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World Premiere of Whipped Cream by Ratmansky

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I also saw Thursday's show and, with the sugar-shock having worn off from the premiere, have to say that I loved Cornejo and could not take my eyes off of him. His performance had substance. From the moment he entered the stage and ran over to embrace the white pony, I was hooked. Thank you, Herman Cornejo!  

 

The trio of Hammoudi, Forster, and Schevchenko was very strong and they worked effectively with and off of each other.  It was delightful to see them in these comic roles going full throttle. 

 

I find the the first act pas de deux plus pas de six (sept) too long and repetitious. The whipped-cream corps closing  to act 1 is probably effective from farther back from where I was sitting.

 

Tonight is another cast. 

 

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WHIPPED CREAM is a HUUUUGE success in every way. Gorgeous substantial sets & costumes, yes. We expected so but this is so much more. This is a true ballet, practically a 100% danced production with minimal mime. A true "grand ballet" in the Petipa manner. We had a great cast tonight but it was a slam-dunk for high-flying charmer Jeffrey Cirio. What an artist of the highest order. Also impressive is the delectable Skylar Brandt, with her fleet footwork and strong fouettés. Isabella Boylston & Alban Lendorf were exquisite in the A1 divertissement, displaying line and personality plus! Kudos to the sharply comic Liquors Trio of Zhong-Jing Fang, Patrick Ogle & Marshall Whiteley! (I haven't seen Ms Fang in anything so substantial since I saw her win the Shanghai Int'l Ballet Competition in 2001. Brava!)  The female corps was yummy in the big Whipped Cream waltz that ended A1; I love the way that they slide down onto the stage! 

 

Going into this, I was particularly skeptical about the large swaths of non-dansant tunes in this Richard Strauss score. No problem! Ratmansky created beautiful movements to "impossible dancing music" that fit like a glove. Case in point: the long, languid music with flute solo for Tea Flower and her four attendants...suddenly a masterpiece of movement that recalls "La Flute" in Lifar's SUITE EN BLANC. Ratmansky made me SEE that music & make the connection, even though I'd listened to the same music on the Japanese CD 1,000 times before. 

 

One can write a book on the numerous Petipa allusions, so obvious in the various female poses during the finale. I particularly adore the 19th-C gentle poses and moves in the A1 Pas de Neuf for Tea/Coffee and their respective entourages...or the March of the Marzipans with quotations from DOCH FARAONA! I silently "bravoed" Mr P during the bows. Ratmansky has really learned his Petipa-notations' lessons well.

 

Not-to-be- Missed-Ballet! I can't wait for my other two performances tomorrow, with different casts. One small negative: the 2-act work clocks in at only 75 minutes (not counting the one intermission) ...but what a 75-minute splendor! Still, $129 was a bit steep price to pay for a seat way up in Loge, albeit a good central first row location in Loge, for a ballet that began at 7:40pm & bows ended at 9:20 PM. The opposite of the mostly-dull and poorly designed FAIRY's KISS in Miami one month ago. Vive la difference in Costa Mesa...substance, not shabby cubist-crap projections. WHIPPED CREAM's church looks like a church, not a dirty milk carton. 

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The first of today's two performances is history. The matinee cast, led by impishly comical Danil Simkin, is now history...and I'm lovin' this ballet more than ever. The A1 "hot drinks diverts" leads, Gillian Murphy & James Whiteside, were technically spot-on, if not as sinewy in plastique or as comically sharp as were Boylston/Lendorf last night. On the other hand, Sarah Lane was naturally charming and technically superior as Praline - twice ending her solos with triple fouettés. The nine male demisoloists absolutely nailed the A1 March...I should've mentioned that piece de resistance yesterday.

 

BUT my top kudos of this performance absolutely go to -- drumroll -- the guy (or kid?) in the background of the finale who bopped and waved his arms non-stop dressed in a capsule-like garment depicting (I think) Neapolitan Ice Cream..three layered colors painted in a melting effect: strawberry pink, chocolate & vanilla. He stood at top of steps on a bridge with other child sweets - surely echoing the bridge in Bournonville's NAPOLI. He bopped and bopped as a final Tarantella played. This kid, whoever he may be, wins my Spirit of Joy trophy. Oh, yeah! 

 

Now a quick bite at the hotel before tonight's performance (Cornejo to lead). Neapolitan Ice Cream better be back!

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I must leave this place before diabetes sets in. In the meantime, my 3rd dose of WHIPPED CREAM was quite delicious, this time led by perhaps the most outstanding Boy, Herman Cornejo, from both the dancing and acting perspective. His Princess Praline was beautiful Cassandra Trenary, perhaps the neatest performer of the filigreed footwork among all, although Lane was the only one to deliver 3ple pirouettes.

 

The A1 "hot drinks" leads, Hee Seo & Cory Stearns, displayed long lean lines...but Seo's choreography was watered a bit, eg, single pirouettes a la seconde , where Murphy & Boylston danced doubles. On the other hand, Calvin Royale and Arron Scott were the best-dancing and most hilarious Prince Cocoa & Don Zuccaro, respectively...from the moment that they emerged from their tins and gave each other nasty glares...Royal & Scott delivered comic gems galore!

 

Neapolitan Ice Cream was a bit toned down compared to the matinee but still the liveliest creature on the back stairs.

 

Back home tomorrow. Had a blast but I'm ready to cut back on the sweets...hmmm, just a little.

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Thanks, abatt! So do not get rid of that subscription ticket for WHIPPED CREAM. You're guaranteed a great time..

 

Just had my last morning swim at the Westin. The weather has been heavenly here. I'm sorry to be leaving Paradise for the East Coast. The snow had better be over back home!!!

 

 

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My quick reaction to Saturday night's performance:  Entertaining, sophisticatedly sweet (not cloying), choreography was postmodern classicism, vibrant and imaginative; music was charming and good while playing, but darned if a bar of it lingers in the memory.

 

All of my audience neighbors were completely enchanted.

 

Natalia has hit all the nails on their various heads in her postings; no disagreements.  Cornejo was wonderful, both dancing-wise and acting-wise.  All the dancers were dedicated, inhabited their parts, and--best of all--seemed to be having a great time.

 

The tiniest negative, the only one I can come up with:  The (giant-headed) Doctor touches his head a few times, and it was hard to tell in some instances if it was dramatic gesticulation or rather that the head "felt wrong" and needed to be adjusted.

 

Yes, it's a splendid must-see.  It's a show that--perhaps thankfully--doesn't have a deeper meaning (nice to have a vacation from Deep Thoughts).  Just sit and let the wonderful artistry wash over you.

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You're most welcome! I've finally come down from the Sugar High...but thinking about that cute Pink Yak & hoping that some day ABT will market a line of cuddly toys based on the ballet. Heck, I'll go one further: ABT, Ryden and Disney must form a partnership. Create a Whipped-Cream-Land for all of us dreamers and people with kindness in their hearts.

 

The more that I think back to my sojourn in Costa Mesa, the more that I admire Ratmansky's Petipaesque craftsmanship with ensembles of all sizes, such as the whipped cream ladies or the Hot Drinks pas de neuf...or that amazing Pas de Douze (12) March for the clusters of warriors. In all of these, I'm in awe of the ability to mix "action" with coy posing straight out of the Petipa play book.  While one cluster of dancers shows off great technical

moves in unison, the other clusters arrange themselves in adorable poses that echo the composition of 19th-century Imperial Mariinsky post cards.

 

If Richard Strauss had been the Tsar's composer, this is precisely what Petipa would have created...except that this is Ratmansky in the 21st-C!  Most importantly, the designs of WHIPPED CREAM are fit for a Tsar. ABT now has the elusive "long lost Petipa Imperial-Mariinsky ballet"! Now I know what the Romanov Court felt when the curtain went up on a grand new spectacle at the old Mariinsky.  Or, most appropriately, due to this being a relatively short 2-acter,this "Petipa ballet" would have premiered at the Court Hermitage Theatre. So did other 2-act (or long 1-act) frothy concoctions like HARLEQUINADE, THE SEASONS and FAIRY DOLL.

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45 minutes ago, pherank said:

I laughed out loud when I saw this photo in the Claudia Bauer review - I wonder if Kenneth MacMillan would have liked this?

 

http://cvj1llwqcyay0evy-zippykid.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/gs-cream-daniil-simkin-alexei-agoudine-injection_1000.jpg

 

 

"Casting Sarah Lane as Praline – in place of the injured Misty Copeland – was savvy matchmaking, as her flirtatious chemistry with Simkin made for delightful dancing."

 

This was carelessly inaccurate. Lane was always first cast. Skylar B. replaced Copeland. Never-the-less, this review makes it even less likely that I'll buy a ticket for this at the Met.

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1 hour ago, vipa said:

"Casting Sarah Lane as Praline – in place of the injured Misty Copeland – was savvy matchmaking, as her flirtatious chemistry with Simkin made for delightful dancing."

 

This was carelessly inaccurate. Lane was always first cast. Skylar B. replaced Copeland. Never-the-less, this review makes it even less likely that I'll buy a ticket for this at the Met.

 

The inaccuracy was brought up in the comments section of the article and Bauer acknowledged her mistake.

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The article below was, I believe, the original source for the inaccurate statement in Claudia Bauer's review.  With a huge, eye-catching headline, it's little more than five breathless paragraphs, seemingly written in haste, with information probably pulled from a press release.  Whether she meant to or not, the author of the article gives readers the impression that Copeland was supposed to dance on opening night.  Very misleading.  My feeling is that Bauer used this article as background information for her review.  It's a good example of why journalists and writers must do their homework and track down original sources for their stories (make a call and confirm it!) and not rely solely on the internet for "truth" or "facts."

 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-misty-copeland-david-hallberg-20170315-story.html

 

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Speaking of Copeland...

 

I've supported her many a time on this forum but, knowing her strengths and having now seen this ballet three times, I could never ever picture her making an entrance atop the big furry yak & succeeding with Princess Praline's fleet-footed petit allegro choreography. I'm willing to be proven wrong.

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12 hours ago, sandik said:

Yak riding is certainly a specialty...

 

Who said "ride"? Praline enters the stage STANDING on the big white yak! The procession of Praline & her enormous entourage of sweets makes for a grand parade in the 19th-C Petipa tradition. Think of all the great Petipa processions such as BAYADERE A2, SLEEPING BEAUTY A3, PHARAOH's DAUGHTER, FLORA's AWAKENING...  Who doesn't love a great parade with elaborate props and gorgeous costumes?

 

As for Misty, I was referring to her ability to perform the choreography as quickly and crisply as intended, not ability to stand on the yak (holding on to a pole).

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1 hour ago, Natalia said:

Think of all the great Petipa processions such as BAYADERE A2, SLEEPING BEAUTY A3, PHARAOH's DAUGHTER, FLORA's AWAKENING...  Who doesn't love a great parade with elaborate props and gorgeous costumes?

 

And of course Act 1 of Giselle with its procession of royalty, including two borzois, who every once and awhile don't obey their handlers' commands, which makes for an amusing moment. I imagine the dog gets fired after such a performance.

 

And Romeo and Juliet (Act II?)

 

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19 minutes ago, angelica said:

 

And of course Act 1 of Giselle with its procession of royalty, including two borzois, who every once and awhile don't obey their handlers' commands, which makes for an amusing moment. I imagine the dog gets fired after such a performance.

 

And Romeo and Juliet (Act II?)

 

 

Does the Hunt really count for a procession in GISELLE? Duh...

 

Petipa's R&J? ROTFL!

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47 minutes ago, Natalia said:

 

Does the Hunt really count for a procession in GISELLE? Duh...

 

Petipa's R&J? ROTFL!

 

I do think the hunt is quite a procession. But you got me on R&J!

 

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11 hours ago, Natalia said:

 

Who said "ride"? Praline enters the stage STANDING on the big white yak! The procession of Praline & her enormous entourage of sweets makes for a grand parade in the 19th-C Petipa tradition. Think of all the great Petipa processions such as BAYADERE A2, SLEEPING BEAUTY A3, PHARAOH's DAUGHTER, FLORA's AWAKENING...  Who doesn't love a great parade with elaborate props and gorgeous costumes?

 

All the way back to the grand court ballets of Louis XIV.

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There is a short clip of the big finale of Whipped Cream on ABT's Facebook page, featuring Simkin (and the rest of the cast). I feel like Cornejo used the music a bit better in this section, but it will give you a look at the music and some big jumps from Simkin.

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To me, Jeffrey Cirio was the best of the three. Best balance of dancing and comic acting. If it's just on pure fireworks movement, then Simkin takes the cake (and whipped cream). Cornejo is the least believable as a young boy. Cirio perfect in every respect...and his Princess, Skylar Brandt, was also the best balanced, in technique, acting & radiant presence. 

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NYC-ARTS has put out this 9 minute spotlight on Whipped Cream featuring some nice dance clips I hadn't seen before and interviews with Ratmansky, Sarah Lane and Daniil Simkin. Simkin's comment about how Ratmansky has given opportunities to overlooked dancers since he started working with the company was striking. Can't help but think he was referring to Lane (and others of course), his partner and the only other dancer interviewed. Though I was taken aback at his earlier comments regarding female choreographers, I agree that Ratmansky has absolutely invested in several corps and soloist dancers who seemed fairly neglected otherwise, and whose bigger and bigger roles in non-Ratmansky pieces I think can be attributed to the growth and visibility they've achieved performing in his dances. (Think Lane and Royal to name just two, both of whom I'm hoping for promotions after the Met season.)

 

http://watch.thirteen.org/video/3000817171/

Edited by ABT Fan

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I watched that clip and well, it didn't inspire me to see the ballet. It looked a bit out of sync in some corps parts and it appeared "heavy" to me???? Weighted down by costumes, bobble heads, and large props with a rather bizarre plot (hospitals, large syringes)

 

I love the idea of a grand ballet.  I'll be in NYC so perhaps I can see it. 

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A release (something fun!):

 

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE “WHIPPED CREAM FLOAT” TO TRAVEL THE STREETS OF UPPER WEST SIDE AND TIMES SQUARE ON SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017, 10AM-3PM

UNIQUE CARAVAN OF CHARACTERS TO CELEBRATE ABTKIDS DAY AND NEW YORK PREMIERE OF WHIPPED CREAM

In celebration of American Ballet Theatre’s New York Premiere of Whipped Cream and the family-friendly performance of ABTKids, characters from the ballet will board a 24-foot open-air festive float for a ride along the Upper West Side and through midtown, ending back “home” at Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera House on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Cupcake Children, Swirl Girls, Layer Cake Girl, Pink Yak and Chef, all characters from ABT’s new production of Whipped Cream, will set out from the loading dock of the Metropolitan Opera House at 9:30am for their journey up Central Park West to West 96th Street, down Columbus Avenue and back to Lincoln Center, waving to fans and offering photo opportunities prior to the 11:30am performance of ABTKids.

At the conclusion of ABTKids, the Whipped Cream float will ride again, traveling down Broadway past Columbus Circle and on to Times Square.

American Ballet Theatre’s New York Premiere of Whipped Cream features choreography by ABT Artist in Residence Alexei Ratmansky and the whimsical, pastry-themed designs of pop surrealist Mark Ryden. Whipped Cream is performed May 22-24 and June 26-July 1.

ABTKids is a one-hour performance designed for children and families showcasing highlights from ABT’s Spring Season. All seats for ABTKids on May 20 are priced at $25 and available for purchase online, at the Met box office or by phone at 212-362-6000.

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