Monday, April 14, 2008


Wendy and I went up to City Center Friday to see the Kirov perform. We sat next to the two chattiest British people I have ever met who talked to us through all the intermissions and were borderline rude about America throughout. And as a sidenote, where do people get the idea that Americans don't recycle? I keep hearing that lately and I find it so bizarre. I mean, there are laws promoting recycling in New York City. And even if that weren't the case, I've still been recycling for as long as I can remember.

The program started with Chopiniana, which was lovely and dreamlike. I don't have a lot to say about it but the dancers seemed completely invested in it and very unaffected. I enjoyed it more than anything else on the program. Despite being about 100 years old, it doesn't feel stale.

I wish I could say the same about Le Spectre de la Rose. The thing, as I see it, is that you take a fairly silly idea and combine it with an absurd pink leotard and a dippy, be-petaled pink shower cap, and then say, "here, pay attention to the dancing." I don't think art has to be relevant, but when you're talking about dance, where the fact that it's happening now matters, I'm not convinced that the presentation--sets, costumes--shouldn't be in line with modern sensibilities. I could understand if it was a period costume, but the man is dressed up as a fucking flower. As is, the piece comes off feeling kind of dusty and dated, as if there should be a faint odor of mothballs drifting through the theater.

Uliana Lopatkina is very beautiful in The Dying Swan but, to me, this too comes with a bit of kitsch. The music is lovely and she looked very good but seemed somewhat detached. Somehow I think I'd like to see a swan a bit less resigned to death, a bit more animalistic or pained or something. That's not to say I didn't enjoy watching her--I enjoyed it very much--and it's definitely not a universal opinion though. As I was heading out for the toilets during intermission I overheard one man telling a friend he'd "just let the tears flow." So there's something there beyond a pretty dance.

Etudes didn't really fit on the City Center stage. There were times when it looked incredibly cramped and I was just relieved that no one accidentally kicked anyone else. I found it entertaining but not engaging, which I expect is largely my own failing in this case. Given that what I've read tells me that it's an exposition of technique, I think that to a greater extent than many of the other ballets I have seen it would be extremely helpful if I could recognize good technique when I saw it. Tough conclusion to come to, huh? Anyway, I thought Sarafanov was a lot of fun to watch. Alina Somova didn't particularly bother me although I didn't particularly like her either. I do wish she wouldn't pull her leg up quite so high. It's very impressive, I suppose, but it just looks awkward. Anyway, it will be interesting to see this done by ABT at the Met this spring because I expect it will look much less cramped.

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