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 Post subject: American Ballet Theatre - Orange County 2006
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Two surprisingly positive reviews of the first night's mixed rep program:

Quote:
Stylized swings from head to toe
Lewis Segal, LA Times

Pointed toes versus flexed feet: On Tuesday, American Ballet Theatre opened a seven-performance engagement at the Orange County Performing Arts Center with three works contrasting these classical and anticlassical movement impulses.

Looking strong and often stylish, the company delivered choreographies created from 1928 to 2001 with relish for the interplay of tradition and innovation that gives each piece its distinction, whatever its subject.
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American Ballet Theatre willing, able, ready
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

American Ballet Theatre's opening program Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center proved, again, that it's OK to be a tryout town.

Musical theater pieces still germinating often get a test drive in a city far afield from their Broadway debuts. A similar dry run is going on in Costa Mesa this week, as American Ballet Theatre readies itself for its big Metropolitan Opera House season, beginning May 22. The bottom line is, we lucked out.
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PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2006 10:50 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks for the links, Andre - did you see this programme?

I would love to see "Jeu de Cartes", as there is so little Cranko performed in the UK these days. We've been discussing Cranko over in the latest National Ballet of Canada topic, in the context of his "Romeo and Juliet":

http://www.ballet-dance.com/forum/viewt ... 11&start=0

Of all the Mark Morris pieces for ballet companies I've seen, "Gong", as performed by The Royal Ballet, enthuses me the least - not a patch on his "Drink to me only".


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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 8:48 am 
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Location: So. California
I attended last night's performance and was also looking forward to Jeu Des Cartes. I am a Cranko fan and have read much about this piece when it was newly created as well as seen many photos. It was an uneven performance by ABT dancers, but Irena and Heman stood out in their fun campy roles as Queen of Hearts and the Joker.

More later when time permits!


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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 12:31 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Stuart,

I wish I had seen the mixed rep programs, but I will be seeing Sylvia this weekend. I don't have high expectations for them to present it idiomatically, but weirder things have happened.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2006 2:29 pm 
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Location: Canada
Exciting news....a new principal at ABT: David Hallberg!


DAVID HALLBERG PROMOTED TO PRINCIPAL DANCER



David Hallberg has been promoted to Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre effective May 22, 2006, it was announced today by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie.

Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Hallberg began his formal ballet training at age thirteen with Kee Juan Han at the Arizona Ballet School in Phoenix. He was accepted into the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1999 where he studied under Claude Bessy, Jacques Namont and Gilbert Meyer. He also participated in ABT’s New York Summer Intensive in 1999 and 2000 before joining the ABT Studio Company in September 2000.

Hallberg joined the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre in 2001 and was promoted to Soloist in January 2004. His roles with the Company include Prince Siegfried and von Rothbart in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Conrad in Le Corsaire, Death in The Green Table, Espada in Don Quixote, the second sailor in Fancy Free, the Boy in Afternoon of a Faun, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, a Friend of the Family in Pillar of Fire, Jean de Brienne in Raymonda and the title role in Apollo. He has also danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Theme and Variations, Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room, Michel Fokine’s Les Sylphides and William Forsythe’s workwithinwork. Hallberg is scheduled to make his debut as Her Prince Charming in James Kudelka’s Cinderella during the Company’s 2006 Spring Season at the Metropolitan Opera House.


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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 9:10 pm 
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
I just returned from the May 7, Sunday matinee performace of Ashton's Sylvia at OCPAC. The performance was understated and underpowered with occasional highlights from a few solo roles. First the good bits: David Hallberg dances the danseur noble role naturally and intensely --- he looks like a young Peter Martins --- but it's hard to say more from this fairly limited role. Gennadi Saveliev's Orion was well-acted, and didn't fall into camp. Two corps members surprised me: Arron Scott's Eros was especially expressive, along with Zhong-Jing Fang in two small roles. Scott's dancing as the wizard was impressive for how much he made of it despite being covered up with layers of cloth, and having no normally impressive steps to perform. Fang's very expressive use of her head and shoulders made her a standout amongst Sylvia's hunting attendants, and shone in her Act 3 Ceres. I hope these two dancers get many more chances to show their stuff in the future, because the rest of the company didn't seem to be very interested in being on stage this afternoon.

Michele Wiles looked uncomfortable and unprepared. Not only did she not have any style, much less the very distinctive Ashtonian English style, as she projected these broken, unclear lines, but at times it looked like the choreography caught her off-guard, like she was thinking about the next step almost too late. She also seemed very uncomfortable with the props, and treated them almost like they were hindrances. She had no dramatic expression. Unfortunately, the trouble continued down the chain: most of the corps and soloists looked like they were just going through the steps, plodding along with the music. When Sylvia's hunting attendants show their defiance of Eros, they half-heartedly wiggled their bows in the general direction of the statue. It wasn't until Kristi Boone showed up as Diana in Act 3 that we saw any kind of attack or energy that one would have expected from the hunting party, or indeed a company that's supposed to embody the American style of ballet.

All in all, it was a disappointment, but not altogether unexpected, given my past experiences seeing ABT. They have very technically well-equipped dancers, but with few exceptions that technique seems to used in service to nothing, as the dancers don't seem to be very well coached.

--Andre

edit: correct some act 2/3 confusion


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PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:40 am 
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Two slightly different reviews of Sylvia:

Quote:
`Sylvia' lives partly by its principals
Lewis Segal, LA Times

However, "Sylvia" made lots of people happy in Segerstrom Hall on Friday, despite an overload of technically ragged and stylistically crude dancing from the Ballet Theatre corps. For starters, its period designs by Robin and Christopher Ironside (supplemented with contributions by Peter Farmer) made it look like a traditional, sumptuous 19th century classic (though, of course, it isn't).
...
Maybe so, but the combination of minor Ashton and major Delibes does give star dancers a number of glittering opportunities, and the Friday principals certainly seized them skillfully.
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Quote:
Footwork grounds 'Sylvia'
Laura Bleiberg, Orange County Register

The corps de ballet and solo parts were hit-and-miss. Those Fauns and Naiads had those fidgety, squirrel-like moves just right at the ballet's opening. The overall Ashton style, though, was rough. When the company did his "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the center a few years back, everyone was rehearsed to a T. Not so this time. Landings were clunky, and there were some near collisions when the stage was full.
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