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Everything posted by MRR

  1. I continue to hold out hope for Mayerling! Gomes, Vishneva (as Vetsera), and Part (as Larisch) is my dream cast.
  2. I saw Polina Semionova dance the Swan Queen last year with Marcelo Gomes, and I felt she put forth a spectacular performance that evening. Furthermore, after having seen Gillian Murphy, who in my mind danced better than ever on Wednesday, my expectations for Semionova last night were brutally high. And, incredibly, she met them. While I did not feel that her performance was as arresting as her Swan Queen with Gomes last year, Semionova, along with her prince, David Hallberg, showcased a wonderful, regal rapport onstage. They brought a subtle passion to the ballet which proved a fascinating contrast with the more extraverted interpretations of Murphy and Gomes just a few days ago. Semionova and Hallberg were also well-matched in the sense that they provided a viewer a feast of those long, undulating limbs. Polina Semionova’s power as an artist is as striking as it surprising. Semionova is not particularly beautiful, nor is she such a detailed actress, and she has a relatively awkward body in many respects. However, what Semionova puts forth is a remarkable intuition and intelligence as to how to best express the physicality of her body. Semionova possesses long arms and long legs and actually uses these aspects of her body not only for technical flair, but for shaping her characters of the two swans. Nothing more profoundly displayed this than the Act II pas de deux. I’ve always felt the slower the tempo the better in this pas, and Semionova and Hallberg indeed took the pas at a true adagio tempo. Semionova filled every phrase of music, including those three notes with the harp as the pas is about to start (when she unfurls her body into the iconic swan position). She took the entire length of those three counts to gaze at Siegfried before melting her arm down into the swan pose, whereas some ballerinas are in the swan pose by the two and end up just sitting there. During the pas de deux itself, Semionova would unfurl a leg slowly, lower a leg softly, and undulate an arm regally. The process of any step Semionova danced as Odette was realized in its entirety, whether that would be a penchee, an arabesque, a cambre, or a pirouette. Ultimately, this great physical expression formulated a quiet but palpable vulnerability in Semionova’s Odette. This was an Odette who one did not even need any background information on: she made it very clear that her imprisonment in the spell was due to Rothbart’s evil and was not at all due to any wrongdoing she did. This was ultimately an Odette who could do no wrong, and an Odette who trusts too much for her own good. Siegfried is this sudden, welcome presence in her life, and with that, Semionova’s Odette truly thought that Siegfried could save her. Semionova would faintly smile at Hallberg, almost as if to ponder what could become of the two in the future if the spell were broken. And not only was it Hallberg who was pushing her to trust him, it was also the music. Semionova had this wonderful ability to make the music almost push her throughout the pas de deux to create the identity of this vulnerable, serene soul. With different partners come different sides of an artist’s character. While Semionova’s Odile with Gomes last year was a world away from her Odette—seductive, vexing, fiery—her Odile this year resembled her Odette far more. Hallberg is certainly not as outwardly passionate as Gomes, and Semionova went along with Hallberg’s subtle aura. Her Odile this time around had a softer and sweeter quality which evoked shades of her Odette while still being just evil enough to prove to the audience that she was only Odette in disguise. Semionova smiled, charmed, and dazzled, even if Semionova could have showcased more passion and temperament out of her Odile. Yet the luscious expression of her body paid dividends here once again. Semionova has some of the most beautiful swan arms that have an almost rippling water effect. And, in the instance in which she takes those slow bourees with the swan pors de bras toward Siegfried, her Odile evoked shades of her Odette. Semionova has those wonderful elastic extensions, and she is one of the few I’ve seen who maintains the height of her leg when she turns from the developee a la seconde to the arabesque penchee at the end of the pas. Her arabesque balance was held solidly for around six seconds before suffering a slight waver at the end. She had strong pirouettes in the variation and a wonderful closing fouette sequence of eight doubles followed by singles with a few doubles in a sequence. Semionova’s lusciousness as a dancer suits this ballet to a tee. Semionova has very nearly the entire package in this ballet: inherent warmth as Odette, sly seduction as Odile, superb technical ability, and developing musicality and artistry. On top of that, I feel Semionova showcases real potential as an actress, but she is still relatively young and needs time to fine tune the moments when she is not dancing (i.e. the mime) and fully unleash her passion as a performer. And she is certainly well on her way with another exceptional performance from her in this ballet. While Marcelo Gomes shapes his Siegfried around Siegfried as a person, David Hallberg explores the character as to how it represents his aura of royalty. Never will you a find a Siegfried with more noble line than Hallberg, and anyone would be hard-pressed to find a danseur with a more regal posture. Hallberg always maintains a wonderful neutral, straight back when he performs, but Hallberg also gives his torso this airy elegance and authority which prevents that wonderfully straight line of the back to ever appear rigid. And, of course, I haven’t even mentioned Hallberg’s lines, which have been talked about the world over. Hallberg has that wonderful, natural turn-out from the top of the hip, a beautiful straight line of the leg, and a wonderfully elongated, phenomenally shaped foot. Hallberg’s presentation of the foot is particularly superb: there are other dancers who might have his arches, but none lengthen out the end of the foot and lengthen the toes as he curls them downward more so than Hallberg. In these technical respects, Hallberg is set up to be a vision of royalty onstage. Hallberg’s Siegfried is a well-meaning but remote individual. He is also determined to get what he wants. I felt amongst Gomes, Corella, and Hallberg this week, it was Hallberg who gave the clearest sense of absolute dismay at the princesses in the third act. Hallberg gave Act IV real abandonment, and I have felt that Hallberg’s move the Bolshoi has caused him to dance with greater soul and passion than ever before. And, technically, while Hallberg lacks that glorious natural jump of a Baryshnikov or of a Bujones, he has shown particular improvement in his pirouettes and a la seconde turns lately. However, this is not to suggest that Hallberg is perfect, or that this performance was exceptional in every respect. Particularly in the scene during Act I when Hallberg is left lost in a crowd when all the couples are pairing up, Hallberg did not evoke nearly the desperation of Gomes earlier in the week as to how dire his chances of meeting a woman seemed. Hallberg’s passion toward Odile also proved a tad low-wattage for my taste. While blazing passion would perhaps not look right on a dancer of such elegance, Hallberg has to find that balance between nobility and passion that will bring his artistry to new heights. His regality is already second to none. Purple Rothbart with Alexandre Hammoudi was a relative disaster. I had high hopes for Hammoudi, as he possesses a great “look.” Hammoudi is a young, statuesque dancer with a broad torso and broad presence. And I do feel there is potential for him in this role, but yesterday evening he performed tight. Despite appearing to be quite a physically strong dancer, Hammoudi nearly botched the revolving press lift with one of the princesses. He held the girl up and almost had her too far back in the lift, forcing the girl to bend her one leg in to help steady the position. The exit to the lift was also very rough. Hammoudi struggled mightily with keeping up with the tempo and the entire end phrase of jumps was late. Also, the phrasing of the chaines on the diagonal was completely off, and he rather appeared to have given up at that point. Hammoudi struggled with the arabesque balance at the end and actually had to lower his leg back to sous-sus before he reached his leg back to arabesque (and from then held a decently sustained position). Now, despite this substandard performance Hammoudi does showcase potential in this role. He has a dark presence which if cultivated can really go somewhere in this role. He is not a lost cause of a dancer at all, and I could see that even with a heavily shaky outing last night. But Hammoudi has to deliver for himself onstage and without that will struggle to build ground in this company even if his talent is there. Act I pas de trois featured Stella Abrera, Maria Riccetto, and Sascha Radetsky. Abrera proved herself the standout of the three. This is my third time seeing Abrera in the Act I pas de trois, and each time I thoroughly enjoy her performance. She is a lovely, dynamic dancer with a mature, spritely personality and wonderful entrechant sixes. Everyone has talked about how Abrera should be promoted to principal, and while I haven’t seen enough of her to determine that for myself, I strongly feel that she should be tested in big principal roles (Odette/Odile, for one) and it’s a true shame she has not. Maria Riccetto was also competent last night, if a tiny bit shaky with the diagonal of piquee turns at the end of her variation. Radetsky, on the other hand, was a relative disappointment. Technically, he was mostly fine (aside from a botched pirouette to come in Act III), if not as spectacular as Simkin or Cornejo would be in this pas de trois. But Radetsky gave the impression that he was fighting his body the entire time. His face was tense and he appeared visibly exhausted by the end of the pas de trois. With that, the rapport between the ballerinas and him was lost. The swan corps de ballet have been quite consistent all week (I attended Wednesday eve and Thursday). The magic of the corps at ABT is simply never going to reach that of the Mariinsky or the Paris Opera, as at those companies you have the vast majority of dancers trained at the school since childhood. Conversely, at ABT you have a “melting pot” of dancers from different schools, different training backgrounds, etc. I’ve always felt as though ABT corps strive to get the timing of the steps as synchronized as possible so that the differences in the way the dancers are trained are not as evident, and by and large the corps this week has gotten the job done. The cygnets were a tad disappointing last night, as the ending arabesques down to the knee were off. The Act I waltz was a mess earlier in the week, but last night it seemed to me (if I’m recalling correctly) as though it were tighter and cleaner.
  3. Actually, when I saw Kent dance SL last year, I thought her Odile was quite adequate and in my mind superior to her Odette, something I would never have expected in a million years. Certainy the technical fireworks in her Odile were lacking--she only made it to 26 fouettes--but she had a haughty characterization which I enjoyed. Mind you, that's the only time I've seen Kent dance Swan Lake.
  4. She has danced both Tatiana and Olga, in fact.
  5. Me too! I loved her in Swan Lake last year.
  6. Thread for all reviews/discussions about ABT's Giselle run this week. Since I cannot attend any of the performances I can't wait for reports!
  7. Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3445_162-57344807/an-american-dancers-leap-of-faith/?tag=cbsnewsTwoColUpperPromoArea
  8. It looks like Hee Seo is out of Nutcracker again. The site lists Gillian Murphy as her replacement.
  9. No, this was taken out by the time Yoshida did it for the 2001 DVD.
  10. Mind you, it is early in the season, but I preferred both Czisny's and Kostner's long programs from last year.
  11. I couldn't get the link to the trailer to work, but here is a Youtube video of the trailer (in case of anyone else was having problems): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfKKxlWBrOU
  12. Can someone explain me what was that from 3:31 to 3:52...?!?! Oh, I've seen far worse fouettes from her.
  13. Helene and Elena, you're welcome. I just edited my post with the embedded Bayadere videos because I found the video with the entrance of the Shades as well.
  14. MRR

    Katherine Healy

    I agree with what Helene said, but I would have given the gold medal to Kerrigan that year. She had a triple-triple, triple lutz late into the program (for Baiul it was her first jump), and while both women had issues with the triple flip--Kerrigan doubled it and Baiul heavily two-footed the landing--Kerrigan's error was more forgivable for me (athough the current skating judging system wouldn't see it that way). Baiul's program I liked more than Kerrigan's--but not a whole lot--and even though the artistic mark was the tiebreaker, Kerrigan was superior technically to the point of convincing me that she was robbed. Someone mentioned skating forums, I can give links to a couple: Figure Skating Universe: http://www.fsuniverse.net/ Golden Skate: http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/ MRR, Weren't you a baby at the time, or am I mixing you up with someone else? My impression was that Nancy thought she was (a) superior artistically and (b) superior technically, because of her spiral, which did not impress, and © entitled, well, because of what happened. Yes, I was one year old in 1994 I do follow skating regularly though and have familiarized myself with a lot of old competitions (although I have never skated before). I agree that Kerrigan seemed entitled, but what I will say about her (in the 1993/1994 season) is that she came to competitions prepared, trained, fit, et al. She got some very lucky results early in her career--the 1991 Worlds bronze and (especially) her 1992 Olympics bronze--but her inconsistency in training earlier in her career caught up to her at the 1993 Worlds, where she finished 5th because of a disastrous free skate. The result motivated her and she was really in the condition of her life at the 1994 Olympics even coming back from that crazy incident. I don't think anyone really great spiral sequence extensions in those days, but Nancy's was one of the nicer ones IMO even though she supported her leg with her arm. It wasn't until Nicole Bobek (and then Michelle Kwan and Sasha Cohen) when the standards were set at a much higher level. Anyway, sorry that I've hijacked the thread with this discussion!
  15. MRR

    Katherine Healy

    I agree with what Helene said, but I would have given the gold medal to Kerrigan that year. She had a triple-triple, triple lutz late into the program (for Baiul it was her first jump), and while both women had issues with the triple flip--Kerrigan doubled it and Baiul heavily two-footed the landing--Kerrigan's error was more forgivable for me (athough the current skating judging system wouldn't see it that way). Baiul's program I liked more than Kerrigan's--but not a whole lot--and even though the artistic mark was the tiebreaker, Kerrigan was superior technically to the point of convincing me that she was robbed. Someone mentioned skating forums, I can give links to a couple: Figure Skating Universe: http://www.fsuniverse.net/ Golden Skate: http://www.goldenskate.com/forum/
  16. Paquita http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFaA1elVntI&playnext=1&list=PL2F9FAC6155BF72B3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0ZlZZvoV4M&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKDWY9JlSKg&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KBwP-95UY8&feature=related There is also one more video on youtube of the Vaganova Academy students (dancing at the beginning of this ballet) in case anyone wanted to see it.
  17. Helene and Elena, videos of both Paquita and La Bayadere are on Youtube. I embedded videos of Paquita down in a later post. La Bayadere http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHMcTzPjWpQ&feature=channel_video_title http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBtCg3_Zl3Y&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKRhK7-YEC0&feature=related
  18. The "Rose Adagio" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTLY0Z5xggk I saw Zenaida Yanowsky dance this life and she was spectacular!
  19. Marcelo Gomes was recently on Jo Soares's talk show in Brazil. It would be much appreciated if anyone could translate! The interview features footage of Marcelo dancing in Giselle, Swan Lake, and Sinatra Suite. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdOEz5oV9Nw
  20. MRR


    Bart, the reason I chose to go to university is because I'm not at a level to really be auditioning for companies yet. I am also not sure if a professional career in ballet is what I want, but I would certainly like to have a chance at one. I have always wanted to go to school, and by going to IU I can do that and still dance frequently. At IU I will be pursuing a Bachelors of Science with an Outside Field (BSOF) in ballet with my outside field being psychology. The outside field sort of acts as a second major so I can fall back on that if ballet is not what I want to do. I had actually contemplated quitting dance after high school but had a change of heart my senior year (well before getting into IU, actually) and felt that dancing at IU would be an opportunity not worth passing up.
  21. Tape Gold: Natalia Makarova (w/ABT) Silver: Nina Ananiashvilli Bronze: Galina Mezentseva Live Gold: Polina Semionova Silver: Marianela Nunez Bronze: Tamara Rojo
  22. MRR


    I found this forum during ABT's Met season last year and have enjoyed it greatly--there are so many great discussions and posters here. I lurked for awhile but am now posting more. I am from Houston, TX, and have studied ballet for 12 years. I will be attending Indiana University as a ballet major in the fall and cannot wait!
  23. My comment is very unqualified in this matter (as there are many Tchaikovsky works I have yet to listen to), but I suppose I consider scores from Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty to be quintessential Tchaikovsky, perhaps because those are the ones I'm most familiar with. I love the score of Serenade, but for some reason I was surprised when I learned that Tchaikovsky had composed it.
  24. No worries, and you are very welcome!
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