vipa

ABT in Moscow

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Is it just me who thinks that, in these videos, David Hallberg is the most beautiful person on stage? I realize he is beyond compare in so many ways, but shouldn't a company like ABT should be able to pair him with a female who at least equals his beauty? Hoping I don't offend anyone.

I'm not sure what you mean by equal in beauty. OK I am not the biggest Hallberg fan. I've seen him great in some things and not so good in others. But what do you mean by beauty? Is it face, instep, shape of the leg?

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To each his own, of course, but Isabella is known to have one of the most beautiful bodies in ballet, from her small head to her gorgeous feet. She has a lovely countenance, strong supple back, beautifully shaped long legs, fantastic line, long hands/fingers and feet/toes, narrow hips, tiny waist, and is lithe and lean. David Hallberg has all these things, as well, but his head could be a little wider to appeal more to me. But that is something he can't change and I'm sure that many would quibble with me about my preference. :)

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To each his own, of course, but Isabella is known to have one of the most beautiful bodies in ballet, from her small head to her gorgeous feet. She has a lovely countenance, strong supple back, beautifully shaped long legs, fantastic line, long hands/fingers and feet/toes, narrow hips, tiny waist, and is lithe and lean.

Absolutely, I could not agree more---but it is not enough to tackle a true ballerina role---give her all the soloist variations out there (and there are some beauties); she needs to grow artistically. In promoting their dancers, it appears to me, ABT relies heavily on technique alone.

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yes - agree - very hard ballet. I do see freedom of movement from Hallberg but not from his partner. He is a principal and she is in the corps - that is my point - that there is (to my eye and to their AD's eye i.e. their status) a qualitative difference in their work and performance quality. But this is how younger corps dancers grow - by having opportunities like this. For me, this ballet is so special - I'd prefer Uliana Lopatkina!

edit: atm - just saw your reply - sorry to duplicate! :-)

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Having been a ballet teacher for many years, I am interested in your comments atm711 regarding the progression and development of a member of the corps de ballet, through soloist to principal levels. As we all know, performance snippets on Youtube are no comparison to live performances. I go to the ballet often times without prior knowledge of casting or anything about a particular dancer. Living in an area of the country that does not have regular availablity to performances of ABT, NYCB, The Joffrey Chicago, PNB, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet or San Francisco Ballet (to name a few),does not allow for in person impressions to play a role in my viewings of ballet dancers in new roles on Youtube. Youtube is a wonderful tool, however I try very hard not to formulate opinions of a dancer from what I see in a snippet on Youtube. That being said Boylston is a former student of mine, therefore I take myself out of the running in discussions of her particular performance, however I am intrigued as to how the ballet loving public thinks a dancer develops from the corps, to being a soloist, to being a principal dancer.

If a dancer is never given the opportunity to show the principal roles publicly until the role is "star" quality, the dancer cannot develop themselves as true artists. Dancers need to perform roles publicly to develop themselves. They need to be seen by their ballet masters, director and coaches on that stage in order to be advised as to how to look even better the next time. It can take many performances. This was Ms. Boylston's second performance of Theme and Variations, the first having been in Havana (up until now, still no footage). There is always room for growth in all dancers, however comparing a corps de ballet member who is just beginning the journey to a seasoned performer such as Farrell is a large step indeed. Ballet dancers of merit always have an interest too improve themselves. They are guided (sometimes misguided) by teachers, ballet masters, coaches, directors and of course their own instincts. Experience is the best teacher of all. :)

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Oooo...too much smiley-smiley from Isabella Boylston.

I agree on Bolyston.

Moreover, her motion also seems to be more "one item after another", instead of an integrated whole where the transitions from move to move are more fluid and better handled.

I don't fault Bolyston -- she does have limited performance experience on this piece. However, to say that a corps member has many areas on which to improve in a piece is not to say that she shouldn't be given this opportunity or that she is doing a bad job given her experience. But Bolyston has a lot of areas to improve, and her pairing with such a classicist as Hallberg only, unfortunately for her, highlights those areas. :blink:

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Gillian Murphy is ABT's current best T&V ballerina lead. Paloma used to do the role, and was very good. However, she hasn't done it in years.

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If a dancer is never given the opportunity to show the principal roles publicly until the role is "star" quality, the dancer cannot develop themselves as true artists. Dancers need to perform roles publicly to develop themselves.

A case in point----Many of us in NYC watched David Hallberg as a corps member---and the 'star quality' was something he did not need to develop---it was always there. Too often, technical prowess pushes dancers along much too soon.

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Having watched quite a few "stars" in their youth until their arrival at the top internationally, there are those who are more obvious than some at a young age, however this is not always the case. Bowing out now as I choose not to participate in conversations discussing particular dancers. It is however interesting to know what the audience thinks as they watch a young dancer grow from a member of the corps to a fully developed artist. Thank you for your input. :)

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If a dancer is never given the opportunity to show the principal roles publicly until the role is "star" quality, the dancer cannot develop themselves as true artists. Dancers need to perform roles publicly to develop themselves.

A case in point----Many of us in NYC watched David Hallberg as a corps member---and the 'star quality' was something he did not need to develop---it was always there. Too often, technical prowess pushes dancers along much too soon.

Speaking generally, I think that is the distinction: the corps dancer or soloist in a Principal role need not dance the role at the same level as a mature, principal dancer, but for the audience not to :dunno:, there should be something special in the performance, and that can be star quality or unusual technical facility, although in my opinion, the latter has more impact in roles that don't rely on classical style.

For example, Peter Boal said about Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Laura Gilbreath in "Dance Magazine", "He pointed to Gilbreath’s 2009 lead performance in Balanchine’s Diamonds. 'She didn’t do that as a rising corps member. She didn’t do it as a talented soloist. She did it as an accomplished ballerina. Laura is one of those dancers where early on you could see the ballerina.'" People went away exhilarated by Darci Kistler's early performances -- her talent was evident from what appears to be a hand-held camera video of her Odette at aged 15 (shown in the "Six Ballerinas" documentary) -- and Russian audiences went crazy over 22-year-old Allegra Kent in 1960. I knew I had seen "It" after Carrie Imler's PNB School graduation performance in 1995, because the ballerina was there.

I'm not as forgiving or interested when I don't see what the Artistic Director sees, and it looks like an exercise. My bias is that I don't care about perfect performances, but I want to see that the dancer has something to say and has gone out of his or herself to give it a shot, even if it is a stretch. (When Boal casts Gilbreath, she shows me the logic of his choice.)

I also think there is a different standard at home and on tours. Unless there are a lot of injuries/illnesses that require substitutions, tour casting is telling a new audience, one with different standards and expectations, that this is the best the company has in a role; this role reflecting the alchemy of Petipa and Ivanov and Imperial training with Balanchine's genius.

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I am rather surprised ABT would put a corps member into the spotlight in Russia, where the audience is the *most* educated, and critical of American styles of ballet. I would think ABT would show their "gold cast" for T&V. Hallberg is definitely "gold cast", but is Boylston?

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I was thinking about that earlier. I would think that the St. Petersburg audience would be most critical: not only do they have most of the the Vaganova/Petipa legacy, they also saw the first Balanchine stagings on the Mariinsky, including "Theme and Variations" staged by Francia Russell (with "Scotch Symphony" staged by Suzanne Farrell). The Bolshoi style and the ballets the company was known for throughout the years were more dramatic and athletic than the Mariinsky style.

Of course, Balanchine choreographed T&V for ABT with Alicia Alonso and Igor Youskevitch, and it is part of the company's legacy.

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That being said Boylston is a former student of mine, therefore I take myself out of the running in discussions of her particular performance, however I am intrigued as to how the ballet loving public thinks a dancer develops from the corps, to being a soloist, to being a principal dancer.

In addition to the criticism, there is a lot to love about Boylston in that video - particularly her response to the music (which is a high pre-requisite for T & V) - She flows very nicely through the melody, finishes everything right where you want to. That adagio is pretty fast. I like her legato phrasing very much. That's a huge gift. You are quite right to point out that she's got a perfect ballet body; also, having recently seen her in The Bright Stream, a beautifully light jump: elevation, the ability to float in the air and breathe. And an effortless jump, very fleet footed. She was also a very witty and clear comedienne in that ballet. She's clearly caught the eye of Artistic Direction at ABT and is ticketed for stardom. I would like to see more passion expressed in her body, more feeling, less caution.

The time I really saw her dance with passion was in the ballerina role that Ben Millepied made for her in his piece that ABT debuted at Avery Fisher Hall about a year and a half ago - can't remember the name of it. She had tremendous emotion in that and not inconsiderable sex appeal. He got that out of her and the effect was galvanizing. A lot of ABT's rep is the classics, and how she will find emotional meaning in those roles, real immediacy and vital presence, is I think the challenge. A ballerina though has got to bring meaning and emotion to what they interpret.

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