the danceview times
Volume 4, Number 2 January 16, 2006 The weekly online supplement to DanceView magazine
"La petite danseuse de Degas" (choreography by Patrice Bart) and
By Marc Haegeman
The Paris Opera Ballet ended the year with two different programmes playing simultaneously in two theatres in town. Patrice Bart’s La petite danseuse de Degas (Degas’ Little Dancer) entered its second run at the Palais Garnier, while Rudolf Nureyev’s Swan Lakenow well over its 200th performance since its creation in 1984was shown again at the Bastille.
“The Sleeping Beauty”
Given that Anton Dolin had mounted “Princess Aurora” for the early days of American Ballet Theatre comprising extracts from the first and last scenes of “The Sleeping Beauty”it is surprising that he neglected this ballet when forming and running London Festival Ballet from 1950. I seem to remember only “Bluebird” with John Gilpin and Alicia Markova; maybe Dolin felt he would need a larger troupe to challenge Sadler’s Wells Ballet on what had become its own ground. So it was not until 1967, under Donald Albery’s consolidating directorship, that Festival acquired a full “Beauty”, staged by Ben Stevenson and Beryl Grey. Eight years later Grey, now director, replaced this with Rudolf Nureyev’s much grander treatment, which was perhaps too demanding and too expensive to maintainalso, not everyone liked it.
“Aristophones in Birdonia”
by Susan Reiter
Admirers of Valda Setterfield (and is there anyone who is not?) have a new addition to the treasure trove of her memorable, distinctive performances this one-of-a-kind dancer/actress has given over the decades. In David Gordon’s nimble, updated version of Aristophanes’ comedy from 414 B.C., Setterfield oversees the proceedings in a homespun version of Greek robes, a grey wig that looks like someone tossed a mop over her head, and plastic silver sandals. The ever-willing muse and co-conspirator of Gordon in his free-wheeling yet sharply targeted amalgams of movement and speech, she manages here to be both commonsensical and daffyboth a measured voice of reason and the epitome of eccentricity.
"Women on the Way"
"Women on the Way" (in its 6th year) presents a three-week smorgasbord of dance, theater, comedy and music created by women. (Last year it has broadened its programming to include transgender artists.) Nine groups or individuals perform in various combinations, two to four each evening, over the twelve performance span of this festival. It has given me a chance to see work that that has intrigued me while also being introduced to work I didn't already know.
by Leigh Witchel
There were new swans making their debut at New York City Ballet this weekend. At the two evening performances, one claimed the role the moment she flew onto the stage. The other had to fight for it.
The Youngest Swan
by Tom Phillips
It’s not fair to thrust an unknown young performer into a role meant for a master of the art, but that rule has never applied at New York City Ballet, where baby ballerinas are the speciality of the house. It’s not fair except when it works; and thankfully it worked well enough on Saturday, when 20-year-old Sara Mearns stepped up from the obscure ranks of the corps de ballet to dance Odette/Odile in “Swan Lake.” Her debut was notable not for technical brilliance, but for something rarer on the NYCB stagean instinctive sense of drama and character.
Dance on Camera
Dance on Camera Festival
by Susan Reiter
One certainly can’t fault the range of dance films assembled for this annual event, co-presented by the Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, at the intimate and comfortable Walter Reade Theater. The first four days (January 4 7) of the festivalfurther screenings are scheduled for January 10, 13 and 14included several feature-length films as well as shorts as brief as ten minutes. The seven programs I caughtexactly half of the festival’s generous offering of 14were heavy on documentaries, but within that category there were a wide range of approaches, from the meticulously chronological to the impressionistic.
The Drama's in the Dance
"Bringing Balanchine Back"
by Lisa Rinehart
In 2003 it was hastily decided the New York City Ballet would be part of the White Nights festivities celebrating the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg. With only two months to prepare for the trip, it was a leap of faith on management’s part to allow filmmaker Richard Blanshard along to document the event. After all, the company had not been seen in the city of Balanchine’s birth for 31 years and Russian audiences are famously discriminating when it comes to dance. What would the Russians think of dozens of leggy, neo-classical dancers trotting about on the hallowed boards of the Marinsky Theater? What would American dancers, too young to have known Balanchine, make of the beautiful city he came from? And, how would this unwieldy group of performers, pianists, technicians, ballet masters and therapists, get themselves organized for the grueling nine day schedule planned?
Copyright © 2006 by DanceView