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Don Quixote - Spring 2014 MET Season

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I think ABT would do better if it didn't insist on its marathon block programming. 8 Don Quixotes is a lot even for the most hard-core Don Quixote fan. Mixing the programming (4 days of Don Q's, 4 days of Coppelia, with maybe one or both returning later in the season) would give balletomanes less burnout. The thing about ABT is it's never gotten over its touring company structure. When company's pop into town for a week, they'll bring one ballet, and maybe a mixed bill. ABT plans its Met seasons like they are one big tour gig.

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I think ABT would do better if it didn't insist on its marathon block programming. 8 Don Quixotes is a lot even for the most hard-core Don Quixote fan. Mixing the programming (4 days of Don Q's, 4 days of Coppelia, with maybe one or both returning later in the season) would give balletomanes less burnout. The thing about ABT is it's never gotten over its touring company structure. When company's pop into town for a week, they'll bring one ballet, and maybe a mixed bill. ABT plans its Met seasons like they are one big tour gig.

Part of this programming may have to do with the backstage logistics -- loading in a large, set-heavy work like a Sleeping Beauty or a Don Quixote takes a chunk of tech hours -- setting it up and taking it down in order to set it up and take it down again later in the season would be more costly.

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the hanging and leaving in place multi-act stage production settings is definitely cost-cutting.

to hang, strike and re-hang such productions would take many more hours of stagehand labor.

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As I already mentioned, I was at the May 17th matinee performance of Don Q. It was very entertaining. I don't think anything can live up to my memories of last year's Don Q with Osipova and Vasiliev, but on Saturday afternoon there is magnificent dancing to be found from the entire company.

ABT soloist Isabella Boylston is a high-spirited Kitri. She stands out for her soaring leaps and lightning fast turns. Boylston is a very musical dancer. In the fan solo during the Act III grand pas she plays delightfully with the tempo of the music. Her fouettes at the end of the grand pas are very well executed. Boylston does travel a bit, but she alternates between very secure single and double turns. My only complaint she about Boylston's performance is that she does not hold her balances during the grand pas. All five times she looks as though she is going to attempt the balances then thinks better of it. I can't forget Natalia Osipova's balances in Don Q. They went on for so long that it was as though time stood still.

Daniil Simkin is a spellbinding Basilio. As a dancer he is a model of ebullient virtuosity. His high flying leaps with amazingly soft landings, his spins and turns - all are outstanding. In the coda of the Act III grand pas

Simkin's revoltades stop the show. Revoltades are turns where one leg flips over the other in midair. Simkin performs these easily and effortlessly. For the most part Simkin's partnering skills are fine. He does have a bit of trouble with the two one-handed lifts over the head in Act I. Both lifts are quite wobbly. Simkin is also a fine comic actor and his miming is spot on.

Other dancers stand out as well. Sascha Radetsky performs the role of Espada, the matador, with precision and Spanish flair. Stella Abrera shines in the dual role of Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads. Abrera dances Mercedes with a sultry steaminess but her Queen of the Dryads is a model of classic elegance. Abrera's Italian fouettes in the vision scene are flawlessly executed.

As the foppish Gamache Craig Salstein shows his comic genius. He does so many entertaining bits of stage business that it's hard for me to focus on the dancing (unless it's being performed by the two main couples). Gemma Bond's Amour impresses with her sparkling footwork and lovely light leap. Arron Scott is an exciting and high flying Gypsy King. In my opinion Scott's promotion to soloist is long overdue. I also hope that Isabella Boylston becomes a principal at ABT soon.

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the following from ABT, today May 20:
<<

Please note the following cast changes for performances of the repertory program:
In Ga�t� Parisienne on Tuesday, May 20, the principals will be HEE SEO, MARCELO GOMES and CRAIG SALSTEIN
In Theme & Variations at the Wednesday matinee, May 21, the principals will be SARAH LANE and DANIIL SIMKIN.

>>

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I attended at 5/16's and 5/17's evening shows. I really enjoyed both performances, but especially 5/17 evening !! That was magic.

5/16 Paloma Herrera and Ivan Vasiliev

Paloma Herrera was still most charming as Kitri! When she appeared, she stole the stage. Her balance keeps were very well, andjumps were sharp and high.
Ivan Vasiliev gave very high and tricky jumps(ex. suddenly opened his legs in the air).That was worth seeing.
In solos, he showed off himself thrillingly. The audience applauded loudly to him.

However, I did not find love between them not at all. It's the most disappointing point in this performance.
Also Vasiliev slowed in his pirouette in last solo in Act Ⅲ, it fizzled out in the end.
But as a exhibition of ballet-techniques, that night was very enjoyable.

5/17 Polina Semionova and Marcelo Gomes

I think everyone who watched Marcelo and Polina dance that night would smile widely and feel happiness.
Polina was filled with the joy to dance with her brilliant, reliable and dedicated partner. Her technique was superb and seemed that she was at the top of her game.

Marcelo really seems to love showing off Polina,so she tried to hand him the huge bouquet in their curtaincalls with her heartfelt gratitude, it was supremely convincing.
(He was surprised at it and give back it to her with laugh)

Marcelo's dancing and acting were totally perfect. Though he seems to be somehow moderate in the forest scene, he entirely controlled his power and his power grew more and more through the production.
His "One hand lifts" was absolutely incredible!! These were the most wonderful lifts I've ever seen. He looked like lifting a little bouquet, not a ballerina. He lifted her highly with his one arm, and his the other arm dangled at his side. It lasted for a long time.
His multiple manage, beautiful fouette and turns were also so gorgeous.

He command entire stage and paid attention to soloists and corps de ballet. Of course, to Polina, most passionately.

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I anybody has comments from Friday evening's Herrera/Vasiliev performance, I'd love to read since I had to leave NYC on Thursday. Last year he lifted Osipova with one arm, did a low arabesque, and then went up on releve! Curious if he is doing this trick with other partners and in general how he is working with different partners? Thank you in advance!

On Friday w. Herrera, Vasiliev lifted her one one arm and did a low arabesque, but he did not go up on releve, based on what I recall.

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