Archive | August, 2015

Act I Giselle Excerpt

31 Aug

The local TV broadcast station, 32.5, continues to supply the viewer with some intriguing short ballets, many of which are not performed and therefore quite unknown here in the U.S. Over the weekend I saw a dancer by the name of Kiyoko Kimura in a pas de deux by Uwe Scholz to Mozart music. Didn’t really register the name of her partner because the work was a remarkable study of a woman’s reaction to being bereft of the man she loves. While not totally clear her solitude was the result of a breakup, the responses, timed exquisitely to the music, were so on target; Kimura’s interpretation was exceptional.

Jiri Kylian’s Petit Mort has been seen several times, and more recently, his pas de quatre for two couples to Le Cathedral Engloutie, the women in long dresses fashioned like the robes made notable by Martha Graham.

But back to the subject of this posting, Giselle. The station has been showing an excerpt from the first act of Giselle, as danced by Alicia Alonso with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of her debut in the role. If my calculations are correct, that would make Alonso 57. The men were Antonio Gades as Albrecht and Jorge Esquivel as Hilarion.

It is this version which Jose Manuel Carreno is bringing to Ballet San Jose in October, and it will be fascinating to see whether the production retains the mime detail as well as how at home the dancer in the title role will be.¬† Oops, it’s now Ballet Silicon Valley!

At 57, Alonso possessed a matronly body and displayed port de bras correct but minus the nuance of young muscles. Her jetes were still high but with an older body, one saw, visibly, the effort.

It was the mime, however, that captivated; Hilarion kissing her hands in the initial confrontation, and Giselle pulling them away from his grasp. Earlier Albrecht had picked a second daisy which he calculated as coming out a resounding “yes.” But the clincher in the detail was to find Giselle on the bench at the conclusion of the Hilarion-Albrecht confrontation, leaning to one side, right hand on her heart, clearly upset over the situation, underscoring the fragility of her heart, providing the viewer with the essence of the role.

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Two in an Afternoon

26 Aug

This afternoon I paid a visit to Jtown and stopped at a tea shoppe housed in the one-time Hokubei Mainichi location on Post Street. I think the enterprise is called Crown ‘N Crumpets; white painted chairs, floral table cloths with¬† London-related images scattered on top. The young man who took my order said the place had been operating for two and a half years.

While finishing the baguette with apple, brie and ham I ordered, two young women walked over to the counter to place an order to go. Rangy in size and pale Caucasian in complexion, one of the two particularly caught my attention. Her hair was dyed grass green and divided into two clumps of curls near her ears, topped with pink puffs of some sort ; they even could have been her own hair and as blatant a hue as the green dye on what looked like a modest hue of brown hair. With her back to me,
I was free to stare at the uneven line dividing her hair into those rubber banded curls.

The two colors were repeated in the gathered-skirted dress finishing above the knees, displaying stocky legs encased in what must have been waist-high tights . The back of the dress revealed her back parallel to the arm pits, plump enough so the outline of the spinal column and the upper rib cage wasn’t apparent. I vaguely remember something verging on fingerless gloves on her hands.

While I speculated to myself what motivated this young woman to adapt a girlie girl outfit, she began to fish in her purse. From it she withdrew what must have been a tube of lotion which she began to spread, first on the right am, and then on the left arm. Before finishing, her working arm reached around to spread the same liquid on the reachable part of her upper back while her head was bent to accommodate the cell phone she was using.

I was grateful that the synthetic straw hat I was wearing possessed a brim deep enough so the intensity of my stare was obscured.

From JTown I walked over catching the southbound 22 Fillmore to Market Street. Crossing Market, I stopped in to pay for and collect recently found undeveloped film. taken to Photoworks for developing. After paying the bill, I settled myself along the wall to look at the long lost images.

As I did so, another young woman, taller than the previous pair, caught my eye as she conversed with one of the staff. The little girl persona was replicated, this time in orange, hair and fluffy skirt. There may even have been a tattoo. Two in one afternoon!

Both young women struck me as physical types seen in a movie about Central or Eastern European peasant life. I wondered whether their bodies and formative life had provided the raison d’etre for such sartorial choices. Whatever, there they were, two adult little girly-girls in one afternoon.