Natalia

ABT's Spring Season at Kennedy Center-DC

37 posts in this topic

Went to today's (Sat.) matinee of DON Q, my only performance of the run. Decent crowd but far from sold out. I guess that folks are out enjoying the finally-warmish weather?

There was lots to love in today's DQ, not least of all the individual dancing of both leads, Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin. Individually, they were extraordinary. Alas, together, they are an odd pairing. Not that they imploded -- Simkin held Boylston high in two one-handed high lifts in A1 -- but, crudely stated, they look like Cougar and her Baby Cub. And not just due to their sizes (he diminutive and she a bit taller and large-boned). Either of the afternoon's Flower Girls, Sarah Lane or Luciana Paris, would have been a better 'fit' as a Kitri for Simkin...and both danced their A3 solos magnificently...as did Boylston, who is surely ready for Principal status. But, oh, not to be paired again with Baby Cub, please!!!.

The big surprise of the matinee - my loudest 'bravos!' - went to the Gypsy Leader, who almost stole the show: Zhiyao Zhang. Wowee - zowee! Where did he come from...JKO School? THAT was World Class from Zhiyao Zhang. ABT may have lost Joseph Phillips...but welcome, Zhiyao Zhang!

Conductor Ormsby Wilkins could only do so much with that orchestra...as if the KC Opera House Orch has never played the score of DQ before? Good grief.

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Thank you Natalia for your review. It is much appreciated. Oddly I have never thought of Isabella Boylston as large boned. She is about 5' 5" (guessing), but I always think of her as having a smallish frame.

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You're right, vrsfanatic. Isabella is definitely slender & 'mid-height' - not tiny, not an amazon - but, when standing next to 'baby cub,' her ribcage seems twice as big as his. I do not get this feeling at all when she is dancing with, say, Gomes or other taller/bigger male principals.

Somehow it didn't bother me so much when I saw the two of them in Swan Lake at the Met a couple of years ago. It really struck me as odd today, with the very bright lights of DQ. I'd love to see BOTH of these great artists with more appropriate partners.

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I also went to today's matinee at the Kennedy Center.

I don't have the technical knowledge that most posters here have, as I just saw my first full ballet last October. This was my first ABT performance, and I was blown away by the leads. I thought both Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin were extraordinary. I haven't seen many dancers (only the PA Ballet) but Simkin's turns and jumps took my breath away. I didn't really notice a size issue between the two, but my seats were in the rear orchestra, so maybe I was too far away to notice.

I liked Misty Copeland as the Queen of the Dryads better than her Mercedes, and I thought Gemma Bond was good as Amour. Unlike Natalia, I wasn't as impressed with the first flower girl solo in act 3 , it looked a bit clumsy to me, but again, I don't have much technical knowledge, so what do I know.

I get to see DQ again on the 14th in NY with Part and Whiteside. I look forward to seeing who will dance Mercedes and Espada and hope it's someone different so I can compare the two performances with different dancers. I think Boylston and Simkin will be hard to beat.

Being a newly obsessed ballet nut is awesome, as everything is so new and exciting. Can't wait for the Met season to start!

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I attended the matinee performance today of Don Q and must admit to feeling underwhelmed. The ballet was frothy, colorful, and fun, but Simkin's partnering of Boylston was not especially graceful. He's best with the solo dances, and, to my eyes, Bolyston lacked power and attack. Her back seems somewhat inflexible and her upper body lacked polish. I wanted to see the Thursday night cast (Murphy & Gomes) but simply couldn't make the date. Perhaps that accounts for some of my disappointment today. Sarah Lane and Gemma Bond gave strong performances, and Misty Copeland seems very popular indeed.

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Thank you Kaysta. I for one love input from anyone with little technical knowledge. I can't not look at things as a former dancer and love to hear opinions from newer audience members. Please keep posting.

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I attended the matinee performance today of Don Q and must admit to feeling underwhelmed. The ballet was frothy, colorful, and fun, but Simkin's partnering of Boylston was not especially graceful. He's best with the solo dances, and, to my eyes, Bolyston lacked power and attack. Her back seems somewhat inflexible and her upper body lacked polish. I wanted to see the Thursday night cast (Murphy & Gomes) but simply couldn't make the date. Perhaps that accounts for some of my disappointment today. Sarah Lane and Gemma Bond gave strong performances, and Misty Copeland seems very popular indeed.

I won't disagree (even though I thought that this was overall the best ballet performance that I've seen this season). On several occasions, Boylston was slightly slower than everyone else, which I found distracting. Couldn't ask for anything better than $35 orchestra seats (it is surprisingly cheaper to attend the ABT performances than the Washington Ballet performances)..

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Here's a bio (from ABT web) on the amazing Mr. Zhang, who joined ABT less than a year ago and bowled us over as the Gypsy soloist in yesterday afternoon's DON Q at the KennCen. Pretty impressive resume in ballet competitions!

http://www.abt.org/dancers/detail.asp?Dancer_ID=282

By the way, did I mention that yesterday's matinee audience accorded a very loud and long standing-o to ABT and to Boylston/Simkin? That's what happened in Orchestra section. I also should mention the technical wonders of the leads...Boylston's spot-on 32 fouettes in the PDD coda (alternating singles and doubles) or Simkin's 'endless pirouettes' and 'double rivoltades'! I hope that both of them get to dance with (to me) more appropriately-sized partners later on in the season.

I think that Boylston will dance with Whiteside and/or Muntagirov at the Met (Giselle?) and Simkin will dance with Reyes or Lane (Coppelia?). I may be scheduling trips to the Met this summer.

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I finished off (and perhaps finished my ballet viewing at the Kennedy Center :( ) with the Sunday matinee. Some spectacular stuff from Herrara and Vasiliev, though in the first act they seemed a little uncomfortable with the lifts

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By the way, did I mention that yesterday's matinee audience accorded a very loud and long standing-o to ABT and to Boylston/Simkin? That's what happened in Orchestra section. I also should mention the technical wonders of the leads...Boylston's spot-on 32 fouettes in the PDD coda (alternating singles and doubles) or Simkin's 'endless pirouettes' and 'double rivoltades'! I hope that both of them get to dance with (to me) more appropriately-sized partners later on in the season.

Simkin was also stellar as Puck in Wednesday's The Dream.

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I saw the Saturday afternoon performance of Don Q with Isabella Boylston ad Kitri and Daniil Simkin as Basilio. They both danced with high energy and lots of youthful exuberance, which servers this ballet very well. It was easy to see why Mr. Simkin has a large international following as there seems to be no technical feat that he can't handle with great control and polish. Ms. Boylston has gorgeous legs and feet and a slender build, in addition to great musicality which she used to play around with the music a couple of times in the ballet. Not surprising that Ms. Boylston was invited to perform with the Mariinsky ballet earlier this month. Both she and Mr. Simkin are budding world-class young artists who will just keep growing. Even the partnering was done well and I did not notice any mistakes. Misty Copeland danced Mercedes and Queen of Dryads, and Jared Mathews was Espada. Mr. Mathews has improved greatly in the past two years, and his Espada was danced very well. Sarah Lane and Luciana Paris were flower girls. I disagree with the comment that was made earlier that either of the flower girls would be a better match partner for Mr. Simkin. Although Ms. Lane is petite and slender she is not as slender as Ms. Boylston, and my impression was that both flower girls seemed more mature than the very youthful Mr. Simkin. Gemma Bond was Amour and Craig Salstein was Gamache. Mr. Salstein added a lot of comic flair to his character. All the dancing was great, with it needs to be in this ballet, since in my opinion the level and quality of the dancing is what determines if you see a great Don Q. Ms. Simkin and Ms. Boylston were clearly the stars of the afternoon, well deserving of the standing ovation that they received, and I hope Ms. Boylston is promoted to principal soon.

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So I saw a picture of Boylston and Simkin standing next to each other on Gillian Murphy's twitter, and they are about the same height, however when Ms. Boylston is on point, she is taller than Simkin. I guess I was so enthralled with their dancing that I didn't notice the size difference!

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