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Kansas City Ballet - Dress

Slaughter On Tenth Avenue Concert

October 2010, Lyric Theater, 12th and Central, Kansas City, Missouri
See also October 2005

Title Choreographer Premieres
Mozartiana George Balanchine NYC Ballet - 4 June 1981
KC Ballet - 11 October 2007
Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux George Balanchine NYC Ballet - 29 March 1960
KC Ballet 13 May 1982
Lark Ascending Bruce Marks Ballet West- July 1979
KC Ballet - 3 May 2007
Slaughter on Tenth Avenue George Balanchine NYC Ballet - 2 May 1968
KC Ballet - 27 October 1994
 
The George Balanchine choreography is copyrighted by the George Balanchine Trust and Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks.
The photos are copyright Mike Strong and are covered under media usage, files and prints are not for sale.
 

 

Mozartiana

When Mozartiana opened I at first wondered who the new KCB dancers were, the short ones next to the lithe and tall Angelina Sansone at Wednesday's dress. Peter Pawlyshyn's KC Ballet School students were so good they didn't seem like dance studio kids. They fit right in to a part which calls for four girls to accompany the ballerina in the Preghiera, or prayer, movement. Sansone performs the role on Thursday, Saturday evening and Sunday. On Friday and at Saturday matinee Kimberly Cowen performs the role.

The prayer was followed by a gigue, a lively dance (jig is directly related) which seems to fit the animated Charles Martin who danced it on Thursday/Saturday nights and sunday, with Alex Peters performing friday and at saturday matinee. Following those two movements Logan Pachciarz joined in, showing his technical prowess, for the Theme et Variations and the Finale. Adam Rogers is the other cast for this piece.

Overall this is a pretty piece and a very dancy piece written by Tchaikovsky as a working of Mozart's dances. One of the attractions, for me, of Mozartiana is its closeness to folk and social dances as once practiced by ordinary folk, the root liveliness and joy of which show through even in "high-toned" ballet from a good company and a classic choreographer.

That Balanchine, whose creativity changed the face of dance, should bring what I think of as "root" dances onto the ballet stage with music from one of the giants of classical music who loved music which could be danced to, in particular from his favorite, Mozart, another giant, all inspired by dances of the people, brings together the broad spectrum of dance across social and technical lines.

Angelina Sansone in Mozartina by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Angelina Sansone in Mozartina by George Balanchine

Angelina Sansone in Mozartina by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Angelina Sansone in Mozartina by George Balanchine

Angelina Sansone with students from the KC Ballet Schoot in Mozartina by George Balanchine
Angelina Sansone with students from the KC Ballet Schoot in Mozartina by George Balanchine.

Charles Martin in Mozartina by George Balanchine
Charles Martin in Mozartina by George Balanchine

Logan Pachciarz in Mozartina by Balanchine
Logan Pachciarz in Mozartina by Balanchine

 

 


Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux

 

Michael Eaton in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine  - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Michael Eaton in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine

Kimberly Cowen in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine  - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Kimberly Cowen in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine

Michael Eaton and Kimberly Cowen in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Michael Eaton and Kimberly Cowen in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine

 


Lark Ascending

Choreography by Bruce Marks

Lark Ascending is one of those sure-fire awe-inspiring dance works of pure beauty. A direct collaboraton between dancers and lighting. Three dancers portray the Lark for different shows, Stayce Camparo (shown here), Angelina Sansone and Aisling Hill-Connor.

Five men and one woman, the lark, dance to sweet mesmerizing music with slow sensuous movements in and around shifting partnerships. The lighting also shifts from a special highlighting the lark among the men bathed in warmth to an overall warmth, all against a stark black background. At various times the lark is lifted into the air only to return to the ground. Ultimately the men lift the lark into the air one final time as all lighting is removed except for two horizontal beams from the sides, leaving only the lark illuminated, seemingly floating in the air.

When the music, dance and lighting are put together I have yet to see it fail that everyone gasps at the beauty, from the crew and other dancers in rehearsals who seem to relish watching each time, to the audience, each time they see "Lark Ascending." For choreographer Bruce Marks this is a metaphor for striving in life and lifting ourselves upward, indeed, the reason for dance.

I remember from early on that Mario Robau, after awarding prizes in dance contests made a point of saying that even though not everyone won a top prize, the difference wasn't in who won the prizes but in whether you danced or didn't. Pointing first at all the onlookers and then at all the dancers in the competition, all of them, he would say, "They danced."

Stayce Camparo as the Lark with Geoffrey Kropp and (right) Gabriel Davidsson in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Bruce Marks
Stayce Camparo as the Lark with Geoffrey Kropp and (right) Gabriel Davidsson in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks

Stayce Camparo as the Lark in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Bruce Marks
Stayce Camparo as the Lark in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks

Stayce Camparo as the Lark and Marcus Oatis in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks  - Kansas City Ballet October 2010
Stayce Camparo as the Lark and Marcus Oatis in Lark Ascending by Bruce Marks


Slaughter on Tenth Avenue

Oh, how I wish there were a record of Ray Bolger as "The Hoofer" in the first production (1936) of "On Your Toes." Alas, Google searches and YouTube searches turn up nothing but similar wishes and declarations that there were no movies shot of this production. Originally this was to have been a movie with Fred Astaire as the hoofer. But Astaire turned it down (too rough a role for his image of white tie and tails, and the ballet too highbrow). As a result Richard Rogers reformulated "On Your Toes" as a Broadway play, casting Ray Bolger as the hoofer and Tamara Geva as the stripper. It opened April 11, 1936 for seven months.

There were two notable firsts:
1 - the first time a dance arranger was listed on Broadway as a "choreographer" (Balanchine)
2 - the first time a full ballet was within the story line inside a play on Broadway

Then it went to London in 1937 with Jack Whiting and Vera Zorina, who would late be in the 1939 movie.

"On Your Toes" became a 1939 movie with Eddie Albert as the hoofer and Vera Zorina (as "Zorina") in the movie. In case you were not thinking of Eddie Albert as a hoofer, well, 1) back then tap was what everyone learned and needed for a standard bag of tricks, and 2) he did alright, using a double and dubbing the tap sounds in post. Actually it is a pretty entertaining movie, even if the dance routines cut between Eddie and his double to handle the more technical areas. He manages to hold his end of the deal just fine.

The current Slaughter on Tenth Avenue stands more or less by itself. When George Balanchine revived this in 1968 for the New York City Ballet he didn't remember a lot of the choreography and so re-did the work. No that Balanchine wasn't re-working pieces all the time, but had they just filmed the Ray Bolger and Tamara Geva performance... That premiere with the New York City Ballet was 2 May 1968 at the New York State Theater with Arthur Mitchell and Suzanne Farrell.

The larger story in which "Slaughter..." was inserted (On Your Toes) atrophied into a brief skit in front of the closed curtain which bookends with the apprehension, at the end, of the contract-killer gangster, positioned in the audience. While I can see using the ballet as a stand-alone, this change means that the audience needs to come to the ballet with some pre-knowledge of what used to be the containing story, "On Your Toes."

Without knowing the surrounding story there is no real understanding of why the hoofer ever more frantically keeps dancing until finally, in the audience, the "police" apprehend our gangster character and save the life of the hoofer. You could, more compactly, move what little remains of the outside story to the inside. Otherwise, the front-of-curtain bit could be dropped (though I like it) without losing the ballet. Just find a way to explain the last comic threat.

Gabriel Davidsson in front of the curtain as the jealous Russian dancer who orders a hit on the hoofer during the show in a show - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Gabriel Davidsson in front of the curtain as the jealous Russian dancer who orders a hit on the hoofer during the show in a show - Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine. This is the basic setup or what is left of the overall story from "On Your Toes". In an enjoyably cheesy Russian accent Davidsson's character, the principal dancer, boasts of his dance prowess and dances back and forth across the stage showing us how fun "ham" is when is it done with true skill.

Aisling Hill-Conner as the stripper performing her show in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Aisling Hill-Conner as the stripper performing her show in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine. This role is played by Rachel Coats on Friday and for the Saturday matinee.

Michael Eaton as the hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Michael Eaton as the hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine. Eaton portrayed the hoofer on Thursday/Saturday evenings and Sunday with Logan Pachciarz on the other performances.

Aisling Hill-Conner as the stripper in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Aisling Hill-Conner as the stripper in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine

Michael Eaton as the hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Michael Eaton as the hoofer in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue by George Balanchine


The Lyric Theater

This is the last season for the Kansas City Ballet in the Lyric, a former Masonic Temple and the current location of the Kansas City Opera as well as the studio location for Channel 9 television.

Mozartiana by George Balanchine on The Lyric stage during dress showing the inside of the theater. This is actually three separate exposures on tripod, combined in order to get the extended tonal range from the bright lights on stage to the almost totally dark interior. - Kansas City Ballet  October 2010 - photo copyright Mike Strong - ballet copyright Balanchine Foundation
Mozartiana by George Balanchine on The Lyric stage during dress showing the inside of the theater. This is actually three separate exposures on tripod (1/125 sec, 1/10 sec and 1/2 sec), combined in order to show the extended tonal range from the bright lights on stage (125th) to the almost totally dark interior (1/2).

The Lyric Theater from the east side with dressing rooms lit up prior to dress 13 October 2010. Next year the Kansas City ballet will be performing in the new Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts
The Lyric Theater from the east side with dressing rooms lit up prior to dress 13 October 2010.
Next year the Kansas City ballet will be performing in the new Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts

Kaufmann Performing Arts Center under construction October 2010 - photo copyright 2010 Mike Strong
Kaufmann Performing Arts Center under construction October 2010


 

 

To send email to this website, kcdance.com click here and add message text:
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See these KCB pages at KCDance also:
Kim Cowen Retirement reception May 2012
Tom Sawyer Oct 2011
Slaughter On Tenth Avenue - Oct 2010
KC Ballet Features UMKC Faculty Work Oct 2005

Donald McKayle talk at KCMO library
UMKC dancers in Romeo and Juliet - 2008

See these links at KCB's website:
http://www.kcballet.org
School reference link: http://www.kcballet.org/school


Nancy Murdock, 10/28/2010
Hey Mike: Nice photos of the ballet! and thanks for sending me the cd of our tap performance.Nancy


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KC Ballet Oct 2010
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