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Colleen Boresta

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Everything posted by Colleen Boresta

  1. I enjoy seeing guest artists at ABT, but I do agree that ABT should work much harder to promote from within. What about Mikhail Ilyin (is that how you spell his name?) and Joseph Phillips? They seem very promising. They were both getting a lot of dance time, solo roles, etc., a couple of years ago, but I haven't seen them much in the past year or so. With regard to Simkin's partnering abilities, I think he's gotten much better at partnering. When I saw him in Don Q as Basilio, there was a slight wobble during his first over the head one-handed lift, but the rest of the partnering went smoothly. And I thought his partnering with Sarah Lane was fine when I saw them dance the peasant pas de deux at the June 1st matinee of Giselle. As for Hammoudi, I haven't seen him that much. I did see him yesterday in Lady of the Camellias. (He was substituting for Sascha Radetsky.) During one of those incredibly high lifts, he almost dropped his partner (I think it was Simone Messner) twice in the same lift. (First he started to drop her a bit, then a little more.) Fortunately there were no injuries. Hammoudi made it seem like it something his character would do, but I think everyone knew it was a mistake. Also, as much as I love Herman Cornejo (and hope he comes back to ABT injury free soon) his partnering problems originally were much worse than Simkin's (in my opinion anyway),
  2. I have loved every ballet performed by NYCB during the 2011-12 season except for The Seven Deadly Sins. To me it's incredibly boring and I couldn't understand any thing Patti Lupone was singing. (I know this has already been mentioned). When I saw her in Gypsy in 2008 I could understand her perfectly. I think Ms. Lupone tends to overannunciate (if that's a word.) At first I thought it was the infamous acoustics of the David Koch Theatre. But when I saw West Side Story Suite I understood every word they sang. Maybe that's because I know the songs so well. I'm not sure. Did any Ballet Talkers have trouble understanding the words sung in West Side Suite? Would I see Seven Deadly Sins again? Only if I wanted to see the other ballets in the program. (And I do so love Vienna Waltzes.) I've sat through many a boring Peter Martins ballet to see the Balanchine/Robbins ballets before and after, so I'm sure I can sit through Seven Deadly Sins again.
  3. At the June 1st matinee, ABTs young soloist, Hee Seo, made her debut as Giselle. It was a magical performance. Hee is a very natural young peasant girl, completely in love with Albrecht (Loys). She fully inhabits the role her innocence, her devotion to her mother, even her delicate constitution all are perfect. Everything about Hees portrayl of Giselle is real. Her mad scene is heartbreakingly simple. Not able to accept Albrechts deception, she becomes a child again. Hees acting is so heartfelt, I felt myself tearing up. In Act II, Hees Giselle stands out for her deep arabesques and whirlwind turns. Hees willi is feather light, wafting ethereally across the stage. David Hallbergs Albecht is an impulsive young man who really loves Giselle. Hes pushed his real life so far in the background that he doesnt think about it or his real fiancée when hes with Giselle. Albrecht is so devastated by Giselles death its painful to watch. Hallbergs Act II Albrecht shows off his impeccable line and noble refinement. His Albrecht, however, is a noble full of emotion love, remorse and especially grief. When Albrecht is being pursued by the willis, Hallbergs every step is awe-inspiring. The elevation of his leaps, his perfect double assemble air turns and especially his entrechats where he soars into the air and hangs suspended there all are spellbinding. One of the many memorable things about Hees and Hallbergs Giselle is how in sync their dancing styles are especially the side by side jumps performed in both Acts I and II. Their chemistry is joyous in the first act, and ethereal, even spiritual in Act II. The ending for the June 1st matinee of Giselle is a little different from what Ive seen in past ABT productions. Instead of showering Albrecht with lilies, Giselle drops one single flower as she returns to the grave. Albrecht breathes in the scent of the lily, feeling his oneness with Giselle for a final time. Then he slowly walks away from her grave. At this point, the tears are streaming down my face. Stella Abrera is intensely cold and forbidding as Myrta, queen of the willis. She dances the part with great authority and control. Abreras leaps, however, lack the height and vengefulness of Gillian Murphys Myrta. As good as Abrera is, I think shes a more natural fit as Giselle. The willis dance together in splendid tandem. Jared Mathews is a very sympathetic Hilarion. This is the best performance Ive ever seen from Matthews. Both his acting and dancing are full of passion. When Hilarion is danced to death by the willis, Matthews really lets go and shows total exhaustion, both in body and spirit. As Berthe, Nancy Raffa is a real mother, not just a corps member made up to look older. Raffas Berthe is loving and devoted to Giselle. She naturally worries about her naïve young daughter with the weak heart. Daniil Simkin and Sarah Lane perform a lovely and exciting peasant pas de deux. Simkin especially stands out for his soaring leaps and incredible ballon. I hope American Ballet Theatre keeps this glorious Giselle in their repertoire. The combination of magnificent music (by Adolphe Adam) and transcendent performances make this Giselle one that should last for a long, long time.
  4. I attended Wednesday's matinee and it was magical. Once I get my thoughts together (either later today or tomorrow) I'll post a detailed review. I don't know how many entrechats David Hallberg danced, but they seemed to go on forever. On other note, a playdate between Mr. B and Mr. Puppytreats is an inspired idea. Seriously, I don't know if my husband would be annoyed that I've been posting about him. But he never reads Ballet Talk, so I don't have to worry about that.
  5. I really love my husband a lot (we've been married for almost 24 years)but the one time we went to see Giselle at the ballet together, he did not act like Mr. Puppytreats. He kept fidgeting in his seat and asking when they were going to talk. I really thought someone was going to hit him. I thought it was going to be me. But after that we agreed that if I wanted to go to a ballet at night, he would drive me and not go to the ballet. He would go to a movie instead. And that's exactly what happened. This year he's driving me to see the Semionova/Hallberg Swan Lake. We'll go out to dinner, walk around a bit, then I'll go to the ballet and he'll go to his movie. So come to think of it it's all worked out. Mr. Boresta (John) doesn't have to be like Mr. Puppytreats. Though I will admit it would be nice to have him next to me at the ballet every once in a while.
  6. I just wanted to mention that before Sunday's matinee I saw several NYCB ballerinas having lunch outside near the Koch theater. I went over and talked to them briefly, saying what a fan I was, etc. They were all lovely. (All the dancers I've briefly talked to - both ABT and NYCB dancers, have been super nice.) They were Wendy Whelan, Sterling Hyltin, Abby Stafford, Savannah Lowery and Gretchen Smith. Wendy asked me if I were going to that afternoon's show. When I said I was she told me to watch for something special at the end of Slaughter. I told her that I had seen it many times before. I saw On Your Toes when it was revived on Broadway in 1983. I knew about the hit man sitting in the box. But she said no, no, it's something else. Watch for it at the end. When the curtain went down on Slaughter, I'm thinking there's no surprise. Where's the surprise? Then it hit me. I knew (as has already been said) that the Big Boss was definitely not Ask La Cour. Ask is taller and considerably younger than the Big Boss on stage. But due to the fedora it was hard to tell who it was. Then it clicked. The Big Boss is Peter Martins!!! And when he took off his hat, I knew for sure. He was very good. Vipa is right. He should definitely do more character roles at NYCB. I can see him as Drosselmeyer (as has already been mentioned) Dr. Coppelius (wouldn't that be fun) Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet. And on and on.
  7. The program consisted of two masterpieces by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins (Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and West Side Story Suite) and one very forgettable ballet by Susan Stroman (For the Love of Duke). I loved Stroman’s choreography for the Broadway musicals Contact and The Producers. I was entranced by her two act ballet for the New York City Ballet, Double Feature. I will very happy that the New York City Ballet will be reviving Double Feature during their 2012 spring season. That being said, For the Love of Duke is a very slight ballet set to the iconic jazz rhythms of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. As already stated, For the Love of Duke is a very flimsy work with fantastic music, tremendously talented dancers and repetitious choreography. If only the choreography had lived up to the Ellington/Strayhorn score and the power of the dancers performing the steps. All the cast is spectacular – Amar Ramasar as Johnny, Tiler Peck as Rose, Sara Mearns as Frankie, Lauren Lovette as Sunset, Savannah Lowery as Blossom and Robert Fairchild as the musician. Hopefully someone will soon create a ballet worthy of these dancers’ talents and abilities. Now on to the masterworks. George Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue is a show within a show. It was originally created for the Broadway musical On Your Toes in 1936. Slaughter is a perfect blend of Balanchine’s choreography and Richard Rodgers’ music. As the Striptease Girl, Sara Mearns is unbearably lovely. Her long legs, which seem to go on to eternity, show off her high kicks to their best advantage. Mearns’ gorgeous backbends highlight the suppleness of her upper body. Andrew Veyette’s Hoofer stands out for his stylish tap dancing and his goofy, but endearing take on the role. Anthony Huxley, Troy Schumacher and Giovanni Villalobus are very funny as the high flying “three blind mice” policemen, who can’t see the patrons and workers at the speakeasy hiding right under their noises. The bartenders, Justin Peck and Andrew Scardato, dance smartly in unison and sweep up the dead bodies with aplomb. In a surprise bit of casting,(which has already been mentioned on Ballet Talk) New York City Ballet’s Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, was the Big Boss. He mimes the role with power and precision. There was no announcement either in the program or from the stage that Martins would appearing in the May 29th matinee of Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. The entire cast seemed to get a kick out of seeing their ballet chief perform with them. The program ended with Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite. In 1995 Robbins staged West Side Story Suite for New York City Ballet. It is a compilation of six numbers from the musical West Side Story, plus a new solo for Tony to “Something’s Coming”. West Side Story Suite is an energetic ballet which showcases virtuoso male dancing. Chase Finlay is a very young, optimistic Tony. The way he leaps toward the sky in his “Something’s Coming” solo is both poignant and exuberant. As Riff, Andrew Veyette leads the Jets with his bravura dancing. Veyette also has a strong singing voice, which he uses to great effect in “Cool”. In the role of Bernardo, Amar Ramasar scowls appropriately while dancing up a storm. The ladies also do their part to make West Side Story Suite memorable. Georgina Pazcoguin’s Anita is reminiscent of Rita Moreno’s performance in the movie version of West Side Story. (I never saw Chita Rivera, Broadway’s original Anita, in the role.) All flashing limbs and brazen attitude, Pazcoguin belts out a wry and cynical “America”. The Latin ladies accompanying her are all excellent, especially Gretchen Smith, the naïve yet hopeful Rosalia. Lauren Lovette is a strikingly sweet and innocent Maria. Even though West Side Story Suite changes the ending of the musical West Side Story, I tear up every time I see the concluding “Somewhere” ballet. The combination of Leonard Bernstein’s lushly beautiful music and Jerome Robbins’ transcendent choreography transports me to that wonderful “place for us”. It’s only for a few moments, but they are such glorious ones.
  8. Maybe this has already been addressed, but with regard to how many mirrorball trophies the pros have won, doesn't Derek Hough lead the pack with three? Besides winning with Brooke and Jennifer, didn't he win with Nicole somebody or other from the Pussycat Dolls? (I'm an old person. I don't know Nicole's last name).
  9. As good as the May 18th matinee was, the American Ballet Theatre May 21st matinee of Don Quixote belongs in a class of truly great ballet performances. When ABT first announced that Polina Semionova would dance Kitri with David Hallberg as Basilio in Don Q, some ballet pundits wondered how such a tall elegant ballerina would fare as the Spanish spitfire. I am very pleased to say that Semionova is a practically perfect Kitri. She is a playful and flirtatious young girl full of fiery passion. Her crisp, precise footwork and whiplash turns are breathtaking. In her solos in Act I and the Act II vision scene Semionova whirls across the stage at a dizzying pace. The height of her jumps is awe inspiring and her extensions are glorious. Her balances are also amazing. In the Act III grand pas Semionova holds her balances so long it’s as though time stands still. And she can whip off fouettes at a rapid fire rate, opening and closing her fan when she executes a double or triple. As a performer Semionova is the total package. Her steps are always complete and refined while her phrasing is smooth and lovely. As Basilio, David Hallberg shows that he can perform comic roles just as well as princely ones. Hallberg’s air turns are not quite as sharp as Daniil Simkin’s, but every turn is clean and complete. And those sky high grand jetes with their perfect feathered landings – magical! One of the great things about the May 21st matinee is how in sync Semionova and Hallberg are. Their air of playfulness, their clean, precise mime, their elevation, their long lovely lines – they all meshed. The chemistry between Seminonova and Hallberg is palpable. But then David Hallberg seems to have chemistry with practically every ballerina he partners. I have loved Veronika Part’s performances as Nikiya in La Bayadere and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, but in the dual role of Mercedes/the Queen of the Dryads she is a major disappointment. Part has a very supple upper body which she uses to great effect, especially as Mercedes in the Seville scenes. Her footwork, however, is plodding and her movements in the Act II vision scene are very slow and heavy. While executing the Italian fouettes, her leg kept drooping sadly. As on Wednesday, Jared Matthews is Espada, the matador. Alex Agoudine is again a delight as Gamache. Sarah Lane’s Amour stood out for her quicksilver footwork and the crystalline delicacy of her leaps. I hope ABT keeps this ebullient production of Don Quixote in their repertoire for a long time. I also wish that Polina Semionova will be invited to join American Ballet Theatre permanently.
  10. I also attended the May 18th matinee of Don Quioxote. There was not a principal dancer to be found at this performance. Yet I left the theater feeling exhilarated and full of joy. I can sum up why I felt this way in two words - Daniil Simkin. His performance will stay etched in my mind's eye for a very long time. Simkin is one of those rare peformers who light up the stage just by walking across it. As a dancer, he is a wonder of joyous virtuosity. His soaring leaps with those incredibly soft landings, his spins and turns - all are spectacular. Simkin makes the most difficult pyrotechnics look both easy and effortless. And he never loses his classical form. Ballet is definitely Simkin's first language. Simkin's partnering skills are fine, especially for such a slight young man. There was a slight wobble during the first one-handed lift in Act I, but the rest of Simkin's lifts were executed smoothly. Simkin fully immerses himself in the character of Basilio. He acts with a free and natural comic flair. Yuriko Kajiya is a lovely lyrical dancer, best suited for romanctic roles. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by her peformance as Kitri. Kajiya is a very sweet Kitri, with artless comic timing. She and Simkin are very believable as the young couple in love. As a dancer, Kajiya excels in exquisitely light leaps and gorgeous jumps with a kick to the back of her head. Her first balance in the Act III grand pas was somewhat wobbly, but the next two balances were very securely held. Her fouettes, though only singles, (I've gotten too used to seeing multiple fouettes from ABT ballerinas) were steady and complete. However, Kajiya's dancing lacks the speed and sharpness of attack needed for the role of Kitri. As Espada, Jared Matthews' dancing is solid, but his performance lacks the required Spanish flair. After all, he is supposed to be a matador. Stella Abrera shines in the dual role of Mercedes in the Seville scenes,and the Queen of the Dryads in the vision scene. Abrera dances Mercedes with a a sultry steaminess, but her Queen of the Dryads is a model of classical precision. Alexei Agoudine is both funny and endearing as Gamache. He certainly knows how to take a pratfall. As Amour, Gemma Bond's dancing lacks lightness and buoyancy. I really miss Anne Milewski in the role, with her skimming leaps and quicksilver footwork. All in all, it was a great afternoon at the ballet. I am really disappointed that I won't be seeing Simkin in Coppelia. I hope he becomes a principal soon. Now, on to the Saturday matinee with Hallberg and Seminova. I imagine that will be a very different Don Q, but I'm really looking forward to it.
  11. Jose Manuel Carreno and the Feijoo sisters will be performing with the Macy Stars of Dance on Dancing with the Stars tonight(4/12) at 9:00PM Eastern time on ABC. Of course if it's anything like Tiler Peck's performance on Dancing with the Stars last year, the ballet stars will only get a few seconds of dancing time and it won't really be ballet dancing. Anyway, it's always good when ballet dancers get exposure on popular shows (since it happens so rarely). http://www.realitytvfans.com/2011/04/12/jennifer-hudson-performs-tonight-on-the-dancing-with-the-stars-results-show.html#more-13568 I tried to create a link to the google article I found about this, but it didn't work. Anyway, at least I posted the website.
  12. Here's some information from the New York City Ballet website (nycballet.com) about Jennifer Ringer appearing on Thursday's Oprah show. News What's New The Viewing Room Press Releases Press Release Archive Home > News For Immediate Release - February 15, 2011NYCB Principal Dancer Jenifer Ringer To Appear On The Oprah Winfrey Show Ringer Will Appear as Part of a Program on Fascinating Lives Scheduled to Air on Thursday, February 17 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jenifer Ringer will make a special appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show on Thursday, February 17 as part of an episode exploring fascinating lives. In addition to being interviewed by Ms. Winfrey in front of her studio audience, the segment will also include rare behind-the-scenes footage of Ms. Ringer shot on location with the New York City Ballet, featuring company class, rehearsals, and a performance of Jerome Robbins’ I’m Old Fashioned. Ms. Ringer trained at the School of American Ballet (the official school of NYCB), and joined New York City Ballet when she was just 16 years old. She was promoted to soloist in 1995, and has been a principal dancer since 2000. During her career with NYCB Ms Ringer has danced numerous leading roles in the Balanchine and Robbins repertory, and has also originated leading roles in ballets by Peter Martins, Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, and Alexei Ratmansky, among others. In New York City the Oprah Winfrey Show airs at 4 p.m. on WABC-TV Channel 7, for broadcast schedule in other areas, please check local listings.
  13. I just wanted to add that I just went on the Oprah website (Oprah.com) and Thursday's show is called "Inside Fascinating Lives". There's a segment on a woman on the new show "Secret Millionaires", a segment about a model with a secret and then the website says "plus a real life 'black swan' confesses". (whatever that means).
  14. I just saw a brief promo for the Oprah show, and Jennifer Ringer will be appearing on the show this Thursday, February 17th. I wondered if anyone knew any more details about this.
  15. I saw Black Swan yesterday, and the best way I can describe it is to say that I found it very creepy. The dancing seemed okay, but the story was just so weird and implausible. It was very hard to figure out what was real and what was in Nina's mind (which I think was one of the points of the movie). I think it's already been said but I think a much better movie could have been made out of Nina's back story. And why was she so disturbed from the very beginning of the movie? Actually, a very interesting movie could have made out of Nina's mother's story. Again, the audience didn't know what was real about the mother and what was in Nina's mind. In the future, if I want to see ballet movies, I think I'll stick to The Turning Point and The Red Shoes.
  16. This is probably being too picky, but the fact that the New York Times reviewer spelled pointe incorrectly (no e) made me a bit wary of the review ballet wise. I plan on seeing it some time this week (probably Friday) so I'll include my opinions after that.
  17. Thank you, Mel. That was the name I meant. Sorry I got it wrong.
  18. I, too, saw Susan Jaffe many times, and in her earlier years acting was not her strong suite. But then she studied with I think her name is Irina Kopylova - she was a great ballerina with the Kirov and now is a ballet mistress at ABT. So later in her career Jaffe really improved as an actress. I saw her in a performance of Onegin (with Carlos Lopez) a year or so before she retired and she was sensational. Unfortunately at the very end of her career her technique was really fading - especially with regards to roles like Odile in Swan Lake.
  19. Thank you, Leigh. Your answer to my question was just perfect. And KFW I was wrong. Macauley did criticize Ashley Bouder for her Dewdrop. With regard to the statement about audiences wanting slim dancers - slim according to whom. Does slim mean underdeveloped? Can a female dancer have a more womanly figure without being criticized?
  20. With all due respect, Richard, my eyes very rarely see what Alistair MacAuley sees at a ballet performance. And he is just so negative, except for his favorites. His favorites, such as Ashley Bouder and David Hallberg happen to be my favorites too. But Alistair MacAuley is not at all fair when it comes to his reviews. I found Clive Barnes and Anna Kisselgoff to be consistenly fair even if I didn't agree with their opinion of a ballet or dancer. I find Mary Cargill and Leigh Witchel to be fair as well. I never feel they are making a critical remark just because they don't like a dancer or choreographer. Also, I really wonder whether a dancer's weight is fair game for critical review. If that weight affects the performance, then of course it should be noted. But did Jennifer Ringer and Jared Angle's weight affect their Nutcracker? I think that is the important questions. Would a reviewer mention the fact that a dancer had a large nose or crooked teeth? I think a dancer's physical appearance (unless it affects their performance as I already said) should be considered off-limits to the reviewer.
  21. I haven't seen The Nutcracker in years (at least 10 or 11) and the only way I'd see it performed live is if I were introducing a child to The Nutcracker. (Then as I've done in the past, I'd take that child to see Balanchine's Nutcracker at the David Koch Theater.) I think The Nutcracker is great for kids, and I do realize how important it is to the budget of the ballet companies who dance it. Also, I think the music is fantastic, and I make sure I listen to the music often this time of the year. The ballet, however, doesn't interest me at all. In the first act, there's no real dancing until the snowflakes come on at the end of the act. And yes, there are many divertisements in Act II, but to me, they're lovely, but not very exciting. I've seen The Nutcracker live about six times (five of those times the Balanchine Nutcracker) and the last few times I saw it I kept thinking that it wasn't Sleeping Beauty. (not even close).
  22. I just wanted to add my opinion of Tuttle in Swan Lake. I saw her dance the part twice. She was a lovely Odette, but unfortunately a rather weak Odile. The first time I saw her do the part (which was in 2000, before she was in Moving Out I think) she fell off point about halfway through the famous 32 fouettes. I saw her dance the part again in 2001, and she just barely held on to those fouettes. You could see the struggle on her face. I blame Kevin McKenzie for casting Ashley in parts she was not right for. It's strange that in the interview she's talking about Balanchine when Ashley was one of the least likely Balanchine dancers at ABT at the time. Her Theme and Variations was expecially disappointing. Again, she was superb in romantic and dramatic parts. I also remember very fondly her performances as Swanilda in Coppelia and Gulnare in Le Corsaire. When she danced to her strengths, she was a most memorable ballerina.
  23. Thank you so much for posting this link. I loved Ashley Tuttle for many years, both as an ABT dancer and as Judy in Moving Out. I think the last part I saw her dance was Nikiya in La Bayadere (with Angel Corella, often her partner). She was especially wonderful in romantic roles, like Nikiya, Giselle, and especially Juliet. Her Juliet (with Corella as Romeo) was one of the best I've ever seen. With regard to her personal life, when Ashley was in Moving Out, she was involved with John Selya. Does anyone know if they are still together?
  24. Dear Christine, Thank you so much for letting all us Ballet Takers know about those wonderful videos on Youtube. (I don't know how to post a link either so don't worry about that.) I just watched the Le Corsaire video. Corey's first solo was very good, but I think he needs to work on the other two solos. But then again I've seen Angel Corella dance Ali so many times. And I don't think anyone (that I'm aware of) equals Corella in the part. I've seen Corey dance Conrad twice, and I think he fits that part much better. As always, Hee Seo was wonderful, but she's not yet up to Michelle Wiles, Irina Dvorovenko or especially Gillian Murphy in the role. This may sound terrible, but I think I'm so used to ABT dancers doing at least double fouettes that I'm a bit disappointed when I only see singles. But I have to admit Hee's singles were spot on. It looked like she didn't move at all. Again, thank you, Christine for letting me know about these wonderful videos. I can always count on Ballet Talkers to keep me updated on all the latest in ballet news, both live and on the world wide web.
  25. I've always loved Ethan Stiefel as a dancer. I remember him in New York City Ballet's Sleeping Beauty as a 19 year old. And of course I've seen many fantastic performances from him as an ABT principal. I do think, however, it is time for him to move on as a dancer. He must be close to 40 (or over 40) and he's had several severe injuries in the past few years. And so what that he hasn't had great success as an artistic director of a ballet company yet? Don't they always that the third time is the charm. As has already been said, I hope Gillian Muprhy doesn't follow Stiefel to New Zealand on a full time basis. She's one of my favorite ballerinas ever, and I think she has at least ten good years of dancing ahead of her. Hopefully it will be with ABT.
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