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Veronika Part: divided opinions?

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Okay, so the news is out: Veronika Part will open the new ABT production of "Sleeping Beauty" as Aurora. I thought she would be lucky to get Lilac Fairy on opening night, so this is a major surprise that came out of nowhere. :)

Her previous castings and vicissitudes at ABT would not indicate such a sudden change of status in the company. This is confirmed by the individual ticket brochure which has a big color photo of her as Nikiya in "La Bayadere" and in the back pages shows her with Wiles and Gomes in "Symphonie Concertante".

Some concerns: her dancing in "Bayadere" in Paris last month had some comments expressing a diminished technical level compared with her dancing on tours with the Kirov five or six years ago. She was just recovering from an injury this past Winter. She will need to be in top shape for the "Sleeping Beauty" opening night and the full-length "Bayadere" coming up this Spring and injury-free as well. Can she get herself together by then? Her long desired promotion to Principal seems to be a definite and imminent possibility now especially with the retirement of Ferri. But her technical ability and performance consistency had better be high and God Forbid she gets injured or this will never happen. It is make or break time for Veronika, the door is now wide open.

Also is she the right "emploi" for Aurora? Is she too womanly for the role? Is she too tall? I have never seen her execute balances as far as I can remember. Will the "Rose Adagio" defeat her? The fast waltz solo in the first act after the Rose Adagio with the jumps with one foot doing batterie and many quick pirouettes isn't exactly her cup of tea either. The Vision Scene in Act II and Grand Pas in Act III are right down her alley - grand, slow, majestic, long-lined and romantic. I can see her dancing these and well. Act I concerns me.

Talk amongst yourselves, dahlings

Faux Pas Richman

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Okay, so the news is out: Veronika Part will open the new ABT production of "Sleeping Beauty" as Aurora. I thought she would be lucky to get Lilac Fairy on opening night, so this is a major surprise that came out of nowhere. :)

What a surprise. I have in the past expressed reservations about Part's technique and confidence. I hope she proves me wrong. I am disappointed, however, that Murphy got only 1 NY Sleeping Beauty.

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[ ... ] is she the right "emploi" for Aurora? Is she too womanly for the role? Is she too tall? I have never seen her execute balances as far as I can remember. Will the "Rose Adagio" defeat her? The fast waltz solo in the first act after the Rose Adagio with the jumps with one foot doing batterie and many quick pirouettes isn't exactly her cup of tea either. The Vision Scene in Act II and Grand Pas in Act III are right down her alley - grand, slow, majestic, long-lined and romantic. I can see her dancing these and well. Act I concerns me.

Talk amongst yourselves, dahlings

Yes, please, what are your collective thoughts?

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[ ... ] is she the right "emploi" for Aurora? Is she too womanly for the role? Is she too tall? I have never seen her execute balances as far as I can remember. Will the "Rose Adagio" defeat her? The fast waltz solo in the first act after the Rose Adagio with the jumps with one foot doing batterie and many quick pirouettes isn't exactly her cup of tea either. The Vision Scene in Act II and Grand Pas in Act III are right down her alley - grand, slow, majestic, long-lined and romantic. I can see her dancing these and well. Act I concerns me.

Talk amongst yourselves, dahlings

Yes, please, what are your collective thoughts?

Ok, so anyone who has seen me mention Part knows that I really like her--I state that up front to expose my biases here.

I can't imagine that they would have cast her as Aurora for the world premiere if they weren't seeing something in her dancing of late to justify that. It is a big committment for the company--to not just cast her in the role, but twice, and on that most important evening.

Maybe I'm being naive, or trusting too much in the judgement of management, but I would imagine they would have to be pretty confident she could do the role (including the balances, and the fast waltz solo) before they gave her the part at all.

no?

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...
[ ... ] is she the right "emploi" for Aurora? Is she too womanly for the role? Is she too tall? I have never seen her execute balances as far as I can remember. Will the "Rose Adagio" defeat her? The fast waltz solo in the first act after the Rose Adagio with the jumps with one foot doing batterie and many quick pirouettes isn't exactly her cup of tea either...

...

Maybe I'm being naive, or trusting too much in the judgement of management...

Any trust in that judgment would be too much. But it is hard to believe that Kolpakova is not supporting this, and I would trust her. Also, you'd think Gelsey would say something if it were a problem.

As to emploi, well, her partner is huge so they should be in scale. They will need to find a big Lilac, of course. Perhaps Martine van Hamel could unretire; or Maria Kowroski, robbed of her role at NYCB last season (the best Lilac I've ever seen, and she'd tower over Veronika), could be borrowed...

Too womanly? Maybe by ballet convention, but in real life many girls of that age are, or so it seems through clouded memory of high school past. She has held balances in Swan Lake. I'd be more concerned about stamina, and would therefore worry about the grand PdD. But even more about health.

She couldn't do some of the steps in Balanchine last Fall without nearly falling over. But then again she had a great success in Mozartiana without doing them either. In her first ABT Swan she couldn't really manage Odette's two variations (but has since), nor the flashy stuff of Odile, yet delivered a monumental performance. You don't go to see Part for the tricks, you go to have your life transformed.

By the way, she should be incredible in Bayadere, where womanly is everything!

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I must say I have long read the concerns over Part's technique on these boards with at first disbelief and then worry, the recurrent themes of her inability to execute even the most basic of soloist level enchainement is very very much at odds with the young Part I saw dance Odette/Odile with the Kirov in London back in the summer of 2000.

Then she was touted as the rising young star debuting in the dual role, much was made of her lushness of movement her dramatic weight, her beauty and of course her technique.

In dramatic weight I was disappointed (at that time, but I saw very much the embryonic stirrings of a greatly passionate ballerina) however as the newest "rookie" of the Kirov ballerina "basketball" team, tall, athletic, Amazonian - she did not disappoint.

If anything she tended to technical overkill, but I was in no doubt on leaving the ROH that here was a ballerina with a first class arsenal of technical salvos.

Not that I doubt the opionions and judgement of the august posters here on Part's technical shortcomings at all, but I do ask you all, what went wrong?

Seven years ago I would have queued overnight to see this ballerina's Aurora, now I find myself worried for a ballerina I no longer recognise or know from that incredible debut as Odette/Odile.

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Not that I doubt the opionions and judgement of the august posters here on Part's technical shortcomings at all, but I do ask you all, what went wrong?

I think she suffers by comparison to the other ABT ballarinas when it comes to technique. She'll never turn like Murphy or balance like Herrera but what she does well, she does really, REALLY well. She seems to invite us all into her world to share in all that wonderful emotion that's happening on stage. Other ballerinas work there whole lives to to dazzling triple fouette combinations but they may never have that connection to the audience that she was born with.

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Not that I doubt the opionions and judgement of the august posters here on Part's technical shortcomings at all, but I do ask you all, what went wrong?

I think she suffers by comparison to the other ABT ballarinas when it comes to technique. She'll never turn like Murphy or balance like Herrera but what she does well, she does really, REALLY well. She seems to invite us all into her world to share in all that wonderful emotion that's happening on stage. Other ballerinas work there whole lives to to dazzling triple fouette combinations but they may never have that connection to the audience that she was born with.

I feel this conversation going round and round. Part has her fans and her doubters. We will see what happens with Sleeping Beauty. I happen to believe that there are artists who are able to use tremendous technique for artistic ends - Cynthia Gregory, Suzanne Farrell (in her own way) and Julie Kent are prime examples. It doesn't have to be either or.

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Not that I doubt the opionions and judgement of the august posters here on Part's technical shortcomings at all, but I do ask you all, what went wrong?

I think she suffers by comparison to the other ABT ballarinas when it comes to technique. She'll never turn like Murphy or balance like Herrera but what she does well, she does really, REALLY well. She seems to invite us all into her world to share in all that wonderful emotion that's happening on stage. Other ballerinas work there whole lives to to dazzling triple fouette combinations but they may never have that connection to the audience that she was born with.

I agree that she suffers in comparison to Murphy and Hererra, and maybe even Wiles when it comes to technique. But when people complain about her lack of technique, well, people exaggerate. Like when they used to say that Makarova couldn't turn. Certainly she couldn't turn as well as Plisetskaya, or Gregory or maybe the top 10- 15 turners of her generation, but she could turn as well as 98% of the ballerinas at that time, and she had other talents that those other 98% couldn't dream of. Similar story with Part.

I am a big fan of hers, but I am not blind to her faults. She had a hard time when she first came to ABT, her conditioning slipped for awhile but she really got herself back together about a year ago. One of the big complaints this past NY City Center season was that in Symphony Concertant she didn’t do the pirouette-developee-pirouette combination. Well, I must have seen that piece with 3 or 4 different casts and NONE of the “Viola” ballerinas did it, including Hererra and Murphy. Those two can spin like tops so I have to conclude that if they didn’t so it, it simply wasn’t choreographed for both ballerinas. The reports from Paris were disturbing, but let’s not forget that she was coming back from an injury and may not have been dancing at full capacity.

I have to admit that I was a bit puzzled when I first heard that Part got opening night Aurora, she isn't a natural for the first act. I was expecting Murphy to get it and hoping to see Part cast as Lilac. I'm positive that her turns & petite allegro won't rival Murphy's or Vishneva's, and nobody will be raving about her balances but she will get through them all just fine and she will enchant us as Aurora. I am a little concerned about her emploi and her stamina, but this is one case where I don’t think they would have given her the role if they weren’t sure she could do it. After all, judging from the way she’s been cast the past few seasons (or more to the point the way she’s not been cast) it doesn’t look like she’s been one of management’s favorites. As FauxPas said, this announcement came out of left field so I have to think that she must have really impressed them in rehearsal to snag opening night.

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Well put, nySusan :blink: In this day of colorless technicians her artistry is a revelation.

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I must say I have long read the concerns over Part's technique on these boards with at first disbelief and then worry, the recurrent themes of her inability to execute even the most basic of soloist level enchainement is very very much at odds with the young Part I saw dance Odette/Odile with the Kirov in London back in the summer of 2000.

Then she was touted as the rising young star debuting in the dual role, much was made of her lushness of movement her dramatic weight, her beauty and of course her technique.

In dramatic weight I was disappointed (at that time, but I saw very much the embryonic stirrings of a greatly passionate ballerina) however as the newest "rookie" of the Kirov ballerina "basketball" team, tall, athletic, Amazonian - she did not disappoint.

If anything she tended to technical overkill, but I was in no doubt on leaving the ROH that here was a ballerina with a first class arsenal of technical salvos.

Not that I doubt the opionions and judgement of the august posters here on Part's technical shortcomings at all, but I do ask you all, what went wrong?

Seven years ago I would have queued overnight to see this ballerina's Aurora, now I find myself worried for a ballerina I no longer recognise or know from that incredible debut as Odette/Odile.

You are not alone in your judgment of her skills at the time. I just came across this somewhat dated article:

A new ballerina coming through the ranks is 21-year-old Veronika Part, who closely resembles Lopatkina in the near-frictionless action of her legs and arms (although she lacks the absolute control that produces Lopatkina's peculiar grace). In Sleeping Beauty, Part has been a Lilac Fairy of some charm, but as Odette/Odile she moves in an introverted trance. This new breed of superballerinas have honed and glossed their techniques to awesome extremes, but at the expense of personality and imagination.

The Guardian (June 24, 2000)

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Seven years ago I would have queued overnight to see this ballerina's Aurora, now I find myself worried for a ballerina I no longer recognise or know from that incredible debut as Odette/Odile.

The Part I've seen in ABT has had many of the fine qualities mentioned by her fans, but I see and feel the panic she projects when faced with a technical passage that she is uncomfortable with. Another poster compaired complaints about Part to complaints about Makarova being unable to turn. I never know about those complaints and never saw Makarova have a look of panic flash across her face when a turn was approaching.

I am not a true believer in Part but I hope Sleeping Beauty changes my mind.

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I saw Part in Bayadere (MET, 5/18/07), and wasn't quite taken with her performance. There were moments, especially during the first act, when her expression didn't quite convey the emotion she tried to project. She also seemed to withhold her movements, something hesitant about the way she executed her dances. Maybe she was thinking or pre-planning her next steps too much??? Contrast that to Michelle Wiles who took no prisoners, and the interpretive styles and expressions really stood out.

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I saw Part in Bayadere (MET, 5/18/07), and wasn't quite taken with her performance. There were moments, especially during the first act, when her expression didn't quite convey the emotion she tried to project. She also seemed to withhold her movements, something hesitant about the way she executed her dances. Maybe she was thinking or pre-planning her next steps too much??? Contrast that to Michelle Wiles who took no prisoners, and the interpretive styles and expressions really stood out.

I very much disagree with that. It's interesting how people can react so differently to the same performance, same performers. To speak the truth, I was so caught up in the love story between Part's Nikiya and Gomes' Solor that I was reluctant to see him with another woman--ehem--Nikiya.

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I saw Part in Bayadere (MET, 5/18/07), and wasn't quite taken with her performance. There were moments, especially during the first act, when her expression didn't quite convey the emotion she tried to project. She also seemed to withhold her movements, something hesitant about the way she executed her dances. Maybe she was thinking or pre-planning her next steps too much??? Contrast that to Michelle Wiles who took no prisoners, and the interpretive styles and expressions really stood out.

I very much disagree with that. It's interesting how people can react so differently to the same performance, same performers. To speak the truth, I was so caught up in the love story between Part's Nikiya and Gomes' Solor that I was reluctant to see him with another woman--ehem--Nikiya.

I too knew of the story's plotline, though when I saw the dance I focused more on the dance itself and less on the love story. I find that the viewing the performance with the bias of overlaying romantic notions over the dance itself makes me less attentive to the dance technique and artistic interpretation, which is quite important to me as a ballet student. Of course, that's not to demean someone who watches and 'reads' the plot into the dance interpretation; it is simply how they choose to experience the ballet performance.

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I too knew of the story's plotline, though when I saw the dance I focused more on the dance itself and less on the love story. I find that the viewing the performance with the bias of overlaying romantic notions over the dance itself makes me less attentive to the dance technique and artistic interpretation, which is quite important to me as a ballet student. Of course, that's not to demean someone who watches and 'reads' the plot into the dance interpretation; it is simply how they choose to experience the ballet performance.

I'm not sure how artistic interpretation can be separated from the storyline, and I wasn't suggesting I only pay attention to the plot, or there wouldn't be any reason for me to go to the ballet since I already know it. The magic Gomes and Part create on stage is so powerful that for 2 and a half hours I'm completely immersed in that world. How is that not artistic interpretation? While Part's technique is not spectacular, it is sufficient enough for me to overlook her flaws. Her feet and center are weak but she has worked hard to improve these. I really shouldn't say her technique is poor, and instead say she is no virtuoso. There are other aspects to her dancing that I find exceptional: her arms, back, and line are the most exquisite that I've seen. During last night's Sleeping Beauty performance, the girl sitting next to me clapped or let out a sigh of awe whenever Part dipped into a penchee. While I found her behavior slightly abnoxious, I could understand why she found Part so exquisite. Her arabesques, developees, and grand jetes seem to stretch on forever, but she doesn't overextend, refusing to indulge in pyrotechnics.

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I too knew of the story's plotline, though when I saw the dance I focused more on the dance itself and less on the love story. I find that the viewing the performance with the bias of overlaying romantic notions over the dance itself makes me less attentive to the dance technique and artistic interpretation, which is quite important to me as a ballet student. Of course, that's not to demean someone who watches and 'reads' the plot into the dance interpretation; it is simply how they choose to experience the ballet performance.

I'm not sure how artistic interpretation can be separated from the storyline, and I wasn't suggesting I only pay attention to the plot, or there wouldn't be any reason for me to go to the ballet since I already know it. The magic Gomes and Part create on stage is so powerful that for 2 and a half hours I'm completely immersed in that world. How is that not artistic interpretation? While Part's technique is not spectacular, it is sufficient enough for me to overlook her flaws. Her feet and center are weak but she has worked hard to improve these. I really shouldn't say her technique is poor, and instead say she is no virtuoso. There are other aspects to her dancing that I find exceptional: her arms, back, and line are the most exquisite that I've seen. During last night's Sleeping Beauty performance, the girl sitting next to me clapped or let out a sigh of awe whenever Part dipped into a penchee. While I found her behavior slightly abnoxious, I could understand why she found Part so exquisite. Her arabesques, developees, and grand jetes seem to stretch on forever, but she doesn't overextend, refusing to indulge in pyrotechnics.

Now you're talking in terms that I can identify with. I find this more analytical assessment more balanced, compared to when you previously just disagreed and ended it by commenting that you were just simply caught up with the 'love story'. Thank you for clarifying your position.

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This thread is aptly named. The critics are just as divided: Gottlieb and Macauley have called her "handsome" yet unmusical. Laura Jacobs (and husband James Wolcott) are wild about her. And others recognize how some might be fault her (either by her technique or managment's casting), but are intrigued nonetheless (Joel Loebenthal, Joan Acocella, Tobi Tobias, the critics at Dance View Times, and others).

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This thread is aptly named. The critics are just as divided: Gottlieb and Macauley have called her "handsome" yet unmusical. Laura Jacobs (and husband James Wolcott) are wild about her. And others recognize how some might be fault her (either by her technique or managment's casting), but are intrigued nonetheless (Joel Loebenthal, Joan Acocella, Tobi Tobias, the critics at Dance View Times, and others).

When I first saw Part, several seasons ago, I was struck by her musicality and abundance of feeling.

I have become a fan of hers, fully knowing her nerves and lack of stamina can and sometimes do get the better of her. I guess you either enjoy the "will she make it across the tightrope" suspense, or you don't. (Macauley even slammed her Lady Capulet in his review of Romeo and Juliet!)

Wouldn't it be nice if Roberto Bolle would partner her in future?

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Part's Swan Lake is second closest to being sold out (tied with Kent's SL). Only orchestra prime, balance, and family circle are available. Ananiashvili's performance is already sold out. Either Part has many, many adoring fans, or her audience is equally divided: those who think her O/O is one for the ages and those who want to find more to complain about her.

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Part's Swan Lake is second closest to being sold out (tied with Kent's SL). Only orchestra prime, balance, and family circle are available. Ananiashvili's performance is already sold out. Either Part has many, many adoring fans, or her audience is equally divided: those who think her O/O is one for the ages and those who want to find more to complain about her.

I believe an important factor here is that the performance is a matinee, a Saturday one in particular. People like to bring their kids and not have them out late and older people like to go out and get back home during daylight hours.

Opera, ballet , and theater tickets all sell heavily on Saturday matinees so I believe that is at least part of the reason for the sold out sections. Also, as you noted, Julie Kent's Wednesday matinee is selling briskly; again a matinee.

Another example. Look at the following week, Cinderella. Not exactly a hot ticket. But the Saturday matinee has 3-4

sections sold out and the Wednesday matinee has 1-2. All the evenings have all sections open (at least yesterday when I went through them, figuring out when I wanted to go)

Certainly Part divides the audiences, which is fine. But what bothers me a bit is I feeling that some of her supporters react to any criticism with hostility. That's not what discussion is about.

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Certainly Part divides the audiences, which is fine. But what bothers me a bit is I feeling that some of her supporters react to any criticism with hostility. That's not what discussion is about.

My main problem with criticisms (I'm speaking of professional critics, not anything I've read here) is that they will make blanket statements about how she is unmusical, boring or dull without really qualifying it. I had the same problem with Gottlieb when he wrote about a few NYCB dancers being boring or uningratiating (how in the world does that word even begin to describe someone's dancing?)

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"Uninteresting" or "dull" are potent pronouncements and muscular writing, but dangerous critical terms. I had a discussion with another critic about an NYCB ballerina. He said she was uninteresting. I found her very interesting. There isn't much place for the conversation to go after that, is there?

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