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  1. California

    ABT: Roster in Review - 2018

    I saw their "Lest We Forget" (3 commissioned ballets to commemorate the start of WWI) in 2014 in London and I'm thrilled that I will be able to see it again this September. Their director, Tamara Rojo, who is still dancing, is spectacular. They also have some principals I'd want to see anywhere -- Aaron Robison, Alina Cojacuro. Still, I have the same impression as fondoffouettes that they don't have the broad range of rep. They are bringing their Giselle to Chicago next winter and wish they'd arrange some other stops in North America, but I haven't seen any announcements.
  2. California

    ABT: Roster in Review - 2018

    According to an e-mail just sent out by English National Ballet, Jeffrey Cirio is joining as Lead Principal. No indication of whether he will continue an affiliation with ABT. "Joining the Company Following his recent guest performances with the Company in Song of the Earth, La Sylphide, and Akram Khan’s Giselle, Jeffrey Cirio, currently Principal at American Ballet Theater, joins English National Ballet as Lead Principal."
  3. It's on Netflix now. It's the Macauley Caulkins movie.
  4. California

    2018 Romeo & Juliet

    This is from his Instagram
  5. California

    Seating Advice at the Met

    When I stopped by last month, a new catering company was serving sandwiches and beverages in the same place, but they said Wichcraft was no longer operating there. Can't remember the name of the new one, but the offerings seemed comparable. I was sorry to see Wichcraft go - it's owned by Tom Colicchio, who has been very outspoken in support of food programs for the poor. They're still at other locations: https://www.wichcraft.com/
  6. California

    Seating Advice at the Met

    I'm glad somebody else likes Le Pain! Plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, if you are looking for that. One of my favorite places in the Lincoln Center area: http://www.lepainquotidien.com/store/lincoln-plaza/ 65th Street, right around the corner from Brooks Brothers.
  7. California

    New Royal Ballet Swan Lake

    When they do they cinema broadcasts, they usually (though not always) release it on DVD, so we'll hope for that. I won't be able to see this production otherwise. (I'm still wishing La Scala or Zurich would release their Swan Lake reconstruction on DVD...)
  8. California

    "Harlequinade" 2018.

    I was at the dress rehearsal the first Monday, day of the premiere. Originally, there was no rug and that money really was flying all over. At a break, they brought out the rug and those of us who saw this thought, well, that should help. What we don't know: was the rug planned all along and they just forgot it at first? Or did they add that at the last minute to solve the problem - which, obviously, it didn't!
  9. California

    "Harlequinade" 2018.

    When we started taking my sister's granddaughter (and sometimes grandson) to the Colorado Ballet when they were 4 or 5, we always sat on the aisle, so we could make a quick get-away if they were a problem (which they were not). I thought the Met had a sound-proof room in the back for crying babies (at least, they pointed that out on one of their tours), so I'm surprised the ushers didn't get the crying baby out of there pronto. I remember a young girl at the State Theater literally filming the performance with her smartphone; another audience member first asked the mother to get her to stop, then grabbed the phone from her hand! Whatever it takes, I guess! I'm noticing a lot of people reading their Smartphones with their bright lights during performances lately. It never ends...
  10. I went to just one performance of Giselle, the opening on Thursday, May 31. Many interesting and impressive differences, with a few oddities: Act I: The music for Peasant PdD was used for an ensemble of four men and six women, but incorporating almost all of the traditional choreography. It was a nice way to show off more soloists and worked well. During the Mother's mime sequence worrying about Giselle's death, the lights dimmed dramatically and a Wili with white veil ran across the back of the stage behind the trees in dim light. It was a nice reminder that the Mother worried not only about Giselle's death, but also her fate as a Wili. The variation in opposing lines for a group of women near the end of the Act which anticipates the Act II chugs was replaced with a silly-looking row of women doing childish things with overhead arm positions. Standing unusually close together, it reminded me more of the Little Swans than the Wilis. Sadaise Arencibia had some nice moments as Giselle, but her hops on pointe were an embarrassment. She started in the middle of the stage, barely moved forward, seemed to be struggling mightily, and kept this very short. At the end of the act, the curtain went down and then came back up to show a frozen tableau of the last scene. Down again and up again. It gave the audience an opportunity to applaud the many dancers (mainly the men) who wouldn't be around for the final curtain calls. Act II: Another nice use of Wilis behind those trees in dim light: several appeared out of a fog, as if rising from their graves, at the beginning of the act But the entrance of all the Wilis was dreadful: lines marched in from both sides in formation, but with the noisiest shoes on the planet and a simple walking step, it seemed more like a military march than an other-worldly reappearance. During the ensemble numbers, the Wilis had beautiful unison in position, arms, steps, etc. Very impressive. And terrific chugs. I always wonder if Albrecht (Raul Abreu) will do the flying brises (a la Baryshnikov) or the entrenchets (a la Bolle, Gomes, Nureyev, Hallberg, et al.). Neither, it turns out, in this version. Two not-very-impressive double cabrioles and some promenade around the stage. Not exactly under Myrtha's spell. In the opening PdD, no "tabletop lift", just an up and down with head back, but that alternative is what Hallberg-Osipova and many others do as well. Giselle's pas de poisson were dreadful, a sort of tangled entrechat with bent knees, but the entrechats moving backward that followed were brilliantly fast and impressive. Albrecht's ending after Giselle returns to the grave was startling. He did a variation himself of fast turns and leaps around the stage and finally flung himself on the grave. Very odd -- as if he were celebrating or having his own mad scene? Alonso was again present. She was introduced before the performance, as on the previous two nights, with the film and bows from a box. But she also came on stage at the end, as she did Tuesday. She was helped on by Hilarion and Albrecht, then supported throughout by Giselle and Albrecht. She seemed to delight in making several small curtsies. Roaring applause, of course. On another note: I notice these dancers doing a lot of double and triple duty, as you are more likely to see in US regional companies. e.g., Rafael Quenedit, my preferred Basilio from Wednesday, is doing two Wilfreds, one "male friend," and one Albrecht, missing only one performance of Giselle.
  11. I saw both performances and was impressed with many things, but not all. The Gold Standard for me is the Bolshoi (which I saw do this several times in 2010 at Segerstrom/Orange County and all three performances at Lincoln Center in July 2014). But that's a huge production by a huge company that others can't be expected to match, so that's an unfair comparison. Viengsay Valdes and Dani Hernandez were Kitri and Basilio on opening night, Grettel Morejon and Rafael Quenedit on Wednesday. Hernandez was almost too refined for that character and didn't impress me, but Quenedit was perfect, with impish charm and dazzling technique. Even so, Quenedit seemed obviously disappointed and glum at the end of Act III, perhaps because of what seemed to be some very slight partnering issues. Valdes was Queen of the Unsupported Balances. I've never seen anything like it. There must have been a dozen in the final PdD that went on forever and were clearly her forte. Morejon had the same choreography, but couldn't begin to match Valdes. Valdes' fouettes started with several doubles and ended with a slight bauble, but nothing serious. Morejon had a textbook position on the turns, and did entirely singles, but she travelled seriously from back to front of the stage and off on a diagonal, and only made it to about 26. I saw only the palest imitation of a Plisetskaya leap from either and wasn't even sure they intended to do it. The one-armed lifts in Act I were identical with both couples. The first was short and disappointing. But the second went on forever, as Kitri was carried to the front of the stage on the diagonal. Very exciting! I was impressed by the depth of male talent, especially among the bullfighters, gypsies, etc. They tend toward pyrotechnics in their techniques, although sometimes weak in form and style. It's as if they are all trying too hard to impress with their height, speed, etc. and forget about their overall presentation. In Act II, the Queen of the Dryads (Claudia Garcia and Chavela Riera) knocked off the Italian fouettes without problem. The Love character had a costume barely indistinguishable from the Dryads, which was odd. There was one distinctive re-ordering of events, but it worked. Basilio's fake "suicide" with the knife and cape took place at the beginning of Act III, interrupting what was to be the wedding of Camacho and a very reluctant Kitri (instead of its usual placement near the end of Act I). In Act I, Sancho Panza was tossed high from a blanket. The Bolshoi tosses the real person. Cuba tosses what was obviously a stuffed dummy, even from the first tier. I had mixed feelings about the women's costumes, which were knee-length tutus, with layers of sparkly tulle, and bodices out of what seemed to be scrunchy elastic something. I couldn't decide if they were cheap-looking or just different from what we are used to. The super-colorful costumes of the Act II gypsies were superb, however, and captured that culture far better than we usually see. The Dulcinea character appeared in several places and helped make sense of Don Quixote's quest. The costume with a white long veil reminded me of Jessica Lange in All That Jazz. On opening night, as others noted, Alonso took a bow from one of the boxes after a short film about her was shown. During the bows, she was helped on stage and supported by the principals to thunderous applause. But on Wednesday, after her bow from the box before the performance, she was not seen again. Well, she's 97 years old. I couldn't help but think back to Alonso's 90th birthday celebration by ABT at the met in 2010. They did Don Quixote, but with three sets of principals, which was truly fun. I remember that Marcelo Gomes did Act I and Osipova-Vasiliev did III, but can't remember the rest. Interesting that this seems to be the ballet everybody associates with her. This production by Cuba dates to 1988 and I'm not sure she even danced the role much if at all. At least the film this week showed her Giselle and most of the music came from Theme and Variations, another of her greatest roles.
  12. California

    Marcelo Gomes

    Nina and Marcelo in one performance only of Romeo and Juliet June 26 in Tblisi! Very glad he's still getting performance gigs around the world. Just wish we could see him, too! http://georgiatoday.ge/news/10501/State-Ballet-of-Georgia-Warms-Up-for-Tbilisi-Ballet-Festival http://opera.ge/Tbilisi-Ballet-FestivalEng.aspx?id=950&gallery=&lang=en-US
  13. California

    2018-19 Season

    I don't think Bolle ever performed in the Swan Lake reconstruction. Did he do the Sleeping Beauty reconstruction with ABT? He is seriously committed to the new season, and as he nears retirement, I wonder how much of the programming was designed with him in mind. Nureyev stagings typically have enhanced choreography for the male principal.
  14. California

    2018 Met Season

    This gets curioser and curioser...Presumably, Ratmansky has a huge say in the casting of his ballets, at least in the premiere season. And surely he knows that some of the dancers have major problems with those hops. Yet he reportedly (according to Boylston) choreographed them anyway. Inquiring minds wish we knew the whole story here!
  15. California

    NYCB 2018-2019 Season

    I remember a guide explaining that at the max there are something like 80 dancers on stage at the same time -- and no other company has ever asked permission to perform, most likely because so few companies have that many dancers!