2017 Junge Choreographen des Wiener Staatsballets

May 23rd, 2017 § 0

Often Choreo.lab is the ballet highlight of the season at Vienna State Opera. Choreo.lab was originally the brainchild of Vienna Ballet Club founder Ingeborg Tichy-Luger and Staatsoper director Renato Zanella whose first edition took place in 2003. I’ve been fortunate to see each Choreo.lab since 2004 (I believe it was the second one) with full photo essays for many of them. 2017 is another Choreo.lab year (it seems to take place every second year now instead of every year).

Since French étoile Manuel Legris took over the reins at Staatsoper, he’s insisted on rebranding Choreolab as the rather dull “Junge Choreographen des Wiener Staatsballets”. Vienna ballet lovers remain grateful for his enthusiastic support under its new moniker.

Ingeborg-Tichy-Luger-Choreolab-2017
Ingeborg Tichy-Luger founder of choreo.lab and Vienna Ballet Club

2017 Junge Choreographen des Wiener Staatsballets Continues »

Misguided ideas about dance film: Angelo Silvio Vasta

May 18th, 2017 § 0

Opus-Jazz-Passage-For-Two-promo
Frin Opus Jazz: Dance Filmed Right: Exciting, Dynamic

For years I’ve been a member at a site called NoFilmSchool – short form – NFS. Originally the online workbook of aspiring filmmaker Ryan Koo. Gradually Koo’s film projects (Vimeo) took him away from writing NFS and publishing standards have fallen.

1. They steal content from more reputable writers and re-post it as “click bait”
2. Judging by the brief and easily agreeable copy it’s easy to tell that the newer writers barely understand what they’re writing about nor do the writers even watch some of the tutorials/case studies they post anymore.
3. Ryan Koo, Robert Hardy and Joe Marine don’t write enough. And when they do it’s half-assed. They are this blog, and they are dropping the ball.
4. Quality over quantity has been lost and the reputation of the blog is suffering as a result. The basic idea of “think before you speak” could really benefit some of the writers here.

Gordon Robert’s critique is pretty much right on.

Misguided ideas about dance film: Angelo Silvio Vasta Continues »

Berlin, City of Glass and Concrete: Photo Essay

May 15th, 2017 § 0

Berlin needle from Gendarmenmarkt
Berlin needle from Gendarmenmarkt

Last weekend I was in Berlin for the first time for WordCamp Berlin 2017, despite having met and collaborated with some talented Berliners like Luci van Org in my days as a dance film director. Visually I was astonished by the amount of concrete and glass.

Berlin is also very flat, like Holland so it’s an ideal place to cycle. If you come to Berlin be sure to rent a bicycle immediately as the U-bahn is somewhat expensive (€2.80) and dark and smelly. Much less joyful than gliding along beside Berlin’s canals or through its huge parks on your way to your destination.

WordCamp Berlin 2017
Remnants of Wars Lost

Berlin, City of Glass and Concrete: Photo Essay Continues »

Wiener Volksoper: Eifman’s Red Giselle a Triumph

May 6th, 2017 § 0

Giselle-Rouge-Red-Kommissar-with-Giselle-Vladimir-Shishova-Nina-Polakova
Giselle-Rouge-Red-Kommissar-with-Giselle-Vladimir-Shishova-Nina-Polakova

There are few companies in the world who can pull off the first scene of Red Giselle. Boris Eifman puts eight princes on stage in glittering classic princely raimant and eight princesses in exquisite white tutus.

It’s a hallucinigenic and disorienting spectacle to face that many principal dancers at the same time, each dancing his or her grand role. Staatsoper is a particularly beautiful ballet company with the men for the most part fine featured and long limbed. The Staatsoper corps-de-ballet women are slim, soft curved and graceful. Thanks to their pretty faces and fine dancing skills the illusion of eight princes and eight Giselles convinces.

Staatsoper is a better match than Eifman’s own company for Red Giselle as the Staatsoper dancers perform the classics every week and are prettier. Eifman’s own group are a bit shorter and more muscular – primarily modern dancers.

Red Giselle’s story follows a principal ballerina who abandons her choreographer director husband in the early years of the Russian Revolution for a fling with a Red Kommissar. Initially her plans were for a short affair but the black coated kommissar is not prepared to let her go.

Wiener Volksoper: Eifman's Red Giselle a Triumph Continues »

Volksopera Review: Der Feuervogel | Petruschka | Movements to Stravinsky

April 30th, 2017 § 0

Feuervogel
David Dato in a photo by Johannes Ifkovits, the publicity image.
In Movements to Stravinsky costume where Dato does not dance

Volksoper has debuted a full evening of choreography dedicated to Igor Stravinsky’s musical work, Petrushka, Pulcinella Suite and Suite Italienne and The Firebird. What’s especially impressive about the evening is all three pieces are choreographed by Staatsoper born and bred talent. Eno Peci, András Lukács and Andrei Kaydanovsky all have enjoyed long careers as dancers and taken their own first steps as choreographers in the Staatsoper, often at Ballettclub’s Choreolab (coming up soon).

Stravinsky’s compositions for ballet were the core of Sergei Diaghelev’s Ballets Russes. The Firebird premiere took place in Paris Opera in 1910, while Petruschka premiere also took place in Paris but in Théâtre du Châtelet. The original choreographer for both ballets was Michal Fokine. Both of these ballets enjoy a rich tradition around the world, with versions in the repertoire of The Mariinsky Theatre (Kirov), National Ballet of Canada, The Bolshoi Theatre, the Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre to name just a few. Ironically enough, the Russian premiere of Fokine’s The Firebird had to wait until perestroika in 1993.

In fairness to Michal Fokine, what we saw this week should probably not bear the name of the original compositions, a while the music is still Stravinsky’s, neither the original choreography or libretto plays any role in Peci or Kaydanovsky’s creations.

Volksopera Review: Der Feuervogel | Petruschka | Movements to Stravinsky Continues »

Post-Apocalyptic Trump World

April 25th, 2017 § 0

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A good friend and colleague of mine is a professional political pundit. He was and is very anti-Trump. I argued a case in favour of Donald Trump. In the end, electing Donald Trump on his message of MAGA seems to have been as futile as electing Barrack Obama on his message of hope and change. Here is my mea culpa to my friend. It appears prudent people should plan for a post-apocalyptic world:

Just to note: you were right about Donald Trump (I argued above you didn’t give him a fair chance). Trump is the same sellout as Barrack Obama was, betraying his MAGA voters as Obama betrayed his hope and change voters. Was George Carlin right about the unseen angle on the Kennedy Assassination?

Whomever the Americans elect, regardless public platform, that politician turns around and pursues a Wall Street/military industrial complex/Big Oil agenda.

Post-Apocalyptic Trump World Continues »

Is the Admiral Grigorovich a threat to USS Porter and USS Cole?

April 8th, 2017 § 0

The Admiral Grigorovich will be shadowed by submarines. Any large warship is a sitting duck at this point to a capable adversary. The displacement of the Admiral Grigorovich is just 4000 tonnes loaded in comparison to almost 9000 loaded for each of the USS Porter and USS Cole, albeit Admiral Grigorovich is a 2013 issue warship while the USS Porter and USS Cole are about fifteen years older. Even without the submarine thread or the menace of an attack by American planes from nearby Mediterranean airbases, the Admiral Grigorovich would be hard pressed to sink both the USS Porter and USS Cole at the same time.

Moreover the Admiral Grigorovich is one of just three such Russian frigates while the US has

62 Arleigh-Burke class destroyers in service. The Russians would not like to trade the Admiral Grigorovich against even three such US destroyers. Is the Admiral Grigorovich a threat to USS Porter and USS Cole? Continues »

Remnants of Hapsburg Pressburg

July 8th, 2015 § 0

One of the great things about having a dog is that he will take you off the beaten track. Sometimes far off the beaten track. In this case on a 37 degree day, Thor insisted on going through the woods. I ended up crawling through bracken in shorts with low rise socks (very cool looking invention until crossing berries and vines in the woods).

Pressburg Pionier Oberleutenant Karl Hoper LPressburg Pionier Oberleutenant Karl Hoper (L)

Remnants of Hapsburg Pressburg Continues »