ABT II Afterthoughts

Oct 07, 2010

Thanks for coming to our first ballet performance of the year. What did you think of ABT II's youthful energy? Which piece was your favorite of the evening? Did you find the Performance Preview with Artistic Director Wes Chapman particularly insightful? Join in the conversation by posting your thoughts and check out our photographs from the evening on Flickr.

Performance Preview

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This was my first ballet and it was awesome... I loved the Pavolovsky (?) performance, truly moving.

Another fantastic performance. Wes Chapman gave honest, forthright comments about what to expect from his young, talented troupe of emerging greats in the ballet world. How generous of him to give his time to us. I loved his choice of programming too, which seemed so appropriate for the dancers. I want to follow their careers now, having seen them in such force on stage at Northrup. Please bring them back.

I hated it and left at the Intermission. Stupid me. I had no idea these were children performing. They could barely control their positions or movements. My bad for not realizing what ABT II meant, for living in the provinces. Wes Chapman was interesting; facilitator was embarrassing--"magical kingdom". To add to that, I loath Euro Pop, the very long Barbara was boring.



We were glad we'd attended the performance preview so we knew these were 16-19 year-olds performing, and how the selections were picked for the evening. Obviously, there were differences in the finish level of each of the dancers--I worried the young man and young woman in the second and fifth piece would fall--but there was a certain excitement in watching them stretch their wings and learn to fly. The Pavlovsk piece was stunning; the Barbara piece out of synch, and the Flames of Paris duet just so-so. The disturbing thing here, however, that we were considered a "small to medium" market, and were sent the "farm" team in Wes Chapman's words. When have we been moved to a secondary market? In the past, the main ABT troupe has been here; as well as Lyon, Nederlans, Singapore and many others. Is this a reflection of our new director since Dale passed away? A reflection of the economy? It's disheartening after holding season tickets for 10+ years to think we will be seeing secondary ballet companies. We would like to have some sort of response before we re-new our tickets for next year.

Although we didn't get to the preview, we did take enough time to read the biographical material and front notes regarding the evening's performance. Our opinion of the company was much different than it might have been since we knew the age range of the dancers. We thoroughly enjoyed it! The Pavlovsk was our favorite, but we enjoyed the energy, determination and finesse of young artists "on their way up." We think an evening of this was well worth our time, but, of course, we hope the majority of our season tickets is for major companies.

The dancers were quite good for their age and experience. I was very disappointed on arriving to find out that ABT II is a farm club and not the ballet company. I would not have bought tickets for this had I know that, and your brochure should have made this clear. As I said though the dancers did a fine job and we enjoyed the evening. However, I felt the sound was very badly handled. It was way too loud and the dynamic range was terrible so the music was quite flat. The volume should be comparable to what a live orchestra would produce and at a lower volume you could allow the higher frequencies to come out to brighten it up. All this was not the dancers fault, but a weakness in Northrop's presentation.

We agree. We should have been informed that this was "the farm club". The first half of the program before Intermission was not good. They were not together and their timing was off. The second half was very nice, and considering their ages, they did very well. Still, when we purchase tickets to the ballet, we expect to see the top companies. We are NOT a second-rate market here. The Bolshoi has been here, the Lyon, and numerous other top-rated companies. I wish this group well, but don't wish to see them here again.

The preview speech should have been an integral part of this performance, as it explained a lot about the dancers, and where they were, in their professional life. We enjoyed seeing these exceptional young dancers at the beginning of their professional careers, and they did a good job of it. A man who knew a great deal about ballet once said to us- on going to a "professional" ballet performance- if you see one part out of the whole that is stunning, you are lucky. In this program that part was Pavlovsk, which was very moving, and exceptionally well done. The outstanding dancer, we felt, was Calvin Royal III, who was far more mature in his dancing than any of the other men. This program was one I am glad that we had a chance to see.. In a lot of ways it was every bit as good or better than some of the "first rate" shows that we have seen.

Reflecting classical ballet, this YOUNG troupe displayed energy and grace in a varied program. I enjoyed " Pavlovsk" choreographed by Roger Vanfleteren. Dancers Brittany DeGrofft and Alberto Velazquez portrayed the "dance of LOVE and remembrance" exquisitely with emotion and energy. In addition, dancers Kathryn and Calvin Royal III performed with a maturity of form and elegance in "Allegro Brillante", choreographed by George Balanchine. All in all, for their youthfulness and experience, ABT II's DEBUT presentation was worthy of my "B R A V O ! "

As a former professional ballet dancer who was lucky enough to come through Minneapolis twice as a dancer, with NYCB and PA Ballet, I have often wondered why, with world class theatre, music and visual arts here in the Twin Cities, the dance scene is so slim. (Please don't get me wrong, there are some tremendously talented dancers here, but they are barely supported). When I read the comments here, and those after some of the other offerings, it becomes pretty clear why there is a dearth of good dance here. It's not appreciated when it comes.

We knew going in that this is the group of up-and-comers, although didn't realize how young they are. The performance certainly was uneven, especially as to synchronization. The post-intermission was much stronger. I also watched with a new interest after having met the mother of one of the dancers in the ladies' room at intermission . . . he is 17, and I thought of my own son at 17 and was impressed all over again. However, while these kids are not amateurs in the usual sense, I do think that presenting an admittedly raw company as equivalent to the other presentations in the dance series is a mistake. We get so few really good ballet presentations in this market--this was a waste of a slot. It should have been an optional extra.

What a pleaure to to listen to Mr Chapman speak about these emerging Artists.. I was able to attend with my daughter and her fellow ballerinas.They are all 15 and 16 and they left the Northrop inspired, excited, dancing down the Mall.. Dance is Art and we saw it in the making last night .Some of it was great some still a work in progress. I am constantly awed at the dedication and sacrifices that go into every movement let alone performance. I thank the dancers for making themselves vulnerable and sharing a bit of their souls with us.

I brought two of my daughters to this performance. One is an up and coming performer. We thoroughly enjoyed the show. I am disturbed by some of the childish commentary about the program that I have just read. When we bought the tickets we knew this was "ABT-II". That was quite clear on the website. We wanted to see this company and support a young group of talented dancers that are dedicated to the art. Thanks for a fine show. We appreciated your energy, maturity, and enthusiasm for dance. That showed through clearly. Keep up the hard work, we are glad to sponsor such strong young talent.

I've never been to a professional ballet before, and I must say I really enjoyed it. The number Pavlovsk was excellent. We all had an excellent time. Thanks.

My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed ABT II's performance and want to pass along our praise to all the young dancers. Both of us saw a high level of accomplishment and joy in the dancing, and we both look forward to watching these dancers mature through their careers. Thank you all, and good luck. We'll be looking for your names in the future.

Wonderful dancers, wonderful dances. What was most enjoyable for me was the program itself - a great blend of ballets!

I have been coming to dance events at Northrop since 1956. While we enjoyed the performance and knew that ABT II dancers were young and upcoming, we do regret that the Dance Series is not able to bring in the stellar companies it once did. I suspect cost is a big factor and well as uncertain attendance numbers. We are not pleased with the handling of the Previews. Invariably there is a standing room only crowd and more chairs have to be brought in. Frequently it is difficult to hear the speakers in spite of the mikes. We believe the Previews should be more professionally presented. Let's hope that after the refurbishing of Northrop we will have better quarters.

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