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ABT's spring tour 2015

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I see that Julie Kent has withdrawn from her PILLAR OF FIRE performance on Wednesday. Gillian Murphy will step in for Kent, I.e., Murphy as Hagar two nights in a row. Kent still shown on ABT web as dancing CINDERELLA on Saturday night.

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Who is going to Kennedy Center performances? I'm seeing Julie Kent and Marcello the 28th and going back for more the next day. Pretty excited to see Julie one last time!

Please share your reviews with us after the performances!

If anyone goes tomorrow night, I'd love to hear how Gorak does in his first T&V.

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I went to last night's opening at the Kennedy Center - my only ABT DC performance, so others will have to report on Gorak. Very quickly, as I'm traveling soon...

THEME & VARIATIONS: Isabella Boylston truly exquisite, dancing tough steps with ease and joy (what a beautiful smile and oozing glamour!) Simkin was elegant in his new red hair but, alas, his usually impeccable technique failed him at the end of the big male solo with the series of quick double-tours/double-pirouettes, with sloppy final pose after saving what normally would've been a fall. He also had trouble centering slow pirouettes in the first solo. Lovely line and feet, though. In general, Simkin was a bit shakier than usual...but he did not drop our Isabella! On the other hand, there was no shakiness with the ultra-sharp corps. Devon Teuscher was especially exquisite among the demi ladies. I love the new yellow/orangish tutus!

PILLAR OF FIRE: Gillian Murphy has honed her Hagar into one of the best ever. Gomes was his usual sexy-bomb self. Hammoudi an elegant presence as the Nice Guy. Sad to see Stella Abrera in a matronly acting role. Cassandra Trenary magnificent as the Little Sister; WOW - what a presence! Now I understand the Trenary Buzz. Amanda McKerrow may not have made it to the Ric Burns film but she stood tall last night as she took a bow as one of the stagers of PILLAR (along with John Garmer, her husband and also an ABT alum).

RODEO: "Granny" Xiomara Reyes* was perfection as the cowgirl who discovers her feminine self. However, the loudest cheers of the night were for an amazing James Whiteside, performing his extended tap dance with aplomb! Maybe he'll be the next ballet principal to hit Broadway?

* some may not be aware that Reyes is a grandmother; hence, some of us lovingly call her 'granny.' Ridiculously youthful looking, still a very believable ingenue.

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Indeed. At first glance it appeared brown; under lights, definitely darkish auburn-red. Still looks like an adorable cherub, no matter the hair color!

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I'm seeing the Reyes/Gorak Cinderella cast on Saturday even though I saw that cast last year at the Met. This will be my last chance to see Reyes (whose dancing I greatly admire) as I'm not scheduled to see her in NY this year. Of the three, she's the one I'm most sad to see retire.

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I'm back in DC now, so you will all have to put up with my often ignorant opinions again. I was a little disappointed with ABT's choices this time around. I'm a little over-saturated with Theme and Variations, this being the 3rd production of it at the Kennedy Center in the past 24 months (plus the Colorado Ballet performed it while I was visiting Denver in 2013) and Rodeo just seems to not be the sort of thing that separates an elite company like ABT from the rest of the pack. While I often like to see 2 performances of a program, I haven't been able to get motivated to fork out the $$ for a ticket just to see Pillar of Fire a second time.

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And I wish there was a production of Pillar somewhere near me that I could see, whatever the $$$, so there we are.

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I believe that the programming is perfect for this 75th anniversary. In the triple bill, I believe that DC has not seen RODEO in a long time; T&V has completely new designs; and one can never get enough PILLAR - or any Tudor- in DC. I saw Michelle Wiles as Hagar last time around and am now thrilled to see Gillian Murphy.

Speaking of Tudor, I was so hoping that ABT may have taken this occasion of the 75th Anniv to revive one of his lesser-known works, such as GALA PERFORMANCE, DIM LISTRE, or UNDERTOW. Maybe for the Fall 2015 season at the Koch?

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I made my first trip to Cinderella for the Saturday matinee. The orchestra started playing and I immediately thought that the tempo was too slow. It stayed that way through most of the performance. Martin Fredmann's choreography is ingrained in me, and I found the Ashton choreography disappointing. It made little attempt to tell the story, in fact other than when the stepsisters were involved there was little in the choreography in the 2nd and 3rd acts that reminded me that I was watching Cinderella rather than some other ballet. I missed the beautiful waltz that Fredmann stuck in the 2nd act.

It's my understanding that Prokofiev envisioned Cinderella as some sort of morality story, but there was nothing in this production that gave that feeling.

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Gillian has picked up all of Julie Kent's assignments. Murphy is dancing Cinderella again tonight, after having danced it on Thursday night, and after having danced in Pillar on Tues and Wed. She's definitely earning her pay this week. That's the danger of relying on a reduced number of principals for tour engagements.

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I love the Ashton version. I liked it more today, then I did last spring.

And, I thought Reyes and Gorak danced it better then they did at the Met. I have seen so much growth with Gorak. I was so excited when he did the lift walking down the stairs this time, as they didn't do it at the Met. Both of them danced very strong, and I teared up a bit thinking that is the last time I'll see Reyes dance.

The other person who stood out to me was Calvin Royal as one of the prince's friends. I couldn't take my eyes off him when he was on stage. I think his time with Steifel is paying off.

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I teared up a bit thinking that is the last time I'll see Reyes dance.

That's the reason I was there, to see Reyes one last time. I hope she was as happy with her performance as I was.

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