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ABT Fall Performances

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Additional review of the Bard pieces:

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/arts/index...t_american.html

Excerpt from above linked review: "Millepied is the victim of his grandiose ambitions in "Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once." Although the audience cheers at the sight of so many dancers meshing and reforming in tight quarters, while David Lang’s score clangs in the background, the piece is an applause machine with its parts crudely hammered together."

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Additional review of the Bard pieces:

http://www.nj.com/entertainment/arts/index...t_american.html

Excerpt from above linked review: "Millepied is the victim of his grandiose ambitions in "Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once." Although the audience cheers at the sight of so many dancers meshing and reforming in tight quarters, while David Lang’s score clangs in the background, the piece is an applause machine with its parts crudely hammered together."

Just curious - why have you quoted the only negative comment from the review? Do you have a particular axe to grind with Mr. Millipied?

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Hallberg and the three choreos discuss certain aspects of Avery Fisher, in a NYT article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/arts/dance/04laro.html

Excerpt from the above linked article: "There is also the question of entrances and exits. Mr. Millepied, who is using the largest number of dancers (24), is having them stay onstage as human pillars who, when not dancing, frame the action..... David Hallberg, who is performing with his fellow principal Julie Kent in Mr. Ratmansky’s ballet, discussed the importance of reaching the audience without being showy. This is crucial in a theater like Avery Fisher, where the stage is small and the house deep: the performers want to reach audience members who are far away without laying it on too thick for those up front."

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I just came from the dress rehearsal and parts of the Millipied were nothing short of stunning with lots of dancers on the stage weaving back and forth with incredible lighting. It's perhaps difficult to read how the real deal will look from a rehearsal, but I thought the company looked great, the choreography was better than I expected.

I am baffled by modern choreography, perhaps because I want to understand what the various gestures and steps mean. They seem to be part of a language and implying at times a literal message. But the language is both individual and seems to draw upon the universal. It's more like modern non objective art as compared to classical representational art. Both honor principals of graphics, light, form, color, and so forth. Both can be visually thrilling, but in the modern work you (me) often feels I can quite be sure what the message is.

Stella Abrerra was incredible and if she is not advanced to principal in the next graduation, there is no justice in the universe. For me, she was the high point of the afternoon. The experience left me itching for some classical ballet. I am hopeful for the Spring season.

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I just came from the opening--Loved Julie K. and Stella A. and how beautiful the choreography of R was for them. I was happy to be there--enjoying the evening-etc. until Veronica Part came on and I started to cry--she took me away from the lovely and and into a deeper and more profound place. What a wonderful artist she is.

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ABT, Opening Night at Avery Fisher

October 7, 2009

I had a fairly good time tonight at Avery Fisher. I don't think I understand contemporary choreography (although I have a lot to learn about choreography in classical works as well).

Welcome speech by Iman and Veronica Webb

"Seven Sonatas"

Choreography by Alexei Ratmansky

Music by Domenico Scarlatti (seven "Keyboard Sonatas": K.30, 39, 198, 450, 474, 481 and 547)

Costumes by Holly Hynes

Lighting by Bras Fields

Piano: Barbara Bilach

The progression, in terms of who danced which portion of the piece, was roughly as follows:

-- Group of all six dancers in this work: *Hallberg* dancing mostly with Abrera; other four were paired

-- Cornejo -- Some jumps

-- Reyes

-- Kent

-- Hallberg -- A slightly modern/tai-chi-with-moderation-and-smoothness connotation to some of his arm movements

-- Cornejo/Reyes -- She is quite "cutsy" in this piece

-- Saveliev/Abrera -- Several interesting lifts; feeling is romantic

-- Hallberg, followed by Hallberg/Kent -- Some portions of this had a slightly playful connotation (e.g., at one point when one of them points at the other before jumping into the other's arms)

-- Three pas de trois -- Hallberg/Kent/Reyes; Cornejo/Abrera/Reyes; and then the three danseurs in a short pas de trois. In the danseurs' pas de trois, all three initially seemed to react to something imaginary they "see" on the right hand side of the stage

-- Group of six -- Miscellaneous. At one point, all dancers except Hallberg are moving, and Hallberg is stationary. Then, Hallberg moves and some of the dancers follow him a bit.

I liked this the best of the three NY premiere works presented tonight. I'm not sure that the different portions of the work were particularly well-connected to one another, in the sense of a progression or a series of integrating characteristics. While I enjoyed the dancing in this work (particularly Hallberg and Abrera), I was not wowed by Ratmansky's choreography. His choreography was fine, particularly within each segment in this work, but not compelling in terms of an articulation of something through the work as a whole.

Hallberg danced beautifully, as did Abrera. Abrera's long thin arms and graceful leg movements were well showcased by this work, which utilized all six dancers relatively evenly (although Hallberg and Kent did seem like the lead pair). Kent seemed like her usual self before she took her recent time off. Saveliev was lighter in his movement than various other occasions I have seen him. The white costumes were quite beautiful, including Hallberg's costume (which had a little portion of pale greyish material in front, adorning the area beneath the neckline of the blouse).

Intermission #1

"One of Three"

Choreography by Aszure Barton

Music by Maurice Ravel ("Violin Sonata in G")

Costume by Yannik Larivee

Lighting by Brad Fields

Violin: Ronald Oakland

Piano: David LaMarche

Misty Copeland

Grant DeLong

Paloma Herrera

Carlos Lopez

Jared Matthews

*Gillian Murphy*

Patrick Ogle

Joseph Phillips

Arron Scott

*Cory Stearns*

*Eric Tamm*

The three portions of this work were in the following sequence:

Gillian +Cory + five other danseurs

Misty + two danseurs

Paloma + Cory +7 other danseurs

This work was quite disappointing for me, in terms of the choreography. The first portion of the three portions of the work seemed to have no connection to what was to follow, except for the danseurs in their suits with a white shirt and no tie. Cory is featured quite a bit in this work, and he danced well, executing the same steps in some cases as the other danseurs, but with flair. The work begins with Cory solo, then Gillian joins him.

Veronica Part in "Dying Swan"

I've never appreciated Part's dancing, so I am not the best person to comment on her performance. She did receive quite a bit of applause from the audience, however. For me, Part's body movements did not convey the fragility and vulnerability of Odette in "Dying Swan". Just speaking for me, her dancing seems too pretentious and deliberate for my liking.

Intermission #2 -- During this intermission there are lot of crewmen on the stage rolling out large pieces of white paper onto the stage, and taping them down to form a large expanse of white, covering most of the stage. Also, like before Ratmansky's work, there were a lot of dansers warming up on the stage. Some of them have workout clothing on top of their costumes for the piece, like Gomes' hooded black tracksuit top or Boylston's red legwarmers. There must not be much space to warm up behind the scenes. Before the Ratmansky work earlier on, Hallberg was practicing a good number of steps on stage. Some of the other dancers in the piece were also on stage, warming up.

"Everything Doesn't Happen at Once"

Choreography by Benjmain Millepied

Music by David Lang

Costumes by Karen Young

Lighting by Brad Fields

Larger group of musicians involved, on violin, cello, piccolo, clarinet, piano and percussion

Isabella Boylston/Marcelo Gomes

Kristi Boone

Gemma Bond

*Maria Riccetto*

Simone Messmer

Leann Underwood

Marian Butler

Melissa Thomas

Nicole Graniero

Christine Shevchenko

Jennifer Whalen

Katherine Williams

*Blaine Hoven*

*Daniil Simkin*

Roman Zhurbin

Alexandre Hammoudi

Thomas Forster

Sean Stewart

Isaac Stappas

Mikhail Ilyin

Alexi Agoudine

Gray Davis

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For me, Part's body movements did not convey the fragility and vulnerability of Odette in "Dying Swan".

Thank you for your review, Ambonnay. I'm confused about the above quoted statement, though. The Dying Swan has nothing to do with Odette. It's not a part of Swan Lake. Or are you comparing Odette in Swan Lake with the unnamed swan in The Dying Swan?

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For me, Part's body movements did not convey the fragility and vulnerability of Odette in "Dying Swan".

Thank you for your review, Ambonnay. I'm confused about the above quoted statement, though. The Dying Swan has nothing to do with Odette. It's not a part of Swan Lake. Or are you comparing Odette in Swan Lake with the unnamed swan in The Dying Swan?

Even though my knowledge of ballet is very limited and I am still trying to learn so many things, I did know that Dying Swan is different from Swan Lake. :wink: But I appreciate your clarification, because there many things like that that I probably would not know at all. Are the Dying Swan sentiment and style supposed to be like those of Odette "before she dies" in Swan Lake? I was assuming so, but maybe the Dying Swan is supposed to engender a different type of feeling. I'm going to study the background to Dying Swan and see what emotions are supposed to be conveyed.

Part's performances raise some disturbing issues for me, in terms of how our society looks at women in general and at ballerinas in particular. I wonder if I was implicitly penalizing Part's performance because her body was not as light and small as some other ballerinas. If I was, it's hard to disentangle the effects of Part's body type and look from the way she dances. I've seen Part in various other performances, and this is not the first time I have thought about this issue relating to Part. How much of what I dislike about her performances is due to her not being able to move the same way that a smaller-framed, lighter ballerina would? :) I'm a woman and I feel very akward about this possibility.

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