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  1. I attended last night; one of the prettiest ballets I've ever seen. I really, really enjoyed the historic, stylistic choreography and emphasis on the placement of the arms and feet. Everyone did very well! In addition to the chaine turns on demi-pointe, many pirouettes were in coupé rather than passé. I liked the soft arms in arabesque as well. Gillian did an absolutely stunning backbend in an unsupported balance during the wedding PDD. I was a little concerned going in, because the costumes and sets looked a little garish in photos, but from the audience, I thought they read pretty well. (I was in the GT.) Headpieces were a little over the top, but didn’t bother me. (Can’t speak for the dancers! ) Corps were very well-rehearsed except for the a few bobbles in the Lilac prologue corps. Vision scene ladies were exquisite. I think it’s a winning production for ABT and displays the company well. It’s unique and on a scale, both in technique and production, that a company of ABT’s size and prestige should be doing.
  2. Agree that Roman was terrific as Hilarion. There was something he did when he interrupted Giselle and Albrecht at the start of the climactic scene before he brought out the sword where he gave a little nod at Albrecht as if saying, "Oh yes, I know you for who you are. Be afraid," which I really liked. @Amour, I guess I like being able to see the beats of the batterie? But I don't disagree with others that McRae is on the small side and is a bit understated compared to Osipova.
  3. Yes. Hope she will be all right. She seems to have gotten some very good coaching at the Royal, too; her port-de-bras have become more beautiful and I could see the Royal's classicism there. Steven McRae was very good--fantastic entrechats size and petit batterie throughout, although he definitely chose more show-offy variations then the ABT men usually do. Some of his acting didn't read as well, but a great performance overall.
  4. The Seo/Sterns/Murphy Giselle opening cast last night was terrific. Everyone was very engaged dramatically--I could feel tension in the Myrtha/Albrecht mime scenes. Cory has been doing a superb job so far this season, and I feel like I've also been under-appreciating him as a partner. He's really strong and solid (overhead presses: no problem.) Hee looked great, especially in the petite allegro. Patrick Ogle was also a great Hilarion; he played him as more of a brutish peasant (kind of like a Stanley Kowalski), which was a nice contrast to Cory's princely and slightly cold demeanor.
  5. I saw last night's cast with Alexandre Hammoudi, Gillian Murphy, Cory Stearns, Veronika Part, and Blaine Hoven. Gillian is looking better than ever. (Her expressiveness just grows every season.) I haven't been much of a fan of Hammoudi or Hoven, but they both won me over with this performance and were looking great. This is the first time I've watched Hammoudi where I totally bought his acting (and was convinced of his principal-potential), and it made me want to see more. Cory does a great job in the Iago-type roles. Veronika was a little cold to me, but I'm pretty sure that's on me, not her. The corps was looking absolutely fantastic, and Luciana Paris really stole the show as Bianca. The Venetian quintet also looked great. The girls especially were very sharp.
  6. I'm quite excited to see the Ratmansky SB, despite all the changes to the casting. I have tix for the Saturday night, and am thrilled that Joseph Gorak will be dancing. Reading the boards, I guess I'm a lone fan of Hee Seo's? I wish she would take better care of herself, but I find her dancing and acting very moving. She does lyrical and fragile very well, which suits roles like Giselle and Juliet. (Maybe not an act, then? ) Her feet are gorgeous.
  7. Just saw the news and I'm a little shocked. Jeffrey Gribler is very loved at PA Ballet and will be missed. If Angel is cleaning house, then I suppose doing it all in one fell swoop is better. I did think his comments were a little odd; he seemed to be justifying his hires based on personal connections.
  8. Looks like Angel is cleaning house. I thought his quotes were a little weird; his reasoning for his hires seem much more about personal connections and being "comfortable" rather than experience. Jeffrey Gribler was very loved at PA Ballet; he'll be missed. http://articles.philly.com/2014-08-28/news/53329546_1_ballet-master-ballet-mistress-tamara-hadley Edit: oops, realized there's an open topic in News
  9. Faux Pas, I really enjoyed your analysis! Thank you for writing it all up.
  10. I went to Yuriko's last performance as well, and it made me so sad! She was absolutely radiant, and really demonstrated her technical mastery. Lots of great acting moments as well. So sorry to see her go. I was glad to see that she had so many well-wishers in the audience and had a nice send-off. Joseph Gorak looked great, too. Got a couple of laughs on his comedic bits, which spoke for his acting ability. He was very chivalrous towards Yuriko, urging her to take solo bows when she wanted to pull him with her to take bows. All in all a lovely performance; sad we won't get to see it again.
  11. I was at the performance last night, and really enjoyed myself. The Dream is always such a treat, and like everyone else, I thought Herman was superb. He tossed off several 10 turn pirouettes like they were nothing, and his jumps remain incredibly high and clear. The whole cast was very light and charming. I thought Tempest was significantly better than in the fall; everyone seems to have settled into the music and choreography, and the dancing and drama was much clearer. I do think it's a valid complaint if people have a hard time following the plot just watching the choreography, but I know The Tempest fairly well and was able to follow along (and give kudos to Ratmansky for the plot distillation that he did; it's not an easy one!)
  12. Late to the board, but I went to the Boylston/Simkin Swan Lake on Thursday. It was generally well-done. I thought Simkin has matured A LOT in terms of his lyricism and he knows how to finish a movement now. His partnering has also gotten better, although still needs work; there were a couple of precarious lifts, including the overhead diagonal lift during the White pdd where Isabella went over his head and almost slid down his back. He also bobbled a supported turn in the Black pdd. I can see why ABT has been trying to pair the two, though. Isabella is so strong that she practically partners herself and can probably work with a weaker partner. She did well; definitely strongest in the technical parts, but had some nice, soft port-de-bras for the adagios. I think her acting can be projected a little more. Very high swan dives at the end from both of them. The PdT was Kajiya/Gorak/Lane. Very, very lovely. Joseph Gorak really showed that he is soloist (principal!) material--long lines, gorgeous lyricism, perfect technique, and terrific musicality. Both Kajiya and Lane gave clean, bright solos. James Whiteside was purple Rothbart; it was a good part for him. Corps got a little sloppy in the second act, which was surprising, considering that most of the ladies could probably dance SL in their sleep. It wasn't a terribly moving performance for me overall, but mostly well-executed. It was my first time seeing any of these dancers in their roles (except Kajiya/Lane), so it was a interesting evening for me. (I may have focused too much on the steps because of it and spent too much time comparing/contrasting, hence the emotional disconnect.)
  13. Delighted to hear about the promotions, especially Roman Zhurbin. I know BA often considers Marcelo Gomes ABT's MVP for his amazing partnering and versatility, but it would be a huge, huge blow to the company if it didn't have Roman for his superb character, dramatic, and comedic talents. (And also excellent partnering!) Cobweb, Brandt, Royal, and Shayer have all been getting tons of chances this year in demi and full-on soloist roles (especially Brandt!) They've been doing a fine job, but I'd consider them a little young to get promoted. They're definitely getting looked at, though.
  14. It's an interesting conflict of interest. Can one make innovative artistic decisions for one's company if one is benefitting financially from the (perhaps mediocre) status quo? Okay, but every ballet company has AD-created pieces, so it's not fair to point at McKenzie in particular on this. (And if you look at AD salaries, McKenzie makes a lot less total than many other ADs, including Martins, Tomassan, and Nissinen.) I'm not sure if one gets royalties on what are essentially public domain works.
  15. Batsuchan, I agree! I think the issue is also that David's entrechat sixes are stunning, one of the best in the world, while his brises were accomplished, but by no means any kind of best.
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