Foreign Correspondent
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About Natalia

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    Diamonds Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    writer; historian; ballet film collector
  • City**
    Washington, DC
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
  1. David McAllister's gorgeous production of The Sleeping Beauty is now available on DVD:
  2. Does the Hunt really count for a procession in GISELLE? Duh... Petipa's R&J? ROTFL!
  3. Who said "ride"? Praline enters the stage STANDING on the big white yak! The procession of Praline & her enormous entourage of sweets makes for a grand parade in the 19th-C Petipa tradition. Think of all the great Petipa processions such as BAYADERE A2, SLEEPING BEAUTY A3, PHARAOH's DAUGHTER, FLORA's AWAKENING... Who doesn't love a great parade with elaborate props and gorgeous costumes? As for Misty, I was referring to her ability to perform the choreography as quickly and crisply as intended, not ability to stand on the yak (holding on to a pole).
  4. Speaking of Copeland... I've supported her many a time on this forum but, knowing her strengths and having now seen this ballet three times, I could never ever picture her making an entrance atop the big furry yak & succeeding with Princess Praline's fleet-footed petit allegro choreography. I'm willing to be proven wrong.
  5. You're most welcome! I've finally come down from the Sugar High...but thinking about that cute Pink Yak & hoping that some day ABT will market a line of cuddly toys based on the ballet. Heck, I'll go one further: ABT, Ryden and Disney must form a partnership. Create a Whipped-Cream-Land for all of us dreamers and people with kindness in their hearts. The more that I think back to my sojourn in Costa Mesa, the more that I admire Ratmansky's Petipaesque craftsmanship with ensembles of all sizes, such as the whipped cream ladies or the Hot Drinks pas de neuf...or that amazing Pas de Douze (12) March for the clusters of warriors. In all of these, I'm in awe of the ability to mix "action" with coy posing straight out of the Petipa play book. While one cluster of dancers shows off great technical moves in unison, the other clusters arrange themselves in adorable poses that echo the composition of 19th-century Imperial Mariinsky post cards. If Richard Strauss had been the Tsar's composer, this is precisely what Petipa would have created...except that this is Ratmansky in the 21st-C! Most importantly, the designs of WHIPPED CREAM are fit for a Tsar. ABT now has the elusive "long lost Petipa Imperial-Mariinsky ballet"! Now I know what the Romanov Court felt when the curtain went up on a grand new spectacle at the old Mariinsky. Or, most appropriately, due to this being a relatively short 2-acter,this "Petipa ballet" would have premiered at the Court Hermitage Theatre. So did other 2-act (or long 1-act) frothy concoctions like HARLEQUINADE, THE SEASONS and FAIRY DOLL.
  6. Thanks, abatt! So do not get rid of that subscription ticket for WHIPPED CREAM. You're guaranteed a great time.. Just had my last morning swim at the Westin. The weather has been heavenly here. I'm sorry to be leaving Paradise for the East Coast. The snow had better be over back home!!!
  7. I must leave this place before diabetes sets in. In the meantime, my 3rd dose of WHIPPED CREAM was quite delicious, this time led by perhaps the most outstanding Boy, Herman Cornejo, from both the dancing and acting perspective. His Princess Praline was beautiful Cassandra Trenary, perhaps the neatest performer of the filigreed footwork among all, although Lane was the only one to deliver 3ple pirouettes. The A1 "hot drinks" leads, Hee Seo & Cory Stearns, displayed long lean lines...but Seo's choreography was watered a bit, eg, single pirouettes a la seconde , where Murphy & Boylston danced doubles. On the other hand, Calvin Royale and Arron Scott were the best-dancing and most hilarious Prince Cocoa & Don Zuccaro, respectively...from the moment that they emerged from their tins and gave each other nasty glares...Royal & Scott delivered comic gems galore! Neapolitan Ice Cream was a bit toned down compared to the matinee but still the liveliest creature on the back stairs. Back home tomorrow. Had a blast but I'm ready to cut back on the sweets...hmmm, just a little.
  8. The first of today's two performances is history. The matinee cast, led by impishly comical Danil Simkin, is now history...and I'm lovin' this ballet more than ever. The A1 "hot drinks diverts" leads, Gillian Murphy & James Whiteside, were technically spot-on, if not as sinewy in plastique or as comically sharp as were Boylston/Lendorf last night. On the other hand, Sarah Lane was naturally charming and technically superior as Praline - twice ending her solos with triple fouett├ęs. The nine male demisoloists absolutely nailed the A1 March...I should've mentioned that piece de resistance yesterday. BUT my top kudos of this performance absolutely go to -- drumroll -- the guy (or kid?) in the background of the finale who bopped and waved his arms non-stop dressed in a capsule-like garment depicting (I think) Neapolitan Ice Cream..three layered colors painted in a melting effect: strawberry pink, chocolate & vanilla. He stood at top of steps on a bridge with other child sweets - surely echoing the bridge in Bournonville's NAPOLI. He bopped and bopped as a final Tarantella played. This kid, whoever he may be, wins my Spirit of Joy trophy. Oh, yeah! Now a quick bite at the hotel before tonight's performance (Cornejo to lead). Neapolitan Ice Cream better be back!
  9. WHIPPED CREAM is a HUUUUGE success in every way. Gorgeous substantial sets & costumes, yes. We expected so but this is so much more. This is a true ballet, practically a 100% danced production with minimal mime. A true "grand ballet" in the Petipa manner. We had a great cast tonight but it was a slam-dunk for high-flying charmer Jeffrey Cirio. What an artist of the highest order. Also impressive is the delectable Skylar Brandt, with her fleet footwork and strong fouett├ęs. Isabella Boylston & Alban Lendorf were exquisite in the A1 divertissement, displaying line and personality plus! Kudos to the sharply comic Liquors Trio of Zhong-Jing Fang, Patrick Ogle & Marshall Whiteley! (I haven't seen Ms Fang in anything so substantial since I saw her win the Shanghai Int'l Ballet Competition in 2001. Brava!) The female corps was yummy in the big Whipped Cream waltz that ended A1; I love the way that they slide down onto the stage! Going into this, I was particularly skeptical about the large swaths of non-dansant tunes in this Richard Strauss score. No problem! Ratmansky created beautiful movements to "impossible dancing music" that fit like a glove. Case in point: the long, languid music with flute solo for Tea Flower and her four attendants...suddenly a masterpiece of movement that recalls "La Flute" in Lifar's SUITE EN BLANC. Ratmansky made me SEE that music & make the connection, even though I'd listened to the same music on the Japanese CD 1,000 times before. One can write a book on the numerous Petipa allusions, so obvious in the various female poses during the finale. I particularly adore the 19th-C gentle poses and moves in the A1 Pas de Neuf for Tea/Coffee and their respective entourages...or the March of the Marzipans with quotations from DOCH FARAONA! I silently "bravoed" Mr P during the bows. Ratmansky has really learned his Petipa-notations' lessons well. Not-to-be- Missed-Ballet! I can't wait for my other two performances tomorrow, with different casts. One small negative: the 2-act work clocks in at only 75 minutes (not counting the one intermission) ...but what a 75-minute splendor! Still, $129 was a bit steep price to pay for a seat way up in Loge, albeit a good central first row location in Loge, for a ballet that began at 7:40pm & bows ended at 9:20 PM. The opposite of the mostly-dull and poorly designed FAIRY's KISS in Miami one month ago. Vive la difference in Costa Mesa...substance, not shabby cubist-crap projections. WHIPPED CREAM's church looks like a church, not a dirty milk carton.
  10. Just arrived in O.C. after working for past week elsewhere in S'ern Calif. Looking forward to attending three shows (tonight and both of tomorrow's performances). I'm purposely not reading other reports yet, to go into the theater with a clean slate & fresh eyes. Let's see what transpires.
  11. Oh dear. So shall we begin to take bets on whether or not this year's top female grad, Eleonora Sevenard, will be going to a company other than the Mariinsky?
  12. So Fateev could not spot Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran, Viktor Lebedev, Ksenia Zhiganshina, or Alyona Kovalyova? Does he need eye glasses?
  13. I was thinking primarily about recent Vaganova top -of-their-class graduates who opt to go straight to the Bolshoi, Stanislavsky or Mikhailovsky upon graduation. Even Shapran began elsewhere (Stanislavsky), although she's now at the Mariinsky.
  14. Spasibo balshaya...thank you very much, mnacanani.
  15. MmeP & mnacenani, Agreed. The $64,000 Question: Why did the Mariinsky allow yet another highly-promising graduate to escape to Moscow or beyond? Or perhaps there is an agreement among the directors of the big Russian companies to "spread the wealth"? They all attend each other's academies' graduations, I've noticed, looking for talent.