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Everything posted by ABT Fan

  1. OMG! Please someone report on this. Yeah, Copeland’s fans will not be happy.
  2. You're right - he did have some 21st century mannerisms. Still, I found his performance much improved. I guess that's saying something from what I saw of him years ago in this role.
  3. Yeah, it's too bad that Royal had such a hard time with it. I was sitting far on the right side, so he was partially cut off from my view (note to self, never sit so far on the side again for SL!). Just speaking from a dancer's experience, the arabesque balance is more difficult than it looks. It is supposed to be done slowly obviously, so to start from two feet, then have to shift your weight while raising your arabesque all while not letting your upper body and/or lower body lean back or sideways towards the standing leg, which your body is going to want to do to compensate, or coming off of your demi pointe. And, of course, maintaining your arm positions, etc. To do this slowly (and do it well) takes a lot of control and it's not a common step for male dancers, so they don't get much practice doing this in other ballets (not in ABT anyway). To say you need a very strong core (back, obliques, etc) to do this well is an understatement. Yes, unfortunately, you've just been unlucky with your tickets because he has been cast a lot: Pierrot in Harlequinade (which I didn't like), the lead in Songs of Bukovina (he was fabulous), The Seasons, Prince Coffee, leads in all of the Tharp Trio pieces, Lescaut, and some other supporting roles. I'd also like to see him as Siegfried, though I think some of the choreography (esp in Act III) might give him trouble. >>>>Is anyone attending this afternoon's matinee? I really want to hear about Bell's debut.
  4. Personally, I’m dying for Brandt to get a Kitri. It’s an obvious choice, but I think she’ll blow the roof off the theater. Hmm...and how about with Mack?
  5. Shevchenko was the ultimate O/O tonight. What a queen! I expected greatness from her and boy did she deliver. Such expressiveness and nuanced acting. Beautiful swan arms, great extensions, secure and fast pirouettes. My one quibble was that I didn’t care for her fouetté variations: at first singles alternating with a la seconds, then eventually all singles. The a la seconds looked odd and she struggled a bit maintaining speed and form. Otherwise, she’s a rare one in that both her Odette and Odile were equally fleshed out and developed. Hard to believe that this is only her second time performing the role. She should have been given two performances. Whiteside was the big surprise of the evening. He has really grown in this role and perhaps he’s been taking acting classes because he was boring no more. Really defined character and he showed wonderful sensitivity. He had a few technical bobbles but overall his dancing was excellent. He and Shevchenko were a great match (a couple of partnering issues but nothing major). He spun her in the supported pirouettes with tremendous speed and control. Royal replaced Hammoudi as Purple Rothbart, and he too has greatly improved since I saw him at his debut (2 years ago?). He slithered across the stage like a snake and had some real OMG moments. I still need a little something more from him though. But, well done! As already mentioned, we had the A team of Brandt, Trenary and Gorak for the pas de trois. Gorgeousness from all three. K Williams replaced Fang as one of the big swans and she was expansive, lush, and technically beautiful. The swan corps was in excellent shape, and the 4 little swans did very well with McBride being the most efficient. Coker stood out again in the corps. And, in Act I Klein kept catching my eye amongst the peasant men. I’d love to see him as Benno. A very impressive evening!
  6. You read my mind! And, we do have the A team for the pas de trois. I saw on Fang’s Instagram that she’s injured so she won’t be doing Big Swans. McBride wrote on her Instagram today that she’s debuting the pas de trois tomorrow night with Ribagorda (good to see them both getting opportunities). Ok, bring on the swans! 🦢
  7. An article in the Times on Bolle and his retirement. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/25/arts/roberto-bolle-american-ballet-theater.html
  8. Thanks for your thorough report, nanushka. I always look forward to seeing Graniero return to the Met from Washington every year, but I swear every time I see SL she's cast in the cygnettes, and every time she's the one who gets behind the music during the pas de chats. I wonder if she'll be cast again tonight. I'm also very much looking forward to seeing Shevchenko tonight. And, I'm curious to see if Whiteside has grown in this role since I last saw him in it several years ago with Part. He seems to be having a very good season, too. I'm less enthusiastic about seeing Hammoudi (I wish it were Forster), but maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.
  9. I don’t know that I can add much more to what others have said about Lane/Cornejo. When the final curtain came down, I was in shock and emotionally drained. They gave career-defining performances last night. They both had to wait a long time for such an opportunity and for Cornejo it came almost too late. His technique isn’t what it once was and he’s frequently dealing with injury, but he is a beautiful artist and a sensitive partner who gives 100% to every performance. In Act I, scene II, when Manon slides onto the bed and seduces Monsieur GM, my only thought was “whoa!”. That was not Lane. That was Manon. When Manon enters the party on Monsieur’s arm in Act II, scene I, the glance she gave Des Grieux was exactly right: haughty, guilty, ashamed, in denial, all at once. While she was being passed around amongst all of the men, you could hear a pin drop. That scene was done to perfection. The chemistry between Lane/Cornejo is unmatched in the company and in its own right is so rare and special. They are steamy, romantic, believable. Can we please see another Giselle with these two? Lane and Simkin are wonderful; it’s a young love but not quite as passionate. I really wish we were seeing a SL next week with them. Hoven as Lescaut was incredible. He really is in fine form. His dancing was excellent and he was a strong and perfect Lescaut to Lane’s Manon. Trenary was very, very good and had some charming moments, but she wasn’t seductive or sassy enough for the Mistress. I have to mention the ballet master Keith Roberts as Monsieur GM. He was wonderfully disgusting and every interaction he had with Manon made me think “ick!”. He has always been a great actor. Zhurbin was an evil and menacing Jailer. I hope we’ll get to see another Lane/Cornejo Manon again and before too long. Imagine the performance they’ll turn in once it’s really in their bones.
  10. ABT Fan

    James Whiteside

    Whiteside danced in Thom Browne’s Paris runway show today. He flew in yesterday and I’m guessing will return to NYC by tomorrow. He was the only dancer in the show and danced en pointe. You can see some stills on his Instagram here. If you go to Browne’s Instagram and watch the live video in the stories, you can see him dance and watch the fashion show if you’re into that. Whiteside dances at the very beginning and end of the video.
  11. Unless injury forces him sooner, I think he'll hold out for a few more years. He's 37 and in two years it will be his 20th anniversary. I imagine he'd like to make it to that celebration. It is a shame that a principal dances for so few performances, but he's a star and a box office draw, so I'm sure management would very much like to keep him for as long as possible. If he wasn't dancing this season, or had already retired, I kinda doubt that all three of his performances would have gone to another company dancer - and, who? If the AD wanted Forster as Siegfried, he'd be dancing it this year instead of a corps dancer. I think it's likely that they may have brought in another guest artist, at least for Manon. I do agree that his danseur noble affectations are, in my own words, too pronounced now. I didn't see his Des Grieux, but his Romeo last year was way too mannered and self-consciously performed. He knows he looks like a prince and looks good in a cape (he really does, but....*insert eye-roll*). Anyway....super excited for the Lane/Cornejo cast tonight!
  12. Yes, very good article. I suspect, however, that she'll be doing O/O sooner than she thinks. She's gonna be big.
  13. I am quite torn. I really want to see Bell's debut (I think he's going to be amazing) but last year Teuscher bored me to tears. It didn't help that she was paired with Stearns, but besides her non-existent character development and bland acting, I was shocked at how stiff she was so many of the iconic O/O poses were lost. I'm having a hard time convincing myself to cough up the money when I really, really don't want to see one of the leads. I may have to be satisfied with reading everyone's reviews afterwards.
  14. I will also be there! I agree she should have been given two, but the others are clearly more favored (esp Teuscher). I expect her to blow us all away.
  15. An article in the Washington Post about Mack’s guest appearances and how that all came about. It also mentions that he’s guesting with ENB in the fall. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/the-washington-ballet-let-brooklyn-mack-go-the-popular-dancer-landed-at-the-metropolitan-opera-house/2019/06/18/3b2364f8-8ee8-11e9-b162-8f6f41ec3c04_story.html?utm_term=.309c96dfab6c
  16. And, pray he has an uneventful week so I can see this on Friday! To those who go tonight, please post after.
  17. They do not list who is replacing who like at NYCB. Their calendar remains up on their website so you can always go back and see who performed what, but I don’t know for how far back it remains. I did check last year’s Met season recently and the casting was still there.
  18. True. I forgot about Hammoudi. He’d be the easier choice.
  19. His SL is a week and half away, so he could recover, depending on what his injury is of course. I think they'd want to be certain on who would replace him, and I also think they'd want to make sure no other injuries occur before deciding on that. Supposedly, Cornejo has recovered himself and will dance Manon this week. But, what if, god forbid, he re-injures himself again and has to be replaced in SL as well. Would Hallberg be willing/able to pick up a second SL? Would Stearns, Whiteside or Bell have to do 3 shows? Or, if those 3 guys are completely exhausted by then cause it's nearly the end of their 8 week season, would Forster get a crash course in Siegfried? They'd have a lot to decide, so since two principals were/are injured, I'd say it's better to wait a little bit, as frustrating as that is.
  20. Disappointing but not unexpected. It will be good to see Hoven though, who is having a great season. So I will not get to see Simkin once this season. What a bummer.
  21. Last night was a great night, though I still missed Simkin, ending the day-long ballet gluttony on a good note. Shevchenko was elegant, regal, commanding and technically secure. Though, Brandt did out-do her at the matinee on a few of her pirouettes, especially the a la seconds. Shevchenko definitely brings some Russian glamour and her mime is always very clear. I’d be a fool to miss her Swan Lake. Mack.....wow! He tore up that stage and the crowd loved him. As noted above, no he’s not “refined “ and doesn’t have beautiful feet but his jumps are explosive with great ballon and his technique in general is excellent. He is also an incredibly strong and sensitive partner. But, perhaps most of all, he commands not just the stage but the entire theater. What a presence! And, he has a megawatt smile that could light up the furthest row. I’d be thrilled if he joined full time (with Forster still getting a bump up, please). However, I don’t think he and Shevchenko had any chemistry. Just not a good fit. I think he’d be better with maybe Boylston or Trenary. He is not tall, so he’d need to stick with the shorter ladies. Trenary was excellent as Gulnare, though she still needs more projection and command. Watch Shevchenko! Technically she is absolutely lovely, as always, and did a very good job conveying the sad, destitute slave girl at the beginning. Bell - what more can I say about him except promote him right now! Some of his acting nuances weren’t as clear as Hoven’s in the matinee, but he’s learning and the progress is visible. Dancing wise, he did the deep plies coming out of the jumps, gorgeous split leaps, fast pirouettes, and partnered Trenary very well. He held his own. It’s hard to believe this is a 20 year old with barely 3 years in the corps. Ahn was better than in the afternoon (perhaps he was saving himself), but he still had a few bobbles. Same high gorgeous split leaps. A lot of people in the audience don’t keep up with casting developments because there was a loud groan when the announcer said Simkin was out injured. K Williams was the best of the Odalisques (and comparing to the matinee as well) - quite excellent actually. I agree with NinaFan that Shayer did a great job as Birbanto and his technique was clearer and more exciting than Scott’s. I’d say he still needs more maturity, but I do see an improvement. Perhaps playing a tough guy helped? Also, he and Mack had a very natural camaraderie. Finally, there was a major prop snafu at the end with the ship wreck. It looked like the ship pitched too far to the side towards downstage because it caught on the ocean scrim and tore two massive holes, so big that you could see the entire top of the ship through it. It must have also damaged the rock scenery because Shevchenko and Mack had to improvise and instead walked out in front of the damaged scrim to embrace as the curtain came down. Good thing it was the final performance.
  22. Brandt was incredible this afternoon. I was very impressed! Her technique was nearly flawless and she’s mostly lost the open-mouthed affectation (it appeared slightly only a few times). She now presents herself as a ballerina, not just a promising soloist. To my amazement, Whiteside was terrific. I’ve always considered him a very good dancer, just boring, but today he displayed incredibly high jumps and overall exceptional dancing. He is also a very, very good partner, better than I’ve noticed before. He had Brandt spinning lightening fast in her supported pirouettes and every lift looked easy (and you know they had less than two weeks to rehearse together). He also had character, which I usually don’t see from him. They also had a chemistry which I didn’t anticipate. Lane was gorgeous as always. Those port de bras...swoon! As someone else noted earlier, she accurately portrayed the sad, suffering slave girl that most others do not. Too bad Gulnare doesn’t dance as much as Medora. I very much liked Hoven as Lankendem. He was spicy though a few times his stamina ran low at the end of his solos. He and Lane were very good together. Was he Malakov? Of course not, but who is? Ahn was very good as Ali but he did have some difficulties, falling out of a few turns. However, some of his split jumps were incredibly high and just hung in the air. A stronger presence is needed. He’s doing double the amount this week covering for Simkin so I can easily forgive the errors. I hope he’s eating some Wheaties and drinking some Red Bull in preparation for doing it all over again in a few hours. Scott was fine as Birbanto, but I missed Craig Salstein in the role who always brought so much personality and unique touches to the role. The 3 Odalisques - Fang, Hamrick, Giangeruso - were mostly forgettable. Giangeruso’s stiff upper back and shoulders have not improved, nor have Fang’s sloppy feet. She frequently unpoints her feet coming out of a step way too soon, giving a dead fish look. Her promotion still baffles me. Lastly, although the role of the pasha is offensive, Zhurbin’s acting is always so spot on and creative that I just focused on that. A few times I was even stealing a glance at him instead of the principals to see what he was up to. Onto tonight!
  23. Cornejo and Simkin are still listed for their assignments starting Tuesday so hoping that means they’ve both recovered.
  24. So I guess no one saw the Teuscher/Williams cast? I was curious to hear about Williams particularly since this was her first big debut.
  25. I agree with this. Once Bell is promoted I don’t expect him to remain a soloist for long, as long as he continues to meet every challenge and debut thrown at him which I’d expect. It say two years tops before he’s made a principal. I’d also add that what I’ve seen of Bell so far this season (I will get to see his Lankendem tomorrow) he has shown great advancement in maturity and command since last year and is a natural and confident partner. He never looks out of his element or like he’s in over his head. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Shayer. And, I’m not just talking about this season. He has been dancing soloist and principal roles for a few years now and to me he still carries himself like a kid. He has not developed beyond doing tricks, and though I thought he was robbed last year in not being promoted, in retrospect I think that was a wise decision. I also agree that Ahn is on track to be promoted soon as well. As for the women, I think it’s complicated. I don’t think there’s room at the top right now. How would Brandt and Trenary feel (and her fans) to be promoted but then NOT be given a Kitri, Giselle, O/O, etc. I don’t see how their current repertoire could be increased with the number of current female principals, especially once Murphy returns. They may be dancing a number of principal roles now but they are still carrying a soloist load as well. How many of us complained when Lane and Cirio were still doing peasant pas de trois as principals? (Though they were being underutilized for different reasons.) Would we want to see the same happen to Brandt and Trenary? Also, there aren’t enough leading men to partner the current roster let alone more. I may feel differently tomorrow after I’ve see them both in leading roles, as so far this season I’ve only seen them in secondary or soloist parts, but I think they need another year at least before they’re promoted. Brandt needs to develop her artistic side (as with Shayer, it’s can’t be all about the tricks) and drop her self-conscious demeanor. Trenary needs more self confidence and both of them, esp Trenary, must learn to command the stage. However, I would hate for them to sit in soloist purgatory for several more years waiting for Murphy and Abrera to retire. Those ladies may be 40+ but as others have mentioned they could stick around for another 4 or 5 years.
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