Archive for October, 2010


October 29, 2010

Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Dancers opens Contemporary Dance Theater’s season November 5 at the Jarson Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center. The dancers are said to be “emotional, powerful and physically extreme.”

In “Rein, Bellow,” they will dangle from harnesses and manipulate each other in “ordinary to . . . hallucinatory” (Deborah Jowitt) ways. In “For Want (a circus)” the performers literally bounce off walls.

Tickets: 513-621-2787 ; (513-621-ARTS)

Interesting . . .



October 29, 2010

This post is all about bragging rights. . . . Here’s my very talented nephew Josh strumming and singing one of his original compositions!

He also plays the sax, and will be appearing at Findlay Market on Halloween with his band, The Peanut Butter Solution. There are several bands scheduled for something like a six hour period, as I understand it, and PBS is just one of them.  They are high spirited and their beat is contagious!



October 29, 2010

No, it is not! Part III of The Sleeping Beauty review is still on the back burner. I decided to research the history and style of the ballet, and it is still settling into a coherent form. Back at you soon!


October 28, 2010


There is a new food option at Findlay Market! For quite a while there had been a sign posted in one window:

Well, the wait is over! At least for insiders. I was told when I got the little treats pictured (excellent by the way) that there has been no publicity on the opening yet – so I guess the term here is “soft opening.”

When you enter there is a counter in front of you, and to your right is a dining area with wonderful yellow-tangerine (? is this a color) walls.

The space seems immaculate. The food is great. The menu is so far limited to a few appetizers and entrees. They didn’t have enough copies to give me one – but I can tell you one thang. I will be back!


October 26, 2010

(continued from Part I) . . .

On last Friday’s opening night over sixty dancers filled the stage of Music Hall in Devon Carney’s “The Sleeping Beauty,” after Petipa’s choreography. Principal dancer Janessa Touchet, partnered by a devoted Ogulcan Borova, brought confidence, stamina and stunning technique to her role as Princess Aurora. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Carmon DeLeone’s baton brought richness and dynamic breadth to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score . . . .


Cincinnati Ballet principal dancer Ogulcan Borova as Prince Desire, the one whose kiss awakens the sleeping Princess Aurora, was a very princely prince, from his first appearance in Act II, in which he is clearly distracted by his own thoughts from the merriment of a hunting party and declines to accompany them. After they continue on their way without him, much like the Prince in “Swan Lake,” he dances his unhappiness and his noble desire for someone to love, upon which the vision of Aurora appears. He knows immediately that he wants to marry her. And from the first moment we see him, we know he is one apart from the rest of the players.

In the concluding pas de deux, Borova also exhibited nobility, selflessly displaying and appreciating his Princess. Their three fish dives were not quite dangerous, but thrilling nonetheless in their increasing intensity. As he promenaded his beloved, he walked a perfect circle around her, and the only sign of the tremendous difficulty of the maneuver was a slight shaking of her hand – from which he released his own as she triumphantly balanced solo.

His own variations were full of manly jumps – one of the best was a diagonal in which he did air turns with one arm overhead. His double beats, especially in cabriole, were extremely clear and lofty. In large turns around the stage, requiring extreme stamina, he did not flag. He also achieved the “stop on a dime” dynamic  frequently called for by the music.

In classical ballets, Borova sometimes has had difficulty in escaping the brooding nature of his looks – but, speaking as a woman here, sometimes it is the moody, thoughtful ones that capture our hearts the most!

Also a standout performer was Cervilio Miguel Amador, whose appearance with Courtney Hellebuyck in the Act II “Princess Florine and the Bluebird” was incredible. As bluebird, in a wondrous feathered hat/headpiece of intense blue features, his long diagonal of brise vole was superb. The completion of one landing seamlessly thrust him without pause into the beginning of the next ascent, so that it almost seemed, as in David Parson’s strobe-lit “Caught,” that he was an airborne creature.

. . . [part three to come ]


October 24, 2010

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October 23, 2010

Principal dancer Janessa Touchet, partnered by a devoted Ogulcan Borova, brought confidence, stamina and stunning technique to her role as Princess Aurora last night during Cincinnati Ballet’s new version of “The Sleeping Beauty” at Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under Carmon DeLeone’s baton brought richness and dynamic breadth to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score.

What’s a modern dancer to do when her role demands that she be exquisite rather than extravagant? For Touchet, there was not a hint of grandstanding – from her first appearance as she executed diagonal pas de chats into smooth, spooling turns ending in a glorious, expansive developé in Act 1, to the stately apotheosis at the end of Act III, she maintained her demeanor as a princess nonpareil. Yet, when she is onstage, you can’t take your eyes off her.

This sense of demeanor, that the characterizations stay inside the ballet rather than out of it, is the hallmark of Marius Petipa’s late nineteenth century choreography, as revealed by Devon Carney. Today’s dancers of course have a different level of technique – they jump higher, and turn faster, and love to show off – but it is to Carney’s credit that across the board the performers executed their roles appropriately and the results were amazingly effective.

Many times called upon to maintain her poise in balances (as when her four suitors – the Princes Cheri, Charmant, Fortune and Fleur de Pois promenade her and briefly release her from their support) Touchet sparkled as she demonstrated her abilities. However, the sparkle seemed to emerge from her character’s natural exuberance. This Princess, though thoroughly accomplished, was not a driven overachiever by any means.

Originally, “The Sleeping Beauty” was presented in St. Petersburg at the Mariinsky Theater—what became the enduring classic we see today was presented by a French choreographer for an Italian ballerina in Russia. Carney’s “The Sleeping Beauty” is clearly the work of someone who loves the art of ballet, and is fully able to respect this unwieldy masterpiece, which perhaps has more unity in its presentation as a work of art than originality.

Certainly it requires us as audience members to slow down, and to enjoy the ride. The wonderful interaction between the music and the dancing needs to be fully appreciated. This is partly because Petipa, at age 68, was not given to changing his methods of composition even when working with a genius like Tchaikovsky. He presented the composer with detailed specifications as to the number of bars, the tempo and time signature for each episode. Historian Fernau Hall marvels that Tchaikovsky was able to adapt himself “with extraordinary ease to these rigid demands, writing music that not only conformed to specification but was full of wit, fantasy and spontaneity.”

For instance, I think that we are able to appreciate the extensive use of mime in this ballet (sometimes I had the odd impression that mime, with its enjambment of a series of clichéd expressions, was a precursor to today’s obsession with texting) because the music that accompanies it is so gosh darned expressive. Occasionally, there are hints of humor in the ponderousness of it all – after Prince Désiré defeats Carabosse (a wonderful role played to the hilt by Dawn Kelly as a kind of D-List Fairy) he mimes “What now?” to the Lilac Fairy. “What do YOU think?” she mimes back. “A kiss?” he ventures. “YES, THAT’S IT!” she replies.

I will be writing more about the individual roles in this ballet, but want to get this all out right away. I think that the lesson learned from experiencing a full-length like “The Sleeping Beauty” might be that maybe we should not expect everything from anything – but, to quote Mattie Ross in the wonderful movie “True Grit,” “Enough is good as a feast.”


October 22, 2010

Tonight at 8 pm Cincinnati Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty” opens at Music Hall, with live music from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

I will be reporting back on the performance soon!


October 20, 2010

Thanks to my friend percussionist Liz Wu for the following information.

Liz at Iris BookCafe

The fourth annual World Music Fest  will showcase a full day of performances and hands-on activities at four venues in Covington on Saturday Oct. 23, 2010. This all-ages, family-friendly event will feature everything from Salsa and Tango demonstrations to origami workshops and henna designs, complemented by an international soundtrack of Celtic, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Chinese, French, Eastern European, Spanish music and more! 

World Music Fest Schedule: Saturday Oct. 23, Noon-10 pm

Step-N-Out Studio , 721 Madison Ave, Noon-2 pm: Dance showcase with Swing, Salsa, Arabian,Tango and Bellydance demonstrations and workshops featuring Bonita Brockert, Lisa Curry, Adam Curry, Danielle Fatherree, Jessee Fatherree, Ryan Mitchell, Douglas Beal, Doreen Beatrice, Patricia Paz, Mirage, Jason Miklic, Sohpy Kdep and Zahara

Cafe Europa , 616 Main St, 2-6 pm: Music of Europe and the New World

2-3 pm  Michael Ronstadt , Southwestern Folk 

3-4 pm Sylvain Acher, French Music

4-5 pm Sasha Strunjas, Eastern European and Gypsy Jazz

5-6 pm  Dennis O’Hagan , Celtic Rock

Artisans Enterprise Center , 25 W 7th St, 4-8 pm: Asian music with Essencha Tea, Origami & Henna

4-5 pm Nimi Kai, Japanese Koto 

5-6 pm  Mohenjo Daro , Eastern Fusion 

6-8 pm Ming Ke Trio, Chinese Pipa and other classical Chinese instruments

Baker Hunt , 620 Greenup St, 6-11 pm: World Music Fest Main Stage

6-7 pm  The Full Art Spectrum , multi-media exhibit with music and spoken word 

7-8 pm  Mayan Ruins  with Zahara, Tribal Fusion with Bellydance 

8:30-9 pm Open Drum Jam with Rhythm Town 

9-10 pm  Acarya , Acoustic Worldbeat RockThere is no fixed admission charge for the festival, but a $5 suggested donation is appreciated.

 World Music Fest is indoors, so will happen rain or shine!


October 20, 2010

The deadline for application for this award is November 1, 2010. Winners are to be notified by December 1.

I have been getting a continuing number of hits on my previous post announcing this exciting opportunity, so I thought it was worth another prompt.  

Get more information at: