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ABT 11/2 and 11/3 matinee

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All I can say is HERMAN CORNEJO!!!!! He is definately the newest ABT star even though he is still a soloist. He was outstanding as the man in brown in Gong both performances, in "Amazing in Burned (ing?) Dreams" and spectacular in "Marimba". His spins are whirlwind fast, but controlled, and he gets spectacular elevation on his jumps (please forgive the skating terminology and feel free to help educate me on the proper terminology!!). Cornejo's only limitation may be his small stature, which was clearly making partnering a bit of a challenge for him in Gong and Amazing....

I felt that "Marimba" was the highlight of the weekend. The lighting and the music and the dancing were all wonderful. Towards the end the men all end up what seems to be a spining duel-they obviously have some freedom with the chereography. Isaac Stappas (or was it Jamar Goodman) and Herman Cornejo brought down the house with s series of blurringly fast spins.

Speaking of duels...someone needs to settle the score between Marcelo Gomes and the ABT orchestra. The orchestra was WAY off during Gomes' solos in the Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, which was a shame since Gomes was outstanding. Paloma Herrera was also excellent, and sowed no signs of here frequent "stiff arm" affliction!

I was underwhelmed by "Gong", which BTW appeared underhearsed. It was of the "nothing-new-under-the-ballet-sun" genre. I felt like I'd seen a lot of the same bits in other ballets.

Both Ananashvilli & Carreno (who I saw peeking in on the mezzaine this afternoon) and Dvorovenko & Belotserkovsky did the "Sylvia PdD" this weekend, and while A&C may have had a slight edge of difficulty and stage presence, I preffered D&B. Maxim has such gorgeous line and they have such a wonderful rappaport together on the stage. You really get the feeling that it is a pair effort, not two people simply dancing together.

The Swan Lake PdD was fine and the swans were amazingly in synch, though it was sheer luck that none were knocked off the small City Center stage. It was also Guillame Graffin's better performance of the weekend. In the very flat "Dim Lustre" this afternoon he barely avoided disaster when he got very out of control during a spin. Lots of ugly hand flailing...I think his time on stage is coming to an end.

The only bummer of the whole weekend was the poor behavior of the audience the afternoon. I've never been to a peformance with more people coughing, rattling bag/wrappers etc. It doesn't hel that the seats at CIty Center pop up loudly when one gets up. The ushers also get a D- for allowing a large group to enter the Mezzaine level after the performance had begun. I believe that this group included the young child who continued to whimper through several ballets. I hate to a be a party pooper..but very young children do not belong at most ballet performances (that's what ABT Kids is for). The mother was obviously clueless, but I hope sufficiently embarassed when the child yelled out during one of the "music-less" sections of "Gong." Then again, I could still hear the child during the next ballet.

If anyone know the City Center ushers..let them know that something needs to be done..it may bave been an unusual afternoon, but it was not pleasant (thank goodness for the loud music in "Marimba".


P.S. I saw Sascha Radetsky after today's performance walking home with Stella Abrera, so at least he's among the "walking wounded"!

Oh, among the audience members were Olympic gold medal winning figure skaters Victor Petrenko and Evgeny Platov, along with VIctor's wife Nina, a former dancer. I think that it's possible that Nina might know some of the Russian dancers from her ballet training back in Russia (then the Soviet Union).

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ABT, Saturday Matinee, Nov 3 To an almost full house ABT displayed what it can do in the realm of modern and exotic dance, but still in somewhat of the classical tradition. Gong, first of the program, is a delightful romp of brightly costumed dancers dashing about the stage in and out of the wings. The Mark Morris choreography was cast with several of the ABT stars: Ethan Stiefel, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, the Cornejo brother and sister Herman and Erica, Marcelo Gomes. The music, styled after the Balinese gamelan and legong traditions was most appropriate.

Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky danced Sylvia Pas de Deux , she grinning like a Cheshire Cat. They are awfully good, and she is as cute as can be, and no harm in that. The audience could hardly let them go.

Dim Lustre, not previously scheduled , was performed again, as last Saturday, this time with Susan Jaffe and Guillaume Graffin in the leads. It?s similar to Jardin aux Lilas, and with some sort of plot, that was obscure to me. Griffin?s costume, a white suit with tails and bulky trousers would make it difficult for anyone to dance very well. The same could be said about Stiefel last week.

Finally, Marimba, danced by young members of the corps, on a darkened stage, with marimba and percussion players in the background, is lively and noisy with lots of stunning turns. But of the two new exotic productions, I prefer Gong.

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