This divergence of opinion has puzzled me.
I was completely captivated by Wolcott's characterization of her as someone who "reminds us of the dangerous beauty of ballet when it tests and surprasses its own formal limits." I thought: whoa !!, this is someone I have to see!
Then I thought: This matter of testing/surprassing formal limits can mean many things. For Wolcott, Part obviously weaves magic. But I can also see how other viewers might be distressed or interpret thing differently.
I was wondering what others think of Part's dancing at ABT. What do you like? What not?
NYCB's loss was American Ballet Theatre's gain as Part joined the company as a soloist in 2002. On July 4th, after a miserable long weekend that need not be recounted, I went to see her at the Met as Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, and felt resurrected. I haven't been this knocked sideways at the ballet since Baryshnikov exploded from the cannon. Not that Part indulged in pyrotechnics. She isn't Sylvie Guillem showing off her leggy Rockettes kicks. It's that she has the super-alive sharp focus of an artist incapable of betraying her artistry with false moves and conditioned responses. She savors every moment on stage as if it were newly minted. She's shaved off a few pounds since I last saw her while managing to lose none of her plushness, perhaps because the loss of weight has added more regal confidence. No dancer alive uses her wrists and hands with more calligraphy than Part, their elegant air-tracings suddenly whipped into force when she swoops her arm away from a suitor in a tai chi semicircle--yin instantly tranformed into yang. In act two in an allegro passage, her swan arms beat as her toeshoes stabbed the floor with diagonal slashes. In act three as Odile, she was an imperial presence, her eyes in supreme command, and the fact that I even noticed her eyes was an astonishment--you almost never notice dancers' eyes, they're so doll-like and disciplined.
Here's the link to the complete article: http://jameswolcott....lly_a_reaso.php