Falling in Love with Pas De Deuxs… Valentine’s Day

romeo and juliet

All great love stories are great because of the adversities the protagonists face. In ballet, all great love stories end in death. If we think of the great love stories of ballet… everyone always dies. Is it the worst thing in the world? No, but it sure is depressing. Of all the great love stories by far, Romeo and Juliet will always take on Valentine’s Day… Last year, I felt like everyone, and their mom did R + J for Valentine’s Day weekend. This year I feel like everyone is doing Don Q. Which is good because no one dies. Unfortunately, Don Q isn’t known for the epic love story; it is known for great technical variations…

The tragedy is always great, it sells tickets and makes for great posters and PR. But, really, the love stories within ballet are only made better by beautiful Pas de Deux, and hands down Kenneth Macmillan knows how to do romance: Romeo and Juliet and Manon. Then we have Val Caniparoli’s version of Lady of the Camellias and Onegin; the work is epic.  You can see Boston Ballet this month perform it. Click here for tickets and preview.
And finally, I actually really enjoy the pas de deux from Month in the Country by Ashton. Finally, even though it isn’t a “romance” per say… I love the Diamonds pas de deux in Balanchine’s Jewels.


and a killer look at pas de deux from NYCB

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The Masters…

Ballet San Jose (click the image)
Ballet San Jose (click the image)

So yesterday was Balanchine’s Birthday, and as the internet was flooded with beautiful images of everyone dancing their favorite work it made me realize how connected ballet is. In addition, the NYT featured the give girls from Serenade on the front cover, above the fold. BIG DEAL. Now, from reading these most intimate stories, and tweets, haha, I was inspired by the idea of mastering ballet. As we celebrate the women of ballet, and the men of ballet, we forget that none of this would be possible without great choreographers. Balanchine reshaped the way ballet was perceived, and since then there hasn’t been anyone else really. Though, celebrating the fusion of jazz and ballet: Robbins. And celebrating the combination of modern and ballet: Tharp. Between the three, they have shaped the world of contemporary dance in general, and how audiences perceive music.

While Robbins reinvented the story ballet, and Tharp created a space that equalized Graham, Horton, and ballet, the world fell in love with the three. Now speaking of love, and the idea of these masterpieces, it is hard to find a program that would feature all three in one night. BUUUUT for those of us in California don’t fret!!!

Ballet San Jose is about to do all three…. Conveniently next month after Valentine’s Day… BOOM. So if you are in the LA area, drive up or fly up, a round trip ticket is only 160. In one night you will be able to see three of the greatest ballets ever…. First there is the incredibly technical difficult piece from Balanchine: THEME AND VARIATIONS. Theme is just flat out hard… For the principal girl… between the numerous entrances, those crazy gargouillades, and just a really difficult pas. The male variation is exhausting as well… So basically, it is going to make or break a company’s reputation for technique.

Then they are doing Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, which is basically inspired by a gay painter, Paul Cadmus, who conveniently also was sleeping with/ sponsored by Lincoln Kirstein. But because of that twisted connection we are given one of the greatest works. Set in a bar, with sailors on leave, and two feisty women, and beautiful music by Bernstein.

They will also be doing in the Upper Room by Tharp. The Upper Room is this crazy beautiful music, enhanced with ridiculously strong choreography showcasing a company’s diversity. It isn’t everyday you get to see a Tharp piece, especially one for a ballet company. So this is a treat.

So basically, if you are a young dancer, or a mom, or just an admirer of ballet… IT IS TIME TO TREK TO SAN JOSE… do you know the way to San Jose?

SAN JOSE 1

after i see the show, I will review the company… and I will watch the school to give you all a full update.