Populist Eifman Ballet en route to Southern California

Dance · Featured
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Choreographer Boris Eifman is the Donald Trump of the ballet world. His fans love him for his provocative, populist appeal while his critics find him unsophisticated and far from coherent. And then there’s the Russia thing. Eifman is Russian and his narrative ballets, while modernist in story line, have the old-school Bolshoi tendency to go ...

Stella Abrera, ABT’s proud Firebird, soon in flight at the Chandler 2

Dance
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She’s a woman of color in a white ballerina world. She began her training in Southern California, joined American Ballet Theatre, had a serious injury, recovered and was promoted to principal in 2015. Misty Copeland, right? No, it’s Stella Abrera. A Filipina American, her career trajectory is similar to Copeland’s but without all the hoopla. ...

Gillian Murphy’s historic footing in “Giselle”

Dance
“Giselle” is arguably the greatest solo role for a ballerina in the classical canon. One proof point is that unlike “Swan Lake,” the ballet is named for a woman, not a bird or a lake! “Giselle” tells the story, over a full-evening performance, of a simple peasant girl smitten, then devastated, by love. She uses ...

What makes a balletomane? A lean.

Dance
If when peering at this Andrea Mohin photo for the New York Times … ~your heart picks up pace, ~ it messes you up, ~ you “get it,” ~ you feel deep joy … seeing the way that David Hallberg is leaning away from his “Giselle” partner, Natasha Osipova, well then … mazel tov, you’re ...

The dignity of ballerina Natalia Makarova 4

Dance · Film
I was struck by a passage in Natalia Makarova‘s biography, “A Dance Autobiography,” (Knopf, 1979) edited by Robert Gottlieb (“What did ballet ever do to deserve this?”) when he was editor-in-chief at the New York publishing house. The text recalls an indignity Makarova suffered at the Kirov Ballet soon before she defected to the West ...

Natalia Osipova’s ethereal “Giselle” 1

Dance
I met and briefly interviewed the phenomenal 24-year-old Bolshoi and ABT ballerina Natalia Osipova yesterday, in rehearsal for an upcoming performance in Orange County next January. She struck me as a magnificently moody Russian. Read my L.A. Times article here. This Russian television broadcast shows Osipova’s unearthly technique, particularly her jumps, and there is something so ...