Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gia Kourlas, Kind of a Bitch

New York Times dance critic lady Gia Kourlas went to the same American Ballet Theatre Opening Night Gala that I went to but she hated it. From her review:

No matter the sense of occasion that a ballet gala affords — the gowns, the celebrity sightings, the air kisses — once the actual dancing gets under way, it’s best to consider the expression “one step forward, two steps back.”

Then she poo-poo'd Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, the husband-and-wife duo who performed Jessica Lang's (crap) "Splendid Isolation III" calling them "overwrought" which they weren't. Diana Vishneva who met her end with much flapping of her wings, much beautiful flapping of her wings really, gets called only "somewhat improved." Also Kourlas mistakes pedagogical dancing of Etudes as insipid because she missed the point. All this would have been cool if she hadn't raved about the dumbest hokiest shitshow I've ever seen at the ballet, The Last Judgement of Paris. In this reinterpreted version, three ex-principle dancers are old whores. They waddle and strut and waft their twats across the stage. This is definitely not what I want to see. Ballet should be beautiful. Not an ugly joke. Anyway, Kourlas writes:

The highlight was the revival of “Judgment of Paris,” a comic gem from 1938 (and out of Ballet Theater’s repertory since 1958) by Antony Tudor, in which the Greek legend is set in a dive, a bar so dilapidated that you practically smell its stale smoke. The misery extends to its staff: a wearied Waiter (Victor Barbee) and three creaky chorus girls.

Kourlas is right that the entire theatre ate it up but only because it was easy, vulgar and thickly nostalgic. The real gems of the evening were the actual moments of beauty (Cornejo's massive jumps in Le Corsaire and Angel Corella in Giselle.) Oh yeah, and when this old white dude in a tuxedo asked a distinguished black dude (one of the few people of color) in a tux where his seat was. The black man gave the guy a withering look and chuckled, "I don't work here." This left the cute date of Old Whitey giggling very uncomfortably.