Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:42 PM
I just got home from today's matinee at Bard. What a perfect performance! 'In The Upper Room' never fails to send you out of the theater with your heart exploding with joy and your feet way above the ground. Standouts this afternoon were Joey Gorak, Luciana Paris, and also in places, Katie Williams, but absolutely above all, Daniil Simkin. His heads-above-the-others technique and artistry had me watching only him whenever he was dancing, blond hair flying, body aloft, sudden twisting, pronounced sharp movements, glorious pirouettes.
The others in this cast are Kelly Potter, Cory Stearns, James Whiteside, Roddy Doble, Nicola Curry, Gemma Bond, Eric Tamm, Renata Pavam, and Sarah Lane. Whiteside, Stearns, and Doble danced together in parts 1, 3, 5, 7, their female partners/counterparts being Luciana, Kelley Potter, and Nicola Curry. James Whiteside did a great job alongside the veteran ABT males.
First on the program was 'The Leaves Are Fading' with Marcelo Gomes and Julie Kent as the lead couple. Second leads were Isabella Boylston and Gray Davis. Gomes/Kent is the partnership from heaven for this ballet. Mature, superlative dancing and easy artistry were the hallmarks of their performance. Kent, a positive wisp of a creature made for ballet, shone in the role, moving with seemingly no effort and with such a natural flow it was as if she were breathing out her dance.
Paler than everyone else in the company, she reminded of of Suzanne Farrell, who was many shades whiter still, as if porcelain is the designated non-color of the ballerina assoluta. (I honestly thought, back in the 1960's, that Farrell must powder her skin before each performance, she was just SO white!)
Marcelo is always a complete joy to watch no matter what he's dancing, that for me to be able to concentrate on him and Julie alone
(since they were the only dancers onstage for a long time) was a sheer pleasure. I could really get into the mood of their pas de deux and marvel at the amazing beauty of it. Julie Kent is still extraordinary and deserves every accolade bestowed on her. The difference between her and everyone else in the company who danced tonight is a vast chasm which only years of perfecting one's artistry and technique can any other dancer even hope to begin to fill.
Isabella Boylston was flawless in her pas de deux with Gray Davis and, as always, I relished her every movement. She delights us so consistently. I so wish I could see her Kitri in Barcelona! Gray Davis is a new partner for me to see her with, and I'm sorry I can't really report on his performance since whenever Isabella's on stage, my eyes don't leave her even for a second.
The entire cast for 'The Leaves Are Fading' this matinee: Leanne Underwood as The Woman, Isabella Boylston, Brittany DeGrofft, Kelley Boyd, Karen Uphoff, Kristi Boone, Adrienne Schulte, Luciana Paris, Yuriko Kajiya, Gray Davis, Daniel Mantei, Arron Scott, Julio Bragado-Young, Patrick Ogle, Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes.
'The Moor's Pavane' was danced by what might be termed Cast B: Roman Zhurbin as the Moor, Thomas Forster as "His Friend", Simone Messmer as "His Friend's Wife", and Xiomara Reyes as "The Moor's Wife". I can visualize the same cast performing The Garden of Villandry, the similarity of intentional movement being the basis for my thoughts (and also, having seen Reyes in both). Zhurbin is a very good character dancer/actor and he plied his trade confidently in this Limon piece. Forster also did a good job, as did Messmer and Reyes. The star of the piece, of course, is the hanky...er.. handkerchief. The hidden star is the Limon technique, so comfortable for ballet dancers and beautiful for us to see, even if we don't realize what makes us like it so much - the fall and the rise, the push and the pull, the tension and the release.
I'd have given anything to have seen tonight's performance with Marcelo as Othello, Julie as Desdemona, Cory as Iago, and Veronika as Emilia. I'm sure it had quite a different flavour! The matinee performance was wonderful, but I suspect the evening's was more remarkable.
I'd also have loved to have seen Polina Semionova in Leaves this evening (and I told her so backstage - what a lovely vision she is!). She didn't dance at all this afternoon. Same with Stella Abrera, who had only Leaves are Fading for the Bard weekend, and who is on the list for the evening's performance (which ended two hours ago). Same with Roberto Bolle! Oh, I missed so much, but I saw so much, too!
The evening cast list for 'In The Upper Room': Kristi Boone, Simone Messmer, Sascha Radetsky, Jared Matthews, Patrick Ogle, Devon Teuscher, Luciana Voltolini, Skylar Brandt, Craig Salstein, Nicole Graneiro, Arron Scott, Isabella Bolyston, and Herman Cornejo.
The evening cast list for 'The Leaves are Fading': Karen Uphoff, Stella Abrera, Sarah Smith, Gemma Bond, Nicola Curry, Polina Semionova, Nicole Graniero, Zhong-Jing Fang, Sarah Lane, Roman Zhurbin, Gray Davis, Daniil Simkin, Alexei Agoudine, Alexandre Hammoudi, Hee Seo and Roberto Bolle.
I suspect the above casts repeat twice each over the 4 performances at Bard (tomorrow's matinee is the 4th). I wonder if they will be the same for the City Center half week. As you can see, many company members aren't on the lists at all.
My husband and I had an awesome time at the ballet. He was particularly in admiration of Luciana Paris in the Tharp. He was also particularly excited by the Tharp, as was the audience who gave it a standing ovation with lots of whoops and hollers. Even though I believe Upper Room always gets a standing O, there is plenty of good reason for it. Any ballet that makes you feel THAT good, that makes you want to burst out of your skin with happiness, that does indeed lift you up higher and higher with Bolero-like buildup, deserves to have the whole audience on its feet to laud it. I ALWAYS want to see it again!