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Veronika Part: divided opinions?


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#61 Old Fashioned

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 07:19 PM

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)

#62 vipa

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 08:11 PM

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.

#63 Dale

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 11:56 AM

Vanity Fair's James Wolcott has made his love for Veronika Part well known. He comments again on the ballerina in his latest blog:

http://www.vanityfai...illing_nas.html

:(

#64 agnes

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 12:51 PM

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.

#65 Old Fashioned

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 01:45 PM

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.

#66 agnes

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 04:43 PM

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.

#67 Old Fashioned

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 07:00 AM

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.

#68 Dale

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 09:47 AM

Wolcott has posted an update on Veronika Part, post Sleeping Beauty:

http://www.vanityfai..._were_leav.html

#69 agnes

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:04 AM

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.

#70 Dale

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Posted 04 June 2007 - 08:35 AM

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).

#71 sinyet

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 09:34 PM

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?

#72 Old Fashioned

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 07:16 AM

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.

#73 richard53dog

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 07:30 AM

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.

#74 Old Fashioned

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:17 AM

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?)

#75 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:28 AM

"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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