The Art of Ohad Naharin Volume 2

The Art of Ohad Naharin dance performace choreographed by Ohad Naharin. Performed by the Batsheva Dance Company and The Young Ensemble at the Chaillot-Théâtre national de la Danse in Paris. Disc includes Sadeh21 from 2011 and revived 2018. Released 2019, disc has 2.0 stereo sound. Grade: NA

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La fresque

La Fresque (The Fresco) dance production based on a traditional Chinese folk tale. Music by Nicolas Godin with the collaboration of Vincent Taurelle. Choreographed and directed 2017 by Angelin Preljocaj at the Théâtre de la Criée, Marseille, France. Stars Clara Freschel, Nuriya Nagimova, Nagisa Shirai, Anna Tatarova, Yurié Tsugawa, Sergi Amoros Aparicio, Marius Delcourt, Antoine Dubois, Jean-Charles Jousni, and Fran Sanchez from Ballet Preljocaj with Mirea Delogu, Victor Martivez Caliz and Simon Ripert. Set designs and videos by Constance Guisset Studio; costumes by Azzedine Alaïa; lighting design by Éric Soyer. Directed for TV by François-René Martin. Produced by Antoine Perset and Denis Molière. Released 2019, disc has PCM stereo sound. Grade: B+

La Fresque is a fun show to watch. Preljocaj is a leading modern dance choreographer whom we admire for his Siddharte (Paris Opera Ballet) in Blu-ray. He has a refreshing style that mixes modern dance with military precision in larger formations and with unusual props and concepts. Above all, he is a genius at displaying feminine sexuality in a slick, tasteful way

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The Art of Ohad Naharin

The Art of Ohad Naharin dance double bill. Choreography by Ohad Naharin. Performed 2014 and 2017 by the Batsheva Dance Company on the same stage at the Chaillot-Théâtre national de la Danse in Paris. Grade: A. Disc includes:

1. Naharin’s Virus from 2001 and revived 2014. Restaged and directed by Luc Jacobs. Dancers: William Barry, Omri Drumlevich, Bret Easterling, Iyar Elezra, Rani Ledzelter, Eri Nakamura, Rachael Osborne, Shamel Pitts, Oscar Ramos, Nitzan Ressler, Ian Robinson, Or Meir Schraiber, Maayan Sheinfeld, Bobbi Jene Smith, Zina (Natalia) Zinchenko, and Adi Zlatin. Original music by Karni Postel with additional music from Samuel Barber (Adagio performed by Kronos Quartet), Carlos D`Allessio (Les bulles), P. Stokes & P. Parsons (I want performed by Breakbeat Massive), and traditional Arab folk music by Al Majad group.

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Play dance production recorded 2017 at the Opéra national de Paris (Palais Garnier). Choreographed by Alexander Ekman and assistant Ana Maria Lucaciu. Music by Mikael Karlsson. Stars Stéphane Bullion (Danseur Étoile), Muriel Zusperreguy (Première Danseuse), Vincent Chaillet (Premier Danseur), and the following dancers from the Corps de Ballet: Marion Barbeau, Aurélia Bellet, Alice Catonnet, Silvia Saint-Martin, Ida Vikinkoski, Juliette Hilaire, Laurène Levy, Charlotte Ranson, Jennifer Visocchi, Claire Gandolfi, Marion Gautier de Charnacé, Clémence Gross, Caroline Osmont, Sofia Rosolini, Chelsea Adomaitis, Margaux Gaudy-Talazac, Mouget Shanti, Aurélien Houette, Allister Madin, Marc Moreau, Jérémy-Loup Quer, Daniel Stokes, Simon Valastro, Adrien Couvez, Yvon Demol, Alexandre Gasse, Antoine Kirscher, Mickaël Lafon, Hugo Vigliotti, Takeru Coste, Simon Le Borgne, Antonin Monié, and Andréa Sarri.

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Cinderella dance production. Music by Sergei Prokofiev. Choreographed and directed by Matthew Bourne. Recorded 2017 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. Stars Ashley Shaw (Cinderella), Andrew Monaghan (The Pilot), Liam Mower (The Angel), Michela Meazza (The Stepmother), Alan Vincent (The Father), Stephanie Billers (A Stepsister), Nicole Kabera (A Stepsister), Jackson Fisch (A Stepbrother), Daniel Wright (A Stepbrother), and Stephen Murray (A Stepbrother). Also features dancers Reece Causton, Danny Reubens, Sophia Hurdley, Katie Webb, Dominic North, Glenn Graham, Jack Jones, Jamie McDonald, João Carolino, and Kate Lyons. Set and costume design by Lez Brotherston; lighting design by Neil Austin; sound design by Paul Groothuis; production design by Duncan McLean; conducted by Brett Morris; lighting direction by Bernie Davis; sound by Mike Hatch; associate artistic director was Etta Murfitt; resident director was Neil Westmoreland; produced by Lucie Conrad; directed for video by Ross MacGibbon. Released 2018, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA

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Babel 7.16

Babel 7.16 dance production. Music by Patrizia Bovi, Mahabub Khan, Sattar Khan, Gabriele Miracle, and Shogo Yoshii with music advisor Fahrettin Yarkin. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet. Performed 2016 at the Festival d'Avignon in a courtyard of the Papal Palace. Text from Lou Cope, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Nicole Krauss, and Karthika Naïr. Stars Aimilios Arapoglou, Magali Casters, Navala "Niku" Chaudhari, Sandra Delgadillo, Francis Ducharme, Jon Filip Fahlstrøm, Leif Federico Firnhaber, Darryl E. Woods, Damien Fournier, Benfury, Aliashka Hilsum, Ulrika Kinn Svensson, Kazutomi "Tsuki" Kozuki, Paea Leach, Princess Madoki, Christine Leboutte, Nemo Oeghoede, James O'Hara, Helder Seabra, Mohamed Toukabri, Majon van der Schot, and James Vu Anh Pham. Stage design by Antony Gormley; costumes by Alexandra Gilbert; lighting by Urs Schoenebaum and Adam Carrée; dramaturgy by Lou Cope. Directed for TV by Roberto Maria Grassi. Released 2018, disc has PCM stereo sound. Grade: B-

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Ingmar Bergman – Through the Choreographer's Eye

Ingmar Bergman –Through the Choreographer's Eye dance film directed and produced by Fredrik Stattin in July 2016 as part of the Bergman Week Festival. Features four short dance pieces (51 minutes total) inspired by the films of Ingmar Bergman and recorded on the Swedish island of Fårö at an dilapidated airplane hanger near Hammers, Bergman's home. There is also an interesting 39-minute "Behind the Scenes" bonus. The executive producers were Ingmar Bergman Jr. and Marie-Louise Sid-Sylwander of the Swedish Royal Ballet.  Released 2018, disc has 2.0 PCM stereo sound. Grade: B+

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La grande danza

La grande danza---Aterballettoin Milan triple bill of dances performed 2017 by the Aterballeto Dance Company at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. Directed for TV by Andreas Morell with Director of Photography Henning Brümmer:

  1. Words and Space. Choreography by Jiří Pokorny. Music by Georg Friedrich Händel. Sound design by Sawaki Yukari; costumes by Carolina Mancuso; sets and lighting by Carlo Cerri.
  2. Narcissus. Choreography by Giuseppe Spota. Music by Joby Talbot. Costume design by Francesca Messori; sets and lighting by Carlo Cerri; on-stage video designs by OOOPStudio.
  3. Phoenix. Choreography by Philippe Kratz. Music by Borderline Order. Costume design by Costanza Maramotti; sets and lighting by Carlo Cerri.

Released 2017, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade: B+


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The Car Man

The Car Man dance production. Music by Georges Bizet and arranged by Terry Davies. Choreographed and directed by Matthew Bourne. Recorded 2015 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. Stars Kerry Biggin, Cordelia Braithwaite, Tom Clark, Danny Collins, Pia Driver, Freya Field, Glenn Graham, Tim Hodges, Katy Lowenhoff, Nicole Kabera, Katrina Lyndon, Kate Lyons, Andrew Monaghan, Leon Moran, Liam Mower, Dominic North, Jonathan Ollivier, Danny Reubens, Ashley Shaw, Zizi Strallen, Chris Trenfield, Alan Vincent, and Katie Webb. Set and costume design by Lez Brotherston; lighting design by Chris Davey; orchestrated by Terry Davies; sound design by Paul Groothius; associate director was Etta Murfitt; resident director was Neil Westmoreland. Released 2017. Grade: NA

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Ballet Hispánico

Ballet Hispánico dance recital performed 2015 at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, Arizona (a suburb of Phoenix). Ballet Hispánico is directed by Eduardo Vilaro and has the mission of celebrating Latino culture through dance. It's an important dance group in New York City and one of the few dance companies in the United States to focus on Latin dance and culture. Pieces performed were CARMEN.maquia, choreographed by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, and Club Havana, choreographed by Pedro Ruiz.

CARMEN.maquia stars Christopher Bloom (Don José), Kimberly Van Woesik (Carmen), Melissa Fernandez (Micaela), and Mario Ismael Espinoza (Escamillo). Cigar factory girls, soldiers, townsfolk, and Gypsies are played by Lauren Alzamora, Martina Calcagno, Shelby Colona, Kassandra Cruz, Mark Gieringer, Christopher Hernandez, Johan Rivera Mendez, Eila Valls, Lyvan Verdecia, and Joshua Winzeler. Recorded music segments, all from Bizet Carmen suites or the Pablo de Sarasate Carmen Concert Fantasy, are stitched together from many resources.  Set by Luis Crespo; costumes designed by David Delfin and made by Travis Halsey and Diana Ruettiger; lighting by Joshua Preston. Because all the music comes from the opera, the ballet must be viewed as a ballet telling of the opera libretto---not an easy task.

Club Havana performers are:

- Son (a Cuban dance popular in the 1930s): Martina Calcagno, Shelby Colona, Kassandra Cruz, Mario Ismael Espinoza, Melissa Fernandez, Mark Gieringer, Christopher Hernandez, Johan Rivera Mendez, Eila Valls, and Lyvan Verdecia. 

- Mambo: Shelby Colona & Lyvan Verdecia; Kassandra Cruz & Johan Rivera Mendez; and Eila Valls & Mario Ismael Espinoza.

- Cha Cha Cha: Melissa Fernandez, Mark Gieringer, and Christopher Hernandez.

- Bolero, Rhumba, and Congo: The Company.

The dances are performed to recorded music composed by Israel López, Rubén Gonzales, A. K. Salim, Perez Prado, and Francisco Repilado. Costumes by Ghabriello Fernando; lighting by Donald Holder.

The Ballet Hispánico group has its home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. "Lincoln Center at the Movies" (LCatM) is a new resource. LCatM promoters seek American dance content that (1) has cultural significance and (2) can be shown in movie houses around the United States (thru Fathom Events in 2015) and maybe other countries. (It helps perhaps if the dance production has some connection, however slight, to Lincoln Center.) Selling an HDVD would be an additional profit center. (This business model was invented, of course, by Peter Gelb at the Met.)  Produced by Andrew Carl Wilk; directed for TV by Matthew Diamond. Released 2017, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B

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Alvin Ailey

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater dance recital shot 2015 at the David H. Koch Theater (at Lincoln Center) in New York.  Ailey (1931-1989) started his company long ago as a home for black artists. Eventually, he dropped the all-black standard to include dancers and choreographers of all races. Still, as you can see from the artwork above, AAADT remains mostly a black operation, and it is probably the leading such dance group in the world.  The program contains the following pieces:

  • Chroma, choreographed by Wayne McGregor to a score by Jack White and Jody Talbot. Chroma has nothing to do with black experience. Dancers are Jeroboam Bozeman, Sean Aaron Carmon, Sarah Daley, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Vernard J. Gilmore, Yannick Lebrun, Rachel McLaren, Akua Noni Parker, and Linda Celeste Sims. By leading off with this, the AAADT claims that they can take on any modern dance assignment out there.

  • Grace, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown to music by Duke Ellington. Brown is black, and his work is rooted in modern, African, and urban styles. Dancers are Linda Celeste Sims, Demetia Hopkins-Greene, Matthew Rushing, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Vernard J. Gilmore, Grenn Allen Sims, Daniel Harder, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Belen Pereya, Hope Boykin, and Rachael McLaren. Grace is, I think, considered a dance icon of the American black experience.

  • Takademe, choreographed by Robert Battle to music by Sheila Chandra. Battle is black and currently the leader of the AAADT. Apparently nobody knows or cares what "takademe" means other than, perhaps, "a dance telling a story." Performed by Jamar Roberts. It's a frantic solo included, I suspect, as a kind of dance joke analogous to a scherzo moment in a piece of classical music.

  • Revelations choreographed by Alvin Ailey to traditional black gospel music. Performed by the Company and with star roles by Marcus Jarrell Willis, Hope Boykin, Jacqueline Green, Linda Celeste Sims, Glenn Allen Sims, Michael Francis McBride, Megan Jakel, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Yannick Lebrun, Rachael McLaren, Matthew Rushing, Alicia Graf Mack, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Jamar Roberts, and Kirven Douthit-Boyd. This is considered Ailey's most profound work.

It appears all the music for the dances was prerecorded. Nothing is said on the keepcase or in the booklet about who plays anything. Directed for TV by Matthew Diamond; produced by Andrew Carl Wilk. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

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Béjart Ninth Symphony Modern Dance

The Maurice Béjart The Ninth Symphony on Schiller's Ode to Joy modern dance was performed 2014 by the Béjart Ballet Lausanne and the Tokyo Ballet on the stage of the NHK Hall in Tokyo. Texts by Friedrich Nietzsche (Prologue) and Friedrich von Schiller (Ode to Joy). Music is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Percussion by Thierry Hochstätter and jB Meier (Citypercussion). Choreography and staging by Maurice Béjart (1927-2007) remade by Béjart Ballet Lausanne Artistic Director Gil Roman with help of Piotr Nardelli.  Soloist dancers are Dan Tsukamoto, Mizuka Ueno, Iori Nittono, Aya Takagi, Kathleen Thielhelm, Masayoshi Onuki, Elisabet Ros, Julien Favreau, Lisa Cano, Fabrice Gallarrague, Pauline Voisard, Felipe Rocha, Oscar Chacon, Keisuke Nasuno, Marsha Rodriguez, Cosima Munoz, Mari Ohashi, Kwinten Guilliams, Aldriana Vargas Lopez, Hector Navarro, and Alanna Archibald. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is performed by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ritsuyukai Choir conducted by Zubin Mehta with Chorus Master Fukiami Kuriyama. Soloists  for the Ninth Symphony are Kristin Lewis (soprano), Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo-soprano), Kei Fukui (tenor), and Alexander Vinogradov (bass). Prologue narration by Gil Roman accompanied by Citypercussion. Original sets and costumes designed by Joëlle Roustan and Roger Bernard; costumes realized by Henri Davila; lighting by Dominique Roman.  TV director was Mari Inamasu; Line Producer was Claudia Krüger; Producers were Masumi Kawaguchi, Junya Yagi, Maryam Nikbin, and Isabel Iturriagagoitia Bueno; Executive Producers were Jan Bremme, Bernd Hellthaler, and Lothar Mattner. Spoken language is in French.  The Ode to Joy is sung in German. Subtitles in English, German, Korean, and Japanese. Released 2015, music was recorded with 48kHz/24-bit sound sampling, and the disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio  sound output. Grade: A+

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Mark Morris L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato

Mark Morris L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato dance work. In 2014, the Mark Morris Dance Group performs, at the Teatro Real in Madrid, the above-named work to Handel's musical ode of the same name, i.e.,  L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato.  Choreography by Mark Morris. Dancers (alphabetical by last names) are Chelsea Lynn Acree, Sam Black, Max Cappelli-King, Brandon Cournay, Rita Donahue, Domingo Estrada, Jr., Jusie Fiorenza, Benjamin Freedman, Lesley Garrison, Lauren Grant, Brian Lawson, Aaron Loux, Laurel Lynch, Stacy Martorana, Claudia Macpherson, Dallas McMurray, Maile Okamura, Brandon Randolph, Billy Smith, Utafumi Takemura, Noah Vinson, Nicholas Wagner, Jenn Weddel, and Michelle Yard.  Jane Glover conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Real Madrid (Chorus Master Andrés Máspero). Solo singers are Sarah-Jane Brandon and Elizabeth Watts (sopranos), James Gilchrist (tenor), and Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone). Set design by Adrianne Lobel; costume design by Christine van Loon; lighting design by James F. Ingalls; directed for TV and video by Vincent Bataillon; produced by François Duplat, Joan Hershey, John Walker, and David Horn. Released 2015, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

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Lang Lang - The Chopin Dance Project

Lang Lang - The Chopin Dance Project, is a piano recital by Lang Lang supporting a ballet performance for 16 dancers of the Houston Ballet, all live. Choreographed by Stanton Welch, the Dance Project was filmed 2013 at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. Dancers are Ian Casady, Jessica Collado, Derek Dunn, Karina Gonzalez, James Gotesky, Oliver Halkowich, Nozomi Iijima, Melody Mennite, Allison Miller, Jim Nowakowski, Katharine Precourt, Lauren Strongin, Brian Waldrep, Connor Walsh, Joseph Walsh, and Charles-Louis Yoshiyama.  Detailed notes in the keepcase booklet list the dancers on stage for each of the following Chopin works:

1. Ballade No.1 in G minor op. 23
2. Etude No. 7 in C-sharp minor op. 25
3. Ballade No. 2 in F major op. 38
4. Ballade No. 4 in F minor op. 52
5. Waltz No. 1 in E-flat major op. 18 "Grande Valse brillante"
6. Nocturne No. 1 in F major op. 15
7. Waltz No. 19 in A minor op. posth.
8. Andante spianato op. 22
9. Etude No. 3 in E major opus 10 "Tristesse"
10. Nocturne No. 2 in E-flat major op. 55
11. Grande Polonaise brillante in E-flat major op. 22
12. Nocturne in C-sharp minor, op. posth. No. 16

Stage Director was Michelle Elliott; Lighting Designer was Lisa J. Pinkham; Video Director was Olivier Simonnet. Produced by Jean-Stéphane Michaux and François Bertrand. Music recorded with 48kHz/24-bit sound sampling. Released 2015, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A 

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Dance! ballet box set. The box includes three titles described in more detail on this site:

1. Chaplin, graded "B+", would please most modern dance fans.
2. Poppea//Poppea in 3D, graded "D+", was an interesting production, but its video quality might be the worst I've seen for a dance title.
3. The Great Mass, graded "C", might be accurately called "The Great Mess."

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