Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Giselle - the perfect Halloween ballet!

This was not my idea, but a friend's - Giselle suits perfectly with Halloween. Would be fun to have a version with a bit more "grim" touch to it, all the make-up and costumes... :D Or maybe Michael Jackson did it already? With Thriller? It does have lots of cool dancing and living dead in it, also some romantic aspect.

Aaaaanyway. As I fell (inside a buss, yes) on Sunday and got 3 days of sick leave because of my hand injury, I had some spare time. And today, especially after the "nice" visit to dental hygienist (brrrh......), decided to watch Giselle on my laptop. I had 3 versions to choose from, Royal Ballet (in 2006 with Cojocaru), La Scala (Ferri, don't know the year) and Mats Ek (don't know who's the leading lady nor the year). Decided to go with RB, as it had also the amazing Marianela Nuñez in it (as Myrtha).

Took a comfortable position on my bed with big pillows, cat curled beside my legs, pressed play. The BBC production had a bit of hosting in it, don't remember the lady's name. But there was also a short interview from Alina.C. herself and her fiancé, Johan Kobborg, with short bits from their rehearsals.

Most of the music (by A. Adam) is familiar to me, but I don't remember if I've ever truly seen the work as a whole. There was a lot more choir pieces in the 1st act than I remembered, which was interesting to look at. But at the same time made me wonder about their existence. I mean, most of them had really nothing to do with the actual plot, they were just there. But of course, if they didn't exist, the 1st act would be quite short. And as the dancers were so good, it was a pleasure to see all of it, don't take me wrong :)

Johan Kobborg with Alina Cojocaru, by Bill Cooper (c)

Still, my favorite bits were the variations (including the Peasant pas de deux, despite what I wrote above). As much as I enjoyed both Cojocaru and Kobborg performing from their hearts, I wasn't too much a fan of this Albrecht's facial expressions. His pirouettes, jumps and everything else I did like, a lot. It had nothing to do with how he looks or anything such, no. I just didn't get the Feeling. Sometimes this happens. The couple were was still very nicely in balance with each other, as they are in real life... :) (You can read here about how they got engaged!)

Alina Cojocaru by Bill Cooper (c)
Between the acts there was some other video footage again, behind the scenes. Short bits of interviews again, and which I found quite funny, the names of main dancers/roles. Why weren't they in the beginning? Weird... Back to the 2nd act. Marianela Nuñez was super "chilly" in her cool essence of Myrtha, the queen of the wilis. I've enjoyed watching her (many times) in La fille mal gardée, sadly not live but via computer. (Hooray for teh interweb!!!) Also seen some parts of Swan Lake. The wilis were eloquent, also I liked very much their costume. As you can see in the pic above, the hem of the tutu isn't straight cut, which made it a bit more ghost-like. Not too clean. And the veils over their heads in the beginning, yes. Giselle had it also when appearing for the first time.

I have to admit, I'd completely forgotten what happens to poor Hilario! I Did remember him existing in the work, but his part of the plot was somewhat surprise. It was one of the most effective scenes in the 2nd act. How cold were those wilis to him, such a destiny.

The ending was beautiful. The whole piece made me tear up a couple of times. Also it made me hope that our National Ballet would perform it in the near future... :) I know for a fact that I'd get chills with the opening music already! :D

Alina Cojocaru by Bill Cooper (c)
For a comparison I watched the La Scala version, too. Except that I skipped some of those choir bits...... (*shame on me*) Alessanda Ferri was so divine in this role. Really. As I became a new fan for Miss Cojocaru after the first Giselle, I found prima ballerina assoluta Ferri maybe even more fascinating. I've seen her as Juliet, which is kind of a legend performance in ballet field for me (as a ballet fanatic). And she was wearing the traditional blue peasant dress in the 1st act, which I missed a little in RB's version (just to be honest).

*Maybe to balance the situation, the "Italians" had very traditional tutus in the 2nd act. I liked the English version better ;)*

Massimo Murru starred as Albrecht. He had some seriously neat turns and jumps. Will have to try to see more of him. And as a fun detail, Roberto Bolle danced in the Peasant pas de deux in this production! :) He's one of my favorites.

I think I'm done with Giselle for a while now (maybe 2 weeks or so, haha). As Christmas comes, I'll start the Nutcracker marathon again (as we don't have in the Opera this year!!). But before it I think I'll choose some other work(s) to see and compare. Some classic(s), probably. I'll let you know then :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wear Pink Today!

For me, October is the pink month. It is the breast cancer awareness month. This year even more than before. I really miss my friend, who passed away in April.

I did Not like pink when growing up. As a kid I hated it! :D These days I maybe even Love it. Funny how these things turn out. Pink ain't my favorite color, I don't think I have one. But it's one of the favoriteS.

I have the pink ribbon all year round in my jacket, on my bag etc. But today is October 12th, a day of really wearing pink! :) Well, at least there's that event in Facebook... My ballet friend gave the idea to wear pink in class, so that's what I'm going to do. And here are the stuff I'll put on - some dark colors too, but we won't notice them ;)

The pink cat is for my friend, she loved them (in all colors) :)

The top was a suprise sales find, perfect for today :) The shorts were a buy-something-for-class-in-a-hurry-find some 2 years ago or so. They've been excellent.  
Silhouette slippers by Sansha. I like the shape and outer soles, but the sizing is weird. I had the same size Pro's and these are definitely smaller, even though the width is the same, too. Trying to wear these out soon ;)
Pointe shoes, some white fabric tape for toes (Leukotape, works for me!), Ouch-Pouch juniors and the pink bag :)
My trust-worthy water bottle and the tiny towel. 

These are my pink things this time. Btw, the legwarmers are Old. I got them as a birthday gift when I turned maybe 11 or 12, I think. There was also a crocheted bun pouch and some other small things that I've forgotten :) My godfather sent them. The black shrug was a sales find, too. It's a tad too small (I've got long arms), but it does it's job. What else... Hmm... The black top - I don't wear leotards too often (quite seldom, to be honest), so there's always a tank or camisole top under the outer shirt/top. And a sports bra, but those won't get their picture published! :D Oh, and the pink leggings used to be tights. Just cut the toes off. Nice long leggings there.

A bit too much materia here. But the main point is that I do care. And hope that others would, too. If I were "a rich man", I'd donate to the Roosa nauha -säätiö, which is a breast cancer foundation in Finland. There are so many things needed for the patients getting treatment, also after it. And the research work! It's so important.

Women. Feel your boobs. Go to the doctor if there's something wrong, also if you Suspect there might be something. Demand to be taken seriously. We are worth it.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Star Dance, May 1992

It's been a while since I posted. There's actually no big reason for it, just been a bit tired with the gloomy weather in my part of Finland (the whole country, to be exact). But I've been going to classes, enjoying them and even learning new stuff. I had an idea of writing about music & motivation it gives, but shall save it for later. Today I'm presenting a tiny bit of my childhood :)

One ballet friend's mom takes the same classes with me nowadays, she gave me a vhs cassette from our (ancient) Spring recital in 1992. I think the date was 19th of May. It was held at the town theatre, like always. Our class was grade 2 at that time, youngest was probably about 8-9, oldest 11-12. This is the first one of the two numbers we had, called Star Dance (or Dance of the stars). Our teacher made it, her name is mentioned in the beginning (Arja). This might have been one of the first time we had tutus! :)

At first I didn't remember this at all, but as I watched, some parts came out of nowhere to my mind! :D How fun and curious... (p.s. The video is hidden, so people won't find it unless they've seen it here.)