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abatt

Opening Night Gala and Don Quixote

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Hi Aurora. I wasn't counting Part, because she didn't rise through the ABT corps. YOu are certainly right that she paid her dues at ABT before they finally promoted her.

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I would like to think that principal dancer status will be bestowed on Abrera, Lane, and Seo, in that order (may they all be free of injuries for the duration of their careers!) They are all beautiful dancers who have shown their ability to rise to the occasion and charm us, thrill us, and even stop our hearts. Perhaps they won't all be technical wizards, capable of 32 fouettes and then some. Some dancers are more lyrical, some more powerful. I have to wonder whether the training in the US is part of the difficulty, as so many of the strongest dancers were trained in Russia and Latin America. Still, we have our Julie Kent and our Gillian Murphy (and others whom I don't mean to intentionally exclude), and hopefully the three above named will follow on their heels (no pun intended).

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I guess this will sound harsh, but since ABT has been presenting intl. guest artists on the MET stage for decades, anyone in the corps or soloist level who is surprised or annoyed by that policy of using guest artists certainly chose the wrong company. The last woman McKenzie promosted from within to principal was Wiles, and she's not exactly filling those seats with paying customers at the 3,800 seat MET. The only way McKenzie can hope to sell out the MET and make some money is to present artists that large numbers of people will come to see - Vishneva, Cojocaru, Osipova (and before that Ferri, Ananiashvilli and so on. The soloists and corpos get plenty of opportunities during Nutcracker season and during other non-MET engagements (City Center, out of town visits). For whatever reason (MONEY!?) these guest artists rarely if ever perform with ABT at any time other than the MET engagewments. (I have no doubt that Abrera and Lane would both be principals at virtually any other company.)

I follow what you are saying and you are basically correct. But here is where I think we differ. Yes, Ananiashvili and Ferri were more or less guests but they were a bit more integrated into a "company" structure than Osipova, Cojucaro, and this year's newcommer, Semionova. And Nina and Ferri didn't restict themselves just to Met seasons. they would occasionally appear in other venues. More significantly, there were just two of them and they carry so much of the weight of the season.

And that goes to my second difference. Ten years ago ABT had more "all-purpose" female principals. With the gradual withdrawal of Kent, that leaves just Murphy among female principals. This may include some of my own bias, as I'm sort of carefull what I will go to see the other female prinicpals in and I select rather carefully (and pretty much try to avoid Wiles and Dvorovenko completely)

Part, Reyes, and Herrera are all fine in certain rep but I do want to pick and choose very carefully what I see them in.

Of the ballerinas, Murphy is the only one at this point among the permanent female principlas that I'm fairly game to see in almost anything.

Of the guest, Vishneva does resemble more the older model of Nana or Ferri in that she has some regular continuity now for about a half dozen seasons. But hse's still not really permanent.

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Other than those three though, I don't really see star quality in the female corps contingent. Gemma Bond and Zhong-Jing Fang have been kind of stalled. Isabella Boylston is a very good dancer and is getting a lot of exposure in key soloist parts. I think some dancers find their level as very good soloist and don't rise to principal status. Michele Wiles for example often stole the show from the prima ballerina in soloist roles and she still can shine in shorter ballets during the City Center season (please revive those engagements ABT!) But in the lead of a full-length ballet she doesn't always excel (I liked her Sylvia though). For example, Maria Riccetto is a very, very good dancer who lacks something in star presence, warmth and emotional projection to carry say, "Swan Lake" (I didn't see her Giselle so I may be wrong). Veronika Part for all her technical insecurities does have those qualities in abundance. I agree that Abrera and Lane have proved themselves in leads - Lane is one of the best Auroras in the company. The terrible thing is that lots of girls in the corps have been soloists in other companies or competition finalists but never advance and aren't developed for bigger things. Ratmansky always makes a point of giving a shot to someone in the corps - Shevchenko, Joseph Philips, Lane and others got big roles in "Seven Sonatas" and Hammoudi, Boylston and others are getting leads in "The Bright Stream".

What is weird is that Kevin has discovered quality male dancers in the corps and groomed them to star status - Hallberg, Gomes, etc. Others like Stiefel, Malakhov and Carreno he borrowed from other companies mostly abroad. Corella is unclassifiable because he was trained abroad and won a bunch of competitions. Corella basically started in the company at 18 as a boy wonder soloist with little experience in an international company but with star principal written all over him.

BTW: I saw both Cojocaru and Semionova and was thrilled in different ways by both - I am seeing Cojocaru again tonight as Kitri. I adore her.

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As good as the May 18th matinee was, the American Ballet Theatre May 21st matinee of Don Quixote belongs in a class of truly great ballet performances. When ABT first announced that Polina Semionova would dance Kitri with David Hallberg as Basilio in Don Q, some ballet pundits wondered how such a tall elegant ballerina would fare as the Spanish spitfire.

I am very pleased to say that Semionova is a practically perfect Kitri. She is a playful and flirtatious young girl full of fiery passion. Her crisp, precise footwork and whiplash turns are breathtaking. In her solos in Act I and the Act II vision scene Semionova whirls across the stage at a dizzying pace. The height of her jumps is awe inspiring and her extensions are glorious. Her balances are also amazing. In the Act III grand pas Semionova holds her balances so long it’s as though time stands still. And she can whip off fouettes at a rapid fire rate, opening and closing her fan when she executes a double or triple. As a performer Semionova is the total package. Her steps are always complete and refined while her phrasing is smooth and lovely.

As Basilio, David Hallberg shows that he can perform comic roles just as well as princely ones. Hallberg’s air turns are not quite as sharp as Daniil Simkin’s, but every turn is clean and complete. And those sky high grand jetes with their perfect feathered landings – magical!

One of the great things about the May 21st matinee is how in sync Semionova and Hallberg are. Their air of playfulness, their clean, precise mime, their elevation, their long lovely lines – they all meshed. The chemistry between Seminonova and Hallberg is palpable. But then David Hallberg seems to have chemistry with practically every ballerina he partners.

I have loved Veronika Part’s performances as Nikiya in La Bayadere and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, but in the dual role of Mercedes/the Queen of the Dryads she is a major disappointment. Part has a very supple upper body which she uses to great effect, especially as Mercedes in the Seville scenes. Her footwork, however, is plodding and her movements in the Act II vision scene are very slow and heavy. While executing the Italian fouettes, her leg kept drooping sadly.

As on Wednesday, Jared Matthews is Espada, the matador. Alex Agoudine is again a delight as Gamache. Sarah Lane’s Amour stood out for her quicksilver footwork and the crystalline delicacy of her leaps.

I hope ABT keeps this ebullient production of Don Quixote in their repertoire for a long time. I also wish that Polina Semionova will be invited to join American Ballet Theatre permanently.

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One of the great things about the May 21st matinee is how in sync Semionova and Hallberg are. Their air of playfulness, their clean, precise mime, their elevation, their long lovely lines – they all meshed. The chemistry between Seminonova and Hallberg is palpable. But then David Hallberg seems to have chemistry with practically every ballerina he partners.

Thank you for your report... how I wish I was there (unfortunately I live in Italy :D). It would be great if there'll be some videos of the show in the Net, but I think this is unlikely to happen... :(

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I hope ABT keeps this ebullient production of Don Quixote in their repertoire for a long time. I also wish that Polina Semionova will be invited to join American Ballet Theatre permanently.

And this might just be a solution to part of ABT's problem. I don't really have that good a measure of Semionova's career but think she may not yet be at the level of a huge star that will only jet in for two or three performances at the MEt each Spring.

She might be willing to something a little more regular than that.

I'm not proposing that the solution to ABT's problems with ballerinas is necessarily found in the ranks of soloists or corps but I do think that Sarah Lane is getting a good amount of promotion and hopefully will meet the challenge. And I hope that Abrera isn't plagued by injuries. These seem to me like two possible candidates for a principal ballerina slot.

My thought is what McKenzie did with Simkin was very clever and he should try to repeat it. Simkin is clearly talented but young and not too experienced. Perhaps a sort of deal was cut in the way of, "you join as soloist and give us a good amount of time and you'll make principal pretty quickly" I have no information but wonder if some kind of understanding was cut.

If Kevin could pull off a deal like that with a real promising female dancer, it would be a great strategy. But I think he needs two or three strong, versatile female principals. And this is only going to become more pressing as the strength of his male roster seems to be lessening.

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Other than those three though, I don't really see star quality in the female corps contingent. Gemma Bond and Zhong-Jing Fang have been kind of stalled. Isabella Boylston is a very good dancer and is getting a lot of exposure in key soloist parts. I think some dancers find their level as very good soloist and don't rise to principal status. Michele Wiles for example often stole the show from the prima ballerina in soloist roles and she still can shine in shorter ballets during the City Center season (please revive those engagements ABT!) But in the lead of a full-length ballet she doesn't always excel (I liked her Sylvia though). For example, Maria Riccetto is a very, very good dancer who lacks something in star presence, warmth and emotional projection to carry say, "Swan Lake" (I didn't see her Giselle so I may be wrong). Veronika Part for all her technical insecurities does have those qualities in abundance. I agree that Abrera and Lane have proved themselves in leads - Lane is one of the best Auroras in the company. The terrible thing is that lots of girls in the corps have been soloists in other companies or competition finalists but never advance and aren't developed for bigger things. Ratmansky always makes a point of giving a shot to someone in the corps - Shevchenko, Joseph Philips, Lane and others got big roles in "Seven Sonatas" and Hammoudi, Boylston and others are getting leads in "The Bright Stream".

What is weird is that Kevin has discovered quality male dancers in the corps and groomed them to star status - Hallberg, Gomes, etc. Others like Stiefel, Malakhov and Carreno he borrowed from other companies mostly abroad. Corella is unclassifiable because he was trained abroad and won a bunch of competitions. Corella basically started in the company at 18 as a boy wonder soloist with little experience in an international company but with star principal written all over him.

BTW: I saw both Cojocaru and Semionova and was thrilled in different ways by both - I am seeing Cojocaru again tonight as Kitri. I adore her.

Thank you - you and abatt make interesting points. I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes, but Kevin M doesn't seem that interested in developing female talent. Lane got Sleeping Beauty a couple of years ago (I thought it was quite good) but not since then. Riccetto gets Giselle last year, this year no Giselle but 1 performance of Coppelia. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason.

Please report on tonight's performance!

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My thought is what McKenzie did with Simkin was very clever and he should try to repeat it. Simkin is clearly talented but young and not too experienced. Perhaps a sort of deal was cut in the way of, "you join as soloist and give us a good amount of time and you'll make principal pretty quickly" I have no information but wonder if some kind of understanding was cut.

If Kevin could pull off a deal like that with a real promising female dancer, it would be a great strategy. But I think he needs two or three strong, versatile female principals. And this is only going to become more pressing as the strength of his male roster seems to be lessening.

The Simkin acquisition was very like that of the teenage Angel Corella (Simkin was in his early twenties - though he still looks fourteen - when he was hired by ABT and was dancing with second tier companies). Corella made principal within a few years of joining the company as a soloist.

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And why all the droopy faces at the curtain call on the part of the corps? Not a smile among them.

Perhaps because they know that ABT's policy of bringing in guest stars reduces opportunities for them.

Twas ever thus :excl: I heard the same complaints over 60 years ago...if it wasn't for the Guest policy I would never have seen Markova, Toumanova, Riabouchinska or Lichine---and Chauvire (with the Ballet Russe). Enjoy the guests---see them if you can---your favorites will still be there.

Fair enough but you are speaking from the perspective of an audience member. The corps members who hunger for opportunities may not be quite so thrilled by the arrival of guests.

I guess this will sound harsh, but since ABT has been presenting intl. guest artists on the MET stage for decades, anyone in the corps or soloist level who is surprised or annoyed by that policy of using guest artists certainly chose the wrong company.

I know what you're saying and I don't think you're wrong. It's just that your average 18-year-old isn't likely to see that guest stars are hardcoded into ABT's DNA when they join the corps or, if they do, he or she probably thinks they will be the one to buck the odds.

While there's an artistic and financial reward to be reaped from the guest stars policy, there's also a price to be paid. At this point, bemoaning the state of ABT's corps is hardcoded into the audience's DNA as much as guest stars are hardcoded into the company's DNA. While it's tempting to place all of the blame on the absence of a shared training style or ballet masters/mistresses not doing their jobs, I do think the guest stars policy plays a part in ABT's corps problems. People stick around for a few years, realize they're killing themselves and not getting anywhere, and bolt for other companies. So, you have constant flux in the corps ranks and, as a result, a constantly bedraggled-looking corps.

The soloists and corpos get plenty of opportunities during Nutcracker season and during other non-MET engagements (City Center, out of town visits). For whatever reason (MONEY!?) these guest artists rarely if ever perform with ABT at any time other than the MET engagewments. (I have no doubt that Abrera and Lane would both be principals at virtually any other company.)

The City Center season is short, isn't swathed in glory the way the Met season is, and appears (to me, anyway) to appeal more to the ABT intelligenstia (yes, there is such a thing) than the average Swan Lake-goer. So, I'm not sure how much recompense the City Center season is to the corps members.

As for ABT's out-of-town engagements, that has also been a bone of contention going back to (at least) the 70s. The guests get the plum spots (and the press) in New York but then the regulars at all levels have to shoulder heavy workloads in the less glamorous hinterlands.

All my negativism aside, things are a little better on the men's side. In the recent past, Cory Stearns rose from the corps to become a principal (not entirely without dissent from certain quarters in the audience.) Alex Hammoudi is getting important opportunities after toiling in the corps for years, and Kevin McKenzie is bringing along people like Grant Delong and Thomas Forster in things like Lilac Garden. So, it's not entirely hopeless for the ABT corps men.

I do think Simkin is a lock for principal (although his rise may generate dissent like Stearns' rise did/does.) I don't see anyone else at the soloist level rising so that leaves McKenzie with a predicament: How many male principal slots will he have to fill in coming years and will he fill from within? (And he will have plenty to fill in the next few years: Beloserkovsky and Steifel are transitioning out, Carreno is retiring, Corella is a non-entity with the company, and Cornejo is oft-injured or absent with Corella's company in Spain. Stearns' promotion covers one spot and a Simkin promotion would cover another. That still leaves several potential vacancies to fill in the near future. Decision, decisions . . . )

MODERATOR: Please feel free to boot this entire discussion into a separate thread (i.e. ABT - 'Promoting from Within vs. Bringing in Guest Stars).

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Has anyone seen Irlan Silva in ABT II? He is the subject of a terrific documentary following his trajectory from the slums of Rio de Janeiro to the Prix de Lausanne, to winning at Youth America Grand Prix, to the JKO School, to ABT II. He is a gorgeous dancer, exquisite line, handsome, fluent in classical and contemporary dance. I hereby predict that he will rise through the ranks to become an ABT principal from within. The documentary is entitled "Only When I Dance." You can get it from Netflix, even via instant download, and I encourage everyone reading this thread to check it out.

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:off topic: Angelica, thank you for the recommendation. I did see the film (finally, in the theater on the last day of its run) and thought it very moving. There's a brief description of it on this thread:

I hope all further discussion of the film continue on that thread, and this topic devoted to the works ABT has presented in its first week + Monday and closely related issues.

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slightly random thought, but I have to ask...is Basilio actually a part of Marcelo's repertoire or not? It's listed in his ABT bio, but i don't remember him ever performing it...correct me if i'm wrong please!

also, since Sascha Radetsky has been replaced in both of his performances this week, does anyone know if he actually is injured/the nature of his injury? He's a pretty big part of the repertory program...

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I'm happy to report that Cojocaru was considerably better on Monday evening than her prior performance on Friday. She sailed through all of the technical challenges with sparkling technique and a much more relaxed demeanor. Brava Alina! Ricetto had an awful night as Dryad Queen. She fell off pointe twice during the Italian fouettes section.

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Apologies for going off-thread. I think I was responding to members who noted that ABT is bringing in so many guest artists and not grooming its own, and suggested that we keep our eyes out for this young man as someone who is likely to be promoted from within. And interestingly, just today we learn that ABT is bringing in another guest artist--I know, that's another thread. Again, apologies.

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Well, it was certainly interesting to see Cojocaru as Kitri after seeing Semionova!

Before I get into that, I'd like to say bravo to Jose Manuel Carreno for an impressive performance as Basilio. :clapping: When I saw him last year opposite Osipova, he seemed strangely low on energy--or maybe it was just that everyone looked dull and earthbound compared to Osipova's firecracker Kitri. Last night, however, Carreno's heart seemed to be in the role, and he pulled off some truly showstopping stop-on-a-dime turns.

As for Cojocaru…prior to the performance, I happened to read a particularly acerbic review of the ABT opening night gala, in which the reviewer praised Cojocaru's performance but bemoaned her 'soup-can' pointe shoes. And while I was watching last night, I could not get this unfortunately-apt image out of my head. I know that she uses the large boxes because of her foot problems (and I'm sorry to hear about them), but it was certainly a jarring contrast to Semionova's picture-perfect feet. Cojocaru also made some notable changes to the choreography, and I wondered if they were done to conserve her feet. For example, in Act I, in the variation where Kitri beats her fan on the ground in between the turns where she kicks her leg up and around--those were changed to something else. She also did the hops on pointe in place instead of traveling diagonally downstage.

That being said, she certainly had Semionova beat with her near-180 extensions and the punchiness she brought to her phrasing in Act I. She had a way of slowing or holding a certain movement a fraction of a beat too long, and then clipping the next one short--that really made the music pop for me. Her Act I dancing felt crisper and more varied to me than Semionova's. And she and Carreno were able to pull off much more impressive lifts.

However, I agree with others on the board that her characterization of Kitri was rather odd--she was more a sweet, cute and even slightly bashful Kitri—Aurora as Kitri—rather than the fiesty firecracker I am used to. (I guess Cojocaru might just be more naturally suited to Aurora or Giselle.) Of the three Kitri's I saw, I think Reyes' characterization was closest to my ideal. In fact, overall, I think I enjoyed the Reyes/Sarabia Act I best, because they nailed the characters, had great chemistry, and gave the performance the necessary flirty zest from the very beginning.

Last night’s Act II and III were enjoyable, but did not reach the breathtaking levels that Semionova/Hallberg's performance reached for me. In particular, in Semionova's Act III, you could feel that she had found her confidence, that she was “in the zone” and reaching for the limit --and David responded accordingly. Cojocaru also pulled off some impressive, making-it-look-easy balances, but none reached that jaw-dropping level of Semionova's final balance. Once again, Carreno and Cojocaru pulled off some impressive lifts, with him twirling her in the air before lowering her into the fish dive.

At the end of the performance, Cojocaru received her bouquet, and then she promptly turned around kneeled, offering it to Carreno with a most deferential expression. So sweet and touching!! :wub:

***

As for the others, well, I think last night's supporting cast was among the weakest. As abatt mentioned, poor Maria Ricetto fell out of the Italian fouettes--the audience actually started applauding midway, and I wonder if that threw her off. Otherwise, her performance of Mercedes was fine, but lacking the flair and sensuousness of Abrera's or Part's performances. I've always thought of Savaliev as being somewhat bland, but he also seemed terribly sloppy last night. Certainly the worst Espada I've seen by far.

The highlight for me was Kajiya, who dazzled again as Amour. As for the flower girls, Boylston certainly stole the show from Lane, in my opinion. Perhaps she held some of the balances a little too long when she should've been trying to stay in synch with Lane, but she projected to the audience and grabbed my attention every time. Her grand jetes and some of her extensions were very impressive too. I really wanted to like Lane, but she just didn't have the same "look at me" quality for me.

Joseph Phillips and Simone Messmer were very fun as the gypsy couple.

***

During the intermission, I saw Jonathan Stafford and Daniel Ulbricht (and maybe Gonzalo Garcia) from NYCB in the lobby. I wonder what they thought!

I’m bummed to have to miss Cojocaru’s Giselle, as I imagine she’s more suited to that role. Can’t wait to read what you all have to say though! :wink:

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As for the flower girls, Boylston certainly stole the show from Lane, in my opinion. Perhaps she held some of the balances a little too long when she should've been trying to stay in synch with Lane, but she projected to the audience and grabbed my attention every time. Her grand jetes and some of her extensions were very impressive too. I really wanted to like Lane, but she just didn't have the same "look at me" quality for me.

For me, Boylston's "look at me" routine was inappropriate. Her objective should have been to be in sync w. Lane and the music. Instead, she chose to hold her balance for as long as possible at the expense of the choreography (The bubble over her head would read, "Hey Kevin. I'm good at balancing. How about a promotion?"). She left Lane, who kept time with the music, in an awkward position. Sometimes you have to be a team player in a ballet company.

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My thought is what McKenzie did with Simkin was very clever and he should try to repeat it. Simkin is clearly talented but young and not too experienced. Perhaps a sort of deal was cut in the way of, "you join as soloist and give us a good amount of time and you'll make principal pretty quickly" I have no information but wonder if some kind of understanding was cut.

If Kevin could pull off a deal like that with a real promising female dancer, it would be a great strategy. But I think he needs two or three strong, versatile female principals. And this is only going to become more pressing as the strength of his male roster seems to be lessening.

The Simkin acquisition was very like that of the teenage Angel Corella (Simkin was in his early twenties - though he still looks fourteen - when he was hired by ABT and was dancing with second tier companies). Corella made principal within a few years of joining the company as a soloist.

FYI: Corella joined ABT as a soloist Apr.'95 and made principal Aug.'96. He was only 20 yrs old at the time. To go from the back row of the corps in Spain, to principal at ABT in a year, and at that young age, is a pretty amazing trajectory (and accomplishment).

And to "miliosr": Though Corella may be less visible at ABT these past few years, I don't think I would call him a "non-entity"--he still fills most of the theaters he performs in, and meets or exceeds expectations. Sorry for being slightly OT, will be better next week.

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As for Cojocaru…prior to the performance, I happened to read a particularly acerbic review of the ABT opening night gala, in which the reviewer praised Cojocaru's performance but bemoaned her 'soup-can' pointe shoes. And while I was watching last night, I could not get this unfortunately-apt image out of my head. I know that she uses the large boxes because of her foot problems (and I'm sorry to hear about them), but it was certainly a jarring contrast to Semionova's picture-perfect feet. Cojocaru also made some notable changes to the choreography, and I wondered if they were done to conserve her feet. For example, in Act I, in the variation where Kitri beats her fan on the ground in between the turns where she kicks her leg up and around--those were changed to something else. She also did the hops on pointe in place instead of traveling diagonally downstage.

It's strange how many people are pointing out Cojocaru feet (a friend was even thinking that her turned up foot in arabesque was the result of an injury, when it's a Russian virtuosity to make the line more appealing :)), when she danced in Milan, or recently in Hamburg, they were never (or very rarely, I cannot remember a comment, but who knows) mentioned. Probably having seen her dancing many times I don't care about that or maybe I'm just looking at other things.

Also Alastair Macauley is talking of them, but they seem not have affected is opinion that much...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/25/arts/dance/american-ballet-theater-hosts-alina-cojocaru-review.html?_r=1

An interesting article for me, because it put in great English the reasons why I love one of the two (with all her possible imperfections) and I've never been touched by the dancing of the other (with all her indubitable qualities). Probably is for the fact that her dancing and acting is not capturing me that I cannot avoiding being distracted by Semionova's very muscular and oddly shaped legs with big calves, the big shoulder and the long torso that makes her long legs look shortish (these aspects were commented many times here in Italy: probably we are focusing on different aesthetic points). :dunno:

Funny, I've not seen these shows and he draws quite exactly the picture I had in my mind. :)

The only thing I don't agree with is that Osipova is the definitive Kitri of today. I still prefer Alexandrova, but she is a very close second...and her match with Ivan Vasiliev can add extra value to Natasha's one: lucky you to have him in NY.

Thank you for all your reviews: I'm really looking forward the next ones! :clapping:

Once again, Carreno and Cojocaru pulled off some impressive lifts, with him twirling her in the air before lowering her into the fish dive.

This sounds quite interesting :lightbulb:, maybe more an extra virtuosity (thanks to the small size of the Ballerina) than a semplification: can you or anybody else describe it more in details? ... Sorry, I realized that this morning, writing the previous sentences I mixed up two technical considerations about the show (the changes in solos and in the lifts) ...anyway I'd love to have more details about the lift: is anything similar to twist lift in ice skating, or Manon last pdd?

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And to "miliosr": Though Corella may be less visible at ABT these past few years, I don't think I would call him a "non-entity"--he still fills most of the theaters he performs in, and meets or exceeds expectations. Sorry for being slightly OT, will be better next week.

Whether or not he's filling theaters elsewhere is beside the point as far as ABT's current Met season is concerned. Right now, at ABT, he's a non-entity.

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Has anyone seen Irlan Silva in ABT II? He is the subject of a terrific documentary following his trajectory from the slums of Rio de Janeiro to the Prix de Lausanne, to winning at Youth America Grand Prix, to the JKO School, to ABT II. He is a gorgeous dancer, exquisite line, handsome, fluent in classical and contemporary dance. I hereby predict that he will rise through the ranks to become an ABT principal from within. The documentary is entitled "Only When I Dance." You can get it from Netflix, even via instant download, and I encourage everyone reading this thread to check it out.

Thank you for the reco. I have been looking for instant streaming ballet movies on Netflix. I did not see this one when I searched.

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I saw both Cojocaru Kitris on Friday and Monday and Semionova on Saturday afternoon.

On Friday night, Cojocaru pushed her technique to the limit, took big daring risks and occasionally paid the price with near disasters. But there was something so over the top, so devil may care, so generous in spirit that you had to love her. Macauley was correct about her generosity to her onstage partners and to the audience. Cojocaru also phrases to the music with delicacy and elegance. So you had this mix of elegance, femininity and charm complemented by daring, bravado and generosity that was very winning. The near disasters only made you want to protect her. Then she would pull of a feat like twirling in the air during fishdives or doing multiples in her fouettes.

On Monday night, Cojocaru clearly had taken into account some of what happened on Friday and toned down a few things. The whole show went better - no near falls - and she danced well throughout. Whatever problems were fairly minor - curtailing a step once or twice and then nailing the next one and the next one. There was a loss of some of the kamikaze pizzazz from Friday but a gain in consistency. Carreno had a very, very good night. On Friday, Carreno was better in his pas de deux than in his solos where a loss of speed and bravura was evident. On Monday, he threw himself into the steps with real command and nailed his third act solo in the pas de deux. He did his usual slow down pirouettes to audience applause. His partnering was magnificent. A great, great evening for José.

On Saturday afternoon, Polina Semionova built upon an initial good impression with each scene culminating in a very impressive Act III pas de deux. Her bravura there could only be surpassed by Osipova or Viengsay Valdes on a good day. She has a wiry muscular frame that combines long limbs with a shorter torso. Yet her figure is very feminine with a rounded bust. So she has this mix of short and tall, thin and voluptuous going on. I thought Semionova had tons of personality and was very hoydenish in the part. Hallberg is not one of nature's Basilios as Cojocaru is not a natural Kitri - both showed qualities that we don't usually see in them by being stretched into these parts.

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And to "miliosr": Though Corella may be less visible at ABT these past few years, I don't think I would call him a "non-entity"--he still fills most of the theaters he performs in, and meets or exceeds expectations. Sorry for being slightly OT, will be better next week.

Whether or not he's filling theaters elsewhere is beside the point as far as ABT's current Met season is concerned. Right now, at ABT, he's a non-entity.

I just took a look at the ABT calendar going through Japan. There is a Giselle and a Coppelia at the Met, and 2 performances I saw listed in Tokyo. None in the 5 or so days of Los Angeles. But I agree with 4mrdncr, 'non-entity' is much too severe a term for a major dancer who is performing less--especially since these are both important roles. Of course, Corella is therefore not the 'sensation of the season' (unless there's some sudden burst of dancerly eloquence), but his history makes it so that's not fair in my book. Even if it were only one, that's still the way I'd see it. Most people perceive 'non-entity' as quite a harsh word; he's simply lightly scheduled.

Isn't it like Allegra Kent's very rare performances in her last years of dancing? Was she considered a non-entity for only doing the very occasional performance? And it's always possible that Corella's performances this season at the Met could be stellar, isn't it?

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For me, Boylston's "look at me" routine was inappropriate. Her objective should have been to be in sync w. Lane and the music. Instead, she chose to hold her balance for as long as possible at the expense of the choreography (The bubble over her head would read, "Hey Kevin. I'm good at balancing. How about a promotion?"). She left Lane, who kept time with the music, in an awkward position. Sometimes you have to be a team player in a ballet company.

Point taken and conceded. :) I guess Bolyston is trying to use every opportunity--even when inappropriate--to prove that she's "this season's 'It girl'," as Apollinaire Scherr called her.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/7565684e-86e7-11e0-92df-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1NMviNwav

It's strange how many people are pointing out Cojocaru feet (a friend was even thinking that her turned up foot in arabesque was the result of an injury, when it's a Russian virtuosity to make the line more appealing), when she danced in Milan, or recently in Hamburg, they were never (or very rarely, I cannot remember a comment, but who knows) mentioned. Probably having seen her dancing many times I don't care about that or maybe I'm just looking at other things.

The gala review I read seemed to suggest that Cojocaru had been using more normal-looking shoes for awhile, but had switched back to the 'soup-can' shoes, so maybe you were lucky enough to see her without them. Or as you suggest, perhaps it's different strokes for different folks. :wink:

I will add that I was using binoculars, so it was extremely obvious to me that the fabric had been removed from the top of Alina's shoes, leaving a rough edge, which you can see here:

http://thefastertimes.com/dance/2011/05/24/photos-of-alina-cojocaru-and-polina-semionova-in-a-b-t-s-don-quixote/

It may have been less of an issue for other viewers though.

As for Macauley's review, I wholeheartedly agreed with his characterization of Semionova here:

Nothing she does is coarse. The flow of her limbs constantly pleases the eye. Her facial features read clearly in the theater. The beautiful pliancy of her upper spine may pay eloquent dividends in “Swan Lake.”

Macauley (like you) seems to have been more touched/moved by Cojocaru's performance, but I found that very sweetness in her portrayal to be somewhat out of character for Kitri.

But, I do have to admit that I am biased! I know I am very partial to the slim, long-limbed, tall-looking dancers/skaters/gymnasts--and I routinely like dancers that others may consider pretty but "cold." :sweatingbullets:

This sounds quite interesting, maybe more an extra virtuosity (thanks to the small size of the Ballerina) than a semplification: can you or anybody else describe it more in details? ... Sorry, I realized that this morning, writing the previous sentences I mixed up two technical considerations about the show (the changes in solos and in the lifts) ...anyway I'd love to have more details about the lift: is anything similar to twist lift in ice skating, or Manon last pdd?

Hehe, yes, the Manon last pdd is exactly what came to mind when I was thinking of how to describe the trick before the fish dive (supported double tour en l'air?)! But it's good that you mentioned ice skating, because it reminded me that they also did a little flourish before some lift (or was it another fish dive?), which involved Alina first opening her legs in a split (legs parallel to the floor), which reminded me a lot of the preparation for a split twist lift in pairs skating. :)

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The gala review I read seemed to suggest that Cojocaru had been using more normal-looking shoes for awhile, but had switched back to the 'soup-can' shoes, so maybe you were lucky enough to see her without them. Or as you suggest, perhaps it's different strokes for different folks. :wink:

I will add that I was using binoculars, so it was extremely obvious to me that the fabric had been removed from the top of Alina's shoes, leaving a rough edge, which you can see here:

http://thefastertimes.com/dance/2011/05/24/photos-of-alina-cojocaru-and-polina-semionova-in-a-b-t-s-don-quixote/

It may have been less of an issue for other viewers though.

I'm normally using binoculars too, unfortunately...Those are the usual Cojocaru shoes. If you look very close at it, you will notice that fabric is not removed nor a cotton ring is sewed around the top, as many dancers do, but the top is covered by something like deerskin, the thickness of the material and the sewing make the top even larger. I can agree that sometimes it can look weird and that maybe 6th position is the less brilliant ballet trick in her repertoire :wink:, but usually I really focus to other aspect of Alina dancing: there is so much to watch when a dancer is dancing with the entire body, heart and brain included, and adds so many details both to movements and acting.

Macauley (like you) seems to have been more touched/moved by Cojocaru's performance, but I found that very sweetness in her portrayal to be somewhat out of character for Kitri.

I've not been touched by Cojocaru performance at all: I've not seen it. :lol: I just know her dancing quite well and I've seen also Semionova a few times, so I was just having in my mind an idea of their possible Kitris, that happened to correspond to Macauly review.

BTW, I've never seen Semionova in DQ and I've seen only some excerpts of Cojocaru (I've seen live only the pdd). I agree that Cojocaru's Kitri is an unusual character and for some aspects needs to be well supported by a great acting interaction, as with her usual partner Johan Kobborg, so I was happy to know that she was dancing with Carreno, that in my opinion could have done it excellently as he seems to have done.

I just suspect that Cojocaru portrayal of Kitri is more her own idea of the character than an acting limit. The last ballet I saw her in was Neumeier's A Midsummer Night's Dream and she was a quite energetic and physically aggressive Titania. After the show I told her I love her energy and physical power in that role and recalled a thread of this forum, talking of miscast, where Canbelto was making her name as a possible miscast as Myrtha "who would she scare? No one". After more than two weeks I'm still laughing at her reaction and her face when claiming "I can do it". (being Canbelto I would avoid to face her about that after her next Giselle :) ) And I'm now looking forward it: the problem is to find a (possibly tiny) Giselle that is well worth such a Myrtha!

For the moment enjoy her Giselle. The new partnership with Hallberg is intriguing, but it's a pity that NY cannot see the "whole stuff", with Johan Kobborg: their Giselle is better show after show (and they are many) and the first act is now something of unbelievable also having seen many of their performances (forget of the DVD, I saw that show also live and, comparing Alina to Alina, it's one of the less excellent performance I've seen from her in the role). You cannot see the two together, but the last news is that Kobborg is Dvorovenko Albrecht in Saturday matinee...

Hehe, yes, the Manon last pdd is exactly what came to mind when I was thinking of how to describe the trick before the fish dive (supported double tour en l'air?)! But it's good that you mentioned ice skating, because it reminded me that they also did a little flourish before some lift (or was it another fish dive?), which involved Alina first opening her legs in a split (legs parallel to the floor), which reminded me a lot of the preparation for a split twist lift in pairs skating. :)

Thanks for the clarification and addition!!!

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