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ABT in DC-Kennedy Center, spring 2013Mixed Bill and Corsaire


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#61 Natalia

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 02:57 AM

Thanks for all the responses about the production. Did anyone see it! No one went this afternoon?? (or any day) I hope there will be some reports. We don't want the Kennedy Center to think no one went Posted Image


I attended only the Sunday matinee. Quick notes:

Dancing from soloists: EXTRAORDINARY. I take back any negative feelings voiced earlier about Natalia Osipova jumping from company to company. She is, no doubt, a technical and interpretive genius at her prime...so she can be as capricious as she wants, just so we can still see her in the USA occasionally, please. Danil' Simkin - WOW. Just wow. Lane - absolutely held her own; stronger and more charismatic than EVER. Vasiliev - big strong legs, if not a 'king of line.' Cornejo as Lankedem - altered his variation (without the deep grand plies after jumps) but was nonetheless impressive, considering recent injury. I missed the brief pre-curtain announcement so cannot say for sure if that was Joseph Phillips as Birbanto but -- whoever it was - that Birbanto has a commanding stage presence, brilliant technique, perfect line. [Thanks to Kristen for later providing the name: Craig Salstein.] Three Odalisques (Brandt, Paris and Shevchenko): all very promising but every variation had a little mishap, most obviously the 3rd.

Specific Moves of Note: So many wonderful ones but I'll cite two of the most special, both from the Act II Pas de Trois' coda: (1) Simkin's "three-rivoltades-without-pauses" entrance, at start of coda; and (2) Osipova's 32 fouettes, doubles/triples...ending in a slow controlled quintuple (or sextuple?). Entire audience screaming and squealing at record-high pitch.

Dancing from corps: good character dancing; not-so-sharp from adult classical female corps in Jardin Anime but OK.

Dancing from children: Impressive and charming!

Supers: Super! Posted Image

Staging: Same fantastic staging by Ms Holmes-after- K.Sergeyev, as in the '98 version seen on DVD. Similar to the great work that she did for Washington Ballet a couple of years ago. Quibble: Where is Medora's Petit Corsaire variation, from Ms Holmes' initial staging of the work, for Boston in the mid-90s? [Latest Bolshoi version does have Petit Corsaire.]

New Costumes: Very pretty, although I'm not sure why Medora's Act II tutu has a short floppy skirt (no stiffness), as if ordered from a discount recitals catalogue.

New Sets: In Act II, the pirates now stay at the ECONO-CAVE MOTEL. Minimalism is good for touring, I suppose.

New Lighting: Somber. Even the Act I bazaar is under-lit. Darkest atmosphere for a Jardin Anime/Act III....ever.

Overall, a very-very-very special performance.

Edited on April 17 to show the name of Craig Salstein as Birbanto, dancing in place of J. Phillips. The change was announced vocally, just before the curtain rose.

#62 Buddy

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 03:16 AM

I saw the mixed bill this evening....The Moor's Pavane was the high point for me, and I thought Simone Messmer was the standout.

"Simone Messmer" Posted Image -- [font=Arial]I don't get to see ABT nearly as much as I would like so any good news about this Remarkable young artist is greatly appreciated.[/font]

Added comment:

As for *Veronika(!)* -- Sail on Sailor ! -- Full Speed Ahead ! Posted Image

#63 YouOverThere

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 03:31 AM

Thanks for all the responses about the production. Did anyone see it! No one went this afternoon?? (or any day) I hope there will be some reports. We don't want the Kennedy Center to think no one went Posted Image


VISA knows that I went. 3 times.

Sunday was sensational! Ivan Vasiliev cannot possibly be human. No mere mortal can do what he did. At the curtain call, he and Natalia Osipova turned around and bowed to the rest of the cast. That's the first time that I've seen that happen.

#64 Natalia

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 03:34 AM

Vasiliev delivered...but in clunky (heavy, even thunderous at times) manner, IMO. And those white tights did not help. Very personable/charismatic stage persona, so I'm rooting for him to (a) find a more becoming costume and (b) soften those landings. Posted Image

#65 vrsfanatic

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 04:03 AM

I was there Saturday evening. A wonderful performance overall. Sets and costumes, lovely, although I did not care for the 3rd Act Gulnare costumes. Just not a flattering design. Premier by Roddy Doble as Lankendem, Isabella Boylston as Gulnare and Sarah Smith as Lead Pirate Woman. All danced beautifully. I am more familiar with the current Mariinsky production of Corsaire therefore, finding this production difficult to follow. The 3rd Act overall was anti-climatic. Gomes, Ilyin and Vasiliev were wonderful throughout, as well as the Odalisques, Messmer, Abrera and Kajiya. The company is dancing beautifully.

#66 maps

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 08:49 AM

I saw the matinee on Sunday April 14, 2013. Cast was:
Conrad-Ivan Vasiliev, Medora-Natalia Osipova, Ali-Daniil Simkin,Lankendem-Herman Cornejo, Birbanto-Joseph Phillips announced replacement Craig Salstein,
Gulnare- Sarah Lane, Seyd/Pasha-Roman Zhurbin, Odalisques-Skylar Brandt/Luciana Paris/Christine Shevchenko.

It was an incredible and joyous performance.

Since this is spring and Cherry Blossom time in DC there are many tourists. The Kennedy Center gets tourists at matinees including some who have never been to the ballet. So people do come and leave at intermission - not the case for ABT Corsaire.



#67 Kristen

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Posted 15 April 2013 - 01:14 PM

I totally agree (and appreciate) Natalia's long posting re Sunday afternoon, above. It was a special, special performance. I flew back home to Florida today not wondering at all why I'm stalking performances around the globe of Osiliev /Vasipova, as they are sometimes called. Technique and artistry aside, they are the most charismatic dancers I've seen live since Baryshnikov in his prime. (yes, I'm that old ....) I saw them do Don Q in Australia last month with the Australian Ballet. They had an off night with visible bobbles, but that they are STARS was lost on no one. As one Australian in the loo next to mine said "they just dance on an entirely different level than we're used to seeing." (And no, I didn't go to Australia to see them dance - just got lucky that our vacation coincided with their appearance.)

I thought Sarah Lane did a great job of holding her own amidst all that star power. And I loved how Simkin's slave performance kind of said "take that, thunder thighs!" It's not easy to share the stage with Vasiliev (even in those much less that flattering white tights!) Simkin gave a stellar performance.

Agree totally about the ECONO CAVE set Posted Image , but loved the new backdrop for Jardin Anime - thought it was magical and the children totally charming.

#68 Natalia

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 06:58 AM

[size=5]Aw, thanks for the kind words, Kristen, and for your own report! :) You must have sat in Orchestra or one of the lower tiers. From my spot in 2nd-tier Row B, the Jardin Anime was so darkish & poorly lit, that the ladies appeared to be performing in front of an all-black backdrop, with the exception of the bottoms of the raised lanterns, way up high. Basically, from what my family & I could see, they danced in front of an all-black set.[/size]

[size=5]Love the "Take that, Thunder Thighs!" line. Posted Image [/size]

#69 YouOverThere

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:23 PM

Vasiliev delivered...but in clunky (heavy, even thunderous at times) manner, IMO. And those white tights did not help. Very personable/charismatic stage persona, so I'm rooting for him to (a) find a more becoming costume and (b) soften those landings. Posted Image


The dancers in the other performances also wore white tights. Does even a star get to decide what everybody wears?

#70 Natalia

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 03:53 AM


Vasiliev delivered...but in clunky (heavy, even thunderous at times) manner, IMO. And those white tights did not help. Very personable/charismatic stage persona, so I'm rooting for him to (a) find a more becoming costume and (b) soften those landings. Posted Image


The dancers in the other performances also wore white tights. Does even a star get to decide what everybody wears?


There can be slight alterations. At the Bolshoi, all of the Conrads wore slightly different costumes - some had the Greek 'skirt' version (Tsiskaridze, for ex.), while most wore tights...some tights darker than others. Back to ABT/Conrad: Vasiliev looked so embarrasingly chunky, that I had to apologize to my partner during the first intermission when he asked me "Didn't you say that Vasiliev was supposed to be good? He's heavy." It was being commented a lot by folks in our group. His chunky line is a serious-enough problem when it detracts from all of what he does so spectacularly.

That said, I am still giddy in the joys of last Sunday. It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime performances that balletomanes can only dream about. I keep replaying so many wonderful moments in my mind. Oh...and did I mention that Skylar Brandt was simply terrific in her leg-beats-variation (var. #1) of the Odalisques pdtrois, marred only by a very-slight off-balance when hitting the final closed-5th position? Shevchenko's hyper-difficult 3rd-var suffered when she went for triple pirouettes in the infamous diagonal and managed to perform only the 2nd of the three triples cleanly (step-outs in the other two); the double pirouettes in-between the triples were all clean. Luciana Paris' 2nd Odalisque variation was marred only by her 1st-arabesque positions in the 2nd enchainement across the stage; she seemed to have trouble achieving the 90-degree position...the leg was slightly lower than 90-degrees, not parallel to floor. Queen of Odalisques: Skylar Brandt! I cannot wait to continue following her progress this summer at the Met....surely she'll be in Swan Lake pas de trois and/or a Sleeping Beauty fairy?

Kristen, thanks for providing the name of Craig Salstein as the Birbanto on Sunday (replacing J. Phillips). Salstein almost stole the show, in parts. What musicality, long line, & 'command' of the stage! It's tough to shine as Birbanto when all of the other soloist guys around you are amazing...but Salstein delivered. Bravo!

#71 maps

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 05:33 AM

How do I find casting other than Aurora/Prince for ABT at the Met? When at Le Corsaire I envisioned Lane as Aurora and she is performing this summer. Thanks.

#72 abatt

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:05 AM

Angel Corella chose to wear dark tights instead of white at his farewell SL. Don't see why they would not permit Vasiliev to make an alternate choice if that's what he wanted. White tights or dark tights makes no difference to me. I'll be there clapping when he performs his superhuman feats.

#73 YouOverThere

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 06:07 AM



Vasiliev delivered...but in clunky (heavy, even thunderous at times) manner, IMO. And those white tights did not help. Very personable/charismatic stage persona, so I'm rooting for him to (a) find a more becoming costume and (b) soften those landings. Posted Image


The dancers in the other performances also wore white tights. Does even a star get to decide what everybody wears?


There can be slight alterations. At the Bolshoi, all of the Conrads wore slightly different costumes - some had the Greek 'skirt' version (Tsiskaridze, for ex.), while most wore tights...some tights darker than others. Back to ABT/Conrad: Vasiliev looked so embarrasingly chunky, that I had to apologize to my partner during the first intermission when he asked me "Didn't you say that Vasiliev was supposed to be good? He's heavy." It was being commented a lot by folks in our group. His chunky line is a serious-enough problem when it detracts from all of what he does so spectacularly.


Your friend apparently isn't familiar with a body feature known as "muscle". Vasiliev is totally buffed (he played Ali Saturday evening, and, no, there weren't rolls of fat showing when he didn't have a shirt on).

#74 puppytreats

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 07:34 AM




Vasiliev delivered...but in clunky (heavy, even thunderous at times) manner, IMO. And those white tights did not help. Very personable/charismatic stage persona, so I'm rooting for him to (a) find a more becoming costume and (b) soften those landings. Posted Image


The dancers in the other performances also wore white tights. Does even a star get to decide what everybody wears?


There can be slight alterations. At the Bolshoi, all of the Conrads wore slightly different costumes - some had the Greek 'skirt' version (Tsiskaridze, for ex.), while most wore tights...some tights darker than others. Back to ABT/Conrad: Vasiliev looked so embarrasingly chunky, that I had to apologize to my partner during the first intermission when he asked me "Didn't you say that Vasiliev was supposed to be good? He's heavy." It was being commented a lot by folks in our group. His chunky line is a serious-enough problem when it detracts from all of what he does so spectacularly.


Your friend apparently isn't familiar with a body feature known as "muscle". Vasiliev is totally buffed (he played Ali Saturday evening, and, no, there weren't rolls of fat showing when he didn't have a shirt on).


Unshapely or bulky muscles, or short, squat muscular bodies, or an unpleasant facial feature or personality type, are not aesthetically pleasing to all. Neither is a sloppy landing after a quadruple pirouette.

#75 aurora

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 08:06 AM

Unshapely or bulky muscles, or short, squat muscular bodies, or an unpleasant facial feature or personality type, are not aesthetically pleasing to all. Neither is a sloppy landing after a quadruple pirouette.


No judgment calls here. I would imagine "an unpleasant facial feature or personality type" isn't pleasing to many. Though I'm not sure how aesthetics come into personality types.


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