American Ballet Theatre:
Misty Copeland and Jared Matthews
The National BAllet of Canada:
Tina Pereira and Keiichi Hirano
(originally Bridgette Zehr was scheduled to compete, but withdrew due to injury)
The Royal Ballet:
Yuhui Choe and Fernando Montano
The Royal Danish Ballet:
Yao Wei and Ulrik Birkkjaer
ABT: The Beauty Pdd was ok but felt very flat to me. Misty seemed to be holding back or not really committing herself; at times (eg., chainee turns) she even seemed tentative. I felt like Aurora wasn't really a good role for her. Jared felt almost totally flat until his jetees en manege when he suddenly came to life.
The Le Petit Mort was unbelievable, though. On Pdd's, I generally watch the male dancer, but in this case, Misty just totally entranced me and i totally lost track of Jared. I'll agree that it was the highlight of the evening.
Pereira looked very good and Hirano was amazing. From the moment when he ran on, saut de chat'd, and took his position, he took control of the stage. Huge jumps, but jumps with an ethereal quality and a such undeniable beauty. He was poised to win this but for theinjury. One thing i did note, htough, was that in hs variation, when he did his double saut de bas, it seemed like he pulled back on them; then on the final chainees (prior to the ending double tour), i noticed that he was chainee-ing in place instead of travelling. Just foudn that bit odd.
It was amazing how good the Romeo and Juliet was all things considered. I assume that Guillaume Cote and Tina Pereira had danced this together before but still...
Bluebird pdd looked and felt (to me) like they were not really interested in it. Yuhei Choe was good though the Swan Lake arms affectation (which i hadn't seen before in Bluebird) seemed out of place. While Fernando was powerful with beautiful feet and legs, he lacked the lightness that i like in Bluebird. His beats felt a bit more muscular and less "bird-ish" for my taste. I don't know if it was my angle or him, but during the brisee voles, i couldn't really see a distinct beat in the volees.
He seemed like a totally different dancer in the ROmeo and Juliet, though, and that was much more engaging and beautiful. Still, it seemed like the two lacked a touch of chemistry. Very nice.
Flower Festival of Genzano was a delight. Most notable was the stage chemistry of the two. the performance part (as opposed to just the technical) really brightened the theatre and i caught myself smiling often. I found myself watching Yao Wei with delight. Such a gorgeous dancer. they really depicted young love perfectly.
Opus' biggest challenge was in following the tremendous Le Petit Mort. It was in stark contrast as it played FAR more intimiate with the single pianist (on stage) with the pdd. A few moments where the choreography felt awkward to me, but mostly, i really enjoyed it.
Note that Opus was a premiere of a new choreography (as was to be the Hirano/Pereira piece).
IMO, Yao Wei deserved the Prize for the women. I understand that the circumstances were quite difficult for Tina Pereira but still i felt that overall, Yao Wei was more polished and had better presence.
The men's side is much harder. If Hirano had finished i think he likely would've won. But i probably would have given it to Ulrik Birkkjaer also.
Wonderful evening overall and i'm still in a great mood because of it.