4mrdncr Posted February 22, 2006 Report Share Posted February 22, 2006 I saw two performances of the "Kings of Dance" with Angel Corella, Johan Koberg, Ethan Stiefel, Nickolay Tziskaridze at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA: Opening night (Thurs. 2/16) and Saturday (2/18). Weeks before the opening, the female lead(s) was changed twice--ending with Alina Cojocaru and Zenaida Yanovsky. (Apologies for any spelling mistakes.) This was due to the change in the central piece from Petit's "Le Jeune Homme..." to Flindt's "The Lesson". "The Lesson" was substituted because the "LJHLM" set wouldn't work at City Center in NY. Why no one bothered to check this before is very puzzling. I would have liked to see "Le Jeune Homme..." but hadn't seen "The Lesson" since a very old film somewhere of Nureyev. The program was as follows: Prelude: a short film doc showing the dancers in rehearsal, relaxing, and proclaiming that they are not "kings". Act 1: Christopher Wheeldon's "For 4" ensemble piece to Shubert's "Death and the Maiden" adagio, Act 2: Flemming Flindt's "The Lesson", and Act 3: the four premier solos created for each dancer: Stiefel by Nils Christe, Kobberg by Tim Rushton, Tziskaridze by Roland Petit, and Corella by Stanton Welch. The L.A. Times reviewer was unimpressed--thought they were not expressive enough compositions, though there was no complaint about the dancing. I thought Wheeldon's piece had many references to other choreographers: Balanchine of course, but I also saw Feld, and even Arpino at one point. Generally I liked it. The odd thing was that both nights I saw the audience applaud Corella during/after his "variation" within the piece but no one else. I refrained out of respect for the other dancers, and felt it was a little like applauding in the middle of a concerto, but was impressed by Corella's fierce aerial display nonetheless. Each "king" was supposed to alternate in the "Teacher" role in "The Lesson" but Ethan Stiefel pulled out to avoid re-injuring his knee (I believe he is planning to perform in NYC), so Johann Kobberg danced opening night and Friday, Corella on Sat., and Tziskaridze Sunday. I saw Kobberg and Corella. How very interesting it was to see each. Kobberg has had more experience in the role and was much more neurotic--and personally, I think 'owns' the role. Corella seemed more fastidious, threw in a few dramatic variations, and halfway through reminded me of reviewer's comment last summer about "stalking [with] sizzling testosterone." It was odd at the time, but I think I finally understood what he meant. The two female leads of course were beautiful technically and dramatically. Stiefel's solo was all about control; Kobberg's atmospherics with some play with a downspot and a final reference to Nijinsky; Tziskaridze a sly stringing together of several solos (both male AND female) from Petit's "Carmen"; and Corella's a fun though much too similar re-do of Tharpe's "Sinatra Suite"; I missed Baryshnikov's slide across the stage. But of course there were plenty of opportunities for pirouettes. The audience gave standing ovations etc. etc. both nights. The encore was to the final music of "Etudes" and gave us the classical "fireworks" each dancer is known for especially. IMHO. Quote Link to comment
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