"Firebird" tag
Cesar Morales.© Andres Cabezas. (Click image for larger version)

Cesar Morales – Principal Dancer, Birmingham Royal Ballet

So how did a good Chilean boy end up dancing ballet in Europe…

Sara Mearns and Jared Angle in Swan Lake.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – La Sonnambula, Prodigal Son, Firebird, Allegro Brillante, Swan Lake, Four Temperaments – New York

★★★★✰   Sara Mearns, who made her name as Swan Queen at the age of nineteen, is still the most thrilling Odette around.

Daniil Simkin and Blaine Hoven in Alexei Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato’s Symposium.© Marty Sohl. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, Symphonic Variations, Brahms-Haydn Variations + Fall Gala – New York

★★★★✰   A second look at Alexei Ratmansky’s Serenade after Plato’s Symposium confirms the impression formed last season. It is a fascinating work that represents a new direction for the choreographer.

Skylar Brandt and Duncan Lyle in The Golden Cockerel publicity image.© Fabrizio Ferri. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – The Golden Cockerel – New York

★★★★✰   American Ballet Theatre’s spring season has turned into a kind of voyage into the mind of Alexei Ratmansky, its choreographer-in-residence since 2009.

American Ballet Theatre in Ratmansky's Serenade after Plato’s Symposium.© Rosalie O'Connor. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Spring Gala – New York

★★★★✰   It isn’t often that a gala program proves satisfying, but this one was the exception.

San Francisco Ballet School students in the Waltz of the Hours from Balanchine's Coppélia.© Erik Tomasson. (Click image for larger version)

San Francisco Ballet – Opening Night Gala – San Francisco

★★★✰✰ By way of a défilé, the evening opened with the “Waltz of the Hours” from Balanchine and Danilova’s Coppélia …Soloist Jennifer Stahl led two dozen girls from the SFB School, adorable in cotton-candy tutus.

National Ballet of China in the Red Detachment of Women.© National Ballet of China. (Click image for larger version)

National Ballet of China – Peony Pavilion, Red Detachment of Women – New York

The National Ballet of China dancers are beautifully trained, surprisingly tall, willowy – even the men – and delicately featured.

The Rite of Spring: Running out of the "Joyful Jump".© Kenneth Archer. (Click image for larger version)

Sagraçamba: The Rite in Rio

Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer first put their reconstruction of “The Rite of Spring” on Rio de Janeiro Ballet in 1995. This year they went back to put it on again – this is what happened…

Misty Copeland and Alexandre Hammoudi in Romeo and Juliet.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – Romeo and Juliet (Copeland/Hammoudi) – New York

The million-dollar question for any dancer on the cusp is this: can they carry an evening-length story ballet? The answer, on the evidence of Copeland’s début in Romeo and Juliet, is yes.

Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant in Push, taken in 2005. From a John Ross Gallery of 6 images.© John Ross.

2014 Dance Memories – London

Lynette Halewood with her personal selection of London dance memories this last year…

Gonzalo Garcia and NYCB, opening section of Ratmansky's Pictures at an Exhibition.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version

New York City Ballet – Ratmansky’s Pictures at an Exhibition premiere – New York

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, is there a ballet choreographer working today who is more imaginative, more wholly himself, than Alexei Ratmansky?

Tiler Peck in Theme and Variations.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Tchaikovsky & Balanchine, Stravinsky & Balanchine bills – New York

One cannot help but be amazed by the number of exceptional women in the company, and by how differently they approach the steps, the music and the temperament of each ballet.

Akram Khan and ENB dancers in Khan's Dust.© Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

English National Ballet – Lest We Forget: No Man’s Land, Second Breath, Dust, Firebird – London

Dust is a resounding success for Khan as creator, Rojo as artistic director and both as performers.

Herman Cornejo.© Manuel de Los Galanes. (Click image for larger version)

Interview: Herman Cornejo – American Ballet Theatre – Principal

Well, performing for me is really about that experience of giving to the audience. In the studio you work and perfect things, you collaborate with your partner, but for me it’s about what happens on the stage, the ability to give something, to your partner, to the audience.

Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes in Alexei Ratmansky's Symphony #9.© Gene Schiavone. (Click image for larger version)

American Ballet Theatre – New Ratmansky, Symphony #9 – New York

Tonight’s premiere of Ratmansky’s newest work for American Ballet Theatre, Symphony #9, was cause for celebration. In fact, it left me feeling almost lightheaded, and terribly eager to see it again, as soon as possible.

Joaquin de Luz and Megan Fairchild in Divertimento from 'Le Baiser de la Fée'.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Stravinsky/Balanchine Firebird quad bill – New Work

The highlight of the program was the seldom-performed Divertimento from “Le Baiser de la Fée”. It is a deceptively shadowy work, a fairy tale in the guise of a conventional divertissement.

Justin Peck.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

Interview: Justin Peck – New York City Ballet – Dancer and Choreographer

“It’s very lonely out there… I mean, it would be nice to have some sort of mentorship with regard to what it takes to be a choreographer.”

Elana Altman – San Francisco Ballet – Soloist

Muriel [Maffre] was an inspiration for me because she got so many great roles even though she was tall. After she retired I started to get some of her old parts.

Ashley Bouder in Firebird.© Paul Kolnik. (Click image for larger version)

New York City Ballet – Concerto Barocco, Kammermusik No. 2, Firebird, Symphony in C – Saratoga Springs

After the dreary bombast of Alexei Ratmansky’s recent Firebird for American Ballet Theatre, the Balanchine/Robbins version, with its blessedly shorter score (Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite), heavenly Chagall designs and the great Ashley Bouder in one of her first great roles, was a welcome palliative.

American Ballet Theatre – Firebird, Thirteen Diversions, Apollo – New York

Sometimes the second time is the charm. This seems to be especially true when it comes to new ballets by Alexei Ratmansky. Often, they’re not easy to take in on first viewing, indigestible as an over-rich meal. But then, something in us changes, our eye evolves.

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