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ABT 2018 Firebird / AFTERITE

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I wasn't judging, I was observing.  I saw one mother react one way and another mother react another way.  And which one was I "harsh and unfair" to?

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With all the comment here one questions why ratmansky ( or his heir/ copier) peck is considered  sucha genuis or his residency a coup

 

no one mentioned bolt 

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22 minutes ago, FauxPas said:

I wasn't judging, I was observing.  I saw one mother react one way and another mother react another way.  And which one was I "harsh and unfair" to?

I edited to clarify

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I thought Duncan left years ago 

is Roman injured? He is so underrated 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, FauxPas said:

So I saw the second cast of "AfteRite" last night.  Teuscher lacked Ferri's strengths and that may have been a good thing for the work as a whole. Teuscher was more blankly stoic and more easily manipulated.  And less emotive, but then she isn't Italian!    Her character was more weak, cowed, resigned and passive and it made more sense that she does not fight for the child.  You got the sense that she was not a strong or passionate woman alone, like Ferri, but a meek submissive member of some kind of cult or oppressive society.  She gave in to the dictate of the community, swallowed her maternal instincts and after one moment of weak defiance watched her child be sacrificed.

A note on the casting:  Isabella Boylston was in the Misty Copeland track of the photographer.  Gabe Stone Shayer was in Herman Cornejo's track and Daniil Simkin in Jeffrey Cirio's track.  Arron Scott was dancing the Blaine Hoven (anguished friend) role and Tom Forster was in James Whiteside's (shirtless) role.  The other dancers included Skylar Brandt, Catherine Hurlin, Marshall Whiteley, Tyler Maloney, Jose Sebastian, Courtney Shealy and Joo Wah Ahn.  Whiteley has a lot of stage presence and he is HUGE.  He is a strong partner but I noticed a tendency toward bulkiness in his frame - he needs to concentrate on keeping lean and vascular.  He also sweats a lot onstage.  His dancing is very good and he needs to be used more.

Initially I thought Shayer was in Cirio's track with Simkin in the Cornejo antagonist role.  This surprise casting was interesting and brought a whole different color to the piece.  Ferri and Cornejo have an intense personal chemistry onstage.  A pas de deux with them will look like it is sexual or romantic due to their chemistry and long partnership.  With Ferri and Cornejo it seemed like an erotic encounter turned into sadistic torture.  There was no sexual connection between Teuscher and Shayer - all that twisted partnering was from beginning to end about control and manipulation.  Shayer is actually shorter than Teuscher which made the image of her being lifted and rotated aloft by Shayer stranger and more disturbing.   Ferri and Cornejo were a hot pair and Teuscher and Shayer a cold pair, and cold somehow made better sense despite the loss in star quality.

I noticed a detail that had eluded me in the first viewing:  the Mother figure does start to try to fight the Antagonist after he turns on the gas in the greenhouse/gas chamber.  She tries to push him aside but he subdues her and pushed her to the ground.  It wasn't a tiger mother protecting her young but it was something - but too little too late and ineffectual.  The lower level of general drama and emoting with this alternate pair let moments like that stand out.

So was it GOOD?  No, not really but this cast, lacking some of the individual incandescence of the star duo in the other cast, did give more of a sense of ensemble and certain aspects played better.  Cornejo and Ferri deserve a better vehicle at ABT.  So do Teuscher and Shayer but they are lucky to get this.  Everybody was doing their best up there and looking good with what they were given.  But again my reaction was "Why are they doing that at that time and in that situation?"

"Firebird" was the same cast as Tuesday with Duncan Lyle returning replacing Roman Zhurbin as Kaschei.  Having seen this fine cast before I was less blindsided by their excellence and the headscratcher oddities and flaws in Ratmansky's choreography did stand out more to me this time.  I still had a good time but need a dose of Fokine, Balanchine or Tetley.

 

Thank you so much for the thorough and thoughtful review. It's really saying something that Afterite has spurred so many discussions and arguments. 

Devon Teuscher said in an Instagram post, 'Thank you to Wayne McGregor for giving us this Ballet and allowing me to truly explore it as an individual.'

This open space for interpretation is what made the piece so thrilling to me, and one I would like to revisit. Each cast is allowed to build their own Afterite society, relationships, rules. It's an interesting route to take. After so many lackluster new works lately, I can settle for interesting. 

Edited by Inge

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People keep comparing this in commentaries in media to Sophie's choice but didn't Sophie kill herself

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Sophie's suicide was years later in the US.

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19 hours ago, Inge said:

Thank you so much for the thorough and thoughtful review. It's really saying something that Afterite has spurred so many discussions and arguments. 

Devon Teuscher said in an Instagram post, 'Thank you to Wayne McGregor for giving us this Ballet and allowing me to truly explore it as an individual.'

This open space for interpretation is what made the piece so thrilling to me, and one I would like to revisit. Each cast is allowed to build their own Afterite society, relationships, rules. It's an interesting route to take. After so many lackluster new works lately, I can settle for interesting. 

I agree.  Many in each cast have stated on Instagram that working with McGregor and performing this ballet have been highlights of their careers.  As far as Ferri and Cornejo deserving a better vehicle, I am not sure they look at it that way.  Both stated at the Guggenheim (and on Instagram) that they were honored to work with McGregor and loved being pushed in a different way. Saw it again last night and noted even more that I had not seen before.  Cirio is a sympathetic character.  I noted that when they are all served (a la holy communion) what I assumed to be a drug, he very obviously took it out of his mouth and placed it on the ground.  The dancers danced with more intensity last night than the first time I saw it.  I wish I could be there today to see it one more time.

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22 hours ago, lmspear said:

Sophie's suicide was years later in the US.

That's why I found the comparison odd

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Posted (edited)

I have never seen lines like last night at the met. Full house, sold out ,many children. 

Copeland was fine as firebird .  She's not Nina though.  This year the birds look more like golden cockerels ( or woodpeckers or  pigeons) and maidens like zombie puppets.  Was the a white scrim there ( like neumeiers Sylvia) at the beginning before? Music was very slow. Shocked how good Duncan Lyle was.  Why did he leave or come back? Choreo no chAllenge to Cornejo but awkward on Lane with all the flexing and thriller puppet nightmare motions.  Could have been better rehearsed .  

Rite was better than expected. The girl knows the decision was made already rather than stumbling upon it. Didn't hear the pounding in the music pronounced.  Maybe those things changed some of the horror  or terror.  Devon did protest though.  I don't know what anyone else expected of her. The written program was odd ,incomprehensible, and pretentious though.  I was too high to see the set described in the program - I saw a curtain only. Was there something else?  Reminded me of s. king's zoo a bit as well as Gitmo or a drug war, not the sacrifice of Christ.  The individual sacrifice was shown but the group's sacrifice was not depicted.  Had they already lost their humanity?  

i don't know why being part of the chosen people is considered a privilege.

Edited by Vs1

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33 minutes ago, Vs1 said:

Shocked how good Duncan Lyle was.  Why did he leave or come back? 

I don’t believd Lyle has ever left the company. He was in the corps of the Boston Ballet from 2010 to 2012 before joining ABT. Maybe you are thinking of Sean Stewart, who left ABT for six years and then rejoined?

Duncan Lyle has always struck me as a fine dancer, though many of his featured roles have been character roles. I’m glad to see him getting this opportunity in Firebird.

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2 hours ago, Vs1 said:

That's why I found the comparison odd

I assume the comparison is not based on her suicide but on her being forced to decide which of her children to save (her "choice").

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Posted (edited)

I’ve been going to ABT performances pretty consistently since well before 2012 and can’t recall any time Lyle wasn’t in the company since he first joined.

Edited by nanushka

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Re:  removed posts: "I saw a photo" is not a citation.  Provide a real source, or don't post info about dancers.

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6 hours ago, Vs1 said:

 Choreo no chAllenge to Cornejo but awkward on Lane with all the flexing and thriller puppet nightmare motions.  Could have been better rehearsed . 

Lane? Don't you mean Trenary (the lead maiden for last night's show)? I'm pretty sure Lane didn't dance at all this week.

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I checked my notes from the Met when I bought tickets. 

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