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About Batsuchan

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

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  1. Batsuchan

    Don Quixote Spring 2018

    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!
  2. Batsuchan

    ABT 2018 Swan Lake

    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! 😁
  3. Batsuchan

    Fall 2017 Season

    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...
  4. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    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...
  5. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Tchaikovsky Spectacular

    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...
  6. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    And here's a video of her farewell:
  7. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    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:
  8. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    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.)
  9. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    I have no opinion about the younger couples, but I can say that I really enjoyed seeing Trenary & Gorak as Olga & Lensky at the dress rehearsal on Monday! I'm definitely looking forward to seeing them at the Sat matinee!
  10. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    Thank you, Sal, for describing so well what I felt last night! I wholeheartedly agree with your descriptions of Vishneva and Gomes! Well, I'm going to be brutally honest and say that for me, Ferri/Bolle lacked the magic that I felt last night. Perhaps if I had not seen Vishneva/Gomes, I'd have felt more moved by tonight's show, but alas, that was not the case. Yes, of course, Ferri is 54, so she can't throw herself at Bolle with the same force and abandon that Vishneva can, but it was also her characterization that weakened the story for me. First, I felt like her Act I Tatiana read too much like her Juliet. She reacted sort of skittishly to meeting Onegin the same way Juliet reacts to meeting Paris, and it was not so obvious to me that she had fallen madly in love with him. On the whole, she seemed rather calm prior to the bedroom scene. In contrast, meeting Onegin was a life-shattering event for Vishneva's Tatiana. But this also has to do with how she played the proceeding scenes. Other Tatianas (Ferri included) seem to fade into the background when they are not the center of attention (like when Olga and Lensky do their pas de deux), but Vishneva was constantly in motion. She lingered dreamily by the trees in the back before she sat on the bench to read, and even when she was sitting and reading, she'd look up from time to time wistfully, and it was very clear that she was lost in some romantic daydream. But that's why meeting Onegin was momentous--here was the romantic hero like the ones in her books, he was the one she had been dreaming about! In Act III, Ferri did look considerably happier with her husband in their pas de deux than Vishneva did, but what I found really interesting was that Ferri's Tatiana was dismissive of Onegin from the very beginning. At the start of the pas de deux when Onegin is on the ground and grabs Tatiana's hand, she seemed positively annoyed with him. In contrast, from the start of the bedroom scene, Vishneva's Tatiana was in complete emotional turmoil. She desperately clung to her husband and begged him not to leave her lest she give in to her desire for Onegin. And when Onegin grabbed her hand, she was not annoyed; she was desperate: she seemed to be straining with every muscle in her body not to give in to him. And there was real violence in their movements--Gomes really grabbed her hand with force when she tried to walk away. Ferri and Bolle did eventually work up to an anguished state, but it just didn't reach that larger-than-life level that Vishneva/Gomes seem to reach--at least not for me. And that's what I like to see in "Onegin." As for the rest of the dancers: I liked Lane and Simkin separately as Olga and Lensky, but they had some problems with the tricky supported pirouettes in their Act I p.d.d.; Lane had to come off pointe once, and the second one definitely looked labored. One quibble about the corps: tonight when the girls did the supported grand jetes down the diagonal, they were completely out of synch and it looked very messy. And one last word about the costumes: one of my friends who came last night and was sitting in the back of the orchestra complained that Tatiana's red dress in Act III blended in too much with the red background at the ball, and she had trouble seeing her. She also felt that it was sometimes hard to see Tatiana/Onegin in their dark costumes in the final bedroom scene.
  11. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    I will politely disagree. To me, Diana and Marcelo always seem to LIVE the story onstage; it's not something that they've rehearsed to death; it's organic; it's in the moment. But hey, different strokes for different folks! For what it's worth, I brought about 10 people to the performance tonight, and everyone loved it!!
  12. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Onegin

    Well, I just got back from Vishneva/Gomes' "Onegin" and I'm feeling both crushed and exhilarated! Sure, there are parts of the ballet that I find boring, and I could do without the whole second act if it weren't so integral to the story...but who cares? I'm willing to sit through all of that, multiple times, just to have the chance to see Diana and Marcelo do what they do best--pour their hearts out onstage for all of us. Of course they make all the difficult partnering moves look effortless and smooth, but it's really their emotional connection that is so electrifying. That Act III pas de deux was just killer! Such intensity and passion! I'm not sure that any other pair currently performing today (in the world!) can match their partnership. I'm going to miss Diana for many reasons, but mostly for her ability to convey a story and drama even with a simple step. Those bourrees in the first act were technically remarkable, but they also brilliantly conveyed how Tatiana is being swept away by her burgeouning feelings for Onegin. Marcelo looked like he was starting to cry during the curtain calls. Friday's show is going to be absolutely devastating. Make sure to bring your kleenex! BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!
  13. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Swan Lake

    It was an amazing leap, that is true! But I have to give best swan dive to Hammoudi! That was perhaps the best thing he did yesterday. He had a nice height and a nice elegant position, but it still seemed dignified and tragic. Whenever I see those super athletic swan dives--as impressive as they are--I always laugh.
  14. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Swan Lake

    I think Sarah filled all but the last 4-6 counts of music--just enough to jete to the side and strike an arabesque pose. But yeah, she did look disappointed, and I certainly felt a bit heartbroken for her... But there were tears in my eyes in Act IV thanks to Daniil & Sarah's emotional connection! Sigh, if only I could combine the best of Sarah and Devon's performances! Sarah had those beautiful stretched arabesques and attitudes that I was missing in Devon's matinee, but I preferred Devon's use of her arms and hands (that finish through the fingertips) and the way she really pushed toward the sky with her breastbone. I wish I could have seen Sarah & Daniil's connection, combined with Devon's turning ability. Overall, however, I thought it was a very successful debut, albeit not the home run that Sarah was probably hoping for. I'd still prefer to see Devon OR Sarah over ANY of the ABT principals currently performing the role.
  15. Batsuchan

    ABT 2017 Swan Lake

    Well, I was prepared to write a long post about this afternoon's performance, but fondoffouettes pretty much covered all of my critiques! I agree with macnellie though, I loved loved loved Teuscher despite some of the areas she needs to work on. I absolutely loved the way she would finish her movements all the way through her fingertips. I complained that Bolyston seemed to be rushing on Monday; in contrast I felt that Teuscher would deliberately slow down some of the movements that she wanted to emphasize, and then catch up with the music on the next movement. I also thought her acting was extremely strong in Act II, and Odette's emotional arc was exceptionally clear--first she was afraid of Siegfried, and then she kind of was falling for him, but she pulled away because she was afraid of loving him, and then finally, she gave in. She seemed very human. Her Odile characterization was weaker, but the dancing was mostly lovely. I personally would choose to see Teuscher as O/O over any of ABT principals who currently do the role! ...Unless she is dancing with Hammoudi again. Well, he has long lines when he hits them, and his arabesques get higher than Stearns, but turning is not his thing, at all. He did half of his pirouettes on a flat foot--not even a low releve!! As for their lack of chemistry...I wonder if the fact that they were once a long-time off-stage couple... ...but then broke up, and now Teuscher is dating Stearns (you can see that on her Instagram), has something to do with it. Even if the split was quite amicable and they remain friends--I have to imagine it has got to be a little strange acting out a love story with your ex.... I too wish I had been able to se Teuscher & Gomes in DC. Maybe next year!