Populist Eifman Ballet en route to Southern California

Dance
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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 ...

Who was Olga Spessivtseva?

Dance
Olga Spessivtseva (1895 – 1991) was the quintessence of a Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet romantic ballerina whom George Balanchine famously called “a beautiful diamond, cool, distant, and perfect.” The legendary Russian ballerina, who died in the United States, is the subject of choreographer Boris Eifman’s full-evening work, Red Giselle, coming soon to Segerstrom Center for the Arts. ...

Ratmansky’s frothy ‘Whipped Cream’ casts @ Segerstrom

Dance
There are all kinds of considerations to weigh — and this is great fun for balletomanes — in selecting a ballet performance. The focus of this tough decision is the big world premiere at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Orange County of Alexei Ratmansky’s new full-evening ballet, “Whipped Cream.” The superb Pacific Symphony will ...

Review: Natalia Osipova rules the boy’s club of “Tour de Force III” 2

Dance · Reviews
The latest edition of packaged ballet entertainment wrangled by impresario Sergei Danilian, the force behind “Tour de Force III” presented Saturday night at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, brandished a sorry statistic. That each of the evening’s four repertory items was the creation of a male choreographer unfortunately goes without saying. The marginalization, no, ...

Sergei Polunin’s glowing moment in Southern California

Dance · Film
We all seek our place in the sun don’t we? Sergei Polunin, the balletic wunderkind who has been much viewed on youtube, will soon seize his in southern California’s extended summer. A true exemplar of a glorious classical technique, Polunin will be among us, on screen and on stage, stretching into September. First, the movie. ...

Royal Swedish Ballet’s stunning, unconventional ‘Juliet and Romeo’ soon @ Segerstrom

Dance
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With a history that stretches back to 1773, you’d expect the esteemed Royal Swedish Ballet to offer a “Romeo and Juliet” full of swordplay and courtly gowns.  But no — not when master choreographer Mats Ek is in charge. He reimagined the tragic love story in 2013 with the same urban, gritty edge that he’s ...

Pick your Sugar Plum Fairy NOW!

Dance · Music
Hey, you Sugar Plums and Snowflakes! Stop dancing in our heads, and start whirling ’round the Segerstrom Hall stage. This will occur sooner than you can shake a candy cane. In a real first, Segerstrom Center of the Arts is presenting a big-city-style, lengthy run of American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” at the esteemed Orange ...

Sit down and clap! 4

Language & ideas
Is polite, even fervent, audience applause from a seated position a bygone social custom? This nicety has not completely disappeared; last month at the conclusion of  “Raymonda,” at Segerstrom Hall, it was a joy to regard the massive Mariinsky Ballet’s elegant bows in full view. The audience, perhaps still enthralled by the enormity of the ...

Raymonda “likes” Jean de Brienne’s profile picture

Dance · Language & ideas
In this image from Act I of the Mariinsky Ballet’s “Raymonda,” the heroine’s faraway beau, Jean de Brienne, sends his honey a Medieval version (a kind of tapestry that gets unfurled) of his Facebook profile picture. From her posture, don’t you think she seems to be giving it a “like”? I do.

Mariinsky’s massive, still relevant, “Raymonda” at Segerstrom

Dance
A whirlwind weekend included the privilege of watching the great dancers of the Mariinsky Theatre deliver a rarity: the full three-act version of Petipa’s Hungarian-themed, “Raymonda,” which the massive dance troupe exactingly performed, a tad jam-packed, on the Segerstrom Hall stage. It went beyond a complete balletic experience; it felt like a life experience to ...