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April 29, 2021

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Thanks, Haglund...but let’s not get too excited.

Dig into the full schedule https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/season-announcement/ballet-dance/?fbclid=IwAR0j0_WdgrZMgMlWlGoI5KszrUlrgscWwFGpQbYPQiw5V5sj8CrGsl4wOA4
...and the picture is not pink clouds, tutus and tiaras.

JEWELS by the Mariinsky is the saving grace! Then...NYCB in only MIDSUMMER which DC has seen multiple times? No NYCB mixed bill? ABT DON Q & a triple bill that includes AR’s BERNSTEIN IN A BUBBLE and a Jessica Lang (not the creaky-voiced Tony Bennett?). No thanks!

And THREE Nutcrackers: MCB In the Balanchine, then Dorrance in a tap version...then National Ballet of China in February, with what we can all see on YouTube right now? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4ETLlviwV3E


This KC season is full of Wokeness, culminating in a “Reframing the Narrarive” festival that explores blackness in ballet.
https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/explore-by-genre/ballet/2021-2022/reframing-narrative/
AND, unlike in the past, when the Ballet and Dance subscriptions were separate, ballet lovers are being forced to buy modern dance events such as Kyle Abraham’s company?! No way, Jose!!! Our household will save money & buy event-specific tix just for the Mariinsky & maybe an ABT DQ, depending on casting.

Thanks for the info Haglund. We're definitely going to DC for Jewels.

As for the rest of it, reframing the narrative is quite a euphemism for lowering the bar, dropping the floor, poisoning the well, etc.

No one in America seems willing or able to stand up to the mob. Nice art you got there, be a shame if something happened to it . . .

Correction: Looking at the full brochure, I see that NYCB will indeed present a contemporary triple bill by Jamar Roberts, Sidra Bell & Peck, beside Midsummer Dream. Whoopdee doo!

Jeannette, couldn't agree more. Very well said!

Thanks, Silvia. I’m too old & passionate a balletomane to keep quiet. We have only so many days and seasons on this earth to see quality ballet, performed as it should. I refuse to waste time and money on mediocrity.

In a similar vein, the Sarasota Ballet - so famous for its big Frederick Ashton Rep - just announced its 2021/22 season (in theatre). I fell off my chair as I read that it has programmed only one relatively-minor Ashton ballet during the entire season! It’s Valses Nobles, a 16-minute ballet that was just streamed. I want to see more Ashton recons before I die and used to love planning my trips to Sarasota. Guess I’ll be saving money there, too.

Hopefully I’ll be taking my travel dollars elsewhere in the US or abroad next year. Definitely going to NYCB in NY for Maria’s farewell. Looking forward to reading other companies’ plans, e.g., I’ve become a Pennsylvania Ballet fan due to their terrific digital seasons. PNB in Seattle, too. Maybe they’ll reprogram their historic Giselle, which was cancelled due to COVID? Or...go to Miami for the Ratmansky Swan Lake recon?

There’s still plenty of hope for some interesting ballet travel in 2021/22.

Interesting reading people's reaction to the programs being announced. Going to the Ballet is expensive! We seek out quality - not ways to make a political statement.

I will watch with interest how the Australian Ballet (TAB) proceeds under David Hallberg. I went to New York Dialects in Sydney. This included Serenade and The Four Temperaments (Balanchine) plus a new commission called Watermark by New Yorker Pam Tanowitz. I enjoyed the Balanchine pieces but yet to find anyone who liked Tanowitz's work. I know Hallberg has commissioned a new work by a local choreographer so hopefully that is how things will go into the future. At the end of the day however it is Romeo & Juliet that will get me in the door this season and draw the big crowds.

As commented above, ballet fans will seek out and spend their money on the companies that are committed to quality. I am looking forward to travelling to see The Royal NZ Ballet's Giselle this year and maybe a Queensland Ballet production. We have choices!

Sadly, one of the biggest factors in ballet's abandonment of classical work is the inability of choreographers to work effectively within the syntax and vocabulary of the art form. Stringing words is not the same as constructing meaningful sentences. When the guiding factors of a so-called ballet are whether its clips will bring new followers on Instagram, whether it postures as politically important, whether it checks all the Wokephile Boxes, whether it provides the artist with a false sense of his/her own worldly importance, and whether people can achieve media celebrity by attaching themselves to it in some way -- the artistic effort becomes excremental.

Making a new classical ballet is just too hard. It's much easier for directors to go find choreographers who know little or in some cases nothing about ballet and claim that they are "moving the art form forward" -- one of the most tired, meaningless phrases that drools out of directors' mouths in defense of so-called ballets made by Tanowitz, Abraham, Miller and other false prophets.

Much admiration and gratitude to the Mariinsky.

Kennedy Center audiences will indeed get a treat with the Mariinsky performing Jewels. A couple of years ago they brought it to Los Angeles and it was divine!

Elizabeth, let's hope that spring 2022 isn't a one-stop tour for them! We'd like to see them in New York, too. LA, Chicago, Miami, Houston, and many other US cities would love to host them as well.

OMG, announced this morning: Houston Ballet will present the full Jewels Feb 24 through Mar 6!

https://preview.houstonchronicle.com/dance/houston-ballet-announces-new-season-to-start-in-16140002

Yes, Houston! A classy and substantial line-up.

The Mariinski did Jewels in LA back in Oct 2019, was excellent. Now we are getting Misty and more woke. Heaven help us
https://www.musiccenter.org/tmc-offstage/inside-look-misty-copeland-dada-masilo/
I've been getting my classic Ashton, MacMillan from ROH streaming. Luckily they will continue streaming some performances even though they are opening live.

Like Christina, I've been happy to see Ashton and MacMillan streams by the ROH, especially viewing Ashton's Symphonic Variations for the first time. Wow! These have been lifesavers for me! I've also delighted in watching the recent streams of the Pennsylvania ballet with well-chosen ballets and dancers in beautiful form. I'm happy to learn that the Royal will continue these streams when they reopen again. I cannot afford to travel often and pay for ballet tickets, and choices/frequency are limited in my area. While seeing a live performance is my preference, being able to see streaming of quality ballet is appreciated.

Early into the pandemic I found Marquee streaming service. Very reasonably priced and I think they are still offering a discount. They've shown quite a bit of ROH, Bolshoi, English national Ballet among others. I'm seeing performances I would never have been able to see live. We're lucky to have this technology particularly at this time. I just downloaded the Paris Opera Ballet La Source. Never heard of it before.

Thanks Jeannette.

I wasn't going to say anything (because I'm already the gloom-and-doomsayer here) but I wasn't going to scream huzzahs about NYCB's coming back to life because wokeness.

I'm not pulling punches anymore. Wokeness will be the death of American ballet, and perhaps British and French, and it's happening with a vengeance.

We'll just have to depend on the Russians to keep the flame until the woke tremor has passed, which it will.

"Making a new classical ballet is just too hard."

Yes - and I've said this before, and I will say it again. Balanchine took the plotless ballet to a marvelous peak, and we're all stranded there. He was a great storyteller, too. He cut his teeth telling stories.

Young choreographers should go back to that well. Tell some stories. I would love to see an anti-war ballet and no, it doesn't have to be some dull preachy thing (think Kurt Jooss). Or perhaps the opioid epidemic. I could easily see this presented in dance. Or gangs. (Um, Jerome Robbins anyone?)

Just because Balanchine went in the plotless direction doesn't mean everyone has to.

I started following The Royal Ballet with the world-ballet-day classes several years ago, and have continued the indulgence with all of the rehearsals, etc. Because of this I now follow THEM and and NOT Kevin's mess of egos and woke crap. I just cant with Calvin R as principal and Blaine still a soloist! How demoralizing that must be for the WORTHY. It has been a joy to watch RB dancers grow and excel over the years in reality instead of on instagrab . . .
I wasn't able to find the link, but there is a full length Bayadere on youtube with Nella and Vadim from 2019 which is beautiful, and where it is lovely to see the dancers from classes and rehearsals in performance mode. The 1977 Giselle act II with Misha, his first untethered grand jete and the gasps that followed . . . sorry . . . just day dreaming about the old ABT and artistry . . .

Sorry, another comment. I clicked on the links Jeannette helpfully provided (here it is again):

https://www.kennedy-center.org/whats-on/explore-by-genre/ballet/2021-2022/reframing-narrative/

It begins:

"In the spirit of Sankofa, in order to understand our present and ensure our future, we must know our past."

Not knowing what Sankofa is, I looked it up.

"Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The literal translation of the word and the symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind."

https://www.berea.edu/cgwc/the-power-of-sankofa/

Facepalm. Would anyone call a word in the English language a "European" word? Why do they use a word from one tribe to represent something African? Africa is an enormous, diverse continent.

This is the kind of well-meaning condescension that goes into the ruinous pseudo-cult of Wokeness.

"Just because Balanchine went in the plotless direction doesn't mean everyone has to." Diana, I completely agree. Not everyone has to. Not everyone can.

For my 21-22 NYCB subscription, I plan to switch out tickets for new works. For me, it isn't about "wokeness." It's about wanting to feel comfort in the tried and true works. It's been so long since seeing ballet in person. I don't want to feel that any of my dollars are in peril of being wasted. I suspect I'm not alone.

I do hope Mariinsky makes it to New York for Jewels.

LOL, Diana! Just as when the Wokes dress-up in Kente-cloth garments as a general tribute to all “Africans”!!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kente_cloth

Ghana is just one country in all of Africa! I did not see Kente when I worked in Ethiopia or Botswana.

In the spirit of Sankofa, I threw my Kennedy Center subscription mailer into the garbage can. That was one big envelope with two thin b&w slips of paper...they didn’t even have the decency of including the usual slick color brochure in the mailing but, rather, direct us to a website to read the details!

Jeannette,

Personally, I like kente cloth, but I'd never wear it for fear of being accused of cultural appropriation. /wink/

I am fascinated by Ethiopia and have done a lot of reading about it in the last few months. It's as similar to Ghana as Poland is to Sicily.

Fay,

I love the tried and true but I also love the out there and daring. But about tried and true, why doesn't someone get Nijinska's brilliant ballets out of mothballs? Two for the price of one: tried and true, woman, and genius. Oh, that's three.

Exactly, Haglund. Or...since it’s Cinco de Mayo...like comparing Mexico and my Puerto Rico. (I never had a taco - never SAW a taco - until I visited the U.S. mainland in my late teens!)

I, too, wish that Nijinska ballets would be performed nowadays. Her archives are at the Library of Congress. I’d love to know if there’s enough film record or other docs to revive Les Cent Baisers or other lost treasures. I’ve only seen Les Noces, Les Biches, Train Bleu and Bolero. So much effort to discovering female choreographers. How about rediscovering a great one?

Mariinsky's Jewels was great when the company performed it in LA in October 2019. As I understand it, Peter Martins was one of the coaches. I don't mind seeing it again at the KC; the company has perfect soloists for all three parts. I expect that Mariinsky will make a stop in Orange County or LA in late 2022 or early 2023. Wouldn't it be great if they could bring Ratmansky's "The Pharaoh's Daughter"? Since many new Ratmasnky's ballets premiered in Orange County plus his Nutcracker now has its home base there I'd think he has some established relationship with the Segerstrom Center.

Yes Dreamer- hopefully the Mariinsky will come back to Southern California. I would LOVE for them to bring The Pharoah's Daughter!!! Isn't that a Pierre Lacotte ballet? The costumes are so beautiful in that ballet.

Elizabeth;

Lacotte staged "The Pharaoh's Daughter" for the Bolshoi but Mariinsky is going to have its own version by Alexei Ratmansky. The premier is planned for December of this year.

Dreamer,

Thank you for the clarification. That will be wonderful to have a new Ratmansky full length. Yes, hopefully they will bring it to California for us to enjoy.

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