Wendy Whelan in Chaconne
Posted 16 June 2001 - 11:44 PM
I've praised a number of performances this season, so I hope it's clear that I mean this as praise of an altogether higher order. An extraordinary performance...(The evening as a whole, by the by, also included Peter Boal's equally remarkable performance in Square Dance. Should I add that up until about an hour and a half before the performance, I had pretty much decided not to go? Where's Alexandra's "Chinese gentleman" when you need him?! Fortunately, I changed my mind.)
[ 06-17-2001: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posted 17 June 2001 - 04:32 PM
Alas, I only wish I could have the experience with the female role in Square Dance. Please let me see Somogyi in that role someday!
[ 06-17-2001: Message edited by: AmandaNYC ]
Posted 17 June 2001 - 04:50 PM
Sigh. Two hundred miles away, I have to take it on faith and bless the good fortune that enabled some of you to see her.
Posted 17 June 2001 - 07:50 PM
If there's one NYCB dancer who can consistly astonish me, it's Whelan. I've learned never to underestimate her, or sell her short. I remember when I first started watching her, she was so unusual and unlike any other dancer I'd ever seen, it took me awhile to get a handle on what she is all about. Obviously leotard ballets. And while she's good in allegro parts, she's not the killer allegro dancer one might think she'd be given her amazing musculature.
It was when I saw her dance Spring in The Four Seasons, a role of hers I hadn't been looking forward to with much eagerness, that I realized she's a great lyrical adagio dancer -- one of the greatest I've seen. It's worth a trip to Midsummer Night's Dream just to see her dance the Divertimento in the second act. And as far as I'm concerned she owns Dewdrop, but that's a tutu of a different color...
Having said all this, I've always had a bit of a problem with Whelan in Farrell's roles, and that goes back to Whelan's amazing physique, which is about as different from Farrell's as one can imagine. Farrell's lushness came, in a sense, from her center, the softness and strength of her hips and thighs. Whelan's lushness is in her extremeties -- the sweep of her magnificently long arms and legs. I think this is one reason her dancing in Chaconne, 2nd movement of Symphony in C or Diamonds never really clicked for me the way it did in so many other roles.
However, I have infinite faith in Whelan's abilities, and I'm not at all surprised to read that she appears to have taken her Chaconne to a new level. I'm only sorry I missed it.
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