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Colleen Boresta

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Everything posted by Colleen Boresta

  1. I just read the New York Times review on Osipova and Vasiliev's Don Q. I agree with much of what Macauley said (which is rare for me), especially with regard to their technical abilities. I would like to respond to his negative points, however. Macauley says something about Osipova and Vailiev lacking refinement. We're talking about Don Q here, not Swan Lake or Sleeping Beauty or Giselle. I was seated next to a girl in her teens or early 20s when I saw ABT's Onegin. She was extremely knowledgeable about ballet (which was great to see from the z generation or whatever they are called). She referred to ballets like Don Q or Le Corsaire as "popcorn" ballets, which I think it an absolutely perfect term for them. Also, Macauley said that Osipova did not connect with anyone in the cast besides Vasiliev. Again, I disagree. She connected with everyone that I could see - her father, Gamache, Espada and his toreadors. And she was just lovely with Roman Zhurbin's Quixote. (What a superb actor he is!) At the end of the ballet, when she kisses him on the cheek and sends him out in search of his Dulcinea, it was very moving. One last point (for now). I am very glad I was not sitting near Macauley. Those two ladies (and unfortunately I think we've all sat behind them or people just like them) sounded very rude.
  2. I also attended the Saturday evening performance. I agree with everything that has already been said. I will post my thoughts soon. I totally agree about Stella Abrera. I saw her dance the Queen of the Dryads in 2011 and she was perfection. I would love to see her made a principal dancer at ABT. I just hope it's not too late.
  3. I just wanted to add that on Wednesday afternoon when I was coming out of the Met at around 11:15AM or so I saw Joseph Gorak going in. I told him how much I admired his performance as Lensky in Onegin. I also told him to check out Ballet Alert because many posters are big fans of his. He was absolutely charming (and humble). He could not have been nicer. Again, I don't understand why he's not at least a soloist yet. Maybe it will happen soon.
  4. I am really enjoying getting involved in this discussion. I'm sorry I haven't posted on Ballet Talk in so long. I was just thinking that it would be great if there could be a mixed NYCB/NYCB production of Symphony in C. Ann Sophia Scheller and Jared Anglle or Megan Fairchild and Jared Angle or Ana Sophia Scheller and Chase Finlay would dance the first movement. Maria Korowski and Tyler Angle or Sarah Mearns and Tyler Angle or Teresa Reichlein and Ask la Cour would do the Agagio. The third section would be danced by Daniel Ulbricht and Ashley Bouder or how about Daniel Ulbricht and Natalia Osipova or Ivan Vasiliev and Ashley Bouder or Joaquin de Luz and Ashley Bouder or Joaquin de Luz and Natalia Osipova. (I didn't see Cornejo or Reyes in Symphony in C so I didn't include them.) The last movement would be danced by Tiler Peck and Adrian Danchig-Waring or Simone Messmer and Adrian Danchig-Waring. I know this will never happen, but who knows? A gala some day? Kennedy Center Honors celebrating Suzanne Farrell?
  5. I may be wrong about this, but didn't Balanchine change his choreograpy to suit different dancers. I have no idea if I'm right, but perhaps Merrill Ashley or Stacey Cadell changed Symphony in C a bit to suit various ABT dancers. I was just so happy the music was played at the same pace as at NYCB. I remember seeing Susan Jaffe dance Symphony in C at the Met not long before she retired. She had such trouble keeping up with the speed of the final movement that it was hard to watch. I really thought she was going to bump into another dancer. Also, the last two times I saw Symphony in C danced by NYCB (October of 2012 and February of 2013) Lauren King danced the fourth movement and she was very weak. I was so impressed to see Simone Messmer handle the turns so beautifully.
  6. I hate to say it, but I'm really glad I saw the second cast of Symphony in C. I totally agree with mimsyb. A totally thrilling performance, especially the ending. Did anyone read Alistair McAuley's New York Times review where he says that Corey Stearns' performance in Symphony in C is the best he's seen since Peter Martins. I didn't see Corey in Symphony in C but I did see Peter Martins several times. I like Corey Stearns but I don't see him at the level of Peter Martins at this stage in his career. I'd really appreciate hearing from anyone who say Corey dance "Symphony in C".
  7. I attended the Wednesday matinee. Wednesday afternoon begins with ‘Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes’. It is a light playful piece choreographed by Mark Morris to piano pieces by Virgil Thomson. All the young cast of corps members and soloists acquit themselves well, but the real standout is Joseph Gorak in the role created for Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gorak impresses the audience with leaps and turns that are very natural and unforced. He also has spot on timing and masterful musical phrasing. I do not understand why Gorak has not yet been promoted to soloist at ABT. ABT’s production of “A Month in the Country’ is simply perfect. The scenery and costumes by Julia Trevelyan Oman are gorgeous. Chopin’s music fits Ashton’s choreography seamlessly. John Lanchbery has done a magnificent job of arranging the Chopin pieces into a coherent whole. The cast is beyond compare. As Kolia Arron Scott is all high energy leaps and spins. Simone Messmer’s maid, Katia, is saucy and sassy even though she doesn’t seem to do any cleaning. Sarah Lane’s Vera is a teenager full of hormones and dreams. Both Roman Zhurbin as the husband Yslaev and Roddy Dobble as the admirer Rakitin do very little dancing but their acting is first rate. As the tutor, Beliaev, David Hallberg shows what a sensational actor he has become. Beliaev is by no means a prince or even an aristocrat. He is a young man full of life who is not fully aware of how attractive he is to women. He does fall in love with the older, glamorous Natalia. With the help of her admirer, Rakitin, Beliaev grows up enough to understand that a relationship between Natalia and himself can never be. As the bored, unhappy Natalia, Hee Seo is a revelation. Her acting is subtle, but she makes the audience fully aware of everything that Natalia is thinking and feeling. It is a touchingly beautiful performance. I don’t understand why ABT only has two casts for ‘A Month in the Country’. I think both Diana Vishneva and Polina Semionova would be perfect as Natalia. Hopefully they’ll dance it next year. Even more so I want to keep seeing ABT’s ‘A Month in the Country’ for many years to come. The afternoon ends with George Balanchine’s ‘Symphony in C’. ‘Symphony in C’ is a perfect ballet. It has gorgeous music composed by Georges Bizet (when he was only seventeen years old), choreography which perfectly matches the music, glorious white tutus for the ladies and incomparable dancing. In the first movement Stella Abrera impresses with her sparkling footwork. Eric Tamm is her attentive partner with a very clean line. I don’t know why ABT has not promoted Tamm to soloist by now. As the ballerina in the Adagio segment, Polina Semionova is sublime. She has a splendidly pliable upper body and can perform arabesques that seem to go on forever. Marcelo Gomes, as always, is her perfect partner. The third section is rich with ebullient leaps and jumps. At first Ivan Vasiliev seems to have a few problems with the speed of the choreography. He huffs and puffs a bit, but soon adjusts to the pace of the movements. Natalia Osipova is perfect throughout the Allegro Vivace section. In the last movement Simone Messmer impresses the audience with sharp, precise turns. As her partner, Jared Matthews also does a good job. Then the dancers from all four movements join together for a memorable finale. I am pleased to see that ABT dancers perform ‘Symphony in C’ at the same speed as New York City Ballet dancers. Very few ABT company members have been trained in the Balanchine style, but the way ABT performed ‘Symphony in C’ on Wednesday would have made the old master proud. Again, another momentous afternoon at the ballet!
  8. Here are my thoughts on the May 18th matinee performance of 'Onegin". John Cranko’s choreography for ‘Onegin’ thoroughly complements Tschaikovsky’s music. The story told on the stage is very clear to the audience. It doesn’t hurt to read the program notes before the ballet begins, but it is not needed for an understanding of the piece. All of Cranko’s choreograpy for Onegin is goregeous, but the two pas de deux for Tatiana and Onegin at the end of Acts I and III are beyond compare. The lifts and holds show the absolute beauty of ballet as an art form. Since Pushkin’s long narrative poem is telescoped into a 90 minute work (not counting the two intermissions) certain events don’t make as much sense as they might. The audience does not get to see Onegin’s struggles in the years between the duel and Prince Gremin’s ball. Therefore, it is a bit hard to understand why Onegin has had a change of heart with regard to his feelings for Tatiana. As Tatiana, Polina Semionova is a very believable young girl, with lovely extensions and a gorgeously pliable upper body. Semionova’s Tatiana is so completely in love with Onegin that her reaction when he rips up her her letter breaks my heart. Her transition from naïve young country girl to Prince Gremin’s adoring wife is beautifully seamless. Semionova’s raw pain and anguish as she rejects Onegin forever brings tears to my eyes. David Hallberg was born to play Onegin. At the beginning of the ballet his acting is a bit understated, but it fits Onegin’s cold hauteur perfectly. No ABT dancer does the “I am superior to everyone in the world” aristocrat quite like Hallberg. Onegin’s character, however, begins to change when he kills his friend in a duel. During Prince Gremin’s Act III ball, Hallberg’s Onegin is a lost soul whose only hope lies in reclaiming Tatiana’s love. It is clear how the mighty have fallen as Onegin grovels before Tatiana in her boudoir, frantic to attain her. When she finally rejects him, Hallberg displays Onegin’s desperate emotional state with every inch of his face and body. Yuriko Kajiya’s Olga stands out for her delicately lyrical dancing and beautiful use of her hands. Her character, however, is an enigma. This is my fourth performance of Cranko’s ‘Onegin’ and I still can’t understand why Olga continues to flirt with Onegin when she sees how much it hurts Lensky. Due to Joseph Gorak’s incredible portrayal I do understand Lensky. Gorak’s poet is a truly noble young man who has been hurt deeply by both his fiancée and best friend. He thrills the audience with his wonderfully light leaps and plush landings. Gorak’s line is so perfect that his solo before the duel becomes a powerful soliloquy. Roddy Doble is a caring and devoted Prince Gremin. The audience can plainly see why Tatiana cares for him so deeply. What a beautifully emotional afternoon at the ballet. I only hope American Ballet Theatre keeps ‘Onegin’ in their repertoire for many years to come.
  9. mimsyb thank you for clairifying the fact that it is ABT's decision not to sell discounted tickets. Again, the question is why? It doesn't make a lot of sense.
  10. It's a little late, but now that I finally got around to getting a new password I want to share my thoughts about the May 11th matinee performance. At my second viewing of New York City Ballet’s American Music Festival, the audience was treated to an all Balanchine program. One well performed George Balanchine work brings a huge smile to my face but seeing four is pure heaven. The afternoon begins with ‘Who Cares?’ which is set to sixteen George and Ira Gershwin tunes. The first section of this ballet features ten female corps dancers and ten soloists – five girls and five boys. The ballet comes into its own when the soloists perform their duets to classics like “Do Do Do” and “Oh, Lady Be Good”. All the dancers – Brittany Pollack and Andrew Scordato, Erica Pereira and David Prottas, Savannah Lowery and Cameron Dieck, Ashley Laracey and Justin Peck, and Faye Arthurs and Devin Alberda – are equally wonderful. I had hoped to see Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild in the pas de deux to “The Man I Love” but Sterling Hyltin and Amar Ramasar’s duet to this ballad is especially lovely. Hyltin glows with an inner ecstasy as she falls more and more in love with Ramasar’s character. He is the perfect partner for this radiant ballerina. Ramasar’s dancing is also a good match for the demurely coy Ana Sophia Scheller in “Embraceable You” and the breezily witty Ashley Bouder in “Who Cares?” The principals also perform their solos exceptionally well. Ashley Bouder “builds” her “stairway to paradise” with perfect timing, spot on phrasing and quicksilver footwork. In “My One and Only” Scheller’s fouettes and chain turns are electrifying. Sterling Hyltin slips slightly at the beginning of her “Fascinatin Rhythm” number, but goes on to execute brilliantly a dizzying series of turns. Her footwork, however, could be more precise. Ramasar looks like he’s having the time of his life while dancing to “Liza”. His rhythm, his timing, the snap of his fingers – all remind me of a young Gene Kelly. My only complaint about ‘Who Cares?’ concerns the new costumes (for everyone in the cast but the leading man). Those worn by the corps and soloist women are quite ugly. They used to be a nice red and a soft blue, but now these women wear outfits in either a gaudy turquoise or a hurt your eyes hot pink color. The costumes for the principal women are not bad, but I much prefer the old attire. I understand that ballet outfits get worn out, but that doesn’t mean that a designer can’t create new costumes with the old colors and styles. The next work is ‘Ivesiana’ which is performed to the music of Charles Ives. The ballet is divided into four parts. Three of these four sections are set in almost total darkness. The first segment, “Central Park in the Dark” concerns a young woman (Ashley Laracey) stumbling around in the black of night. A man (Zachary Catazaro) arrives for a brief moment, but then he leaves. As far as I can see, nothing happens in “Central Park in the Dark”. The second section, “The Unanswered Question” is by far the most interesting. A beautiful girl with long flowing hair (Janie Taylor) is held aloft by four men. Her feet never touch the ground, but on occasion she fleetingly touches a fifth man (Anthony Huxley), who is clearly fascinated with her. “The Unanswered Question” is somewhat reminiscent of the last scene of ‘Serenade’ (where the main ballerina is lifted up and taken away from the stage). The girl in “The Unanswered Question”, however, is much more spectral figure than the “Waltz Girl” in ‘Serenade’. And no NYCB dancer does dreamlike as beautifully as Janie Taylor. As the young man yearning to hold the girl and keep her close (which never happens) Anthony Huxley is heartbreaking. The third segment of ‘Ivesiana’, “In the Inn”, is the only part performed in daylight. It does not seem to fit with the rest of the ballet. A man and a woman (Ask la Cour and Teresa Reichlen) meet and very casually dance by themselves and with each other. At the end they shake hands and depart, leaving me to think that even the great George Balanchine had his off moments creatively. The last section “In the Night” shows female corps members crawling on their knees in almost complete darkness. It is weird but also strangely moving and Balanchine’s choreography complements the music perfectly. The next work, ‘Tarantella” is a pas de deux performed to Gottschalk’s music. As always, ‘Tarantella’ is pure joy and energy translated into spectacular choreography. Gonzalo Garcia delights the audience with his meticulous footwork and his lightning fast turns. Every step Tiler Peck takes is amazing, but I am especially impressed with the way she knows just how to play with the phrasing of the music. Peck truly gets better every time I see her dance. The afternoon ends on a high note with the performance of one of my very favorite ballets, ‘Stars and Stripes’. The work is divided into five campaigns, each based on the music of John Philip Sousa (adapted and orchestrated by Hershy Kay). The first two sections, to “Corcoran Cadets” and “Rifle Regiment” are danced by female corps members led by a female soloist. The third segment, “Thunder and Gladiator” is carried out by the men in the corps de ballet with a male soloist as their leader. All the corps members (women and men alike) stand out for their wonderfully synchronized dancing to Sousa’s rousing marches. Both female soloists (Lauren King and Megan LeCrone) do a good job heading their regiments, but Troy Schumacher is absolutely outstanding as the “Thunder and Gladiator” soloist. This role has been owned by Daniel Ulbricht for a long time, but in a debut on Saturday afternoon Schumacher really makes it his own. His leaps and multiple air turns are especially exciting. As “Liberty Bell” and “El Capitan”, Sara Mearns and Tyler Angle show a delightfully playful chemistry. Mearns really enters into the spirit of the Sousa ballet as she throws off some great fouettes. My only complaints about her performance are that she doesn’t hold her balances long enough and that her scissor leaps are somewhat small. As her partner, Tyler Angle (also making a debut) is fantastic. As a soloist, he is even better. I especially like the bouncy steps which show off his incredible ballon and the turns a la seconde performed at the speed of sound. The last campaign is danced by the entire company to “Stars and Stripes Forever”. At the end of the ballet, as the American flag rolls down the entire back stage of the David Koch Theatre, I find my eyes welling up (as usual). I am a little disappointed, however, that a round of applause didn’t greet the American flag (as it usually does). Again, it was an incredibly memorable day at the ballet.
  11. I may be wrong about this, but I don't think it's ABT's decision not to have reduced price tickets. I think the decision belongs to whoever is running the Metropolitan Opera House. ABT only rents the MET. NYCB's situation at the David Koch Theatre is different. But if it is up to the Met, the question is why don't they allow half price or reduced price tickets. Isn't it better to get some ticket money rather than nothing? I will be attending tomorrow's Onegin - the matinee with Hallberg and Polina S. (I have absolutely no idea how to spell her name.) I've only seen Onegin three times - once in the late 1980s the National Ballet of Canada brought the ballet to the Met during the summer (or the NY State Theater. I'm not sure which.) It was okay, but I don't even remember who danced the main roles so it wasn't too memorable. In 2001 I saw Dvorovenko and Graffin dance Onegin and in 2002 I saw Jaffe and Carlos Molinas. The two ABT performances I remember very well. I absolutely loved those two Onegins, especially the dream pas de deux at the end of Act I and the final pas de deux at the end of Act III. If I get a chance, I'lll post my thoughts about the May 18th matinee performance.
  12. I got an e-mail from NYCB that 60 Minutes will show a feature about the company on this coming Sunday, November 25th at 7:00PM eastern time. The e-mail said that the feature would show Robert Fairchild talking about performing his role in "Apollo", The e-mail also said there would be performance footage on 60 Minutes. I haven't checked the NYCB website yet, but I'm sure they have info about this there. Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know about this. Have a great Thanksgiving!!!!
  13. I'm really enjoying reading all the La Bayadere reviews. I have never seen Herrera dance Nikiya. I saw her as Gamzatti years ago (1996 - Amanda McKerrow was Nikiya and Julio Bocca was Solor. All were fantastic!) I'm going to see Gillian Murphy at the Saturday matinee in the part of Nikiya. I've seen her dance Gamzatti a few times and she excels in that role. Has anyone seen Murphy as Nikiya? I'm most concerned about Denis Matvikeno as Solor. I've only seen him in a couple of gala performances and I wasn't that impressed. Has anyone seen him as Solor or in any other full length role? I'm thinking Simone Messmer will be a very good Gamzatti because she's always wonderful, no wonder what she's dancing. I agree with Abatt that Stella Abera should be a principal. But I'm afraid it's not going to happen at this point in her career. Four years ago Stella was supposed to dance Giselle, but then she got injured. She never get the opporutnity to dance Giselle again. As wonderful as she was as Myrta, I still would love to see her as Giselle.
  14. Bart, I may be in the minority, but I find Liebslieder Waltzer increibly boring. It doesn't matter how much sleep I've had, I have trouble staying awake during it. To me it's a combination of the music and the lack of dancing much of the time. There are certain Balanchine ballets that I needed time to really appreciate and enjoy - like Apollo and Agon. I've tried Liebslieder quite a few times over the years, but to no avail. I've just decided that if it is ever part of my subscription series, I'll just have to exchange the ticket.
  15. I also was at the May 19th matinee of Giselle. Natalia Osipova’s Giselle is the best portrayal of that role that I have ever seen. Osipova is a young, innocent peasant girl hopelessly in love with Albrecht. She has an incredibly mobile face, which shows Giselle's every emotion – from joy to love to complete and total heartbreak. Her mad scene is so real that it is painful to watch. In Act II, Osipova is a pure creature of the spirit world. Her willi is feather light, with leaps where she floats above the stage for what seems like an eternity. Her turns are performed at a feverish pace and her hops on pointe have unbelievable elevation. What is really amazing is how Osipova uses her formidable technique to deepen her characterization of Giselle. David Hallberg’s Albrecht is truly in love with Giselle. He has pushed his real life so far to the background that he doesn’t think about his actual fiancée when he is with Giselle. Albrecht is so shattered by Giselle’s death that it brings tears to my eyes. In Act II, Hallberg stands out for his perfect line and noble refinement. His Albrecht, however, is a noble full of emotion – love, remorse and especially sorrow. When Albrecht is trapped by the willis his every step is astonishing. The height of his leaps, his flawless double assemble turns and especially his entrechats – where he soars in the air and hangs suspended there – all are mesmerizing. As well as Osipova and Hallberg dance separately, the real wonder is how perfectly complete they are together. Their chemistry in Act I is very genuine and unaffected. In Act II, it is otherworldly, even spiritual. The ending of the May 19th matinee of Giselle is hauntingly beautiful. As she returns to her grave, Giselle drops one single flower. Albrecht breathes in her the scent of the flower, feeling his oneness with Giselle a single time more. Then he slowly moves away from her grave. At that point, tears are streaming down my eyes. Stella Abrera dances the part of Myyrta with great power and control. Abrera’s Myrta makes me wonder what her life was like before she died and became a willi. How badly must she have been hurt by her lover in order to turn into such an icy and menacing queen of the willis? Patrick Ogle is a very young and sympathetic Hilarion. The huntsman truly loves Giselle and cannot understand why she cannot see Albrecht for the nobleman he really is. As Berthe, Susan Jones is a real mother, fully devoted to her innocent daughter with a weak heart. In the peasant pas de deux, Craig Salstein seems off, especially with regard to his leaps. His entire performance is somewhat strained. His partner, Misty Copeland, is lovely. Her dancing radiates pure joy. In Act II, the corps is wonderful, dancing in glorious tandem with each other and the music. I hope ABT keeps dancing their Giselle for years to come. I also want to see Natalia Osipova and David Hallberg perform together in many more ballets.
  16. I'm not sure about Cory Stearns, but yesterday was not Hee Seo's New York debut as Giselle. I saw her last year in the part (with David Hallberg as Albrecht.) I'm very glad that both young dancers are doing so well. I hope Hee Seo becomes a principal soon.
  17. New York City Ballet had a special treat for moms on Sunday afternoon – a whole program of Balanchine ballets. (‘Firebird’, however, was choreographed by both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.) The first ballet is ‘Serenade’, set to the music of Tschaikovsky. ‘Serenade’ is the first dance Balanchine created in America (1933). The work is just as glorious as ever, beginning with the opening – those 17 young women in blue raising their right arms to the moonlight. ‘Serenade’ contains no narrative, but Balanchine has found the passion, mystery and drama in Tschaikovsky’s music. As the waltz girl Janie Taylor rockets onto the stage – an ethereal creature of the twilight. She loves and loses two men and at the ballet’s end is lifted high into the air and carried from the stage by three young men. Has she died? Is she being taken to the afterlife? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Great art is open to varying interpretations. Dancing the more earthbound roles are Sterling Hyltin as the Russian girl and Rebecca Krohn in the role of the dark angel. Both give beautifully layered performances. The all important corps dancers, whose movements are sometimes reminiscent of the willis in ‘Giselle’, are absolutely perfect. No one put a foot or hand wrong. ‘Serenade’ is a ballet that should live forever. The second ballet of the afternoon is ‘Firebird’ with music by Stravinsky. It is the only story ballet on the program. In my opinion it is the weakest of the three dance pieces. ‘Firebird’ is based on a Russian fairy tale. While hunting Prince Ivan catches a firebird, half woman and half bird. The Firebird begs for her freedom and the Prince lets her go. The grateful creature gives Ivan a brilliant red feather. She tells him it is a magic charm. If he is ever in trouble all he has to do is wave the feather and the Firebird will come to his rescue. Ivan then comes across a princess and her handmaidens. The young women are under the control of the evil wizard Kastschei. With the help of the Firebird and her feather, Ivan defeats Kastschei, frees all the girls and marries the Princess. Strangely enough for a Balanchine ballet, the dancing is overpowered by the scenery and costumes (both designed by Marc Chagall). The roles of Prince Ivan and his Princess are primarily character roles. Acting is required – well delivered by Justin Peck and Gwyneth Muller – not dancing. The only performer on pointe and in a tutu is the Firebird herself. In the title role Teresa Reichlen is somewhat bland. Her movements don’t seem birdlike enough. When she is captured by Ivan, Reichlen lacks both energy and a sense of frenzy. ‘Firebird’ is most memorable for the Stravinsky score as well as the Chagall costumes and scenery. It is a nice ballet for children, but in my opinion it is one of Balanchine’s very few misses. The afternoon ends on an extremely high note with ‘Symphony in C’, set to music by Georges Bizet. ‘Symphony in C’ is one of Balanchine’s glorious tutu ballets. It is divided into four sections, based on the Bizet music. Each movement is led by a ballerina, a premier danseur and the corps de ballet. In the first movment, Allegro Vivo, Megan Fairchild stands out for her sparkling footwork. Jared Angle is not only an attentive partner, but a spirited performer as well. His dancing has improved wonderfully during the 2011-2012 seasons. Maria Korowski is magnificent in the second movement: Adagio. Her meltingly expressive upper body, gorgeously fluid movements and lyrically lovely extensions make ‘Symphony in C’ a work of haunting beauty. Ashley Bouder and Joaquin De Luz are perfectly matched in the ebulliently bouncy third movement. Their lightning speed, incredible elevation, musicality and playful sense of fun – all are in total and complete sync. In the last movement Tiler Peck whirls across the stage at an astounding pace, spitting out diamond sharp pirouettes. Then the dancers from all four movements join together for an unforgettable finale. Sunday afternoon saw New York City Ballet at its very finest.
  18. Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that evening length ballets sell much better than mixed rep programs. And in today's economic times ABT is going more toward more full length ballets than ever before, especially when they need to fill the Metropolitan Opera House.
  19. I only saw Sarafanov dance once (Etudes, NY City Center 2008), but he was absolutely incredible!! I would love to see him at ABT!! Isn't he supposed to be unhappy at the company he's with now (the same company Osipov and Vasilev went to, I don't know how to spell the name.) What a coup it would be for ABT to have him as a principal dancer.
  20. I like the idea of both developing male dancers from within, but since this takes a while hire from outside as well. ABT has always done this - haven't they? Bujones joined ABT as a corps dancer, Barysnikov was hired as a principal after his defection from the Kirov. Gomes and Hallberg started in the corps, but Carreno and Stiefel were hired from other companies (Carreno from the Royal Ballet, Stiefel from NYCB.) I'm not sure about Julio Bocca - wasn't he hired as a principal? Many posters have mentioned excellent candidates for ABT to hire from the outside, but with regard to within the company in my opinion there are not too many choices. I really don't like Jared Matthews as a dancer and performer. I just don't think his technique is consistently good and he is very bland. Sascha Radetsky is also inconsistent and he's certainly no kid. I would love to see Eric Tamm groomed to be a principal at ABT. He doesn't get many opportunities, but when he does he makes full use of them. As already stated, Savliev doesn't have much personality and he's got to be close to 40. His technique seems to be declining in the last couple of years. I haven't seen Gorak often enough to consider him. I think Joseph Phillips is worth a shot. And I really love Daniil Simkin. Who cares how young he looks? I really don't see why that is a big deal. And as for size, I don't think it matters as long as there are ballerinas short enough to be partnered with him (of course that is a problem. Maybe ABT should groom some petite female dancers to solve this problem.) And I don't think Simkin always dances like he's performing at a gala. I think he's a very good actor. I saw him as Basilio in Don Q last year and he was great!! He's very good as Benovlio (is that how you spell the name) in Romeo and Juliet, but I think Simkin would be just perfect as Mercutio. It's very sad, isn't it, how ABT went from having such a surfeit of wonderful male dancers that dancers like Parrish Maynard and Carlos Lopez (and I'm sure others, I just can't remember who off hand) felt they had to leave ABT and now ABT is short of male dancers. Let's hope Kevin McKenzie is working on this problem.
  21. I saw the March 18th matinee of the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The afternoon begins with ‘Mercuric Tidings’ which is a pure dance piece set to excerpts from Franz Schubert’s glorious Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. Unfortunately all the music is taped, due to the exorbitant cost of a live orchestra in New York City. I really love this work, especially the forms of the movements which keep growing and changing into gorgeous patterns. All the dancers are splendid, leaping and spinning at a breakneck pace. There is so much depth to this dance that I need to see it several more times to even touch the surface of all ‘Mercuric Tidings’ has to offer. ‘House of Joy’ is a very disappointing new Paul Taylor work. It is set in a brothel and though there are hookers, pimps and johns on display, very little actually happens. The company acts very well, but they hardly dance at all. Fortunately ‘House of Joy’ is very brief, but even so it seems to be a waste of time and talent. ‘Big Bertha’ is a disturbingly powerful Paul Taylor piece. Bertha is a mechanical amusement park doll who plays music when a coin is fed in her slot. The Bs are an all American 1950s family who enjoy dancing to Bertha’s tunes. But all too suddenly Bertha becomes an evil force and destroys the happy B family. By the end of the dance, Mr. B has raped and killed his daughter and Mrs. B reveals a red stripper outfit under her June Cleaver clothes. Just before the curtain comes down, Mr. B joins Bertha and becomes a malevolent amusement park doll. All the performers are fantastic – Amy Young as Bertha, Michelle Fleet as Mrs. B and Eran Bugge as Miss B. The real standout, however, is Michael Trusnovec’s Mr. B. His dancing and acting fully show the dark side of 1950s America. The afternoon ends with ‘Company B’, set to recordings of the Andrews Sisters. This work shows the lighthearted innocence of wartime America juxtaposed against shadowy figures of young boys going off to fight and die in World War II. Many ballet companies dance ‘Company B’, among them American Ballet Theatre. I agree with chief dance critic of the New York Times, Alastair Macaulay, that the way the Taylor dancers use their weight in ‘Company B’ is more effective than ABT’s aerial lightness. When Robert Kleinendorst falls at the end of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B”, there is no doubt that he has been felled by enemy soldiers. In ABT’s production of ‘Company B’ the young boy’s death is too easy to miss. All the Taylor dancers are superb, but a few (along with Kleinendorst) really stand out. Francisco Graciano is all perfect rhythm and syncopated movement in “Tico-Tico”. James Samson is very funny as the nerdy guy being chased by seven women in “Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!” Amy Young, so menancing as the automaton in ‘Big Bertha’, brings tears to my eyes as a girl sending her young love (Sean Mahoney) off to war in “There Will Never Be Another You”. I hope to see the Paul Taylor Company during their New York season for many years to come. I would enjoy these dancers even more, however, if they performed with a live orchestra instead of to taped music.
  22. I agree with Bruno that William Levy is the sexiest guy DWTS has ever had on the show. But I don't think he's that good a dancer. He'll probably last quite a while because he seems to already have a large fan base and every time women (and some men) get a look at him on the dance floor, they'll be using up all their votes for Mr. Levy. I do agree with Helene that Jaleel White (so far) is a fantastic dancer - not only did he have all the right moves (sorry for the cliche) but he's got charisma to burn and great chemistry with Kym Johnson. And she is a wonderful dancer - and a very good teacher too.
  23. I was also pleasantly surprised that unlike many past seasons, I knew who many of the Dancing with the Stars contestants were. The only ones I didn't know were the two who didn't show up and the Disney channel kid. And some of them, like Martina N. (can't begin to know how to spell her name) and Gladys Knight are beyond stars - they're icons. I'm sure it's been mentioned, but I think the average age of the stars is considerably higher than in recent years. I wonder how long some of the contestants in their 50s (and older) will be able to last. I too, am waiting to see the grownup "Urkel" in action. He really did turn into a very good looking guy. And as Helen said, if he still has the moves of his younger tv self, White could go far. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.
  24. New York City Ballet’s winter season has been exhilarating. Several young principal dancers and soloists have really come into their own. I am also very pleased to say that the George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins ballets in NYCB’s repertory are in wonderful shape. This is certainly the case at the February 25th matinee performance. It begins with ‘Allegro Brillante’, one of Balanchine’s most delightful pure dance ballets. It is set to the music of Tschaikovsky and as the great choreographer himself once said “It contains everything I know about classical ballet in thirteen minutes.” As the lead ballerina in ‘Allegro Brillante”, Sara Mearns surrenders herself totally to both the music and the movements of the piece. As usual, Jared Angle is an attentive partner. The second work, Peter Martins’ ‘Zakouski’ uses the music of four Russian composers – Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Tschaikovsky. It is a slight, but very entertaining ballet. Megan Fairchild is wonderful in the piece, but Joaquin De Luz stands out for his bravura dancing, flair and charisma. Jerome Robbins’ ‘Fancy Free’ is as fresh as if it had been made last week instead of in 1944. The jazzy score by Leonard Bernstein fits Robbins’ choreography perfectly. It is the story of three sailors on leave in New York City during World War II. The three friends meet up with two girls and therein lies the dilemma. The sailors hold a dance-off to decide who gets to date the women and who has to spend their leave alone. As the first sailor, Adam Hendrickson is a disappointment. He lacks the energy and high-flying virtuosity of Daniel Ulbricht, Joaquin De Lux and American Ballet Theatre’s Herman Cornejo, all whom I have seen dance the role many times. Robert Fairchild is wonderful as the dreamy second sailor. His chemistry with Sterling Hyltin, very natural as the second passer-by, is palpable. I am most impressed with Sean Suozzi, in a debut as the rumba dancing sailor. For a long time I have been waiting for someone to match ABT’s Jose Manuel Carreno’s and Marcelo Gomes’ performances as the third sailor. With his sly sensuality and playful sense of humor, Suozzi comes very close. I am also glad to see the camarderie between the three sailors. ‘Fancy Free” is a forever ballet, and that’s how long I hope NYCB performs this work. The afternoon ends with Balanchine’s glorious ‘Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3’. In 1947 Balanchine choreographed “Theme and Variations” to the last two movements of this work. In 1970 he decided to create a ballet from the entire piece of music. The first three sections of the work are performed behind a scrim to add to the dreamlike atmosphere. Teresa Reichlen and Ask la Cour are hauntingly beautiful in the “Elegie” segment. The “Valse Melancolique” highlights a sultry Rebecca Krohn who has an exquisitely supple back. In the “Scherzo” section Daniel Ulbricht is all exciting leaps and turns. His performance does not surprise me one bit, but his partner’s dancing is a wonderful revelation. In “Scherzo” soloist Erica Pereira is a very good match for Ulbricht in the virtuoso department. I really think she can go very far with NYCB. After“Scherzo” the scrim goes up and a beautiful chandeliered ballroom is revealed. The last part “Theme and Variations” is one of Balanchine’s most thrilling works. Since both NYCB and ABT dance “Theme and Variations” (ABT dances it by itself and NYCB as part of ‘Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3’), I have seen it close to 50 times. Sunday’s performance is probably the best performance of "Theme" I have ever seen. All of the cast are superb, but the real standouts are Andrew Veyette and especially Ashley Bouder in the leading roles. Veyette is a gracious and considerate partner and his double air turns are spot on. In “Theme” Ashley Bouder is the complete package. Her footwork is clear and precise. Her manner is that of the grandest ballerina and her body is the perfect vessel for Tschaikovsky’s majestic music. What an outstanding afternoon at the ballet it was. I can't wait for NYCB’s spring season.
  25. Even though I've attended performances at ABT since 1980, I didn't see Romeo & Juliet until the mid 1990s. Since then, I've seen it at least 15 times. ABT dances the MacMillan R & J and since the 1990s, Lord Capulet has not slapped Juliet. Does anyone know if ABT included the slap before the 1990s? I've never seen the Royal Ballet's version so I don't know if the slap is still included. Does anyone know about that?
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