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.