ord7916

La Bayadere

85 posts in this topic

My review of the Friday Bayadere. Forgive me for writing a novel about the show, but being concise is not my strong suit!

It's no secret that as a leading international ballet company ABT it at a crossroads. Many have complained about ABT not showing inspired performances as of late, but for an organization criticized for having insufficient coaching, endless guest artists, and overlooked dancers, American Ballet Theatre came together as a company tonight in front a packed house at the MET. This performance was in most respects a triumph. La Bayadere, a ballet with its hokey plot and shallow characters, is often as good or bad as its dancers. And on Friday, the ballet received rich characterizations by three memorable leads.

As Nikiya, Diana Vishneva gives one of those rare performances which has the audience riveted within the first ten seconds. As the veil was lifted to reveal Nikiya in the opening scene, Vishneva had this intensity and mystery in her eyes that was unlike anything I had seen before. Part of Vishneva's mastery of Nikiya is that she takes the character to different extremes than one would expect: her emotions are never presented as stereotypes of the character. Beginning as a modest temple dancer Act I, Vishneva gradually peels off the layers of her character throughout the act, revealing a certain eroticism in her first pas with Solor, a strong will in rejecting the advances of the High Brahmin, and a killer instinct in fighting with Gamzatti. Even as the audience knows the plot, Vishneva as Nikiya seems not to; rather she creates the story, Nikiya's story, right before our eyes. The harem pant solo showcased lush cambres and a palpable despair for a life without Solor, and Vishneva's expressive arms and hands were used to full effect here.

As human as Vishneva is in the first act, she becomes an ethereal, ghostly spirit in the second act. Where Vishneva began the ballet with a human connection to the dancers, she enters the Shades scene detached from everything around her, hardly ever looking at Solor. I had never thought of Shades as being eerie, but Vishneva's aura in this scene was haunting. She suddenly becomes something out of a dark dream, a spirit with no relation to anything.

Vishneva was perhaps faced with her biggest test technically in Shades, as she has dropped several of her major classical roles in the past few years. Where Vishneva's technique may have degraded in certain respects due to age--loss of extension in her arabesque, a lower jump--she is always able to take your eyes away from her shortcomings. Even in the first promenade to the arabesque balance, she didn't have a high arabesque, but the way she elongated the balance to enhance her ghostliness was thrilling. Both the first pas and the scarf pas were taken at extremely slow tempi, but Vishneva had the presence and technique to pull it off. For those who want to know about the pirouettes in the scarf pas: the first double to the right was shaky, but the other two were strong; in fact, her double to the left appeared the most comfortable. She finished the coda off with an aggressive, if not especially high, manege of tour jetes and a thrilling series of soutenus with tremendous speed.

Marcelo Gomes is a Solor for the ages. In this ballet he has it all: technical strength, exemplary partnering, and a masculine, imposing presence. As with Vishneva, he knows how to captivate an audience right from the entrance. His love for Nikiya could not have been more evident, but Gomes's relationship to Murphy's Gamzatti was just as fascinating. As opposed to many Solors who have a very black-and-white relationship with Gamzatti and Nikiya, Gomes fully acknowledged Gamzatti's beauty, while maintaining the sense that he could never love Gamzatti like he loves Nikiya. The sheer desperation evoked when the Rajah informs him that he must marry Gamzatti was riveting, and this came full circle after the Shades scene when Solor sees Gamzatti again. As Muprhy walked closer to Gomes, it was as if the energy of his entire body drew away from her.

Technically he showed an excellent, if not especially ambitious, variation in act one. There could have been more delineated beats in the double cabrioles, but the turns in second were finely executed as was the manege. Somehow, Gomes's dancing grew even stronger through to the second act. He had this frenetic energy in the opium scene which made the audience believe him to be in a drug-induced state. In Shades, his gorgeous sprawling grand jetes made the MET stage appear too small. The ending coda featured an even stronger set of a la seconde turns than in the first act, following with a manege of five double saut de basques, preferring those to the double assembles done by most Solors.

Evident in this performance is that Gomes, a dancer who has shown tremendous work throughout the years, is in the prime of his career. Technically the goods are still there, his partnering is exemplary, but into his thirties his artistry and interpretations have become so rich: every gesture, every arm, every entrance and exit is worth more than ever before.

Gillian Murphy was the least remarkable of the three leads, but nonetheless her performance was great by any standard. Her fight scene with Nikiya was spectacular: Vishneva and Murphy had a fascinating dynamic because Gamzatti showed how clearly she was above Nikiya. But in spite of her initial haughtiness, Murphys Gamzatti becomes desperate very quickly, practically flinging herself onto Nikiya when begging her to give up Solor. In the wedding scene Murphy was overshadowed somewhat by Gomes's star power and Vishneva's solo; there was a bit of tension in her shoulders and neck during the variation and not the glamor that she could have exuded. However, Murphy was very strong in the third act solo, showing tremendous turns and a clear dramatic sense of losing Solor.

Shades corps was a mixed bag. A special shout out should be given to Gemma Bond for leading the shades so professionally. The ABT shades have rather low arabesques, with the exception of the third shade who had a gorgeous arabesque you might see out of the Mariinsky shades, but a poor sense of timing when it came to following the arabesques of the first two ladies. Overall in spite of some bobbles throughout the adagio, it was quite a decent effort for 24 dancers of different training backgrounds.

The three soloist shades (Sarah Lane, Devon Teuscher, Misty Copeland) also showed this lack of uniformity in style, hugely apparent during the waltz. The variations went from best to worst. Lane was gorgeous, with her pirouettes finishing with smooth developpes right on the music. Devon Teuscher was a bit tentative in the opening of the second variation, with a couple pirouettes not finishing on top, but she has a wonderfully straight back and a certain serenity in this scene. Copeland fumbled an arabesque and her opening cabrioles lacked amplitude.

Craig Salstein was a decent Bronze Idol, but quite diminished in quality relative to an Angel Corella in the role (of what I have seen on youtube, anyway).

Share this post


Link to post

It is really too bad that Marcelo's performances has not been filmed for posterity.

Share this post


Link to post

Here is my more detailed review of Saturday matinee performance of La Bayadere. Veronika Part is a dancer born to play the part of Nikiya. She is a wonderfully lyrical performer with glorious extensions. Her beautifully pliant upper body clearly shows Nikiya's despair when Solor becomes engaged to Gamzatti. Part's Nikiya is an innocent young girl. Her love for Solor is her whole world and she cannot understand the machinations of the High Brahmin, the Radjah and Gamzatti. In the Kingdom of the Shades Part shows off her powerfully high grand jetes. She is the perfect vessel for Ludwig MInkus' score. I have only one small quibble with Part's performance. Her turns at the end of Act II lack speed.

Having seen Part dance Nikiya in the past (with Marcelo Gomes) I was expecting a great performance from her. This is my first timeme however, seeing James Whiteside in a leading role in a full length ballet. His Solor is a revelation. Whiteside stands out for his soaring leaps with the softest of landings. His double barrel air assemble turns are spot on. Whiteside's Solor truly loves Nikiya but he is a man of the world. He knows a lowly temple dancer can never marry a noble of the warrior class. That being said, Nikiya's death brings Solor to the edge of misery. After he has seen Nikiya in the Kingdom of the Shades, Whiteside's Solor knows that he will never willingly marry Gamzatti. Fortunately the gods are on Nikiya and Solor's side (the side of true love) and as already mentioned at the end of La Bayadere Nikiya and Solor are reunited in the afterworld.

As magnificently as Part and Whiteside dance separately, magic occurs when they dance together. Whiteside is a wonderfully attentive partner and the chemistry between Part and Whiteside is palpable. As much as I loved the chemistry between Part and Gomes, I now look forward to seeing Part and Whiteside perform together for many years.

Stella Abrera delivers a marvelous characterization of Gamzatti, the Radjah's daughter. She is a haughty beauty who has learned much about treachery and deceit from her father. Abrera's Gamzatti really loves Solor and she believes this gives her the right to do anything to win him. Overall Abrera's dancing is strong though she does fall off pointe at the end of the betrothal ceremony.

Thomas Forster's High Brahmin needs more work. I miss Victor Barbee's flesh and blood portrayal of the role. Grant DeLong is a powerful Radjah who radiates command and authority. Joseph Gorak is the best Bronze Idol I have seen since Herman Cornejo. The Bronze Idol dances a brief but incredibly difficult solo which involves speeding up and braking at a breakneck pace. I don't think Gorak is yet up to the level of Angel Corella or Cornejo, but he's close. I don't understand why Gorak has not been promoted to soloist.

No review of La Bayadere would be complete without mention of the female corps de ballet in Act II. I doubt that there is any more beautiful sight in classical ballet than the moment when the Shades float down the ramp in the moonlight, their leg stretched out behind in arabesque position. I see one or two tiny bobbles once the Shades reach the stage, but they do not detract from the magic. Overall the corps arabesque are well timed and in sync.

Share this post


Link to post

It is really too bad that Marcelo's performances has not been filmed for posterity.

I totally agree with bingham.

His technique, emotional expressiveness, and the magical chemistry with ballerinas are a big legacy of ballet world.

Why, why ABT won't publish his performances to DVD??

I saw Gomes & Vishneva's "La Bayadere" in Tokyo in 2012. That was beyond words... absolutely perfect.

There were many famous ballet dancers among the audiences -- Vladimir Malakhov, Manuel legris, Patrick de Bana, and so on, because "World Ballet Festival" that gathered whole world's top ballet dancers was held in Tokyo at that time.

Marcelo seemed to be so excited and enthusiastic to dance with Vishneva while such great dancers gazed.

He exploded many incredible big jumps without any landing noise and showed other many breathtaking tour de force. The partnering ,especially in shadow scene was absolutely smooth and lyrical.

All audiences were fascinated and there were many curtain calls. That was so memorable and should be recorded.

Share this post


Link to post

mimsyb you've said that the May 24th evening performance was "perfection" and "simply stunning" but I'd love to read a more complete review (when you have time of course). I would also like to read about the May 26th evening performance. Obviously I can't go to every performance but reading about them is the next best thing.

Share this post


Link to post

Good as done, Colleen

La Bayadere: Monday May 26, 2014: Semionova, Shklyarov, Seo, Barbee

First of all, Polina Semionova, a technically proficient dancer who has at times failed to engage me as an interpreter, is a glorious Nikiya. She actually combines the best qualities of both Vishneva and Part in this ballet. She has the sinuous flexible back and fluid arms of Vishneva. Her epaulement is simply ravishing and we know she has no problem with pointe work and multiple unsupported pirouettes and such. Like Diana, Polina also gives a passionate, full-blooded dramatic interpretation to the role of Nikiya in the first act. Like Part, Semionova has long limbs with high extensions, a strong jump and a sense of amplitude in her movements. Like both Part and Vishneva she is a beautiful woman and is facially expressive in this role.

Vladimir Shklyarov had an eventful, accident prone debut in the first act. He came on with a light bounding jump and very clear mime. He is physically well-matched with Semionova and their first pas de deux went well. Then came the Garden Betrothal Grand Pas... He came on well but there was a section where the two sets of pas de quatre ballerinas in the pas d'action are bourreeing towards the wings and back and Solor has to cross from downstage right to center stage. Shklyarov anticipated the cross and just ignored the ballerina in front of him and banged straight into her. She nearly fell and he did fall but they both instantaneously righted themselves and went on. I chalk this up to nerves and lack of onstage rehearsal (Shklyarov did dance the Shades scene in the dress rehearsal last Friday). Then he launched into his solo which has feather light batterie and high arched jumps. However, he had one bad landing nearly toppling forward. The audience didn't care and gave him a huge hand. In the "Shades" scene Shklyarov put the pedal to the metal to make up for his previous mishaps. He was adding extra spins and his jeté has wonderful ballon. However, he seemed to be off the music - he would do a bunch of bravura steps and then there would be extra music playing while he walked around or just stood there before doing his series of tours. Marcelo and Whiteside both danced the steps right on the music with no gaps. The last act went very well.

Hee Seo who is a soft, not especially technically brilliant dancer had a very good showing as Gamzatti. She has a beautiful stage face and was surprisingly steely in a delicate iron butterfly way. In the Garden Scene she performed quite fine Italian fouettes and ended with a series of solid, unspectacular but clean single fouettes and finished without a mishap. The last act was danced well - Makarova's solo for Gamzatti is quite congenial for many ballerinas. The movements look good and seem very danceable.

The rest of the cast was the same as the opening night - Sarah Lane (excellent), Misty Copeland (nailed her solo unlike opening night where she fell off pointe) and Devon Teuscher were the Three Shades. Victor Barbee was a tormented, imposing Brahmin. Alexandre Hammoudi looked very picturesque with his jeweled feathered turban as the Rajah Dugamanta. Craig Salstein did a wonderful clean fast rendition of the Golden Idol solo (done as a divertissement in the Second Act in the Russian versions).

There were many extra curtain calls and Polina had an ardent fan who threw her three or four bouquets from the auditorium which Shklarov gallantly scooped up and presented to her. For a Monday night it had a very gala tone and lots of enthusiasm.

Share this post


Link to post

Wonderful review Faux Pas. Thank you for writing it so quickly. I saw Hee Seo as Gamzatti in 2010. It was one of her best roles. Sorry to heart about Shklyarov's problems. As you said I'm sure lack of rehearsal time and nerves had a lot to do with it.

Share this post


Link to post

I was at the Monday night performance too and mostly concur with Faux Pas. Semionova was absolutely phenomenal and does indeed combine the best qualities of Vishneva and Part (whom I love dearly). Shklyarov obviously suffered from the lack of rehearsal time. The ballerina he collided with in Act I was Christine Shevchenko (a real standout in the corps, btw).

I loved Shklyarov sense of style and think that - with more rehearsal time and more experience with ABT productions - he could be a very valuable addition were he to perform here on the permanent basis. Especially considering how depleted the male part of the troupe currently is.

Share this post


Link to post

Olga Smirnova (Bolshoi) will debut tonight in La Bayadère with Vadim Muntagirov and Hee Seo as Gamzatti. This could be a great chance for many New Yorkers to get a first look at this remarkable young artist and it could be a great performance overall.



http://www.abt.org/calendar.aspx?startdate=5/1/2014



(thanks to Amelia at Balletco for this reminder)



Edited: Hee Seo portrays Gamzatti, not Myrta.

Share this post


Link to post

Living in Staten Island I can't get into Manhattan for tonight's La Bayadere. But I have heard so many great things about Olga S. I hoping those of you who attend tonight's evening performance will post about it.

Share this post


Link to post

Buddy..I think you had a "bad girl exchange"...("..Seo as Myrta"..) :-)

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, Cristian. No, it's indeed Hee Seo who will probably dance Gamzatti (and not Myrta). Vadim is doing Solor.

By the way, Hee Seo danced Giselle at this year's Mariinsky Festival. After my complete deflation because of Olga Esina having to cancel out, having seen very little of Hee Seo before I was very pleasantly surprised with how beautifully she did. Her dancing was great and her sense of poetic drama was exceptional. Hopefully this will be equally apparent tonight.

Added:

Eek ! Correction made to correction. Heo Seo will probably dance Gamzatti. Am I starting to get it right.

Added Added:

With Hee Seo's depth of interpretation, Cristian, it could be a lot more than a "bad girl exchange." Like Simone Messmer did several years ago, this could be a Gamzatti of many sublime dimensions.

Share this post


Link to post

Myrta is from Giselle. Hee Seo is dancing Gamzatti in Bayadere tonight. That was cubanmiamiboy's point.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, abatt. And now would anyone like directions on how to get to Lincoln Center. First you go left or maybe it's right and then....

Share this post


Link to post

Curious to know how Murphy and Nedak were last night. Did anyone see them?

Share this post


Link to post

I attended the Wednesday 5/29 performance.

Smirnova's Nikiya justified all the praise: it was technically pristine, dramatically well-thought, and seamless. Her epaulement, in particular, is gorgeous...and why hasn't anyone written about her great jump? She adjusted her projection and musicality a bit during the first act, gaining full focus when Muntagirov first came on stage--perhaps helped by seeing a familiar face.

Given that she shares so much of Vishneva's control and dramatic intelligence, it will be interesting to see if Smirnova acquires Vishneva's projection and exciting ability to discard a bit of her poise at times. To go too limp and accelerate too fast. (Excitement really only entered the game during a set of blazingly fast turns in her solo Shades variations.) But when you consider that Smirnova was dancing on one of the most intimidatingly huge stages in the world in a foreign country with a relatively new partner in an unfamiliar company's production and under four years of professional stage time...

Given what I had read, I was expecting Muntagirov to be a soulless technician. But I think he's more than that. Excellent technique and very solid partnering with simple, clear mime. In time, his Solor characterization may not become memorable, but it will at least be believable. Not everyone can be Gomes. [Pauses to pull out desk drawer. Briefly gazes misty-eyed at black-and-white press photo of a Brazilian dancer. Closes drawer.]

Seo executed Gamzatti's technical demands calmly, if not exuberantly. But I'm not in love with any of ABT's Gamzattis. Their interpretations--or maybe the artistic staff's--are just a grab bag of camp vamp, spoiled rich kid, and ordinary girl. It's dramatically better to just pitch the character as EITHER a flat villain OR an innocent unexpectly handed a love triangle. The one time when Seo went whole-heartedly villain, stalking toward Solor in his chamber after the Shades scene, things got interesting. (FWIW, I vote for "innocent princess": Gamzatti tries to bribe Nikiya to forestall her father killing her, then is attacked with a knife for her pains. Also, it makes Solor seem less wimpy.)

Roman Zhurbin was a good High Brahmin. Arron Scott's Bronze Idol performance was clean and charged at times with real excitement: good acceleration and phrasing. Devon Teuscher's technical command and musicality made watching the Second Shade a pleasure, for once.

The corps were turban-ridden and hard to differentiate, but Luciana Paris, Brittany DeGrofft, Cassandra Trenary, and one of warrior men looked special. (Aside: I haven't seen Marian Butler and Leann Underwood this season. I hope they're back for Giselle.)

Share this post


Link to post

I attended the Wednesday 5/29 performance.

Smirnova's Nikiya justified all the praise: it was technically pristine, dramatically well-thought, and seamless. Her epaulement, in particular, is gorgeous...and why hasn't anyone written about her great jump? She adjusted her projection and musicality a bit during the first act, gaining full focus when Muntagirov first came on stage--perhaps helped by seeing a familiar face.

Given that she shares so much of Vishneva's control and dramatic intelligence, it will be interesting to see if Smirnova acquires Vishneva's projection and exciting ability to discard a bit of her poise at times. To go too limp and accelerate too fast. (Excitement really only entered the game during a set of blazingly fast turns in her solo Shades variations.) But when you consider that Smirnova was dancing on one of the most intimidatingly huge stages in the world in a foreign country with a relatively new partner in an unfamiliar company's production and under four years of professional stage time...

Given what I had read, I was expecting Muntagirov to be a soulless technician. But I think he's more than that. Excellent technique and very solid partnering with simple, clear mime. In time, his Solor characterization may not become memorable, but it will at least be believable. Not everyone can be Gomes. [Pauses to pull out desk drawer. Briefly gazes misty-eyed at black-and-white press photo of a Brazilian dancer. Closes drawer.]

Seo executed Gamzatti's technical demands calmly, if not exuberantly. But I'm not in love with any of ABT's Gamzattis. Their interpretations--or maybe the artistic staff's--are just a grab bag of camp vamp, spoiled rich kid, and ordinary girl. It's dramatically better to just pitch the character as EITHER a flat villain OR an innocent unexpectly handed a love triangle. The one time when Seo went whole-heartedly villain, stalking toward Solor in his chamber after the Shades scene, things got interesting. (FWIW, I vote for "innocent princess": Gamzatti tries to bribe Nikiya to forestall her father killing her, then is attacked with a knife for her pains. Also, it makes Solor seem less wimpy.)

Roman Zhurbin was a good High Brahmin. Arron Scott's Bronze Idol performance was clean and charged at times with real excitement: good acceleration and phrasing. Devon Teuscher's technical command and musicality made watching the Second Shade a pleasure, for once.

The corps were turban-ridden and hard to differentiate, but Luciana Paris, Brittany DeGrofft, Cassandra Trenary, and one of warrior men looked special. (Aside: I haven't seen Marian Butler and Leann Underwood this season. I hope they're back for Giselle.)

Well, I guess we see different things on any given night. While I would agree with you about Muntagirov (fine, not exceptional) in every aspect, I thought Smirnova and her performance was DOA. I never once felt any connection between her and Solar, either as a human or as a Shade. She never looked at him, acknowledged him, and seemingly didn't even know he was there. And he was most clearly there, in every respect. Technically secure and his acting and fine looks all served him well. She on the other hand, while technically OK, had a small list of "what's going on here"? While her extensions are fine (she's Russian; they all have great extensions. It's how they're trained), her shoulders and especially her neck showed a great amount of tension and stiffness. Her musical phrasing was astonishingly off; sometimes early by several beats (wait, wait), or often late even. If one is early in the music one better be doing something very interesting out there! Her port de bras came not out of any idea of story telling, but rather the idea that "here I do this arm, there I do that one". Nothing ever extended beyond the fingers. (and sometimes didn't even reach down to them!). The steps were all "done", but unlike say, Cojocaru who uses the "steps" to convey longing, anguish, joy, confusion, love, you name it, here the steps were merely steps. Little connective tissue . (here again is where both Cojocaru and Vishneva excel.). I found Smirnova cold, uninteresting. I didn't believe her story for a minute. Her feet also were a problem for me. Not especially pretty, she didn't even attempt to articulate any of the foot work, almost as if she didn't want anyone to notice her not so pretty feet. Cojocaru is also known for perhaps not the most perfect feet, but she in contrast doesn't run from that fact, but embraces it all and uses her feet to extend her character. Never have I held my breath so much as when she rolls through her foot into that gorgeous arabesque in the last scene of Act I. This alone tells of her anguish over Solar and her circumstance. She can break my heart with that one move! My heart stayed most certainly intact from last evening's performance, alas. On another note, while the corps was a tad erratic, Devon Teuscher's second Shade variation was quite pleasing. As was Skylar Brandt as the first Shade variation. I always like Yuriko, very secure. I have always wished she could learn and concur her battu work more cleanly and clearly. Maybe someone in Houston can show her how it's done. (but then few of ABT's women really can do an exceptional entrechachat, or six with the possible exception of Stella and Nicole Graniero). So, last night I saw something very different than many in the audience, although I did hear a few grumbles around me. When one starts looking at the old guys playing the Temple "staff", then something is clearly not right.

On to Tereshkina!

Share this post


Link to post

Interesting to read such different views on the same performance. That's one of the things that makes this site so good. Also, I just wanted to add, choriamb that I think Stella Abrera's portrayal of Gamzatti is a particularly good one. I agree with you with regard to Hee Seo and the spoiled rich girl characterization. But Abrera goes way beyond that (in my opinion anyway).

Share this post


Link to post

I would second mimsyb's opinion about lack of connection between Smirnova and Muntagirov in yesterday's performance. They were rather detached and did not convey the passion of their love story. Both demonstrated clean, sold technique but no real spark. Surprisingly, Hee Seo - not the strongest dancer! - was able to convey her Gamzatti's feelings better than Smirnova, with all her undeniable prowess.

P. S. Vishneva and Semionova are Nikyas for ages.....

Share this post


Link to post

I was there last night too. I thought Smirnova's dancing was lovely and technically assured, but her portrayal was dramatically somewhat inert. I can't really blame her for lack of chmeistry for Muntigirov. When you have two dancers who barely know one another and have never danced together, how can you expect the kind of relationship that sizzles, like a Vishneva/Gomes pairing? Muntigirov was much, much better than the last time I saw him at ABT two years ago. This was not a Bayadere for the ages, but it was certainly at least very good. Considering that Smirnova is only 22 years old, I would say she has immense talent and promise. I would happily see her again at the Met or elsewhere.

Share this post


Link to post

I attended last night. I also attended Friday night with Vishneva/Gomes/Murphy.

Friday night was total magic. Last night was not, but there were many beautiful moments. I thought Smirnova was lovely. Her Nikiya was still a work in progress, but I was thrilled that she came to the Met and I would love to see her again. I had only seen her dance once before - at the 2012 Stars of the 21st Century Gala.

Muntagirov was the surprise for me last night. This is the first time I had seen him dance and I read the mixed reviews about him in the past, but he was really great last night. He was dynamic in his solos and he partnered Smirnova very well. There was not the Diana/Marcelo passion of Friday night.

Hee Seo acted the part of the spoiled princess but her dancing was not up to the standards of Murphy or Osipova (who danced Gamzatti two years ago).

I am going back tonight for Tereshkina/Shklyarov/Boylston.

Share this post


Link to post

OK, but if you have two people who barely know each other, as professionals and artists, they should be able to get past that and deliver a performance that is, if not sizzling, than is at least compatible. It's called "acting". Dancers tell a story, both with their technique and their expressiveness. This is not a year end recital. It's the Met. Or maybe this also goes to the degree of all the hiring of guest artists in the first place. Maybe too much odd pairing is going on. If the hiring is to continue (which given the current state of affairs seems to be the way), than why not bring two artists who actually dance together year round to the Met. At least that way, they will have said hello before they step on the stage. I don't need "one for the ages" every single night, but as an ardent and frequent ballet goer and one who spends excellent money for seats, I do expect a bit more from visiting artists than just the steps done to music. I expect it from our local dancers also. As I said. It's the Met. It's ABT.

Share this post


Link to post

I must agree with Mimsy. This was an extremely low-wattage pairing for Bayadere, which is really all about passion and passion thwarted. Although I thought both Olga and Vadim were very elegant dancers, there was little or no emotional conviction behind the steps. He, in particular, was expressionless throughout; if you told me he was jet-lagged, I'd believe you. His manege in the Shades act had a great finish, but until then it was on autopilot. Oddly, their mutual lack of...what was the term used above...sizzle--made them seem like a well-matched couple, since neither outdid the other, neither injected their roles with "that little something extra," and both gave very fluid, if detached, performances.

Share this post


Link to post

Again would agree with "mimsyb". Dancers tell a story - regardless of their placement within the company (guest artist vs. permanent member of the company). Drama was missing (for me) in yesterday's performance despite of all the technical abilities of two - undoubtedly - talented artists.

I am also going back tonight for Tereshkina/Shklyarov/Boylston. Will be interesting to compare two pairs of guest artists to see whether there is an issue of "guesting", or individual performers' abilities.

Share this post


Link to post

That was an issue with the guesting that someone here brought up a few years back. The guests don't have the rapport and camaraderie with the corps and soloists like the "home" principals have. You can tell when Gomes or Murphy acknowledges the other dancers that it is genuine. When you fly someone in for 72 hours to do a ballet, you can't get the same product. It's called a company for a reason!

Share this post


Link to post