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Quick takes on ABT principal danseusesI am taking out first subscription


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#1 pbl

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:17 PM

Hi Everyone,

I am planning out our first subscription to ABT for 2013, and wanted some help picking performances according to the principals. I am very new to ballet, but almost embarrassingly enthusiastic, and have been watching my share of DVDs and youtube videos and old VHS tapes.

It does seem that my tastes are far more for the lyrical / aerial, and less for terre a terre (please excuse lack of accents throughout). From the videos I've watched, Makarova has given me the biggest ballet highs, but I've enjoyed a wide variety of styles all the same. I've been to performances of Osipova, Herrera, Murphy, Cojocaru, Kent already. But looking for quick pointers for who else I might enjoy in the few performances I'm able to catch this coming year. (interested in comments on Semionova, Reyes, Vorvorenko, Vishneva, Boylston, Part, Seo).

And of course if any particular performance for 2013 at the met seems like a "must see" please let me know.

Thanks everyone,

Paris.

#2 California

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

Please don't overlook several outstanding men -- Gomes and Hallberg are my favorites. Great artists, technicians, and partners. But Cornejo and Bolles are also quite wonderful.

#3 Helene

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 02:29 PM

You beat me to it: I was going to say, shop for Gomes and Hallberg.

I'd also try to see Part. A few years back, she was a lightening rod dancer, but recently there have been fewer strident opinions on either side.

#4 puppytreats

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 03:58 PM

Please don't overlook several outstanding men -- Gomes and Hallberg are my favorites. Great artists, technicians, and partners. But Cornejo and Bolles are also quite wonderful.


Sir Bolle, now, California.

#5 trieste

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

Part, Hallberg, Gomes.

I've only seen Part as Myrtha but she tool my breath away.

#6 MRR

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:32 PM

In response to your post, pbl, these are some of my thoughts on some of the ballerinas you mentioned (I haven't seen Boylston or Dvorovenko enough to provide comments):

Veronika Part--Part is a tall, broad-shouldered ballerina with an expansive, "womanly" body, and she is blessed with Hollywood looks to match. She has impeccably tapered legs and feet and is known for the great use of her Russian back. I loved her Swan Lake with Roberto Bolle a few years ago, although other performances of hers have strangely left me cold. Part is known for being technically inconsistent, but it certainly seems in the last several years that she has made a tremendous effort to solidify her technique, get control of her nerves, etc., and it will definitely be interesting to see how she fares at Kitri this year. I would most recommend Part in Swan Lake or as Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and I think she also has the potential to perform well in Sylvia.

Xiomara Reyes--Reyes often seems to be the unsung principal at ABT, but while she is not suited to all roles she is still a very competent, enjoyable dancer. I greatly enjoyed her as Medora and Titania (The Dream) last year at the MET. She is petite and doesn't possess the long, eye-popping extensions of Part or Semionova, but she instead emphasizes allegro. She is tremendous with fast footwork and her turning ability is quite good. There were times when she was technically shaky as Medora last year, but her overall interpretation of the role made up for any faults technically: she was charming, mischievious, and sunny. I would recommend her in the coming season as Medora, Kitri, or Aurora.

Polina Semionova--I found her to be quite a stellar Odette/Odile both with David Hallberg last year and (especially) with Marcelo Gomes the year before. She is a very tall woman and uses her height to great effect. She is a strong, steely technician who can hold pirouettes and balances for days, but she also has beautiful extensions, finely shaped feet, and an extremely pliant back. Most of what strikes me about Semionova is how physically expressive she is; she finds ways to make her entire body impactful in her work. With that said, she is a far more physically expressive than she is emotionally expressive. While I did find that she had some great moments in terms of characterization as Odette and Odile, she is certainly not fully developed as an artist yet, and she is not the type to give you such a visceral, dramatic performance that one might expect from, say, Vishneva. But I still think she is really worth it as a dancer, especially in Swan Lake or perhaps Sylvia.

Hee Seo--Although I have seen very little of her, I did see her MET debut in Romeo and Juliet in 2009. I thought her Juliet was stunning: innocent, naive, tragic. Her recent promotion to principal has been relatively controversial amongst balletomanes because many feel that she does not have the technical and theatrical chomps to warrant such status. I thought Seo had all the potential to become a principal when I saw her as Juliet, but Juliet is not a highly technical role and it seems from reports that Seo sometimes struggles with some of the technical challenges of other roles (notably Gamzatti, where she apparently finished her fouettes facing the back of the stage last year). Seo will be making her debuts as Aurora and Odette/Odile this coming season. The former role I can see her being suited for, but I can't really picture her in the latter (for better or for worse).

Diana Vishneva--People have been talking about Marcelo Gomes in this thread, and I would say that Gomes is perhaps most brilliant when he is with Vishneva (I know offhand they are cast together in Onegin and Romeo and Juliet this season). Vishneva is a good, if perhaps unspectacular, technician: she doesn't have the exquisite lines of some or the flash-bang pyrotechnics of others, but she's an artist. There is a very visceral, almost erotic quality to her dancing that I found striking when I saw her as Juliet a couple of years ago (particularly during the Balcony pas). Although I have not seen her live as Giselle, many have had glowing reports of her in the role (although sadly ABT won't be performing Giselle this season). I would definitely recommend her in either Onegin or R&J.

#7 pbl

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:44 PM

Thank you everyone - very useful. Making our decisions now . . .

#8 angelica

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:18 PM

I don't think that Stella Abrera has been cast as a principal in anything for the Spring Season, which is a tremendous wrong that needs to be righted. She and Part together are gloriously matched, as they were in both The Bright Stream and the Fall Season Ratmansky premiere. She has long deserved to be made a principal dancer, and, in fact, was slated to make her debut as Giselle a few years ago, when an injury sidelined her for quite some time. But she is back in exquisite form, I would say right up there in eloquence with Part and Vishneva. Now, however, others less deserving have cut the line and she is relegated to senior soloist roles, such as the Lilac Fairy, which make you long to see her as Aurora, which she did dance with Royal Ballet of New Zealand last year. (I think she had one Gamzatti last Spring, but that wasn't nearly enough.) If ABT would give more extensive casting information, you'd be able to see when she's dancing those soloist roles. Thankfully, Ratmansky appreciates her dancing and casts her prominently, but she really deserves a shot at those full-length works.

Does anyone know whether we can expect to see David in full form in the Spring? I hope so, because he's definitely a "don't miss."

#9 angelica

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:26 PM

Also, I could go on and on about Part, but I will spare you. She is exquisite, passionate, the most eloquent of all the female principal dancers, IMHO. Yes, technically, I hold my breath when she gets to those 32 fouettes, but she's never missed when I've seen her. And 32 fouettes do not a ballet make. I try to go to her every performance and can't wait to see her dance Kitri, which I think is a debut for her. And yes, as mentioned by trieste, she is a breathtaking Myrtha. But that will be in 2014. I am dreaming of a Stella-Veronika Giselle.

#10 vipa

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:28 PM

I don't think that Stella Abrera has been cast as a principal in anything for the Spring Season, which is a tremendous wrong that needs to be righted. She and Part together are gloriously matched, as they were in both The Bright Stream and the Fall Season Ratmansky premiere. She has long deserved to be made a principal dancer, and, in fact, was slated to make her debut as Giselle a few years ago, when an injury sidelined her for quite some time. But she is back in exquisite form, I would say right up there in eloquence with Part and Vishneva. Now, however, others less deserving have cut the line and she is relegated to senior soloist roles, such as the Lilac Fairy, which make you long to see her as Aurora, which she did dance with Royal Ballet of New Zealand last year. (I think she had one Gamzatti last Spring, but that wasn't nearly enough.) If ABT would give more extensive casting information, you'd be able to see when she's dancing those soloist roles. Thankfully, Ratmansky appreciates her dancing and casts her prominently, but she really deserves a shot at those full-length works.

Does anyone know whether we can expect to see David in full form in the Spring? I hope so, because he's definitely a "don't miss."


I totally agree about Stella A. I am not a Part fan and probably never will be, but that's what it is about. Seeing who you like and why.

#11 pbl

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:39 PM

Dear MRR-

Thank you for such evocative comments. I would love to hear your comments on Osipova, Herrera, Cojocaru, Hallberg and (not visiting ABT) Marienela Nunez. It's wonderful for someone newly appreciating all this to see these finer points articulated.

In response to your post, pbl, these are some of my thoughts on some of the ballerinas you mentioned




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