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  2. My thoughts are pretty much in line with most other posters. NYCB did a great job with Rubies, but we expect that so it wasn't surprising. Reichlen proved once again that she is the best Rubies Tall Girl in the world (Big Red is a close second, but still second). Fairchild was fine and I kept wondering how DeLuz could be so fabulous in the famously aerobically challenging Villela role. Isn't he around 40? Amazing. I had the same problems with POB as everyone else. You don't come to the House of Balanchine and change the steps. Even though they performed the footwork, stripping it of its iconic (and original) staccato execution is unforgivable. And I agree that the costumes were lacking in contrast to the originals, which are so beautifully bejeweled. Still, I thought that their dancing was beautiful, though somewhat cold. Weird that their arms and epaulment were gorgeous but I still found them cold. The Bolshoi's Diamonds was the HUGE success of the evening and totally worth the extravagant price of admission. I'd seen Smirnova and Chudin perform the pas de deux at a gala, and I've seen the recordings but seeing the whole company in this was just mind blowing. The corps and soloists were just perfection. As much as I love NYCB, I don't ever think I was ever so enthralled from start to finish. The corps were so perfectly synchronized, yet not robotic at all. I could not take my eyes off of the 4 female soloists whenever they were onstage. Except when Smirnova & Chudin were on stage. She is simply magical. Her technique is so strong, her epaulment and presentation so beautiful. Chudin surprised me. I'd never really taken note of him except as a strong partner with beautiful line. But last night in his solos he completely won me over. Soft, plush plies, tours ending effortlessly in perfect, tight 5th positions, pirouettes that ended EXACTLY on the music with perfect control - he didn't fudge a thing. This is the kind of male dancing we used to see regularly at ABT 5-10 years ago. I didn't realize how much I've missed it.
  3. NY Times review:
  4. Paris Opera's Emeralds was infinitely more satisfying than Royal's in the cinemacast or NYCB when I saw them three years ago, where Ashley Bouder nearly turned the ballet into Swan Lake. I do disagree with Balanchinette on Pujol. While, yes, she was a bit mannered for my taste, she had luscious port de bras--her hands particularly gorgeous--and she and Ganio were wonderfully responsive to one another. She integrated her upper body into the iconic hand movements of the Violette solo to an extent that I had not seen before, and overall I found her performance more rich and detailed here than in the DVD version. Ould-Braham was in stark contrast to Pujol, very stately and reserved. The solo which can sometimes go on for ages was masterfully controlled in her hands, with Braham almost letting the music push her. She had a slight problem during the running bourrees toward the end but otherwise gorgeous. Ganio is the epitome of a cavalier with fantastic presence and line; my only quibble is that he should've traveled the diagonal lifts more. Pas de trois was fine, not sensational. Marc Moreau replaced Francois Alu and was a bit underwhelming though certainly far from the worst I have seen. The diagonal of jumps was played at such a brisk tempo that he struggled to keep up, finishing the double tour with his weight back. Of the pas de trois, I appreciated Sae Eun Park most for her serene presence, though Hannah O'Neill was lovely. Rubies was the same cast I saw of NYCB in 2014. I have seen Reichlen's stage devouring Tall Girl about five times and I am constantly reminded that she has no equal in the role. Especially after watching Melissa Hamilton in the ROH cinemacast who danced like a corps girl that just happened to be center stage, Reichlen's dancing actually overshadows the principal couple whenever she is onstage. This is perhaps a rare cast where the Tall Girl is far more interesting and memorable than the principal ballerina, but with Reichlen's presence (and legs!) it would be almost impossible for anyone to match her. It's not that Fairchild's Rubies is substandard, but I did see a stronger effort from her in 2014 and overall she is not that interesting a dancer. Very competent and musical, but not unique. Joaquin De Luz at 41(!) is still pretty hard to beat in the Villella role. His Rubies is decidedly unballetic with audible stomping, turned in plie, a sort of Devil-may-care attitude, but in doing so brings out the very intention of the work with the technical chomps to match. Those traveling jumps going from stage left the right practically accelerated into a tornado. One of the corps girls slipped and nearly fell with both hands on the ground during the two lines of diagonals when Tall Girl is with the men. Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky were front row center shouting and waving during the curtain calls when Fairchild and De Luz came out. Diamonds: Olga was majestic and I think it will take a second time of seeing her (I go again Saturday) to fully comprehend and articulate her presence. For 10 minutes during the pas de deux I could have sworn I was not in the Koch, but rather the Palace of the Czars, feasting in the decadence of The Ballerina. It should be said that she was not perfect: she got very luxuriant in the bourrees at the end, so the pirouette got late and Semyon had to scramble to kiss her hand in time. Her solo in the scherzo was majestic, but she suffered a hiccup in the first of the supported pirouettes at the very end of the finale. She does struggle to maintain her turnout in particular during developpe a la seconde. But such quibbles were inconsequential in what was a masterful performance. She began as a ballerina of Imperial Russia before slowly melting into a woman who was both vulnerable and regal. She perfectly modulated the transition between her mysterious, cool aura in the pas de deux and the growing, triumphant jubilation she achieved by the finale, creating an arc even within a plotless ballet. Make no mistake that this was not Diamonds, but rather a Russian Diamonds, where Smirnova transported you through every step. Semyon Chudin was very fine technically and should be commended for performing so well after a recent injury. As always, he has wonderful elevation and extension in the manege as well as a squeaky clean set of a la seconde turns pulling for a quadruple. I sensed he was a touch cautious in the solos and will gain more confidence on Saturday. He partnered Olga well, but more importantly the two created a relationship onstage that was more complex than just Danseur escorting Ballerina. The Russian Soul from both was certainly evident. Dancers from all three gems (including the corps) came out for bows after Diamonds. This was followed by the three directors--Dupont, Martins, and Vaziev--coming out for a bow and turning to applaud the dancers. Kevin McKenzie, Skylar Brandt, Paul Boos, Katrina Killian, Vanessa Zahorian, Davit Karapetyan, along with Irina and Max were among numerous luminaries in attendance for what was a sold out house. Certainly this was one of the most satisfying performances I've seen in some time, and I look forward to seeing casts of all three gems in the upcoming shows (I attend Saturday where NYCB Rubies/Bolshoi Diamonds will repeat, and Sunday matinee where this cast of Paris Opera repeats).
  5. For what I'm talking about, it's 22:50 in this video. The POB dvd with Clairemarie Osta definitely includes this movement too. It's not as staccato as the way NYCB does it but it's there. Actually when I watch the 2005 dvd I'm shocked at how much that French style has deteriorated.
  6. Bolshoi blew me and Mr. Abatt away too. Such grace, beauty and elegance from the corps on up to the leading dancers. The Bolshoi dancers must have the longest limbs and necks in the business. Pure JOY to watch. Smirnova and Chudin in the pas were ethereal and breathtaking. Rubies was electrifying. Megan F. is far from my favorite interpreter of the Rubies, but she was good enough. Reichlin and DeLuz have never been better. Outstanding. POB was disappointing in some ways. As noted elsewhere, in the walking duet some of the staccato movement of the ballerina in the walking duet was left out. Why?! Also agree with the post above about Pujol's overly affected head movements. Also, I found the costumes for Emeralds to be poor. The skirts seemed to have stripes of different shades of green (forest green, turquoise), but where was the EMERALD coloring? Also, too much sparkle in the skirts. Great to see so many friends there last night. The crowd was jazzed for this special, extraordinary event. Thanks to the Festival for this outstanding presentation.
  7. No, the stacatto movement of Emeralds was actually left out of the portion that canbelto was alluding to. It was not merely obscured or softened. My jaw dropped.
  8. Was there for opening night of the LC Jewels. I was underwhelmed by the French, especially did not like Pujol's water nymph solo and her strange head movement affectations. As a whole the company did not dance with the musicality or cover nearly as much space as nycb. I did very much like Myriam, who reminded me of Ashley Laracey. Her walking solo was the highlight of Emeralds. And I thought all the men were great - super clean footwork and nice jumps. Overall though, I prefer city ballet's interpretation (and Karinska's costumes). Nycb did themselves proud in Rubies. Tess was fantastic as usual (those legs!) and Joaquin outdid himself. How does he keep getting better as he gets older?! Megan was fine- I think she was a little nervous/cautious, I've seen her dance the pdd better. She did not attempt to hold the balances she normally does in the pdd (where Joaquin puts her on her leg and then does a pirouette sequence). I thought I saw one of the corps girls slip and put her hand down at one point, but that was a minor mistake. But wow, the Bolshoi Diamonds blew me away. Worth the steeper pricing! All their dancers look gorgeous - impossibly long necks, arms, legs, all super tall and graceful and with sky high extensions. Diamonds just suits them to a tee. They are grandness personified! And I was pleasantly surprised how musical (in a Balanchinean sense) they were. I have never seen a more beautiful Diamonds, or a more moving pdd. Smirnova has no equal in the role. She is effortlessly regal, arms just lovely, she and semyon made time stop. You could hear a pin drop, the audience was so spellbound. At one point I thought I was going to break into sobs from the sheer beauty of it. Semyon was wonderful in his solos, too. Huge jumps and effortless technique. I've seen many great nycb Diamonds, but this Bolshoi one was truly a spiritual experience. Feel lucky to have seen it!
  9. A brief first impression: Emeralds: A professional dancer friend who is a NYCB docent said to me (paraphrase): My God, did you see how tshe (one of the principal ladies) used her arms and hands? The way they move through space is as if the air has weight to it." Some of the movements had beautifully synchronized movement and music; other not so much. Rubies: In addition to excellent performances by Reichlen, M Fairchild and the corps, Joaquin da Luz was practically channeling Edward Villella. Diamonds: Some of the orchestral playing was outstanding, bringing out various sections and individual instruments. Played rather slowly, which was probably to the Bolshoi's taste. Olga Smirnova was as advertised, unbelievable. She had said in an interview that the pas de deux was both beautiful in a cold way (like diamonds), and also rather sad. It was exactly that. She has a mystery about her that I have seen rarely, in old video, in a few others.
  10. Unity Phelan teaches at Princeton Ballet School's summer intensive.
  11. Tips on gluten-free baking by NYCB corps member Jenelle Manzi.
  12. A review of the Lincoln Center's multi-company "Jewels" by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times.
  13. The Davidsbündlertänze is there as well.
  14. A story on the genesis of "Hiplet."
  15. The Edward Gorey House's current exhibit features "Edward Gorey's Cabinet of Curiosities."
  16. Heymann did it very softly but I could still see that he is doing the choreography. With Ould-Braham I barely noticed it. To me, the highlight of yesterday was (drumroll.....) NYCB dancing Rubies. Surprise, surprise!!
  17. There are some reports in the POB forum's thread on the LC Fest Jewels.
  18. The Teatro alla Scala Ballet Company presents "Giselle" in Southern California.
  19. Ballet West invites Cuban dancers and instructors to participate in the company's summer intensive.
  20. Even this is not as bad as the recent Bolshoi staging of Emeralds, in which the entrance diagonal of the "Mimi Paul solo" is done totally on pointe...even the usually flat-footed bowing movements.
  21. The Allegro Brillante you mention is available on YouTube, along with a couple of others.
  22. Ballet Theatre of Maryland announces plans for its thirty-ninth season.
  23. An item on the fiftieth anniversary of "Jewels" by "Prospero" in The Economist.
  24. The story behind the making of Jean-Christophe Maillot's "The Taming of the Shrew" for the Bolshoi.
  25. Sara Mearns appears in a series of workout GIFs for Vogue.
  26. That's not just an accent, that's the pas de deux 'signature'-- is it possible they just did it in some very, very soft way that obscured it? (Either way...disconcerting to read.)
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