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About MarzipanShepherdess

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  1. That’s wonderful news!! Well-deserved. She danced wonderfully this tour.
  2. Saw the matinee today with the divine Tereshkina! A few last minute changes: Yekaterina Chebykina performed act I as Christina but then Maria Shirinkina subbed in for the last two acts. Maria Illiushkina also subbed for May Nagahisa in the act III pavlova in king candaules variation. This was my first time seeing Paquita and I was nervous I’d be really disappointed I’d made the trip down to DC after reading people’s reactions here! Though it’s not my new favorite ballet, I really enjoyed it for what it was. Would I rather have seen La Bayadère? Yes. But opportunities to see the Mariinsky are rare for me sadly and I’m glad I came. Tereshkina brought fireworks, as expected, but I also really enjoyed two new-to-me corps dancers. First, Maria iliushkina who did the best of the act III variations after Tereshkina in the pavlova in king candaules one. She has a lovely, lyrical, floating quality and her balances were beautiful. I also really enjoyed lira khuslamova as the widow. It’s a small role, but she made a lot of it with her gorgeous poet de bras and the air of stately grief she brought to it. Though Paquita has a silly plot and no real emotional weight, I did appreciate all the substantial solos that gave me the opportunity to see soloists shine, particularly Shirinkina and Shakirova. Was just reading above that this was the first time the Mariinsky has toured here with kids and I’m glad they did—they were a highlight for me. I was so impressed by their refinement and coordination with one another, doing MUCH harder choreography than I’ve ever seen similarly aged kids from ABT or NYCB or the Royal Ballet do. They were really great. I wish I had the chance to see Tereshkina more often. She just sparkled. She always radiates this strength and absolute technical security. So, even though Paquita may not be a fabulous ballet in its own right, more than happy I got to see this performance.
  3. Had the pleasure of seeing Maria dance the “pavlova” solo from king candaules in Paquita act iii today! She subbed in for May Nagahisa. Maria definitely seems a star in the making. To me, she gave the strongest performance in that sequence of variations after Tereshkina. Lovely, lyrical, beautiful lines and balances. Will look forward to seeing more of her!
  4. Ugh, it absolutely does! Do we really need another ballet about a woman hundreds of years ago being abducted and rescued by her dashing hero? I appreciate that Ratmansky is passionate about ballet history and unearthing overlooked pieces of Petipa archive, but why pick such a musty, well-worn narrative when he's working on an entirely new ballet?
  5. Saw Saturday's Jewels matinee, what a great start to the season! I felt Abi was really miscast in Emeralds. She doesn't have the exceptional port de bras or lush quality to her dancing that Emeralds requires. I didn't enjoy watching her and Amar at all and couldn't wait for them to get off stage and make room for Unity and Ask, who were great. I also really enjoyed Georgina. And a shout out is due to India Bradley, who has much refined her dancing since the spring. In the 15 years I've been attending City Ballet performances I've never seen someone do Rubies better than Sterling. She just crackles with energy, managing to be both playful and utterly in control. She perfectly punctuates each step yet is so fleet and quick, and Veyette was a great foil to her. Lots of spark between them. I thought Emily Kikta gave a good performance; I haven't followed her closely and was surprised to see she's still in the corps. But to me she lacked some of the sharpness and definition that the strongest interpreters of the role have (I'm thinking of Teresa Reichlen, for example). At times she looked rushed and the steps didn't have the crispness of Sterling's. Diamonds was what I was most looking forward to seeing, and Maria and Jared did not disappoint. Maria's dancing has such a beautiful, crystalline quality: every step is so clear, so fully articulated. She seemed totally in command of time, as though she was the axis of her own world. Her performance really reminded me of how Farrell describes the diamonds ballerina as "the most powerful woman in the world". She was really regal, but there was also vulnerability in those slowly unfurling supported backbends. I've always felt Maria was regal in this role, but in this performance she felt not just queenly but actually powerful, and to have independence and authority rather than the romantic, Swan-Queen quality that some dancers bring to the role. It was just a gorgeous, totally entrancing performance where I was hanging on every little movement. It amazes me that this far into her career Maria is still uncovering new facets to some of her most-performed roles.
  6. Ogawa has shared on Instagram that she’s had three ankle surgeries, the most recent of which was in February. Seems that her ABT career, like Waski’s, has been negatively impacted by injury. I’m sad to see Paulina leave ABT too but I agree she didn’t seem to be on the same soloist promotion track after injury, as @LadyBubbles noted. Hopefully she will get more opportunities with Boston Ballet. It could be a great move for her.
  7. I agree. In addition, Stella is obviously favored by Ratmansky, more so than Veronika was. She seems like one of the most beloved dancers within the company while Veronika was candid about how ABT was not the easiest place for her socially: I think Veronika’s relative distance from the company in that way made it easier for management to treat her as badly as they did. We were denied so many years of seeing Stella as a principal, it would a travesty to force her out when she is obviously still capable of performing with such great artistry.
  8. Saw Lane and Cornejo tonight with a surprise Lilac Fairy sub from Stella! Stella just owns that role. Stunning execution of her tricky prologue solo and the most exquisite port de bras all throughout. Crystal clear mime that was by turns funny, tender, and regal. I want her as my good fairy! Cornejo also shone—obviously the Prince doesn’t have much to do in this version until his Act III solos but he was stunning when it counted, such perfect batterie and princely mien. Lane was excellent with Aurora’s intricate footwork and her turns. Beautiful elevation, particularly in her first Act I variation which was gorgeous. Good balances though not the most assured tonight at least. As strong as she is technically, I feel like she is still developing as an actress/artist, though. Her Aurora is pretty one-note: you don’t see the progression from young girl in Act I to regal bride in Act III that great interpreters of the role like Alina Cojacaru or Diana Vishneva showed. To my taste, Lane’s Act I Aurora lacks girlish high spirits: she seems too mature and serious already (though I recognize this could be a considered interpretation of the role that just doesn’t resonate with me). I found her facial expressions to be strained at times and there are moments she seems to miss in terms of dramatic/character impact: like interacting with the suitors, or delivering the roses to her parents. I would see her in this role again, though. Catherine Hurlin was an Act III standout as Florine and I hope we get to see her Aurora someday! She certainly seems to be developing the technical chops yet also is so strong dramatically. Isadora Loyola subbed as White Cat and was super-charming and perfectly slinky. Diamond Fairy substitute was very good as well but didn’t catch her name as it was announced just before the program. Don’t miss the fish dives in Act III. Aurora’s arms en courounne repeat the ballet’s solar motif in a satisfying way and to me make more sense in terms of the ballet’s symbolism than the angular, almost to the ground fish dives. I do find the reconstruction really interesting and rewarding to watch. I’m glad this isn’t the only version of SB we have, but I’m also glad we have this window into the Petipa style as it was in the 1890s. To me it’s a much more compelling look into the past than Harlequinade and I do find it really beautiful. I feel like the restraint of the choreography (by contemporary standards) helps me to notice the beauty of every step more, because it’s more subtle.
  9. I have a single orchestra prime ticket for Swan Lake tonight (with Shevchenko) that I won’t be able to use. Does anyone want the ticket? TBC, am not selling the ticket, happy to give it to anyone who wants to see what promises to be an exciting performance! Any takers, message me directly please. I will update this post if/when the ticket is claimed. EDIT: TICKET HAS BEEN CLAIMED.
  10. I found it to be a disappointing performance overall. For me, Stella and James outshone Hee and Roberto. Their act II “drunk” pas de deuxs were the absolute highlight of the night for me (caveat: I left after Act II). As @FauxPas noted, it was clear from Roberto’s first big act I solo that his technique has eroded significantly. There’s a bit in Act I where Des Grieux performs a diagonal series of leaps and he was barely getting off the ground at all. Looked really leaden and stiff throughout. I actually left after Act II because it just wasn’t how I wanted to remember Roberto’s dancing, and there wasn’t going to be any more dancing by James and Stella in Act III. I didn’t feel like Hee gave me a reason to stay. I thought this might be a good role for her (she can be lovely as Juliet, another MacMillan heroine) and maybe it will be in time, but she was super-wooden last night. It’s such a challenge to make Manon’s shift from convent innocent to passionate lover to courtesan and so on feel coherent and Hee’s interpretation of the role doesn’t yet get there. Rather than chart the shifts in the character, she was just one-note throughout. What I learned last night is Manon is a ballet that is pretty unbearably boring for me if the central couple isn’t compelling. All the interesting dancing is really for the lead couple, except for the Act II pas de deux between Lascaut and his mistress. I have really enjoyed the ballet with Vishneva/Gomes and Vishneva/Malakhov, though, and am glad I have those memories!
  11. What a night!! Fantastic ABT debut from Brooklyn Mack. He was a wonderful, swaggering Conrad who had great chemistry with Skylar. I was so impressed by his technique and stage presence. Great elevation (like he’d been shot out of a cannon in his last pas de trois jump), gorgeous leaps (two particularly impressive splits in the air in act III), quick turns, strong lifts and attentive partnering: he was the full package. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Daniil’s incredible Ali before but he really outdid himself this time. As @tutu noted, he did a type of manège in the pas de trois almost no one else can do. He was, literally, jaw-dropping. He really pushed the limits of technique to the utmost yet looked utterly confident and at ease the whole time. Very “what, like it’s hard?” I hope someone with better technical vocabulary than me can give a fuller description! The audience went absolutely crazy. That act II pas de trois was really just some of the most thrilling ballet I’ve seen in a long time. 3 great dancers firing on all cylinders. Has Skylar danced Medora at the Met before? She was wonderful: super-fast and secure pirouettes, lush port de bras, expressive mime. To return to the discussion about the changes to the ballet itself: while the Pasha is still bumbling and smarmy, the prayer caricature @fondoffouettes Referenced is gone—that was the only Act III change I noticed. I also recall now that in the old act I the enslaved women are ringed in by ropes in addition to being flogged: that’s all excised in the updated act I. I think they may have been roped together in Act II as well, but not in the new version. The statement itself doesn’t mention orientalism. This is the meat of it (there’s an intro bit about the artistic value of the ballet): ”as you prepare to experience ABT’s production of this classical ballet, we want to acknowledge the challenging subject matter depicted: slavery, piracy, and the subjugation of women. The original version of Le Corsaire premiered over 160years ago and is loosely based on Lord Byron’s 1814 epic poem of pirates, Pashas, and damsels in distress. it is situated in a time and place where slavery and polygamy were driving forces of the Economic and social landscape. many great classics depict the disturbing social norms of bygone eras. In our Corsaire, ABT has chosen to adjust certain scenes in tone and character out of respect for those whose lives and stays were marginalized. There may still be images some find offensive but we hope our audience members will be transported to the period in which it is set and realize such scenes are a reflection, not a validation, of life in those times.”
  12. It’s printed in the program. @California Ali is still listed as “the slave”. The main change I noticed in Act I is that there is no longer that part where the “bazaar women” (did they used to be called slaves in the program? Can’t remember) are being flogged. Instead, they bouree together as a little cluster, hemmed in by a group of Lankendem’s lackeys. I -think- they may have had new, less revealing costumes but I could be wrong. Curious if anyone else who is here noticed anything! Also, I recall hazily that at the end of “Old act I” the pirates seem to be literally carrying off the enslaved women from the bazaar and the women don’t seem to be going happily. This time they aren’t being lifted and carried away, it looks more like the pirates are liberating them from the Bazaar and they’re cooperating.
  13. Am at tonight’s Corsaire and ABT has inserted a note into the program stating that they recognize the Ballet depicts “challenging subject matter” and “disturbing social norms of bygone eras”. They say they’ve adjusted certain scenes “in tone and character out of respect for those whose lives were marginalized” but “there may still be images some find offensive” and viewers should take them as a “reflection, not validation, of life in those times”. Very curious to see how the ballet has been tweaked! Will report later.
  14. I honestly can’t think of one! Curious if anyone else can. For those not familiar, the Bechdel test refers to whether or not, in a movie, two or more female characters (with names) have a conversation together that is not about a man.
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