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Posts posted by MarzipanShepherdess

  1. 5 hours ago, meunier fan said:

    The Royal Opera and Royal Ballet have announced an Autumn/Christmas schedule (including a slightly revised 'Nutcracker') of live events within a socially distanced regime:



    Given the tightening restrictions just announced in the UK last week performing to live London audiences in December seems VERY optimistic, but good luck to them! 

  2. At this point I will be shocked if ABT performs at the Met in the spring.

    Even if they COULD perform there to a live audience due to gathering restrictions being lifted, I have trouble imagining a large enough percentage of their audience (which like opera’s skews older) would be willing to attend to make it worthwhile. I miss live ballet so much, but can’t envision attending a performance next spring myself with everything we now know about indoor aerosol transmission. 

  3. On 3/21/2020 at 10:40 PM, Helene said:

    Does ABT also have a Dancers Emergency Fund?  NYCB has had one for decades. 

    Yes they have had one for at least ten years if not longer. The proceeds from the sale of the dancers’ autographed pointe shoes and slippers fund it. I don’t recall them ever publicly fundraising for it in the past, but recently Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside have been encouraging those watching their live-streamed classes to donate. 

  4. 8 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

    For what it’s worth, I just checked and Brandt “liked” this post (so did Irina and Max).  So, she must not believe it’s about her.

    Skylar and Irina and Max could definitely be “liking” it to say “hey you jerk we saw this”. A like is not always a like. :) 

    For someone who self-professes to be such a woman of faith and virtue Sarah sure seems to sling a lot of mud at her colleagues and have some pretty hateful heroes. 

  5. 13 hours ago, Lena C. said:

    Her lack of acknowledgment for Cornejo's anniversary, as well as her cryptic post on today of all days, indeed speaks volumes. 

    Wow. I don’t follow lane on Instagram but went to look at that post after you referenced it here. Posting a long caption beginning  “the greatest examples are those who have the courage to live in humility, who do not need to be puffed up...” on the day of Herman’s big anniversary extravaganza certainly seems like some serious shade directed at her former dance partner. Have to say I don’t think that was very classy or gracious of her, regardless of the current state of her feelings towards Herman. 

  6. Wonderful tribute to Herman tonight. 

    I know that his physique doesn’t make him an ideal Apollo, but I enjoyed him in the role. I think he performed it adroitly and confidently—for me, it worked.  Misty, Skylar, and Cassandra were all good as muses. 

    The tango with Erica was short, but high on charisma and panache. It was a lot of fun to see Herman dance tango, especially with Erica and especially knowing how sentimental this piece is for him (he first came to ABT to perform it with Erica at an Argentinian cultural event and asked to take class with ABT, this kicking off his connection to the company). He and Erica were both fabulous and full of energy. 

    I grant that Ghosts is not Tharp’s best work, and I seem to be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a PERFECT vehicle for Herman, with ample opportunity to appreciate his refinement, his charisma, his wit, speed, turns, and leaps. He had a manège that was just breathtaking, and a pirouette series that could truly be described as thrilling. It really felt like a love letter from Twyla, highlighting all Herman’s gifts in a major way. I agree with @ABT Fan that there’s no one else in the current male roster I can imagine pulling it off. I can see different dancers doing bits of it well, but no one doing the whole. What a credit to Herman’s artistry that is. 

    Royal and Hurlin particularly stood out of a very strong Ghosts cast, Royal for his elegant hands and arms and Hurlin for her strength and speed (aptly named “greased lightning” in the program). Shevchenko also looked great, and Hoven made a strong case for why he should really pick up some of those TBA slots in the spring. 

  7. 17 minutes ago, Barbara said:

    If very short Copeland can dance with very tall Hallberg I don’t see why Sarah couldn’t be paired with Hoven. I don’t think that would be an extreme height difference. Would you say Hoven and Ahn are similar heights?

    Yes, I think Hoven and Ahn are similar heights.

    I don't think lack of a suitable partner is what is holding Sarah back. It seems like her problem is more that she isn't a favorite of Kevin's or in demand as a partner (at least from the male principals like Cornejo who have influence on who they dance with). She seems to have similar issues to those Veronika Part had--not broadly liked by her peers or by management, and it certainly seems to impact casting.

  8. I'm pretty excited for this season! Last season there were no ballets I wanted to see multiple performances of, due to casting, but this season there are several where I'll definitely attend multiple performances.

     I'll be heart-broken to see Stella retire, of course, but I'm glad she's going out properly feted and getting to dance some great roles like Giselle and Juliet. Hopefully we'll also be graced with a Lilac Fairy and some appearances in the mixed bills and in Of Love and Rage. I'd have loved to see her one last time in Ashton's Cinderella, but oh well.

    Very much looking forward to Shevchenko/Royal/Hurlin's Giselle debuts, and to Hurlin as Aurora and Gamzatti. Also THRILLED Kimin Kim is coming back for Bayadère, a ballet he's phenomenal in. And seeing Osipova as Giselle and Juliet will be a treat. I'm glad to see the guest stars being judiciously balanced with opportunities for soloists and corps dancers.

    I echo those lamenting that Blaine Hoven hasn't gotten anything major, though I expect he'll show up in the mixed bills and the new Ratmansky. 

    I'm glad Jane Eyre is back, but I wish we were seeing some Jane debuts rather than the same dancers from last season. 

  9. 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. 

  10. On 9/15/2019 at 2:02 PM, Inge said:

    This description makes it sound like the child of Le Corsaire & The Tempest. 

    Please no. 

    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? 

  11. 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.

  12. 59 minutes ago, LadyBubbles said:

    I wish Ogawa weren't leaving, but either she's found better opportunities elsewhere or perhaps she has other dreams to pursue.

    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. 

  13. 12 hours ago, Barbara said:

    But I think Stella is in a much more secure position than Part was. Much more in the fabric of the company and with Sascha’s position with the Studio Company, I don’t think Kevin would force a retirement. Not that I agree with the treatment of Part. It was unforgivable for her career to end like that. 

    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. 

  14. 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. 

  15. 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. 


  16. 13 hours ago, abatt said:

    Did anyone see last night's performance?  Reports?

    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! 

  17. 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.” 

  18. 39 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    Just curious: was the "inserted note" literally an inserted slip? (That would indicate that these were rather late changes.) Or was it printed in the program itself?

    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. 

  19. 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. 

  20. 54 minutes ago, nanushka said:

    So interesting to read this. I wonder: are there any other story ballets that might pass the Bechdel test?

    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. 

  21. On 6/6/2019 at 1:42 PM, NinaFan said:

    Good point.  I just read several reviews, and yes, they are positive for the most part.  I have to assume Marston was satisfied with ABT's interpretation and dancing.  So what's changed? 

    I agree with JMcN that a lot of it may be down to expectations from US audiences and critics vs English ones. From what I see (as an American who travels to Europe a few times a year and sees ballet when I’m there), European companies more often break from classical idiom and present more experimental work than American companies generally and certainly ABT. I think of the ENB’s “class war” version of Giselle for example, or Matthew Bourne’s New Directions productions which blur the lines between theater and ballet and takes direct inspiration from pop culture. Or POB, which commissions avant-grade work like Alexander Ekman’s Play.


    I can certainly see how it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and could be disappointing if you were showing up wanting to see something like one of ABT’s current story ballets, but I found a lot to like and admire in Jane Eyre.

    It REALLY captures the novel and its characters, for one. I was so impressed by how quickly and clearly Marston established who each character was through their choreography. She is good at developing choreographic leitmotifs for each character that recur and deepen in meaning—for example, Jane’s crossing of her arms over her chest, with her hands covering her ears beautifully conveys how Jane protectively shuts down in the face of her childhood tormentors, but then the same gesture recurs with Rochester and you see how her early defense mechanisms are preventing her from embracing love. 

    I wasn’t sure about the “d-men” at first (male corps dancers who represent Jane’s inner demons) but came to feel those passages powerfully embodied what it’s like to struggle with trauma and feel the past erupt into the present. I found it to be a very moving ballet, in this respect and others. 

    I also found myself moved by how the ballet depicted female friendship (between Jane and Helen especially). It struck me that it is SO rare in ballet to see relationships shown between women that aren’t romantic rivalries, and to see stories that aren’t purely love stories. While obviously Jane eyre contains a love story, the novel is much more than that and Marston’s ballet honors that. It’s wonderful to see that in ballet. 

    Thursday’s cast was quite good. James Whiteside, who I don’t usually enjoy in story ballets, was great as Rochester, capturing his journey from swaggering machismo to emotional tenderness. He’s having a good season. There were moments where I wanted more emotion from Devon, but overall it was a strong, committed performance. 

    One of the pleasures of the ballet are that there are lots of interesting soloist roles. Stella Abrera as flirty, haughty Blanche Ingram, Zimmi Coker as giddy, girlish Adele Varens, Sarah Lane as the officious and tormented Mrs Fairfax, and Calvin Royal as the villainous Mr Brocklehurst all were fantastic and made a lot out of relatively small roles. I thought Cassandra Trenary could have given more dimension to Bertha Mason. Her dancing definitely captured the wild, unhinged aspect of the character effectively, though. 

    Audience reaction on Thursday seemed very positive, from what I overheard from those seated near me. I may be in the minority here, but I hope Jane Eyre stays in ABT’s rep. It is quite unique in their repertoire and is such a rich dramatic ballet that I would enjoy seeing how different dancers embody the roles. I think there is also a lot of meaning and intelligence in the choreography and the way motifs echo across the ballet that it would be interesting to unpack in another viewing. 


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