Well, I am just a "ballet mom" and thus my opinion is more of a casual ballet goer than a balletomane. My daughter is at the National Ballet School and while visiting her, the two of us attended the Ogden/Guillome performance, thanks to a ballet alert friend who had tickets she could not use. (Thanks to her and to ballet alert for introducing us!) So here's my "uneducated" opinion:
I had seen Heather Ogden once before - I think it was in La Bayadere - I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that it was her we were going to see dance Odile/Odette. In Bayadere, her technique was flawless but the feeling of the dance was truly lacking. Her facial expression was deadpan. But since she is obviously a rising star, my daughter and I were intrigued by what she would do with this role - knowing that she would be coached carefully.
So, overall, we thought she was very good - still perhaps lacking the depth of feeling/expressiveness that would add more dimension to the role- but pleasing to watch nonetheless. She obviously has incredible technical abilities.
Guillaume is a delight to watch - wonderful ballon (sp?) and a great stage presence.
In contrast to previous posters, I loved act I - watching the core of guys dance together was wonderful - they are really talented and totally enjoyable to watch. I found myself smiling almost the entire time - chills running down my spine at their joie de vivre. Stephanie Hutchinson was also fabulous as the wench - I loved her dancing and want to see her again as soon as possible. The only part of that scene I disliked was the implied "gang bang" at the end. Sitting next to my 13 year old daughter, it made me feel uncomfortable and I think it was unneccessary.
Act !! was beautiful and Ogden danced beautifully. My daughter felt, however, that she really got into the black swan more.
In Act III I agree with what was said previously about the princesses headdresses - I found them distracting - they did not seem to fit.
Overall, t.he whole Kudelka - everyone dies- thing was pretty depressing and also unneccessary to my point of view. As was said before - what was the message there?
Overall, I loved sets and costumes - since this was only the second time seeing NBOC, I was impressed with the entire company. I am glad we went - it was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with my daughter - sharing her passion.
One more note: Daughter went with school last night to see mixed bill. The dance she could not stop talking about was Elite Syncopations with Jennifer Founier. My 13 yr old daughter said "she was amazing" and that she was totally inspired!
What a wonderful thing - inspiration! :-)
Well, there are some thoughts of a ballet neophyte. Perhaps it is good to hear from the plebians at times :-)