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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Balletgoer, fan & parent of a dancer
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  1. Arantxa is not leaving until after the intensive - that was made clear in the letter we received from Mr. Gray. And yes, Angel teaches and runs the Company Experience. I have to say, as the parent of a student at the school this is a heavy heavy blow. Arantxa is the heart and soul of the school, and her students love her like a second mother. Classes ended last week, and for the students (like my daughter) who are going elsewhere for summer intensives they will not get a chance to say goodbye. They are broken-hearted. I have no idea what things will look like going forward.
  2. Enjoy Lauren - we will miss her terribly here in Philadelphia! I am so glad she found such a great position. And my daughter is an advanced student at the School of PA Ballet - the Miami Ballet School should snap up Francis immediately! He is one of the most gifted ballet teachers I have ever observed, and it is a huge loss to the school and PA Ballet II that he is leaving.
  3. This evening I just had the privilege of watching him lead a class with the advanced dancers at the School of PA Ballet (including my daughter ) and I was very very impressed with how he worked with these young dancers, some of whom are only 13 or 14. He emphasized that they needed the technical chops, but what he was directly working on was epaulement, artistry and communication. Keep an eye on this company - he will be shaping it for years to come!
  4. I would recommend it, and would be very interested in your thoughts if you do go!
  5. He is an AMAZING teacher. My daughter got the chance to work with him at the School of PA Ballet's SI last summer, and I was incredibly impressed with the class I observed. I am glad that he is staying on in that capacity because he is a truly gifted teacher. Back on topic, I saw Saturday night's performance with Kathryn Manger and Peter Weil (both apprentices) as Kitri and Basilio. I haven't seen nearly as many performances of Don Q as the rest of you, so I don't feel qualified to comment in detail on the choreography, but I did see ABT's version a few years ago and go to the ballet frequently. Bottom line - they were both terrific! They were technically solid, their energy was amazing and they were completely charming. Every time they were on stage the energy of whole show was brought up. His jumps were huge, and her fouettes were strong and brought the house down! If this is the future of PA Ballet, the direction of the company is extremely exciting! The show in general was good, but James Ihde was extremely disappointing as Espada. He was just so stiff! He did not seem to have the least bit of fun with it. I wish I could go back again next weekend, but I don't think that is in the cards. I'm glad to see my local company (and by extension, my daughter's ballet school ) get such good press!
  6. We are pretty close to this situation, since my daughter is a student at the School of PA Ballet. From our point of view we were very surprised by the scope of the changes, but we feel very very secure with Arantxa at the helm of the school. Mr. DeGregory will be missed (he was a lovely person and an excellent teacher), but I have complete confidence in Arantxa. I will be very interested to see who takes over PA Ballet II. I was also very excited by the changes to the October program and will be eager to see it! I am curious about what the reaction will be from longtime donors and the city of Philadelphia. We tend to be very conservative about change and reward loyalty - but the cost can be a kind of complacency and lack of excitement. I know that all of the dismissed dancers were extremely well-loved and that the dance community will be reeling for a while. I truly hope that they were given excellent severance terms, and I personally would like to see some sort of acknowledgement of their service to the company. But I am quite excited to see some shake-up and hope everything goes well.
  7. Casting has been posted: http://www.paballet.org/sites/default/files/documents/Jewels%20Casting.pdf
  8. I saw her in this role as well and was very impressed! I'd actually love to see her get promoted. I do like seeing PA Ballet get talked about a bit here. Most of my experience with seeing ballets has been with this company, and I am always interested in other opinions about them.
  9. Thanks Helene! I was not aware, and will certainly adhere to the rules! That being said, since I am close to the source I will keep my eye peeled for any public information that I can let you know.
  10. I don't think that PA Ballet generally publishes their casting decisions in advance. In fact, I'm pretty certain that this show has not even been officially cast yet (although I'm sure Roy Kaiser has thought about it!). My daughter is a student at their school and I may be able to get that information in advance - but probably not much before mid-late September. My current favorite principals/soloists are Julie Diana, Lauren Fadeley and Gabriella Yudenich. However, I am not familiar enough with the styles of specific dancers to be able to figure out if those dancers would be a good fit for your preferences! Perhaps another reader here can help you further. I am really looking forward to this show, as well as seeing them do Serenade and Petite Mort in February.
  11. Thank you for mentioning this! It was lovely performance from all three of them. Simkin was very impressive!
  12. It was a stunning performance, and an absolutely magical experience from start to finish! I was particularly thrilled to share it with my 15-year old daughter, who is a serious ballet dancer studying at a company school. She said it was the best dancing she had ever seen, and was literally glowing after the show. We scooted out since we had to drive back to Philadelphia, but she would have stayed for another dozen curtain calls!
  13. I saw this performance, but have been reluctant to post my thoughts here because this was my first time seeing Don Quixote, and my first time seeing ABT. However, I am happy to share my thoughts, for whatever they are worth! We really, really enjoyed the performance. While I am by no means a ballet expert, I have a daughter who dances seriously, and I have seen many ballets here in Philadelphia, and I can pick out obvious issues. There were no glaring issues with any of the principals - in addition to Paloma Herrera & Cory Stearns as Kitri/Basilio, Stella Abrera danced Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads and did an excellent job, I thought Sascha Radetsky did a great job as Espada, and Nicole Graniero was a truly charming Amour. Paloma Herrera & Cory Stearns were solid and impressive. Again, I don't have anything to compare it to, but we were not disappointed. Based on the comments I have read about other performances, I think that they may have been missing the "fire" and intensity that other performers have, but if this is Herrera in decline, she must have been truly amazing a few years ago! Her turns and leaps were solid and sure, and she seemed to be having a really great time. There were a few minor bobbles with the partnering (there was a fish dive that while not a disaster, seemed a bit off-kilter), but on the whole their chemistry was good, and they seemed very comfortable with each other. No fireworks, but solid, excellent and engaging performances from both of them. The Flower Girls (Devon Teuscher and Melanie Hamrick) were the only major disappointment. There was nothing technically wrong with their performance, but it was boring! This was our first time seeing ABT, and what impressed me most overall was the depth of talent in the company (particularly with the men, which is a bit lacking at PA Ballet), and the excellent acting. Theatrically it was terrific - they really know how to put on a great show, which I appreciate! I also really enjoyed Don Quixote as a ballet, but I am a big fan of comic ballets! One of my favorites is La Fille Mal Gardee, which I saw a few years ago here in Philadelphia, and would love to see again. I came up from Philadelphia to see this with my 15-year old daughter and her friend, who both study ballet at the (newly re-established) School of PA Ballet. They had a wonderful time, although I think that the stop at the Yumiko store before the ballet was almost as exciting to them as the show! My daughter and I will be back in June to see the Semionova/Hallberg Swan Lake, and I can't wait!
  14. What they really need to do is promote Stella Abrera to principal status. Also give her Queen of the Dryads. I saw her doing them in a company class and she nailed them all. Stella Abrera danced Queen of the Dryads in the Saturday 5/25 matinee I attended, and looked amazing! This was my first time seeing Don Quixote, so I have nothing to compare it to (and I'm no expert), but I could see no flaws in her performance.
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