I flew to NY from Seattle on Memorial Day specifically to see the Vasipova duo Tuesday evening. I felt like my $110 seat in row L of the orchestra was a bargain. Having seen this pair separately in person, and together only on video, it was a special treat for me to see them together live.
Despite everyone else's criticism, Natalia still has a lightness and brevity and could take big risks jumping into her husband's arms. I saw small details from both such as his phrasing of a simple grand verse in Act I and her pique attitude half turn at the sides of the stage in Act III.
I saw Natalia connect with many of the dancers and she danced the Kitri variation that the artistic director allowed. It is not the ultimate decision of the dancers what steps they do. Also I think the ABT audience needs to remember that some dancers are travelling globally and have a very short time to rehearse in the NY. Also in the States have much less rehearsal time than Europe. This means there is less time to clean up details. Also, this pair also was spending time rehearsing the new Ratmansky. The artistic staff should be held accountable for much of the final product, not the dancers.
Also I wonder if the pair was pressured to do the same past variations caught on video when maybe they weren't up to it that night. Whoever said Ivan is not musical and jumped the conductors cue in Act III needs to watch the Mikhailovsky webcast from July, because there he does the first repetition in silence as well. And if you didn't know, the dancers can see the conductor from stage so they coordinate their timing.
I was excited to see Sarah Lane and Misty Copeland in features roles. I'm glad Misty pulled off all the Italian fouettes. She seemed tentative and cautious at the beginning of the variation. The previous article explains why and it's a real testament to her determination that she is dancing such difficult pieces so soon after that surgery.
It's been a week since the show but I still wanted to provide another point of view. You cannot deny that the Vasipova duo put more than 100% effort into their performances. Ivan did about six attitude turns, each a bit slower, and by the end he was off balance and fighting (and won) to finish the intended steps. Another featured dancer (who I won't name) didn't even look like he was trying - even doing a simple assemble and then striking a pose.
My final memory is the very long curtain call that Natalia and Ivan gave. They probably really wanted to get some water and get cleaned up. They generously walked over to stage right as well, to provide photo opportunities and thank the other side of the house.
If they ever dance Don Q, or anything else together in NY again, I'd buy a ticket in a heartbeat. Can't wait to see how their dancing evolves as they move to London...
Don Quixote -- Spring 2013 MET Season
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