Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a little less than two weeks to go!

It's has now been a complete 23 days here in Pittsburgh! And I have only 11 days left!!
I cannot wait to be home with family and friends. Then I am home for 22 days before I leave for school. So I must make the best of those three weeks!

Things here have not been going as well as the first week here because my achilles tendonitis has been acting up and my back has stiffened (I strained it back in April). Unfortunately there is no masseuse here so there isn't much I can do other than not dance (which is not an option).

Last night we watched The Silence of the Lambs. It was amazing; Anthony Hopkins has always been one of my favorite actors, and this was truly his best role I believe. Now I want to read the books for this movie!

Oh yeah! Books I've read so far this summer. Well only one! Lord of the Flies. And I'm currently reading The Sun Also Rises. Both books are easily-read. The Hemingway book reminds me of the Great Gatsby in a way; so I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as Gatsby did.

Monday, July 5, 2010

ABT Sleeping Beauty 2010 !!

I just realized that I never shared my experience at the Met this year!
So I went to see ABT's Sleeping Beauty on Saturday June 19th the matinee and evening performances.

I currently don't have my programs with me at the moment, but this is what I remember:

Matinee: Aurora Alina Cojaharu, Prince Desire Jose Manuel Carreno.
She was absolutely beautiful. She is a very tiny dancer compared to the rest of the ABT company. Her balance was impeccable which was evident in the Rose Adagio. Everything that she did was very soft and almost child-like (in a good way I mean).
Stella Abrera was the Lilac Fairy. I was disappointed with her performance, although I must say her portebra/arms are absolutely stunning.
I believe Sarah Lane was the Princess Florine, and I liked her performance alot.
Carreno was well he was Carreno... His wig fell off during his variation, and one of the ladies in a gold gown picked it up.
Oh, and not to forget; Martine Van Hamel was the witch!!!!!

Evening Show:
Natalia Osipova (MY FAVORITE!!!!) and David Hallberg (love him so much). Natasha was amazing as usual. You can tell Aurora is not her best role compared to her Kitri or Giselle (which I saw last year!), yet her Aurora was AMAZING. I enjoyed her performance alot more than Alina's because it was more exciting and you never knew what was going to happen next. Her jumps and stage presence are what separate her from dancers of this age. Yes, she is flexible like 21st century ballet, but the way she uses it isn't gaudy or Gumby-ish. Hallberg was also fantastic. I saw him and Natasha in Giselle last year. He looks better as Prince Desire. He was amazing as well.
Lilac Fairy was Michelle Wiles. I loved her performance because she looked like she really was the head fairy and took charge of the stage (in a good way). Bluebird was Daniil Simkin. And he was literally perfect -- I was stunned.

In between shows I got to go backstage and see the crew setting up for the evening show and the dancers warming up in their costumes. It was an amazing experience to see the Met from within. I found out that for every major production ABT actually has a special floor (marley). For instance the Sleeping Beauty floor was black marley with splotches of green/blue paint in parts (from a distance it looked like white-swept floor). The stage manager also explained to us how they used the scenery in Act 2 which moved across the stage to show a different place and scenery. It was extremely complicated, and I honestly don't remember how at all. He also showed us a remote control that controlled the moving swan that carries the Lilac Fairy and Prince Desire. He said that it actually has more control and operation than a car because it can move in all directions. They always have two men backstage that know the exact movements/direction the swan must go.

I enjoyed parts of the set except from my cheap "Family Circle" seat you couldn't see the top section of the set. The curtains were actually covering it from my point of view! That was a major disappointment to me. But the moving scenery and colors were very beautiful and well done. The costumes also looked new and pristine. The one thing I didn't like was the Act 3 Pas de Deux costumes. They were a light shade of green with many sparkles. I found it not very Princess-like at all. When I think of Sleeping Beauty Wedding, I think of whites, golds, and pink. Other than that everything was gorgeous.

Amazing day at the Met! But my favorite Met day was last year's Giselle with Osipova/Hallberg. That will forever be my most fond memory of watching a ballet.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

end of the second week; three more to go!

Yes, I've been here (PBT) for two weeks, and I truly love it. The only thing I don't love is Pittsburgh. Maybe it's because I am used to going into NYC that I'm just a more city-girl... but Pitts is not for me. It's just not like a city like I thought it would be. Then again we're not really allowed to go to many places anyway so I don't know what the rest of the city is like.

My first impression of PBT was amazement; the entire school is beautiful. It has five studios (and one of them is the size of two put together - perfect for studio-performances). The studios have all new Harlequin floors and paint on the walls etc.

My other first impression was that they have accepted almost ALL tall girls -- which worries me because I'm five foot three which is pretty short for ballet to begin with... =[ But the girls at this program are generally really good. Everyone has come from different schools/studios. I am one of the few Vaganova-trained students here. I would say that the style here at the school is sort of like ABT. That being a Russian base but more open/flowy like Balanchine.

My level is doing two things for the end of the program studio-performance; Sleeping Beauty Prelude and the farming part of La Fille Mal Gardee. We've learned all of the Fairies except that four of them are different than the original choreography so it's confusing to be doing something else that I'm not used to seeing or doing. Lilac and Generousity are the same and Canary is similar but not really. Mal Gardee is really fun because we all get to do partnering. Most of us also get to do a little Pas de Six with three boys and three girls which is really fun. There is also a female soloist (she is amazing and I'm obsessed with this girl's arms -- hope that doesn't sound creepy) and a male solo.

It truly is an intensive. We're on pointe for every class except most Technique classes (and jazz/modern of course). One thing I don't like is that it isn't very Vaganova, and we have different teachers everyday. But I think that because of my Vaganova background I have an advantage (but Balanchine variations are hard).

So other than those two things, I really really love it here. I highly recommend this program. The teachers are great and I'm sure they would be even better in smaller classes during the year =]