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About cobweb

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    Bronze Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan & avid balletgoer
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  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    New York
  1. This is a disaster for the Met. I thank the stars that as bad as the situation is at NYCB (leaderless), it is not as bad as this. I have spent many, many transcendent hours at the opera house in the 16 years since I began attending opera, many with Maestro Levine himself. The Met has a real chance at revitalization with the dynamic incoming Yannick Nezet-Seguin. I will be tremendously relieved when that comes to pass.
  2. 2018 Met Season

    I don’t find the landing page very fresh. I find it a jumble and it’s hard to find the links I want. They should also IMHO take new photos of the dancers with a consistent style. Last time I looked they had cropped all the photos into extreme close ups that looked odd.
  3. 2018 Met Season

    The website I believe is just a year or so old, but it is a confusing, jumbled mess.
  4. Washington, DC - Spring 2018

    Totally agree with the assessment of the Tshai pas casting. Since all of the ladies are very likely to be excellent, and none of the men is a bravura dancer, I would go with the man who is the absolutely the best partner of the three - Tyler Angle. And definitely, the opportunity to see Ashley Laracey in Divertimento No. 15 should not be missed. I may be talking myself into a trip to DC...
  5. Casting is up for the week at the Kennedy Center. Heavy use of the new sensation Roman Mejia and an exciting new cast of Fancy Free that could get me interested in seeing it again. I hope for many reports of these performances!
  6. 2018 Met Season

    It’s not that there are no good dancers. I would LOVE to see the following: Cornejo, Simkin, Lendorf, Cirio, Abrera, Lane, Teuscher, Schevchenko, Trenary, Brandt, and I’m probably forgetting others. But certain other dancers are so grating that I can’t bear it. On close scrutiny of the schedule I have identified a few performances that may be dud-free. Will wait and see how the casting holds up.
  7. 2018 Met Season

    ... and they are the two dancers I LEAST want to see. The programming is so unimaginative, and the casting is so dominated by dancers I'm trying to avoid, and filled out with others who are just ho-hum, that I'm not sure I'll be seeing a single performance this season. I'd like to see the new principals, but trying to find interesting performances is a challenge. Sad!
  8. 2017-2018 season

    I am encouraged that your experience was better than mine. After the matinee I was hoping it was just a fluke. After the evening I was really dismayed. But maybe it was two flukes. I hope so!!
  9. 2017-2018 season

    I wrote my review before reading California's comments above, but I agree about the noisy set changes and hearing the stagehands. I also heard the stage manager calling places right before the curtain went up. Probably there isn't much they can do about the acoustics. I also agree about the embarrassing leaps into the lake. However it was set up, they all looked awkward and quite un-balletic as they got into place for the jump. And the mattress is not hidden enough. You can pretty much see the dancers' legs as they hit the mattress, and even glimpse them as they get up.
  10. 2018 Met Season

    Great point, Helene!!
  11. 2017-2018 season

    So I made a day trip to Philadelphia yesterday to see the matinee and evening performances of Swan Lake. Aside from getting home way, way too late (the time change didn’t help), it was a very worthwhile trip. This is my first-ever viewing of this company, but these are some initial impressions. First, the production. I liked it. Attractive sets and costumes, suitably “Middle Ages,” with a vivid yet gentle color palette. As someone who is used to the tired, wan production of ABT and the garish production at NYCB, it felt like a blessed relief when, after the familiar overture, the curtain came up on a fresh, appealing production. One exception was the costumes for Von Rothbart, which looked cartoonish, and cheap to boot. There was a “black demon” outfit that looked like a kid’s Halloween costume, and in Act III he sported a laughable curlicue moustache and goatee. Most jarring was the insertion of a variation for Rothbart - right in the middle of the Black Swan pas de deux. Really?? IMHO, this can’t be removed, or at least moved, soon enough. Otherwise, a thumbs up on the production. On to the dancing. The swans were fantastic. This alone made me glad I made the trip. Besides being marvelously in unison, with some beautifully executed “domino” effects, the entire flock gave off the impression of seriousness of purpose. They took pride in what they were doing. One detail I particularly appreciated was the commitment to eye positions when the swans are standing in formation along the sides. The uniformity of position, and the commitment to holding their eyes downcast, made their stillness very beautiful. At ABT, you don’t see the same unison or seriousness of purpose, and there are too many unfortunate wandering eyes. This was way better. Impressed! The principals were a more mixed bag. At the matinee, I saw Oksana Maslova and Jack Thomas. I found Maslova mannered and lacking in dramatic depth. She also had some technical issues. Her fouetté position looked awkward from the get-go, and she couldn’t seem to straighten up and get her working leg into the right form. Then she fell out with a few revolutions to go and stood there awkwardly for a second. And in the Odette variation, I couldn’t tell if she was having problems or just making some choices I didn’t understand. Her Siegfried, Jack Thomas, seemed (and is, I guess) very young. It’s easy to see why he was singled out for a principal role - he has a noble air and a noble line, and a princely, pouty face. He did well with the tours a la seconde in the black swan pdd. But the partnering had glitches and he had no acting range - just variations of a pout. I’d say he’s someone with a lot of potential, but maybe too inexperienced for this role. In the evening the leads were Yuka Iseda and Jermel Johnson. He was way better than Jack Thomas. Much better partner, a solid dancer, and just far more polished and professional. Also he has real acting range - his Siegfried had a searching, yearning air. He’s someone I’d be glad to see again. Yuka Iseda - I’m still trying to figure out what I think of her. I also saw her in the pas de trois at the matinee, where I was highly impressed by her buoyancy and fluid feet. In the evening I was ambivalent. In both performances she wore an excess of black eyeliner which bordered on the bizarre. It was hard to figure out her facial expressions. She is marvelous technically - but like Maslova, verges into being mannered. Fouetté report - excellent- many doubles, with varied arm positions in the second half. Traveled way downstage, but I’m assuming that was deliberate. Von Rothbart - in the matinee was James Ihde, who struggled with his variation. Evening was Sterling Baca. He was better, but it was hard to get a real sense in this one short variation. At the matinee, Benno was danced by Etienne Diaz. He looked too much like he was powering through the role. In the evening it was Federico d’Ortenzi. He had some trouble in the pdt, but did much better with his solo in Act III, and has an engaging, confident stage presence. In the pas de trois in the evening, I loved Sydney Dolan - an apprentice?? No way! Give this girl her corps contract now! She was fresh and lively, with a beautiful smile and a natural, unforced technique. At the matinee, Nayara Lopes was fresh and charming as the "peasant girl" who interacts with the Tutor. The folk dances were presented with care and vigor. A highlight of both performances was the Neapolitan, with its ebullience and laugh-out-loud charm. Love the tambourines! Overall I was impressed with the swans, the production, and how they manage to do so much with the number of dancers that they have. Given the principals, however, I was left wondering about what kind of dancing Corella is encouraging. My ideal is dancing that is refined, straightforward, and unmannered. I didn’t get the impression that is the kind of dancing that Corella is rewarding. A real damper on both performances came not from the dancing, but audience disruption. Talking, cell phone use, and more. Expectations of audience behavior seem to be very different in Philadelphia versus New York. (Although I was at the Philadelphia Orchestra recently and didn’t notice any problems.) At the matinee, in Act IV there were so many irritants I couldn’t wait for the performance to be over. Two kids a few rows in front of me were talking, standing, switching seats with someone in the row behind, waving their arms (as in “conducting”), and practicing their port de bras. The guy across the aisle was tapping his foot to the music. The trio on my right were conversing. And the woman in front of me was taking photos, then a video of much of Act IV. At the evening performance, the woman next to me texted throughout the entire folk dances, while her friend sipped a glass of wine. And there were conversations coming from multiple directions. This wasn’t even all the disruptions (there was also late seating), but you get the picture. It’s not that none of this happens in New York, but when it does it’s usually shushed down firmly by nearby audience members. I didn’t hear a single shusher (and not being in my home audience, I didn’t want to shush, not knowing local standards), leading me to believe others aren’t bothered by all this. Could I ever get used to this kind of disruption, and still be transported by a performance? I hope I never have to try.
  12. Winter 2018

    Jared especially. For some years now he looks like he's been sampling the entire realm of sweets, or whatever it was. Doesn't stop me from enjoying the nobility of his dancing, but I think he'd have more spring and get more height if he reduced.
  13. Winter 2018

    As audience members, we can't help but notice and respond to how the dancers look, i.e., their bodies. That's just part of the art form. It's not the most important aspect of dancing - I like what Kathleen said above, about power, musicality, and artistry. But inevitably, we have opinions about the dancers' bodies. I too noticed the extra weight on the two corps ladies mentioned, and Tiler Peck may have a pound or so more than she used to. I noticed, but I didn't find any of this especially distracting. I find Sterling Hyltin too thin and bony, whereas Maria Kowroski and Teresa Reichlen have been looking extremely svelte, but soft at the same time. Quite beautiful.
  14. 2018 Met Season

    Abatt, is that the same show Brittany Pollack and Amar Ramasar are in? Same time frame for them too?
  15. Winter 2018

    Wow, great pictures. Lowery must be the heaviest girl in the company, by some margin. She is tall and she often has a few extra pounds, but I think the main thing is that she is very, very big-boned. Even when she’s so skinny you can see her rib cage, she is big. It took me awhile to warm up to her but I like her sunniness and attack and have often seen her perform very well. Still, I have to say she does not look like these photos, especially the one from Rubies. Is she still doing Dewdrop?