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The Best & Worst of 2012


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#1 abatt

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 07:29 AM

Since it is the time for year-end lists, I thought people might be interested in this topic.

For me, the bests included:

- The rare visit to New York City of the Paris Opera Ballet. The company has many remarkable artists, and we didn't even get to see all of them on the tour! Let's hope that we don't have to wait another 15 years to see them again here in NYC.

-Wheeldon's DGV. Yes, I know it premiered a few years ago, but it was new to me when it finally came to New York in 2012. Every time I saw it I was able to discern nuances and details in the choreography that I had not previously noticed. I hope this one comes back in the NYCB rep soon. It was very inventive. Kudos to NYCB for staging an All Wheeldon evening. Let' s hope there are many more.

-Sara Mearns in Russian Seasons. In her debut as the girl in red, she danced with absolute abandon. That performance has stayed in my mind for many months.

- ABT. There were so many highs. The magnificent second Swan Lake performance of Hallberg and Semionova. The Gomes-Vishneva Onegins. The Cojocaru-Vasiliev Bayadere. The Corella and Steifel farewells. The Corsaires with Osipova, Vasiliev, Gomes, Cornejo and so on. Too many excellent performances to even mention. Also the new Ratmansky ballet, Symphony No. 9. I can't wait to see it again.

-Emerging Pictures films. These broadcasts of Bolshoi performances are fascinating and give us the opportunity to see world class artists. Keep them coming!

-Olga Smirnova: I've only seen her once live, at the Stars of the 21st Century gala a few months ago. I seen her on video too. This woman seems to have it all. I can't wait to see more of her.

-Legends in Dance Gala honoring Makarova. There were so many great dancers on that stage dancing at full tilt to pay honor to one of the greatest ever.



Worst:

Australian Ballet Swan Lake.
Sylvie Guillem at the Koch Theater
Ratmansky's Firebird.

#2 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:23 AM

Best:

Part/Gomes Bayadere, ABT
Staging of Lichine's Graduation Ball, Ballet Etudes Florida
Ballet Imperial, MCB
Jeanette Delgado's Coppelia, MCB
Moradillo/Carreno's Giselle
Being at the Garnier during Ashton's Fille, POB.
Being able to see the Bolshoi's opening online. Hallberg's Desiree-(not Zakharova's Aurora), BB.

Worst:

Scalet's Viscera
Wheeldon's Liturgy
Tharp's In the Upper Room
Ratmansky's Symphonic Dances

#3 California

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:34 AM

Best:
  • Murphy/Gomes Swan Lake (ABT)
  • Osipova/Hallberg Romeo & Juliet (ABT)
  • Ratmansky Shostakovich Symphony #9 (ABT)
  • Symphony in C (NYCB)
  • Glass Pieces (SFB)
  • Traveling Alone by Amy Seiwert (Colorado Ballet)
Worst:
  • Simkin in Balanchine's Stars & Stripes PdD (ABT-City Center)


#4 PeggyR

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 06:28 PM

[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Best: [/size][/font][/size][/font]
[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Above and beyond anything else, Kondaurova's lush Swan Lake in Berkeley.[/size][/font][/size][/font]
[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Maria Kochetkova's lovely Tatiana, SFB[/size][/font][/size][/font]
[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Gennadi Nedvigin's Lensky, SFB About as close to perfection as you're likely to see.[/size][/font][/size][/font]

[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Worst:[/size][/font][/size][/font]
[font=Helvetica][size=5][font=times new roman,times,serif][size=4]Vanessa Zahorian's bland Tatiana, SFB Technically proficient as always, but beyond that, she just didn't get it.[/size][/font][/size][/font]

#5 miliosr

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 06:02 AM

Best:

1) Paris Opera Ballet (POB) tours the United States after an absence of nearly twenty years. Better still, the programming consisted of dances by choreographers (Bausch, Bejart, Lifar, Petit) whose works are largely unknown to US audiences.

2) POB revived Merce Cunningham's Un jour ou deux for only the third time since its creation for the Opera in 1973. The Opera shows leadership in preserving Cunningham!

3) ABT cast its revival of The Moor's Pavane from strength -- Marcelo Gomes, Cory Stearns, Julie Kent and Veronika Part.

4) Limon Dance Company has survived 40 years since Jose Limon's death.

5) Breaking Pointe

6) Alastair Macauley


Worst:

1) General sense of rudderlessness at ABT. Spackled together principals roster, lackluster productions, throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-if-something-sticks artistic direction, etc., etc. (Time for a change at the top.)

2) Simkin promotion

3) Angel Corella given a shove out the door.

4) Karl Paquette having to perform Don Quixote a dozen times in Paris. Disgraceful and irresponsible on POB management's part.

5) Cunningham repertory already in decline and he hasn't even been gone three years.

6) Antony Tudor repertory on the edge of extinction.

7) Martha Graham Dance Company continued its descent into unwitting, Trocks-like, self-parody.

8) Alastair Macauley

#6 liebs

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 07:56 AM

Best - being alive to see dance
Worst - not seeing more of it

#7 sandik

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 08:52 AM

Best:
6) Alastair Macauley

Worst:
8) Alastair Macauley


As a dance critic, I think I can say that Macauley would be tickled to appear in both categories here!

But I think this entry really gets to the central point...

Best - being alive to see dance
Worst - not seeing more of it



#8 rg

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 09:09 AM

um, can we perhaps post a prominent note that reminds members of the spelling of the surname of the chief dance critic for the NYTimes?
the 'a's have it: ALASTAIR MACAULAY - there are no 'e's in his name, anywhere.

#9 sandik

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

um, can we perhaps post a prominent note that reminds members of the spelling of the surname of the chief dance critic for the NYTimes?
the 'a's have it: ALASTAIR MACAULAY - there are no 'e's in his name, anywhere.


My bad -- I should have checked, instead of copying.

#10 vipa

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 06:06 PM

For me - Best:
Tiler Peck & Joaquin De Luz - Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux
In fact Tiler Peck in anything
Teresa Reichlein - Rubies
Daniel Ulbricht - Tarantella
Cojocaru & Kobborg - Romeo and Juliet
The Moors Pavane - the fact of it as well as the Gomes, Part, Kent, Stern cast.

Worst
Daniil Simkin - Stars & Stripes ppd - his partnering made it hard to watch.
ABT's continued lack of real leadership.

#11 Drew

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 11:01 PM

Best (of my rather limited ballet going):
1)Ashton's Dream at ABT--all three casts, but special mention to Herman Cornejo's Puck,Gillian Murphy's Titania, and (a Titania at a different performance) Julie Kent's magical balance in the final pas de deux -- out of nowhere, not really a balance at all: she just stopped time.
2)Ratmansky's Firebird at ABT--All three casts (minus Copeland due to injury): but special mention to Herman Cornejo's Ivan
3)The Balanchine-Stravinsky Festival program at NYCB w. Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Monumentum/Movements, Duo Concertante, and Symphony in Three Movements--both casts I saw, but special mention to Sterling Hyltin in Symphony in Three Movements and Robert Fairchild in Stravinsky Violin concerto
4)Osipova-Gomez sailing across the stage in perfectly attuned tour jetes in the classical divertissement of Bayadere Act I.
5)Osipova-Hallberg Giselles (Chicago and New York)
6)Cojocaru's Nikiya
7)Twyla Tharp's The Princess and the Goblin with the Atlanta Ballet

Overall, a very fortunate ballet-going year for me and I am leaving several excellent performances off the list because I consider it cheating if one includes everything one liked!

Worst:

1)Missing the Paris Opera Ballet's visit to the U.S.-- though, more precisely, that would be my biggest regret
2)I have seen several movements of Symphony in C and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet at NYCB in better shape and remember a time when, at ABT, the Golden Idol in Bayadere was something of a highlight and the corps, whatever their weaknesses, did not make silly mistakes in the Shades scene.

#12 bookworm68

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 04:22 AM

Best (in no specific order)

1)The Royal Ballet's double bill of Ashton's Dream and Macmillan's Song of the Earth (particularly Edward Watson as the messenger of death and Marianela Nunez's emotional debut as the lead woman)

2) Cojocaru/Kobborg in Romeo and Juliet and La Sylphide

3) Alina Cojocaru's Natayla in Ashton's Month in The Country.

4) Natalia Osipova in The Royal Ballet's Swan Lake

5) Nunez/Acosta in Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee- pure joy!

6) Steven McRae's James and Romeo.

7) David Bintley's Far from the Madding Crowd for Birmingham Royal Ballet

8) Scottish Ballet's A Streetcar Named Desire

9)Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin bringing the house down during the Raymonda Act III Pd2 as part of the Russian Ballet Icons gala.

10)San Francisco Ballet in Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour

11) The Royal Ballet Live Broadcast

Worst

1) Liam Scarlett's Sweet Violets

2) The Revival of Macmillan's Prince of the Pagodas

3) Diana and Actaeon by Liam Scarlett, Will Scarlett and Jonathan Watkins.

4)) Ivan Putrov's Men in Motion programmes.

5) Irina D and Maxim B in Splendid Isolation 3.

#13 Helene

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

The Best

By far the best of all was Thomas Lund's final performances as James in "La Sylphide" and the Teacher in "The Lesson." (With the bonus track of his King Didon in Alexei Ratmansky's "The Golden Cockerel" the night before.) There outpouring of love and respect the company and audience gave him in his final performance as a Solodanser was like something I've never seen before and thought I never would.

Jonathan Porretta as Gamache -- like Johnny Depp, only more beautiful, and an extraordinary balance of vanity, humor, and hysteria -- and Sancho Panza to Otto Neubert's Don Quixote in Alexei Ratmansky's "Don Quixote," about as opposite a pair of characters as it comes, and each one of them a combination of pathos and humor.

Carrie Imler as Kitri in Ratmansky's "Don Quixote." To say that she was born for the role is an understatement, but then, when she dances Lilac Fairy, I feel the same way. She was light and charming, which, combined with her characteristic technical command was a joy. As icing on the cake, she was an innkeeper's daughter: as much as she loved Basilio, she had a head on her affectionate shoulders, and if Basilio's friends thought they were going to get a lifetime of free haircuts, they had another thing coming.

Leta Biasucci as Swanhilde in Balanchine's "Coppelia." It's always great to see a young dancer take the reins and excel, but it's whole other level when he or she owns a part, filling it with detail, nuance, and expert dramatic arc as Biasucci did last June.

Lucien Postlewaite and Seth Orza, back-to-back in "Apollo." Postlewaite's was exquisitely fine-tuned and musical, and in it, Orza's was the most dynamically and musically alive I've seen him.

Lucien Postlewaite's performances in the PNB season-ender Encores program. In Pas de Deux from "Prodigal Son" with Laura Gilbreath, he reprised the role in which he burst to prominence years before as an injury replacement. In the film excerpt from "Cylindrical Shadows" he was a member of the ensemble in a co-commission with his husband, Olivier Wevers', company Whim W'him. In Maillot's "Romeo et Juliette" "Balcony Pas de Deux," he danced with long-time partner and friend, Kaori Nakamura. Nakamura and he didn't perform this work with each other until an injury to Postlewaite's partner, Carla Korbes, caused them to pair up in the PDD in the "Love Stories" program in Fall 2011, but both then and in this final performance, they showed us what we had missed. Korbes had been too injured to perform Terpsichore when "Apollo" was performed last April, but in she danced with Postlewaite as if they had performed the roles together their entire lives. There was Boal's discovery at 14, as Terpsichore to his Apollo, dancing with a man at the beginning of his prime on his way to new adventures in Europe. The whole evening was verklempt-making.

Bruce Wells' "Snow White" for students at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. The choreography and story-telling were top-notch, with opportunities for dancers across a wide range of ages and expertise and roles that made the leads look like stars.

The March 2012 triple bill. "Cylindrical Shadows" didn't transfer from the smaller Intiman Theatre to the McCaw Hall main stage, but Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz, with their long lines and ability to express drama through movement in the heart-breaking central pas de deux was breathtaking. David Dawson's "A Million Kisses to My Skin" was like a crucible: not every dancer found it energizing, but for the majority that did, the wattage that projected from that stage could have lit up Seattle Center for a week. Victor Quijada's "Mating Theory" was not ballet, and although I enjoyed the movement vocabulary, what I found so great about the work were the clarity with which the social relationships were portrayed and how they evolved and morphed from one section to the other. Peter Boal considered a contemporary, non-traditional version of "Giselle" a few years ago, and I think Quijada gave it to him last season, through the prism of Robbins' "The Cage." It's as if Quijada took it one step further and asked, "What would happen if Giselle out-Myrtha'd Myrtha instead of dying?" and Rachel Foster answered that question in a tour de force performance.

Ballet Arizona in "Episodes."

The deepening partnerships of Tzu-Chia Huang and Astrit Zejnati and Natalia Magnicaballi and Ilir Shtylla.

The La Scala Ballet DVD of the reconstructed "Raymonda."


The Worst:

Thomas Lund retiring. But it's the best news for the students of the Royal Danish Ballet School.

Lucien Postlewaite leaving for Monte Carlo. But it's the best news for Les Ballets de Monte Carlo's audiences.

Not being able to get to NYC to see Paris Opera Ballet or California to see the Mariinsky Ballet.

#14 trieste

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:51 PM

Best:

1. POB and ABT here in Chicago! Osipova, Hallberg, Part, Gillot, Dupont!
2. Watching Olga Smirnova's rise thanks to Youtube. She is remarkable. Shapran too, though there was less documentation of her -- hopefully this will change.
3. Victoria Jaiani in the Arabian dance from the Joffrey's Nutcracker.


Worst:

1. Not getting to see more dance.
2. Unjutified promotions.
3. The ladies of the corps in the Joffrey Nutcracker... (Though the gentlemen were dashing and capable.)
4. The Joffrey's lackluster hometown programming in general. I'm too young and broke to travel to see everything I'd like, so it would be nice if my city's big company gave me more reasons to support them.

#15 MakarovaFan

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 04:46 AM

Best:

Olga Smirnova's debut in Diamonds (Jewels). A great young ballerina blossoming before our eyes.

Natalia Osipova's Gamzatti in ABT's La Bayadere.

David Hallberg's and Herman Corenjo's Romeo and Mercutio in ABT's R&J.

And a special shout out to the Ballet Alert meet up at ABT's La Bayadere with Part/Gomes/Osipova. It was wonderful to meet cubanmiamiboy, canbelto and so many other friends that evening.


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