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David Hallberg

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David Hallberg has started posting to his Instagram account again under a slightly different handle. He picked it up about a week ago with a message to his fans and readers and is laying out his very difficult rehabilitation that started 2 1/2 years ago. I look forward to seeing his regular posts now and learning about his road to recovery. I'm so glad he's returned, and according to him, better than before.

 

 

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I, for one, am thrilled that David will be dancing with Gillian in her debut Giselle with American Ballet Theatre.

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David Hallberg has returned and that's great. I've been a fan of his in the past but not as ecstatic as some. I saw him do a fantastic performance of Giselle with Cojocaru some years age that is seared in my memory. I've also seem him in some Balanchine works in which he was way less than excellent. That said, he is a great dancer but I am a bit mystified by the greeting he is getting upon his return. Macauley posted on instagram the number of entrachat he did in Giselle (G. Murphy's Giselle}. If that deserves mention in a performance of Giselle, I believe there is a problem with the performance. The constant comments about the man's arched feet puzzles me. Yes, he has super arched feet, that is not going to change. Anyway, I am glad he is back and look forward to his performances. I am sure some will be great, others OK, and maybe some not so good.

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43 minutes ago, vipa said:

Anyway, I am glad he is back and look forward to his performances. I am sure some will be great, others OK, and maybe some not so good.

 

I second that. Yes...he is tall, elongated, impossibly curved insteps and so on and so forth. He always reminds me of the feeling that Zakharova gives me-(unlike him I have never seen her live). That said, I would still get Marcelo ANY day over Hallberg in any given performance.

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On 5/28/2017 at 9:06 PM, vipa said:

 Macauley posted on instagram the number of entrachat he did in Giselle (G. Murphy's Giselle}. If that deserves mention in a performance of Giselle, I believe there is a problem with the performance. The constant comments about the man's arched feet puzzles me. Yes, he has super arched feet, that is not going to change. 

 

His arched feet won't change, but his ability to use them might -- and they have been missed now for over two years. But my guess would be that Macauley (and others) are fussing about the number of entrechats at this recent performance because they seemingly offer vivid concrete evidence Hallberg has worked through his foot/ankle injury. Otherwise Hallberg could have opted not to do them.

 

That said, I am often puzzled by responses to performances that fixate on one particular technical challenge with little attention to anything else--however iconic that challenge has become. As part of a bigger picture -- sure: Baryshnikov's brisees, in his earliest post-defection Albrechts, were fleeting images of pleading and desperation. One could hardly talk about his Albrecht and NOT mention them.

 

But I think it happens partly because it's hard to convey dance in words. Much easier to say 'he did x number of entrechats.' It does also happen because certain moments start to be seen almost as tests by some ballet goers. I don't necessarily think it's the dancer's fault though. There are people whose first question about a Swan Lake will always be about the number of fouettés...I am not saying they don't matter at all, but big picture? You can do 32 of the fastest most brilliant fouettés imaginable and still not be a great Odette-Odile. (I've seen it.) 

 

To return to Hallberg--I'm thrilled he is back and very sad I won't be able to see him dance this season. I also hugely admire the grit it took him to get back.  As for the attention his return is garnering--in addition to his qualites as a dancer, Hallberg played a small role in ballet history when he was invited to join the Bolshoi. Particularly for older fans, those who vividly remember the era of defections from Russia etc, that's notable.

 

(Never saw Hallberg in Balanchine--which Vipa mentioned--but as Oberon in Ashton's Dream, the role created for Anthony Dowell, he seemed to me the one post-Dowell dancer I had the chance to see--including Gomes--who came closest to capturing some of what Dowell did.) 

 

 

Edited by Drew

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I haven't seen Hallberg dance live, and so am not commenting on his work specifically, but like many dance critics, I've written about dancers who have gone on hiatus for whatever reason, and then returned to performing.  Part of the job is to compare the dancer they are now to the dancer they were then, and as I understand a great deal of the attention that Hallberg gets is based on a very refined technique, it makes sense that people who look at him through that lens as he comes back to the stage.  I'm thrilled that he was able to make that transition (since it means I still have a chance to see him...) and I have a feeling that audiences and critics alike will be making "then and now" observations for a while. 

 

I think everyone here has read Arlene Croce's review of Suzanne Farrell's fairly stealthy return to NYCB (her description of Farrell's shape as she turned as a "cone" has stuck with me all this time), and my primary thought is what a privilege it was for audiences and critics of that period to get to watch an excellent artist continue to mature.  I re-read Hallberg's Instagram message above, and was so impressed with his determination.  He will, I hope, have a long career and many chances to develop his approach to ballet -- we will all be the beneficiaries of that effort.

 

ps  I'm not sure that anyone of Hallberg or Farrell's stature would be able to return to a stage today with the level of secrecy that Farrell enjoyed -- I imagine that affects many decisions that artists make.

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33 minutes ago, sandik said:

I think everyone here has read Arlene Croce's review of Suzanne Farrell's fairly stealthy return to NYCB (her description of Farrell's shape as she turned as a "cone" has stuck with me all this time), and my primary thought is what a privilege it was for audiences and critics of that period to get to watch an excellent artist continue to mature. 

 

sandik, I'd love to read this article if you have the link handy (assuming there is a link if the article is now available online). Thanks in advance!

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5 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

 

sandik, I'd love to read this article if you have the link handy (assuming there is a link if the article is now available online). Thanks in advance!

 

It's from one of her early anthologies (After Images) and it's also in her later New Yorker anthology (Writing in the Dark)

 

But the wonders of the internet are many, and it seems to also live here

 

Farrell and Farrellism February 3, 1975

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