Monday, February 28, 2011

The Stravinsky Project is Open! What Did You Think?

We had a wonderful opening weekend performance for The Stravinsky Project, along with a glowing review from Martha Ullman West at The Oregonian. Here's an excerpt:

Stravinsky rocks, and so does Oregon Ballet Theatre. That was abundantly clear on Saturday night when the company opened its spring concerts at the Keller with an all-Stravinsky program that included reprises of Yuri Possokhov's charming "Firebird" and Christopher Stowell's sophisticated neo-classical "Rite of Spring," with the thoroughly risky " Stravinsky Project" as the centerpiece. Read the full review.
The Willamette Week was also a big fan of the performance, saying:

Artistic Director Christopher Stowell’s version of The Rite of Spring concludes the program... It’s a mesmerizing piece, propelled by sharp angles, sudden directional shifts and the ferocity of lead dancer Anne Mueller’s attack. Mueller retires after this program and her performance alone is worth the trip, although the entire project has much to recommend, artistic departures included. Perhaps Stravinsky would approve. Read the full review.

Did you see the performance this weekend? What did you think? Share your thoughts about the show in the comments below.


  1. Way too long. It looks like nobody was in charge of the final product.

    First time I saw people leaving before the end.

    Too bad, the dancers look great.

  2. Very disappointing and overblown. I have seen better sets at a high school play. Pianists were an interesting twist. Second part was foolish and a waste of time (I was able to compose the better part of a short story while daydreaming during it, so maybe not a total waste).

    Dancing was well done as always, but we come to the ballet for ballet, not interpretive jazz or whatever. Keep your eye on the ball or you will drop it.... most of the hair in the audience, as my wife pointed out to me, was grey.

  3. The Stravinsky program we saw last evening, Friday, 3/4, was a wonderfully artistic and diverse ballet, with beautifully innovative choreography, set-design, and wardrobe, and great athleticism!

    Had Daniel and Olivier attended Linda Besant's presentation at 6:30p, during which she explained the history of The Ballets Russes, Diaghilev, Stravinsky and Balanchine, perhaps they, too, would have enjoyed this great season-opener for OBT.

    As noted in the Oregonian review, "'Project' bears repeated viewings", so I would recommend another visit to the Keller to gain an appreciation of this sophisticated, modern exploration of Stravinsky and Balanchine's collaborations.

    I cannot wait for OBT's performance of Stravinsky Violin Concerto next season!!

  4. The Stravinsky Project was the worst ballet I have ever seen! The Firebird was a nice start for the evening and the dancers were great but the second part was terrible!!! People go to the ballet to see just that, ballet not dark, ugly modern dance.

  5. Ditto for Jacqui...see comments above...

  6. I was disappointed that there was not a live orchestra for the Firebird, but otherwise enjoyed the performance very much. It was certainly not standard classical ballet, but I would have been disappointed if it had been. I'm glad that OBT has the guts to do something a bit more interesting now and then.

    In response to Daniel Taylor's comment about the sets--I thought the minimalism was fantastic and was impressed that minor lighting changes could alter the entire feel of the stage. Good job!

  7. Firebird was lovely. Chauncey was the highlight, for sure, and really seemed to relish the role. I really enjoyed the change of the minions from children to adult dancers. It did make it seem much more dangerous. I loved those scenes. My only regret was the lack of live orchestra.

    This was the first time I saw the Rite of Spring, and I loved it. I thought Anne and Lucas did an amazing job. The sprawling tower of moving bodies was an amazing visual. Also, for some reason, the slow withdraw of the dancers to off stage in the middle of the program really plucked an emotional string for me.

    The Stravinsky Project.... I'll first have to state that I'm not really a fan of contemporary dance. Before I even saw it, I was disappointed to hear that none of it would be performed en pointe. I wanted to see ballet, not ballet dancers doing modern dance. I tried to go in to the program with an open mind, but a lot of what I saw didn't work for me. I thought the electronic music was a distraction. The switch between the piano and the speakers was not very seamless and at times startling. The dance collaboration did not seem cohesive to me and was too long. The skirt-like costumes for the men were a big problem for me. They looked heavy, and the length of the skirts broke the beautiful lines I would expect to see from the male dancers. What did work for me: I liked the sets very much. Also, Alison was beautiful throughout. Even if I didn't enjoy the concept of the Stravinsky Project, I still enjoyed seeing her dance it.

  8. I do not often get a chance to go out to the ballet but after talking to Lucas Threefoot I was convinced it would be wonderful, and it really was. The Firebird was a beautifully dance story and as Katie said, Chauncey was the highlight. I could have watched his performing for hours. I really enjoyed the modern Stravinsky Project. The movement was captivating, the sounds though-provoking. The shifting set of the Rite of Spring was also a great element. I loved the flow of dancers on and off and around the stage and I love how it complemented the featured dancers. Thank you for such a wonderful experience!

  9. This was a long-awaited night out for my daughter and I; we came in from out of town. We loved every second of the performance, literally on the edge of our seats.

    The mixing of the dance styles was riveting. The juxtaposition of the Firebird en pointe and the magician's minions writhing around the stage really set the tone for what was to come in the Project and Rites. I can't stop thinking about the organic building and melting of that human tower; it looked like a single organism, like a sea anemone! And all those suspended grand jetes, supported on many arms, gave this surreal aspect of flight at times.

    My daughter (8), a confirmed classicist regarding dance, was awed by possibility. During the intermissions she was a fountain of questions about the music, costumes, dance moves and set. Thank you, OBT, for a memorable evening, successfully blending classic, new and newer, and for stretching our senses.