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ABT in Moscow


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#31 Ambonnay

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 08:09 AM

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:

#32 abatt

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 08:29 AM

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.

#33 atm711

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:35 AM

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.

#34 vrsfanatic

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:31 PM

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. :)

#35 Helene

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 04:53 PM




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.

#36 Jayne

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 09:58 PM

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?

#37 Helene

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 10:04 PM

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.

#38 Michael

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 07:00 AM

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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