A group of 12 teenagers from various backgrounds enroll at the American Ballet Academy in New York to make it as ballet dancers and each one deals with the problems and stress of training and getting ahead in the world of dance.
A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In ... See full summary »
While opera is more my area of expertise, I have been fascinated and enchanted by ballet ever since 15 years ago seeing Swan Lake at 6 years old. If you want a change from the Tchaikovsky ballets(Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Nutcracker) or Giselle(all four of them are masterpieces of the genre though) give yourself a treat watching or listening to Le Corsaire and this production is a good starting point. Le Corsaire's story is both complicated and simplistic on first glance, but has become easier to follow overtime and there is an effort here to not confuse people unfamiliar beforehand with the ballet. The music, by Adolphe Adam(composer of Giselle also), is wonderful, no complaints there. The production itself has all the comedy, charm, fun, heart and pathos you could possibly ask for and all are perfectly pitched. The costumes and sets are beautiful and only accentuated by the expertly filming of the production. There is a lot of style and beauty of tone to be heard in the orchestral playing, as well as the ability to sound lyrical and powerful. The conducting compliments them, the drama and of course the dancers. The choreography is pure magic with lots of wit and a Pas-De-Deux that is most moving to watch. The dancing is impeccable, Julie Kent is every bit the beautiful and graceful ballerina she should be with great technique, and Angel Corella dances with great athleticism and charisma and is a very expressive actor. Paloma Herrera dances with gorgeous line, I'd love to see her as Medora one day, while Michael Owen's Pasha is a riot and Vladimir Malakhov's leaps are incredibly powerful(the rest of his acting is also terrific, it's interesting and fun to see him slightly hesitating in mid-air too. Ethan Stiefel's small stature and perhaps too boyish gives the sense in hindsight that he would not convince as a pirate, he makes up for it by his great dancing and he looks as though he's enjoying himself. Overall, a superb- just noticed that I haven't thrown that word around a lot lately- production. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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