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carolm

Swan Lake

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Did anyone see the performance on Monday, 9 May? It starred Roberta Marquez and Ivan Putrov.

Both of them, as well as Jose Martin, could not complete their jumps or twirls. It seemed as if the Royal Ballet had used very new dancers who were not up to the usual high standard. It was a disappointing evening.

The best part was the Neapolitan Dance with Laura Morera and Jonathan Howells in the third act. But of course Laura Morera is a wonderful dancer.<s>

Carol

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Hi Carol,

I missed the first night of Putrov/Marquez, although I have tickets for it later on in the season. I did hear that Marquez was not as fully on as usual, and I wonder if this is nerves? She does not have the strong turns of Rojo or Nunez, but I still have seen her do impressively well, and she has expressive hands - I'm very much looking forward to her Odile. I'm a bit surprised about Putrov - he has had a hard season with injury, but I heard his Act III turns in the coda (filling in for some missed fouettes) were stellar. Hopefully this was all just a bit of nerves and it will settle by the time I see them.

That said, I think you are new here? Welcome, and hopefully we'll have a lot more Royal Ballet talk to share in the future!

Best,

Ami

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Hi Carol,

I missed the first night of Putrov/Marquez, although I have tickets for it later on in the season.  I did hear that Marquez was not as fully on as usual, and I wonder if this is nerves?  She does not have the strong turns of Rojo or Nunez, but I still have seen her do impressively well, and she has expressive hands - I'm very much looking forward to her Odile.  I'm a bit surprised about Putrov - he has had a hard season with injury, but I heard his Act III turns in the coda (filling in for some missed fouettes) were stellar.  Hopefully this was all just a bit of nerves and it will settle by the time I see them. 

That said, I think you are new here?  Welcome, and hopefully we'll have a lot more Royal Ballet talk to share in the future!

Best,

Ami

We saw her a few months ago in Symphony in C and I must admit I was not impressed then. In this ballet she had the annoying habit of taking hugh bows, usually just at the moment that the applause was dying down. I felt irritated and embarrassed on her behalf.<s> Especially when she did not complete the fouettes and instead did a leap!

I, too, was surprised at Putrov. It was those leaps around the stage that was his undoing. I think he was off balance.

We like seeing new dancers so this will not put us off from trying again...not that I do not enjoy seeing the best too.

Carol

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I saw a very satisfying Spectre de la Rose by Putrov and Marquez.

Of course that's not the same as Swan Lake in terms of duress and expression.

However, maybe you caught them on a bad night?

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I didn't think their first night was so bad. I found Roberta Marquez's Odette extremely beautiful. She made lovely use of her arms and upper back, and she was deeply moving - expressive, vulnerable, tragic - I thought her dancing took this right to the back of the auditorium. She was equal to Tamara Rojo in my book, who I didn't think could be surpassed.

What I found even more interesting was her interpretation of Odile. She dances this very differently from all other casts I've seen - sophisticated but not at all overtly sexy. She doesn't try to seduce Siegfried with big smiles or come across as completely evil that I find a bit over-the-top in other dancers. I felt more like she was letting the dancing do the enticing for her. I read in a Swan Lake review last year of a brilliant Odile, who's dancing had hinted at some backstory, of Odile's own imprisonment by Rothbart - it wasn't something I'd noticed myself, but Roberta's interpretation certainly made me think about this. I did wonder if everything was ok - her balances weren't as long as I expected (and she can hold some impressively long ones), her fouettes were done on the right leg and she did cut them short, leaping to the side to fill up the rest of the music and recover at the back of the stage. And the rest of act III I think didn't seem to go so well for her. But otherwise I thought she was wonderful, everything I thought I'd want to see in Swan Lake and she still surprised me.

I like her bows :wink: They're very extravagant, and she's one of only two ballerinas who carefully chooses a flower from her bouquet and presents it to her partner. I'm sure you can tell I'm a fan. I wasn't to start with, when she first guested in Sleeping Beauty, and I was surprised she was joining the RB given how top-heavy the female ranks are. But I love dancers with expressive eyes, and Roberta's just sparkled in everything, particularly her Giselle, and her Fille was by far the best I've seen.

Ivan Putrov isn't one of my favourites in this role but I thought he danced it beautifully as always. Marquez and Putrov make a marvellous, exciting partnership IMO, even though their training comes from opposite sides of the world, and together they have tons of chemistry and charisma. I think her warmth and joyfulness bring out the best in Ivan, and they're a cast I always make a point of seeing. The top ranks are a bit swamped with great dancers and brilliant partnerships at the moment so I think they'd get more attention otherwise.

Monday was Roberta Marquez's Covent Garden debut, but she's danced this with Ivan Putrov before on the Russia tour a couple years ago, and certainly she must have done it many times in Brazil and guesting all over. I'm seeing them again later this month so I'll be curious to see if it's any different.

Having mounted my spirited defence of the evening, just want to take the opportunity to welcome Carol too :toot:

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Thanks, Sylvia, for another report, and yes, Herman Stevens, I loved the Spectre that Ivan did. I feel like he's really growing into his roles, especially in the past few years.

I agree with Sylvia that I think these two make an exciting partnership, and that Marquez has the most expressive eyes. Her balances in Rose Adage are the most impressive *and* artistic I've seen. Even if she's done this before with Ivan, there must be some nerves with a Covent Garden debut...

And nothing wrong with fouettes on the right leg - my right leg is much stronger as well! :wink:

However, I wouldn't call either Putrov or Marquez a 'new' dancer - yes, Marquez is relatively new to the Royal, but at both of their young ages they've had pretty impressive runs so far!

Well, hopefully will have some more reports of the other casts this run, and will be able to watch how this particular cast grows!

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I agree with Sylvia that I think these two make an exciting partnership, and that Marquez has the most expressive eyes.  Her balances in Rose Adage are the most impressive *and* artistic I've seen.  Even if she's done this before with Ivan, there must be some nerves with a Covent Garden debut...

And nothing wrong with fouettes on the right leg - my right leg is much stronger as well!  :wink:

It was a surprise I guess, just to see her turning the other way. Isn't that one of the technical challenges of Act III - that most of the steps are done on the left, capped off by fouettes on that dying left leg? But certainly she does things her own way - I agree, in the Rose Adage where she actually substitutes the last promenade in attitude for an extra long balance, did make my eyes bulge!

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I didn't think their first night was so bad. I found Roberta Marquez's Odette extremely beautiful. She made lovely use of her arms and upper back, and she was deeply moving - expressive, vulnerable, tragic - I thought her dancing took this right to the back of the auditorium. She was equal to Tamara Rojo in my book, who I didn't think could be surpassed.

What I found even more interesting was her interpretation of Odile. She dances this very differently from all other casts I've seen - sophisticated but not at all overtly sexy. She doesn't try to seduce Siegfried with big smiles or come across as completely evil that I find a bit over-the-top in other dancers. I felt more like she was letting the dancing do the enticing for her. I read in a Swan Lake review last year of a brilliant Odile, who's dancing had hinted at some backstory, of Odile's own imprisonment by Rothbart - it wasn't something I'd noticed myself, but Roberta's interpretation certainly made me think about this. I did wonder if everything was ok - her balances weren't as long as I expected (and she can hold some impressively long ones), her fouettes were done on the right leg and she did cut them short, leaping to the side to fill up the rest of the music and recover at the back of the stage. And the rest of act III I think didn't seem to go so well for her. But otherwise I thought she was wonderful, everything I thought I'd want to see in Swan Lake and she still surprised me.

I like her bows :wink: They're very extravagant, and she's one of only two ballerinas who carefully chooses a flower from her bouquet and presents it to her partner. I'm sure you can tell I'm a fan. I wasn't to start with, when she first guested in Sleeping Beauty, and I was surprised she was joining the RB given how top-heavy the female ranks are. But I love dancers with expressive eyes, and Roberta's just sparkled in everything, particularly her Giselle, and her Fille was by far the best I've seen.

Ivan Putrov isn't one of my favourites in this role but I thought he danced it beautifully as always. Marquez and Putrov make a marvellous, exciting partnership IMO, even though their training comes from opposite sides of the world, and together they have tons of chemistry and charisma. I think her warmth and joyfulness bring out the best in Ivan, and they're a cast I always make a point of seeing. The top ranks are a bit swamped with great dancers and brilliant partnerships at the moment so I think they'd get more attention otherwise.

Monday was Roberta Marquez's Covent Garden debut, but she's danced this with Ivan Putrov before on the Russia tour a couple years ago, and certainly she must have done it many times in Brazil and guesting all over. I'm seeing them again later this month so I'll be curious to see if it's any different.

Having mounted my spirited defence of the evening, just want to take the opportunity to welcome Carol too :toot:

Well, we knew that most of the audence did not agree with us as they clapped like mad while we clapped gently. We left the theatre feeling very disappointed. I guess I was disturbed by her bows because I felt she had not danced as well as she bowed.<s>

Did you not think that Laura Morera and Jonathan Howells were excellent in the Neapoplitan Dance?

Carol

Carol

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It was a surprise I guess, just to see her turning the other way. Isn't that one of the technical challenges of Act III - that most of the steps are done on the left, capped off by fouettes on that dying left leg? But certainly she does things her own way - I agree, in the Rose Adage where she actually substitutes the last promenade in attitude for an extra long balance, did make my eyes bulge!

Okay, now one of the moderators or other learned people on this board need to step in and correct my little knowledge of Petipa/Ivanov, but my understanding is that most turns in these Grand pdd turn towards the right - so, if a turn onto pique or en dedans, usually on the right leg, and if en dehor pirouettes/fouettes, on the left leg. From the way I've learned the little rep I know (Kitri, Black Swan, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Corsaire.... racking my brain here), this is just 'how it's done', but there is the 'artistic freedom' to slightly change these/do them the other way on the other leg?

However, there are long balances on the right leg in a lot of these - so! Someone who has more knowledge of the choreography?

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Well, we knew that most of the audence did not agree with us as they clapped like mad while we clapped gently.  We left the theatre feeling very disappointed.  I guess I was disturbed by her bows because I felt she had not danced as well as she bowed.<s>

Did you not think that Laura Morera and Jonathan Howells were excellent in the Neapoplitan Dance?

Carol

Carol

I suppose if she felt she hadn't danced up to her usual standard, she'd still want to make the impression she had by bowing grandly - if she'd taken her bows in a more humble manner then definitely I'd think something was wrong :wink:

What did you think of Roberta's white acts Carol? I found her very moving, as I said amonst the best I've seen, though the people I spoke to were of mixed opinions, from high praise to a bit disappointed (not that she was bad, but that she wasn't as good as expected).

I think I'm a bit Swan Lake-d out, (even though I haven't seen it since November) I've seen certain dancers in certain National dances, pas de trois, big swan variations, so many times. But I don't tire of seeing Laura Morera and Jonathan Howells in Neapolitan. Howell's is dancing Bottom tonight in first night of The Dream/New Bruce ballet/Rite of Spring Mixed bill, and I'm excited about that too.

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It was a surprise I guess, just to see her turning the other way. Isn't that one of the technical challenges of Act III - that most of the steps are done on the left, capped off by fouettes on that dying left leg? But certainly she does things her own way - I agree, in the Rose Adage where she actually substitutes the last promenade in attitude for an extra long balance, did make my eyes bulge!

Okay, now one of the moderators or other learned people on this board need to step in and correct my little knowledge of Petipa/Ivanov, but my understanding is that most turns in these Grand pdd turn towards the right - so, if a turn onto pique or en dedans, usually on the right leg, and if en dehor pirouettes/fouettes, on the left leg. From the way I've learned the little rep I know (Kitri, Black Swan, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Corsaire.... racking my brain here), this is just 'how it's done', but there is the 'artistic freedom' to slightly change these/do them the other way on the other leg?

However, there are long balances on the right leg in a lot of these - so! Someone who has more knowledge of the choreography?

Not Petipa/Ivanov, but I remember at a masterclass recently we were told that Dowell used to turn 'the other way', so there are two versions of The Dream notation, one Dowell version, and one for everyone else!

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What did you think of Roberta's white acts Carol? I found her very moving, as I said amonst the best I've seen, though the people I spoke to were of mixed opinions, from high praise to a bit disappointed (not that she was bad, but that she wasn't as good as expected).

I think I'm a bit Swan Lake-d out, (even though I haven't seen it since November) I've seen certain dancers in certain National dances, pas de trois, big swan variations, so many times. But I don't tire of seeing Laura Morera and Jonathan Howells in Neapolitan. Howell's is dancing Bottom tonight in first night of The Dream/New Bruce ballet/Rite of Spring Mixed bill, and I'm excited about that too.

We liked her in the second act more than in the other acts that followed. Perhaps it was the failure of the third act that coloured it all. But even when she first appears, she did not come across as a queen should. I mean, she did not dominate the stage.

We are seeing The Dream etc in June. Did you like the programme?

Carol

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We are seeing The Dream etc in June.  Did you like the programme?

Carol

Have seen it twice already, three times if you count the rehearsal :blink: I love the Dream - I've been waiting a year since it was announced last May for it to be revived! I do think Alina has improved tremedously since her debut 4 years ago - less saccharine, and much more spirited. Johan Kobborg danced Oberon perfectly :wink: Jose Martin was a surprise case choice to me as Puck - I've only seen very small dancers in this, but he was excellent, his portrayl was so vivid and mischievious. And Jonathan Howells was lovely as Bottom - he makes the comedy of discovering he's no longer an ass see so natural - it's hard to explain! The quarrelsome foursome were excellent too - couldn't help but notice that they are all RBS trained - Isabelle McMeekan, David Pickering, Joshua Tiufa, and Gillian Revie. The only thing that surprised me this time was the speed of it - some of the dancing wasn't as fast as I remembered. I didn't have fantastic seats I have to admit - I saw Dream for the first time and many more times from the front of the stalls circle and stalls in the last run and remember being absolutely dazzled by the speed of everything, I hardly knew where to look. But this time, watching from the back of the stalls, knwing what to expect, it wasn't as fast as I remembered, but it's probably just me. Just to also mention Edward Watson's debut as Oberon last night, it's been a long time coming - he started covering the role years ago. I've only seen him dance somewhat passive leading roles until now (Romeo, Palemon) so I wondered if he would pull it off, and gosh, he really did. I was so impressed with the authority he brought to the role. A few of his balances were a little wobbly, but overall it was terrific to see those long legs of his whip through the fiendishly difficult solos.

Mixed feelings about the new Christopher Bruce, Three Songs, Two Voices. It's very enjoyable, all danced on flat shoes, and bursts with uncontrollable energy. The dancers blaze on stage in waistcoats, headbands, long loose hair and insanely bright red jackets. I loved picking out individual dancers, the dancing is gorgeous, all swinging hips and almost constant rolling movement, huge wild jumps and clinging to the floor. It almost looks unchoreographed, unrehearsed, like Bruce had shown them a few basic steps (including a few ballroom ones!) and then given them carte blanche to run about and do what they like with them. But when they're all on stage at once, doing their own thing, it comes across as a bit...messy. Maybe it's supposed to illustrate the wildness of Hendrix's music (I confess I don't listen to it at all, but the ballet does make me want to find some cds!) but the corps bits didn't really work for me. But again, if I instead picked out dancers to watch, it was good fun. I was also so pleased that Bruce had picked out some of the dancers in corps who I reckon will make an impact in the RB in the hopefully near future.

Evening ended with Rite of Spring with Mara Galeazzi making her debut as The Chosen One. It's an indescribably amazing work, best from the amphi I reckon.

Sorry, I should have started another thread for this - the post ended up being a lot longer than I intended.

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After your description, I cannot wait for June.<s> I am too lazy to go and look up whom we are seeing in each of the three dances. The last time we saw "Rites" it was with Tomara Rojo and she was perfect.

I like when the music is so familar--as in using popular tunes--so am looking foreward to the Jimmy Hendrix one. Have you seen "Who Cares?" I guess I am expecting something like that--obviously different music etc.

Thank you so much for writing it all out.

Carol

Edited by Ari

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Moderation note: I edited Carol's post to remove Sylvia's, which was quoted in its entirety. In order to reply to a post without quoting the previous one, click the ADD REPLY button, not the "REPLY button.

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Carol, I think Mara finishes her run of Rites this Friday, and it's Symphony in C to end the bill again in June. I'm very excited, I love this work (and there are only so many Rites I can take in 1 week :wink: ) and given that it's not returning next season, am going to see every single one.

For Three Songs, there's only one cast, but I can give you most of it from memory:

Zenaida Yanowsky, Gary Avis

Tamara Rojo, Johannes Stepanek

Deirdre Chapman, Ricardo Cervera

Gemma Sykes, Laura McCulloch, Pietra Mello-Pittman, Sian Murphy

James Wilkie, Steven McRae, Ludovico Ondieva, Brian Maloney, Bennet Gartside

I'm sure there are 2 or 3 others - I'll have to add them later I'm afraid, I don't remember who they were, or at least I couldn't match names to faces. :blink:

It's a fun new work, whether it will last I don't know. (It's not being revived next season - personally of all the new works we've seen in the last 5 years, Wheeldon's Tryst, Bintley's Les Saisons, McGregor's Qualia and now Bruce's Three Songs, I'd love to have Qualia back.) So the audience here may as well catch it while they can!

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I just saw the final Swan Lake, coincidentally Putrov & Marquez. I liked Putrov a great deal. He has the best ballon I've seen in a while - airy jumps with beautiful soft silent landings. He's admirably refined for someone with that sort of pyrotechnical ability. You don't often see soft virtuosi, at least in America. He also uses his weight extremely well; he really dances into the floor. I'm a bit surprised he isn't better known outside of the UK, he is good enough. He's interesting because he is a light dancer with breadth and weight. I can imagine he would be a fine Spectre. I would like to see his James.

For Americans, the most saddening thing about this Swan Lake is that it's considered below the benchmark for British productions and it's still way above the waterline compared to both New York companies. Von Rothbart doesn't try and seduce the Queen, though he does have a mohawk. The British understand courts and class. It just makes our versions - take your pick between a Swamp Thing-Purple Phallocentric version or the version done by The Company Least Likely To Do A Good Swan Lake - really look inadequate - because they are. Sigh.

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[it just makes our versions - take your pick between a Swamp Thing-Purple Phallocentric version or the version done by The Company Least Likely To Do A Good Swan Lake - really look inadequate - because they are. Sigh.

Which companies are you referring to?<s> Having only ever seen the full Swan Lake (done by various companies) in London, I am not familiar with any American version.

We have just returned from NYC and saw productions by ABT and NYCB. I pointed out to my husband that NYCB never (?) do 3 act ballets. I wonder why. Is it because Balanchine did none?

Carol

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Carol, I think Mara finishes her run of Rites this Friday, and it's Symphony in C to end the bill again in June. I'm very excited, I love this work (and there are only so many Rites I can take in 1 week :jawdrop: ) and given that it's not returning next season, am going to see every single one.

For Three Songs, there's only one cast, but I can give you most of it from memory:

Zenaida Yanowsky, Gary Avis

Tamara Rojo, Johannes Stepanek

Deirdre Chapman, Ricardo Cervera

Gemma Sykes, Laura McCulloch, Pietra Mello-Pittman, Sian Murphy

James Wilkie, Steven McRae, Ludovico Ondieva, Brian Maloney, Bennet Gartside

I'm sure there are 2 or 3 others - I'll have to add them later I'm afraid, I don't remember who they were, or at least I couldn't match names to faces. :yahoo:

It's a fun new work, whether it will last I don't know. (It's not being revived next season - personally of all the new works we've seen in the last 5 years, Wheeldon's Tryst, Bintley's Les Saisons, McGregor's Qualia and now Bruce's Three Songs, I'd love to have Qualia back.) So the audience here may as well catch it while they can!

I am not sure which ballet "Rites" or "Symphony in C" "...am going to see every one"?

I like both ballets very much. Symphony in C is my one of my favourite Balanchine ballets.

The "Three Songs" is that the "New Bruce" we shall be seeing on 7 June?

Carol

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Carolm - Three Songs is indeed the New Bruce, and yes, you will be seeing Symphony in C. Enjoy!

Leigh - it was fabulous to finally meet you last night - I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay and am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the other bills - especially as I'm not seeing the Triple that opens tonight until the last night - the 18th (this darn thing called school....)

Am also interested in your SL comparison, and am curious to hear your thoughts on Dream!

As you know, I agree with you regarding Putrov. His Spectre is awesome, and I think the performance where I became a Fan. :jawdrop: I think he's really come into his own in the past two years, moving beyond his staples (Bronze Idol) to more interesting roles, including Prodigal Son. It'll be interesting to see how his rep develops.

I wasn't so happy with Marquez last night - and I usually really like her; her Aurora I think is not to be missed. Last night she seemed more wobbly than usual, and seemed to be intensely concentrating on the floor in Act II - a pity because we missed her hugely expressive eyes.

However, my reading of recent performances at the ROH is really hampered by the fact that I haven't been able to attend as much as I usually would in the past few weeks... :yahoo: I wish I could have seen more of the recent debuts, and a larger variety of casts.

I really enjoyed seeing these two in Fille though - nice to know that they can also smile once in a while!

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Carolm, Leigh was referring to ABT's Swan Lake, which has been turned into a sort of a leatherboy fantasy (all the more dissapointing, because they had a reasonably traditional one set by David Blair), and NYCB, as the company least likely to do a good Swan Lake. They do a version set by Peter Martins, based on one he did for the Royal Danes, and has stark and quite ugly sets and by and large new choreography (the black swan pas de deux is traditional), which is very sub par. I don't think any American company does what might be called the real Swan Lake now, if by a real Swan Lake you mean Petipa and Ivanov's medieval meditation on fate and the power of love.

NYCB has by and large focused on triple bills, but Balanchine did do a few full lenghts, Nutcracker, Midsummer, and of course Don Quixote, which is being revived soon by Farrell.

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Carolm, Leigh was referring to ABT's Swan Lake, which has been turned into a sort of a leatherboy fantasy (all the more dissapointing, because they had a reasonably traditional one set by David Blair), and NYCB, as the company least likely to do a good Swan Lake.  They do a version set by Peter Martins, based on one he did for the Royal Danes, and has stark and quite ugly sets and by and large new choreography (the black swan pas de deux is traditional), which is very sub par.  I don't think any American company does what might be called the real Swan Lake now, if by a real Swan Lake you mean Petipa and Ivanov's medieval meditation on fate and the power of love. 

NYCB has by and large focused on triple bills, but Balanchine did do a few full lenghts, Nutcracker, Midsummer, and of course Don Quixote, which is being revived soon by Farrell.

A "leatherboy fantasy" sounds like the Bourne all male version of SL. We saw it with Adam Cooper when it first opened and loved him in black leather!

When I was a child (many years ago now) NYCB used to do a one-act SL. I still do not understand why they do not do a full length production. The music is gorgeous and Petipa's choreography devine.

I have not seen any of those full lenght ballets by Balanchine. Do you enjoy seeing them?

Carol

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:yahoo: carolm, just to clarify cargill's post: NYCB, while it still dances the one-act Balanchine Swan Lake, also has a full-length staging by Peter Martins.

Also (to tie up your question), Jewels, which you've just seen, is considered a three-act ballet. Nutcracker, of course, and Midsummer Night's Dream are two-acters, but each is evening-length.

Martins has also given the company a Sleeping Beauty. His two acts comprise most of the familiar Petipa choreography (albeit somewhat distorted), plus a bit of his own, plus a magnificent Garland Waltz by Balanchine.

Susan Strohman's recent Double Feature is actually two ballets tied together -- sort of like Jewels -- which will most likely stay tied as a unit as long as it is performed here.

Now, back, please, to the Royal Swan Lake!

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Am a little perplexed by the mixed reviews Roberta's garnered by critics/fans/friends. I thought she was wonderful last night - still up there with Tamara! (though I agree she didn't dance act 3 so strongly.) I prefer her Odette to her Odile - in act 2 I felt she giving such an emotional, expressive performance, using both her body and her eyes. Oh well, it's just me, I don't mind agreeing to disagree!

Re Ivan, he's been guesting a bit with Roberta since they started dancing together 2 years ago - I think he danced Spectre with her at the Diaghilev Festival this year. So I presume his international profile must be on the up. He seemed to go quite a bit further technically than dancers normally do in Swan Lake - the first solo in act one I is usually more refined than full of pyrotechnics, but Ivan threw in some incredible things I couldn't begin to name. Well it was last night, and the last SL we'll be seeing for a couple years!

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I am happy to see all the wonderful comments about Ivan Putrov. I have only seen him on video but he has the amazing ability to make things seem so relaxed and effortless and yet the results are jaw dropping. His double tours just suspend in the air and he has the best entrelace I've seen. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he comes to D.C. next summer for Sleeping Beauty. What an added bonus if he were paired with Marquez since everyone thinks so highly of her Aurora.

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