Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Let Me Tell You What I Like About Iosifidi

Man, the Mariinsky dancers never stop. They never stop dancing.  And they play every role...including "Death" in Petit's almost-masterpiece "le jeune homme et la mort".  I don't think they have any say really.  No choice, no choice. 


I have said in the past - and regrettably on occasion without kindness - that Alexandra Iosifidi is too soft as a Chosen One and I continue to feel that way.  She is a ballerina, elegant, poised, every movement is present and the Chosen One needs to get absent, yeah?  Look she's not a "dance-yourself-to-death" kinda gal.

Yesterday though, I found this crappy clip of Iosifidi in "le jeune homme et la mort"...

Let me tell you what I like about Iosifidi

The softness works perfectly. It is as if she is dancing without awareness of anything but herself and occasionally reigning in "the boy".  

This particular moment above is almost motherly.  That is some dark sh*t and she wasn't trying and THAT'S the character!

Now, on YouTube, people are commenting that she "dances it too much" "smiles too openly" "doesn't smirk enough".

Addressing only the issue of how she dances too much... How many minutes can a woman strut with that dragging leg before it becomes comical? I can tell you how many minutes. 


After four minutes it is distracting.  After 6 it is Petit's "almost-masterpiece".  How ridiculous that there would be ballet in this thing and that someone would dance.

There are people who need to be told when to applaud. They need this very defined character to be redefined 30 or 40 times in a performance.  I used to know people like that.  In high school.

Iosifidi doesn't do this.  She seems almost restless in the one-dimensional areas of the choreography and so she dances and she smiles happily here and there and by not forcing the character of Death, she is creepy.  

This is a  juxtaposition I can live with.  This is working.

Marie-Agnes Gillot or, God preserve us,  Tamara Rojo use a lot of tricks with their face but those run out fast.  These and others - all fabulously filmed btw -  overstate the character from start to finish.  Too much sinister eye-squinting and siren slinking (made that up).  

We know from the TITLE that this woman is going to ruin him.   We know when we hit play or sit in the theater that she is the villain, she is a vamp she is a sadistic beautiful woman who likes to kill boys who love her. 

What's not to smile about?  Or dance about?

I think it is refreshing to see ballet in this ballet. All that Iosifidi-grace and removed Russian style make for a bad ass la Mort who doesn't sell it so hard...

because she knows we already bought it. 

Dropping the mic like a weirdo, 


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Let Me Tell You What I Like About Alba Tapia

I have a fondness for this badass ballerina -  a Chosen One who fought for the photos of her performance because she understood and loved the significance of that role.  But that does not influence my opinion of this famous death scene clip.

Let me tell you what I like about Alba Tapia in La Sylphide

There is no mood lighting.  There is no full orchestra.  This is a stark raving bright stage with a distractingly thin accompaniment.. And so that puts Alba in the tough position of conveying everything on her own in this heavy death scene and she is aware of it.

This could have easily gone off the rails.  If she tried too hard it would be like Lillian Gish. If she tried too little the scene would suck. See? Silent movie stuff.

Whether this is a live performance or a variations installment does not matter.  Alba holds the entire scene in her hands without smashing it and though classic ballets are not her niche,  she meets the spoiled ladies of La Sylphide on the road to ballet without flinching.

Yours for attention,


Sunday, July 8, 2018

When Ballet Attacks #4

Marie Chouinard.  That should be enough right there. 

This woman is off the rails.  I tried to get down with "body remix" but after an hour of trying to grasp the meaning of it I concluded there is none.  There is no depth, no secret to uncover in this shit show production.  No.  It's just Marie Chouinard uping the ante and whatever meaning may lie in this thing is nothing more than an inside joke which we have been left out of.    

I have my insecurities and wouldn't want to be left out of any inside thing...except this. 

I am cool with knowing nothing. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

When Ballet Attacks! #4

What should have been truly praised for being the first major dance company - Theatre du Corps - that incorporated street dancing and martial arts to an already progressive situation was just a complete shitshow of multi media overkill.

Marco Polo is a spectacular tale isn't it!  And so much detail in the telling.  Ballets have been done but this was new and it should have hit like a missile.  But it was too soon in the media game to go this big and the artwork, my god.  Just amateur and uncomfortable. 

This scene above in particular - was fantastic weaving 3 dance forms together and you don't see it because of the backdrop (Armand Amar's music of course, perfect).   Mostly everything is lost to the mistake of multi-media as an equal component to the organic, come on now.  Adding new media to an existing form of art is not a heavy handed event - it is experimental - you don't just throw a bucket of pixels at the wall and go nuts.

This show was such a loss.  And Pietra was some sort of after thought in the whole production but the thrill of it all - I think - caused them all to

It catapulted Derouault, that is for certain.  And they held back for a few years before attempting something like this again and though it is better, it is a comedy.  I could tell you why, but the horse died in the second paragraph.  

It was a big hit at the Shanghai Olympics anyway.


Friday, June 29, 2018

When Ballet Attacks! #2

New Zealand National Orchestra rehearsing what may be the most beautiful 60 seconds of music ever written, the finale to Stravinsky's "The Firebird". 

Enter this stupid play. Oh? It is choreography? What the hell?  It is the most anti-climactic thing I've ever seen on a stage with perhaps the exception of German performance art. And to the The Firebird closing minutes which are almost Divine at least angelic. Everytime I look at this I feel a little less guilty about slapping Fokine's  great-granddaughter in her face at a German bar .  Okay no I didn't do that but it was funny right ?

This choreography  is like the equivalent of watching people loading groceries into a minivan. 

The end.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

When Ballet Attacks! #1

Zenaida Yanowsky. 

She chooses to end her career as a dancer with some various performances.  This is one of them which begs the question:  does she even want  to be remembered?

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Best of Millicent #2

(Millicent w/ Rio dancers photo Ken Archer)

Much props to Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro for keeping their focus on Le Sacre even though the future is unpredictable. And they have had the shit kicked out of them.

Watch Millicent willing Priscilla Albuquerque  with her own body.  Left side, half way up the frame. See it? How do people like Millicent Hodson and Ken Archer maintain excitement in the rehearsal process?  The 1987 Joffrey (and subsequent Joffrey corp) were the jewel of the reconstruction.  

I am certain there is frustration and have seen a glimpse but not here with this company.  If you were to go to Facebook and look up dancers currently in the corp de ballet, there will be at least one post-show or rehearsal photo of Nijinsky's Sagracao.  At least one photo with Millicent and Kenneth. See? There are SIX Chosen Ones in this photo!

From Monica Barbosa, TMRJ:  Carlos Cabral, Elida Brum, Carol Fernandes, Aloani Bastos, Rita Martins, Priscilla Albuquerque, Rachel Ribeiro, Samantha Monteiro, Priscilla Mota, Flavia Carlos, Margheritta Tostes, Deborah Ribeiro, Thayara Camellot, Marcella Gil, Viviane Barreto, Renata Gouveie Kraszcuk, Renata Oares, Karen Mesquita, Juliana Valadao, Alessandra do Valle. F

TMRJ is so truly invested in this VERY difficult ballet that it seems all the more cruel for their thread bare government to make such monumental decisions on art and culture. 

Keep killing it Rio.  You have Nijinsky in the wings and Millicent in your corner.  

(And me in the archive.)

How great is this, yeah?  Rehearsing with the orchestra - which clearly needs it.  Did you ever see the video of Rachel Ribeiro being tortured by the orchestra for 4 minutes! She hung in there I do not know how.  Tough girl.

I think these are video of Karen Mesquita and Viviane Barreto (I have had no communication with them to be certain).