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Opening Night Gala and Don QuixoteABT Reviews, May 16-22, 2011


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#61 angelica

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 06:05 PM

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.

#62 carbro

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 09:13 PM

: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: http://balletalert.i...__fromsearch__1

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.

#63 spinning2night

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 09:41 PM

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...

#64 abatt

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 05:17 AM

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.

#65 angelica

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 01:24 PM

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.

#66 Batsuchan

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 06:31 PM

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:

#67 abatt

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 07:11 PM

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.

#68 4mrdncr

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 09:15 PM


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.

#69 annamicro

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 10:52 PM

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.c...eview.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?

#70 miliosr

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 03:37 AM

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.

#71 puppytreats

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 08:37 AM

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.

#72 FauxPas

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 12:03 PM

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.

#73 papeetepatrick

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 04:59 PM


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?

#74 Batsuchan

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:36 PM

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/in...l#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://thefastertime...-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. :)

#75 annamicro

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 11:46 PM

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://thefastertime...-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 http://balletalert.i...870#entry172870 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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