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Monthly Archives: November 2010

  • Review: Pacific Northwest Ballet's Nutcracker

    Snow on stage!  Pacific Northwest Ballet dancers in the Kent Stowell/Maurice Sendak Nutcracker.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Snow

    For more than 50 years, Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” has been an American holiday tradition. The Pacific Northwest Ballet continues to make their exclusive Stowell & Sendak Nutcracker production a warm and delightfully magical onset to our wintry festivities by exuding the finest artistry from the scenic and lighting design to the richly animated choreography, and of course, the musical compositions performed by sixty-five of the most talented musicians. Nevertheless, what made this story come to life were the dancers and their interpretation of ETA Hoffman’s characters.

    The cast for the opening night of PNB’s Nutcracker included a number of the company’s finest dancers along with several of its own Pacific Northwest Ballet School students. The audience reveled in watching the young students inherit the stage of McCaw Hall, some for the first time. The innocent and uninhibited way they captured the essence of Hoffman’s characters was remarkable and enchanting.

    Among the professional cast, Batkhurel Bold’s representation of the Prince is passionately strong and daringly dynamic. Perfectly paired with Bold was Carla Körbes. She captivated our hearts with her exquisite and gentle adaptation of Clara. Olivier Wevers delivered an outstanding performance as his magnetic personality encapsulated that of Drosselmeyer/Pasha. Ariana Lallone was brilliantly flawless in her transcendental presentation of the Peacock. Carrie Imler was powerfully breathtaking in Waltz of the Flowers. Her performance was an absolute treasure to behold. PNB’s company of dancers executed each step with such vitality and sincerity, the evening concluded with a blissful aspiration for more.

    Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer Carla Körbes as Clara in PNB's Stowell/Sendak Nutcracker.  Photo © Angela Sterling

    Pacific

    Pacific Northwest Ballet’s vivid adaptation of this childhood storybook re-establishes a dreamlike imagination in audience members of all ages. Performances will run from November 26th until December 27, 2010. Come and enjoy the magic of Stowell & Sendak’s Nutcracker.

    For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit PNB.org.

    Review By: Amanda Calderon

    Vala Dancewear / Class Act Tutu Associate

  • Istanbul Welcomes Pink Floyd Ballet

    Pink_FloydWho says classic rock and ballet don't mix? This weekend, Istanbul welcomes the Italian La Scala Theatre's Pink Floyd Ballet. 

    The ballet was produced in the mid-1960s by choreographer Roland Petit at his daughter’s request to make a ballet on Pink Floyd songs. Her request seemed impossible to him at first but later on Petit thought that it might be possible and produced the ballet.

    “My daughter was then 12 years old,” Petit recently told daily Hürriyet. “One day she made me listen to Pink Floyd and asked me to produce a ballet show on its music. I told her that it was a dream but she insisted. I liked Pink Floyd but it seemed a very extreme idea to merge modern rock music with ballet composition. It was so bizarre that we could not even imagine the reaction of audiences. But we had a very big success.” ~ TurkishForum.com

    Read more about this artistic merger and its Turkish debut here.

  • Angelina Ballerina + Dizzy Feet Foundation Launch Children's PSA Campaign

    Nigel Lythgoe and Angelina Ballerina helped present the first national scholarship from the Dizzy Feet Foundation and the Angelina Ballerina Stars of Tomorrow Program and debut new public service announcements that promote the benefits of dance for kids at a special event at the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in Bronx, NY, on November 18, 2010.

    Nigel

    HIT Entertainment's Angelina Ballerina™ Stars of Tomorrow Program (AB Stars) and Dizzy Feet Foundation unveiled a Public Service Announcement campaign on November 18 starring Angelina Ballerina™ and Dizzy Feet founding members designed to encourage children's awareness of and enthusiasm for dance. The initial two PSAs, positioned to encourage the aspirations of promising young dancers, feature Angelina Ballerina alongside Dizzy Feet founding members, including "So You Think You Can Dance" and "American Idol" executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, director/producer Adam Shankman, and "Dancing with the Stars" judge Carrie Ann Inaba. The AB Stars Program and Dizzy Feet Foundation also partnered to present the first scholarships to young dancers showing exceptional promise as they pursue their dancing dreams.

    To view the full Press Release and watch the public service announcement, please click here.

  • ABT's Company B

    American Ballet Theatre dancers in "Company B," a retro-themed work that is effervescent, but not simply an exercise in nostalgia. Photo Credit: Rosalie O' Connor

    American

    “A tribute to the generation that fought in World War II, “Company B” takes its title from an accompanying big band medley by the Andrews Sisters. Their sassy “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” was a hit in 1941; the bugle boy was drafted again a half-century later, in 1991, when Taylor made his dance a wake-up call for audiences.

    "There is this overriding enthusiasm, constantly bubbling to the surface,” says Patrick Corbin, the celebrated Taylor dancer who staged the work for ABT. Snapping fingers and jazzy articulations give “Company B” its period feel. What gives it lasting impact, though, is its depiction of young people gaily showing a brave face to tragedy. ~ NJ.com

    {I now have a sudden urge to hear, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", what about you? :) } Further details about this "modern classic" can be found here.

  • Legendary Russian Ballerina Still Has What it Takes

    Maya Plisetskaya. Photo: RIA Novosti

    Maya

    "Prominent Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya is turning 85. Jubilee celebrations honoring the great dancer will be held both in Paris and Moscow in December.

    One may think it was a miracle but Maya Plisetskaya was actively performing on the stage until her 70th birthday, the age when most prima ballerinas would have long retired. She even danced Maurice Bejart’s “Ave Maya” as part of her own 80th birthday celebrations, becoming the first ever example of phenomenal creative longevity." The Voice of Russia

    Okay, let me get this straight. She performed during her own 80th birthday celebration?! That's amazing!!! To read more about this extraordinary dancer, please click here.

  • A Royal Academy First - Degas' Dancers Exhibit

    Two-Dancers-in-the-Studio-I"Degas Dancers: Eye and Camera will bring together 75 works comprising paintings, photography, pastel drawings and sculpture. It will hail him as an artist ahead of his time, whose work incorporated and was influenced by early film-making and photography.

    "As everybody knows, Degas is the artist most associated with dance. But, rather surprisingly, there has never been an exhibition in Britain devoted exclusively to Degas' dancers," said curator Ann Dumas." ~ The Telegraph

    More information about the exhibit can be found here.

  • Dance in a Click

    To the Nth Degree Lucia Lacarra makes angles with Alen Bottaini in Hans van Manen's 5 Tangos. Photo credit: Tamas Nagy, courtesy TenduTV

    Lucia

    At last! High quality downloadable dance videos in the palm of your hand!

    "On Wednesday, the New York-based distributor of dance programming TenduTV announced that a select group of dance performances and movement-based short films will be among the initial offerings, available in December, for download on Apple's online service.

    Though the upcoming titles may not have the reach of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the announcement marks an important step for dance, said Marc Kirschner, the general manager and founder of TenduTV.

    "This is about making the work accessible to audiences —accessible in away that delivers quality," he said, adding that the distribution also means more support for artists. "Dance was never able to develop a secondary revenue stream." Wall Street Journal.com

    Read all about this exciting development via the Wall Street Journal Online here and Time Out Chicago here.

  • A Beginner's Guide to Boston Ballet

    Principal dancer Kathleen Breen Combes by Rosalie O'ConnorIf you're in the Boston area and new to the ballet {and let's face it, many Nutcracker attendees are!}, then check out this handy Beginner's Guide, courtesy of Boston University. "The version of The Nutcracker that the Boston Ballet stages is choreographed by the company’s Finnish artistic director Mikko Nissinen. It stays true to the original story and structure, but has more of a showy flair than more classical versions. Nissinen has been the artistic director since 2001 and is credited with rejuvenating the then-ailing company, adding a lot of contemporary works to the repertoire." Quote: BU Quad.com

    Check out the rest of this fun, informative guide here.

  • Nutcracker Tweet

    22314725_240X180The social media savvy folks at Nashville Ballet have come up with a positively genius idea! "Four of the Nashville Ballet’s most beloved holiday characters are joining the social media site Twitter in hopes of connecting with their fans.

    Clara, Mouse King, Nutcracker and Sugar Plum Fairy have decided to jump on the social media bandwagon by signing up for their own individual Twitter accounts. Through the site, they’ll reveal what happens to the case before the curtain rises and after it falls.

    “Fans will have an opportunity to learn what makes Nashville’s Nutcracker so unique directly from the characters themselves,” said Nashville Ballet Artistic Director and CEO Paul Vasterling in a news release. Four of the Nashville Ballet’s most beloved holiday characters are joining the social media site Twitter in hopes of connecting with their fans." WSMV TV.com

    Pretty "tweet", huh? :) For more details about what each of these fine characters will be sharing and to follow them on Twitter, please click here.

  • Ballet BC Says "Bye-Bye" to Tutus

    Photo courtesy Ballet BC

    Photo

    Here's something you don't see everyday: "On a dark, chilly fall Vancouver morning, Ballet BC executive director Jay Rankin spent two hours handing out tutus in the rain – a declaration that the company is not in the ballets-in-tutus business any more. (...) Ballet BC launches its first full season this week since returning from the brink of bankruptcy in 2008. Led by artistic director Emily Molnar, it has rebranded itself as a contemporary ballet company." Quote: The Globe and Mail 

    Read the rest of the story here. {Be sure to watch the fun video clip, too!}

    What do you make of this transition? Are balletomanes craving more contemporary works? Are classical works -- and their tutus -- destined to fall by the wayside in the midst of a changing social atmosphere? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We'd love to hear from you!

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