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SWAN LAKE June 26-July 1

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Dvorovenko/Beloserkovsky Swamp Lake, June 26

1. As the curtain went up, relief: Frederic Franklin was there, it had to be a good Act 1. His teacher dominates the act, keeping the poltical house in order despite undercurrents of social change. The PdT was danced by Xiomara Reyes (the one who is partnered), Yuriko Kajiya (a late sub) and the required for opening night reviews, Herman Cornejo as Benno. Now that Xiomara has such a workload in Principal roles, I suppose she was cast to assure a good review and to fit with Herman. But it is an assignment hardly to inspire an established star, and was another blunder by AD McKenzie, depriving one of those invisible under-30's a chance to grow and thrill. Also a chance missed to give some potential partner practice with Mr. Cornejo, so he doesn't have to wait till his golden years to dance lead roles. At least Ms. Kajiya had a chance to display her grace and musicality. Mr. Cornejo owned the house with his virtuosic display. Maxim Beloserkovsky had an auspcious beginning, with greater maturity in his port de bras, and head placement that was both harmonious and expressive, in his soliloquy.

2. Perhaps the Royal family's budget cannot handle the extra insurance required to expose Benno and the hunting party to the swamp's mosquitos. In any case, they don't come along swan hunting with Siegfried. This choice certainly undercuts Siegfried's chances to convince Odette that he can be trusted. At least there is mime. But pure dance has to suffice to advance the story with these leads. It is the beauty of Ivanov's choreography that carries the story. Tho' less expressive than some, Dvorovenko's adagio advanced the story: Irina's trembling petits battements seemed to convey both her predicament and her hope. A substantial ovation followed this adagio and both her variations. Her first variation ended with a diagonal of especially powerful pirouettes. The second variation also featured technical execution that conveyed her fear of impending separation from Siegfried. Again under influence of Rothbart (Marcelo Gomes--whoops! Thanks Aurora, it was Rothbart in his swamp thing form, played by Isaac Stappas) her exit to rear stage left, back to audience, featured wings raised high, almost an exaggeratedly high en couronne, except hands turned outward, before each flap down, rather than the more horizontal rippling wings many Odettes favor. A late replacement may explain why the four Cygnets were not evenly spaced. Veronika Part and Stella Abrera were the two big swans. Ms. Part is badly miscast in this role, quite simply because she is too good in it: no Odette, save perhaps Lopatkina, could overcome such a swan in her midst: more visible, more swan, more Queen.

3. The third act was saved by a few dancers. Zhong-Jing Fang's grace as the Hungarian Princess. Some day one of these Siegfried's is going to throw the ballet off-kilter by selecting her! Marcelo Gomes, in his only Rothbart this season, dominates with his by now legendary command. Irina and Max delivered the goods, even though acting was underplayed, except for Irina's very enticing hot smile. No longer playing the "who can reach 50 rotations game" with Paloma and Gillian, post baby Irina now goes for purity and staying in place. 32 singles and two triples.

4. The abomination. (But before this, the art of dance: Ronaldo has just set the all-time World Cup scoring record, and did so with a magnificent goal, the ballet of the beautiful game, watch tonight's sportscasts for the replay!) The hopfrogs hop chaotically from lilipad to lilipad in the swamp to begin this act. What price choreographic credit? Irina and Max get to jump in the lake. Stalin gets his happy ending. And the dancers get six curtain calls from the standing audience.

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Yet another pair of doomed lovers.

Were you caught in the spell?

was no one else there?

I'll give this a shot. I don't really have time for a full review now, but here's a few notes.

Was I caught in the spell? No, not really. I thought the criticism in the NYTimes review of Giselle that Dvorovenko danced wonderfully but didn't act, was somewhat true here, as opposed to Giselle, where I found her exceptionally moving and wonderful (I would have liked to see more comments on her Giselle on here--I was really blown away).

That said, I found it to be an extremely well danced and exciting Swan Lake.

They clearly pulled out all the stops in casting the first night--

Besides Dorovenko and Beloserkovsky, Gomes did von Rothbart in Act III (it was Stappas as the monster-rothbart), and as previously mentioned H. Cornejo and X. Reyes were two of the three dancers in the PdT.

There were also soloists galore--Part and Abrera as the 2 swans, Maria Riccetto as one of the cygnets and as the Italian princess, Anna Liceica as the Spanish princess, Carmen Corella in the Spanish dance and Carlos Lopez in Neopolitan. All that and E. Cornejo had been scheduled for the PdT as well.

I thought that while Dvorovenko was strong technically throughout, she was a better Odile than Odette. She really seemed to enjoy the game of Act III so much, that it made her more interesting to watch.

Cornejo was amazing as always--I wish there were bigger parts for him to do.

Watching Part as one of the two swans, I desperately wished I could go to her SL on weds matinee--

I saw her last year and it was one of the most moving, wonderful SL's I've ever seen--unbelievable.

the contrast between the expressiveness of her port de bras and back, and Dvorovenko's which were lovely but didn't seem to be *saying* anything, was striking. I really did enjoy Dvorovenko--she just ddin't blow me away emotionally in this role.

I'm sorry if this isn't terribly insightful, hopefully I'll be more eloquent after seeing Vishneva on wednesday.

And hopefully more people will start posting on this thread--I'd really like to hear more opinions!

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Dvorovenko/Beloserkovky Swamp Lake, June 26

2. Again under influence of Rothbart (Marcelo Gomes), her exit to rear stage left, back to audience, featured wings raised righ, almost an exagerratedly high en couronne, except hands turned outward, before each flap down, rather than the more horizontal rippling wings many Odettes favor.

two things--

1) that was Stappas not Gomes. :)

2) What did you think of her arms here? I wasn't sure whether I found the effect as pleasing as the usual arms. I really couldn't decide if it was as effectively swanlike or not.

I did however like the pause setting up the wings moment. You really saw her will cease, and her being taken over with swaniness (to coin a phrase). That is actually one of the things that has most impressed me about her this season (I hadn't seen her for several years), the stillness she can achieve, and the poignancy she gives moments in which she is not moving. It was very striking in her Giselle Act II as well.

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...2) What did you think of her arms here? I wasn't sure whether I found the effect as pleasing as the usual arms. I really couldn't decide if it was as effectively swanlike or not...

While eternally won over by Makarova's way, I could see some point to Dvorovenko's choice. Given that hers was so much a danced version of Odette, perhaps the high upward reach could represent her forced surrender to Rothbart, and the (reversed from en couronne) outward turn of hands could suggest her loss of royal status. The wing beats down from these heights could also say that she was trapped in the swan body and was forced to use wing-power to move.

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Murphy/Corella 6/27

Just a brief note; will leave the comprehensive reviews to others. I found Murphy's "White Swan" disappointing, lacking in depth and fluidity. She doesn't have enough swan-ness in her arms, and her acting, such as it is, is all surface. It made me miss Nina Ananiashvili, and especially, made me look forward to seeing Veronika Part tomorrow. But, the "Black Swan" -- wow, does Murphy ever glitter and come alive here. Dazzling!

I didn't find the chemistry between her and Angel especially compelling, but he is always a pleasure to watch, and didn't disappoint this time. I was left muttering, as I usually am with him, "holy cow!"

I enjoyed some of the demi-soloists, especially Misty Copeland and Sarah Lane. Will there will be a promotion after Erica Cornejo leaves? I would be glad to see either of these two as soloist. They have very different qualities, but I especially like Misty's expansiveness and graciousness; it reminds me of Veronika Part.

The audience went wild at the end, and I was among them.

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Murphy/Corella 6/27

She doesn't have enough swan-ness in her arms, and her acting, such as it is, is all surface. It made me miss Nina Ananiashvili, and especially, made me look forward to seeing Veronika Part tomorrow.

I hope Ananiashvili comes back and does it again before she retires--I saw her as Odette/Odile every year from the early 90s on...she was so wonderful.

Have you seen Part in this role before? I was blown away last year (as I keep saying) and have class tomorrow so I can't go. :wink:

I hope others enjoy her as much as I did...

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Have you seen Part in this role before? I was blown away last year (as I keep saying) and have class tomorrow so I can't go. :wink:

I hope others enjoy her as much as I did...

Yes, I saw Veronika last year and found her just so beautiful. Are you sure you can't skip out on that class?

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Yes, I saw Veronika last year and found her just so beautiful. Are you sure you can't skip out on that class?

*sigh* I wish I could. But it is part of an intensive summer Italian translation course and I need it.

Why can't they just give her more roles? At least I got to see her as Myrtha and as a big swan on Monday.

I'm going to see Vishneva tomorrow night, hopefully that will be good...but I so wish I could be there in the afternoon.

Enjoy! and report back!

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Christine174

What did Sarah and Misty danced? The Pas de trois? Thanks

Joe

No, it was the Hungarian Princess (Misty) and Polish Princess (Sarah), but even in these small roles they stood out. I think I saw them both doing these roles, probably more than once, last year.

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No longer playing the "who can reach 50 rotations game" with Paloma and Gillian, post baby Irina now goes for purity and staying in place. 32 singles and two triples.

That's actually a little disappointing to hear, though I can definitely imagine how difficult it would be to turn like that post-baby. Irina is the best Odile I have ever seen, and part of it was the way she kept spinning out those turns, all the time with this look that said, "You like this? Well here's more! You like it even better now? Well just one more triple to get you completely dazzled and entranced!" What's more, she is the only Odile I've seen who actually picked up speed with every turn.

She managed to whip off all those doubles and triples while keeping her devilish irresistable eyes the entire time. It wasn't a conceited or bitchy look (Gillian and Paloma tend to go for those). Rather, it was the smug confident look of someone who tortures men for a living and knows exactly how tempting she is.

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Part/Gomes, Wednesday matinee, June 28

Daughters of St. Petersberg Day began with Veronika Part's Odette/Odile. Her partner Marcelo Gomes, the greatest present-day Siegfried? (I'd vote Yes), delivered a tone-setting Act 1. When he danced with Benno's (Gennadi Saviliev) girlfriend, he wasn't a Prince taking his "right", nor "slumming", rather honoring the wish of his servant/friend, despite tutor Kirk Peterson's displeasure. Then an unease began to cross his visage and the soliloquy began. Rather less attention to epaulement than seen with Beloserkovsky, the head staying very straight up: but with high artistic purpose. The head was poised on a fulcrum, to one side his present reality, on the other dangers of another world. This was a soliloquy worthy of an Anthony Dowell.

Act 2 found him somehow quite at home in the alternate reality of swans. As Veronika Part entered with a grand grand jete, nothing could have been more real or natural to this prince. Looking just a bit puzzled, Odette seemed to find this quite-at-home Siegfried not so much to be feared as to be explored. Her miming to him was both easy for him to read and more goose-bump producing than any prior miming I've experienced. Four Part Swans, four very distinct Odettes by this supreme ballerina. This time she was as if Farrell, to Siegfried's Balanchine. It was an Odette of Ideal Beauty. In this world of swans, the perfect woman. Dancing together in total harmony, one long unfolding of Mariinsky epaulement, a mighty river flowing in a mythic universe where every direction is up. In order to not disorient the mortals watching, they kindly used the stage's floor. But these two didn't really need it. Both of her variations were danced in total grace, her technique so much stronger now, with endless arms and legs unconstrained by time, that all there is is beauty. After the second variation, the lift that always draws applause leads to the moment in which she gave him the lowdown on reality in this space, jolting him with what he would have to do, and then Swampy Rothbart's pulling her back to her swan body, the pure and simple arms rippling, back to audience, and Siegfried alone, between two worlds.

In Act 3, he was doing fine, holding onto official reality, till somewhere near the Hungarian dance. First a troubled look, becoming what was perhaps a wish to see that other, perfect world. By the time he was dancing, with full propriety, with the princesses, he at times seemed unable to see them (rather as Albrecht Malakhov not seeing Giselle Vishneva in early Act 2). With Siegfried straining for that other world, his mother (what a fully drawn character by Georgina Parkinson) had more than one concern about this son. He seemed to see Odette before Odile's entrance, though tellingly his gaze was in another direction.

The new and slimmer Veronika Part was confident as Odile (of course) but also as a ballerina, showing no concern about the test to come. She knew that other world and easily brought him to it. Both danced with ease and amplitude, thrills and virtuosity, his double tours en l'aire included, and she did her 32, well-placed and finishing with a double that flowed as if a swan's feather. He then did those turns that seem to slow to a near mid-course stop and then explode, ex nihilo, into more powerful ones. Sensational! They conclude, with Veronika flashing a massive smile: she conquered Siegfried, what man wouldn't be conquered by her, but she's also conquered Odile.

Although I was looking toward the stage as Act 4 began, I have no memory of the hopfrog scene at all. Only the great partnership existed. She entered. He saw her. Love won. But now it is time to return to see that other Daughter of St. Petersberg.

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drb,

forgetting for a moment that I am a respectable sixty-three year-old grandfather, I would like to Shout Out (moderately speaking)...

!!!!!!!!!! Long Live The Daughters Of St. Petersburg !!!!!!!!!!

...and your very fine tributes to them.

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drb, what a beautiful description of the performance. It was magnificent, Part and Gomes together were magnificent. He really did end the first act with a soliloquy, a poet-prince. He was such an ardent prince, so ready to meet Odette it was as if she answered the call of his heart. The dancing wasn't bad either!

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Drb,

thanks so much for the review--it sounds so much like the stellar performance they gave last year--maybe it was even better.

I just got back from the Vishneva/Carreno.

I will post about it later, but I was quite disappointed. I really wish I'd been able to make the matinee...

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Wednesday Night's performance...

Well, I guess I'm not a Vishneva fan. I enjoyed but was not blown away by the performance she gave in Giselle last year that had the NYtimes etc gasping for breath, and tonight was nothing less than a disappointment.

For background, I was absolutely blown away by Part last year (couldn't make this year's perforamance--sob!) and have happily gone to see Ananiashvili for years.

On Monday as already posted, I saw Dvorovenko and Beloserkovsky. I liked it a lot, I wasn't overwhelmed, I thought her arms could have been more emphatic and the emotional content could have been greater, but I really enjoyed it.

Tonight...well, I really thought it was not great.

I thought Carreno was quite good--he has a nice line, and was very clean, he isn't terribly exciting I don't think, and I didnt feel there was much of a connection between him and Vishneva. He also seemed to have some difficulty in the lifts. She's not a large woman but she's a bit tall for him when on pointe, and he really seemed to be straining in some of the lifts.

I guess one of my biggest quarrels with the ABT production is that its so easy for Siegfried to come off as a spineless twerp who will fall in love with anything in pointe shoes. The added longing and lonliness of act one only really serves (unless the dancer really works at it! I never had this problem with Bocca) to make him seem desperate. You feel a bit like he falls in love with Odette simply because she doesn't go off with someone else, nothing more! even his polite glances down the line of princesses in act III has the tendancy to make it look like he's thinking--"maaaaybe this one might do?" before telling his mother no.

the pas de trois brought down the house (which was packed btw--I havent seen that many ppl in standing room in ages!). It was the cornejos and reyes. I was pleased to see Erica, as she was out monday. She was really lovely and has such a nice high soft jump. I have to say I never care terribly much for Reyes, she's so unrelentingly perky and cheerful, but in this role, she truly is lovely, and Herman Cornejo is unbelievable.

Poor Sascha Radesky had the challenge of living up to the incredibly example of Rothbart set by Gomes on Monday. He couldn't. But he was quite good! especially once he got into the jumping section of his part. He just doesn't ooze (dare I say it on a ballet board?) SEX the way Gomes does in this part. Still, it was a strong performance.

So on to Diana Vishneva--

I guess I must just not get the appeal.

she was MUCH better as Odette as Odile. Her arms were nice and expressive though her back didn't share the expressivenss the way Ananiashvili, Part or Makarovas does (did). She began act II with some feeling, seeming genuinely startled by Siegfried's presence. But I felt it fell off from there.

Act II was uniformly careful and thought out. While this isn't a complaint, I felt there was a total lack of spontinaity. She was dancing in a vacuum. Her dancing was (initially) technically quite on, but

it was cold (I felt, I realize people are going to really disagree here). I also did miss Dvorovenko's superior balances (the way she ends series of turns in balances that seem they could last forever is really fabulous), but on the other hand, her arms were superior.

So I felt mixed. Good, but not mindblowing.

Then came act III--

It was sort of ghastly. For one, her idea of Odile seems to be she now smiles. There was no oomph to her portrayal. I realize ppl can go overboard with the *EVIL* but the part seems to call for a feeling of triumph over S, a sort of enjoyment of deceit. Her smile (if you didnt know the story) could have just made you think she really liked him!

As well as not having a personality proper to the role, technically she had major difficulties.

In her last series of turns in her variation (prior to the coda) she really messed up and upon finishing (tendu with left leg to the back) fidgeted the entire time ppl clapped on her right foot trying to regain her balance.

She also grimaced horribly when her turns went awry, which was the first indication of her difficulty. I don't expect a balerina of her calibre to open mouth gape when she messes up--part of being of the top notch is covering up mistakes with aplomb!

Her fouettes were..well...she got through them. First going forewards, then, as she progressively slowed down going sideways stage left. All singles with a very wobbly double to finish.

The very short final act, so oft criticized here (and not without reason) was probably her best act. She finally expressed emotion. and all looked good except some of Carreno's lifts.

She just sort of charged off the cliff however. Carreno's leap was rather lovely. I always wonder, when the monster-rothbart charges up there right after Odette has, and siegfried has, if he's planning to kill himself as well ;)

Also--anyone else find it odd that a swan queen drowns? I always do!

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drb, what a beautiful description of the performance. It was magnificent, Part and Gomes together were magnificent. He really did end the first act with a soliloquy, a poet-prince. He was such an ardent prince, so ready to meet Odette it was as if she answered the call of his heart. The dancing wasn't bad either!

I so wish I could have gone! The performances I saw were very good (Dvorovenko) to mediocre (Vishneva), but they didnt' have that sort of soul!

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No longer playing the "who can reach 50 rotations game" with Paloma and Gillian, post baby Irina now goes for purity and staying in place. 32 singles and two triples.

That's actually a little disappointing to hear, though I can definitely imagine how difficult it would be to turn like that post-baby. Irina is the best Odile I have ever seen, and part of it was the way she kept spinning out those turns, all the time with this look that said, "You like this? Well here's more! You like it even better now? Well just one more triple to get you completely dazzled and entranced!" What's more, she is the only Odile I've seen who actually picked up speed with every turn.

I wouldn't be too disappointed. She was very confident, on, fast and impressive--when those triples came, they knocked your socks off.

I always loved Ananiashvilli's fouettes, just for the speed and precision. That's fireworks enough for me.

Irina's black swan really was fabulous.

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I saw Veronika Part and the one word that comes to mind in describing her performance is 'fluid'. Her movements flowed and melted into each other--they appeared to be one long unbroken enchainement. There is one moment I look for before the start of the Act 2 adagio; as the Prince assists Odette to her feet, does she look into his eyes or does she look into the void of the theatre and go into her pirouettes? When it's the former I have the hope of seeing a love duet. Part looked into Gomes' eyes. :clapping: If her Odette impresses more than her Odile it is because of her soul-stirring performance--and isn't that the way Swan Lake should be? For me, she is the best Swan Queen I have seen since Ananiashvilli. Isn't it time that Ballet Theatre realize the treasure they have in Veronika Part? It's hard to understand that on the night before this glorious performance she appeared in Swan Lake as a very minor soloist. Dancers as expressive as Part don't come our way too often; she should be nurtured and groomed for many leading roles. Enough of the technical kid wonders, since that is the sum of what they offer.

David Hallberg had one advantage over Gomes in the role of Rothbart. He looked fabulous in that hideous costume.

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Wednesday Night's performance...

Well, I guess I'm not a Vishneva fan. I enjoyed but was not blown away by the performance she gave in Giselle last year that had the NYtimes etc gasping for breath, and tonight was nothing less than a disappointment.

Also--anyone else find it odd that a swan queen drowns? I always do!

Aurora - I am a great fan of Vishneva's. I loved her Giselle and her Aurora is stunningly beautiful. I loved her in Swan Lake with ABT last year but I was also dissapointed in her performance last night. Gone was the beautiful, flowing upper body she showed last year. This time she looked very angular. Her Odette was regal and passionate but not the least bit vulnerable or tender. There was ZERO chemistry between her & Carreno. After a slight bauble in an assisted turn she actually broke character and flashed him a big smile for saving the turn. It was only an instant but it pretty much told the story of the whole evening - it was a very deliberate performance, never "in the moment". Shockingly bad, especially after the monumental Part/Gomes Swan Lake in the afternoon.

Re: the Swan Queen drowning - she has to drown herself while in her human form, which is why she's in such a hurry to do it before she turns back into a swan.

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Isn't Diana just two years into dancing Odette/Odile? At least with four companies, always a different partner. I believe this was her first time dancing with Jose Carreno. Not every partnership has chemistry. But it was strange that lifts looked effortful, assisted turns always clumsy.

Historically, he has been a fine, often outstanding partner. Consider the review of the Murphy/Corella O/O earlier in this thread. Her Odette didn't click, far beneath her Odile. Yet when her partner was Carreno her Odette was magic, surpassing her Odile! Go back to the discussion of the performance where a kid screamed throughout the Act 2 PdD! Yet the need to "name it up for TV" by switching to super-star Corella just didn't work, and trying to attract those TV viewers with the same cast live since, has lead to a loss of Odette. Yet I respect Angel's growth as a partner, he showed technical perfection when partnering Diana in Giselle, and interaction began to grow his second time with her. Sometimes it just doesn't work. Earlier in the day we saw a permanent pair, it happened to work its first time, and by now (their fourth Swan here plus more on the road, as well as in other ballets) they can create, together, a performance that presents an unending arc of four acts, and makes the ballet new each time.

We need Prima Ballerina Diana Vishneva, she has given surpassing beauty and depth in her towering Giselles and Manons already this season. Lets hope she finds her Siegfried, or brings one who clicks with her from somewhere else. Malakhov, obviously, if he can, and has the time to be away from his own company in Berlin.

We also need regular, experienced partnerships. You'd think someone would have noticed the merit of sticking with pairings that grow and have chemistry what with Ferri/Bocca, and now Part/Gomes, such glaring models. But those with better vision and greater expertise apparently see higher art in playing partner hop scotch.

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Aurora. This time she looked very angular. Her Odette was regal and passionate but not the least bit vulnerable or tender. There was ZERO chemistry between her & Carreno. it was a very deliberate performance, never "in the moment".

That is exactly it! In fact deliberate was the word we kept using at the performance but I was so exausted when I posted last night that it just wasn't coming to me--just careful etc.

You mentioned her inapprop smile at Carreno--did you note the openmouthed "oh no!" face during the series of turns in Act III--I really was amazed that anything less than a serious fall would elicit that response.

Re: the Swan Queen drowning - she has to drown herself while in her human form, which is why she's in such a hurry to do it before she turns back into a swan.

I know I know---it just seems that after all those years of swanning around some of the swimming ability should have rubbed off!

:wink:

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Swan Lake 6/28/06 Evening Performance

Vishneva was flatter than a flat pancake without eggs last night in Swan Lake.

Actually the entire performance was pretty flat except for Kristy Boone (gorgeous) as one of the two big swans, and when Radetsky, as Rothbart, danced briefly with one of the princesses, Sarah Lane. Suddenly there was warmth and charm and chemistry between these two.... or maybe it was just Sarah Lane's sparkle. She does charm and sparkle so well....

Oh, and of course the absolute brilliance of Herman Cornejo and his sister, Ericia, with Reyes in the opening act's pas de trois. All three were absolutely joyous, full of delightful, huge, effortless jumps and turns and artistic polish.

I had been so looking forward to seeing this performance. Vishneva's debut (a year ago?) with ABT's Swan Lake had been so exciting. This time she was safe, seemed to be saving all her energy/focus for those 32 fouettes that turned out to be not very good either. Last year they weren't either, but nobody cared because the rest of the performance was thrilling and touching. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Didn't help that the conducting was all over the place... and mostly slower than ice melting in 25-degree weather for White Swan. Hello Kevin!!!!

Vishneva does have gorgeous long legs and arms and beautiful lines...but if the dancing is safe, it's sad to watch no matter how pretty the ballerina's talent. And Vishneva is very, very pretty. Her grand jete entrance as White Swan was 200% fantastic and beautiful... but that was it... Everthing else seemed to be about 70%. Made me wonder if she was not feeling well...or something... And there was no chemistry between her and Careno either although they both danced well... well enough for a good dress rehearsal that is...

The audience last night liked Vishneva's White Swan pas de deux, even though she took out some of the more difficult moves for the ballerina. But but then the audience quickly gave her only cool, polite, applause for everything else starting with her White Swan variation.

I left the performance after Black Swan. If White Swan doesn't make the audience fall in love with the couple, then Black Swan needs to be beyond intoxicating, which it absolutely was not.

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