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YAGP Gala - Koch Theater, April 10, 2014

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Some participants of YAGP Gala "STARS OF TODAY MEET THE STARS OF TOMORROW"

(April 10, 2014 at 7:00pm) & YAGP 15th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
(April 11, 2014 at 7:00pm) have been announced and box office has opened.
But programs and choreographers are yet to be announced
This year YAGP will present the New York debut of Stuttgart Ballet’s Evan McKie. He will be dancing a pas de duex from Onegin, according to YAGP's Facebook.

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Sergei Filin will be a jury for YAGP finals this year, and also he will be at the curtain for the galas on April 10th and 11th.

Mr. Filin is expected to take a curtain call at the competition’s 15th anniversary gala on April 10 at the David H. Koch Theater, which will feature Olga Smirnova of the Bolshoi and Misty Copeland and other dancers from American Ballet Theater, among the performers. And Mr. Filin is scheduled to answer questions from the stage the following night, before a performance by several prominent dancers, including Sara Mearns of New York City Ballet, Herman Cornejo of the American Ballet Theater, and Alicia Graf Mack of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/a-year-after-acid-attack-bolshoi-director-to-visit-new-york/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

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Here is the full list of the dancers

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1083151/6285ebbcbf/521507637/8c4bf0b241/

"STARS OF TODAY MEET THE STARS OF TOMORROW" GALA
April 10th, 2014 7:00pm
Ashley Bouder (New York City Ballet)
Isabella Boylston* (American Ballet Theatre)
Skylar Brandt* (American Ballet Theatre)
Misty Copeland (American Ballet Theatre)
Marlon Dino (Munich State Opera Ballet)
Joseph Gatti* (Freelance Artist)
Matthew Golding* (The Royal Ballet)
Mathias Heymann* (Paris Opera Ballet)
Lucia Lacarra (Munich State Opera Ballet)
Sarah Lane* (American Ballet Theatre)
Alicia Graf Mack (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre)
Evan McKie (National Ballet of Canada & Stuttgart Ballet)
Lauren Post* (American Ballet Theatre)
Calvin Royal III* (American Ballet Theatre)
Daniil Simkin (American Ballet Theatre)
Cory Stearns* (American Ballet Theatre)
Gabe Stone Shayer* (American Ballet Theatre)
Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Ballet)
Katherine Williams* (American Ballet Theatre)
FEATURING WORLD PREMIERES BY
Emmy-Award Winner Derek Hough of "Dancing with the Stars"
and Gemma Bond of American Ballet Theatre
with Costumes and Design by Ralph Rucci
and Original score by Karen LeFrak
15th ANNIVERSARY CLOSING NIGHT CELEBRATION
April 11th, 2014 7:00pm
Tyler Angle (New York City Ballet)
Fabrice Calmels (Joffrey Ballet)
Seymon Chudin (Bolshoi Ballet)
Herman Cornejo (American Ballet Theatre)
Marlon Dino (Munich State Opera Ballet)
Robert Fairchild (New York City Ballet)
Joseph Gatti* (Freelance Artist)
Maria Kochetkova (San Francisco Ballet)
Lucia Lacarra (Munich State Opera Ballet)
Lauren Lovette* (New York City Ballet)
Joaquin De Luz (New York City Ballet)
Alicia Graf Mack (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater)
Brooklyn Mack* (Washington Ballet)
Evan McKie (National Ballet of Canada & Stuttgart Ballet)
Sara Mearns* (New York City Ballet)
Iana Salenko (Berlin State Opera Ballet)
Daniil Simkin (American Ballet Theatre)
Beckanne Sisk* (Ballet West)
Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi Ballet)
Taylor Stanley* (New York City Ballet)
Daniel Ulbricht (New York City Ballet)
James Whiteside* (American Ballet Theatre)
FEATURING PREMIERES BY
Marco Goeke, Evan McKie, Justin Peck, and Andrea Schermoly
* Denotes YAGP alumni.

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A very high percentage of the performers are from companies based in New York and/or regularly perform here (Kochetkova). I think they used to present more stars from European companies. I wish they would spend less money on hiring choreographers for new works that will immediately fade into oblivion when the curtain falls and spend more on hiring important foreign dancers.

Thrilled to see the Bolshoi's Smirnova on the list of performers. Nobody from the Royal or the Mariinsky?

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I do think this year there's a very high percentage of dancers from ABT and NYCB, although the ticket prices are relatively high...

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Yes, the ticket prices for this, like so many other cultural events, have risen quite a bit over the past few years.

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Evan McKie is choreographing something for this?

 

Yes, It is a pas de deux.

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When I saw so many local dancers listed for the YAGP Galas I wasn't that keen on going but bought tickets anyway. Now YAGP has listed the programs as well as the dancers on their website and I'm so glad I got my tickets because some of the casting sounds fantastic. There is a lot of new choreography both nights but Friday night's combinations are what I'm most looking forward to:

- Lauren Lovette & Herman Cornejo in the Rubies Pas de Deux

- Ashley Bouder & Semyon Chudin in a Pas de Deux from La Sylphide

- Alicia Graf & Daniil Simkin in Pas de Duke - I LOVE the Ailey men but can't wait to see this with a shorthish ballet virtuoso to contrast with the tall Ailey woman!

- Olga Smirnova & Semyon Chudin in Diamonds Pas de Deux - finally live in NY and in the House of Balanchine!

You can see the full lists here: http://www.yagp.org/wordpress/?page_id=2947

And here: http://www.yagp.org/wordpress/?page_id=2984

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- Alicia Graf & Daniil Simkin in Pas de Duke - I LOVE the Ailey men but can't wait to see this with a shorthish ballet virtuoso to contrast with the tall Ailey woman!

and that's what the original version was about.

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Unfortunately, and without explanation, Alicia Graf did not perform. Linda Sims from Ailey danced with Simkin. She is even shorter than Simkin, I can never complain about seeing Sims because she is excellent, but I was disappointed. Simkin handled all the virtuoso tricks much better than the Ailey men, but he lacks any skill in jazz-based movement (which he admitted in a little film clip that preceeded the performance).

The new Gemma Bond work was, in my opinion, a total dud. The gimmick was that dancers were joined together by long pieces of fabric wrapped around them. Couldn't wait for it to end. As noted by rg on another forum, Stearns was replaced.

For me, the highlight of the evening was Smirnova and McKie in a searing performance of the final pdd from Onegin. It was riveting. I definitely would like to see more of both of these incredible dancers.

Forgot to add that during the first half of the performance, Tyler Angle and Sara Mearns danced the pdd from In G Major. It was lovely, but not the best account of the pdd I've seen. It didn't help that the pianist seemed to hurry the dancers in parts.

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I agree that the Sims/Simkin Pas de Duke was a dud. I love Sims, she is actually my favorite in the Jamison role & was wonderful last night but there was no connection between her and Simkin and he looked totally out of place. I was looking forward to seeing him with Graf because that would have brought back the Jamison/Baryshnikov tall woman/short man dynamic. Also, despite the height difference, they are both very long-limbed and their lines looked great together in the publicity photo:http://davidhkochtheater.com/moreinfoYA.html


I also agree that the Smirnova/McKie Onegin pdd was the highlight of the evening - they were smokin! I loved Mathias Haymann in Manfred & Lacarra/Dino in white swan pdd . She's really a bit too swanny for my taste but I still find her interpretation physically gorgeous and emotionally engaging - even out of context.


Most disappointing was the Gatti/Salenko DQ PDD. They were clean, he can jump & she can balance but, really - you'd better be spectacular if you're bringing that to NY again!

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Did anyone go to tonight's show? Awaiting your review(s).

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I went both nights. I'm in the airport headed home and will post soon. I LOVED this so much more than I expected.

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Have a safe and uneventful trip home, and we look forward to hearing about it when you have a chance.

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I thought the highlight was Chudin and Smirnova in Diamonds pdd. Very, very well done. There was a minor partnering error, but the performance overall was beautifully done. I also enjoyed Chudin in the Sylphides excerpt (with Bouder). Chudin's lines were gorgeous, and he was very technically accomplished in his solo work. I thought Bouder was miscast in Sylphides. Surprisingly, the Rubies pdd fell flat - mostly because Herman Cornejo had some obvious, repeated partnering issues. Simkin was much better in Pas De Duke on Friday as compared to Thursday's performance. I have not seen Momix in at least 15 years, so I enjoyed the impressive acrobatic/contortionists skills of the Momix performers in TUU. NOt sure I could withstand an entire evening of Momix though.

The ballets performed by Lucia Lacarra and her partner were not technically challenging, and seemed to go on for too long.

The worst thing on the program was Evan McKie's solo. (Don't have my program, so I forgot the name of the ballet.) Thankfully, at least it was short.

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[Admin beanie on]

We follow copyright rules: only short excerpts may be posted for online publications.

Our discussion forums are for our members to tell us their own impressions. If a critic's work is worth discussing on its own, then the discussion can be opened in the "Writings on Ballet" forum. Reviews from online publications are found in the Links forum, almost always within a day of publication (or two if published in Europe or Asia).

[Admin beanie off]

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I attended both galas and thoroughly enjoyed them. I had only been to the YAGP gala in Tampa last year (the one that was filmed) and never to the ones in NY. Like everyone else, I went to see the big name guests, but I have to say that I found seeing the YAGP kids dance during the opening each night a real treat. The finale of the grand defile the first night was absolutely amazing considering they had 350 dancers to choreograph and very little time to do so.

Both nights they opened with kids from Julliard – very young and very talented - a violinist and a pianist.

One of the performances the first night that REALLY stood out was by about 20 young men (from Monterey, Mexico, I think) – modern dance, totally captivating with some of the most interesting choreography I’ve seen in some time.

Each of the performances was introduced by a short film where the principals talked about what they were going to dance. That really gives you a greater connection with the dancing – I really liked that. Some were better than others, obviously, but all in all, a good idea.

I agree that the first night Pas de Duke with Simkin was a disappointment. It was much improved the second night.

“Being Natasha” world premier – couldn’t wait for it to end. So boring and to waste time interviewing the person who costumed it – REALLY? Leotards with a piece of black fabric tying the dancers together.

Smirnova and McKie so well matched in Onegin, though I found her costume to be a bit overwhelming – it robbed you of seeing how beautifully she dances.

World premier of Ameska – a ballroom style number with Misty Copeland. I thought she was wonderful and so much more suited to this than Gamzatti (the last thing I saw her do).

Lucia Lacarra in white swan – she was magnificent – beautiful line without the foot up by the ear overextension that is so common.

The MOMIX dancers both nights – incredible. I’m all about point shoes and tutus, but these people could bring me around to a different way of thinking.

Salenko and Gatti – good in Don Q, but better in Corsaire the second night, particularly with the added energy in the Pas de Trois from Brooklyn Mack. He’s a little rough around the edges, but makes up in personality and enthusiasm for anything I might find lacking. He did a high flying Gopak solo also that was perfect for him.

Lacarra and Dino in Three Preludes – ZZZZZZZZ – when will it be over. Ditto for Kochetkova and de Luz saddled with an equally boring world premiere of Kubler Ross.

Smirnova/McKie very impressive in a premiere to Richard Strauss vocals and in Diamonds.

Bouder and Chudin – Abatt summed that one up well already.

Beckanne Sisk and Fabrice Calmels in “Light Rain” – not my cup of tea, but well danced and OMG – is he one gorgeous guy.

Worst of the second night – “On Velvet” a premiere danced by Evan McKie – not his fault – it was just awful.

I’ll skip Rubies altogether since I absolutely hate it no matter who is dancing – hate the music, hate the choreography, hate the costumes (calm down, all you Jewels lovers!)

I may have missed a few, but this gives you an idea. This was far from the standard polite, enthusiastic ballet audience. The screaming teenagers in the audience took some getting used to, but it beats the Florida audiences with their whistling hearing aids, burbling oxygen tanks and clunking walkers (wish I were kidding ….)

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Alicia Graf Mack is recovering from spinal surgery that occurred earlier this month (from her Facebook page). That's why she was not at the YAGP gala. Hope she returns soon to the stage.

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Alicia Graf Mack is recovering from spinal surgery that occurred earlier this month (from her Facebook page). That's why she was not at the YAGP gala. Hope she returns soon to the stage.

Yikes -- sending her good wishes for recovery!

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