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POB Headed to NYC in 2012

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#91 Natalia


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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:56 AM

I have to agree w. canbelto about Friday evening's performance. The revelation was Ganio. He was terrific.....

Exactly as in Washington, at my performance! (Equally great were my Peasant pdd couple, Bourdon/Ibot, who are performing in this afternoon's show in NY.)

To Michael: Dupont was a relatively-weak Giselle, technically, and definitely emotionally...but she had a great Act I solo. I saw several soloists in DC dancing with gusto, including those cited above + Gillot as Myrtha. I beg to differ that Dupont was merely trying to fit into the "self-effacing aesthetic of this version." If that was the case, then a lot of others did not receive the "memo" that this is a low-key version.

#92 canbelto


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Posted 14 July 2012 - 12:06 PM

Especially Ganio, whose entrechat series was maybe the best I have ever seen, and I've seen David Hallberg ...

They seemed to soar as the series continued, until he was nearly reaching the proscenium. And he was so sensitive too. Loved his last attempt to reach for Giselle's skirt. Bravo to Ganio for breathing life into a performance that otherwise was lovely but a bit ossified.

#93 bingham


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Posted 14 July 2012 - 02:02 PM

Especially Ganio, whose entrechat series was maybe the best I have ever seen, and I've seen David Hallberg ...

They seemed to soar as the series continued, until he was nearly reaching the proscenium. And he was so sensitive too. Loved his last attempt to reach for Giselle's skirt. Bravo to Ganio for breathing life into a performance that otherwise was lovely but a bit ossified.

Too bad, K Mc is in Taiwan...

#94 MRR


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Posted 14 July 2012 - 06:04 PM

I'm the minority here, but I thought Dupont carried the Friday performance. I have watched videos of her in the past and have found her a bit cool for my taste, but last night she was riveting. As Angelica said, she was a sophisticated peasant in Act I, and I loved her transformation into this rather complacent, blank ghost in Act II. Her mad scene was for me the highlight of her performance--wonderful subtle and impactful acting, and best of all, no histrionics. I agree that Dupont did lack amplitude in her jumps, but what Michael said about that lack of elevation being intentional crossed my mind last night, as for me her lack of elevation did not detract from her performance. Rather, it helped her provide a foundation for her subtle, classical, and nuanced interpretation of Giselle.

I am perhaps not as big a fan of Ganio as some on this board. Don't get me wrong, he is very, very fine, and I thought his entrechant sixes at the end were spectacular: I counted 28 and they were as good at the end as they were at the beginning. The shapes of his legs and feet are wonderful, and he is an elegantly fluid upper body, but I found him rather impassive in the first act. I thought he came alive more in the second act and portrayed the grief-stricken Albrecht of Act II better than the romantic Albrecht of Act I. Overall a very fine performance, but I don't find him to be as impactful a danseur as Gomes and Hallberg at this stage of his career.

The Willi corps were stunning. One can instantly see why POB hires basically all of its dancers from the school. The schooling is so profoundly consistent from dancer to dancer that the overall impact of the Willi corps makes the company seem like a true troupe and not merely a group of individual dancers. I echo some of the disappointments expressed for Emilie Cozette at Myrtha, although Monya and Zulme, Aurelia Bellet and Laura Hecquet, were divine. Charline Giezendanner was a charmer in Act I peasant pas de deux, while Fabien Revillion was competent but struggled with some of the batterie on the sissones at the end of his variation.

#95 choriamb



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Posted 14 July 2012 - 11:23 PM

I'm with the pro-Aurélie Dupont crowd. Her approach to Giselle is unique: I've never seen a ballerina so completely engaged with the other dancers onstage for the sake of the narrative.

It made one reallize how inward-facing most great dramatic interpretations I've seen have been (and I saw Vishneva's first NYC performance of Giselle with Corella and Part). Most dramatic dancers establish their character in those asides when emotions play across their faces when they confront the audience away from the main action. Better dancers do that and coordinate a dramatic call-and-response with their main partner, acknowledging corps de ballet members too.

But I can't recall a single phrase Dupont danced that wasn't clearly addressed to another dancer. No soul-searching was addressed to the ether. Nothing was solely registered as an inward reaction (except the appropriate moments in the mad scene).

It worked: I've never seen the narrative purpose of each step articulated so clearly. Her Giselle never just danced. Every phrase in the first act established her role in relationship to a different character onstage; each arabesque in the second articulated a new plea addressed to Myrtha. One's eyes remained on Dupont, but one was left with a deeper impression of the secondary characters, too. (The production in itself is very generous to the secondary characters, but having also seen Ciaravola peform in it, I can say that Dupont took this aspect to a far higher level.)

For instance, in the past, I've always thought the fleeting steps and the play with the petals in Act II were simply to Romantic-era gestures to Giselle's ghostly lightness and maidenliness. Dupont's interpretation and interaction with Albrecht clarifies that other than a light gust of wind or the shaking of a tree branch, Giselle is in a realm where she cannot directly communicate with Albrecht at all. She showed remarkable integrity in this approach: Giselle and Albrecht aren't permitted the satisfyingly romantic resolution of a direct look into each others' eyes even at dawn. None of the longing gazes that I've seen in the Russian interpretations, moving as they are.

If by "dramatic" you mean "exciting" or "moving," look elsewhere (and that's what I usually do). You will not be swept away by images of flung flight or stirred by reallistic images of broken fragility. But if "dramatic" means "narrative," this is the most dramatically perfect interpretation you will ever see.

N.B. Speaking of frailty, Dupont never rotated her shoulders inward slightly--as Kent, Vishneva, and most others do--to suggest vulnerability: she maintained a grand port de bras throughout. Would be curious to know whether this was a nod to the style of the day or whether she's one of those dancer who believes in consistentally maintaining the same line for all roles.


Regarding the other dancers:

Veronika Part's mime as Myrtha remains the gold standard, but Marie-Agnès Gillot's interpretation is more complete overall--technique, musical interpretation, and mime. One wishes she had been first-cast for the NYC run. (Like others, I was less impressed with Cozette technically and dramatically.) I primarily came to the second performance to see Gill and she was well worth the ticket.

I loved Ganio's technique and thought he took his mime interacting with Dupont as far as possible, given the grandeur of his prince in the first act and her invisibility in the second. Paquette (in tune with Ciaravola) adopted a more sympathetic approach and was less technically magnificent.

The Peasant Pas was technically solid on opening night night with Giezendanner/Révillion and they are quite close to making these characters fully interesting dramatically as well. Bourdon/Ibot were slightly less polished both dramatically and technically (though still at a very high level). Bourdon in particular revealed no signs of tension: good girl.

I echo everyone else's comments about the corps. (On a shallow stage! With little preparatory time! After a gruelling North American tour!) And, by the way, can I just say that it's so lovely to finally see a company with arms as articulate as its legs?


Incidentally, is the repeated kissing the hem of the robe (first Bathilde's by Giselle, then Giselle's by Hilarion, then Giselle's by Albrecht) as a way to show that Albrecht has come to honor Giselle's greatness in most productions? And, if so, extra points to POB for making me notice this.

#96 miliosr


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Posted 15 July 2012 - 08:10 AM

As always, New York Social Diary is on the case:


And Patrick McMullan provides more festive party pictures:


And even more party pictures:


#97 canbelto


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Posted 15 July 2012 - 08:18 AM

I would highly advise people to catch the second Osta/LeRiche performance. I saw them last night and while Osta's technique was diminished she was frail, tragic, heart rending as Giselle. Just wonderful. One beautiful personal touch: as she leaves Albrecht forever, she gives him the same blank, deranged look she gave him during the Mad Scene. Spooky and surreal.

Daniel Stokes in the peasant pas de deux was simply painful to watch. Almost fell twice, completely overwhelmed by the steps.

Cozette was an improvement over Friday night.

#98 FauxPas


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Posted 15 July 2012 - 08:54 AM

I will be going to Osta's last-ever Giselle next Thursday. Meanwhile, I saw the opening night and Saturday matinee. Isabelle Ciaravola had more of the true romantic spirit in her epaulement and arm movements than Dupont who is essentially a classical ballerina doing Romantic. Ciaravola is not young (she joined the corps de ballet in 1990 at the age of 18) but she projects willowy youth and openness of spirit. She is indeed a very fine dramatic actress and brought a spiritual dimension to the second act. Dupont on Friday reminded me of late-career Susan Jaffe as Giselle. Jaffe was more naturally a Myrtha (which she danced in the 80's and 90's with Ferri and Bocca) with her strong line and cool glamour. However, Susan Jaffe improved as an actress a great deal so that even if she couldn't be a shy innocent teenager, she could act one in a very detailed and precise manner. The second act shows a more impassive, mature spirit Giselle and Jaffe was fine in the second act. I had the same reaction to Dupont - it was not a glossed-over performance dramatically - she worked out many convincing and intelligent moments. But the spirit and face are of a strong, capable and sophisticated woman. Also Dupont's physicality as a ballerina is classical. In the second act which is pure dance, she convinced me. However, I have seen Giselles from late career Maximova and Fracci through Ferri to Vishneva and Cojocaru today. Dupont didn't have that emotional intensity or the sheer dance power of Osipova.

Ciaravola is petite but with a small torso with proportionally very long arms and legs. So she can float while revolving on pointe slowly and can hover in a balance. There is a willowy lightness to her movements that is very Giselle. Her face which is not a young face (though the heavy makeup causes her to look older) is constantly mirroring her emotions. There was a feeling of spontaneity in her reactions - nothing looked overly worked out. In the mad scene the moment where she stumbles over the sword was shockingly spontaneous and seemed a stage accident though it was not. Neither Dupont or Ciaravola have the deep penchées or flexible backs of the Russian ballerinas but Ciaravola has Russian arms. She was very light in Act II and kept a sense of emotional through line - she was going to save Albrecht and redeem their love on a higher level. She is a wonderful dancer and actress.

Karl Paquette was a fine Albrecht but again like Ganio he only really clicked dramatically and dance-wise in Act II. He seemed efficient technically but sometimes blank in Act I despite perfect blond prince looks and manner. In the second act grand pas he really brought his best game. His partnering of Ciaravola was excellent. The supporting cast was much better at the Saturday matinee and the orchestra played much better. Marie-Agnes Gillot has the frightening authority and technical chops for a definitive Myrtha (her bourrees were also slow - clearly the choice of the stagers) much stronger than Cozette. Axel Ibot had lots of verve and charm in the Peasant Pas de Deux and Heloise Bourdon was charming and graceful. Audric Bezard was much more dramatically propulsive and charismatc than the opening night Hilarion, Vincent Chaillet.

#99 Helene



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Posted 15 July 2012 - 09:33 AM

As always, New York Social Diary is on the case:


I want the food.

#100 angelica


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Posted 15 July 2012 - 10:13 AM

Although I loved all three performances of Giselle presented thus far, the highlights for me were:
1. the corps de ballet in every performance, who were awe-inspiring;
2. Clairemarie Osta, who must surely be one of the great Giselles of all time; and
3. Marie-Agnes Gillot as Myrtha, tearing out of the wings with commanding authority in those grand jetes in attitude.
I also enjoyed Emilie Cozette as Myrtha.
And I loved the vetting of mime in the first act in favor of more dancing.
Only thing on my wish list: Since POB much of the time dances at breakneck speed, I would love to have Myrtha's opening bourrees done quickly. I wonder why they favor the slower bourrees. Perhaps they see the fast ones as too "showy." This is a company with rare taste.

#101 cinnamonswirl


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Posted 15 July 2012 - 08:04 PM

Brief AFP feature on the New York leg of the tour, including interviews with Aurélie Dupont and Brigitte Lefevre, and clips from Suite en blanc and Dupont in Bolero:

#102 Natalia


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Posted 16 July 2012 - 03:11 AM

Just back to DC from a quick trip to NYC, to see Sunday's matinee of the 'French Masterworks' triple bill. For me, this 3ple bill was more felicitious than my Giselle experience in DC, as these are purely 'POB Works' that are rarely danced by other companies (except for Bejart's Bolero, which is rarely seen in the USA), so there was very little with which to compare what I saw yesterday.

How can I sum it up? [size=6]There was a whole lot of French Cheese and Corn on that stage yesterday...but it was FUN![/size]

Suite en Blanc, which I had seen only once before, in Paris ca 1996, is one of my Big Guilty Pleasures. It's a fantasy on the Art of Ballet at its most glamorous, reminding me very much of the Grand Defile that POB occasionally performs - lots of white tutus and tiaras for the girls and puffy white blousons/black tights for the guys, against a black backdrop. The magnificent variations kept coming, one after the other. I especially loved Dorothee Gilbert in the final solo, 'La Flute,' full of glamour, musicality, balance, extraordinary control. She is THE female Etoile of this tour, bar none...had the best Giselle in DC, accoding to my sources who attended the final Sunday matinee at the KennCen. Back to Suite. I also admired Alice Renavand in the brisk Pas de Cinq with four men; I can well imagine her as a great Kitri someday! Kudos, too, to Mathieu Ganio for a gorgeous solo Mazurka. The corps was magnificent - impeccable. [Disappointment: Marie-Agnes Gillot's forced 'La Cigarette.' Also, Lifar's silly port de bras for the corps..what was up with those 'flamenco arms' as if holding castanets, one curved arm up and the other curved behind the dancer...straight from Chabukiani's Laurencia?]

The unquestionable 'dud' of the afternoon was L'Arlesienne, despite some nice dancing by the leads, Isabelle Ciaravola and Benjamin Pech. After seeing Wheeldon's gorgeously sensitive choreography to the same music earlier this year (NYCB's 'Les Carillons'), I could barely stand to watch the trite doings and silly shufflings by the POB corps in the Roland Petit work. As someone else wrote a few posts above, about an earlier show, I couldn't wait to see the guy jump out the window in the end! To sum-up L'Arlesienne: The big VanGogh-like painting in the background may have depicted wheat...but there was nothing but corn in front of it. Nuf said.

Thank goodness that a 'saving grace' followed all of this corn. Bejart's masterpiece, Bolero, is one of those works that does not translate well to film. Bolero must be seen live, from a high seat (3rd or 4th tier, center). It was performed in all of its glory: 50 corps men (all from POB, I wonder?) sitting on the periphery of the stage, watching a solo woman dancing on a huge round orange table -- today, a surprising Aurelie Dupont, more admirable than at the sorry Giselle that I witnessed in DC last week. The final explosion at the end, with the corps men running to the girl in the circle and collapsing around her, was spectacular. Audience, including myself, went wild! The "BRAVIS!!!" went on forever...and so well deserved. 'Boo' to the Kennedy Center for not having presented this program last week.

p.s. about Bolero: When I last saw this live, over 20 yrs ago in Cairo, with the Bejart troupe -- in the 'all male' edition -- there seemed to be fewer corps and the men were sitting closer to the table, in a circular format, rather than forming a big square close against the wings, backdrop, etc. I even remember all of the men pounding the sides of the circular table as the man atop the platform bopped on and on. So different from yesterday.

#103 abatt


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Posted 16 July 2012 - 05:31 AM

Today's NY Times offers a very insightful review of Dupont's Giselle, and the differences between the way the Parisians perform Giselle and the way others perform it. Of the 3 Giselles I saw over the weekend, Dupont's was the most aloof. The other two Giselles were more dramatically adept. I thought all of the men were very, very good. LeRiche was the most touching of the three men. M.A. Gillot was an excellent Myrta. I much prefer the renditions performed by ABT and the Mariinsky. None of these POB performances have come close to some of the wonderful performances I have seen at ABT and the Mariinsky (in DC). Here is the link to the article


#104 cubanmiamiboy


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Posted 16 July 2012 - 05:55 AM

Very occasionally I'd get a whiff of the perfume that is Paris...

I'm currently intoxicated with the scent, in a sublime way that is...

nuff said...back to reality.

#105 Natalia


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Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:01 AM

Cubanmiamiboy, it's interesting that you chose this time to be in Paris...while a large part of the troupe with the most senior etoiles are here in the USA! Of course, the group that stayed back home to do Fille includes a LOT of my personal faves who didn't come to the USA, including Ould-Braham, Froustey and Thibault. And there's nothing like seeing the POB in its home, in the great city. :)

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