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Everything posted by BalletFan

  1. Misty was the opening speaker at last night's gala. So she's around. However, she did not perform.
  2. I also saw three casts: Skylar Brandt, Cassandra Trenary and Christine Shevchenko. While all three were fabulous in their own way, in my opinion, Cassandra was the most natural Giselle. Christine is one of my favorite dancers, but I can't say that Giselle is her most natural role. I agree with everyone that Skylar was magical. However--and I almost hate to say this--she was perhaps a little overly dramatic. I'm not really qualified to talk about technique, but as Kathleen said above, Cassandra's interpretation of the role was "theater without theatrics." I, too, found it very moving. Actually, all three interpretations were outstanding. I enjoyed Giselle so much that I wish I could have seen all six casts. And I agree with Julia that Aran Bell has become quite a handsome young man. Yes, he did indeed almost steal the show!
  3. Stephanie Petersen, formerly Williams, has been with ABT for almost 10 years now--since January 2012. She got married last year and changed her last name to Petersen. She has danced many roles with ABT (and other companies)--although as Nanushka says, nothing as big as Myrta. This is something of a big break for Stephanie. I've always enjoyed her dancing and I look forward to seeing her as Myrta this weekend.
  4. A few weeks ago, ABT corps dancer Brittany DeGrofft announced her retirement on Instagram. I'm sad to see her go. I always thought she was a lovely, lyrical dancer. After Covid hit, she often posted about how much she missed dancing and that she couldn't wait to get back on stage with ABT. However, she and her husband, former ABT dancer Patrick Ogle, have relocated to Arizona (where Brittany is originally from). Patrick became a paramedic after leaving ABT, and I see that Brittany has been named the new Artistic Director of the Tucson Regional Ballet and Academy of Ballet. (And Patrick will be a guest instructor.) It's a loss for ABT, but good for her! https://www.tucsonregionalballet.org/artistic-team/ I don't know if any other dancers have left, but there seem to be a few new (and very young looking) faces in the corps.
  5. According to the Fall 2021 issue of ABT's “On Pointe” magazine, the 2022 Spring Season is scheduled for June 13 - July 16 at the Metropolitan Opera House. I'm very much looking forward to this. No word yet on programming. In other spring news: I also see that the ABT will be performing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, March 15-20 (mixed rep program) and the Virginia Arts Festival in Norfolk, March 25-27 (Don Quixote), before heading to the Kennedy Center in DC, March 29 - April 3 (also Don Quixote). The Kennedy Center tour was announced a while ago, but the Segerstrom Center's March performances and the Virginia Arts Festival are apparently new. I don't see anything mentioned yet on either organization's websites.
  6. I follow Kathryn on social media, and yes, I know that she's been teaching at Ballet West for several months now. Still, I was hoping she'd come back to Miami City Ballet. Joining a company again was a huge thing for her--something she had been talking about literally for years. I, along with many others, really admired her perseverance when she announced she was joining MCB for the 2019-2020 season. That’s why I’m surprised. But maybe the reality of being in a company again wasn’t all that she had dreamed it would be. She really only danced at MCB a few times. I know she performed in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue last fall. Then I remember her being injured and don't think she performed in The Nutcracker. Then she was cut from Firebird. Then the rest of the season was canceled. I know that her boyfriend lives in Salt Lake City and that she also has a lot of other things going on in her life (YouTube, etc.). While it's a shame that her time in Miami was so short and that she had so few opportunities to perform on stage, she seems happy now. And that’s what matters.
  7. I no longer see Kathryn Morgan listed on the Miami City Ballet website. However, her Instagram bio still says "Soloist with Miami City Ballet." When Kathryn was interviewed by Megan Fairchild a few months ago, she said she didn't see herself staying in Miami--but didn't give any time frame. I was surprised since being back on stage and part of a company again had seemed so important to her. I know that she has been living and teaching in Salt Lake City since the lockdown began. But I was kind of hoping that she'd go back to Miami at least for another season. Does anyone have any news?
  8. I agree with bluejean that calling the event a "gala" was problematic. They should have come up with some other term that wasn’t so misleading… or maybe they just should have simply stuck with “celebration” or "online fundraiser." Also, I agree with Drew about the intended audience. I believe they were targeting new and younger people with this online event, not hardcore balletomanes, like all of us here.
  9. Well… I'm definitely in the minority here, but I enjoyed tonight's event. I suppose it would have been nice to see some archival footage or excerpts from ballets, but I don't think that ABT has much of that that they can put online (hopefully I'm wrong). But anyway, this so-called gala was billed as a fundraiser, so I wasn't disappointed or expecting otherwise. I thought it was nice to see some behind-the-scenes footage of the Studio Company and the JKO School, as well as some of the people who actually work behind the scenes. Personally, I loved seeing the dancers performing the entrance of the swans from their homes—literally across the U.S. and even Australia (and maybe a few other places around the world... I'm not sure). I found it very moving. I could have done without the celebrities like Katie Couric and Kelly Ripa, but all in all, I thought the evening was fun and different, and I hope the company ends up raising a decent amount of money from this “online celebration.”
  10. I agree, Leah. I LOVED Symphonie Concertant and wish I could see it again (and again!).
  11. Yes, Paulina definitely mentioned Boston Ballet in her original post. It's funny how things sometimes work out. As Lady Bubbles noted, if Paulina hadn't been injured, then she would have danced Myrtha and maybe she (and not Katherine Williams) would have been promoted to soloist. Oh well, that’s life. Paulina is still very young, and perhaps it’s best to join another company at this point in her career and stretch her wings. I wish her, and the other corps members who are leaving, all the best.
  12. While I love Sarah and thought she was wonderful in Sleeping Beauty, I think Cassandra Trenary is the best Aurora. She has a lightness and a youthfulness that just lights up the stage. I didn't notice any balance problems from where I was sitting (in the cheap seats). Perhaps Sarah was more technically proficient. I really can’t say, but in my opinion, Cassandra is simply radiant in this role. I'd love to see her as Juliet. As for Prince Desire, Herman was by far the best. I'm so happy that I got to see Aran Bell dance this role twice. In some ways, he makes me think of a young Marcelo Gomes. However, there's currently no other man who can compare with Herman.
  13. I'm very surprised to hear that Paulina is leaving. She was one of the corps members that I always noticed on stage. But I wish her the best of luck. She's still very young. If she has been yearning for new challenges, then now is the time to go for it.
  14. Laurel, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I, too, love this production of Sleeping Beauty. Honestly, I never cared that much for any Sleeping Beauty ballet... until Ratmansky's reconstruction. I really appreciate all the care and thoughtfulness that has gone into this production. I like some of Ratmansky's ballets, but certainly not everything he’s done. But this version of Sleeping Beauty is so unique… in my opinion, it's a masterpiece in many ways. I’ve seen it about 10 times since it premiered in 2015. And the more I see it, the more there is for me to appreciate. Oh my goodness… I really hope that ABT doesn't return to another version of SB anytime soon.
  15. Let me start off by saying that Misty is very good in some roles, such as Juliet and Manon. However, I was shocked when she didn't make any attempt at the fouettes on Saturday evening. I know that Misty has a huge fan base and the house is basically sold out when she's in Swan Lake. So, I understand why management gave her two Swan Lakes. But IMHO, if a dancer can't do the steps, then maybe he/she shouldn't get the starring role. Plus, she had already bowed out of Act III on Wednesday evening. Call me old-fashioned, or naive, or whatever... but I for one was very disappointed. Sarah, on the other hand, was truly a revelation. For me, Sarah’s performance as the Black Swan was the highlight of Swan Lake week.
  16. I was there last night, too. What a surprise to have Sarah in Act III!! There's not much more that I can add to the conversation. She was absolutely amazing. I'm very happy for Sarah and wish she would get a shot at both Odette and Odile. Any news on the Wednesday matinee performance? Did anyone see Aran Bell and Jose Sebastian in their debuts? I would love to hear something.
  17. I just got home from seeing Misty Copeland as Manon. I have to say that she was surprisingly good… pretty amazing, in fact. I'm not always a big fan of hers, but Manon is a very good role for her... maybe even her best. Unfortunately, though, she was paired with Cory Stearns. Cory is a good dancer and a very handsome man. Yet I never feel anything when he is on stage. He just lacks that certain “spark” and always comes across as bland. He is another dancer (like Hee Seo) who, in my opinion, was promoted too fast. Maybe Kevin McK. hoped that Cory would turn out to be another leading man type, à la Marcelo Gomes, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Misty, however, was sublime tonight. I would love to see her again in this role. I think it's really too bad that she wasn't paired with Roberto Bolle this week. She really would have elevated his farewell performance.
  18. Yes, Sarah and Herman were breathtaking last night... especially Sarah. Manon is the role for her. What a magnificent performance!! Blaine Hoven has never been one of my favorites. In my opinion, he's competent but blah. Last night, though, he was surprisingly good. And Herman was everything I had hoped he would be. His partnership with Sarah just continues to grow and get even better. The final scene was heartbreaking. But the night belonged to Sarah. The contrast between Sarah's performance on Friday night and Hee Seo's on Thursday was like night and day. Hee Seo has everything going for her as a ballerina, yet she's another one who just comes across as blah. I remember seeing her debut as Juliet in Detroit back in 2009. It truly was a mesmerizing performance. Hers was probably the best Juliet I have ever seen, both before or since (and I've seen R&J many, many times). Juliet is still a good role for her, but that's about it. I think she was promoted to principal too soon based upon her Juliet debut. Since then, she has been a letdown. But back to Sarah: I've always liked Sarah. She’s always been an elegant and beautiful dancer, but I can't say that I loved her... until last night. Something changed with this role, and she crossed the line and went to an even higher level. I absolutely agree with Inge's husband (see comment above): yes, Sarah is now a prima ballerina. I think we’ll look back and say that Manon was a pivotal moment in Sarah's career.
  19. Yes, I agree Aurora. I was also at the talk last week and Herman gave every indication that he will perform in Manon as planned. And yes, he seemed very excited about it. So let's keep our fingers crossed....
  20. I'm sooo sorry that Herman (my favorite ABT male dance) is injured. But at the same time, I'm really looking forward to seeing guest artist Brooklyn Mack. I saw him dance about five years ago in Washington, DC. Wow… “electrifying” is a good word to describe Brooklyn's dancing. I’m very anxious to see how he does at the Met.
  21. I attended the Saturday evening performance with Devon Teuscher as Jane Eyre and James Whiteside as Mr. Rochester. I wanted to like this ballet, but it was just too dark and depressing for my tastes. And when I say “dark,” I mean two things: A very dark story, yes... but also a very dark stage with very little lighting. It was literally hard to see what was happening on stage. Both the music and dance steps are very monotone. At least with a tragic love story like Romeo and Juliet there are highs and lows. Jane Eyre, however, is mainly one big low. I also thought here was too much rolling around on the floor and too many sharp angles, and it seemed like the same movements were repeated over and over again. As for the dancers themselves: Devon was fine in a reserved sort of way. Sarah Lane didn’t have much to do as Mrs. Fairfax. I loved Cassandra Trenary as Bertha, the crazy wife, and Zimmi Coker almost stole the show as young Adele. But for me, James Whiteside was the best part of the evening. When he first joined ABT, I didn’t care much for James, but I’ve really grown to appreciate his versatility and acting/dancing skills. He really made me feel for Mr. Rochester, especially during the final scene. In my opinion, he saved the show. Unlike me, most of the people around me seemed to love the ballet. While the performance wasn’t sold out, there were a lot of people in the audience. The dancers, too, seemed like they had a really good time on stage. Yes, Jane triumphs in the end, but overall, I found the ballet too downbeat and grim. I think it’s good that ABT is branching out with new ballets, but I have no desire to see this again, even if it is brought back again next year. Once was enough for me.
  22. Barbara, An evening of Ratmansky stand-alones in the fall... that's a fabulous idea!! I would run to get tickets.
  23. I attended the final performance of Harlequinade last night. I think I saw it twice last year. This year, I only chose to go once because I couldn't bear the thought of sitting through Act I again. But I had forgotten how beautiful Act II is--particularly the lark section. I, too, would very much like to see it as a stand alone. Such beautiful dancing and unique choreography! Parts of it are absolutely gorgeous. I also thought Cassie Trenary was lovely as Columbine. And, some of the costumes in Act II are stunning. If ABT ever does Act II as a stand alone, I’d go see it in a heartbeat.
  24. I saw the first and only performance of Swan Lake. It was one of the oddest--and at nearly four hours, most definitely the longest-- Swan Lake that I have ever seen. The performance started a little after 7 pm and didn't end until 10:45 pm (with two intermissions). Then there were the curtain calls. By the time I left the theater, it was around 11 pm. I’d characterize the dancing as a little rough around the edges. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Even though I've seen Swan Lake many, many times before, some of this was new to me--particularly some of the music and dancing in Act III. I know the New York Times gave this production a bad review, but I thought of it as a somewhat different take on an old classic—still very traditional and certainly not far out there like the Australian Ballet’s version (which isn’t really Swan Lake, in my opinion). There was a lot of energy in the theater, especially in the second half of the show. I enjoyed it so much that I'm going back to see the triple bill: Trois Gnossiennes / 5 Tangos / Black Cake. These three ballets are rarely seen in the U.S. and I don't want to miss them. It's a shame that the performances sold so poorly. I would have gone to see Swan Lake a second time if it hadn’t been cancelled.
  25. I think this is very sad news. I always look forward to ABT's spring season at the Met. I've been going for 20+ years. Eight weeks of ballet at the beautiful Metropolitan Opera House--absolutely nothing can top this! It's the highlight of the dance year for me. It seems that most people on this board prefer the Koch Theater over the Met for dance. But not me. I'm not sure what ABT should do, but I truly hope that the company doesn't completely abandon the Met and decamp to the Koch (State) Theater. Others may not agree, but I think that something special will be lost.
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