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Monday, May 01, 2006

The beauty of a good review

Part of being a ballet major at Indiana University is teaching ballet classes to non-major students. One of the requirements for their classes is that they come see us perform and write a review. After each show we get snippets of their reviews. Some of what I just received in my mail box cant be simply deleted. Whether the views are what people would consider traditionally correct or not the bare honesty with which people express themselves is so refreshing, I think it has to be shared. The pictures are not from IU's production.

Paquita
"Not that I can really critique a great choreographer, but I thought it was a little silly to have a dozen dancers on stage attempting to do penchées - it seems like a guaranteed failure to me."

"It was very repetitive and seemed to drag on because of the lack of different material. There was only one particular part of the entire ballet that I thought looked ridiculous and that was when the dancers did chugs. This step makes the dancers look more like lumbering football players instead of toned and graceful dancers."

"It doesn't matter how you say it, do it, or dance it there's nothing graceful about a CHUG!"

Who Cares, no corps work
"It was very interesting to see the male soloists take a much more active role in this ballet than the male soloists took in the first ballet. I personally enjoy seeing both the male and female dancers show off their abilities, instead of the men seeming to always have the subservient role of supporting the women soloists."

"For once, dancers didn't look rigid and over-schooled. The positions simply flowed: there was no delineation of 'this is first' and 'this is fourth"... For the first time in the evening dancing appeared to be innate: not trained."

Napoli
"I am embarrassed to say I was getting a bit sleepy by the time Napoli started. I think this style of ensemble piece is less directly accessible and exciting for contemporary taste. It looked difficult to do, and yet it was not at all flashy or virtuosic. There is something admirable and democratic about that. And yet, it is hard for me to get around the explicit content, the happy peasants. They are on the fringes of so many nineteenth century ballets, enjoying their bucolic life. And I suspect it is totally fictional and I'm more interested in the steps! I'd like them to take off their peasant clothes and just dance in leotards and tights. But I'm afraid Bournonville would not approve."

"The costumes kind of threw me for a loop, because they were somewhere between stylized pirates and beer wenches meet The Sound of Music in Italy."

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