Los Angeles

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Spirit - In the Form of Giselle Act 1 - Mad Scene

By Heather Toner

Nearly every year, my parents throw a big Halloween Party.  And, as my cousin Kaitlyn so rightly pointed out, if I dress up for said party, I simply have to go all out!  No half-assing it for me!

This year, I felt inspired by my day job and decided to dress accordingly and continue promoting the upcoming performances of Giselle (to be danced by the Royal New Zealand Ballet at the Music Center in January!)  But my costume was a very specific part of Giselle's character development - The Mad Scene.  

Below is a video clip of portions of the scene, performed by Alessandra Ferri...I remember the first time I saw it performed, I think I was about 10 years old and totally transfixed.  I love the high drama, therefore Giselle instantly became my favorite ballet.  I got the chance to be a super in National Ballet De Cuba's production when they toured LA back in the day, and then danced as a "willi" with Milwaukee Ballet when I was 17.  

But no matter what I am doing in regards to Giselle-- On or off the stage, the Mad Scene remains my favorite part...Have a watch below and you'll see why I'm sure!  

Nothing is quite as scary as a young ballerina gone mad...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Nederlands Dans Theater 1 at the Los Angeles Music Center

By Heather Toner

Nederlands Dance Theater
Fernando Hernando Magadan and Danielle Rowe, Shoot the Moon, Nederlands Dans Theater, photo © Prudence Upton

This past Friday, the boy and I saw Nederlands Dans Theater 1 perform at the Music Center and it was perhaps the most thrilling evening of dance I've seen in a great long time.  The boy agreed - And he's actually quite the connoisseur, as I've taken him to nearly every dance show that traipses through the LA borders.  

Considered THE premiere contemporary company of Europe, NDT doesn't make it out to LA all that often.  The last time they were here was in 2011, when they performed just two shows mid-week.  Because of their rare appearances on the west coast, I had never actually seen the company live, and to be honest, I was ok with that.  

Now that I've seen them, I'm determined to see them again every time they come to our neck of the woods.  They were glorious, and the work they performed was beautifully brilliant, surreal and cinematic.  It was a thrill to watch.  

The evening was comprised of two works choreographed by Artistic Director Paul Lightfoot and resident choreographer Sol Leon - Same Difference, and Shoot the Moon.  Both were set to haunting music from Phillip Glass, and dealt with the turmoil of relationships and the ego; each exploring new ways to communicate these universal human struggles.  

And there was a third new work from company dancer Medhi Walerski, Chamber.  This work, co-commissioned by the Music Center, was inspired by Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, as was the music composed by Joby Talbot.  It was at once fluid and intense, at once a homage to the ritualistic choreographic patterns of Nijinsky's original Rite, and a totally new imagining of the concept.  

All in all, it was an incredible evening of dance, one that the boy and I will always remember, or one we would never want to forget.  

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