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Monthly Archives: June 2010

  • The Bolshoi Academy Celebrates First British Grad

    Check out this amazing story! Nineteen year old Henry Perkins is the first Briton to graduate from the highly esteemed, very rigorous Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

    _Henry-Perkins-1_1667319c"The academy, which has turned out stars such as Maya Plisetskaya and Maris Liepa, is famed for its technical brilliance and for the stamina it expects in its elite students. Dozens of other British ballet students have applied over the years, but the only other one to have been accepted, Ralf Pickering, did not complete the course. Just getting a place is a colossal achievement - not least because students have to follow Russia's standard school curriculum simultaneously. When Henry first arrived, he could speak no Russian and had to converse with his classmates using a dictionary." ~ Quote The London Telegraph

    You can read more about Henry's inspirational journey here.

  • Susan Jaffe Named ABT's Ballet Mistress

    SusanJaffeA hearty congratulations goes out to the lovely Ms. Susan Jaffe, former American Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer, on her promotion to Ballet Mistress. According to ABT's Facebook page, Jaffe's appointment becomes effective in October of this year.

    "Jaffe retired from American Ballet Theatre in 2002 after 22 years with the Company. In 2003, she co-founded the Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton New Jersey, a school she co-owns with Risa Kaplowitz. She is also co-founder and co-director of DanceVision and DanceVision Youth Ensemble in Princeton." ~ American Ballet Theatre Facebook Fan Page.

  • Sir Paul to Score Ballet

    Paul McCartney to score upcoming ballet.

    Paul

    Attention all you Beatles fans! The fabulous Paul McCartney has been tapped to write the musical score for an upcoming ballet. (Wow!)

    No details yet as to what the "secret" ballet will be about, nor any information as to which company has been bestowed with such an honor, but I've got my suspicions--or shall I say "hopes"--pinned on a few. What do you think? Sound off below! We're all ears--er, eyes.

  • The Bolshoi Mourns the Loss of Semyonova

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    Marina

    "Marina Semyonova, one of the first great Soviet prima ballerinas who made her debut in the 1920s, has died," Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre said on Wednesday. "Semyonova began her career at the Kirov ballet, now the Mariinsky, in Saint Petersburg before moving to the Bolshoi in 1930, where she danced until 1952."  - AFP (Moscow)

    "A graduate of the St. Petersburg Ballet School and a pupil of the world famous ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova, Marina Semenova was the first Soviet ballerina to have tremendous success on foreign stages in the 1930s. She worked with the Kirov Ballet – now the Mariinsky Theatre – until 1930 when Stalin had her transferred to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

    "She danced all the leading parts in classical ballet repertoire, including Giselle, Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty”, Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake”, Raimonda and many more." - RT Top Stories. Click here to read more.

  • A Royal Exhibition-Famous Royal Ballet Costumes on Display

    _48023305_009476623-1"Costumes worn by Dame Margot Fonteyn and set designs by Picasso are going on display as part of a major exhibition by the Royal Ballet. The Lowry Centre, in Salford, will host the retrospective celebrating the history and future of the company. The exhibition will tell the story of the Royal Ballet from its foundations in the late 1920s to the present day."

    Highlights from this stunning display feature "a recreation of Margot Fonteyn's dressing room as it was at the Royal Opera House with her make-up cases, mascot, shoe darning kit, practice clothes, spare shoe ribbons and the Odette tutu from the 1952 production of Swan Lake."

    {I don't know about you, but I would love to see this! I mean, seriously? Dame Margot Fonteyn! How amazing...} You can read the rest of the article here.  Information about the upcoming exhibit can be found here.

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Coppelia

    Pacific Northwest Ballet pulled out all the stops with their latest production of George Balanchine's, Coppelia.  This fantastic production features all new lavishly designed (read: gorgeous!) sets, to die for costumes, and of course the high-caliber artistry that PNB is world-famous for.

    Swanilda/Coppelia

    Saturday's matinee featured Lesley Rausch as Swanilda/Coppelia, Jerome Tisserand as Franz, and Olivier Wevers as Dr. Coppelius.  Right off the bat, I have to give serious applause to Rausch for her outstanding interpretation. She not only delighted everyone in the audience with her arrogance and saucy attitude, but she transported us into the heart of her character. Sure, Swanilda isn't the nicest of young ladies, but her love for Franz is evident, even when faced with the sting of rejection.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch with PNB School students and PNB company members in PNB’s premiere production of Coppélia: Choreography by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa). Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Lesley Rausch with PNB School students and PNB company members in PNB’s premiere production of Coppélia: Choreography by Alexandra Danilova and George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust (after Marius Petipa). Photo © Angela Sterling

    Franz

    Jerome Tisserand's Franz was perfectly executed. Like Rausch, he had a way drawing me in, making me feel almost as fed up with Swanilda's antics as he was. His attitude was a perfect blend of inflated ego meets young playboy looking for love.  After discovering that his love interest is only a doll, one would expect Franz to act a bit more sheepish over his foolish behavior. (I mean, seriously!) However, Tisserand remains true to character and Franz casually glosses over that "minor faux pas" with a sudden profession of love for Swanilda, which of course, she accepts.

    Dr. Coppelius

    Olivier Wevers deserved the standing ovation he received for his performance as the highly eccentric, slightly creepy, Dr. Coppelius. How it is Wevers can pull such multi-faceted characters out of his back pocket is beyond me! His Dr. Coppelius was a thrilling "yin and yang"; an absent-minded and lonely old man, whose walking stick doubles as a handy weapon against "the wild hooligans" of the town. But underneath that "grumpy old man" veneer lurks a borderline-fiendish soul.

    Honorable Mentions

    Act three's splendid cast also deserves special mention. I was most impressed by Carrie Imler's "Dawn" and Sarah Ricard Orza's "Prayer". These dancers gave equally passionate and exquisite performances. Imler was a vision of dazzling sunlight--bright, confident and striking.  Ricard Orza danced "Like a fairy tale princess!" (to quote the little one sitting next to me) with her flowing port de bras and delicate phrasing. The action-packed "Discord and War" featured Batkhurel Bold and Lindsi Dec entering the stage like wild flashes of lightning dressed in silvery armor. As always, the power behind these two striking  dancers takes your breath away. Their amazing turns and leaps were all done whilst holding long spears--none of which whacked anyone else nor made kabobs out of their thighs. (An acrobatic feat of epic proportions, especially when you consider how clumsy the rest of is--read: yours truly!--would be in the same situation.)

    PNB's Coppelia is filled with good natured humor, an outstanding cast, and delicious imagery. If you haven't yet made your way to McCaw Hall to catch the "Happiest Ballet on Earth!", I would highly suggest that you do so. Like...today!

    Coppelia runs from June 3rd-13th. Tickets are available by visiting PNB.org.

    By Denise Opper

    Media Relations

  • Stars of ABT Honor the Legendary Alicia Alonso

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    Alicia

    "Alicia Alonso {director of Ballet Nacional de Cuba} accepted the sold-out audience’s adoring ovation at the Metropolitan Opera House from a central box seat before Thursday night’s American Ballet Theatre performance. But one sensed that this legendary ballerina, being saluted by the company with an evening to celebrate her 90th birthday, would find her way to center stage, and she did, culminating the boisterous, rousing event....

    "Alonso (who actually turns 90 on Dec. 21) was a member of Ballet Theatre (as ABT was initially known) during its earliest years. Plagued by vision problems – over which she repeatedly triumphed -- since early in her career, she is now virtually blind. Celebrated for the distinctive stamp she put on the role of Giselle, she also performed in many new ballets during the 1940s...." Read the full article from the Los Angeles Times here.  And be sure to check out The New York Times' recent interview with the dance legend here.

  • By Popular Demand, Ailey Spirit Return to BAM Stage

     

    BAM2010_interior_pageThe Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is ready to thrill audiences during its Encore Season at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, June 10-20th. The twelve-performance showcase features two of the company's most beloved works: "Ailey Spirit" and "By Popular Demand".  For a special treat, check out this terrific interview with Ailey dancer, Yannick Lebrun!

  • PNB du Soleil - Former Principal Returns With Cirque

     

    Photo: Trapeze, courtesy OSA Images. Costume credit: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil

    Photo:

    The world-famous Cirque du Soleil returns to Redmond Washington's Marymoor Park with KOOZA, June 3-July 2.  Currently in its fourth year, KOOZA  "is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor." ~ Cirque du Soleil.com
     
    This visual masterpiece features the jaw-dropping talents of 53 artists, including acrobats, musicians and dancers. And speaking of dancers (wink-wink!), the program's artistic director, Adam Miller is a former principal with Pacific Northwest Ballet (1980-1986)!  Seriously, how cool is that?  You can read all about it here. 

     

     

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