4mrdncr, it must be very strange to see peformances of ballets (like Nutcracker) that you have strong memories of dancing in. I'd love to hear more about that.
I have the opposite take on Apollo. It's one of those masterpieces -- like Hamlet (the play) -- that I actually love to see in in a wide variety of approaches. Within reason, of course, and always assuming a high level of musicality and technique I suppose that's because I've never seen -- or imagined -- one ideal Apollo or set of muses.
Viewing ballets I used to dance in, at first was almost impossible to do because I still wanted to dance and couldn't. Then, after almost six years of sort of self-imposed (my choice to take job there) isolation and not seeing any live performances, I was able to slowly acclimate myself to a viewer's POV. I couldn't stop myself from analyzing however, because I still felt each movement in my own musculature. In those ballets I was most familiar with, it was almost a "split-personality" effect of seeing/feeling both POV's: The audience's in the hall AND the dancer's onstage--ie. remembering the choreography, lights, wings, entrances/exits, proximity to other dancers, blocking etc. as a dancer, and seeing all of that as a detached observant audience member. (I have same problem with ballet sculptures, if the placement is wrong, my muscles will literally cringe--which is why I'm trying to find a class in forging/casting or other methods to make my own and save myself the pain.)
One-acts/neo-classical pieces were easier to view; not so the full-lengths...Nutcracker et.al. was hard, but Swan Lake was the worst because I never got to dance it--I was supposed to (one of the 4 cygnets) etc. and did all the rehearsals, but then we were given only 1week's notice we had to move back to the States, spent 3 days that week packing, and then they delayed us by 1 day, and I ended up sitting in first row watching all my friends onstage. Someday I'd love to be "3rd spear carrier on the left" just so I can say at the Pearly Gates I was in SL afterall.
RE: Apollo--I never mind seeing it, but somehow I'm still waiting for the perfection I still have in my mind. Maybe it's a vague memory of Farrell/Martins, I don't know, I always leave though with a feeling of awe for the choreography, satisfaction for good dancing, and a faint disquiet/doubt that 'something' still was missing(?)
RE: Giselle--Last year saw Vishneva/Corella do it and though timed TOTALLY different than Kirkland/Baryshnikov, a weightless affect was still achieved because of superb partnering that night. So though I was disappointed timing was different, I was surprised by the choices made that could achieve the same affect.