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Youth America Grand Prix presents Ballet's Greatest Hits!


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#16 Dale

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:47 PM

If I were buying "theater" tickets, I'd be disappointed that the lineup isn't as stellar as it had been. But for a "movie" ticket, I'll still go.

#17 abatt

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

Me too. A movie is cheap enough. Hopefully Birdsall can give us a review since he is attending.

#18 Birdsall

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

Here is the rundown of what happened last night in Tampa:

First Half:

A few winners of the Youth America Grand Prix 2013 Tampa, FL Semi-Final Competition performed (I can't remember names or most of the pieces although there were variations from Coppelia and DQ (Kitri). The program did not list the names or items of this segment. I think there may have been about 6 pieces performed. They announced them, but it is impossible to remember their names. It is strange they did not include these performers in the program. After that, the "stars" performed:

La Bayadere excerpts:

Gamzatti: Isabella Boylston
Solor: Matthew Golding
Bronze Idol: Joseph Phillips

Nutcracker Pas de Deux

Sugar Plum Fairy: Hee Seo
Prince: Alejandro Virelles

Light as Air (choreography by Kirven J. Boyd/music Rene Aubry)

performed by Alicia Graf Mack

Flames of Paris PDD

performed by Ashley Bouder and Daniel Ulbricht


2nd Half:

Excerpts from Giselle

Giselle: Greta Hodgkinson
Albrecht: Matthew Golding
Myrtha: Stella Abrera

Piazzolla Tango

performed by Daneil Ulbricht

Swan Lake (White Swan PDD)

Odette: Veronika Part
Siegfried: Marcelo Gomes

Pas de Duke (Alvin Ailey)

performed by Alicia Graf Mack and Antonio Douthit

Don Quixote PDD

Kitri: Maria Kochetkova
Basilio: Taras Domitro
Bridesmaids: Skylar Brandt and Emily Kadow


Standouts of the night were Daniel Ulbricht, Veronika Part, Marcelo Gomes, and Maria Kochetkova. I was surprised that Kochetkova showed up since she danced Giselle in St. Petersburg on Jan. 3, danced in Tampa last night, and will dance Masha on Jan. 8 in St. Petersburg!

Another surprise for me personally was the Pas de Duke by Alvin Ailey (music by Duke Ellington). Normally I do not like "modern" dance as much, but this worked for me. I had only seen the Alvin Ailey dancers once before in Revelations and a couple of other pieces when they toured. I knew Alvin Ailey dancers are definitely ballet based dancers, but when I saw Pas de Duke on the program, I thought, "Well, that will not hold my interest," but it did. The Pas de Duke was choreographed as an actual PDD with coda, etc. Some of you might know it. I did not. The dancing was ballet with a very jazzy and fun sassy element to it. What I enjoyed was seeing these two dancers (Alicia Graf Mack and Antonio Douthit) have such fluid upper bodies. This is something I love about Mariinsky dancers, and it was fun to see a similar element (although still very different) in Alvin Ailey dancers. Somehow fluid upper bodies make dancing so much more beautiful for me personally. So I think I will try to catch the Alvin Ailey dancers as often as I can judging from this Pas de Duke. Lovely.

When I saw Hee Seo as Gamzatti at ABT I was not impressed and she had ended her Italian fouettes or maybe some other turn with her back to the audience. But last night either she has vastly improved or my taste has changed, and I thought she was lovely. She also has more fluid arms than many ballerinas outside of the Mariinsky.

Daniel Ulbricht is truly amazing, and I think he really should be a much bigger star than he is. Every time I have seen him I am totally amazed. He could probably give Ivan Vasiliev a run for his money! Luckily, he is from St. Petersburg, FL, so I have had several chances to see him in Florida, because he must still have family and friends down here.

Gomes and Part were gorgeous together. Part was taller than he was on pointe but he had no problem with the lifts. They are both class acts. To me they are both very elegant, classical dancers.

Kochetkova was lovely in the DQ pas de deux. She enjoyed herself and even though she is no spitfire Kitri like Osipova, she does it in her own way and it is very lovely. Her balances and turns were great! This is only my second experience seeing her live (saw her do a Romeo and Juliet balcony scene last year). She is a lovely dancer. Taras Domitro partnered her wonderfully and showed off excellent acrobatics in his variation.

Sorry so short. I did not sleep much last night and just returned home. I just mentioned the highlights (what were the best parts for me). All the dancers were great, but the ones I mentioned stood out for me as a bit better than the ones I did not mention.

By the way, met a fellow Ballet Alert member and we both went to the Meet and Greet afterward and saw Marcelo Gomes and Matthew Golding (maybe the other dancers were there also, but those two are the only ones we noticed b/c it was a big dinner party). For the women (and some men like me) Gomes is gorgeous in street clothes too! Movie star looks!!! Life is so unfair! Sigh.

I saw this camera on a big moving lever type arm constantly going toward the stage and back, so it does look like they indeed videotaped it to show in movies later, and the moderator announced it also, so it looks like it is definitely happening. Even though I enjoyed the show very much, I am not sure it is one that needed to be videotaped for posterity, but I think the moderator said the movie theater version will be mixed with historical footage or something to compare historical dancers with today's and to talk about the Youth America Grand Prix, I suspect.

#19 bart

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:04 PM

Thanks for your report, Birdsall. What did you think of the Bouder-Ulbricht pairing in Flames of Paris? (I'm always curious when NYCB dancers venture outside their usual repertoire.)

#20 Birdsall

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

Thanks for your report, Birdsall. What did you think of the Bouder-Ulbricht pairing in Flames of Paris? (I'm always curious when NYCB dancers venture outside their usual repertoire.)


They both have similar body types, so they matched each other visually. I think he is jaw dropping good, so he really brought the house down. The audience liked her too, but my feeling was that the audience (like me) were more impressed by him.

I am not as familiar with the Flames of Paris (although I do have the Bolshoi dvd of it), so I am not the best judge of how well they actually danced the pas de deux, but it looked just fine to me!

#21 abatt

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:17 PM

Birdsall, thanks for the update. Alicia Graf is amazing. I believe Pas De Duke was originally made for Judith Jamison and Baryshnikov. It has not been revived in recent seasons in NYC, so I'm hoping they do it in New York next season. The Ailey rep can be a very mixed bag of the mediocre and the wonderful, so you do need to pick your programs carefully. I'm glad you were able to see Part and Gomes in SL. I don't think we will ever see them together in that ballet again here in NYC. Part is doomed to be Stearns' partner until Ms. Kent decides to stop dancing SL.

#22 angelica

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 04:16 PM

Birdsall, thank you so much for that information and window into the event. Did you have any thoughts about Stella Abrera? Now that Veronika Part is finally getting the acclaim she deserves, Stella is my most favorite dancer-in-waiting, so to speak.

#23 Birdsall

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

Birdsall, thank you so much for that information and window into the event. Did you have any thoughts about Stella Abrera? Now that Veronika Part is finally getting the acclaim she deserves, Stella is my most favorite dancer-in-waiting, so to speak.


I think she did a fine job as Myrtha. She was stern, and she also danced very well. Her upper body was nice too.

Btw, the show will be in movie theaters on March 31 and April 2....but the host seemed to imply it will include historical and documentary footage interwoven into the whole thing, so the show that ends up in the movies will be slightly different.....not sure if it will contain all of the show I saw or what is going on. The program is as vague about it as the host was! LOL

#24 Birdsall

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:26 PM

Birdsall, thanks for the update. Alicia Graf is amazing. I believe Pas De Duke was originally made for Judith Jamison and Baryshnikov. It has not been revived in recent seasons in NYC, so I'm hoping they do it in New York next season. The Ailey rep can be a very mixed bag of the mediocre and the wonderful, so you do need to pick your programs carefully. I'm glad you were able to see Part and Gomes in SL. I don't think we will ever see them together in that ballet again here in NYC. Part is doomed to be Stearns' partner until Ms. Kent decides to stop dancing SL.


I think the host did announce the Pas de Duke as being made for Jamison and Baryshnikov as you said.

#25 vipa

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:38 PM

Daniel Ulbricht is truly amazing, and I think he really should be a much bigger star than he is. Every time I have seen him I am totally amazed. He could probably give Ivan Vasiliev a run for his money! Luckily, he is from St. Petersburg, FL, so I have had several chances to see him in Florida, because he must still have family and friends down here.


I agree about Ulbricht. Living in NYC I have seen him in many things. It's not only his huge jump and other technical feats but his focus and presentation. He is a great dancer. Unfortunately the NYTimes critic, Alistair Macauley has been IMO stingy in his praise of Ulbricht. I've always suspected it to be a body type thing. Maybe Macauley's assessment will change in time.

#26 Birdsall

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:48 PM


Daniel Ulbricht is truly amazing, and I think he really should be a much bigger star than he is. Every time I have seen him I am totally amazed. He could probably give Ivan Vasiliev a run for his money! Luckily, he is from St. Petersburg, FL, so I have had several chances to see him in Florida, because he must still have family and friends down here.


I agree about Ulbricht. Living in NYC I have seen him in many things. It's not only his huge jump and other technical feats but his focus and presentation. He is a great dancer. Unfortunately the NYTimes critic, Alistair Macauley has been IMO stingy in his praise of Ulbricht. I've always suspected it to be a body type thing. Maybe Macauley's assessment will change in time.


I guess he doesn't have that princely body type like Gomes, but who cares when he is so great?

#27 angelica

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:30 AM


Birdsall, thank you so much for that information and window into the event. Did you have any thoughts about Stella Abrera? Now that Veronika Part is finally getting the acclaim she deserves, Stella is my most favorite dancer-in-waiting, so to speak.


I think she did a fine job as Myrtha. She was stern, and she also danced very well. Her upper body was nice too.

Thank you, Birdsall. I wonder daily what can be done to get this beautiful dancer more recognition.

#28 Natalia

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:50 AM

...Done with the trip. No Koundarova, no trip.


My thought too, cubanmiamiboy. Still, some good USA-based dancers appeared at the gala. I'm sure that Bouder was superb in Flames of Paris. Boylston, Gomes...not bad at all but the 'cache' of having a top ballerina fly-in from Russia (or France, or Denmark, or....) is gone, leaving a feeling of 'meh.'

#29 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:15 PM


...Done with the trip. No Koundarova, no trip.


My thought too, cubanmiamiboy. Still, some good USA-based dancers appeared at the gala. I'm sure that Bouder was superb in Flames of Paris. Boylston, Gomes...not bad at all but the 'cache' of having a top ballerina fly-in from Russia (or France, or Denmark, or....) is gone, leaving a feeling of 'meh.'


And remember, Natasha...I want it so bad as my last taste of the Imperial stage was Skorik...

#30 Natalia

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:16 AM

LOL, cubanmiamiboy! The last thing that you want is to be hit with the Mariinsky's Unholy Triumvirate...also known as 'The SSK' (Somova, Skorik, Kampa).

Even the big NYC-based YAGP Finals Gala is famous for last-minute cancellations. It's always 'pot luck' when one invests in travel/hotel costs for these things...any gala, not just YAGP.


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