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The Bard's Ballerina

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  1. Yes, I went, and it may be blasphemous, but I will even admit that I enjoyed Saturday night's performance over the Kirov's Jewels. I still don't care for Twyla Tharp, but the Washington Ballet at least made Brief Fling more than palatable. The dancing was very good throughout, and Erin Mahoney was especially notable as the green "modern dance girl." Sarah Kaufman was right about the costumes, though. Poor Michele Jimenez's blue bodice could not have been less flattering. The dancers gave Dark Elegies a committed and moving performance. Amanda McKerrow of course has the most experience with Tudor and it showed in her haunted expression and simplicity of movement. I haven't seen Paul Taylor's own company dance Esplanade, so I can't comment on the differences in movement between them and WB, but I really enjoy this work. When I see it, I feel like getting up on stage myself and running around to Bach in a pretty, candy-colored dress.
  2. OK, Alexandra, I get the hint. I'm here. I've only got a few minutes (new-ish job much more time-consuming than the old, but it does pay a good bit more), so I can only make a few comments. Sleeping Beauty overall -- LOVED IT LOVED IT LOVED IT! Sets, costumes, everything (well, except Nioradze, but more below). Danila Korsuntsev (Desire) -- Very pretty; elegant dancer. Actually looked comfortable in that silly hunting outfit and wig. Irma Nioradze (Aurora) -- Her dancing didn't really bother me as mannered, but then again I couldn't get past her face. She's not unattractive, but she has a very sophisticated, worldly, Joan-Crawford-like face and from the fifth row I was having a VERY hard time buying her as an ingenue. She looked about 20 years older than her mother the Queen. Favorite fairy-tale divertissement -- White Cat/Puss in Boots. Listed in the program as Yana Selina and Kiril Simonov. They were absolutely adorable. She looks a little like Reese Witherspoon. -------------------------------------------- I'll cheat and add on my comments on Thursday's performance of Jewels here: Emeralds -- I almost slept through this. The dancing was technically clean, but where was the musicality?????? Rubies -- I was getting pretty disgruntled by this point, remembering Miami City Ballet's fabulous rendition of this section last year (twice). Diamonds -- Woke up. Diamonds was worth sitting through the rest of the evening for. I thought Daria Pavlenko was beautiful. --------------------------------------------- This weekend, Washington Ballet. Promise to write a bit more about them.
  3. A friend and I had our annual Washington Ballet Nutcracker outing this past Saturday evening. I have to say that I think this year was by far the best performance we've seen in the 5 or so years that we've been coming. The performances were delightful all around and the dancing was of the highest quality, from the Washington School of Ballet students who made up the corps (Victoria -- they really looked terrific) to the radiant Michele Jimenez as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Jason Hartley's exuberance was perfect for the lead candy cane, and Brianne Bland, Laura Urgelles, Jon Jordan, and Boris Serebrykov had clearly taken the time to coordinate the details and timing in the Waltz of the Flowers. One very notable addition to the company is Richard Krocil, who danced the Snow Prince to Carmen Ramos' regal Snow Queen. Richard is tall, with a very princely aspect, and fabulous jumps with great ballon. A single grand jete seems to cover the entire stage. The only bad note of the evening came from the Warner Theatre's very bad policy of seating latecomers. Most of our row arrived a good 15 minutes into the party scene and then took another 5 minutes to get themselves settled. Grrrr....
  4. I learned my lesson last year. I love the Nutcracker, but I just couldn't subject myself to ABT's debacle again (especially not at those prices!).
  5. I only saw yesterday's matinee of Coppelia, which I thought was delightful. The acting wasn't fabulous: Lorna Feijoo doesn't have a particularly expressive face, and Nelson Madrigal just looks like a big, happy lug of a guy. But the dancing was wonderful, especially by Feijoo, whose technique and radiance more than made up for her lack of facial expressions. I liked the bright, colorful sets (far preferable to the usual bubble-gum pink ones), but didn't care for the flat tutus. The character dances weren't as crisp as I was expecting from such a traditional company, but on the whole, I thought the corps and soloists were all quite fine. It was also nice to see that Swanhilda has such big, healthy friends whose partners were nevertheless able to lift them without staggering.
  6. As requested, e-mail has been sent (to webmistress address). 2 minutes later: I got an error message, but you can get my e-mail address from my profile. [ November 05, 2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  7. A few notes on Saturday evening's performance: I have to admit that I didn't really care for Carmen. The group dances were fine and enjoyable, although even the most toned and muscular thighs are going to jiggle unpleasantly if you have bare-legged women stamping their feet in character shoes. The main problem for me was the lack of characterization of Carmen and Don Jose, which was admittedly difficult for the dancers to develop in a 30-minute ballet where the group dances got more time than the main "action." Also, the partnering was awkwardly choreographed, with too many lifts transitioning uncomfortably into other lifts. Septime could have taken a lesson from Choo San Goh, who had a number of beautiful, meaningful lifts in "In the Glow of the Night." I did, however, like the Picasso-esque sets very much, and Jon Jordan and Boris Serebryakov are very strong additions to the corps. (I'm sure the other new men are excellent as well, but these two were dancing in the front so I noticed them more.) I liked the ballet, but was disappointed not to see Amanda McKerrow in "In the Glow of the Night." She was scheduled to perform according to the program, and no notice was given at any point that she was not dancing. Still, I thought Laura Urgelles danced eloquently and movingly so I wasn't as upset as I might have been. Also, Brianne Bland was delightful and gave a wonderful performance in the second section. Although she's a little too small for Runquiao Du, with whom she was partnered, she managed to engage him in a way that made their partnership very interesting; since the departure of Ju Hyun Jo last year, Du has often looked like he's off on different planet from his partners. Like Alexandra, I was pleasantly surprised by the strength of the company's effort in the 4 T's. It didn't have the depth of, say, Miami Ballet in last year's Balanchine Celebration (Festival?), but for a company that doesn't perform a great deal of Balanchine, I thought they gave a clear, effective performance. In fact, I would have preferred that Carmen had opened the night's program and 4 T's had closed it. [ November 05, 2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  8. Knobby knees. My reaction to Miami City Ballet's Jewels was a little less ecstatic than others' mainly because I was sitting very close to the stage and I keep seeing in my mind the disturbing image of those little Diamonds corps girls with their knobby knees. The knees weren't so noticable in Emeralds -- long skirts -- or Rubies -- short skirts, but the full, white tutus were NOT flattering on these girls. I was very relieved when the grown-ups (Iliana Lopez and Franklin Gamero) took over with their lean-but-adult body lines and mature, regal carriage.
  9. I did like Les Patineurs, very much, although I appreciate Alexandra's comments from her longer review and can see what she meant about the various characterizations being a little "off" and the steps not flowing as they should. I thought the performance was charming and understated and a very pleasant introductory piece, but I have to admit that I wouldn't have wanted it programmed any later in the evening.
  10. Well, I thought everything was just wonderful last night (Thursday). When I arrived, I was still rather disgruntled over DTH's inexcusably weak performances, but Miami City Ballet reassured me that there are still some companies that can dance ballet beautifully and put on a terrific show. I thought the men did a wonderful job of partnering all around. It was refreshing to see pas de deux danced with commitment by both partners, instead of getting the feeling that the guy's bored and can't wait for his solo variation. Carlos Guerra was especially impressive; I can't believe he's so young! He dances big, but smooth. I also liked Yann Trividic (the Hoofer) very much in Slaughter, and while I wish that Villella had milked the audience's appreciation a bit more, I can appreciate his desire to keep himself in the background. Although I suspect that all of last night's ballets have probably received greater "star" performances during their lifetimes, you'd have a hard time convincing me that another company could have managed to treat each of the ballets as equally special and worthy of its best efforts. I sincerely hope that MCB will make the Kennedy Center a regular tour stop in the future.
  11. I went Thursday night and Sunday afternoon. I didn't write anything earlier because I was just so underwhelmed and because I had almost nothing to add to Sarah Kaufmann's review of Giselle (although I think her assessment of the Memento Mori choreography was kind). Alexandra, I think your word "studentish" is the best description of both the Giselle and Sunday's Firebird. Actually, I kept thinking to myself Sunday that Firebird looked just like a student recital piece. Bethania Gomez, the Firebird, had the body of a 12-year-old and danced like a 12-year-old (albeit a talented one). The other dancers were just dull. Admittedly, most of the audience was more impressed than I; they gave Firebird a standing ovation. I hated Adrian (Angel on Earth) at first. The costumes were unflattering (the men wore these floppy frock coats and floppy bell bottom pants) and I didn't see that the choreography interpreted the music at all. Of course, it didn't help that I hated the music and that one of the pianos seemed to be either out of tune or incredibly poorly played. The piece did grow on me as it went along, however (although I wouldn't go out of my way to see it again). The "corps" parts were more interesting and the work as a whole was quite well danced. I liked Return more than I did last year. This is the "ballet" danced to James Brown, Aretha Franklin, et alia. The dancers seemed more comfortable with the choreography this time around, but they just don't have the attitude to really pull this one off. The one highlight of the two programs was Ramon Thielen. Why DTH didn't cast him as Albrecht or the "Young Man" in the Firebird is beyond me. Yes, I know he's too animalistic to be a "prince" type, but he's certainly far more magnetic and interesting to watch than Duncan Cooper, who seemed to be sleepwalking through his performances. [ 05-29-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  12. Well, I went Saturday evening as promised, and enjoyed myself much more than I had expected. I agree with everything Alexandra said, but I'll add some more comments since no one else has. The production was good, with very nice sets from the Boston Ballet (I especially liked the crypt) and colorful, reasonably-high-quality costumes (although the trains of the noblewomen's party dresses looked like they were made out of the padded stuff that lines the elevators of my office building on moving days). The choreography and the performances had their high and less high points. Michele Jimenez was gorgeous, but there was absolutely no chemistry between her and Runqiao Du. In their pas de deux, it wasn't Romeo and Juliet dancing; it was the glorious Michele Jimenez and Some Guy Who Has to Lift Her a Lot. And he did have to lift her A LOT. It was nice to see Runqiao Du smile (I didn't know he could), but his dramatic expression seemed limited to smiling and not smiling. Michele's acting was quite credible when she wasn't with Romeo; she obviously detested Paris, faced her fake death with horror, and was extremely moving in the last scene. Jason Hartley was very effective as Mercutio, although he seemed a little tired at the performance I saw (completely understandable). Septime Webre really builds Mercutio's character and sets up the later confrontation between him and Tybalt by having Mercutio humiliate Tybalt at the Capulet ball. Unfortunately, the audience was so busy watching Mercutio's antics at the ball that Romeo and Juliet's first meeting was totally obscured even though they were in the foreground. Jared Nelson was a very pretty, petulant Tybalt, and the (here) underused Erin Mahoney got to get in a little bit of histrionics as Lady Capulet upon Tybalt's death. It was a little disconcerting to have some of the harlots also cast as Juliet's friends. The harlots were particularly well-dressed in this production, so they didn't look very much like harlots. The tiny Brianne Bland stood out among them, with her pretty, knowing looks and fabulous grand jetes. Some dramatic problems: the Prince (Webre made him an "Archduke Cardinal") appeared only in Act I and had no dramatic presence whatsoever and was dressed more like an altar boy than a cardinal; he didn't even show up in the second half to banish Romeo after he kills Tybalt. Also, after the balcony scene, Romeo shows up the next day goofing around in the marketplace, dancing with harlots and acting as if he'd never even heard of Juliet. And the orchestra was only marginally better than awful. Still, despite the shortcomings, the performance as a whole somehow managed to come together remarkably well and the audience reacted very favorably, giving the dancers a well-deserved standing ovation. I'd be very interested in hearing from anyone who saw one of the other casts.
  13. Thanks, Victoria! I'm never one to complain about an opportunity to see Michele Jimenez dance, although it would have been nice to see Amanda McKerrow again, especially if she really is considering retirement.
  14. Thanks for your comments, Alexandra. I'm going Saturday night with a not-very-discriminating friend, so I hope she will enjoy it. I was happy to read your favorable comments about Jason Hartley as Mercutio. Although he's often been overused (as you know), I agree that he can be very effective in the right roles. A question for you (or anyone else who knows) -- I was wondering whether Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner were dancing at all, especially after being featured so prominently in the WB promotion for R&J, or whether their ABT commitments created a conflict. [ 05-11-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  15. Well, as I just noted in my post on Saturday evening's performance, I didn't get to see Kent and Carreno on Friday night, but I have a hard time believing they could have been as wonderful as Amanda McKerrow and Maxim Belotserkovsky this afternoon. I will, however, give anyone the benefit of the doubt if they insist, having seen Kent with Corella in last year's Sunday matinee of Swan Lake (the highlight of my 2000 ballet-going). I'm sure it helped that I was in the sixth row today, but with McKerrow and Belotserkovsky, I was able to understand everything about Giselle and Albrecht. McKerrow's Giselle was a pure, innocent, fragile soul utterly devoted to, but not wholly trusting, the charming Loys. Belotserkovsky's Albrecht, in turn, was completely captivated by this shy, sensitive peasant creature. And it wasn't hard to see why, given the alternative of Bathilde. In what was definitely the supporting performance of the day, Stella Abrera was all cool, haughty condescension as the two-timed noblewoman. McKerrow wasn't as strong technically as Jaffe; she couldn't manage the hops on pointe in the first act. But her performance wasn't about technique; to me, she WAS Giselle. In the second act, she was the same generous, loving girl as in Act I, or rather, she was the inner spirit of that girl. I found Michele Wiles less effective than Murphy as Myrta, but if I hadn't seen Murphy, I doubt I would have had any complaints. Wiles wasn't as commanding as Murphy, especially in her solo, but once the Wilis came on stage and she had someone to relate to, her performance improved significantly. I thought the corps was a little off from their level of last night, but they still looked like a different company from last year's Bayadere Act II debacle. Today was the first time I had seen Belotserkovsky in anything other than the Tharp piece last year. I was extremely impressed with his stage presence, his attention to the details of his performance, and his chemistry with Amanda McKerrow. A few final notes: I thought Giselle's mother's mime (by Ilona McHugh on Sat. and Erica Fischbach today) was beautifully eloquent in both performances. Fischbach was particularly moving; with her gaunt look and empty eyes, she looked as if she was really foreseeing her daughter's death. I also thought the peasant pas de deux was stronger today than last night (although it was good last night also, the highlight of Act I in my view despite a little shakiness on the part of Xiomara Reyes and the fact that Herman Cornejo's bushy hair took up nearly as much space as the rest of his body). Marcelo Gomes would generally be considered too big for this pas de deux, but he managed to look like an overgrown, good-natured peasant boy who just happened to dance really, really well and who made a genuine effort to relate to and show off his partner nicely. [ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  16. I was surprised to see such lukewarm reactions to Gillian Murphy's Myrta Friday night. I didn't see Friday's performance, but I did go last night (Saturday) and today (Sunday). I'll write about today separately. I thought Murphy was absolutely electrifying last night. I've been less than impressed with her in the past (as recently as last Thursday in fact), especially for her remoteness, but her touch-me-not icy reserve combined with her pure technique made her an ideal Myrta. She was merciless but somehow vulnerable beneath her facade of ruthless heartlessness. I couldn't keep my eyes off her, even when she was just standing coldly at the front of the stage and I was supposed to be watching Jaffe and Stiefel. The corps also looked fabulous in Act II, which was by far the stronger of the two acts. Unfortunately, I was up in Tier 2 for last night's performance. If there was any chemistry whatsoever between Jaffe and Stiefel, it didn't carry up to where I was. Not that either of them was at all weak. Both of them gave technically strong performances, but it was like they were dancing on the same stage, both dancing the ballet Giselle, but with completely different ideas about who Giselle and Albrecht were and what they meant to each other (and if they couldn't get it straight between them, I certainly couldn't either). I was very glad to see Jaffe looking so good technically, especially after she had to miss last year's Swan Lake due to injury. I also liked Stiefel's elegant portrayal of Albrecht very much, and very much appreciated his clean beats and clearly delineated port de bras. I probably would have better memories of his performance if I hadn't seen Belotserkovsky blow him away today. Anyone else have any thoughts on Murphy's performance last night? [ 04-15-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  17. Alexandra, I like your "sour apricot" description for that color. I was trying to figure out what color the courtiers' costumes were. Sort of coppery, but I've now decided on "metallic sour apricot" as the best way to describe them. Sneds, I'm sure you're right about the last Tuttle-Stiefel lift. And the Sleeping Beauty fish dives were really strange-looking, especially where Picone would swing Paloma back up to her feet (she looked sort of like a salmon flapping out of water). Frankly, I try not to pay too much attention to lifts anymore since nobody seems to be able to do them well and I'm hoping that I'll miss the inevitable one where the ballerina's going to end up on her head.
  18. In one of those funny "small-world" coincidences, whom did I end up sitting next to last night but our own Jeannie? Anyway, I think Jeannie and I saw the same performance last night, which wasn't quite the one that sneds saw! So, you people who weren't there aren't quite going to know what to think. Anyway, I thought Theme & Variations was wonderful last night. Ashley Tuttle came across as a real Ballerina, not so much stealing the show as commanding it. She had a wonderful combination of attack and musicality. Sneds is right that Stiefel was off a little bit on his turns, but it was nice to see Tuttle given a chance to dance with someone taller than she is for once. The corps looked very good -- enthusiastic and clean. Among the group of four soloists, Michele Wiles again stood out, not because she was trying to, but because her dancing was just clearly cleaner and more precise than the others'. The height difference wasn't really noticeable from where we were. One sort of minor (but distracting) point -- aren't there some kind of sweat guards that dancers can wear to protect their costumes? Poor Ethan Stiefel came out with underarm stains plainly visible from the second tier seats, and the situation didn't improve over the course of the performance. I rather liked Black Tuesday, with the caveats that (a) the lighting needs to be improved, (B) the work should be performed on a smaller stage, and © Joaquin de Luz should not be cast as the figure who's supposed to bring everything together. He was simply too small, dark, and light to have any impact at all. I was very glad when the other dancers came back on stage so that I had something else to look at. Jeannie thought some parts dragged. I agreed that a few segments did get a little dull, but the dullness didn't last long enough to have a major impact on the overall effectiveness of the work (with the exception of the last solo, which I think was due more to casting than choreography). Someone named Jamar Goodman was exceptional in Underneath the Arches. This is a very slinky, snaky section and Goodman really stood out. Other notable performances included Erica Cornejo's in The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (replacing Gillian Murphy, who was dancing in Sleeping Beauty), Jennifer Alexander as the shooting girl in I Went Hunting and the Big Bad Wolf Was Dead, and Marcelo Gomes' charismatic bad-boy pimp. My enjoyment of the evening came to a screeching halt with Act III of Sleeping Beauty, which was, in my view, simply dreadful. With the notable exception of Sascha Radetsky as the Blue Bird, the dancers seemed to have forgotten that they were supposed to have come OUT of their hundred-year sleep for Act III. NOBODY (except Radetsky) was up to par in this performance. It didn't occur to Sean Stewart (Gold) that it might be nice to point his feet. The Silver Jewel on the left felt no obligation to coordinate her arm movements with those of the other two Silver Jewels. The fairy-tale characters forgot that they were supposed to be using their steps to portray characters and stories. Gillian Murphy was off in her own world as Princess Florine, barely acknowledging Radetsky's existence. Even Rosalie O'Connor was a disappointment as Red Riding Hood. She wasn't bourreeing backwards in terror; she was just bourreeing backwards (and not even very quickly at that). And then there were Paloma Herrera and Giuseppe Picone. Picone was nice-looking but utterly unremarkable, and it was just painful to watch Paloma. She had no spirit at all; she looked like she'd rather have been anywhere than on that stage. Her port de bras (my usual pet peeve) was actually fine last night, and her fingers were much less splayed than usual. The problem, of all things, was her feet. They didn't have the usual stunning arch; they looked more like the ice-cream-cone feet you see in older ballet films. She couldn't seem to do anything at all with them, and didn't seem like she really felt like trying. The orchestra played beautifully; too bad they weren't matched by the action on stage. Fortunately, I only paid $23.50 for my seat in the hinterlands (which really isn't a terrible place to be since the Opera House isn't THAT large). I felt that I definitely got my money's worth just with Ashley Tuttle's performance in Theme & Variations. Black Tuesday was a nice plus. If I'd paid any more, though, I'd be wanting a refund for sitting through Sleeping Beauty. Oh, well. At least they didn't bring the whole ballet. [P.S. I just noticed in the casting replacement slip from my program that it was actually Sean Stewart whom I praised so highly in Black Tuesday; he replaced Jamar Goodman. OOOPS. Well, be that as it may, he was still a mess in Sleeping Beauty.] [ 04-13-2001: Message edited by: The Bard's Ballerina ]
  19. I really enjoyed Saturday evening's performance. That night, the orchestra was pretty good for Concerto Barocco but then completely fell apart for Esplanade. Go figure. (I'm assuming this wasn't the same performance that mbjerk was talking about.) I thought the company did really well with Concerto Barocco. Not ragged at all. They actually looked like a classical (or at least neoclassical) ballet company. They looked much better than Dance Theatre of Harlem did a couple years ago, which is the only other company I've seen do this ballet. I don't think allegro is really Erin Mahoney's strong suit, but she was only slightly less effective than Christina Fagundes, whose experience adds polish to every ballet that she performs. As a pair, they were well matched. Jared Nelson also impressed me in Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Usually, he tends to be extremely sloppy (he actually ended up on his rear end in his Nutcracker variation when I saw him in December), but Saturday night he pulled out all the stops and danced cleanly and with more charisma than I thought he had. Maybe he was trying to keep up with the radiant Michele Jimenez. I just adore her, but I have to admit that the 1000-watt smile did get on my nerves. It would have been fine in an opera house, but it was too much for the relatively small Eisenhower. Like Alexandra, I too was extremely impressed by the company in Pillar of Fire, but especially by Brianne Bland, who completely stole the show as the pretty, spoiled, manipulative little sister. I'd forgotten how wonderful she was in "Our Town" several years back, but her performance here reminded me what a gifted dramatic dancer she can be. After two performances on Saturday, I think the dancers must have been really exhausted by the time they got to Esplanade. They looked just a tad worn out running around the stage and while the Taylor choreography looked like aerobic fun, it didn't come across as a Great Work. Overall, I was thrilled with an evening of real ballet and at how well the dancers performed. I hope (fingers crossed) they'll have more programs like this one. [This message has been edited by The Bard's Ballerina (edited April 02, 2001).]
  20. I like Juliet's choices, but as a Southerner for half my life (and former Atlantan), I feel obliged to contribute for myself (even though my mandatory adolescent-Southern-girl GWTW phase ended a good 20 years ago). SCARLETT: I think Viviana Durante's a good choice, alternating with Sylvie Guillem. RHETT: Edward Villella, about 30 years ago, of course. ASHLEY: I'd go with Charles Askegaard. Blonde, beautiful, and way too good for Scarlett. MELANIE: Julie Kent, hands down. The role she was born to play. MAMMY AND PRISSY: I think these would both have to be "en travestie" roles, so I'd go with Mark Morris for Mammy as well (great casting there, Juliet). I can't come up with a good Prissy, though. Actually, I bet Donald Williams (DTH) would have a blast with the part. RUNNING TIME: I thought the original four hours of the movie was a bit much, so I think we'll need to keep it to three max, or our weeknight audiences are gonna be deserting in droves at the intermission (because they have to get up early, not because they hate the ballet!). MUSIC: I have no idea. Maybe Beethoven. Yes, definitely Beethoven. [This message has been edited by The Bard's Ballerina (edited October 08, 2000).]
  21. I'm with pdance. I just don't see how Atlanta Ballet can pull this one off. They do well enough with the Michael Pink evening-length ballets ("Hunchback of Notre Dame," which I did see, and "Dracula," which I didn't). Pink refers to these ballets as "dance dramas," if that's helpful to anyone, and whatever their flaws, they suit Atlanta Ballet well -- set for a smallish stage and company, minimal virtuoso choreography (the "dance" part), strong reliance on mood in the lighting, costumes, and "acting" (the "drama" part), and they're relatively inexpensive to stage without selling production values too short. I haven't seen anything choreographed by McFall so I can't comment on his abilities at all. I don't see how AB CAN'T be setting itself up for a fall with something like GWTW, where the expectations are bound to be impossibly high. On the other hand, AB's productions generally get very favorable local press (from the reviews, you would have thought Pink's "Dracula" was the next "Swan Lake") and the ballet gets a lot of corporate support. Oh, well, I guess we shall see. I'm not buying my plane ticket for that 2003 premiere just yet.
  22. Ken, I think it's so funny that you liked the music to Bugaku! I absolutely HATED it. I came up with the terms "dying cats" and "dying cows", respectively, to describe the music for the women and the men. But, to each his own, as we see from the opinions of program #4.
  23. On Sunday's matinee: I did think this was, overall, the weakest program of the four. SYMPHONY IN THREE MOVEMENTS -- I thought the corps looked much better than they had in Symphony in C, as did Julie Diana. Still, I didn't think she really grasped the wit in the PDD with Pierr-Francois Vilanoba (whom I thought very, very good); she was just doing movements without thinking about what they meant. Among the other Sunday principals, I liked Julia Adam's flair for movement the best. One quibble -- some of the dancers had seamed tights, while others didn't; this seems like a minor point, but it does distract from uniformity where I think uniformity is required. PRODIGAL SON -- Definitely the high point of the program. I thought Yuan Yuan Tan was magnetic and handled that obstacle course of cape choreography very well. Gonzalo Garcia was fabulous as the son, with his rebellious teen rock star looks and an utterly believable expression of naive fascination at the attentions of the wily Siren. WESTERN SYMPHONY -- I'm not sure WHY this ballet was chosen to end two wonderful weeks of Balanchine. For the first five minutes, all I could think about was how much I hate cowboy boots, hats, and western attire in general (this, despite having lived 4 years in Oklahoma). After that, however, I picked up on the fact that Balanchine was poking fun at all that's deemed holy in classical ballet, from the costumes to the emotions to the standard steps in the grand PDD, and then I started to relax and enjoy the piece, but still. . . . On the whole, I would have to say that last weekend's program (Div. #15, Agon, Tarantella, and 4Ts) was my favorite, although one of the women in my ballet class complained about having to see both Agon and 4Ts in the same night -- a dream come true for me!
  24. Thursday night impressions: SERENADE -- My second time seeing this ballet (first was the Washington Ballet a few years back). I thought it was beautifully danced, although not quite sublime. Serenade and Leaves are Fading are two ballets that (to me anyway) need to achieve an otherworldly, mystical quality for the dancing to be able to match the music. I liked that the costumes were ice blue rather than a pastel light blue -- more pure. BUGAKU -- If I went the rest of my life without seeing Bugaku again, I wouldn't feel deprived. I didn't hate it, but it didn't move me. I thought Lucia Lacarra and Stephen Legate were very good. I thought of their portrayals as sort of like the wedding of Gamzatti and Solor if there hadn't been a Nikiya in the way -- not true love, but an advantageous and successful match on both sides. SYMPHONY IN C -- I couldn't help but wish that Suzanne Farrell had gotten ahold of this corps. They weren't BAD, but they were just doing steps. Among the principals, Yuan Yuan Tan was absolutely exquisite in the second variation, and I also liked Tina LeBlanc's clean, energetic technique in the third. The quick footwork seemed a bit much for Julie Diana, who replaced Katita Waldo last night.
  25. Just a comment on your "off-subscription week" musing. No, both weeks are part of the subscription. Then nothing until April. (ABT's Nutcracker and Alvin Ailey are optional selections for subscribers.)
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