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Cinderella


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#31 abatt

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 06:32 AM

I attended last night's performance w. Murphy and Hallberg.  Murphy's execution of the difficult filigree of steps was masterful. It was a  brilliant performance.  The only error was when she came off pointe during the pdd w. Hallberg.  So this technical marvel is human after all.  She did beutifully with the graceful hand and arm movements in the choreography too. Hallberg was an excellent partner and was emotionally engaged with Murphy.  What a pleasure to see his gorgeous dancing back on the Met stage.   It is the only Cinderella that ABT has presented which I look forward to seeing again.  (For the Stevenson and Kudelka productions, I couldn't wait to leave and never return).  It was an enchanting evening.



#32 MarzipanShepherdess

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 07:51 AM

Agree with abatt that last night’s Cinderella was a truly enchanting evening!

 

This was my first time seeing Ashton’s Cinderella and I really enjoyed it.While there were aspects of the Kudelka production I liked (the lovely sets and costumes, the clever way the choreography incorporated Cinderella’s shoeless and then one-shoe plight, the fun sequence of the Prince searching the world for Cinderella), I’m very glad ABT has adopted this one.

 

I found the choreography to be really unique and engaging: all the dynamic changes in the dancing, the pointing, stabbing fingers and feet, the extensive use of props, all the hops.It really held my attention all throughout.None of the choreography felt like filler in between the “big” dances for the principals (as is the case in too many of ABT’s productions!).Some of the choreography was evidently extremely difficult, but I also appreciated that some of it was very under-stated.Particularly the final pas de deux. It was really (and appropriately!) all about the partnership and tender rapport between the two leads, rather than splashy pyrotechnics showing off their individual dancing.

This production is nothing special in terms of sets and costumes, but it does use a really simple stage effect I found quite beautiful: at the beginning of the final scene, the stage is dark and then one by one little lights come on and form a circle.When the stage lights come up you see that the lights are the tips of the Stars’ wands.Lovely!

 

I didn’t feel like all the dancers really “got” the Ashton style, but those who did (fortunately including the lead dancers) shone.Gillian and David were both wonderful; especially Gillian, who executed all the tricky footwork with aplomb.Veronika (as the Fairy Godmother) could have handled some of the tempo changes in her first act solo better, I think, but had some beautiful jumps and of course did all the sweeping arm movements to absolutely gorgeous effect.No one waves a wand like Veronika!;)I love how she uses her arms when she is doing choreography that signals her character is conjuring something (as in the Lilac Fairy role at the end of Act I of Sleeping Beauty): she gives the impression that the air has weight and that she’s shaping it, like she’s building the spell in a way that appears both effortful and completely graceful.

 

Two corps dancers who really stood out to me were Skylar Brandt and Luis Rigoborda.Skylar’s Spring fairy solo was just stunning. She really got the Ashton style (as the other three season soloists who followed definitely did not).Luis, who I can’t recall ever noticing in a featured role before, was excellent in the very tricky Jester role.

 

From a drama perspective, there are certain aspects of this production that aren’t well-done.I (and my companion) both found the bit in Act II where the Prince shares an orange with Cinderella to be confusing.It seems like it’s set up as a significant event, but instead I guess it’s just to provide the stepsisters with a prop to toss around?I also disliked Cinderella’s Act II entrance with a massive cape, which really distracts the focus from the ballerina.

 

One of the aspects of the fairytale that I think is so charming is the transformation of ordinary things like mice and pumpkins and lizards and the ragged dress into extraordinary ones, and this production doesn’t really make much of that at all.Since the transformation scene takes place in some kind of heavenly realm, the pumpkin’s appearance at the end of the scene feels pretty random.I think it was also an odd choice to have the third act open with the Prince and his guests leaving the ball; that part of the story feels like it’s over by that point.

 

Despite some of the dramatic aspects of the production not working so well, I really enjoyed the performance and definitely look forward to seeing this ballet again in future seasons.Very happy this is now part of ABT’s rep.



#33 Josette

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:29 AM

I took all the Royal Academy of Dancing exams including Solo Seal, this last exam which I was told was choreographed In some part by Ashton at that time, and was taught to use epaulement and to bend and use the upper body. I wasn't at the ABT performance on Tuesday, but if Kent was using apaulement and accentuating the shape and flow of the choreography with the use of her torso, head, and eyes, then she danced like an English dancer. I wish Kent did dance like an English dancer.

#34 FauxPas

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 08:58 AM

Several of the reviews on the "Barreflies" site by Laura Jacobs, Leigh Witchel, Robert Johnson et al. mention Ashton's idiosyncratic use of a flexible torso and arm work.  Definitely this was missing from the corps work.  Gillian last night is so technically secure that she could work with her upper body more freely than Julie or the tiny Xiomara.  Also, Gillian understood how to differentiate and articulate the footwork - fast and soft, stabbing or gliding - in her solos.  Suddenly the choreography seemed alive, varied and expressive.  Another redheaded allegro dancer created Ashton's Cinderella - Moira Shearer - and Gillian had the same radiance I imagine Shearer brought to Cinderella last night.  Both the demure Julie Kent and the sweet, hopeful Xiomara Reyes were gentle Cinderellas - Gillian had a winning dash of spunkiness mixed with a dreamy quality.  Veronika certainly looked beautiful and her majestic, expansive style is suited to Fairy Godmother roles.  I could see that she was trying to work in the little direction changes and contrasting quick movements but legato is her thing.  She also isn't a very "bendy" dancer - she tends to be very vertical and work from the center.  David Hallberg is very much the commanding Prince onstage - Ashton suits him well.  I actually thought that Joseph Gorak danced it just as well with a little more lightness and elevation but he doesn't have Hallberg's level of stage authority or secure partnering skills yet.

 

I felt the real drop off in quality was with the two ugly sisters.  Roman Zhurbin was rather taciturnly nasty and oafishly butch as the bossy Helpmann sister.  His alternate Tom Forster was much giddier, foolishly vain and had more fun with it.  Forster was less a guy in a dress than an actor playing a woman.  Ditto Craig Salstein who was just doing a silly fluttery drag queen routine vs. Kenneth Easter who brought out the dim, hopeful but always the loser nature of the Ashton shy sister.  Luis Ribagorda danced the Jester with exciting wildness and was very vivid theatrically - Arron Scott danced it better but with less personality.  The four seasons dancers were by and large better as were the Prince's four male companions.  Much better matched and in sync.  Christine Schevchenko as Summer brought out the sultry lazy accents in her solo and Yuriko Kajiya was more refined than Misty as Autumn.  Skylar Brandt wasn't as technically smooth as Sarah Lane but had more bounding energy and snap.  Melanie Hamrick and April Giangeruso were both great as Winter - Hamrick has more command in her stage presence.



#35 canbelto

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 09:26 AM

I saw both the 6/11 and 6/12 casts. I enjoyed both casts very much. Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg are both technical wunderkinds, and Veronika Part was as always gorgeous as The Fairy Godmother. This is the kind of thing she does so well. But I thought Gorak and Reyes generated more warmth and chemistry. Murphy and Hallberg are both a bit aloof. 

 

I agree with Faux Pas was the huge difference between the sisters. Thomas Forster and Kenneth Easter were so zany, funny, and even endearing that we ended up laughing with them, and not at them. Zhurbin and Salstein were just campy men in drag. I thought Forster and Easter really carried the earlier evening into something magical. Devon Teuscher was also a standout as The Fairy Godmother.



#36 Helene

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Posted 13 June 2014 - 11:53 AM

[Broken record on]

Our policy is that the only links or references to blogs/website articles valid for BA! are to blogs by dance professionals , including established critics. Also, the company forums are for member reviews and comments. "Writings on Ballet" is the forum to discuss reviews and commentary by established critics.

I hope I'm not embarrassing Faux Pas by pointing out a great use of critics, and that is by bringing up the background info discussed by critics -- in this case the use of torso and arms that those unfamiliar with Ashton (or Ashton danced properly) -- and then going on to discuss whether s/he saw this in the performance. Information like this helped me to understand the waist-bend in the Romantic style, for example.

[Broken record off]

#37 Colleen Boresta

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 04:50 AM

I'm off to see Cinderella with Reyes and Gorak. Will post about it in a couple of days.

#38 Mazurka

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 07:02 AM

It was interesting to read that Joseph Gorak danced the Prince because Cory Stearns had an injury and that it was not only a debut for him but also for Devon Teuscher.

 

Marzipan Shepherdess - playbill mentions the fact that oranges (and citrus in general) were delicacies certainly before the 20th century in the non Mediterranean parts of Europe.  Growing up in a communist country (could be called a Soviet colony)  I can tell you they were rarities that appeared until at least the 1970ies for Christmas and Easter only, causing huge lines since they were in short supply.  I would be surprised if this was any different in Moscow or Petersburg.  Prokofiev wrote Cinderella in 1940-44 - the war ended in 45. 

 

I missed it during the ballet, but in the story Cinderella receives the 3 oranges from the Prince as part of ball refreshments and gives two of them to the sisters - thus it is a way to show her kindness.



#39 ivanov

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 09:25 AM

I believe in Agatha Christie's autobiography (or it may have been someone else's memoir) she describes receiving an orange from America and inviting friends over to share it--first they placed it on the kitchen table and looked at it reverently.  From Angela Thirkell's and Barbara Pym's novels you can see that the national obsession with food lasted well into the 1950s--for example, Pym's Jane and Prudence (1953) with its ironic insight "man needs bird" (to eat--not in the Swan Lake sense).  

 

Is Ashton also alluding to the Prokofiev opera The Love for Three Oranges?



#40 cargill

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 11:48 AM

Yes, the music quotes the theme from Love for Three Oranges--Prokofiev was having a little in joke! Mary

#41 California

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 12:05 PM

 

I missed it during the ballet, but in the story Cinderella receives the 3 oranges from the Prince as part of ball refreshments and gives two of them to the sisters - thus it is a way to show her kindness.

It seems the oranges have appeared in several versions of the story, with different import. This 1893 book, Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O'Rushes published by the Folklore Society, can be downloaded for free on PlayGoogle - then search "orange." 

 

https://play.google....AAAAIAAJ&rdot=1



#42 Kaysta

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 04:10 PM

Just got back from the matinee. Agree with others on Reyes/Gorak-they were great. But the two who stood out to me the most were Devon Teuscher (fairy godmother) and Arron Scott as the jester. I had never seen them before and thought they were great.

#43 Barbara

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 05:29 PM

I also very much enjoyed  today's matinee. I especially got a kick out of Tom Forster - he has a very sweet face in real life and actually was a pretty good looking "ugly" step-sister! In fact I'd like to see him in the role of the prince.



#44 bingham

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 05:33 PM

I attended last night's performance w. Murphy and Hallberg.  Murphy's execution of the difficult filigree of steps was masterful. It was a  brilliant performance.  The only error was when she came off pointe during the pdd w. Hallberg.  So this technical marvel is human after all.  She did beutifully with the graceful hand and arm movements in the choreography too. Hallberg was an excellent partner and was emotionally engaged with Murphy.  What a pleasure to see his gorgeous dancing back on the Met stage.   It is the only Cinderella that ABT has presented which I look forward to seeing again.  (For the Stevenson and Kudelka productions, I couldn't wait to leave and never return).  It was an enchanting evening.

Can't wait to see Gillian as Lise in Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee. I hope ABT revives it next season.



#45 abatt

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 07:36 PM

They changed some of the choreography to make it easier for Gorak.  The two changes I noticed were: (1) in the final act instead of bringing Xiomara down the stairs in the overhead lift, they both walked down the stairs and began the overhead lift once they were at stage level and (2) the tricky inverted lift during the ballroom scene was omitted. A lovely performance.




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