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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2002 4:16 pm 
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KAIJA PEPPER - Globe and Mail, November 16, 2002:
Quote:
1001 postmodern nights

The story is impossible to follow and the sex is impossibly cerebral -- Scheherazade, the new work that opened Ballet British Columbia's season, has its problems. Yet the almost perversely non-sensual, determined-to-be-unique choreography, by company artistic director John Alleyne, was fascinating.

To read more search KAIJA PEPPER on the Globe and Mail 7 Day Search


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 1:10 pm 
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I can't believe this topic still has my name on it...

Hello, again...nice to be back. And this may run a little long today.

Aside from Michael Scott's review of Scheherazade, etc. in Saturday's Vancouver Sun (which never made it to their web page), there was a sidebar on his preview of the piece, located by Marie, above. This(a sort of step-by-step retelling of the plots of the ballet)bears some quoting, I thnk.

For example: "The ballet's first act tells the story of a genie who imprisons a female slave for his own pleasure. When he catches her in the arms of a young man, he kills her in a rage, but permits the man to live. He then mavoeuvres the man into meeting another woman who seduces him and eventually bears him a son. Many years later the man encounters his own son without realizing his identity and kills the younger man during an argument. The genie, gloating that his revenge is now complete, reappears to tell the man what has now transpired."

Now some quotes from Scott's review:

"Never in his years of dancemaking has Alleyne chanced upon so perfect a vehicle as his latest venture, a fluid and elusive homage to the tales of the Arabian Nights. In Scheherazade Alleyne reaches a point of perfect equilibrium between the demands of an existing story line and the challenges and opportunities of ballet choreography."

Later, admitting the ballet has "several troubling flaws," Scott singles out: "dancers playing several roles without any visual signal that they switched characters. In Alleyne's already soft-focus universe this can be confusing."

Cut to the GlobeandMail's review, at this point. And ask yourself how in the world it would be possible to work anything recognizable as the scene described above into anything less than a full-legth ballet...leaving a lot to quick elision at that. And this is supposed to be only one-quarter of Alleyne's allotted 50 minutes.

Here's my own, sort of stream-of-conscious impressions.

The first thing I noticed was that all the women (well, four out of five, anyway) were made up to look like Yvonne de Carlo. Now, I know she was Canadian and all, and I vaguely remember her Scheherazade from my distant childhood, but this, I thought, simply has to be a joke, and settled in to enjoy it.

It was really funny, though...I mean, nothing the dancers did conveyed anything but the sternest sort of seriousness: deadpan move from pose to pose, Alleyne's persistent inability to get the dancer's to interplay with each other rather than have merely one work as a prop to support the other's position (if they touched at all) [still thinking Hollywood, it occurred to me that Astaire could do much better with a chair rather than what Alleyne's partners did with each other) and grim focus on the most angular poses Alleyne could devise. All this, remember, to Rimsky-Korsakoff's immortal score which, let's face it, makes even Yvonne deCarlo look good in comparison.

Since nothing the dancers were doing seemed to have any relation to the sort of plot described above, nor to the music or the (forgive me) moods it or the tales themselves were intended to evoke, I started making up my own stories, including this variant on one of the other actual plots. "A young man meets three women: one intelligent, witty, and charming, the second sensuous, passionate and lustful, and the third shy, reserved and devoted. After enoying the charms of the first two, he realizes his true destiny can only lie with the tender devotion of the third. He marries her and she kills him for his money."

The whole thing, I decided, must have been intended as some kind of joke on Alleyn's part: mannered, excessive and interesting from any perspective for less than three minutes of the nearly one hour it ran. What I can't figure out is whether he co-opted Scott into playing the joke with him, or Scott's just that dumb.

Alleyne's solution to the last minute problems discussed in Scott's preview piece (Marie gives the URL, above) was, I guess, equally ingenious, by the way. At troubling points, the stage suddenly went black, and lit up again on a different scene a while later. Since this was the same technique earlier used to - presumably -separate the prologue and three acts from each other (with, as otherwise noted, all dancers playing all roles interchangeably in all the same costumes, and none of them doing anything that looked like it had anything to do with the alleged plots) it did get somewhat confusing.

Anyway, with that out the way, finally, we got two more pieces: the Grand-Maitre, which I mercifully absented myself from, and Kudelka's There, Below. Scott on the latter: "Alleyne has called its blurring speed and intricate steps 'unmanageable.' Sad to report, they were certainly that on opening night..."

I saw it the second night, and was pleasantly surprised at how much cleaner the company worked than it did two or three seasons ago. There were glitches, but by and large they caught enough of it to get the message across, and certainly to work as the much needed corrective to Scheherazades taste in my mouth that I had hoped for.

PS I fell down a flight of stairs a couple of weeks ago (in Italy, hah!) aggravating my already-bad back, and so attended in a wheelchair. The sweet usher who wheeled me out suggested I must know a lot about ballet to have avoided the Grand-Maitre. Then we got to talking about audiences: Thursday nights, she said, are girls, dressed to kill and impress each other, Friday is date night, all couples. And Saturday? I asked. The three of us (my wife as third) kicked that around and decided family night was the best descriptor.

Anybody else feel knowledgeable on this?

Cheers, I guess..
...dirk


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:30 pm 
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward in the Vancouver Sun muses on the visceral impact of balletic realism by way of prelude to Ballet British Columbia's November program, opening November 6 with Jean Grand-Maitre's Carmen:

http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=c607ea16-7d3b-49b2-b353-8afc3d7e2e8f


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 2:34 pm 
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A preview of Ballet BC's mixed repertory performances at the Royal Theatre in Victoria, Friday and Saturday, November 21-22, 2003. Included on the program are Jean Grand-Maitre's "Carmen" and works by Ballet BC Artistic Director John Alleyne. Grania Litwin reports in the Victoria Times-Colonist:

http://www.canada.com/search/story.aspx?id=32e82761-ce05-4df8-976a-9b79aef8872d


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:05 pm 
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A strong performance in Victoria BC last night.

Here is the review:
Ballet BC Review in Victoria

Victria is a "british" city in Victoria with The Royal Theatre -being built around 1914, with of a small Covent Garden. The company is composded only of soloists, but they dance very well together. The Carmen was very sexy, ( which I think is the defining characteristic of. Carmen ), and was definitely not for kids, but the real show stealer was a dancer named Acacia Schachte who stole the second piece ( In and around Kozla Street ), with a two minute kiss as she flew through the air.
If you are in the Northwest and just want to see a very good company i some great theatres, keep your eye out for Ballet BC!


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2003 3:07 pm 
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Woops - sorry about my typos - I am having a little computer glitch. Anyway, they were really great to see!


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2004 5:28 pm 
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An interview with Ballet British Columbia Artistic Director John Alleyne in the Westender ( a weekly community newspaper distributed in the Downtown West End of Vancouver, BC):

http://www.westender.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=49&cat=23&id=216557&more=


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 Post subject: Re: Ballet British Columbia
PostPosted: Fri Jan 28, 2005 1:25 pm 
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Gail Johnson interviews Ballet BC Artistic Director John Alleyne in The Georgia Straight:

http://www.straight.com/content.cfm?id=7690


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:44 pm 
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In The Globe and Mail, Leanne Campbell previews John Alleyne's "The Rite of Spring," opening at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, April 21-23, 2005:


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... ery=ballet


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:39 pm 
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Kaija Pepper reviews the Thursday, April 21, 2005 performance of John Alleyne's "The Rite of Spring" in The Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... ery=ballet


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 3:19 pm 
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In The Globe and Mail, Kaija Pepper reviews Ballet British Columbia's November 16-18, 2006 performances, including Agnes de Mille's "Rodeo."

The Globe and Mail


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 Post subject: Scheherezade
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 3:01 pm 
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In the Vancouver Sun, Kevin Griffin previews John Alleyne's "Scheherezade," performing tonight through Saturday, February 17, 2007 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver:

Vancouver Sun


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 2:11 pm 
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Ballet BC is performing a mixed bill entitled "Legends of Twentieth Century Dance," April 12-14, 2007 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver. On the program are Balanchine's "Allegro Brillante," Mario Radokovsky's "Inspiration," Martha Graham's "Appalachian Spring," and Twyla Tharp's "Baker's Dozen." Kevin Griffin interviews Balanchine Trust stager Elyse Borne about "Allegro Brillante" as a preview in the Vancouver Sun:

Vancouver Sun


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:13 pm 
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Deborah Meyers reviews the Balanchine/Graham/Tharp program in the Vancouver Sun and finds Ballet BC to be well out of its depth:

Vancouver Sun

In The Globe and Mail, Paula Citron seemed to find more to admire about the performance:

Globe and Mail


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 2:45 pm 
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Gail Johnson seemed to like the program in her review in the Georgia Straight:

Georgia Straight


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