Helene

Spring 2015: Swan Lake

262 posts in this topic

I think it has been a foregone conclusion for several years now that Gorak will be made principal at ABT - it's just a question of when. As long as he keeps getting new opportunities I am happy to see them let him develop without rushing him.

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There's are centuries-old traditions among the devotees of many performing arts of referring to certain artists (especially, but not exclusively, when they are beloved by those devotees) with names that would normally indicate a greater degree of intimacy than in fact exists between those devotees and artists. I don't think this is a sign of disrespect, infantilization, or any other particularly bad thing. I think (if I may be permitted to psychologize) that it's rather a quite natural result of the intense sense of intimacy that those artists evoke in us through their performances. It's part of the indefinable, strange magic of the performing arts. We feel connected to them, even to those whose performances we don't particularly love.

You took the words right out of my mouth, nanushka, and you said it better than I would have. Balletomanes, especially, feel a unique degree of intimacy towards their most beloved dancers. I wonder whether the fact that they expose their bodies to us tends to drop the barriers that normally exist among strangers.

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I know this is blasphemy, but I really LOVED today's Boylston/Simkin Swan Lake. I thought they each individually gave performances of great technical accomplishment, great eloquence and great emotional impact. It was both beautiful and moving. And they have wonderful chemistry, I love this partnership

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I know this is blasphemy, but I really LOVED today's Boylston/Simkin Swan Lake. I thought they each individually gave performances of great technical accomplishment, great eloquence and great emotional impact. It was both beautiful and moving. And they have wonderful chemistry, I love this partnership

nysusan I'm glad to hear this. When you have time I'd love to hear more details. Personally I've always had a problem with Simkin's partnering. It's nice to know there's been improvement.

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Same here -- I'd love to hear more. I've long had mixed feelings about Boylston (really admiring some of her performances, or at least some parts of some of her performances, while being turned off by others); and I've always enjoyed Simkin as a solo dancer. I saw their SL a few years ago and felt they weren't quite ready for prime time but that there were definitely some good elements.

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You took the words right out of my mouth, nanushka, and you said it better than I would have. Balletomanes, especially, feel a unique degree of intimacy towards their most beloved dancers. I wonder whether the fact that they expose their bodies to us tends to drop the barriers that normally exist among strangers.

And I should emphasize that said devotees would generally not even think of addressing those performers by such names IRL! Perhaps that makes it seem more okay, or perhaps that makes it seem worse. Again, I don't think any disrespect is either intended or produced by these traditions. I think it's quite natural and harmless and even endearing.

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I know this is blasphemy, but I really LOVED today's Boylston/Simkin Swan Lake. I thought they each individually gave performances of great technical accomplishment, great eloquence and great emotional impact. It was both beautiful and moving. And they have wonderful chemistry, I love this partnership

That's great to hear. Given how many different partners (with varying levels of experience) the poor woman has been required to dance with over the past two years, it probably helped just to have the same partner in the same ballet twice in a row!

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It is really nice to hear of Simkin in the context of a partnership. The ABT performance threads read like both he and Boyston could really use a good one.

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I missed the Boylston/Simkin performance today, so interested to hear feedback on it. I wonder, was it poorly attended? I had offered my ticket up here and found no takers, and ended up donating it via the box office.

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Wishing I had gone to the Boylston Simkin SL instead of RB. Oh well. Next season.

Happy to report that Hee Seo was a much better O/O than last season. Her adagios with Bolle were quite beautiful. Although she does not have great technique, there were no disasters. Best of all, she has improved in performing the fouettes. She did not come off pointe, and she only veered to the side a little bit. Unlike last year, when she was so out of control that I thought she might end up in the pit, she seemed much more in control tonight. She even did some doubles! Didn't count if she reached the magic 32 number. Gomes was great as PR.

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I too don't think he is under utilized, given that he just was made a soloist last year. While his technique is seemingly flawless and beautiful to watch, I think he is still a bit underwhelming when it comes to characterizations. He could use with some serious coaching in the acting department. The thought of his departure to NYCB is an intriguing one. It won't happen, but his style and technique would seem to fit better into the world of City Ballet. He would most certainly get more dance opportunities than he has currently at ABT. Also, I just want to say; why are we calling him "Joey" when he's clearly listed in the program as Joseph. The diminutive seems sort of infantile for a grown man. MO.

Even if Gorak needs to grow in the acting department, I found that he looked so much more engaged and present than Cornejo in their Swan Lake earlier this week. Cornejo just went through the motions, but it was an incredibly two-dimensional portrayal. He doesn't do much with his face -- at all. I would much rather have seen Gorak as Siegfried and Cornejo as Benno, though I realize, of course, that Cornejo has moved beyond that role.

Regarding the subject of nicknames, the ballet world has nothing on opera. Flicka, Bubbles, La Divina. Okay, well, I guess we sometimes say "Marcelo the Magnificent."

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Gorak is a bit like Hallberg -- I think he's always going to be more about beautiful lines and elegant feet than emoting. There's nothing really wrong with that though -- in fact I thought Hallberg's coolness worked well for him in a role like Albrecht, especially when paired with a very emotive Giselle. I remember a Giselle with Cojocaru where her childish affection was heartbreaking next to Hallberg's cool imperiousness.

Hallberg eventually sort of acquired a sort of mannered iciness to some of his performances, like it was more important for his cape to flutter perfectly as Romeo than anything else.

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Saw SWAN LAKE tonight. Nobody is a bigger fan of Bolle and Gomes than myself. I think Seo is lovely. Still, I was hoping for a "hotter" performance than tonight's. Seo WAS lovely, technically secure, not dull, everything executed well, especially when assisted by Bolle's expert partnering. She got the audience going with the foutee's, which she does while trsveling in a straight path downstage. It kind of works that way, if you forget that she isn't really supposed to travel. You do wonder if she might mis-judge and end up headfirst in the tuba, but nevermind. Bolle was dazzlingly beautiful to look at, and his first act adagio's were gorgeous, with sustained lovely lines. Gomes did his signature role with the usual fire and a couple of great evil looks. AND YET, I felt it was an evening of everything being "correct", but not going that extra step into magical. It did result in one of the very best PDQ I have ever seen. How did everyone else feel?

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If there was a white (or even Asian) dancer who could not do the steps or choreography, no way that dancer would get the free pass Misty is getting. And get promoted to principal?? No way in any other company. I wonder how many RB dancers not doing a show have seen ABT this week (I'm venturing a guess none, since I've seen them in the audience or at the stage door). No wonder NYCB dancers have such contempt for ABT.

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If there was a white (or even Asian) dancer who could not do the steps or choreography, no way that dancer would get the free pass Misty is getting. And get promoted to principal?? No way in any other company. I wonder how many RB dancers not doing a show have seen ABT this week (I'm venturing a guess none, since I've seen them in the audience or at the stage door). No wonder NYCB dancers have such contempt for ABT.

Is that a fact? I could not believe that professional artists would feel that way of other artists even if they feel that they are better than them.

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If there was a white (or even Asian) dancer who could not do the steps or choreography, no way that dancer would get the free pass Misty is getting. And get promoted to principal?? No way in any other company. I wonder how many RB dancers not doing a show have seen ABT this week (I'm venturing a guess none, since I've seen them in the audience or at the stage door). No wonder NYCB dancers have such contempt for ABT.

Can we let dancers fight their own battles if they choose? They do in fact seem to frequent each others' shows and if they want to be nasty, let them be. Do we have to do it for them?

This is quite unpleasant. And if true makes NYCB look quite bad. Fortunately I won't take your word for it.

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If there was a white (or even Asian) dancer who could not do the steps or choreography, no way that dancer would get the free pass Misty is getting. And get promoted to principal?? No way in any other company.

What about Veronika Part with her technical weaknesses? (I happen to love her dancing.)

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I'm sorry I missed Boylston's O/O (I refuse to use the nicknames, too. These dancers are not my "friends") I had tickets for yesterday but was feeling quite under the weather and couldn't make the trip up. I'm not surprised her performance was lovely, I've seen improvement in her for two years and she looked fantastic as Gamzatti earlier this year. She still does have a bit of floppiness in her wrists but she has the technical chops and I'm sure she'll continue to improve artistically.

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What about Veronika Part with her technical weaknesses? (I happen to love her dancing.)

I completely agree! Veronica Part has technical flaws, but you won't hear them mentioned. Don't know why, maybe because of her training.

Not saying I don't like Part (because I love her Nikiya and Myrta, but I HATE HATE HATE her Lilac fairy) but sometimes the tide seems to turn on one or two dancers and everything about them becomes "dreck." I hate the all or nothing attitude, but maybe I'm just too new to the ballet world.

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What about Veronika Part with her technical weaknesses? (I happen to love her dancing.)

One of the reasons I assume it took some time for Part to get promoted to principal was the technical weaknesses that marred her performances. These really subsided around the time she finally became principal -- after waiting so long, you may remember, that she came very close to leaving the company the year before. I can't guarantee that they subsided (for the most part) before her promotion (I don't have a firm enough recollection of the timeline), though that was possibly part of what allowed it to finally come. In any case, while she is still not a particularly strong dancer technically, I would not say that, in general, she "could not do the steps or choreography." (Some might point to the recent substitution of an alternate Lilac Fairy variation for her, and I grant the point -- though this was also justified given that there were two different variations in the notations, and she did the easier of the two -- which was also the more dramatically expressive, in keeping with her strengths.) In any case, for the past 5-6 years she has been much stronger technically than she was 7+ years ago.

And I don't think it's at all true that "you won't hear [Part's weaknesses] mentioned."

(Note: I'm not making any comparisons to Misty or others here. I'm merely responding to your above question.)

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(I refuse to use the nicknames, too. These dancers are not my "friends")

Again, I'd just point out that this is not what the use of nicknames by devotees for performing artists has typically signified or implied and that it's a tradition that goes back centuries. Some choose to talk in this manner and some don't. No problem. But I don't think we should misconstrue or mischaracterize what others are doing with their language.

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One of the reasons I assume it took some time for Part to get promoted to principal was the technical weaknesses that marred her performances. These really subsided around the time she finally became principal -- after waiting so long, you may remember, that she came very close to leaving the company the year before. I can't guarantee that they subsided (for the most part) before her promotion (I don't have a firm enough recollection of the timeline), though that was possibly part of what allowed it to finally come. In any case, while she is still not a particularly strong dancer technically, I would not say that, in general, she "could not do the steps or choreography." (Some might point to the recent substitution of an alternate Lilac Fairy variation for her, and I grant the point -- though this was also justified given that there were two different variations in the notations, and she did the easier of the two -- which was also the more dramatically expressive, in keeping with her strengths.) In any case, for the past 5-6 years she has been much stronger technically than she was 7+ years ago.

(Note: I'm not making any comparisons to Misty or others here. I'm merely responding to your above question.)

Reports from CA state that she initially did the Lilac solo that Abrera did, but she could not complete it, hence the change to the other notated solo.

I am not trying to rip apart Veronica Part, I really do like her in most things.

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Reports from CA state that she initially did the Lilac solo that Abrera did, but she could not complete it, hence the change to the other notated solo.

I am not trying to rip apart Veronica Part, I really do like her in most things.

Yes, that's correct. And Abrera altered the trickiest of the steps in the performance in NYC (the last Sat matinee) that I saw too (though she didn't change the whole variation.)

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