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Swan Lake-Spring 2014

241 posts in this topic

I guess jumping onto a mattress (or something like it) is not quite the same thing as jumping into a man's strong arms! ;)

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Those of you looking forward to Cojocaru/Cornejo next week in SL might want to look at this short video clip, just sent out by Kobborg:

http://instagram.com/p/pe-rriKdMO/#

Marcelo, ever the gentleman, posted this still yesterday: http://instagram.com/p/pelZwhiuaX/#

So cute. Thank you for posting. I will be at that performance. I do hope it's Cornejo - Hallberg replaced him in Giselle

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Mid-performance casting change at tonight's Swan Lake: Murphy was injured at some point during Act II but danced the act to completion (quite strongly, it seemed). After a long intermission, it was announced that she was injured and that Hee Seo would be dancing in her place for the remainder of the performance. After more waiting, Act III commenced and Seo had the whole audience rooting for her. I'll write a more detailed review later. Best wishes to Murphy for a speedy recovery.

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News flash. Murphy injured herself during Act II, but she finished the act. She had a mis-step during the coda of Act II and you could hear her foot slam into the floor. After a loooong intermission, there was an announcement from the stage that Hee Seo would dance the remainder of the balet due to Murphy's injury. After the passage of another 10 minutes, Act III began. I 've never seen Hee in SL. I liked her adagio, but her Act III technique was not strong. Her best technical feat during that act was an unsupported balance held for a good few seconds. She clearly is not a spinner. For those who came to see Murphy's legendary quadruple spins while flapping her swan arms, this was a huge disappointment. Gomes was great. He even got applause when he jumped into the lake - it was like a perfect Olympic dive.

So assuming Murphy can't perform the Dream, what are they going to do? I have my doubts that Kent can get through one Dream, much less two. Besides, she doesn't dance with Hallberg unless there is a televised Kennedy Center appearance at stake. Will they expect Reyes to do 2 or 3 instead of one Dream? An emergency import from another company? Stay tuned.

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Wow. Best wishes to Murphy for a fast recovery. And kudos to Seo for stepping in. I can't imagine.

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Someone would purchase a ticket to Swan Lake specifically to see the ballerina do quadruple turns with flapping "swan arms?" Brava to Ms. Seo for stepping in to dance this ballet in an emergency situation.

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gosh, I thought the smoldering chemistry and tension between Seo and Gomes made it all worth it - the way they brought their faces together in the heat of the moment and the passion in their eyes. You could tell that Marcelo brought out all the stops to make this performance one to remember. And Seo rose to the occasion to fill big shoes.

Best wishes to Gillian who has had a less than ideal season injury-wise! Speedy recovery!

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With the switch in casting, tonight's performance may not have been a dramatically satisfying one, but it provided an opportunity to reflect on what vastly different dancers bring to the table. Murphy has softened her Odette considerably over the past 10 years, and she has clearly made an effort to be much more expressive. She has, in particular, managed to work on her swan arms to great effect. I'm afraid, however, that I am never quite convinced that she truly inhabits the role of Odette. Whereas someone like Vishneva luxuriates in every phrase (perhaps a bit too much sometimes), Murphy is at the other end of the spectrum; her dancing has a clipped quality when she's not consciously trying to be soft and expressive. And, unfortunately, it can be a little too clear when she is trying to be soft and expressive. I wish she could simply become lost in the moment, but I suppose that's something you can't learn. Don't get me wrong--her dancing tonight was lovely, and she always used her formidable technique in service of the role. However, without the prospect of seeing her as Odile, Murphy's emotional/dramatic shortcomings as Odette became all the more clear. I usually try to see Murphy every other year or so in Swan Lake, and tonight made me realize that I've mostly been going to see her black swan.

It felt like a breath of fresh air to see Seo's sensuous Odile. Her expressive arms, flexible back, and beautiful arabesques were an interesting contrast to Murphy. I suspect Seo truly stepped into the role at the last minute, with little preparation, and the audience was really behind her. The adagio with Gomes was absolutely gorgeous -- one of the most memorable I've ever seen. The balance mentioned by abatt was truly impressive and (for me) unexpected. I've rarely seen an ABT ballerina try to hold that balance for very long. The fouettes traveled a lot and ended a bit early, but the audience was very forgiving. Who knows what else Seo has been up to today, and her own Swan Lake is still five days away. An enormous bravo to Marcelo for his magnificent partnering. He made it feel like an exciting, off-the-cuff pas de deux (which it was!), and he supported Seo in every way. Brava to Seo for stepping in several days before she was prepared to dance this role. I've often been in the "too much, too soon" camp when it comes to Seo, but I'm convinced she has something special, and I'm willing to wait for the technique to catch up to her. All dancers can work on their technique, but that undefinable "it factor"--for lack of a better term--can't be learnt, it seems.

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Gomes was great. He even got applause when he jumped into the lake - it was like a perfect Olympic dive.

So assuming Murphy can't perform the Dream, what are they going to do? I have my doubts that Kent can get through one Dream, much less two. Besides, she doesn't dance with Hallberg unless there is a televised Kennedy Center appearance at stake. Will they expect Reyes to do 2 or 3 instead of one Dream? An emergency import from another company? Stay tuned.

I'm one of those who find an overly spectacular suicide dive at end of the ballet is -- though admittedly kind of fun on its own terms -- a mood-killer. People applauding makes it worse.

Very sorry to learn of Murphy's injury! Hope she gets well in time for "The Dream." If she does not, then I should think, they might ask Cojocaru who has danced it with the Royal and who could then, as it were, return the favor to Hallberg for stepping into Giselle. if I were in NY I would be deeply disappointed to miss Murphy as Titania (one of her best roles) but still just delighted to see Cojocaru have a chance to dance it with ABT.

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oh also wanted to mention that Joey Gorak looked the best he's ever looked tonight. It's really been a ground-breaking season for him and he finally looks completely confident, happy, and with great presence on stage. Really vying for that well-deserved promotion.

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oh also wanted to mention that Joey Gorak looked the best he's ever looked tonight. It's really been a ground-breaking season for him and he finally looks completely confident, happy, and with great presence on stage. Really vying for that well-deserved promotion.

Yes! The peasant pas to trois was light, incredibly musical and just about flawless. Kajiya and Lane were lovely. Gorak has been such a joy to watch this season. He's already a soloist (with huge principal potential) in all of our eyes.

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Oh Gillian! Hee Seo will never fill your shoes! You are not just the sum of your fouettes! Unfortunately the sum of Hee Seo's pretty poses does not add up to more than the parts.

Yes they should do something with the ending though Marcello looks splendid jumping in - it just devolves into pure kitch.

Why not try a happy ending?

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I have had serious reservations about Hee Seo - very much in the "too much, too soon" camp but she was absolutely stunning in the adagio sections last night. What a gorgeous body, breathtaking line, flowing dancing. A great, evocative portrayal of a seductive Odile and a poignent Odette. That balance she took was just unbelievable - I haven't seen one like that since Cynthia Gregory, though her characterization of Odile was more along the lines of Makarova's charming seductress. Unfortunately, as others have described, her technical deficiencies became glaringly apparent as soon as she began the black Swan solo.

I'm very sorry Murphy was injured however I think this may be the last time I go to see her Swan Lake. She is simply not a natural adagio dancer. You can tell that she's been working on it, she has improved greatly but I still find her Odette lacking and unmoving, and that's 2/3 of the show.

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It was great that Hee Seo stepped into the role on short notice and that the audience was behind her, but that's really not an excuse for the glaring deficiencies in her technique. Of course, the other way to look at it is that she was doing Act III on fresh legs, so she should have been stronger for this Act III than normal. (There was a good half hour or more between the time that the curtain came down on Act II and rose for Act III for warm up and mental focus for Hee Seo backstage. ) She did very well with the adagio, and is a lovely adagio dancer.

Whereas someone like Boylston needs improvement in port de bras and posture, you always know that the basic tools of technique are already there and very, very strong. The stage charisma and port de bras can improve with time and good coaching. Now is the time, ABT, to teach Boylston these skills. With Hee Seo, I never get the sense that the basic tools of technique are strong, and I'm not sure that she can acquire those skills if she has not done so by this stage of the game.

For me, Hee Seo divides opinions in the same way as Veronika Part, except that Part is a stellar, gorgeous adagio dancer with tons of charisma and dramatic skill.

I hope Murphy can make it back for Titania.

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I hope Murphy can make it back for Titania.

I do too, but if not, I second Drew's suggestion to get Alina Cojocaru to fill in!

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oh also wanted to mention that Joey Gorak looked the best he's ever looked tonight. It's really been a ground-breaking season for him and he finally looks completely confident, happy, and with great presence on stage. Really vying for that well-deserved promotion.

I agree this is how he looked in Act I, but in Act III he was having some real problems with the "Danse du corps de ballet et des nains" (in this version a trio with the same two girls from Act I). He seemed to just be blanking on the choreography, and with the girls circling around him he looked overwhelmed. At one point he forgot which one he was supposed to be lifting and had to spin back around -- too late.

Otherwise, though, it has indeed been a fantastic season for him. It's exciting to be watching the rise of what promises to be an exceptional career. I'm excited to see him next Saturday as Franz.

Act III last night was indeed quite eventful. Between the botched trumpet fanfare (the sound of a sad and angry elephant), the onstage "horn players" forgetting to raise their fake instruments to their mouths, Gorak's flub in the trio, Arron Scott dancing half a beat behind the music in his "unison" Neapolitan with Craig Salstein, and Hee Seo's fouettes threatening to take her straight down into the orchestra pit -- the whole production looked quite ragged! It should make for an interesting Times review. But don't they say a rough opening night makes for a good run? Something like that?

In the middle of it all, Hee Seo danced what I agree was one of the most beautiful first movements of a Black Swan pdd that I've seen. For those 6 or 7 minutes we were truly in a different world.

I agree with nysusan's assessment completely, about both Hee and Gillian. Regarding abatt's comments: I'm inclined to agree about Hee's technical deficiencies, based on past performances (as Aurora and Gamzatti, in particular). But we should remember that we have no idea where she was or what she'd been doing when she got that call at 8:30 last night to rush in and dance Acts III and IV. It seems unfair to involve this particular performance in our judgment. I'll be curious to hear how she does on Saturday night. And given her many gifts as an adagio dancer, I'm still holding out hope for a late blossoming of technical security in the coming years (a la Veronika Part).

It did seem painfully ironic, though, being shown Gillian's Act II and Hee's Act III -- exactly the opposite of what might be a perfect split-cast evening!

Jared Matthews danced a very strong Rothbart. It's unfortunate that we're losing him just as he seems to be really coming into his own as a more dynamic and confident artist.

Devon Teuscher and Stella Abrera were the two swans. Stella seemed to be phoning it in. (Can't really blame her, I guess.)

Misty Copeland, Luciana Paris, Nicole Graniero and Skylar Brandt danced a very clean "Cygnettes" variation, with the exception of those same four bars in the second half of the piece where our ABT dancers always fall behind the beat. I really wish they could be drilled harder on that part.

Speaking of the beat, one thing that perhaps most bothers me about this production, among its many flaws, is how often there are jarring shifts in tempo right in the middle of a piece -- shifts that have no musical justification whatsoever.

And another thing (waving a drink and slurring my speech): the sort of prancing / running-in-place thing that the corps does during the B section of the "Danse des coupes" (while raising their arms and then dropping them to their waists) -- I see this sort of step (with variations of arm movement) in the corps (often peasant) dancing of every Kevin McKenzie ballet. It was there last week in Giselle. I don't remember ever seeing this particular type of movement in other stagings. It looks so silly! I'm calling it "the Kevin McKenzie Special" from now on.

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I'm assuming McKenzie gets paid a royalty every time SL is performed at ABT because the program lists him as the choreographer, even though a lot of it is directly from Petipa. He's laughing all the way to the bank, while fantastic dancers leave the company because there is no money for promotions. .

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I will, grudgingly, admit there were moments I liked. Hee does not have that uniform beauty of each line that for an example Marcello has it in spades.

I sometimes wonder if Marcello's attention to perfection in every move has something to do with his training in Paris - I mean the culture of movement

in the 18 and 19th century costumes true to period has survived in French theater,as it did in the rest of Europe as well, so perhaps it is also more pronounced in the

ballet - although I have never seen the Paris Opera ballet. When he gets up from the desk to dance with Manon he has that melting 18th century poise.

Maybe they could make Von Rothbart go jump in the lake and Odette and Siegfried could walk into enternity a la Cinderella and her Prince a week ago ;-).

Was the music off yesterday? I found it lacking.

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I look forward to reports of Saturday evening's performance because I think that will be the true indicator of Seo's current technical ability. I do absolutely think it is possible for dancers to grow technically, even at later stages of their careers, and Seo is still near the beginning of hers. I agree that the more traditional trajectory has been for a dancer to begin with prodigious technique (Murphy, Herrera) and to work over the years at becoming softer and more lyrical. Murphy has clearly done better than Herrera in that department, though perhaps the tragic, adagio roles will never quite be the ideal fit for her. I think she is absolutely stunning, though, in roles like Sylvia, Gamzatti, and Titiania, just to name a few.

If you had told me ten years ago, when I first saw Part in Swan Lake, that she would one day whip off an entire series of double fouettes (in Corsaire), I wouldn't have believed you. Who knows where Seo will go from here, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility that she could develop a more secure technique. She's not the first ABT ballerina to have a catastrophic Rose Adagio or to travel like crazy in her fouettes. I look forward to seeing how she develops over the next few years, and if there is really no advancement in her technique, then yes, it will be problematic.

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Casting changes on the ABT website

Gomes is replacing Hallberg on the Wed evening SL. We're getting a Semionova Gomes SL on Wed evening. YEAH!!

Radetsky replaced by Jared as Purple Rothbart for tomorrow's matinee.

Any theories on why Hallberg is out of Wed evening's show? My guess is they are rehearsing him with a new partner for Dream, but that is mere speculation.

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Gomes to the rescue yet again... he deserves a huge bonus and a vacation in St. Tropez.

Casting changes on the ABT website

Gomes is replacing Hallberg on the Wed evening SL. We're getting a Semionova Gomes SL on Wed evening. YEAH!!

Radetsky replaced by Jared as Purple Rothbart for tomorrow's matinee.

Any theories on why Hallberg is out of Wed evening's show? My guess is they are rehearsing him with a new partner for Dream, but that is mere speculation.

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Definitely. I'd contribute to a crowd fund for a Gomes St. Tropez holiday. He is ABT's MVP.

Radetsky was replaced in Giselle, and now replaced as Purple Rothbart. Hope he can dance at his farewell Coppelia next week.

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Whoa. I feel like I should be shot for complaining, but tomorrow was my only chance to see Hallberg dance this season. He probably needs a break after dancing a second last minute Giselle on Saturday. But, to see Gomes dance again......well, twist my arm!

Regarding Seo, I agree that she definitely has her weaknesses and I think she was promoted to principal too soon, but it's unfair to critique her dancing on Monday given the circumstances. As nanushka said we have no clue where Seo was or what she was doing before she got the urgent call to go on. I imagine she was already in theatre, but 30 minutes isn't nearly enough prep time - and that 30 minutes wasn't just for her to warm up, but to get her hair/make-up done and get dressed. I think she deserves nothing but praise for Monday. Yes, she's a professional and a principal, but stepping into a performance half-way through is a tough one and thankfully that doesn't happen that often. And, luckily Gomes was dancing - who better to help anyone get through a tough situation (including helping Murphy to finish Act II).

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