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ABT City Center Week 3


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#16 Petite_Arabesque

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 07:33 PM

Diversion of Angels was....interesting. I'm not much of a modern person, I more prefer ballet, but I think the company did a good job. Don't know if I cared for Wiles in this piece, but I thought Tuttle and Kajiya did well. They did have some issues with running into the wings though.....

I must say that I, too, thought Fang was beautiful In Symphonic Variation B) The other people I went with noticed her as well. It's really amazing she's only an apprentice! Although I thought that Abrera looked much better this season than last season (La Bayadere; Gamzatti), technique-wise.

I really liked Pillar of Fire. It's the first time I've seen it, so I have nothing to compare it with, but thought Amanda McKerrow was stunning. Her bleeding was very bad--it stained the dress she was wearing. But maybe the physical pain helped her to be more emotional? Purely theoretical of course.

I thought that Raymonda was too cheesy--I think it should be more regal. And from where I was sitting (side orchestra), Dvorevenko's feet semed sickled a lot. Her head-waggling was kind of funny, I have to admit. The demi-soloist men were excellent, though, and very together.

Roma, what did you mean when you said the variation was "doubled up"?



~*~Carmen~*~

#17 Manhattnik

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 09:16 PM

My take on last night:

I managed to miss Diversion of Angels, because I thought houses only had 7:30 starts on Tuesdays. I should pay closer attention to what's printed on my ticket in the future.

In Pillar, McKerrow was a big disappointment. Her dancing was fine, but she seemed utterly, and unrelievedly, miserable throughout. When she finally hooked up with the somber, poker-faced Gennady Saveliev as the Friend, they looked like newlyweds sharing a stroll to the gallows. I saw nothing in this Hagar to indicate why the Friend would find her the least bit interesting. Ashley Tuttle's Younger Sister was so determinedly, relentlessly up that the results were more than a little frightening, like this was a deranged Younger Sister who'd take an axe to the neighborhood one evening. Monique Meunier was a welcome sight indeed as the Older Sister, with her familiar arresting presence and intensity. I don't think she really had a clear grasp of the role, though, much as Maria Bystrova didn't. This sister thinks it would be the best thing in the world for Hagar to forget about men and s*x. Rather than reproach Hagar for her indescretion, the Older Sister offers her a way out. Meunier, much as I adore her, was a bit too stern and matriarchal.

Between the scary Younger Sister, the simmering Older Sister, and the relentlessly morose Hagar, this family seemed to have come from the hand of Charles Addams more than Antony Tudor.

I did like Kristi Boone and Adrienne Schulte as two of the Lovers in Experience. They dance large, and I like that.

I can only second what everyone has said about Fang and Abrera in Symphonic. Gomes was a bit too weighty and ponderous. Not that he's heavy or leaden, but there is nothing empyrean about him.

Dvorovenko was to die for in Raymonda. Yes, her feet have problems, and her bourreing is a bit on the clunky side, but it is a delight to see someone who understands that this is a Hungarian princess, and who handles her upper body with such perfect contrast between steely tension and fiery release. If you can't hit those hand-behind-the-head poses instantly and with utter conviction, you might as well not bother.

I did miss Belotserkovsky's solo. Where did it go?

#18 carbro

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 09:21 PM

I thought that Raymonda was too cheesy--I think it should be more regal. . . . Her head-waggling was kind of funny, I have to admit.
. . .
Roma, what did you mean when you said the variation was "doubled up"?

In the Raymonda GPC, I think Irina D outdid even herself, mannerism-wise. :devil: The corps was much improved since the end of Week I in Rmnda. Overall, it just looks as though the company (including most soloists and principals) haven't had time to learn the roles adequately. There's a vaguely improvisational (not spontaneous) air to their dancing in this piece. I heard :gossip: that Max omitted the variation due to an injury. News, anyone?

The variation a deux was danced by Maria Riccetto with uncharacteristic reticence and stiffness. Her partner, Melissa Thomas, was grand, open, almost reminiscent of a young van Hamel. Petite A., this dance is usually performed by one woman, not two, hence Roma's term, "doubled up."

Liked McKerrow's Hagar very much. Very different from Murphy. Murphy's longing was edgier and more EXpressed -- outward. McKerrow's was more internalized. Still, I never experienced this degree of emotion from McKerrow before -- usually think of her as a very competent, very attractive, bland dancer who projects to the row where the critics sit and not much beyond. In the rear mezzanine, the air was buzzing. Meunier's Elder Sister was somewhat imperious, perhaps not quite fully realized. But she moved magnificently, and I'm beginning to wonder if her ABT career will mirror her NYCB career. :toot: Neither leading man quite fulfilled my expectations of their roles.

I am so thrilled :bouncing: that Zhong-Jing has created so much excitement. :D

#19 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 10:15 AM

Interestingly, I've been told that at the Kirov it is absolutely taboo to clap the hand and make a sound in the Hungarian, that it is considered peasant, that Petipa choreographed it with just a brush of the fingers; evidently when Kirov artists see others do it they consider it vulgar. As I said, interesting. Anyone?

#20 Alexandra

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 10:17 AM

In the west, it's been done both ways. I would think that vulgarity would depend not only on the eye of the beholder, but on how it's done.

#21 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 10:19 AM

I suspect that clapping with too much relish or sound might be overdoing it.... :sweating:

#22 carbro

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 11:43 AM

Interestingly, I've been told that at the Kirov it is absolutely taboo to clap the hand and make a sound in the Hungarian, . . . they consider it vulgar. 

Ahem. :wacko: Uh, I wonder how Zakharova (hardly a practitioner of tasteful restraint) handles the claps.

:offtopic: Oops! Sorry.

#23 nysusan

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 01:18 PM

If I could design the perfect personality for a ballerina my preference would definitely be for more restraint than Dvorovenko shows. And yet, I enjoyed her performance of Raymonda immensely as I enjoy most of her performances. I was sitting much closer to the stage than usual ( I usually sit in the first row of the rear mezz and I this time I was in the first row of the Grand Tier) and from such a close vantage point I found her facial expressions a little disconcerting, but still, what confidence and composure and exuberance! Also musicality. I thought Wiles was beautiful in Raymonda, but a bit too tentative. I liked Herrera's Raymonda better than her Theme & Variations but that's as far as I'm willing to go. To me, Dvorovenko had a natural feel for the musical phrasing and the aplomb to pull off a showpiece like this.

With the exception of Diversion of Angels I thought that most of the 11/5 cast changes were a big improvement. I liked Wiles in Diversion, and thought this cast was fine but overall I preferred the first cast, especially Sandra Brown & the Cornejos.

In Symphonic Variations I found a cohesion that was glaringly absent in the first cast. I love,love,love Marcello Gomes but agree that he was not a great choice for this role. His demeanor somehow seemed too heavy and ponderous, especially compared with the light, radiant classicism Beleterovsky brought to the role. Max's performance was the only one I liked in the first cast, he seemed to radiate beauty and serenity. I like the costumes,I thought they evoked the feeling of greek gods (especially in Beleterovsky's case). The major problems I had with the first cast were that I didn't feel harmony or balance among the dancers, that I thought the women lacked fluidity and that Beleterovsky stood out too much. I found myself watching him through most of the piece, and I didn't think that was what Ashton had in mind.

Michaels' description of Abrera made me laugh, because that's EXACTLY how I felt about Tuttle. With this new cast, even though I felt that Gomes' interpretation lacked the right tone, I thought it fit better with the rest of the group and allowed the eye to follow the patterns and take in the gorgeous, flowing movement and the progression of the choreography instead of focusing on one dancer. Similarly, Abrera may be no Fonteyn but, for me, she was much more fluid and less brittle than Tuttle. I thought this cast as a whole, especially the women, were able to negotiate the choreography with much more delicacy and musicality.

Mary Cargill's review quotes Cynthia Harvey as saying that "Somes stressed that the six dancers should give the appearance of being friends". I think that's a very interesting description of the tone of this piece and I felt that if they were not quite friends yet then at least they all had they same point of view, and were looking towards the same horizon, which allowed the beauty and harmony of the choreography to shine through for me. :wacko:

I loved McKerrow's Hagar. I definitely thought she gave the most emotionally nuanced interpretation of the role I've seen yet this season. I didn't notice the blood on her ankle until the curtain calls, which is very strange considering how close I was. What I noticed was that her braid kept falling off her head and down onto her face at the beginning of the piece. I found it a little distracting but she managed to get it under control pretty quickly.

Now I must confess that I am a complete ballet geek and am going again tonight. :shhh: This time I'll be back in my usual rear mezz seats and I'll see if the perspective affects my opinion before I cast my vote in the Hagar poll.

#24 Roma

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 02:58 PM

Ahem.  :wacko: Uh, I wonder how Zakharova (hardly a practitioner of tasteful restraint) handles the claps.

She doesn't dance Raymonda. It's true though, there is no clapping at the Kirov, only a strong brush of the fingers.

#25 lampwick

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Posted 07 November 2003 - 03:20 PM

I noticed Zhong-Jing Fang this summer when she took some classes where I take. I couldn't stop watching her! She's one of those dancers who makes it look so easy--very soft joints. I was excited to see her picture on the ABT website and can hardly wait to see her perform now after reading everyone's reviews. She really stands out as being incredibly gifted.

#26 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 08:40 PM

I went to the matinee (Family Friendly) this afternoon; here are brief notes - it was a good but slightly limp afternoon. The corps looked decently drilled in Theme and Variations. Ashley Tuttle looked better than I've seen her before in this role, but she still isn't a steely technician, and I prefer that in Theme. I don't want to wonder whether the ballerina will nail her turns. I'm not sure I'd want to be cast in that ballet after a year on Broadway; I saw Movin' Out finally this week and it's not exactly a vehicle for maintaining one's classical technique. Corella did a decent job in the role, but he wasn't in his top form. I'm also curious about his second variation - I know there are differences between the ABT and NYCB versions of Theme but it's beginning to feel a little like people are taking that variation and treating it like it was Tchaikovsky pas de deux's ad lib male variation.

Le Grand Pas de Deux is innocuous and amusing enough. I saw Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes, and I painfully regret not seeing Dvorovenko in this role. But I would expect her to insist on getting her own purse for the performance. I mean, it's just a plain pink purse. Not metallic. No sequins. No rhinestones. No animal prints. I can find something more fabulous at Webers any day of the week, and I have!

I'm curious to hear from people who knew Three Virgins and a Devil when it was originally in repertory versus this current revival. It really looks thin. Was it always this bald or is it the staging? As performed, it doesn't seem that coherent or thought-out in plot, characterization or choreography. Interesting to contrast it with Fancy Free, from about the same time and holding up far better.

Now that I've seen Flames of Paris once, I don't think I ever need to see it again. It's got barrel turns and double whoop-de-doos (as my friend who went with me calls all large air jumps) for the guy and fouettes for the woman and it all feels very generic. Insert your favorite manege here. Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev did the honors. Saveliev is a reliable technician who didn't have much personality in this role; Murphy projects more than she did.

Paloma Herrerra was one of the sweetest girls with the red purse I've seen in a long time in Fancy Free. She handled the first encounter with the sailors as if it never got beyond the point where she was worried she couldn't control their antics and because of that, it never looked like it might become violent. As ATM said earlier in the season, that seems to depends a lot on the woman's reactions rather than the men's actions. Craig Salstein may be from Miami, but he's an engaging and convincing kid from Brooklyn as the first sailor. He needs to "stick" the steps though, and a double tour then a split isn't the same thing as a double tour to a split. I haven't had the best of luck this season with Marcelo Gomes. He's a dancer I like a great deal but I haven't seen his best performances or roles. He's an amiable third sailor, but Carreno's rumba variation is still the best in the company (and Gomes is the Brazilian!) Gomes is oddly not sexy in the part, and he's a very sexy dancer. It's almost as if he's dancing the steps too much.

#27 Michael

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 07:44 AM

Leigh -- You are being exceedingly kind to Ashley Tuttle's performance. This was a very poor Theme and Variations. Its rival in recent memory being her own prior performance (Saturday matinee two weeks ago), which was probably worse, all told, because that day included not merely an anguished and tense effort simply to get through the piece but several near (or actual) crash and burn episodes. She should not be cast in this. It is simply beyond her capabilities.

#28 nysusan

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 08:33 AM

I thought Theme & Variations was very sluggish at yesterday’s matinee. Not just Tuttle, the whole cast seemed to lack energy. Although I have to admit that I was watching Tuttle intently and expecting her to crash and burn at any second.
:sweating:
Leigh - you make an interesting point about the effect of a long hiatus on Tuttle’s technique - perhaps they should have thought about that before casting her in T&V.

I also thought that Flames of Paris was very forgettable.

Leigh, in answer to your question about Three Virgins & a Devil - I didn't see it until the 70’s (with Nahat & Wilson). I remember it being pretty much the same as this version, only funnier.

There is one thing I’m curious about in Fancy Free. I’m sure I remember the dreamy sailor (the one who does the soft shoe & the second variation) dancing the pas de deux and yesterday Gomes danced it even though he was doing the rhumba sailor. Is it customary to “blend” the roles like that? And yes, Herrerra’s pocketbook girl was very sweet. I’ve seen 3 casts of Fancy Free this season & I liked her the best, although I also liked Sandra Brown. Abrera was the first one I saw this season and with her that scene really took on a rough edge.

#29 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 08:43 AM

Susan, I think there are now two versions of Fancy Free - it's actually more common at present to give the pas de deux to the third sailor, almost turning him into the "principal".

I know there's a history to this, but I'm not sure of it. Anyone out there know?

#30 nysusan

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Posted 09 November 2003 - 08:58 AM

Interesting. I saw 2 other casts this season, Corella, Radetsky, Carreno and Salstein, Steifel, Carreno (Salstein was a last minute sub for Corella). The second sailor danced the pas de deux in both of those performances and it fit so well with his "dreamy" personality that I assumed that was the intent of the choreographer. Well, you know what happens when you assume!


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