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Saturday, May 18 - Alexopoulos' Farewell


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#16 BarreTalk

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 11:04 AM

From my angle, the "splat" had the sudden oops factor of a fall, not the look of a voluntary drop in response to exhaustion.

#17 liebs

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 11:19 AM

Alexopoulos has never been a favorite of mine but I think she fills an interesting niche at NYCB. She's neither a spectacular technician such as Ashley or Bouder as she didn't in the years I saw her have much of a jump or allegro technique nor is she bursting with personality. I found many of her performances rather cold and withdrawn, which might be why it was so much fun to see her as ANita in West Side Story. What Alexopoulos is is "the glamour girl." And I think there is a tradition of that kind of dancer at NYCB. Lourdes Lopez filled the bill before Alexopoulos (dancing some of the same roles)as did Valentina Kolova and from what I read, in earlier times Mimi Paul and Jillian held a similar place. Some of the glamour girl roles for me are Merry Widow in Vienna Waltzes, the Firebird (although Bouder probably takes a different approach), the Coquette in Sonnambula, all the parts in Antique Epigraphs, and The Stripper in Slaughter among others. It is interesting to speculate who might be the next NYCB glamour queen.

#18 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 01:41 PM

For a time, Riolama Lorenzo looked like a real candidate (Both her Helena and Titania were excellent.)

I think a glamorpuss needs to be a long drink of water, even though someone like Somogyi has a glamour to her presence.

One candidate is Kowroski, she's physically perfect, even though I think by nature she's a comedienne - but in the right glamorpuss, the combination of being gorgeous and being funny is unbeatable.

Another possibility is Carla Korbes.

Back to Alexopoulos, interestingly, I saw her in some roles were she exhibited a real jump. In Dewdrop, the jumps weren't impressive because of their height, but because of the stretchiness and amplitude of the jete. She really covered space in her diagonals. But to me, the role that defined her was neither by Balanchine nor Robbins, but her part in Forsythe's Behind the China Dogs which established as the Queen of Stretch at NYCB.

#19 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 03:00 PM

Originally posted by sneds [/B]
Did Ansanelli actually fall in the wings?  [/B]


I think Ansanelli definitely fell. From my vantage point (Seat C5 in the first ring) it looked as if she got tangled up in the wing drop (sorry -- I don't know the technical term) while executing a turning exit, and took a tumble. I thought she looked a bit (just a bit) rattled afterwards.

While there were some things I really liked about her performance, I wasn't as wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it as some of the other posters have been. On the plus side, I found her wonderfully musical, thought her demeanor was sweet and absolutely charming (and just right for this ballet), and liked her overall "lightness of touch" (i.e., her not feeling compelled to punch out every bravura passage as if the audience were comprised of Olympic judges holding up scorecards) even though she can clearly do the steps. However, I'd like to see her step up the crispness of her attack just a bit: sometimes it seems to me as if she's being blown around by a big fan in the wings and is not herself generating her movement. Now sometimes this is a lovely effect, but often it seems to me to drain some of the impact out of her dancing. I think a crisper attack might also have improved her already good performance in Stravinsky Violin Concerto. Because she has a slight (though long-limbed) build, I think she (and her dancing) can appear rather small-scaled, wispy, and even bland at times, especially when the choreography doesn't require her to travel much. I'm not suggesting that she should etch every move in acid, though -- that would be going too far and would undercut that delightful "lightness of touch" I mentioned above!

In any event, I do really enjoy watching her dance -- I think she has a lovely presence and a unique style all her own (I can't think of another dancer on the roster who's quite like her).

As for who will take up the glamour baton now that Alexopoulos is gone: I too had I hopes for the sorely missed (by me at least) Riolama Lorenzo. If her overall demeanor weren't quite so sunny and gracious, I'd nominate Eva Natanya. Sometimes I think she's what you'd get if you hybridized Stephanie Saland and Lourdes Lopez ...

#20 BW

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 04:27 PM

Rather than choosing to continue the term "glamour puss", I'd choose to use the adjective glamorous, instead. :)

Although I am not a long-termer at the NYCB, I have to admit that I've always enjoyed looking at Ms. Alexopoulus. I have heard that she bore some injuries that prevented her from giving her roles her all in recent years. That being said, I will miss seeing her.

Personally, I find Jennifer Ringer to be gorgeously glamorous and find her to be refreshing amidst many who hue to a more androgynous look ... This speaking strictly based on appearances... Yet, I've seen Ms. Ansanelli perform in pieces that made me fall in love with her, too! :) Eva Natanya is lovely as well, both on stage and off... I can't help but wish she might be given some different types of roles which might allow her to "show more of her stuff"...

Obviously, I prefer the more feminine dancer, generally speaking.

As for Valentina Kozlova, I never had the pleasure of seeing her perform while she was still with NYCB, however I have seen her a number of times since then, in both classical and contemporary ballets and, although she is definitely still a dramatic beauty, she is also a master technician who consistently manages to leave one nearly breathless.

#21 Farrell Fan

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 07:31 PM

In recent years, I thought Rachel Rutherford exuded NYCB glamor but her career seems becalmed and she still hasn't made it to soloist. What gives?

#22 Morris Neighbor

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Posted 21 May 2002 - 10:49 PM

Alas, I missed Helene's farewell, but I have followed her career with interest and enjoyed many of her performances.

I can't help noticing how many of the observations in this string mirror those of her mentor, Maria Tallchief. Strong but not quite perfect technique, a persuasive but not always dominant stage presence, yet nonetheless, an undeniable star quality -- Helene was a Tallchief for the '80s and '90s.

I'm also impressed with her extraordinary endowment of common sense. She once told an interviewer that she peaked the year Balanchine died, when the company was pre-occupied with other needs, so she did not regret her long-delayed promotion to Principal. She wanted a family, so she took time off to have kids -- even though "maternity leave" was a very new idea for dance companies at the time. And she chose to quit at (or at least very near) the top of her game, the most difficult of all choices for a dancer.

I wish her and her family nothing but the best!

#23 Dale

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Posted 22 May 2002 - 01:41 AM

I think NYCB gives a nice night for the retiring dancer to remember. I'll never forget the way Peter Boal kept on pushing Alexopoulos ahead to receive applause that usually goes to the larger role of the Prodigal and the tears Alexopoulos shed when the cavaliers of the evening came on and brought her flowers.

Of the other moments of the evening, the company gave another strong performance of Vienna Waltzes. Re: Nichols vs. Kistler in the last section. Personally, I had never felt either was exactly perfect :) Kistler had been too sunny while Nichols too sensible. But it is a role for the, I don't know how to put this, but the top dancer, the flagbearer, so to speak. And, in the end, I think both succeed in the role. Nichols plays is somewhat straighter than Kistler, who has a sometimes eccentric take on the role. I've seen her miss in the Der Rosenkavalier section, but this season she was definitely a hit.

re: Tchiak pas de deux -- A casual observer thought Woetzel cared only of his solos and was too lax in the partnering sections. I thought he wanted it to look risky. It did, too risky. I didn't see Ansanelli hurt herself, but I don't think that would explain the partnering snafus. She looked better than fine during her solos.


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