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Colleen Boresta

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About Colleen Boresta

  • Birthday 04/22/1954

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

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  1. I attended the June 7th matinee of “Le Corsiaire’, a ballet about swashbuckling pirates and beautiful slave girls. Gillian Murphy was supposed to dance the lead role of the slave, Medora, but due to an injury she was replaced by soloist Christine Shevchenko. Shevchenko was absolutely brilliant in the role. She showed off her incredibly fast chaine turns and in the slave pas de de trois her fouettes were very fast singles with several doubles thrown in. Her Conrad was the Danish dancer, Alban Lendorf. He stood out for his high soaring leaps with soft landings and very nice multiple turns. As well, Shevchenko and Lendorf were very good together. There was a very sweet chemistry between them. Stella Abrera was fine as Gulnare, Medora’s close friend. But when she danced her first solo in the Act I pas de deux with Lankendem, it looked like she simplified the variation. I remember her dancing more traveling fouettes when she performed the same role last year. Lankendem was performed by corps member, Gabe Stone Shayer, whom I hope will be an ABT soloist before too much longer. Shayer executed thrilling deep knee bends where he popped right back up again. I have not seen such a fantastic Lankendem since Vladimir Malakhov danced the role in the 1990s. His multiple turns on an angle were also very exciting The most electrifying dancing was executed by Daniil Simkin as the slave Ali. The slave pas de trois (which is sometimes done as a pas de deux) was the first part of ‘Le Corsaire’ to arrive in the West and it is still danced alone at galas. The very slight Simkin presented his partnering aplomb by lifting Shevchenko’s Medora high above his head. The audience went crazy, however, when Simkin performed four revoltades in a row. A revoltade is a turn where one leg flips over the other. Simkin also went down on his supporting leg (I don’t know what this move is called) while doing turns a la seconde. As the evil pirate, Birbanto, Arron Scott gave a performance rich with very clear miming and spot on comic timing. As always, ABT’s ‘Le Corsaire’ was a fun ballet full of virtuoso performing. I hope Christine Shevchenko is promoted to principal and Gabriel Stone Shayer to soloist before too long.
  2. It's been great reading everyone's reviews of the May 27th Giselles. I always felt that Gillian Murphy would not make for a believable young peasant girl with a weak heart. When I saw both Cynthia Gregory and Nina Aniashivelli in Giselle I felt the same way. What about Isabella Boylston? If anyone sees her performance in Giselle, please post about it.
  3. I attended the May 27th matinee. I wasn’t sure about what kind of performance soloist Sarah Lane would give, but she turned out to be one of the best Giselles I have ever seen. Lane is a very young and in innocent peasant girl who is totally in love with Albrecht (whom she think is a peasant named Loys). She fully inhabits the role – her simplicity, her devotion to her mother, even her delicate constitution – all are perfect. Everything about Lane’s characterization of Giselle is genuine. Her mad scene is heartbreakingly artless. Lane’s acting is so heartfelt, I feel myself tearing up. In Act II Lane’s Giselle stands out for her deep arabesques and whirlwind turns. Lane’s willi is feather light, wafting ethereally across the stage. Daniil Simkin’s Albrecht is an impulsive young man who really loves Giselle. He’s pushed his real life so far in the background that he doesn’t think about his actual fiancée when he’s with Giselle. Albrecht is so devastated by Giselle’s death that it is painful to watch. Simkin’s Act II Albrecht stands out for his sky high leaps and his wonderful brisse voles. His Albrecht, however, is a young man full of emotions – remorse, grief, and especially love. The most wonderful thing about this matinee, however, is that both Lane and Simkin become Giselle and Albrecht. I don’t think I have ever seen a ‘Giselle’ where the main performers are so in tune with each other – both in their acting and their dancing. Their side by side leaps performed in both Acts I and II are absolutely flawless. Every small gesture of affection is so real and natural that the audience believes in their love for each other. Christine Shevchenko is an intensely stony and forbidding Myrtha, queen of the willis, who impresses with her powerful, vengeful leaps. The willis dance together in splendid tandem. Craig Salstein is a very sympathetic Hilarion, who really cares about Giselle and wants to protect her from a man who is not what he is pretending to be. When Hilarion is danced to death by the willis, Salstein show total exhaustion, both in body and in spirit. Blaine Hoven is a disappointment in the peasant pas de deux. His leaps lack height and his turns lack speed. Cassandra Trenary, however, shows off her light lovely leaps and her sparkling footwork. I hope ABT keeps this glorious ‘Giselle’ in their repertoire. The combination of magnificent music (by Adolphe Adam) and transcendent performances makes this ‘Giselle’ one that should last for a long time.
  4. I saw Lendorf dance the role of the Prince in Sleeping Beauty when he was a guest artist at ABT a few years ago. I thought his performance was very good. I never saw him dance Basilio but it is a much different role than Albrecht or the Princes in Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake. I will be seeing today's matinee performance of Giselle. I'm not sure about Sarah Lane in the title role. When I saw her dance Aurora in Sleeping Beauty in 2015, I thought the scale of her dancing was rather small in scale. . But I will keep my mind open and see what happens today. I am especially looking forward to seeing Simkin as Albrecht. I will try to post about it tomorrow or Monday.
  5. As I have already stated, I think Isabella and Daniil have wonderful chemistry in Don Q. I treated my sister in law (for her birthday) to the May 20th matinee of Don Q. She has not gone to the ballet in quite a few years, but she was particularly impressed with Daniil. And I don't think he's just doing tricks. His dancing is appropriate to the role. Basilio is a very showoffy role. I will be seeing Daniil in Giselle at the May 27th matinee, and I highly doubt that he'll be doing revoltades as Albrecht. (I'll definitely post and let you know however.) I do agree that Gillian Murphy's Kitri is outstanding. I am looking forward to seeing her dance the role of Medora at the June 7th matinee of Le Corsaire.
  6. I saw the Saturday matinee of Don Q, ABT principal dancer, Isabella Boylson, is a high-spirited Kitri. She stands out for her soaring leaps and lightning fast turns. Bolyston is a very musical dancer. In the fan solo during the Act III grand pas, she plays delightfully with the tempo of the music. Her fouettes at the end of the grand pas are very fast singles done in time with music and with little traveling. My only complaint about her performance is that she does not hold her balances very long during the grand pas. Also they are a bit wobbly. I don't understand when I saw her perform Aurora in 'The Sleeping Beauty' last year, her balances were spot on. Daniil Simkin is a thrilling Basilio. As a dancer he is a wonder of ebullient virtuosity. His high flying leap with amazing soft landings, his spins and turns - all are amazing. In the coda of the Act III grand pas, Siimkin's revoltades stop the show. Revoltades are turns where one leg flips over the other in midair. Simkin executes these easily and effortlessly. For the most part, his partnering skills are fine. (They are most improved from when he started with ABT.) He does have a tiny bit of trouble with the two one-handed lifts over the head in Act I. Both lifts are a little wobbly. Simikin is also a superb comic actor and both his miming and his timing are perfect. One of the very fine things about Saturday afternoon's 'Don Q' is how in tune Bolyston and Simkin are. Their levels of energy and the way they approach their roles all mesh. The chemistry between them is entrancing. I hope Boylston and Simkin continue to perform together for a long time. Other dancers stand out as well. Soloist Aleandre Hammoudi is handsome matador full of zest. Stella Abrera is a lovely Queen of the Dryads in the Act II dream scene with flawless Italian fouettes. Her street dancer, Mercedes, however, lacks passion. As the foppish Gamache, Alex Agoudine shows his comic acting chops. He does so many pratfalls I can't keep count. Arron Scott is an exciting Gypsy King. Skylar Brandt's Amour impresses with her sparkling footwork and thrilling light leaps. For the first time there I saw little girls (performing also as Amours) in the Dream Sequence. Their dancing was lovely and they were just adorable. Maybe I missed them, but but I didn't see either Brandt or the little girls take bows at the end of the ballet.
  7. I'm really looking forward to seeing Maria K in Symphony in C. I've never Teresa Reichlein in The 4 Ts, but I'm sure she'll be fabulous. I've seen Ramasar dance Phlegmatic (is that how you spell it?) and he's wonderful in the role. I'm really tired of seeing La Cour in the part. I don't know about anyone else, but I find Ask la Cour to be very colorless.
  8. As I've already said I've seen the MacMillan R & J many many times. I've also seen the Cranko version, Peter Martin's version for NYCB and whatever the Pacific Northewest Ballet danced at City Center a few years ago. I can't remember who the choreographer was, but I do remember that I really disliked it. The Pastor version I've already commented on. I don't think I've seen any other Romeo and Juliets.
  9. I attended the April 2nd matinee of The Joffrey Ballet’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. I used to love seeing the Joffrey perform in the 1980s and early 1990s. Then they moved to Chicago and New York has not seen this company for a very long time. The last time I saw the Joffrey was in 1994. This ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is set to the usual Prokokiev score, but the choreography is by Krzysztopf Pastor. Pastor’s version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is really not a ballet. It is more like a modern dance piece. Juliet never dances on pointe. Unlike most ‘Romeo and Juliets’ this work does not take place in the Renaissance. The first act is situated in Mussolini’s Italy of the 1930s. Act II takes place in the 1950s and in Act III the audience finds themselves in the 1990s. At times Pastor’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ seems very much like ‘West Side Story’ (which of course was based on ‘Romeo and Juliet’.) This is especially true in the second act, where the young girls with their blonde ponytails and poodle skirts are reminiscent of the Jets’ girlfriends in ‘West Side Story’. I am most used to Kenneth MacMillan’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and in Pastor’s adaptation I wasn’t swept away by the balcony scene. Alberto Velazquez as Romeo and Amanda Assucena are a very sweet couple, with nice chemistry. Edson Barbosa was a powerful Tybalt who dances much more than the character does in MacMillan’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’. As Mercutio, Derrick Agnoletti is a delight in both his acting and dancing. One of the things I liked about this production was that Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths are not drawn out as they are in the MacMillan ‘Romeo and Juliet’. I enjoyed watching this new ‘Romeo and Juliet’ but I agree with the woman sitting next to me who said that she prefers the classical style. The Joffrey is such a wonderful company. I wish they would go back to dancing the Cranko ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
  10. Sorry Amour and Aurora for mixing up who said what. Canbelto, I now know what you meant. I shouldn't post on Ballet Talk before having my coffee. I was at the November 22nd matinee and also experienced people talking in Russian throughout Acts I and II. They were behind me so I don't know if they were on their i-phones. During the second intermission an usher made a general announcement not to talk during the ballet but she was looking at those people behind me. Fortunately they were quiet during Act III. Through a lucky coincidence I sat next to Faux Pas during th matinee performance. It was great talking ballet with him. I also got to see Abatt and NY Susan during the first intermission.
  11. I'm confused, Canbelto. You said Lebedev threw in a variation from T & V. (I know exactly which one you mean and it is a killer.) But T & V has music by Tschaikovsky and Don Q. has music by Minkus. Was the Tsachaikovsky music played? If so, didn't it sound a bit jarring to those familiar with Don Q? Amour mentioned that Julio Bocca used to dance the T & V solo in Don Q. I saw him dance Don Q several times and don't member him doing that variation. If he did, whose music did he use - Tscahikovsky? Minkus? I watched the Bocca Don Q video on Ballet Talk and it looked like a variation often done in Don Q, not the variation from Balanchine's Theme and Variations. The music was by Minkus.
  12. I was at the Novembr 16th matinee and thought Vasiliev was absolutely sensational. The part of Phillipe is a perfect role for him. I sat in Row J (orchestra section) and didn't notice any huffing or puffing and all his landings were just fine. He was very light on his feet. And his technique was just as good as the last time I saw him - which was in ABT's Le Corsaire (as Conrad) in June of 2013. When I saw Giselle on November 12th (the matinee) I noticed a few heavy landings - particularly Ivan Zaytsev who danced the peasant pas de deux. Also Zaytsev's leaps lacked elevation. I didn't see him in Flames so maybe he was having an off day on Wednesday. I have been going to ballets for over 30 years and fortunately have seen many sensational performers and I think Vasiliev was fantastic. Maybe other Ballet Talkers with the same opinion will post.
  13. I obviously don't know musical terms. But I really did not like the music Ratmansky used for The Tempest. And even after seeing it a second time the to me the story made no sense.
  14. I was at the July 2nd matinee. ‘The Dream’ is a jewel of a ballet with choreography by Frederick Ashton which exactly matches the music of Felix Mendelssohn. Ashton’s ‘The Dream’ is a condensed version of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’. ‘The Dream’, however, is set in the Victorian Age. All the dancers in ‘The Dream’ are wonderful, but as usual a few standout. I have seen ABT’s 'The Dream' four times previously, but this is my first time seeing Herman Cornejo dance Puck live. As good as the other Pucks were, especially Daniil Simkin, no one fits the role like Cornejo. He soars into the air and hangs there suspended for what seems like an eternity. His multiple air turns are beyond exciting. Cornejo also exactly captures the humor in the character of Puck. Cornejo’s chemistry with Cory Stearns’ Oberon is delightful to see. For me, the main partnership in ‘The Dream’ is not between Oberon and Titania but Oberon and Puck. As Oberon, Stearns reminds me of a young Anthony Dowell, the creator of the role. His extraordinary line and gorgeous placement make Stearns’ Oberon both noble and magical. Gillian Murphy’s Titania stands out for her sparkling footwork. The role of the Fairy Queen shows off Murphy’s magnificent lyricism. Blaine Hoven’s is a very funny Bottom with marvelous pointe work. Seeing ABT perform ‘The Dream’ is such a special treat. I hope they continue to dance it for years. Alexei Ratmanksy’s ‘The Tempest’, however is a ballet I hope never to see again. Wednesday’s matinee is my second viewing of the piece and it still makes little sense. Ratmansky’s ‘The Tempest’ is a waste of a lot of dance talent. Marcelo Gomes, Daniil Simkin, James Whiteside, Sarah Land and Joseph Gorak all dance very well, but I see no point to any of their steps and movements. The music, by Jean Sibelius, is atonal. My only thought throughout the whole ballet is the hope that it will end soon. Obviously not every great work of literature can be made into a ballet.
  15. I was at the June 28th matinee of Swan Lake. I thought Semoionova was spectacular. Guess that's what makes this an interesting site. Polina Semionova is magnificent in the dual role of Odette/Odile. Usually a ballerina favors one role over the other. Semionova is one of the few Odette/Odiles I have ever seen who is equally stunning in both parts. As the Swan Queen Semionova has gloriously rippling swan arms which appear to be almost boneless. Her wonderfully supple upper body shows clearly the misery Odette feels when Siegfried declares his love for Odile at the ball. Semionova’s every movement is plush and luxuriant. Her petite batterie at the end of Act II, where her legs crisscross in the air, are amazing. As Odile, Semionova is gleefully seductive. Her phenomenal balances seem to go on forever. During the coda she starts by whipping off double and triple fouettes, then ends with a series of very fast single fouettes. As Prince Siegfried Cory Stearns shows off his marvelous line and very secure partnering skills. During the black swan pas de deux he impresses with high leaps and very fast turns a la seconde. Cory Stearns’ puppy dog eagerness is perfect for his portrayal of a very young Prince Siegfried. The look on his face at the end of the black swan pas de deux is priceless. All Siegfried seems to want to do is grab Odile and have his “way” with her. Stearns’ desolation, however, when he learns that he has been tricked by Odile and her father, is heartbreaking. As good as Semionova and Stearns are separately, together they are truly breathtaking. Their chemistry is passionate in Act II, combustible in Act III (Fireworks occur during the black swan pas de deux.) and poignantly grief-stricken in Act IV. I usually find the handsome von Rothbart’s solo in Act III to be a waste of time. Most of the time I’m thinking to myself “Please let this be over so the black swan pas de deux can begin." On Saturday afternoon, however, Jared Matthews is so perfect as the von Rothbart in purple that I am totally engrossed by his variation. Matthews is deliciously evil and it’s quite clear that he is having the time of his life as the wicked wizard. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone better in this part except for Marcelo Gomes. In the pas de trois Blaine Hoven stands out for the elevation of his jumps and his ballon. Melanie Hamrick’s dancing is full of joy and Stella Abrera shines with musicality and vibrant movements. The all important female corps members in Acts II and IV dance in splendid harmony with the music and each other. Christine Shevchenko and Katherine Williams’ big swans show off their lovely lyrical phrasing. Tchaikovsky’s glorious score is played beautifully by the orchestra. In spite of the production’s flaws it is a glorious afternoon at the ballet. June 28th matinee performance of ‘Swan Lake’ is one I will carry with me for a long time.
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