5/24/18 O&A NYC DANCE: Natalia Makarova & Ivan Nagy (with Itzhak Perlman & Lynn Harrell) – Swan Lake

Natalia Makaova, and one of her favorite partners, Ivan Nagy, dancing the White Swan Pas de Deux from “Swan Lake.” They are accompanied on-stage by violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Lynn Harrell. Continue reading

5/2/17 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) presented their annual New York City season April 19, 20 and 21 at New York City Center. The performances marked the sixth season since the company’s much anticipated return after a seven-year hiatus. This new re-configured DTH, under the artistic direction of former company principal dancer Virginia Johnson, continues to mature into a new and important dance voice, while staying true to its founding principles. Continue reading

6/8/16 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Swan Lake- III Act- Sylvie Guillem, Manuel Legris, Cyril Atanasoff

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The Swan Lake III Act pas de trois in Rudolf Nureyev’s version with Sylvie Guillem, Manuel Legris and Cyril Atanasoff from the 1988 Paris Opera Ballet production. Continue reading

5/22/15 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux – Patricia McBride and Mikhail Baryshnikov

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Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with Patricia McBride and Mikhail Baryshnikov was recorded in 1979. George Balanchine acquired the rights to the music in 1953 and he used it to devise a party piece for a principal couple, amending the choreography each time to suit each pair of dancers. You have to admire Patricia McBride’s diamond-edged footwork including entrechats skimmed millimetres from the floor, or wonder how Baryshnikov’s twelfth consecutive double cabriole can look as easy and elegant as the first.  Continue reading

5/4/15 O&A Dance: Un Mémoire Maya Plisetskaya (1925- 2015)

 By Walter Rutledge

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Maya Plisetskaya one of the most acclaimed ballerinas of the 20th Century has died of a heart attack in Germany at the age of 89. Known as both a superlative technical and dramatic performer, Plisetskaya was a mainstay in Russian ballet for more than five decades. Mikhail Chvydkoi, a former Russian culture minister, described Plisetskaya as a dancer who “was anchored in the Russian tradition but always tried to explore new horizons”. Continue reading

4/23/15 O&A Dance: Youth America Grand Prix – Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala

By Walter Rutledge

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The 2015 Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) held their culminating gala event on Thursday, April 16, at the Koch Theatre, Lincoln Center. The evening aptly dubbed Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow showcased the talent of aspiring youth and their professional counterparts. The night was an exciting mix of promise, perfection and professionalism. Continue reading

3/4/15 O&A Happy Birthday Swan Lake! : Excerpts from Bolshoi Ballet

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Swan Lake premiered by the Bolshoi Ballet on 4 March 1877 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The scenario, initially in two acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky composed the music in 1875–76.  

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The première was not well-received, with near unanimous criticism concerning the dancers, orchestra, and stage sets. Unfortunately Tchaikovsky’s masterful score was lost in the debacle of the poor production, and though there were a few critics who recognised its virtues, most considered it to be far too complicated for ballet. Most of the critics were not themselves familiar with ballet or music but rather with spoken melodrama. Critics considered Tchaikovsky’s music “too noisy, too ‘Wagnerian’ and too symphonic.” The critics also found fault with Reisinger’s choreography which they thought was “unimaginative and altogether unmemorable.

Svetlana Zakharova and Denis Rodkin in Act II Grand Pas-de-Deux

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During the late 1880s and early 1890s, Petipa and Vsevolozhsky considered reviving Swan Lake and were in talks with Tchaikovsky about doing so.  Tchaikovsky died on 6 November 1893, just when plans to revive Swan Lake were beginning to come to fruition. Italian composer Riccardo Eugenio Drigo was forced to revise the score himself, but not before receiving approval from Tchaikovsky’s younger brother, Modest.

Svetlana Zakharova and Denis Rodkin in Black Pas de Deux

 The revival premièred Friday, 27 January 1895. Although the Petipa/Ivanov/Drigo version was a success, it was given only sixteen performances between the première and the 1895–1896 season and no performances in the 1897 season.

2/27/15 Shall We Dance Friday: Diana Vishneva in Moses Pendleton’s F.L.O.W. I, II and III

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Diana Vishneva is a Russian ballet dancer who performs as a principal dancer with both the Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov Ballet) and the American Ballet Theatre. Vishneva’s repertoire includes Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadère, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Firebird and Giselle. She also performs the works of modern choreographers, especially those of George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Martha Graham, Roland Petit and Moses Pendleton. Continue reading