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Leigh Witchel

Mid Season report

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A few things of note:

The same cast danced Who Cares tonight (June 13) as last Saturday and it's a group of dancers who are absolutely at the top of their game right now.

I haven't seen Hubbe in as good shape as he is in now perhaps since he joined the company. His body is extemely toned and taut, his technique is consistent in a way it hasn't always been and it seems like he knows it too. Where he once pushed hard in what seemed like compensation, now his aggressive dancing seems from confidence. He looked very strong in Mozartiana as well last season, and this builds on it.

Jenifer Ringer should be dying from overwork (it seems the company has been casting her nightly) but she looks like she's thriving on it. Like Hubbe, she is in fantastic shape and tone. And as others have mentioned, the main role in Who Cares fits her like a glove. My fond memories are of Weese in the role, whose timing was so razor sharp it made you laugh out loud. Ringer isn't as sharp as Weese, so she makes up for it with fizz. Her solo variation, in the best way possible, looks like a very mischievous (and slightly daffy) cheerleader.

Jennie Somogyi and Janey Taylor's stars are both on the rise. Somogyi's radiant confidence and gyroscopic turns win me over time and again and Taylor's sheer attack looks wonderful in the jumping von Aroldingen variation. All of the women look great with Hubbe, but I think there may be something special in the Hubbe-Taylor pairing that should be explored. Both of them push very hard in their dancing, and they place each other in context when they're together.

Kowroski is another dancer whose body is pulling into shape. In Agon last Saturday there was no sense of her not being in control of her limbs and in The Concert tonight, she used it for comic effect. The sight of Kowroski dejectedly shuffling out flat footed in enormous floppy blue pointe shoes after she spied someone in the same powderpuff of a hat as hers sent the audience into giggles. Casting Ashley Bouder in the same ballet as the little bulldozer of a music lover who somehow is always ahead of the beat was a very witty stroke.

Any dancers anyone else is noticing mid-season?

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Not so much noticing as changing my opinion of, for the better.

Kowroski has often left me cold, but this season, particularly in Agon, she impressed me mightily. Taylor has also not impressed me before, but after seeing her in Who Cares and Div. No. 15 (last Saturday), I have realized that perhaps it isn't her dancing but the roles she has had that I have disliked. Previously I am pretty sure I saw her exclusively in the Martins repertory, which, to put it mildly, I don't like. In Balanchine, she seemed to me a different dancer -- warmer, more personable, just easier to enjoy.

I’ve also thought Soto looked better this season than recently – I liked Chiaroscuro (I was live at the PBS broadcast performance), and really liked him last week in Agon.

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Leigh,re: Ringer, she's also debuting in Theme with Askegard. This should be interesting.

In addition to those Leigh mentioned, I think Fayette is dancing very well this season. For awhile I thought he had stopped improving but his performances this season had more polish than in the past.

Amanda Edge has been everywhere. I admired how "big" she danced in Who Cares? I suppose she'll never be a soloist but the company would be poorer without dancers like her. And Natanya, Walker, Hanson, etc.

Fowler and Hanna both seem to be maturing nicely. Now if they could just begin to understand that partnering is more than just making sure the girl doesn't fall.

It is nice to see Korbes back but both performances I saw of Interplay were awful. Nobody seemed to understand the jazziness of it and Korbes was miscast in the ppd.

Most missed - Miranda Weese and Jared Angle.

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