of a street urchin running around Brooklyn rooftops and alleys (we always see Villela here). He’s more like Peter the Great slumming with Danish sailors. Muriel Maffre is unforgettable as the Rubies soloist. Tall, big movement and charismatic presence, Maffre almost steals the show. She certainly dominates the corps who seem to be filled with the company's more petite dancers.

“Diamonds”

The great "Diamonds" pas de deux is for Julie Diana and Vadim Solomakha: if at the matinee, YY Tan was an empress of ice and crystal, Julie Diana is a prima ballerina assoluta. Diana's and Solomakha's performance consciously chooses to remember the Petipa and Tschaikovsky of the Imperial Russian Theaters. I can see the tribute to "Swan Lake" in the partnered turns and the confident acceptance of support.

Whereas YY Tan showed a ballerina who seemed as if she could glide and turn on the power of her own ballet magic, Julie Diana accepts homage from Solomakha, who partners her with subtlety but perhaps too much self effacement, particularly at the moment of the final kiss of the ballerina's hand when he is almost positioned behind her.

How many generations must it take for us to see whatever Balanchine saw in that gesture? Suzanne Farrell saw fit to take the Diamonds pas de deux to defend Balanchine against feminists—an apologia of sorts for putting the ballerina on a pedestal. Has the post-modern world gotten back to the acceptability of paying homage to a woman for being a ballerina? I can't say...

I've watched Julie Diana's career with interest a few years back since its upward trajectory coincided with my developing passion for the ballet. Of course I was pleased to see that she was promoted to principal after the 2000 season, yet I still thought of her a really great soloist who was getting really good principal roles, this performance finally made me believe in her as a principal … an artist.

I still can’t find my cast list, so I can’t remember musician credits.

Can’t resist one last jewelry quotation:

The diamond is beyond contradiction the most beautiful creation in the hands of God in the order of inanimate things. This precious stone, as durable as the sun, and far more accessible than that, shines with the same fire, ties all its rays and colors in a single facet and lavishes its charms, by day and night, in every clime, at all seasons. -- Marquise De Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV, in her Memoirs.

She might have been talking about “Jewels” the ballet.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 1:13 am 
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Location: Jamaica, Queens, New York
Rogelio2, please post in your impressions of both the San Francisco Ballet performances and Miami City Ballet's.

One question I have is whether Miami City Ballet will be performing to live music in Cerritos. I saw them at the Kennedy Center during the 2001 Balanchine Celebration. When they appeared at UCLA dancing to taped music, they were still glorious but not as ...


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 9:37 pm 
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Location: Irvine, CA
To Jeff:

Yes, I'll give my impressions of Rubies, SFB vs Miami CB. I'll see the latter May 2 at Cerritos. Cerritos, as you may know, is kind of a boutique venue. In any case, I don't recall seeing the ballet there with a full orchestra. I did just see David Parsons with the Ahn Trio, which was nice. I kind of think the economics of the smaller venues tend to work against having an orchestra.

May 3, by the way, Miami City will present a full length Edward Villella work "The Neighborhood Ballroom", which promises to be VERY entertaining in the tradition of the Miami CB.


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 Post subject: Re: San Francisco Ballet 2003 Prog 6 - 'Jewels'
PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 10:17 pm 
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Location: SF Bay Area
Here's one of my reviews I dredged up from a few years ago:

Quote:
Miami City Ballet in "Jewels"
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, September 24, 1999


...

The biggest clue perhaps lies in the fact that Miami’s Artistic Director, Edward Villella, relished in the creation of the male lead in Rubies during his glory days at New York City Ballet. No doubt he had a strong influence in this production of Rubies, which was flirtatious, energetic, and fun to watch, with both Jennifer Kronenberg and Sally Ann Isaacks excelling at playing the foxy women. Kronenberg was especially alluring with her teasing glances at her partner, Arnold Quintaine. Quintaine, a late replacement for Eric Quilliere, was superb technically in the difficult male lead role, with its demanding athleticism. However, he lacked the spunk and spontaneity that I would normally expect in this capriccio role, giving the pas de deux segments a lop-sided feel with Kronenberg seeming to do more of the flirting. Perhaps however I’m biased, having seen other Rubies leading men, such as NYCB’s Damian Woetzel wooing Miranda Weese with his stylish body language and San Francisco Ballet’s Stephen Legate teasing real-life wife Evelyn Cisneros with his mischievous expressions. Nevertheless the saucy and spirited dancing by both the principals and the corps made this performance of Rubies the most electrifying I’ve seen. <a href=http://www.criticaldance.com/reviews/1999/mcb-jewels.html target=_blank>more</a>


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