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shuttleservice

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There is the most annoying article in today's edition of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. I cannot figure out how to give you a link.

 

AD John McFall is quoted as saying

There probably are about 400 people in Atlanta that are real ballet-goers.  In fact, most people have a strong opinion against the arts.  They say, 'Gee, why should I go to the ballet when I can stay home, drink a beer, have a few cashews and look at a football game?"

He says that ballets have to be "accessible" which he defines as

telling a story...so that it can be understood without a program note.

 

He says he helps attract audiences with his "contemporary twists" which his dancers call "McFallisms". This includes things like a pink pig on rollerskates in the Nutcracker.

 

I don't know why this article offends me so much. I guess I don't mind reading the playbill to understand the story.

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I read the article. While I did not find it really offensive, I felt that it might have exaggerated the meaning of Mr. McFall's words. I think that Mr. McFall means that ballet must grow and evolve just as our society does. This does not mean that we must stray from the classics, it just means that we must make classical ballet able to "collaborate with your community," in John McFall's words. Atlanta Ballet, in the repertoire that I have seen, does very well at this. In fact, I am going to see them perform "Swan Lake." In my opinion, ballet hardly gets more classical than that, but I am axious to see how Mr. McFall has suceeded in "defining these characters in ways that will heighten their presence, give them more electricity and, therefore, captivate the audience." They do, however, offer other shows, probably more desirable for the "football crowd" such as "Shed Your Skin--The Indigo Girls Project." People can choose which they would prefer to see.

 

Perhaps the article focused too much on Mr. McFall's quote: "There probably are about 400 people in Atlanta that are real ballet-goers." I would hope that this is not exactly accurate. But the more shows ABC offers that attract people from many different fields of life, the better. They are giving them the joy of seeing dance. And I would think that those wonderful dancers could attract many people and maybe bring them back again, possibly even to see such classics as "Swan Lake." :clapping::thumbsup:

 

I will write back about "Swan Lake" and the changes ABC has made on this beloved classical ballet. :)

Edited by pointework
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pointework--please do post if you are able to attend. We are hoping to attend as well, but this ballet comes right smack in the middle of 2 major performances of our own, 3 projects DD's have for school and husband's evaluation at work. We just may not make it.

 

The pink pig is never understood unless you're from the home base. I'm sure every local production has something of that nature in it's Nutz.

 

One thing for sure, you either love John McFall & Atlanta Ballet under his direction or you don't. I've never heard pf a middle ground. And if you're an arts fan, you don't wait around for the AJC to tell you anything. You search and find it out yourself around here.

 

vj

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pointework,

 

Glad to hear you're going to Swan Lake. I'll be anxious to hear what you think. We won't be going this year, as we saw Swan Lake last year when Moscow Ballet came through.

 

You are right in that I think that the reporter chose an unfortunate quote to open the article with.

 

I get very annoyed with the Atlanta paper for their limited coverage of dance. For all the people who claim that Atlanta doesn't love the arts, the arts get very little coverage in the media.

 

Case in point, my parents went to a jazz and blues concert in Atlanta friday night. Most of the musicians were on their way to New Orleans for the Jazz festival. My parents, both lovers of music and regular concert and symphony goers, said Friday night was truly one of the most remarkable evenings they have ever attended. Nothing in the paper... not even a mention. :)

 

I one time contacted the AJC about two local, recent high school grads earning professional dance contracts with very reputable companies, thinking the paper may be interested in writing a small story. The reply was that "this time of year most dancers are leaving for their first jobs and we wouldn't really find in newsworthy. :clapping:

Edited by shuttleservice
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I will report back after I go this weekend (unless something coincides).

 

Momof3darlings...Good luck this week! You sound like you have alot on your shoulders. I can relate, but I am not a mother of three, so it's a bit different. And I do hope you are able to attend as well, as I expect it will be wonderful. :wub::rolleyes:

 

Shuttleservice... I totally agree with you about the arts in the media. The FEW articles I have seen about dance were close to terrible and I didn't feel like the arts were getting the respect they deserved. :o It disgusts me even more that they so rudely dismissed you request like that. :D Maybe things would change should they cover dance (and the arts in general) more thoroughly... :thumbsup:

Edited by pointework
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Guest Watermill
His update makes the traditionally peripheral role of Count Von Rothbart pivotal, turning him from an evil owl who first shows up in Act 3 into a powerful, conniving womanizer who appears 37 seconds into the overture. ("We begin the action right away," says McFall. "We're not letting people just sit there and listen to music.")

 

Yeah, what does listening to music have to do with anything....

 

With a Wink,

 

Watermill

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Well, I made it to "Swan Lake" and I was dazzled by the talent on that stage. I have seen ABC do pas de deux work before, especially in "Romeo and Juliet," and they continued to awe me in this performance. Christine Winkler performed Odette and Krisitne Necessary made herself necessary to the performace in her portrayal of Odile. (These roles did not seem to overlap in this production.) Christian Clark danced the role of Siegfried. He was amazing. When hu jumps, it seems like time stops for a second and he is just floating middair. And I won't even try to explain his pirouettes. Lets just say he is perfectly placed and smiling, and goes around and around and around... :blink::wub:

 

The partnerwork was breathtaking. They had incredible lines and such a chemistry between them. And the solo work by Kristine Necessary was amazing. She was so strong, yet so delicate and graceful. The core de ballet was beautiful and precise. I could tell how much work it took to get the swan look, i.e. the wings and head to work in the way in which they did. In the end, it came out looking real and effortless, especially in "Four Little Swans."

 

So, whatever innovative changes Mr. McFall made were not apparent. The dancing was very classical. The only real difference I could see between this and other Swan Lakes I've seen was that Count Von Rothbart (performed by Jonah Hooper) was more emphasized in this particulur production. This was in no way a bad thing, as Mr. Hooper is a wonderful dancer, fit well for the part. His height seemed to take the role to new dimensions and further characterize him as the evil count he was. (His square-jaw and slightly menacing facial expression weren't bad either. :shhh: )

 

I definently hope that this wonderful portrayal of such a classic attracts many Atlantans. It was certainly entertaining to me, but that just may be because I love ballet, especially classical ballet, and this seemed to fit the part. But I don't think so. I think it was the magical music and the enchanting dancers that made this so enjoyable for me and I can't understand why someone wouldn't like it. So, all in all, it was a fabulous night that seemed quite refreshing in the hectic "always on the go" world that we live in. If you get the chance, please go! In my opinion, you won't regret it! :P

 

:):flowers:

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One thing I like about the radio station around Atlanta is that they give wounderful support to the Atlanta Ballet. Stations you think that would not give support do.

I was at Swan Lake it was great. If you get a chance to ever goto the Fox Theatre go. Christian Clark is a human top. I went to the dress rehersal, I think that its better because you get to see the ends and outs of the show. Sometimes you get to see some parts of the ballet twice. There was a large crowd toofor the dress rehersal.

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  • 7 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Why were Odette & Odile cast as 2 different people? Aren't they usually danced by 1 person? I thought that was the point--that its extra difficult to act sweet and loving as Odette and then difficult to switch to cold and hard as Odile. Does ABC always cast these as 2 dancers?

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Everyone,

 

I work with Atlanta Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. I'm going to be posting and checking in regularly, so feel free to ask any questions about Atlanta Ballet.

 

A couple of interesting updates . . . Atlanta Ballet has just hired a new executive director (John McFall is still the artistic director.) The gentleman is Barry Hughson, and he'll be on board at the beginning of March. Barry is the current executive director of American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School in New Brunswick, NJ. We are thrilled to have him as he has a wonderful background as a professional dancer (Washington Ballet) and much experience as an arts administrator.

 

Also, February 8-17, Atlanta Ballet will present the world premiere of John McFall's The Great Gastby. He has been working with resident choreographer Lauri Stallings on entirely new choreography, sets and costumes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anyone out there get to see The Great Gatsby? As one of their pre-pros, my dd had a small ensemble piece and really enjoyed it and it got nice reviews in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Just wondering if anyone got to see it...unfortunately I coud not make the trip. :o

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  • Administrators

Yes, I saw it. The dancers were very good, and very well rehearsed. It had some very good moments, and some not so good. The second act was much better than the first. The only one technically challenged at all was the dancer portraying Daisy, who was on pointe the whole time, and had a lovely solo and pas in the second act. The company seemed to have a great time with this, and the two main corps dances, which were quirky and fun, were really well done, as were all of the solo and principal roles. The music, while totally from the period and with original recordings, bothered me only because of the sound quality of the recordings. Music itself is great music. If they had had an orchestra, I think they could have made it sound like the 20's without the screeching and scratching sound of the old recordings. A live orchestra is badly needed by this company.

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