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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    avid balletgoer/dabbler in dance
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    New York

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  1. OMG, I'm sooo excited to see Kondaurova in Diamonds! And I love Batoeva and am curious to see Bulanova again, so I'm thrilled they're all in the same cast!
  2. Single tickets go on sale on August 5, in case anyone is interested. No casting has been posted yet. I've never been to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion--do any LA natives have advice on where to sit? I usually like to sit fairly close to the stage in the orchestra, but if there isn't much of an incline, or if the seats are not staggered, I probably will sit elsewhere... Thanks in advance!
  3. Interesting... No Kondaurova in "Paquita" at the Kennedy Center (how disappointing!), but she will be dancing in Bayadere. I'm glad to see Tereshkina will be dancing since we missed her at the Kennedy Center in April.
  4. If I peer into my crystal ball, I see Christine Shevchenko "on standby" for tonight...
  5. Fascinating! I had the complete opposite reaction--but perhaps because I didn't see last night's show. I thought Shevchenko's White Swan was amazing--just mesmerizing and beautiful! She took her time, she filled every beat of the music...I was extremely impressed. The Black Swan was excellent, but I feel like last year's was even more exciting--or perhaps it's because I now expect that level of mind-blowing technical excellence from Shevchenko. I expect her to hold that arabesque balance forever (as she did) and whip out those double pirouettes ala seconde and nail the fouettes. I felt like all the supporting cast brought their A-game tonight: Brandt/Gorak/Trenary were excellent in the pas de trois, Calvin Royal was an unexpectedly exciting and charismatic Von Rothbart, and Tom Forster was full of anger and anguish as the monster Von Rothbart. It really is a shame Shevchenko doesn't have another "Swan Lake" this week. If for some reason she ends up with another show this week, I will RUN to the box office to get the best ticket they have!
  6. I saw four Corsaire performances this past week: Brandt/Mack/Simkin/Lane (Tues), Shevchenko/Mack/Ahn/Trenary (Thurs), Teuscher/Stearns/Whiteside/Williams (Fri), and Shevchenko et al again on Sat. Here are some quick thoughts from me, though I think many other posters have already expressed my sentiments: Obviously Simkin is a world-class talent, and his Ali would be a highlight at any company. It's too bad he was injured in the middle of the run. On Mack versus Stearns: I agree with the comments about Mack lacking some polish and finesse, but he was a fantastic partner for both Brandt and Shevchenko (he turned both like tops), and I felt like he brought some excitement to the role of Conrad with his explosive jumps. For me, the pas de trois in Act II works best when each member brings a "wow" factor to their variation, and I often find that the Conrad is the weakest link. However, I felt like Mack was able to keep the energy going (or building) as Conrad--something which I felt Stearns was lacking. Stearns is very handsome and is a fine partner, but he's not a particularly bravura dancer, and I felt like the energy sagged a bit when he did his variations. On the Medoras: I suppose even the exceptional turners have great nights and not-so-great nights. On Tuesday, Brandt seemed to be a bit "off"--she wasn't able to pull off the multiple revolutions a la seconde, and she traveled a lot on her fouettes. However, it sounds like she was on fire at the Sat matinee. There is almost nothing I can critique in her dancing, but I do sometimes feel that her facial expressions are a bit overdone/exaggerated for my liking. As for Shevchenko, Thurs night was one for the record books for me, while Sat night was merely excellent. Having seen Shevchenko on Thursday, Teuscher was a bit of a letdown on Friday. I can find absolutely nothing wrong with her dancing, which is technically solid, secure, and beautiful, and I also have no quibbles about her acting. She's a ballerina that I absolutely do not mind seeing at all, and one I would choose to see over several other ABT principals. And yet... What I realize from this week of Corsaires is that Brandt and especially Shevchenko are what I would call "risk-takers," while Teuscher plays it safe. Brandt and Shevchenko seem to try to squeeze in extra revolutions in turns whenever they can--and sometimes it may not work out, but they try. Teuscher is also a very talented turner, as evidenced by these posts, but the only times she seemed to really push it were in the chaine turns (which were the fastest of any Medora or Gulnare this week) and the fouettes: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYvlVjaDCyP/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BT4WSbmDMKM/ To give a specific example, in Act I Medora performs a diagonal that ends in a pirouette. On Thursday, Shevchenko did it with her arms in 5th above her head, and she managed a quad or a quint--and it looked so easy and perfect, like she was floating in the air, that it drew applause. On Friday, I waited to see what Teuscher would do with that moment, but it never came. And so I thought maybe I had misremembered, and that the remarkable pirouette was actually in Act II. But no, on Sat, at that same moment, Shevchenko attempted another long turn, but this time she was only able to manage a triple. This is precisely what struck me about Shevchenko's dancing this week--she seems to try to make every step she can into a "moment"--whether it be by adding some extra revolutions, or about reaching for 180 degrees in every extension, or holding every balance just an extra fraction of a second longer. I can't wait to see what she does with "Swan Lake" this year. And I'm also wondering if dancing with Aran Bell will push Teuscher a little bit more out of her comfort zone, since he seems to be a bit more of a bravura dancer than Stearns.
  7. Another technically-astounding performance from Shevchenko today! Both my friend and I thought she and Whiteside looked a bit tired, but she can still deliver all the technical goodies even when she's not 100%. She had one very extended balance in retire in the Act II variation, and in the Act III fouette section she did alternating singles and doubles with the fan over her head for 16 counts and then perfectly-centered singles for the remainder. I thought Shevchenko and Whiteside had more chemistry than in Swan Lake, but it definitely was not as spicy as I've seen in past performances. Whiteside's solos were fine--I feel like this role fits his personality more naturally than Siegfried--but as another friend commented, usually Don Q feels equally split between Basilio and Kitri, but today's show was definitely all about Kitri. Katherine Williams was a gorgeous, expansive Queen of the Dryads (what a season she's having!), and Rachel Richardson was utterly adorable as Amour. Blaine Hoven was fine as Espada, but I did not care for Zhong-Jing Fang's very over-the-top interpretation of Mercedes. Gabe Stone-Shayer was the lead gypsy instead of Arron Scott, and his arched-back jumps were pretty spectacular. All in all, another exciting show!
  8. I 1000% agree with all of the praise for Shevchenko. I knew she would be good, but she just blew me away today! I have seen at least a dozen ABT performances this season, but I haven't felt excited enough about any of them to bother writing on the forum--at least not until today. Some moments that I thought were noteworthy that haven't already been mentioned: 1) I loved her swan arms as she was exiting the lake scene at the end of Act II were gorgeously done 2) The little rond-de-jambs into the extensions to the side in the Act II white swan variation were so secure, with sky-high extensions 3) she had some very impressive arabesque balances in her variations, and one extended one in the middle of the black swan p.d.d.--I think she actually could have held it longer but Whiteside took her arms on the music 4) As for the pirouettes a la seconde in the variation, I actually think she did most of them as doubles, and maybe a triple as the last one? It was jaw-dropping for sure. In some of her other performances this season (Firebird, Bayadere), I felt like they were a very technically solid, but it seemed like she was holding back a little bit. I felt like I could feel her thinking about what was coming next, and her dancing felt a little too cautious. However, today, I felt like she was really going for it; she just exuded confidence. It made me think of having a Ferrari and finally getting to take it out on a race track. I really enjoyed the lightning-fast supported pirouettes--I hope they do that again in DQ next week, though I really wish Shevchenko had another Swan Lake show so I could see her again! As for the others--I agree that Aran's debut as Purple Rothbart was promising. Maybe next year he can be Shevchenko's Siegfried! 😁
  9. I'm shocked, but I actually enjoyed tonight's (Tuesday's) performance way more than I was expecting to! First, Her Notes -- I know I saw this last year, but it made no impression whatsoever, so I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it tonight. Maybe it was because it gave me a chance to admire Tom Forster's gorgeous feet and his excellent partnering skills. Also, I thought the two female duos--Cassie Trenary/Skylar Brandt and Stephanie Williams/Devon Teuscher--were exceptionally well-matched, which was fun to see. Symphonic Variations --- I'm also not sure what this piece should look like, but it seemed well-danced to me tonight. I thought Shevchenko & Royal looked very regal and elegant together, and Gorak's solo was flawless. Elegy p.d.d. --- I usually avoid seeing Hee Seo at all costs, but I will admit that she can look beautiful when someone else is carrying her, and tonight she milked Zhurbin's strong partnering for all it was worth. She looked gorgeous, and some of the lifts where he swung her up and around his body were gasp-worthy. This piece got a huge applause. Thirteen Diversions --- this piece got the biggest applause of the night and a standing ovation. Seo looked great again, this time with Cory's help, and Stella and Tom Forster were also gorgeous. Catherine Hurlin and April Giangeruso also danced very well together (though they lacked the twinning effect that we saw in "Her Notes"). Zhiyao Zhang filled in for Alex Hammoudi and I could not tell he was a sub at all; he matched Jose Sebastian step-for-step and had beautiful elevation in his jumps. I'm going back for a few more shows with different rep...hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised by those too...
  10. Here's an account of Vishneva's farewell performance from a Russian website (you'll need to use GoogleTranslate to read it, but there are some nice photos): http://www.balletinsider.com/archive/history/7658 This part was particularly interesting--slightly mangled translation from GoogleTranslate: So I guess we may see some ABT dancers in her "Context" festival, and we may see Vishneva back on the stage as a guest at some point in the future. My guess is that if ABT brings back "Manon" in 2 or 3 years, she'd definitely return...
  11. There must have been several Veronika fans in the audience tonight. They cheered loudly after the Prayer section of "Mozartiana," and many people threw flowers at the stage when she took her bows. Part looked regal, elegant, and as free and confident as I've ever seen her (aside from a few awkward partnering moments), but it was not enough for me to enjoy this ballet. I'm generally pretty indifferent to Balanchine, and I usually dislike Mozart music, so this is probably just never going to be my cup of tea, no matter who is performing. I think I saw Part do the Prayer section at an ABT gala years ago, but I don't think I've ever seen the whole piece before, so I can't really judge how well Hoven or Simkin or the rest of the ensemble performed. I guess Hoven and Simkin looked ok? In contrast, I really enjoyed "Souvenir d'un lieu cher" -- I love that piece of music, and the solo violinist sounded great. There were still several Ratmansky cliches--parts where the lead women slide across the floor on pointe, and a few moments of silliness--but I still enjoyed it. I just love how Marcelo just devours space when he's dancing, and of course, his partnering is magnificent. He set up Stella for a lovely extended balance, and he seemed to do it so effortlessly. Abrera, Lane, and Lendorf were all excellent too. Tchaikovsky p.d.d. - well, I guess this turned out better than I expected? I've decided that I like how Boylston uses her legs and her feet: I particularly love how she lowers her leg slowly when she battements it up to her ear; that shows great control. However, her use of her arms and her wrists remain distracting. She, however, seemed comfortable with the pace and the content of the dance, while poor Gorak looked to me like he might collapse at the end. He's not the most athletic dancer, but he has great flexibility, so his legs really fly open in his jumps. Gorak usually has beautifully-centered turns, but today he struggled with them, and I think it may have been due to a lack of stamina. I really worried that he might drop Boylston at the end, and they did the fish dives very cautiously. Still, for the most part, Gorak looked like he was having fun. AfterEffect - Yes, perhaps this piece goes on a little too long, but I felt engaged the whole time. Okay, I loved it! I was expecting the crowd to burst out with applause when Misty appeared onstage, but they didn't! (And yet the house was packed.) There were so many soloists in the cast in the ensemble that I felt almost spoiled--Brandt, Zhurbin, Paris, Shevchenko, Teuscher, Scott, and Hoven. Among the solo variations for the women, Shevchenko drew applause for her perfectly-centered fouettes a la seconde (with the leg extended). (Speaking of which, when can we see her in "Swan Lake"?? I'm sure SHE can do all 32 counts of fouettes.) Zhiyao Zhang looked great, and I appreciated Whiteside's commitment to the character and the movement. I'm curious how Stearns will handle it. (I probably have seen him in it but I can't remember for sure.) All in all, I enjoyed the show--much more than last week's "Whipped Cream," when I had a hard time staying awake and didn't even bother to comment...
  12. And here's a video of her farewell:
  13. I don't even know what to say after tonight's emotional performance with Vishneva/Gomes... I guess I should be sad that I'll probably not see them together at ABT again (or at least not soon), but I have to say, what I most feel right now is gratitude. Thank you to Diana & Marcelo for giving me some of the most memorable performances of my life. It has been a privilege to watch the two of you pour your heart and souls out onstage for the past 10 years or so. Here's a video of rehearsing "Onegin" in her last few days at ABT:
  14. I can see why serious balletomanes like us might find these partnering-heavy ballets to be boring, and personally I find "Onegin" to be one of the weakest. I much prefer "Manon," "Romeo & Juliet," and even the very-divisive "Lady of the Camellias." However, I think "Onegin" can be an extraordinary vehicle for an exceptional pair of lead dancers, such as Vishneva/Gomes. I took about 10 people--mostly ballet newbies--to see them on Monday, and I'm taking about a dozen people to see them tomorrow. Would I take them to see another cast in "Onegin"? Maybe. Would I recommend a mixed bill to them? Absolutely not*. I think that for ballet newbies, "Onegin" is a great "gateway" ballet. It tells its story very clearly and very compellingly, and that plot gives you something to latch on to when you don't know enough to judge how cleanly a dancer does his entrechat sixes, or how solidly a ballerina does her fouettes. Personally, I try to get my friends interested in watching ballet with one of these dramatic ballets, and if they become more interested in the art form, then perhaps I would recommend something that is more technique-heavy and relies less on a cohesive plot... (* Unless it contains "In the upper room," which I would recommend to everyone and anyone.)
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