sandik

Sleeping Beauty Seminars, Casting, and Reviews

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I went to Doug Fullington's seminar on SB yesterday, and it was stellar. Some great footage from the Maryinsky/Kirov's revival of the original sets/costumes/choreography (very stately) and an excellent rundown on the history of the ballet in the West. I don't know how much of this will be repeated in his Seattle Public Library talk on the 2nd, or in his pre-show lectures, but they will all certainly be worth the trouble to see them.

Larae Haskell came in to talk about costuming -- there are apparently around 900 separate pieces for this work, which they bought lock, stock and as many fabric scraps as they could find from the English National Ballet. If I remember correctly, they haven't had to replace anything yet, but they did make new costumes for the children in the Garland Waltz, who were added for the PNB production.

(and since there is no post-show discussion for the run, you don't have to factor in staying afterwards...)

Official casting isn't up yet, but unofficially there are five pairs for Aurora/Prince (Nakamura/Postelwaite, Vinson/Orza, Imler/Bold, Korbes/Cruz, Rausch/Orza) They all get two shows, except for Rausch, who gets one and a half (education matinee, I think) Lots of younger dancers have been rehearsing the Bluebird, including Eric Hippolito and Amanda Clark, though not clear who will be performing yet. And Stanko Milov is out for this rep, with an injury.

My favorite piece of SB trivia, though, is that if you rehearse all of the Aurora/Prince scenes back to back, it's about an hour of material. Needs big stamina!

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I am so sorry I missed Doug Fullington's presentation. Thank you so much for reporting on it.

Casting is up on the site for Week 1 in the awful drop-down box format (see below):

http://www.pnb.org/Season/09-10/SleepingBe...Details-Casting

There is a PNB webcast video with quotes from the three corps couples who are learning the roles: Amanda Clark/Kyle Davis, Liora Reshef/Eric Hipolito, and Margaret Mullin/Jerome Tisserand:

http://www.pnb.org/Season/09-10/SleepingBeauty/#Media

(BTW: When searching for the Bluebird video, I happened up

from local PBS station KCTS about Hipolito.)

The Rausch/Orza partnership doesn't debut the first week, nor do any of the new Florine/Bluebirds, but there is exciting casting all around in both dance and character roles: Wevers and Porretta are Carabosse, Otto Neubert is King, Dec/Lowenburg/McFall are Queen, Uko Gorter returns and shares Catalabutte with Kiyon Gaines, Jordan Pacitti is Gallison, and Ariana Lallone's Countess.

I was trying to copy and paste the cast list into a grid to attach to this post, but for whatever underlying technical reason, it copies by the role and then a list of all the dancer cast for the role (to date). It's not easy to read, but here it is after a few clean-ups:

Role Thu 4 Feb; Fri 5 Feb; Sat mat 6 Feb; Sat eve 6 Feb

Aurora Kaori Nakamura Mara Vinson Carla Körbes Carrie Imler

Prince Lucien Postlewaite Seth Orza Karel Cruz Batkhurel Bold

Lilac Fairy Carla Körbes Carrie Imler Stacy Lowenberg Laura Gilbreath

Carabosse Olivier Wevers Jonathan Porretta Olivier Wevers Olivier Wevers

King Otto Neubert Otto Neubert Otto Neubert Otto Neubert

Queen Lindsi Dec Stacy Lowenberg Victoria McFall Lindsi Dec

Catalabutte Uko Gorter Uko Gorter Kiyon Gaines Kiyon Gaines

Fairy of Beauty Kylee Kitchens Sarah Ricard Orza Liora Reshef Sarah Ricard Orza

Fairy of Temperament Brittany Reid Rachel Foster Sarah Ricard Orza Brittany Reid

Fairy of Purity Stacy Lowenberg Kylee Kitchens Kylee Kitchens Stacy Lowenberg

Fairy of Joy Rachel Foster Margaret Mullin Rachel Foster Rachel Foster

Fairy of Wit Chalnessa Eames Lindsi Dec Lindsi Dec Chalnessa Eames

Fairy of Generosity Lesley Rausch Chalnessa Eames Chalnessa Eames Lesley Rausch

Countess Ariana Lallone Ariana Lallone Lindsi Dec Ariana Lallone

Gallison Jordan Pacitti Jordan Pacitti Jordan Pacitti Jordan Pacitti

Princess Florine Mara Vinson Rachel Foster Rachel Foster Chalnessa Eames

Bluebird Jonathan Porretta Benjamin Griffiths Benjamin Griffiths James Moore

Silver Carrie Imler Lindsi Dec Lindsi Dec Mara Vinson

Gold Seth Orza Karel Cruz; Lucien Postlewaite Andrew Bartee ; Lucien Postlewaite Andrew Bartee; Jonathan Porretta Benjamin Griffiths

Red Riding Hood Leanne Duge Abby Relic Leanne Duge Liora Reshef

Wolf Barry Kerollis Jerome Tisserand Barry Kerollis Andrew Bartee

White Cat Lesley Rausch Sarah Ricard Orza Lesley Rausch Sarah Ricard Orza

Puss in Boots James Moore Jordan Pacitti James Moore Jordan Pacitti

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Oh Helene, you really did all the hard work on this. I was going to post something yesterday, but got stuck in revisions, and now here it is!

I'm looking forward to all kinds of things with these casts, but am very curious to see what Porretta does with Carabosse. He's certainly an actor, but I haven't really thought of him in any of the traditional character roles...

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Gary Tucker (press rep) reminded me today that this coming Saturday evening the ballet is performing at the same time as the Billy Joel/Elton John show at Key Arena. Since the Sonics left, I've kind of forgotten what it's like when two big events collide in lower Queen Anne -- plan your transportation accordingly...

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Week two casting is up now, look

here

All five women get one Aurora each, Bold does two turns as the Prince, Jordan Pacitti does Carabosse on Saturday afternoon.

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Helene, I realize this is :) , but I was intrigued by your criticism of the drop-down-box format for posting casts. Miami persists in following Balanchine by refusing to publish casts in advance, regardless of format. So things COULD be worse in Seattle.

PNB's format seems efficient and useful, especially when casts are large. Many -- probably most -- people have schedules that require them to shop for tickets by date, first of all. PNB's site allows you to check casts quickly for the dates that are possible for you. I wish Miami would pick it up.

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Helene, I realize this is :) , but I was intrigued by your criticism of the drop-down-box format for posting casts. Miami persists in following Balanchine by refusing to publish casts in advance, regardless of format. So things COULD be worse in Seattle.

PNB's format seems efficient and useful, especially when casts are large. Many -- probably most -- people have schedules that require them to shop for tickets by date, first of all. PNB's site allows you to check casts quickly for the dates that are possible for you. I wish Miami would pick it up.

PNB used to format the casts in a grid, so that you could compare casts by role across dates. It was very easy to use.

The PNB website looks a lot like the Seattle Opera website. I'm not sure if it was out-of-the-box, customized software, or custom software, but this is one feature that I find difficult to use, since I'm trying to buy multiple tickets based on seeing the most number of dancers in the most number of roles.

When I started going to NYCB -- Balanchine was still alive -- the company was publishing casts lists one week in advance. There was no Internet, so I stood in the little group between the entrance and photos of principal dancers, and jockeyed my way into the middle to read the cast lists each week.

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I feel the same as Helene and Sandi, I far preferred the old PNB format. I have even talked to the website folks at PNB, and they admit to the problem, and even promised to restore the old format (in addition to the new one I assume), but of course nothing has been done.

The issue I think revolves around whether you get tickets based on date or cast. For those who pick their date first and cast is secondary (likely most folks -- including those who go just once per program), the new format works well (altho not that much better than the old format). But for folks like me who pick cast first and date second (especially for those of us that regularly go to multiple performances of every program), the new format is terrible (but better than nothing as you say bart).

The solution I think is to provide both formats. PNB can leave the new format alone on the "buy tickets" webpage, but they should re-implement the old grid format somewhere on the website (doesn't have to be on the "buy tickets" page) so that aficionados can see all the casts side by side.

[Later edit......not that anyone cares, but I see now that my memory of how the PNB website works was not correct. The casting is not shown on the "buy tickets" page, but on a completely separate page that one must request. So anyone looking for the cast, whether they be a date or a cast person, has to go to this special cast page. Given that structure, perhaps the new drop down list mechanism should be replaced by the old grid display, or somehow include both, or give users a choice.]

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Gary Tucker (press rep) reminded me today that this coming Saturday evening the ballet is performing at the same time as the Billy Joel/Elton John show at Key Arena. Since the Sonics left, I've kind of forgotten what it's like when two big events collide in lower Queen Anne -- plan your transportation accordingly...

I know it seems silly to reply to my own posting, but I want to remind people. I was at the dress rehearsal last night, while the Joel/John show was at the Arena -- traffic and parking were awful, and that was just a Wednesday...

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I will have other things to say later on, but just wanted to mention that watching Lindsi Dec as the Countess flirt unsuccessfully with Karel Cruz as the Prince at the beginning of act two made me giggle a bit.

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I will have other things to say later on, but just wanted to mention that watching Lindsi Dec as the Countess flirt unsuccessfully with Karel Cruz as the Prince at the beginning of act two made me giggle a bit.

Especially since she was holding a riding crop.

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NYT Review

Seemed to like Kauri's presentation, I saw her as Aurora during PNB's last revival of this, and while the production doesn't stir memories, her portrayal was great. I'll see Imler this time around, on Thursday evening.

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I'll see Imler this time around, on Thursday evening.

I saw her last Saturday.......a sight to behold. I'll admit I am prejudice, but Carrie is more perfectly matched to, and best creates the mystic of, Aurora more than anyone else at PNB. Exquiste is the word that comes to mind. I envy your Thursday.

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Late night, just back from the ballet, thought I'd get my thoughts typed up, while they are still fresh.

The principals:

Carrie Imler was an excellent Aurora tonight. She handled the ACT One entrance beautifully. The audience clapped after the first balance, and cheered after the final 4 turns. She returned her hand slowly overhead for each and every one, and relaxed from attitude beautifully. I stifled the urge to yell out like a football fan; "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH CARRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!" Instead, I limited myself to a strong "Brava!" and copious clapping. She did not attempt the Rockette kicks of Alina Semova, but maintained a romantic line throughout. She was light, with articulate feet, and extraordinary control. Ms. Imler has a strong, muscled physical stature that reminds me of photographs of dancers from before the Balanchine era, she is no 80 lbs anorexic nymph. As noted above, security is a great word for Ms Imler's dancing.

Batkhurel Bold was fine in the first and second acts as Prince Florimund. He is a rock solid partner, very tall, able to frame his partner beautifully. He lifts with ease, and he looked comfortable with the pantomime and dancing during The Vision and Awakening scenes (Act two). But during The Wedding (Act three), something changed, I don't know if he was injured during Act two (there are significant lifts), but during his solo, there was no flair or flourish, and it felt phoned in. I saw little - if any - acting of ardour during the finale or even the curtain calls. I cannot say he missed a step, but I felt like the air went out of his performance. In 10+ years at PNB, Mr Bold has always thrived in the modern ballets and he has never done well with the acting / ardour required for "cavalier" roles. Nevertheless he always impressed us with huge jumps, turns, etc. Something was very wrong tonight. I assume an injury. PNB has one other principal, Stanko Milov, who is the reverse side of Mr. Bold's coin, also strong and tall. Trained in the classic Vaganova style, he has flair to spare for the 'cavalier' roles, and it took a few years for him to tone that down for the modern roles. Unfortunately he is currently out with an injury.

The Soloists:

Lilac Fairy was Carla Körbes was lovely as Lilac Fairy, she is so smooth that it is easy to take her performance for granted. The other fairies were fine, though I couldn't tell you which one was purity, joy, wit, generosity, beauty etc. We were joking about additional fairy names at intermission. How about the fairy of truthiness? Blue Bird was Kyle Davis, who outdanced his partner, Amanda Clark. Gold / Silver pas de Trois was led by Lindsi Dec - but Andrew Bartee and Lucien Postlewaite didn't seem to be quite in sync.

Character Roles:

Former PNB dancer Uko Gorter was Catalabutte (I'm old enough to remember him dancing Cavalier in The Nutcracker when I was a kid, damn that means I'm getting old). Carabosse was PNB principal Olivier Wevers. He was great at pantomime, and the kids loudly booed him at curtain call. All the kids loved puss n boots.

Musical Direction:

Emil de Cou guest conducted the excellent PNB orchestra. I understand they are trying out conductors during this run. The strings during the The Vision were particularly beautiful, and deserved a separate ovation, Bravo!

Overall Production:

I agree with the NYT review, 3 intermissions were too many. Better to play music through 2 short set changes (I understand PNB does not use all the available music for The Sleeping Beauty). I don't remember this from the prior run, but this time the excessive use of lame in the costumes really bothered me. Otherwise the production was very close to the time period, but the shiny gold lamé on costumes was off putting and dare I say it - cheap looking. Especially on the Bluebird's back. The only big flubs were credited to the stage hands. They flubbed a few spotlights (it was very obvious) and during the finale, there was a dramatic shudder of the screen at the back of the stage. Plenty of kids in attendance (even a few babies) but everyone was silently attentive during Aurora's entrance in Act I and The Vision. I enjoyed Mr. Hind's choreography and was well satisfied with the results.

You Know You're in Seattle when...

...the guy behind you takes his shoes off during Act Two and has no qualms about the pungent smell of his feet. I was only surprised he didn't wear cargo shorts that night (trust me, this happens often in Seattle during the dead of winter). Clearly the girlfriend dragged him there, and he kept saying "this ballet was only meant for 13 year old girls". Then don't come! Clearly you only came in hopes of getting laid afterwards. Next time, stay home with the Xbox, and tell your girlfriend to bring one of her best friends - preferably someone knowledgable of theatre etiquette.

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Last minute flash

Today (Friday) they're doing a school matinee at 11:30 -- a cut down version of the work that lasts about an hour. I thought it was closed except for groups, but I've been told I can get a ticket at the box office (no online) for $3.50. Will report back if I get there...

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Jayne,

Thanks for the review; I read it with complete interest......I liked the way you write about how you felt about the evening instead of restricting yourself to only what you thought about it (if that makes any sense). I concur with most of what your reactions were. I haven't seen all the same dancers you mention, but having seen 3 Beauties so far (my 4th will be tomorrow to see Leslie Rausch make the gigantic leap to Aurora.......I'm a huge fan of Leslie's).

If I had to give a "Most Accomplished" award to a single dancer at PNB, it would be to Carrie Imler. For me she is the penultimate professional. She delights and astonishes me every time: be it as Aurora, or as a stomper in Tharp's "In the Upper Room". I can easily echo your football fan cry (in fact, not being the shy type, I'm afraid I did a enough screaming of "brava" and "yo" the night I saw her to likely make you squirm :)).

As I'm sure you have observed, Bold has never been very expressive. He is a joy to watch and his partnering is terrific (IMHO), but communicating emotion, character motivation, etc is not his strong point. I wonder if that was all that was happening during Act 3. I sure hope no injury is involved.

I would have loved to see Kyle Davis as Bluebird. He moves like no other male dancer I've seen at PNB. I distinctly remember noticing him the very first time he hit our stage. I didn't know who he was, or even that a new dancer of his type had joined the organization. There was just something about his dancing that strongly caught my eye. At the intermission I had to look at the program to figure out who that standout dancer was. Now I find it difficult not to focus on him and ignore other dancers when he is on stage in a more typical corps role. I've never seen him is such a highlighted role as Bluebird. I envy you again.

Wevers is more than a dancer; he creates drama in its broadest possible sense (which I suspect is why he is such a talented choreographer). As you say, his Carabosse is spectacular (in a dramatic sense -- just as his Friar in R&J was). I have jokingly called him "rubberman" given his ability to move seemlessly into the most unusual limb positions (not as a "trick", but to dramatic effect).

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I apologize in advance -- this is very long, so just skip ahead if you get frustrated.

Lots of thoughts and not room for them all in the paper, so I’m chattering away here.

I’m not sure what it is (Valentine’s day programming, perhaps?) but it seems that everyone has been performing SB this month. It’s been great to follow along with all the discussions, and see what other communities think of their production.

Different productions of this ballet emphasize different things -- some try to underline the fairy tale aspects of the story, some slice away as much of the narration/mime as they can so that it almost becomes “Suite from SB,” some come down heavy on the symbolic/metaphorical bits (historical accuracy of period costumes). Hynd’s production has some of the didactic, with careful period details and, more importantly, big helpings of what we believe to be the original choreography. In his symposium last month, Doug Fullington referred to that as “the King James version” of the work, and the care that the company has taken with it does have a vaguely religious sense to it.

I saw all the Auroras over the first weekend, and then slid into the school matinee yesterday and caught a tiny snip of Leslie Rausch as well. But I’m still missing all kinds of castings, debuts, new pairings and old favorites, so I’m glum. My goal reviewing this time around was to talk about as many performers as possible, since this is such a great vehicle for individual performance, but I wound up having to talk about context as well.

It’s always great to see different dancers appear in several guises throughout a performance. Retainers become nymphs, nobles become peasants, and the same group of people keep turning up at parties given 100 years apart. Wherever he shows up, William Lin-Yee seems to have great aplomb, which makes such a difference in the classical roles. He’s working hard, yes, but you don’t feel that he’s pushing past the aesthetic boundaries of the work. Liora Reshef had a great weekend -- between her corps work, her Fairy of Beauty and her Princess Florine, she really shone. I’m not sure if it’s the French part of her training, or just something innate, but she’s got lovely, flowy arms, which really help her phrasing, especially in linking steps or changes of direction.

Aurora

Kaori Nakamura (with Postelwaite) has a nice breath at top of the develop at her entrance. She’s not afraid of suitors, more confident than I remember her last go with this part. A bit knowing, looking over the shoulder, more like Odile than Aurora.

Mara Vinson (with Orza) had a little too much control, doesn’t glow enough in Act 1. But anything like a renverse (focus over the shoulder) looks really pretty. She understands the head/chest connection in epaulment really well. She’s very meditative in the Vision scene, which is probably the best choice to make here. She’s not herself, so she’s not “meeting” a suitor like she did in Act 1 – she’s more of a cipher, and it seems to work well if she’s just a little removed. She beckons to him, but she’s got much less volition than he does. Best effects in final act – she really glitters in the grand pas de deux. I remember thinking that Odile looked easier for her than Odette – maybe this is a related thing.

Carla Korbes (with Cruz) slides right into the pas de chat, makes nice long phrases, with lovely accents in the penchee arabesque sequence. She makes much of little – good choices with phrasing, coordination and accents. Easy arms, soft attack, clearly thinking of a young girl. Really floats through Vision scene.

Carrie Imler (with Bold) skims left and right on first entrance, really sees people on stage, relates to them through her character. Ducks her head at praise from her father, shy of suitors to begin with. A couple shakes in her first balance but after that she’s settled in. The big circular port de corps were really nice (stable in the lower body) modulating timing, energy. Her Aurora was happy in Act 1, which is much harder to pull off than you’d think. Has really put thought into the character and arc of her development. Seems much more at home here than in Swan Lake, but could just be familiarity. Her grand pas just gleamed.

Lilac Fairy

Carrie Imler – you just don’t worry when she’s dancing. She could keep us safe from nuclear holocaust. Makes it clear that LF ranks higher than all the other fairies, she’s the one that directs the action (“now we’ll give our gifts, now we say our goodbyes.” She outranks, is more powerful than Carabosse, can make her behave (multiple bows, ”listen to me”) Carabosse does not surprise her – like the best mothers she has eyes in the back of her head – when Carabosse tries to sneak up on her downstage left LF turns around just in time to stop the attack with a well-placed hand. Her mime is visible, well-placed, good timing, an articulate “speaker”

Carla Korbes -- very even, great sweetness, but not the same settled quality as Imler. Her power is less readable.

Sara Ricard Orza -- very gentle, rules through kindness. Solicitous of King and queen after curse, after spindle. More active arm waving during blessing (seems to be at discretion of dancer) When she has a phrasing choice she leans towards the fleet rather than the languid.

Laura Gilbreath -- had a very good start, but needs to develop her sense of command. She is the leader but she seems to look to others rather than take charge herself. Nice suspension in big waltz turn. Good timing with Wevers as Carabosse. She might look stronger in comparison if she were dancing with a different Aurora (not Imler).

Prince

Seth Orza does well with the mimetic work in Act 2 – he’s got clear relationships with the people in his world, and when the supernatural visits, in the guise of the Lilac Fairy, the arc of his doubt, shifting to belief (“You can’t really show me a girl I can love” to “Wait, show me again”) is cleanly modulated. He has a tendency to push in his solos, though, in both acts, and it keeps him from reading as a prince. He’s looking for someone to love, like Siegfried, but there’s not the same level of desperation involved, so the strain in his dancing just reads as awkward.

Batkhurel Bold very assured of air work, is very believable as a prince even standing still (a tricky thing to pull off), is making a little progress on the facial expressions, (he even smiled Saturday night.)

Karel Cruz had a very nice reaction to spell in Act 3, making sense out of long phrases. Could use a little more emphasis, all smooth, not enough punctuation. This especially clear in his variation in grand pas de deux

Lucien Postelwaite is a danseur by nature, so any glitches in his performances are inside that context. So saying that he didn’t have his best night on opening with Nakamura means that he still danced fluently and convincingly, but wasn’t as spot on as I know he can be. But he was a great example of classicism in the Gold and Silver trio.

Prologue

Kylee Kitchens - Good contrast in Beauty between flow in middle of variation and snap at end. Light and quick, very clean in Purity

Brittany Reid - Has very clean phrasing in Temperament, such a reliable dancer. I always look to her to see where things are supposed to be.

Margaret Mullin - Nice flirty glance over the shoulder in Joy, more girl than bird. An interesting interpretation.

Lindsi Dec - She’s bright and direct – when she uses that well (like the tall girl in Rubies) it makes her very appealing, but when it gets too fast for the context she loses the point of what she’s doing. (same goes for her work in Gold and Silver in last act) Nice suspension mid-way thoughthe Wit variation – needs to keep more of that, the feeling that there is time for a moment.

Sara Ricard Orza - Gentle energy in Beauty, even in fast or quick stuff. Maybe a harbinger of her Lilac?

Rachel Foster - In Joy, very capable in all the twinkly bits, nice modulating the flutter, more amplitude in upper body than other roles. In Temperament, she makes it a bit more accented than other dancers.

Chalnessa Eames - Very sly as Wit, a cousin to the tarantella she dances in Stowell’s Swan Lake. She uses stillness well, very pretty as Generosity, but it doesn’t play to her strengths

Leslie Rausch - In Generosity, good with the arms gesturing down the front (hard to pull off). It’s a little window into her Aurora.

Eric Hippolito - Nice batterie in the ensemble section.

Sean Rollofson - Nice bounding jumps as courtier.

Carabosse – Wevers has beend oing this for quite a while and it’s a very well developed interpretation. His mime is almost conversational, it has the personal rhythm and individual “pronunciation”you only get with familiarity. Porretta emphasizes the limp, with fingers always going (spider-like, you need to watch out for those, that’s where the thinking and decision to make mischief happen) Rushes the “will die” in the curse mime. But then repeats the “dead,” which reads really well.

Act 1

Are the hags trying to get Carabosse to stop spinning, or are they egging her on?

Kiyon Gaines has been dancing in a flat hat and pink shirt for many performances and still looks like hecan’t imagine anything more fun to do than the Garland Waltz. He’s made some really interesting decisions as Catalabutte – his “oh no, I forgot the really nasty fairy” moment is especially fine.

Barry Kerollis looks good in this section as well, very settled as a member of the court.

I’ll bet the queen regrets begging the kind to commute the hanging sentence he wants to impose on Carabosse.

Entrance of the tiny kids eclipses the entrance of the dukes.

Michael Burfield is the third herald -- he’s the one that gets all three pieces of mime about Carabosse (flapping wings, big hump and long nose) and he does a great job of almost running the king over in his zeal to deliver bad news, and then ducks to avoid getting hit with the repercussions.

The garland is still shedding on opening night, one of the corps manages to dribble the flowers off-stage, soccer style.

Between the uniform chocolate brown wigs and big costumes for the suitors we can barely tell them apart.

Act 2

Orchestra squeak on opening chord.

Entrance for prince not that tah-dah, undercut by Countesses snit. But Postelwaite isn’t a big tah dah guy -- more modest.

Jordan Pacitti is making some really interesting moves into character work. Gallison is not as full of detail as the tutor in Stowell’s Swan Lake, but there are places to make a legible character. Flemming Halby used to make a lot of little in this role, coming from the Danish school where they spent time working on character techniques. Pacitti might want to go back and look at some of the video of Halby’s performances, not to copy his work, but see what the possibilities are.

Ariana Lallone really plays up the bitchiness of the Countess, recoiling from the peasant girls’ gifts and sneering at the other women trying to get the Prince’s attention. She has a real Cruella deVille vibe going. And when he does ask her to dance, she preens. She uses the riding crop much more than Dec does in this role.

The Panorama really doesn’t do much (ground level fog makes it look like this is set in a bayou) I know that we don’t do the original effect with the scrolling/unscrolling landscapes and scenes, but with the developments in projection technology, someone could design a kind of slideshow or video sequence that really does show all the stuff in the original Petipa scenario.

Simple structural effects make a big impression throughout this work. Gradation in size of Aurora’s envelopés (small to large) knocks you flat.

Really saw lots of quotations from Swan Lake white acts here.

We kill our evil fairies here -- Wevers falls backwards down the ramp and “dies” with his head at the bottom of the slope. Very effective.

Prince kisses Aurora -- confetti snow turns into red hearts?

Act 3

Gold and Silver: Andrew Bartee needs to relax shoulders and get legs a little more under him, but what a nice outing for him in this trio. He’s got a loose grand battement, so it reverberates through his torso just a bit, perhaps he could lower his leg just a bit to avoid the vibration. He’s paired with Postelwaite here, who is very at home in these roles, and so you get a picture of where Bartee can go next. Imler -- what a pleasure, fills out every phrase without rushing but still lets us know how tricky it is. Faithfully repeating energy and focus on the repeat facing upstage. m/m duo in 5/8 -- tricky and crispy but so fun. Imler nails the port de bras in the coda, which can so easily look like a semaphore message from a sinking ship. Dec big leaps, big jumps, big everything.

Puss in Boots: Temptation to just go with the joke in this duet, but Pacitti has really put some thought into his phrasing. The quickness in the snatching gestures contrasted with the fluidity in the back to back squirming (especially the alternating coordination of pelvis and head) is just excellent. And how unusually sensual this is in the middle of a Petipa party scene -- I have a feeling that they wouldn’t do anything that overt if they weren’t wearing costumes that concealed their heads. Ricard Orza had a great light touch with the catfight. “Just what every girl wants – a dead rat!”

Bluebird: Porretta has had this part for several years, and he’s still makes it look great. The brise vole sequence unfolds beautifully. He has a showoff facet to his performing that sometimes gets the better of less substantial choreography, but doesn’t seem to come out when the work itself is important. Rachel Foster as Florine has a great lower body working, but needs more amplitude in her arms. She keys into the vibratory element, but needs more of the connection from moment to moment. Griffiths sails through the solos and is a great partner for her, gets her lots of good looking turns, and really shows her off. His brise voles are as silky as Porretta’s – he really has the swimming quality, and when he and Foster do that last sequence down the diagonal she seems to get some of that easy energy from the contact and really opens up. Margaret Mullin makes a very nice debut – the enchantment is clear in her performance. Jerome Tisserand as Bluebird doesn’t try and strain. Instead he is very smooth with a lovely cumulative ballon.

Red Riding Hood: Abby Relic has red hair to go with her red hood – very effective look. She’s got a great sense of the English Pantomime style that this duet uses – big, clear mime, vey direct use of focus. Tisserand manages to make that wolf head look like he’s ‘talking’ – not a simple trick. Leann Duge and Kerollis have some great turns in this, between this role and Bottom I wonder if he’s found a specialty -- “will dance wearing a big head.”

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