Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Baryshnikov - Live at Wolf Trap|
Actors: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, Marianna Tcherkassky
Genres: Special Interests, Television, Educational, Musicals & Performing Arts
Baryshnikov's American Television debut! This 1976 live performance showcases the incredible Mikhail Baryshnikov, at the peak of his talents, shortly after arriving in the west. The DVD features Baryshnikov in solos and pa... more »
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Some good dancing, but a very slim offering
Ivy Lin | NY NY | 12/04/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Baryshnikov's Wolf Trap performance is now released on dvd on Kultur's "Baryshnikov's Collection." I am glad that this is now out on dvd, but I also have several reservations.
The first is that there is about 50 minutes of dancing. I really wish they had appended this with something else, so there's more actual dancing. As it is, the program goes: 1. Coppelia pas de deux, with Gelsey Kirkland; 2. Spectre a la Rose, with Marina Tcherkassky; 3. Vestris, a solo for Mikhail; and 4. Don Quixote Grand Pas, again with Kirkland.
This dvd offers a rare chance to see Kirkland, a ballerina with a famously troubled career. You can see why she's so famous though: tiny and lithe, she seems to float effortlessly. She usually positions herself in a slightly off-center position, to give the impression of a flower stem.
Of all the numbers, Fokine's Spectre a la Rose is perhaps the most disappointing. One would think Baryshnikov would be good for this role (which was a Nijinsky calling card), but surprisingly he's not. He can't seem to create any kind of otherworldly dreamy aura -- the "Spectre" in this case is just a blond down-to-earth boy who jumps through a window. I think this is essentially a character piece, and both Tcherkassky as the girl and Baryshnikov as the spectre are too earthbound. There's nothing dreamy about either of them.
In fact, despite the shortness of the videotape a certain dullness creeps into the performance. I dont think Baryshnikov was really a romantic dansuer, despite his fame and impressive technique. His tour en l'airs are clean as a whistle and he always lands in perfect 4th position. Perhaps in live performance the sheer power of his technique would have been enough, but on video there's a certain monotony about his persona.
So in sum, while this tape has some very impressive dancing, it is VERY short, and I wish it could have been paired with another performance. Gelsey Kirkland is enchanting. Interestingly, at the end of the performance the screen has a scrolling message from Gelsey about eating disorders (offstage she suffered from anorexia). This made me think perhaps there could have been an interview with Gelsey, or some backstage footage."
Gelsey Kirkland & Baryshnikov Together Shine Like Gold
Ivy Lin | 03/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gelsey Kirkland, and Marianna Tcherkassky display live performances that can move a dancer or viewer so much as to repeatedly see this video over and over to learn about true technique, elegance, and classical styles of ballet. The first part, "Coppelia" has a Pas de Deux with Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. Although Gelsey has moments where her body shakes you know as a past dancer those are just moments any dancer faces when too much training hours and poor diet get the best of you. Yet despite her moments of displaying little contol you enjoy her style of arm movements, extensions, and true elegance. Her Arabesque Allongee's, Attitude Devant's are executed beautifully.Next, Baryshnikov has the stage to himself doing extraordinary leaps and pirouettes with such ease, confidence, perfection and total strength that any male dancer would only dream of. Then you have Gelsey again solo. Her balance, poise and grace shine through. I would say her Adagio and leg extensions are great but she needs to improve her height in her jumps. Unlike Gelsey, Baryshnikov can jump as high as 10 feet.After this act you have "Le Spectre De La Rose" with Baryshnikov and Marianna Tcherkassky. I find her to be lacking somewhat in neckline posture and Porte de Bras. Here you have Baryshnikov performing a slow dance with nice slow pirouettes, jumps and the most complex of steps only true professionals dare to try. He has drama in his movements as he goes with the story of falling slowly in love with the female dancer. They dance together. This act is pretty average, not my favorite compared to others. I would say she is not the one for the part.Baryshnikov also very well performs "Vestris". He has a George Washington wig and is dressed in the times of the 1400's where beauty and the art of ballet evolved. More than anything he displays character, unwitting comical movements, and true passion for attention.The best part of this video is this last part: Don Quixote (Pas de Deux) with Baryshnikov & Gelsey Kirkland. Her extensions are remarkable. The way he lifts her high with such ease and control is simply amazing. Here you see Gelsey displaying much more confidence in her abilities as a dancer. She does nice positions such as: Attitude Derriere, perfect straight 180 Arabesque's (Panche) and more. Her turns are well balanced as if she is pulled from above and planted firmly as she turns. His leaps in the air are spectacular, with such ease it is as if he is as light as a feather. His Tour en L'Air are flawless. They make the perfect combination in this set. This act was flawless and simply the best!I have played this video so many times I can see it in my sleep. I can say if you buy this you won't regret it. There's excellent dancing, stage production, costumes, scenery, music, and classical techniques. It can move any dancer, student or viewer to really feel the passion, art and beauty balley truly merits. PERFECT 5 STARS!"
A. L. Kennedy | Brooklyn, NY United States | 11/05/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This, one of the few taped performances of Gelsey Kirkland live, is a must for balletomanes everywhere. This performance showcases both Misha and Gelsey at the height of their fame, the mid-1970's. The technique and refinement is evident in their Don Quixote varation. Gelsey's pointework is divine, and no one quite matches the height of Misha's tours en l'air. Their popularity touched off the dance craze that carried through much of the 80's and is a nice portrait of 2 of American Ballet Theater's finest artists. If you are a dance enthusiast, you will treasure this."
Baryshnikov in three different roles
Robert Levonian | Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil | 01/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Three numbers make up this video. The first is "Le Spectre de la Rose", Fokin's choreographic bonbon originally created by the mythic Vaslav Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina. Baryshnikov's dancing is academic, in the sense that he dances "correctly", but without emotion. His partnering is merely elegant, when it should be rapturous. There are other interpretations on video, and Nureyev's and Farukh Ruzimatov's are warmer and more passionate than Mr. Baryshnikov's. Unfortunately, the public applauds at the wrong places. About two minutes before the end there's a pause in the music - a false "ending", in fact - and the audience bursts in applause, so the first bars of the incoming music are lost. A pity...
"Vestris" is a solo created by Leonid Jacobson for Baryshnikov in 1968. There's a black and white documentary showing an almost adolescent Baryshnikov getting a gold medal at an international competition in Moscow after having danced this piece. Vestris was a celebrated XVIII century dancer, and the coreography - rather "modern" by Soviet standards - alternates Vestris's recollections and actual solos, as he remembers his past life and career. In my opinion this is the best part of the video. Baryshnikov has to perform as a dancer, doing delicate court dances, and as an actor, conveying Vestris's inner anguishes.The two roles - dancer or actor - are separated by a pause in the music and a sort of pantomime: Mr. Baryshnikov makes a circular movement with his hand around his face, as if he were removing a mask. The audience, not understanding it, laughs...
The final number is a pas de deux from "Coppelia", coreographed by Arthur de Saint-Léon in 1870. It is, perhaps, Baryshnikov's best performance as a "classical" dancer on this video. As it is a formal pas de deux, his elegant reserve is well-suited to the choreography. His partnering is discrete in the adagio but adequately brilliant in the male variation.
Only "Le Spectre de la Rose" has sets - sparse and insignificant - and costumes are quite conventional"