ABT Week 2
Posted 12 May 2003 - 09:38 PM
Everyone seemed more attuned to the artistic possibilities of this work the second time around. Alina's Shades Act was unquestionably otherworldly. Stella was meaner. Much discussion whether her beautifully soft lyricism prevents her from being fully effective as Gamzatti.
See what I mean about leaving out steps to make room for one 8-count pirouette? In his variation, Angel (looking a bit tired) fell out and had way too much time to fill getting to the corner to start his manege.
D'Jampe dance was led by Monique and Carmen. Monique was luscious, if disgracefully underutilized.
Which brings up this question: I recall the D'Jampe dancers doing a beautiful port de bras carrying their scarves in an arc from a deep cambre over one side, over their heads to a deep cambre on the other side. Was this done? :confused: Because now they trace a much smaller arc from slightly to one side, in front of their heads, to slightly on the other side. Better the other way.
I'm hungry for more Cojocaru.
Posted 13 May 2003 - 03:59 AM
It was fun to see the corps do the Kingdom of the Shades after we'd seen them demonstrate it at the Guggenheim a couple of months back. It has come a long way, though as others have noted, they still aren't uniform. We enjoy their exuberance.
Posted 13 May 2003 - 04:22 AM
I would not describe Abrera as ethereal. I thought she danced the best performance of her career.
Posted 14 May 2003 - 09:07 AM
As for Ms. Meunier, since when has a visible roll of fat protruding from the mesh of a costume considered "luscious"? I have always admired Ms. Meunier's technical strength but she has always been and remains much too heavy and thick for a ballerina - her weight problem is a fact, plain and simple. Perhaps she is underutilized because ABT's management realizes it was a mistake to hire her.
Posted 14 May 2003 - 09:38 AM
However, we disagree about Meunier. As a dancer, she moves me. You might disagree, but I think she's lovely and currently is in very good shape. That's the shape she is. And she's every inch the ballerina. But any size she is is good enough for me. Her magic is in the way she moves, her musicality, her joyousness, her imagination, and - yes - her technique that allows her to express herself. I hope she will get the opportunity she most rightly deserves at ABT.
Posted 14 May 2003 - 09:40 AM
You have a point, Samsara. I think we have come to take Angel's gifts for granted. But the "details" about flaws are equal to the details of you mention. Not all of us were close enough to see him clench his jaw, but there is no question that he seethed on learning of the Rajah's plans for him. He conveyed real passion for his Nikiya, and clearly Alina was happy to dance with him.
Originally posted by samsara
Why does everyone make such a big deal of minor technical details that in no way diminish the power and beauty of the complete variations and even more importantly, why doesn't any seem to notice the extraordinary nuances in Angel Corella's performances as "Solor"? . . . why not mention the way his neck and jaw muscles move as he shows real anger . . . and many other nuances with which this dancer imbues his performances?
A problem -- and I recognize it's an unusual problem and a good one to have to complain about -- is that there has lately been an overemphasis on bravura at ABT that often brings art close to the line of being a circus act. When someone (in this case it happened to be Angel) changes the steps in order to "better" show off his extraordinary turns, and then falls short, it violates the expressive arc of the variation/coda. It was a problem of his own making.
As for Monique, her dancing -- her movement quality -- is very sensuous, womanly. She always seems to feel the air around her. It is a rare and beautiful quality. It would be nice if she were thinner, and perhaps she will be. I saw no "roll of fat," and I couldn't take my eyes off her. There is room for many types of dancers at ABT, and I think her presence enriches roster.
Posted 14 May 2003 - 02:07 PM
Posted 14 May 2003 - 02:23 PM
Posted 14 May 2003 - 03:50 PM
Posted 14 May 2003 - 08:02 PM
There has never been any doubt about her technical abilities. She has lovely line and a good ear. But this dancer has often failed to engage either dramatically or with her partner, to project personality or dramatic action, or to fill out adagio passages. Forget that old Paloma. The new Paloma brought to Nikiya a passion, a freshness, and moments of great beauty. Every act revealed a new aspect of a newly mature ballerina. This was the performance of her career.
Michele's Gamzatti was beautifully danced, as expected. But her characterization was original and intriguing and made one remember that these Indians lived unquestioningly in a stringent caste system. She was no obvious villainess, just someone suitable to be Solor's bride. In the confrontation scene, after motioning to Nikiya that "This, all this is MINE, and you're just a lowly temple dancer," she somehow conveyed that she felt not only better, but also smarter than Nikiya. I can't describe the moment, but it crystallized her characterization.
Jose had his hands full -- literally and figuratively -- with two ballerinas both too large for him. His dancing was noble and elegant, if the surface was more patina than dazzle. Michele's inabililty to complete a revolution in a supported, arm-over-arm pirouette was due to the simple fact that when on pointe, her en couronne arms are several inches beyond Jose's reach -- basic mechanics.
Although I was drawn to the performance by the evening's Solor and Gamzatti, there is no question that despite fine performances from both, it was really Paloma's night. Brava!
Posted 15 May 2003 - 08:19 PM
That section was many of the highlights of Ananiashvili's portrayal on Wednesday night. Ananiashvili's characterization was naturally less girlish during the first act (with her acting looking a little more scripted) and more commanding during the Shades section.
Both Gamzatti's were strong. I thought Abrera's was the more rounded performance. Murphy was flawless in the Act I classical solos, while Abrera surprised me by foutteing to the left in a sort of strange way. In the last act solo, Murphy threw in several multiple turns (more than 3), which I thought impressive but too much. Abrera was as sinuous as a snake - smooth, smooth, smooth.
I have to admit to going to Wednesday's performance to see Monique Meunier and Veronika Part as two of the Shades (Anna Liceica did the first variation). But was rewarded with Meunier in the D'Jampe again and Part in the pas d'action. The trio had a triumph in the shades. It seemed a meeting of like minds and style - musicality, lushness and beauty.
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