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 Post subject: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"--"The Dream"
PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:50 pm 
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I have been looking at these two videos a lot recently and I am appreciating them more and more. Since the dancers on both these videos are from American companies (PNB and ABT) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was choreographed by George Balanchine I am writing this at the Ballet in the Americas forum.

I have been reading comments and reviews from all over the internet and I have much more insight into these two works than before. The general internet consensus is that both works are extremely fine. Still it seems to come down to what one personally feels.

For me two of the major highlights of these two equally fine ballets are, not surprisingly, the two primary Duets.

The Duet ("Pas de Deux") of Titania and Oberon from Frederick Ashton's "The Dream" is simply once of the most 'Charming' duets that I have ever seen.

The Act II Duet ("Divertissement Pas de Deux") from George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is one the most 'Beautiful'.


["PNB" and "ABT" were added to the second sentence. the Pacific Northwest Ballet dances George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and the American Ballet Theater dances Frederick Ashton's "The Dream".]


Last edited by Buddy on Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:49 am 
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As with many of my videos my feelings may change with future viewings. For now I would say that the Duet from "The Dream" has an enchantingly lovely sort of eccentricity that so brings to life the image of two magical, fairylike beings, the queen and king of the of the woods fairies. This is a Duet of 'Personality', both in portrayal and in dance expression. Alessandra Ferri is extremely captivating as the fairy queen. Her motions and her facial expressions combine a delightful, otherworldly 'pixieness' with the sublime. I'm sure that as I watch this video more, new and engaging aspects of her performance will be evident. Ethan Stiefel is similarly fine in his portrayal and dancing as the fairy king. Needless to say I feel that Frederick Ashton's creativity here is masterful.

The Duet from George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is so beautifully structured and so beautifully danced by Louise Nadeau to such beautiful music, "The String Symphony"(?) of Felix Mendelssohn. The choreography seems to compliment the music as well as I have ever seen. The moves and the poses seem so right and so well designed. Louise Nadeau's dancing--her positioning and her moves--is 'Magnificent'.

For one thing, there seems to be such a fine sense of balance between airiness and defining gravity in this Duet. I particularly like the series of assisted, pivotally balanced, rotations towards the end where Olivier Wevers seems to leave the delicately balanced Louise Nadeau more and more suspended in space. The dancing seems to build to this almost weightless state, which so well expresses the lovely airiness of the music.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:23 am 
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Mention should also be made to Patricia Barker's outstanding Duet with her 'Cavalier' in Act I of George Balanchine's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The willowy and statuesque Patricia Barker is a study in elegant virtuosity. One internet poster equated her in her final years of dancing to Suzanne Farrell.

This Duet sequence is a fascinating composition, being interrupted twice by the animated Puck, who is a world in himself of delightful entertainment. (The character, Puck, Seth Belliston in this ballet and the jet-propelled Herman Cornejo in "The Dream", are two rather different interpretations, but both are equally brilliant!)

This dance sequence with its lovely Duet is another masterful example of the depth of George Balanchine's creativity. In contrast to the totally lyrical Duet of Act II, this is a mixture of lyrical beauty and animated expression. It is worth repeated viewings to enjoy and appreciate its different aspects along with all its subtleties and nuances.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 6:50 pm 
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"A Midwinter Night's Reverie"

Back to George Balanchine's Act II Duet (Divertissement Pas de Deux) from "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

I love this thing so much !!

It is performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet's Louise Nadeau and Olivier Wevers. Louise Nadeau seems almost perfect in her 'impressionist' dancing and Olivier Wevers, like so many men in ballet, almost invisibly, helps hugely to make it all possible.

I've been watching it almost every night for several weeks. It's always the last video that I watch each night--Twice.

First of all Felix Mendelssohn's Music here is absolutely gorgeous !

Secondly the 'interpretation' of this music by George Balanchine and the Dancers is marvelous.

I enjoy just enjoying it so much that I really don't try and analyze it.

There do seem to be times when each part of Louise Nadeau's body is expressing the music in a different way at the same moment....one arm is moving to the music, the other arm is perfectly still just feeling it.... Add to this the fact that Olivier Wevers is also moving in supportive and/or complimentary motion.

The moves, the timing, the positioning....all seem to express the music so brilliantly and so beautifully !

It is possibly the most Subtly 'Musically' Beautiful Duet that I have ever seen !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:00 am 
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A Midsummer Night's Duet


The tips of her toes touch the ground with the same delicacy and effect as fingertips playing at a keyboard.

Supported and guided by her partner's hands,


she alights, glides, sets down, steps, pivots, balances,

touches, releases, poses, reaches, floats and sails above the stage,


writing a dancer's poem on each and every note of this beautifully starlit music.


("A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act II, by George Balanchine)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:23 am 
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Midsummer Night's Duet

After about a month I am still watching this Duet (Divertissement Pas de Deux--Louise Nadeau and Olivier Wevers) last thing each night--at least twice.

Thanks to several articles, cited by Francis, I can help explain why.

"Louise Nadeau....has been variously described as captivating, ethereal, quietly feminine, rare, magical...."

"There are very few ballerinas like her. She makes you go beyond herself to see the entire work. That is transporting." (Peter Boal, PNB artistic director)

"....one associates Nadeau with musicality, in which she folds herself into the music, illuminating it in ways few dancers do."

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/classical ... eau15.html

"She is that rare thing: a lyrical ballerina — she really breathes music," (Peter Boal, PNB artistic director)

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/t ... adeau.html

She just goes somewhere. And dancing with her, it was the same way." (Paul Gibson, former dance partner)

http://kuow.org/program.php?id=16702


I have to add that although I love this Duet 'more than anything' I am more and more awed by the marvelous dancing of Patricia Barker in the first Act I Duet.

Also the brilliance and mental agility of George Balanchine more and more amazes me. How he can take the most beautiful music in Act I and turn it into a duet (second Act I Duet) between a fairy queen (Patricia Barker) and a donkey and make it something of irresistible charm and brilliantly constructed humor is really an accomplishment. His first Act I Duet, as performed by Patricia Barker, is simply a masterpiece.


[Charles Newton is Patricia Barker's partner in the first Act I Duet and Timothy Lynch is her donkey partner in the second Act I Duet]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Although this may be a poetic sentiment I do feel that it is real to what is happening and tries to express a feeling as to why this particular dance has become so Compelling to me and many others. For about a month it has in a way become my late night lullaby.

Louise Nadeau

Duet (Divertissement Pas de Deux with Olivier Wevers --"A Midsummer Night's Dream")


She connects to our senses
At just the right musically-caressed moments
At just the right alignments of a body in space

Beauty
Beguiled

Stepping so delicately along the ground
When the music suggests
She turns to air

Magnificently ending her dance
In her partner's hands
She leans away into space
Her pointed foot turns slightly outward
Signifying that sound and motion have come to rest

Our senses have once again been lovingly transported


[the words "musically-caressed" have replaced "chime-caressed", which were intended as a poetic description--the music actually comes from a violin--also a couple minor word changes, but the sentiment stays the same.]


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