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Sleeping Beauty


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#1 DeborahB

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:49 PM

Ashley Bouder was a spectacular Aurora tonight. As soon as she appeared on the stage she livened up a rather sleepy first act.
The balances in the Rose Adagio (the Martins' version) were incredible -- especially the second set. She looked like she could have held each balance for days. It was also a treat to see Merrill Ashley back on the stage. Her Carabosse was juicily evil (and that's a complement).
Sara Mearns was lovely -- soft, supple and engaging -- as The Lilac Fairy. All the Fairy's were delightful, but Rebecca Krohn's Generosity was a standout.

Thank goodness the second act has more dancing in it. There were so many dancing highlights here that it's hard to know where to begin.
Stephen Hanna (who looked very polished!), Teresa Reichlen, Abi Stafford and Kathryn Morgan were stellar as the Jewels.
Sean Suozzi and Stephanie Zungre nearly stole the show as The White Cat and Puss in Boots.
Tiler Peck was brilliant in her Princess Florine solo, and Daniel Ulbricht caused audience gasps (the good kind) as The Bluebird.
I especially loved Antonio Carmena, Austin Laurent and Allen Pfieffer as the leaping and jumping Court Jesters.
The final pas de deux with Ashley and Andrew was simply gorgeous (Ashley's leg positions in the fish dive type lift were beautiful!).

I do plan on seeing two other Sleeping Beauty casts. I look forward to other SB reviews!

#2 vipa

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 09:08 PM

I do plan on seeing two other Sleeping Beauty casts. I look forward to other SB reviews!


Thank you for your thoughts. I just want to add a few of mine.

Lauren King was a delight as the Fairy of Vivacity. She is a corps dancer whose glowing presence and joy have attracted me for the past couple of years. I'm glad she was given the opportunity to do this part. Her variation was very well done and her presence a delight.

I thought Tess Reichlin was a stand out in the Jewels but Morgan and Stafford were also good. I didn't care too much for Stephen Hanna. I think that he could do a lot more in terms of making good lines.

Sara Mearns is an ideal Lilac, but I wish the tempo of her solo variation was a bit slower, so that she could savor the movements more.

Tiler Peck made the Princess Florine variation (Blue Bird pas) more lively and interesting than I have ever seen it.

Ashley Bouder had many, many fine moments but for me was not a convincing Aurora (and I am a big Bouder fan). I'm not sure why I feel that way, so I have to ponder a bit.

Hope to read other opinions of this performance and others. As always I appreciate everyone here.

#3 DeborahB

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:10 AM

I forgot to add that it was a true delight to see the recently retired (now working at SAB) Dena Abergel in the role of the Queen.
Dena's smile and gracious presence always light up a stage. Ask La Cour was the charming King. And speaking of Ask -- he seems to be stuck in a lot of character roles lately. With his height and good partnering skills, as well as his good form and technique, why isn't he dancing more with
tall ballerinas like Tess Reichlen, Kaitlyn Gilliland (who hasn't been featured enough this season), Savannah Lowery, and even Maria? (Charles Askegard is over 40 and seems to be dancing less these days). I also think that the excellent Justin Peck -- also tall and a very good partner -- needs to get out from behind the bar (LOL! I actually meant the bar in Fancy Free and not the ballet barre).

#4 abatt

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:52 AM

I thought all of the performances last night were pretty wonderful. Bouder was a technical marvel. She also did a wonderful job in demonstrating different aspects of the character in the various acts. Mearns was a gorgeous Lilac Fairy. The flexibility of her upper body, in particular, stood out. Bluebird is a perfect role for Ulbricht. All of the smaller roles were well danced. The costumes in this production are among the most beautiful in the NYCB rep. This production highlights how awful the ABT version is in comparison. The audience looked pretty full, so I'm hoping the company makes lots of money from this run. I'm going back for many additional casts during the run.

#5 nysusan

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:29 PM

I have a couple of minor quibbles with NYCB's Sleeping Beauty but for the most part I think it's a beautiful production, and very well done.

Despite great performances from just about everyone, Bouder was far and away the star of the night for me. As everyone has noted, the level of her technique is amazing but so is her mastery of upper body nuance, and her ability to really breathe life into the character and delineate the 3 different stages of Aurora's development. I remember when she made her debut in the role she actually fell off point early in the balances. No such nerves last night. If anything a few of the little "Bouderisms" were a trifle disconcerting if you're looking for a strictly classically correct Aurora. I'm talking about the way she turned and looked straight out to the audience with a huge smile on her face after nailing that first balance, or how she used her eyes to flirt rather shamelessly with her princes. But IMO she never pushed anything too far and the ways she chose to relate to her fellow dancers and audience fit well within her portrayal of Aurora. Besides, this isn't a Mariinsky Beauty, I think NYCB's has enough leeway for those types of personal, modern touches.

I agree with ABATT & DeborahB that Mearn's Lilac fairy was gorgeous, supple and engaging but I also agree with vipa who had reservations about her solo. I disliked her prologue solo but I attributed it to her phrasing rather than the tempo of the music. She seemed to really hit the top of those developpes hard rather than luxuriate in them and I'm not sure it was the speed of the music, to me it looked like a conscious decision on her part or that of her coaches. I think Scheller's Courage fairy may have been a victim of too fast a tempo. She is a dancer I really love but her Courage variation looked very rushed and awkward to me. My favorite of the prologue fairies was Hankes, who looked beautifully classical and expressive. Somehow she must have found a way to convince Karoui to compromise on the tempo for the Sincerity variation...

I still have several more casts ahead of me (not to mention the Mariinsky Beauty (Sergeyev version) in Feb and the Moscow Festival Ballet's Beauty in April!) but this cast has set the bar pretty high.

#6 carbro

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 03:14 PM

Bouder's behavior in the Rose Adagio brought a conflicted response from me. One of her qualities that makes her so endearing to us is what I take to be her way of projecting, with no inhibitions or artifice, exactly what she feels at any given moment. But there are occasions when this rare gift undoes her, as here. Of course, she was thrilled to have given us such solid balances, but her smug grins were, let's say, de trop. Otherwise, she gave an exquisite performance. My favorite moment of hers was in the Birthday variation, the diagonal of rondes de jambes sautes, with her upstage leg tracing such full, little circles, her arms in the most delicate demi-seconde you can imagine. Sometimes, it's the quieter moments that make our throats catch.

I simply adored Mearns' Lilac, in both variations. In the Christening, she seemed to pause in mid-tombe, so if she didn't savor her developpes themselves, she certainly savored the completion of them. I fully believed that Sara Mearns, as her character, possessed supernatural powers :) . Carabosse never stood a chance. In fact, she did the near impossible -- she made Lilac's Act III Variation (Peter Martins' choreography) look downright beautiful!

During the Christening, a question came to mind: What's going to happen in the Vision, where we'll have two ballerinas, each of whose star power obliterates everyone else on stage? It was beautifully balanced, and no need to worry about our prince. Andrew Veyette held his own just fine!

I second vipa that Lauren King was the standout among the five prologue fairies.

Balanchine's Garland Waltz continues to look cramped. I remember when it premiered in the Tchaikovsky Festival, even with the dancers in a mishmash of other ballets' white costumes -- so thrilling! It deserves a modification of the set to let us see it in all its glory.

And yes, Deborah, I was so happy to see Dena Abergel's Queen. :thumbsup:

#7 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 03:20 PM

I rarely attend to nyc ballet performances for reasons that are beyond the discussion on this topic.
However, I'd seen A. Bouder a few times in the past in short pieces, and always enjoyed her quite a lot, so when I found out that she was dancing SB on Wed 27, I run to LC and got a ticket for her show last night.

First, I have to say that I liked the production in general, a few minors here and there, but overall it is enjoyable and coherent. The company daced it pretty well, I disliked well more the guys (most of them) than the female dancers, but in general the level was ok, and better than I expected and seen other times.

Apart from this, I just totally adored Bouder performance.
Luckily, I was seated pretty close in orchestra so I had the chance to see her face and all the details really well.
I was not able to take my eyes off her during the whole night.

Marvelous, sharp and crystal clear technique, sublime upper body and port-de-bras, adorable expresiveness.
Its one of the few times I ve seen an Aurora using her dancing so fluently and as a perfect vehicle to tell us the story.
I cant say enough about her, still have that monster Rose Adagio with that beautiful smile in my head.
absolutely fantastic !

Have anybody seen her swan lake ?
of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

#8 DeborahB

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 04:21 PM

Carbro -- I understand why you felt the way you did about Ashley Bouder's Aurora. That said, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party. She also has 4 handsome princes pursuing her, and giving her gifts (the roses). Aurora/Ashely dances with each, shows them what she can do (the balances) and is full of joy, good feeling and even a bit of pride. Afterall, she's also dancing in front or her parents (the King and Queen) and the Court.

#9 papeetepatrick

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 05:00 PM

Carbro -- I understand why you felt the way you did about Ashley Bouder's Aurora. That said, I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party. She also has 4 handsome princes pursuing her, and giving her gifts (the roses). Aurora/Ashely dances with each, shows them what she can do (the balances) and is full of joy, good feeling and even a bit of pride. Afterall, she's also dancing in front or her parents (the King and Queen) and the Court.


I didn't see it, but this sounds much as how I would have perceived it, and what I'd even want to see sometimes, if the balances are that good (and they aren't that often, with the over-anxious arm letting us all know the fear we're not supposed to react to). The 'bit of pride' is a nice addition, if it's smug in this case, I'd tend to find that amusing and deliciously mischievous even. I only wish I'd seen it, though. It sounds like the best Aurora since Sizova.

#10 carbro

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:13 PM

I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party.

I happily concede that "undoes" was too strong a word, chosen in haste. Your comment leads me to note that Bouder's characterization captured that in-betweenness of being 16 -- part girl, part woman -- perfectly.

Have anybody seen her swan lake ?
of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

Yes. Go. Her Odile blazed, but more surprisingly, her Odette brought out fascinating aspects of the choreography no dancer has ever shown me before.

Bouder has danced both Emeralds and Rubies. I hope that, as in the past, she gets to do both this season. :thumbsup:

#11 vipa

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:33 PM

Bouder's behavior in the Rose Adagio brought a conflicted response from me. One of her qualities that makes her so endearing to us is what I take to be her way of projecting, with no inhibitions or artifice, exactly what she feels at any given moment. But there are occasions when this rare gift undoes her, as here.


I thought that too Cabro, or rather you put it into words for me. Also for me, I'd rather see less preparation for the balances even if the balances are shorter. The promenade/balance section can be musical and build instead of trying to make each balance as long as it can be. It's a tall order, but if anyone can do it, Bouder can.

Also - a real nitpick - the section where she takes the roses and does supported pirouettes that build. For this section Bouder did one turn on her own and was partnered for the rest. This is a lovely way to do supported turns. However one of the great things about the final pas is the way it mirrors the Rose Adage. In the pas she is supported by the prince in single, double, triple (multiple). Because Bouder never did the single in the Rose Adage there was no mirror. A minor thing, but I always think it a shame when little things get lost. Not a flaw in the dancing just a lesser choice made by whoever made that choice.

I don't want to leave the impression that I didn't like Bouder's performance. She had many, many moments that were beautiful and intensely musical. In fact, after reading all of your thoughtful comment, I'm going to try to see her again to view it another way. Thank you all.

#12 nysusan

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 06:39 PM

I respectfully disagree with your conclusion that it "undoes her" in the Rose Adagio balances. In fact, I think it's perfectly in character. Aurora is supposed to be a 16 year old girl -- just a couple of years older than Juliet. It makes perfect sense that she'd be effervescent, and even excitable, at her 16th birthday party.

I happily concede that "undoes" was too strong a word, chosen in haste. Your comment leads me to note that Bouder's characterization captured that in-betweenness of being 16 -- part girl, part woman -- perfectly.

Have anybody seen her swan lake ?
of course I wont miss her performance in Jewels, which I assume she will dance.

Yes. Go. Her Odile blazed, but more surprisingly, her Odette brought out fascinating aspects of the choreography no dancer has ever shown me before.

Bouder has danced both Emeralds and Rubies. I hope that, as in the past, she gets to do both this season. :thumbsup:


I also had second thoughts about saying that she used her eyes to flirt rather shamelessly with her princes in the Rose Adagio. She didn't actually flirt shamelessly, she flirted kind of shyly in that forward/shy teenage way, making eyes at them and then blushing which is why I thought it fit with her characterization of Aurora (although I couldn't actually see her blush I could swear that I felt it).

Bouder is FABULOUS in Swan Lake. Although there are parts of Martins' production that I absolutely hate, I love his lakeside acts, and I find his final scene heartbreaking. Unfortunately I will be out of town during the SL run and the only performance I may be able to catch is the last one. But I will be in town for the whole run of Jewels and also hope to catch Bouder in both Emeralds and Rubies!

#13 DeborahB

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 01:24 AM

The NYT review of Wednesday night's "Sleeping Beauty."

http://www.nytimes.c....html?ref=dance

#14 Marga

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 02:48 AM

Oh, how I wish I could have seen this!

#15 Jane Simpson

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:59 AM

I love this description of Sara Mearns from Mary Cargill's review in DanceViewTimes:

"I have not seen a Lilac who seemed to wonder if, possibly, this Prince was the one, and the mimed questions (why are you sad, are you in love with anyone, would you like to see the most beautiful princess in the world) weren't just routine. I got the feeling that she had asked those questions before and been disappointed....There was a sense that Lilac had other kingdoms to run, that she hadn't spent the years just sitting under a bush waiting for her solo. "

I've often wondered how many attempts it took the Lilac Fairy to find Prince Right, and what the failed candidates had said to get themselves crossed off her list. And I was very impressed by Mearns when NYCB were last in London - I'd love to see her do this.


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