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zerbinetta

"Stars of the 21st Century" gala

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Random thoughts on the gala:

1) Might it be possible to declare a moratorium on all Roland Petit ballets in the Greater NY area for a period of not less than 5 years?

2) I never thought a manege of barrel turns would bring me to the point of tears. Herman Cornejo managed to do this last night.

3) Could we gently kidnap Alina Cojocaru & keep her in NY forever? or until she really really wanted to leave? at which point, who could say no to this girl?

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1) Might it be possible to declare a moratorium on all Roland Petit ballets in the Greater NY area for a period of not less than 5 years?

I was thinking the same thing last night :cool:

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Random thoughts on the gala:

1) Might it be possible to declare a moratorium on all Roland Petit ballets in the Greater NY area for a period of not less than 5 years?

2) I never thought a manege of barrel turns would bring me to the point of tears. Herman Cornejo managed to do this last night.

3) Could we gently kidnap Alina Cojocaru & keep her in NY forever? or until she really really wanted to leave? at which point, who could say no to this girl?

Sigh.I would have thought the same, I shuddered when I looked at the program and saw THREE. And I thought I was going to expire during L'Arlesienne.

I hate the Carmen but last night it worked for me. Also La Prisonniere, although pretty derivative, also worked for me. No doubt I really responded to Lacarra and Pierre.

On Herman. He did some spectacular feats, but I missed real momentum in Diana and Acteon. But Zerbinetta, I thought I was going to stop breathing during the barrel turns. Amaaaazing!!!

On Alina. Zerbinetta, you work out a scheme and I'll help you execute it. We can do it as a tag team. What a sweetheart she is, I hope to see her in the full Giselle sometime soon.

Another biggie for me was Vishneva and Fadeev. I liked them as much as McBride and Villella, and that's saying a lot.

Even more than before, I'm looking forward to seeing Vishneva a few months from now with ABT at the Met.

:cool:

Richard

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One more thought on the gala, not so positive.

I think Alexandra Ansanelli could use some coaching in "Imperial" style Petipa.

While she's SO strong technically, she could have had more expressive arms and more lightness and buoyancy.

In the silly Diana thing(at least she didn't go prancing around with a bow), Reyes, not a great favorite of mine normally, gave an example of this kind of lightness and delicacy.

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There is an empty spot in the ABT Giselle casting w/ Angel C.I bet Kevin is trying to get her for that spot.

Joe

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Would someone be kind enough to list which segments each dancer performed? It's great to read that they did so well, but for those who weren't there, there's no context. Thanks!

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Would someone be kind enough to list which segments each dancer performed?  It's great to read that they did so well, but for those who weren't there, there's no context.  Thanks!

Diana and Acteon Reyes and Cornejo

L'Alesienne Abbagnoto and Carbone

Giselle Cojocaru and Koggorg

Rubies Vishneva and Fadeev

Corsair Ansanelli and Corella

Carmen Lacarra and Pierre

Steps in the Street Modern Dance ensemble

La Sylphide Lunkina and Cote (subbing for Gudanov)

Romeo and Juliet Vishneva and Fadeev

Kazimir's Colours Abbagnoto and Carbone

La Prisonierre Lacarra and Pierre

Don Q Cojocaru and Kobborg

Defile All (ballet) dancers

Paganini was also listed in the program with Lukina and Gudanov but was not performed

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The unexpected delight for me was the two Petit works, La Prisonierre and Carmen. L'arlesiane I simply did not get. Lacarra and Pierre got the loudest ovations of the night, perhaps because they were the least well-known yet danced so beautifully.

Last night my tall ballerina prejudice was shattered forever: I fellt deeply in love with Diana Vishneva :cool: It was so strange seeing Rubies danced in a style so different from what I had seen at the NYCB, yet, at the same time, so right. Diana I love you.

Oh and Alina, please, please, please, come back to NY soon. Sniff. It's a rare ballerina where every pose she makes is a work of art, but that's Alina. I thought Johan was a surprisingly stiff Albrecht though.

I was bothered by Anasanelli's port-de-bras during Le Corsaire. She hung her arms off her sockets like a stickman, as if she didnt know what to do with them. But her fouettes, oriented in a circle, and then in a straight line, were stunningly well-executed (until the final one where she almost fell).

Angel must be so sick of Le Corsaire pdd by now ... Yet the pro that he is, he danced it as if it were the first time. What a joyful dancer.

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There is an empty spot in the ABT Giselle casting w/ Angel C.I bet Kevin is trying to get her for that spot.

Joe

Cojocaru as Giselle in NYC?

:cool:

Richard

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Random thoughts on the gala:

1) Might it be possible to declare a moratorium on all Roland Petit ballets in the Greater NY area for a period of not less than 5 years?

2) I never thought a manege of barrel turns would bring me to the point of tears. Herman Cornejo managed to do this last night.

3) Could we gently kidnap Alina Cojocaru & keep her in NY forever? or until she really really wanted to leave? at which point, who could say no to this girl?

Zerbinetta, couldn't agree more with your second & third comments , especially with regard to Alina -

KEVIN MCKENZIE ARE YOU LURKING? Listen up !!!

Maybe we could start a letter writing campaign to get her here more often but then, I'm sure her number was the first one McKenzie dialed when he got the news about Nina. Cojocaru is phenomenal, I cannot get enough of her

About the Petit, I have to disagree & second Canbelto's opinion on this one. Maybe it's because I rarely see his works, but I really enjoyed the 2 that Lacarra & Pierre performed. And Lacarra, what a revelation! I, like most of the audience (apparently) had never heard of her before but I will surely look out for her now. She was a consummate artist.

The disappointments for me were Lunkina & Ansanelli. When I decided to get tickets to this event they were 2 big selling points for me (besides Cojocaru & Vishneva who I knew I would love).

I have to say that I was not impressed by Lunkina. There was nothing wrong with her performance, she was a lovely, flirtatious Sylphide but I found nothing really memorable or unique about her. Two weeks from now I probably won't remember a thing about her performance, whereas I still have vivid memories of the different interpretations I saw from Bojesen & Schandorff over a year ago.

I love Ansanelli in her NYCB rep and I was really curious to see her with Corella in Corsaire. I actually thought it was a gutsy move for her to try something so different from what she usually performs. I think she has a long way to go if she wants to add the classics to her repetoire , although I wonder if injury or illness may have been a factor. She looked fine, but she had been scratched from almost the last 2 weeks at NYCB, so you never know. I found her circle of fouettes disorienting, I don't think they came off well & they certainly didn't end well. Her port de bras did not impress, but really, her whole demeanor didn't quite fit. I don't want to make this sound worse than it was - it was an interesting performance & she certainly didn't embarrass herself but she didn't quite cut it as a classical ballerina.

Last night my tall ballerina prejudice was shattered forever: I fellt deeply in love with Diana Vishneva  :cool: It was so strange seeing Rubies danced in a style so different from what I had seen at the NYCB, yet, at the same time, so right. Diana I love you.

Is Vishneva tall? I thought she was on the shorter side. I loved her & Fadeev. They were wonderful, so jazzy in Rubies and so touching in R&J. I liked how both Vishneva/Fadeev & Cojocaru/Kobborg each presented 2 pieces that revealed different sides of their temperaments & abilities. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Vishneva with ABT this summer, now we have to work on getting Cojocaru back here. Soon & often!

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OK - it's Tuesday - about 1:15 p.m. and I am still trying to recover from last night. Thank God, I did not have to come into work until noon, because it was such a tremendous night!

I got to Lincoln Center about 10 minutes to 7 and what a downpour! They were not letting people in until 7 on the dot, so there was quite a crowd in the lobby. It was an excited crowd and (as I would later find out) a rowdy crowd. The evening began with Nadia Veselova-Tencer coming onstage and welcoming everyone. BTW, I loved her accent! And how nice that she intoruduced each couple and told us what number they would be dancing.

Before I forget, thanks for all the help about dressing. I was OK with a black sweater and dress pants. I saw last night that many people really dressed up (furs, evening gowns, tuxedos, etc.) I felt comfortable, yet presentable.

Big schock of the night? - NO ORCHESTRA!! I was in second ring and my first reaction was - "For $95, I should be getting live music!" For me, it made a little bit of difference, because in some numbers, the music was very low, and in one number in particular ("Rubies"), the music was just completely chopped off suddenly. But let's get to the dancing.

(***Now I am in no way any kind of expert on ballet, so everything I am going on is what I saw, emotional reaction, etc., etc.)

ACT I

1) The first pas de deux was from Diana and Acteon with Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo of the American Ballet Theatre. This number really got things off to a bang. The audience oohed and aahed over Cornejo's jumps. It was a very athletic and playful dance and Reyes and Cornejo looked like they were having a lot of fun. What a pity that they did not perform in the second act.

2) Next came L'Arlesienne with Eleonora Abbagnato and Alessio Carbone of the Paris Opera Ballet. With this pas de deux, we completely changed moods. It was a dark, intense dance. While I personally did not enjoy this as much as the first, the two dancers succeded in creating a mood - more with their emotions than with their actual dancing.

3) WOW!!! - Giselle with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg of the Royal Ballet Theatre. This is actually the second time that I have seen them dance. I saw them at the Ashton Celebration in July, when they did Voices of Spring. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes watching this. I can't say enough about Cojocaru. She is so solid on her technique, that she can give all her attention to drawing the audience in with her arms, facial expressions, and emotions.

4) "Rubies" from Jewels with Diana Vishneva and Andrian Fadeev of the Kirov. This is a very sharp and athletic dance, which was made so beautiful with Vishneva's sky-high extensions and super flexibility. This is the one part of the show where the music was just yanked, so it came to a very sudden, jarring end.

(***Next was supposed to come Paganini with Svetlana Lunkina and Dmitri Gudanov of the Bolshoi, but for some reason Gudanov was unable to perform, so this was cancelled.)

5) Le Corsaire with Alexandra Ansanelli of the NYCB and Angel Corella of the ABT. This was another wow! Probably one of the most famous pas de deux in ballet was done with the graceful femininity of Ansanelli and the athletic prowess of Corella. As with Reyes and Cornejo, what a pity they did not do an encore in Act II.

6) Act I ended with the Carmen pas de deux with Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre of the Munich Ballet. If there was an award for the audience favorites it would definitely be a close race between Cojocaru/Kobborg and Lacarra/Pierre. I think that Lacarra and Pierre would just nugde them out at the end. Carmen was a unique pas de deux in that it started with Pierre alone dancing to the music that is always associated with Carmen and then when Lacarra joined him, it turned into a steamy, romantic, beautiful dance. Lacarra, like Cojocaru, is such a technical wizard that she can focus completely on her interpretation and artistry to draw in the audience.

ACT II

1) "Steps in the Street" by the Martha Graham Ensemble - OK - I didn't get it. Neither did the audience, which gave them only polite applause. It was different, but I really don't feel that modern dance belonged on this night.

2) La Sylphide - We were deprived of seeing Lunkina in Paganini in Act I, because of the absence of Gudanov, but Lunkina was paired with Guillaume Cote of the National Ballet of Canada for La Sylphide. This was such a playful dance and Lunkina definitely was the embodiment of a mythical creature.

3) Vishneva and Fadeev returned for Romeo and Juliet. This was another dance that brought tears to my eyes. Besides the technical perfection of the two dancers, their emotions were so strong and powerful during the dance.

4) Abbagnato and Carbone returned wearing bathing suits for Kazimir's Colours. This was another modern ballet for this pair which had them doing the same thing in their Act I dance to L'Arlesienne - repeatedly spurning and rejecting each other. To me this was a mistake - it would have been nice to see them in something different from Act I. Instead, the pair gave us another dark, intense dance with a different kind of choreography.

5) La Prisonniere - Lacarra and Pierre returned with this exquisite ballet which ended with Lacarra being wrapped up in a sheet which came falling from the ceiling. These two dance so beautifully together and they got a huge round of applause at the end.

6) Don Quixote - Cojocaru and Kobborg returned with another famous pas de deux. They danced the first part together and got a huge ovation. They stopped to take a bow and I was so afraid that that was the end - that they were not going to do the individaul parts, but they continued. Cojocaru - I think I found the explanation - she is not content with just dancing these classical parts, but she wants to make them her own. She did the dance with the fan (which I have only seen on video and DVD), but she danced it like no one else I have ever seen do it. I read once that the Don Quixote pas de duex is a contest between Kitri and Basil, but this was not. Cojocaru and Kobborg were not competing against each other - they were encouraging one another. Another beautiful partnership.

Then all seven couples came out for a finale to the music of Tchaikovsky. Each of them had a solo number (poor Abbagnato fell when she first came out) and then were joined on stage by the Tencers and the two sponsors - Vladimir Moskalev and Victor Okhotin.

What an incredible night! Too bad that this only happens once a year.

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Ceeszi,

Thank you so much for your great report and descriptions of each piece and couple!

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Canned music? Hmmmm...

But glad to see Ansanelli appeared as she has missed a couple weeks at NYCB.

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Sounds like Cojocaru and Kobborg were marvelous, but the pas de deux from Don Quiixote is not a contest, but the celebration of a wedding, so what you saw is not so unusual! :cool:

I read once that the Don Quixote pas de duex is a contest between Kitri and Basil, but this was not. Cojocaru and Kobborg were not competing against each other - they were encouraging one another. Another beautiful partnership.

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I'm curious to hear what people thought of NBoC's Guillaume Cote? He is very popular in Toronto, and I have enjoyed all of his performances that I've seen so far. He will be dancing James in La Sylphide for NBoC's 2005-2006 season, staged by Nikolaj Hubbe.

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Lacarra, like Cojocaru, is such a technical wizard

Interesting comment about Lacarra. A side of her I never really saw when she was here in San Francisco.

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Sadly I must agree that Ansanelli was out of sorts on Monday night but it was apparent that she was favoring her left side. The left foot had no turnout & forget about developee a la seconde. I would not judge her ability to dance classical works on this one outing. Remember her wonderful Coppelia?

Perhaps she felt she couldn't cancel because it would have left Corella in the lurch. (Although I do wish he'd come up with another party piece besides Corsaire.)

I would have thought Abbognato & Carbone were the least known of the dancers. Lacarra & Pierre have done this gala every year for ten years & very rarely do anything classical. The works they prefer relate more to gymnastics & plastique than classical pieces.

I adored Vishneva in the Rubies when the Kirov last came with Jewels & didn't think Monday worked as well but I blamed it on the dreadful recording. It was poorly conducted & washed clean of "Stravinskyisms" & full of blatting brass. It reminded me of a performance of Apollo conducted by Karajan with the Vienna some years ago. It sounded gorgeous but was only that, beautiful with no soul; didn't sound like Apollo at all. Except the Rubies recording wasn't beautiful.

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Nadia and Solomon cannot use an orchestra because of the astronomical expense and organization that would require. Also, sometimes dancers have changed their choice of pas de deux in the last weeks before the gala. Where would you get an orchestra that would play this large variety of music, and in addition to rehearsing together, find time to rehearse with the dancers, many of whom fly into New York the day before the performance?

You are right, zerbinetta, Lucia has danced in every gala produced in New York AND in every single gala produced in Paris, Cannes and Toronto by the Tencers. Cyril, her husband, missed the Toronto gala last April because of injury and Lucia danced wonderfully with another principal from the Munich Ballet. Lacarra and Pierre are the signature couple for the galas and it is Lucia's gorgeous Swan Lake pose that graces every piece of advertising and every poster for this event.

Guillaume Cote filled in at the last minute for Gudanov and was not able to dance the Paganini because he doesn't know it. He and Lunkina have not danced together before. She is an extraordinarily expressive dancer with an extremely lyrical quality to her dancing. I'm surprised that didn't come across for some viewers. Cote was recently made principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada. He is still young and his star rose quickly. He is the best danseur the National has, in my opinion, yet still is developing his technique. What I like is that he actively seeks coaching for his principal roles, traveling to the Paris Opera, for example, in order to portray them as classically correctly as he can. He held up pretty well on Monday for a last-minute replacement. My only advice to him after his performance as James is to work on getting his heel front when he lands from big jumps and when he does a series of traveling beats along a diagonal.

The Martha Graham Ensemble was a disappointment to me, too. I would think that they would have advanced further by now in both quality of dancers and rendering of the choreography. The inspiration for the decades-old "Steps" was the breadlines of the depression and how people joined them reluctantly, but of necessity. So there was this dancer who depicted those persons who tried to resist joining the gloomy inevitability of the line, but knew they would have to succumb in order to survive. After seeing all the lovely shoulders-down, open-chested, long-necked elegance of the ballerinas that preceded the Graham piece, I had trouble shifting gears to accept the collapsed chested, shoulders up, chubby-by-comparison Ensemble dancers. In my days of studying Graham (a long, long time ago), I swear the dancers were more svelte! Whether or not the present Grahma dancers are chunkier than those of the past, up against the ballerinas on Monday night, they sure looked it. The legendary Yuriko prepared this piece, and Yuriko was my Graham teacher in the late 1960s. She was an exremely harsh taskmaster and I can't help thinking "what happened?" She was tough with her dancers in dress rehearsal -- the old Yuriko feist is still there and I was delighted to see her after 37 years -- but it seems to me that the Graham company would have better dancers in the first place and especially after so many years. Was Graham really better in the 1960s or has my perception changed? Anyone else have thoughts on this?

As far as Diana Vishneva's height, I'd say that she is around 5'6". Both Lunkina and Vishneva are about the same height. On Monday night, they were the tallest ballerinas! It was terrific to see the shorter dancers in predominance for a change!

In the New York Times accompanying photo you see Lucia Lacarra with black footless tights and a dangling pointe shoe ribbon -- and without makeup. This pic was taken during rehearsal. In the actual performance she wore pink footed tights with both ribbon ends nicely tucked in. The Times photographer was told it would be a full dress rehearsal, meaning costumes would be worn. She was very surprised when I told her that, except for one or two in partial costume, the dancers would all rehearse in practice clothes and warmups. She said that the Times needed photos of dancers in costume (of course!), so did her best with those in as close to performancewear as possible. Tip to dancers in future galas: If you want it to be your picture that appears in the Times next to the review, wear full costume (and tell your partner to, too) during dress rehearsal!

Edited by carbro

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The whole time I was watching Vishneva in Rubies I remembered Natalia Dudlinskaya in a documentary demonstrate port-te-bras. "Arms must be soft, but tough." I've seen the NYCB dance Rubies and the greatest difference IMO was the port-te-bras. The NYCB dancers adopt a more post-modern port-te-bras, with hard jutting elbows, stretched fingertips. Vishneva danced the same music and really did a wonderful job with the staccato, jazzy, sexy style of the piece, except her arms were obviously still of the Vaganova schooling: soft, fluttery. But it just goes to show that there is more than one way to dance Balanchine. I'm not sure how much of Vishneva's Rubies was in the Balanchine style, but it was a joyously danced, energetic performance that I am glad I saw.

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But it just goes to show that there is more than one way to dance Balanchine.

I have to disagree here. When I saw the Kirov (with Vishneva) dance Rubies a few weeks ago, I thought the soft, rounded arms were jarringly out of keeping with the rest of the style that the company has worked to acquire in the last several years, and detracted from the ballet.

We had a thread once on this very topic -- to what extent a company taking on the work of a choreographer whose style is different from its own is obliged to acquire that style, or to let some of its own style show through -- but I couldn't find it.

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[i have to disagree here.  When I saw the Kirov (with Vishneva) dance Rubies a few weeks ago, I thought the soft, rounded arms were jarringly out of keeping with the rest of the style that the company has worked to acquire in the last several years, and detracted from the ballet.

We had a thread once on this very topic -- to what extent a company taking on the work of a choreographer whose style is different from its own is obliged to acquire that style, or to let some of its own style show through -- but I couldn't find it.

Yes but style is a very illusive, constantly evolving thing.

I find today's performance style a bit different than it was while Balanchine was still in full control. There were three somewhat different performance styles.

A hard angular one for the spikey, hard, angular works, say Agon and Four Temperaments, a cool, crisp but less angular style for the neo-classic works, such as Nutcracker T&V, Symphony in C, etc. Finally a softer style for things like Serenade.

While generalizations are very tricky, I see more of that hard angular style being applied across the board, certainly not all the dancers, and not in all the works, but the hard , angular style is far more prevalently applied across all the works.

Richard

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