Balanchine

Profile of a Great Ballet: La Valse

Posted by on 04.01.2013

Profile of a Great Ballet: La Valse

George Balanchine’s La Valse has been a staple of Miami City Ballet’s repertoire for years.  Not only have we performed this excellent work all across South Florida, we waltzed on the Parisian stage where the music premiered in 1920.  Since performing this ballet in a beautiful theater with such history, this Balanchine work has become incredibly close to our hearts. I recently decided to delve more into the story and premise in order to have a more complete understanding of Balanchine’s vision.  He choose to create a plot within this 30 minute work, but as is often the case with Balanchine choreography, the story is complex and open for...

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Profile of a Great Ballet: Apollo

Posted by on 01.19.2013

Profile of a Great Ballet: Apollo

I am ashamed to admit it, but until the beginning of this season, I had never seen George Balanchine’s Apollo. OK, well maybe I had seen it, but I had never really seen it.  Life changed for me on that Thursday evening sitting in the house of Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it gave me a whole new respect for Balanchine’s choreography (and if you are a regular reader, you know I am already a big fan.) The morning after my first real viewing of Apollo, I sat with my coffee and my Balanchine books to study up on the ballet’s story and history before seeing it again that evening.  I...

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Timeless Pieces of Art.

Posted by on 09.12.2011

Timeless Pieces of Art.

The Mona Lisa sits in the Louvre in Paris and attracts over 6 million visitors a year.  The famously mysterious painting was created by Leonardo di Vinci circa 1503–1519.  The Mona Lisa, along with the 35,000 other works of art housed within the Louvre’s walls, are undeniably timeless. But would you limit the “timeless pieces of art” category to only paintings and sculptures?  What about ballets?  Full-length classical ballets are still appreciated in the 21st century though they are obviously dated.  Yet other choreography seems to be able to stand the test of time more effectively.  Specifically, what is it about Balanchine ballets that allow...

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Questions with Bart IV

Posted by on 08.10.2011

Questions with Bart IV

Questions with Bart returns for another round! These questions were sent to me by a great lover of ballet who often comes to Miami City Ballet performances. He has a wonderful appreciation for what we do, and has a great understanding of the ballets we perform. Here is his fourth question: The issue of speed: essential to Balanchine, but not everyone’s natural gift. How do you work on it? Does it ever come naturally? This is a subset of the issue of adagio-v-allegro. Most dancers I know are more comfortable with, and capable of greater artistry in one or the other. How does one compensate?   This question comes at a perfect time: after our successful...

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Publicizing Ballet.

Posted by on 04.15.2011

As I was reading Suzanne Farrell’s book, “Holding On to The Air”, an interesting passage caught my attention.  Ms. Farrell talks about the publicity that a new Balanchine ballet would generate.  She says that Balanchine did not like to give the press backstage information, as he believed that it ruined the magic of the stage; the details of the dancer’s lives should not be laid out for the public to see.  He wanted the audience to see the dancers as elusive people they could only know through dance. Publicity and press has changed a great deal since Balanchine’s time.  Now we have the internet, social media, and blogs where we can...

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Encompassing the Role of Sleepwalker.

Posted by on 01.20.2011

A couple weeks ago I received a question on my Tumblr about the challenges faced by the ballerinas who dance the Sleepwalker in George Balanchine’s La Sonnambula.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ballet, the Sleepwalker catches the attention of the principal man (The Poet) as she enters the stage.  This woman wanders around her husband’s mansion like a ghost, entranced, with her hair down and a lit candle in hand. The man begins to dance with the Sleepwalker and attempts to wake her, but to no avail.  This role is very complex, not to mention technically difficult. So in order to better understand what goes into this role, I asked one of the...

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