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its the mom

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  1. This certainly was a trip down memory lane. Plan to B is iconic Elo, and while it was enjoyable, my favorite iteration of this ballet was performed by Sabi Varga, John Lam, Whitney Jensen, Lia Cirio, Jeffrey Cirio, and Bo Busby. They were, for a long time, the cast to see in the many places this ballet was performed. Their performances were electric. But, I digress. There was much to see here, including Elo's Bach Cello Suites and Close to Chuck, two of my favorites. I hope we get to see Close to Chuck once again at some time in the future. Additionally, a portion of Elo Experience with Larissa Ponomarenko and Jeffrey Cirio brought back amazing memories. Performed in 2011, I remember that they performed every performance of that work. Along with Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, they were sublime. It was evident to me throughout that there were dancers who truly embodied Elo's work - James Whiteside, Sabi Varga, John Lam, Kathleen Breen-Combes, Whitney Jensen, and Jeffrey and Lia Cirio. I don't know if the current crop of dancers can match them. It will be interesting to see if they develop the "quirks" necessary for his work. The World Premiere was somewhat confusing. It appears to be an extension of the couple (Cirio and Ponomarenko) in Elo Experience, but the attempt to make the work an artistic film left me feeling confused. It will be hard to match the innocence of Cirio (who was probably all of 18 or 19 at the time) and the inestimable Ponomarenko in that work. All in all, I really enjoyed this program which contained much more dancing than previous digital performances. It made me long to be back in the theatre again. Congratulations to Jorma Elo and Boston Ballet for 15 years of collaboration!
  2. Season starts tonight! https://www.bostonballet.org/Home/Tickets-Performances/Subscription-Information/Virtual-Subscriptions
  3. David Hallberg just announced his new Directorship at Australian Ballet on his Instagram!
  4. I just looked at my program, and you are right, Amy. The casting in the program was all mixed up.
  5. Funny, Agon was probably best received as a whole that first evening. I think the blonde was Dawn Atkins the second evening, but I do believe that the casting for Agon was correct in the program. I could be wrong. The two men in the pas de trois are probably a little more inexperienced, hence the toss not quite as successful as the previous night. You are so right about the movement quality in Agon - that’s a great way to put it. “Not punched or muddled.” On another note, I am sad that PA ballet has changed rather drastically. I know there are those who prefer it now, but I miss the days of gorgeous Balanchine work without having to drive to NYC.
  6. I saw opening night and Friday night. Glass Pieces is one of my favorites, and paired with Balanchine and Forsythe ... well, for me, it does not get much better. The first night of Glass Pieces felt a little under rehearsed, but the second evening did not disappoint. I could watch that ballet time and again and not tire of it. I love the patterns and that music! It was also good to see John Lam dance the central pas. Agon was beautifully danced on opening night. Cirio and Arrais (back on stage after a long injury recovery) danced the pas. There was audible gasping in the audience while they danced, and enthusiastic applause when they finished the pas and during bows. Both Cirio and Ji Young Chae seem to be very highlighted in this run of shows. In the Middle felt a little odd on opening night. I have seen this ballet several times, and I felt almost on Thursday as if the ballet was outdated (strange because the other works are older, but feel timeless.) Paul Craig seemed to be the most at home in the movement the first evening. He is such a musical dancer anyway. Friday night’s cast with Cirio and Fentroy, Yocum, Rines and Silva brought a whole different feel. The ballet suddenly felt contemporary again. This is probably one of my favorite programs Boston has done. If you can get there, do so. I am seeing one more because I am sure they will not repeat Glass Pieces any time soon!
  7. One very major difference is ABT’s large lay-off period which enables the dancers to pursue other projects. In most other companies, these larger periods of lay-off are not common. With class, and six-hour rehearsal days, and with some companies working 5-1/2 to 6 days a week, pursuing outside coaching would be a challenge. During the summer, when most companies are on lay-off or holiday, there would obviously be more time to pursue outside coaching. However, most dancers are working other jobs - summer projects, teaching, etc. Brandt is blessed with that luxury. Good for her, but I don’t believe most dancers have that luxury. I also know that several of the directors Helene lists (in her post above of the major companies) do not look kindly on even taking class elsewhere, let alone coaching.
  8. I don’t think it’s typical for a dancer to float possibilities of leaving a company in a promotional piece for her debut of an iconic role. This tells me a lot about McKenzie’s management style. Obviously, he has to balance casting between his principals and up and coming soloists. He told her to keep her eye on Giselle, she gets no help at company to do that, so she gets outside coaching, and then she basically has to plead for one show. That’s ridiculous. If she had not gotten outside coaching, she would not be performing that role most likely. She is obviously paying for this coaching, something that other dancers might not be able to do. What does that mean for less fortunate dancers? P.S. I am not putting her down in any way. She deserves the chance at this role. I would much rather watch her than some of the principal dancers. But I also would not blame her one bit for moving on.
  9. I just checked and the questions are there. They just did not reply. And I doubt they would on Instagram, as others have indicated. Additionally, the person who asked the question follows nobody and has no followers. Take what you will from that.
  10. I rarely get to NY to see this company. They do not perform much that interests me, although I am hoping to catch Jane Eyre this time around. I am astonished, like many, at casting. Blaine Hoven deserves better. And does Sarah Lane. Both would be welcome additions to any company. And both have years of dancing left if they so choose. I wish they would go elsewhere. Sarah could do well in Europe. I would love to see her in Berlin or London (with Simkin or Cirio respectively.)
  11. Just a couple of responses, Amy (and in no particular order) I saw several shows of this at Boston. The costumes and sets were borrowed from Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. I agree with some of your complaints about the props, but shouldn't Ponomarenko (who adapted it for the company) have changed some of this? I didn't know whether Myrtha's "sprig" was rosemary or asphodel, but whatever it was supposed to be, it was way too large and cumbersome. Additionally, the lilies were too loud as they hit the ground (I am assuming they were plastic.) As you said, Amy, it was just a number of little things that didn't seem thought out. My feeling on the whole production was that there was just not enough time to bring the whole company up to speed on the intricacies of this ballet. With so many new corps members (I recognized so few of them, and I see this company pretty regularly), there was no way to set this ballet to perfection in a little over a month. (The dancers returned in August and had to perform a full program at Jacob's Pillow prior to this performance.) Their reactions and/or non-reactions in Act I were obvious. About the conductor - he is fairly new. My only comment is that I sorely miss Jonathan McPhee. The two Hilarions that stood out were Paul Craig and Isaac Akiba, both veterans. Craig was so good as Hilarion that I was very disappointed not to see him cast as Albrecht. It makes no sense to me to not cast a perfectly capable and seasoned Principal in the role. I felt that Act II was missing something and then I remembered that when Maina Gielgud set Giselle on the company, the Willis' entered with veils over their heads. I don't remember how long they kept them on, so perhaps someone can remind me. But I do remember feeling the scene was much more "other-worldly." The Peasant pas was much better danced in other performances. Ji Young Chae had the task of performing the peasant pas, Myrtha, and Giselle. She is quite the machine, and her jumps are unbelievable. I hope she develops more in her acting skills. I thought each of the principal couples I saw brought something different to their respective roles. Interestingly, Oga and Dunn were my least favorite, and they were the couple specifically coached by Ponomarenko. And this brings me back to the time given in bringing this ballet to the stage. There was just not enough time for Ponomarenko to put her finishing touches on everyone and every scene. Luckily, several of the Principal dancers had danced the ballet before, which became obvious in seeing several of the shows. If, Amy, your line of thinking is to follow, then Dunn (as an aristocrat) is too short. I felt as though I should be watching Coppelia or La Fille in seeing Oga and Dunn on stage, and this is probably why their pre-mad scene was appealing. His technique is surely beautiful, but I didn't see Albrecht. Oga was fine, and as you say, she is young. I think the company is hoping for a "Kuranaga" in her. This ballet is a soulful story to be told, and while technique is obviously at the centre of it, there is so much more to it. In their defense, it was their first time together in a full-length. Kapitonova/Yocum and Cirio/Khozashvili have danced together before, and, again, it was evident. I think it may have been a better choice to have Oga and Dunn do the peasant pas before throwing them into the title roles. But, I am sure we will be seeing them do a lot more together. All in all, I am glad the company finally (after 10 years) brought the ballet back. I hope that they do it again soon, but spend more time in coaching it. With so many recent departures, it will take time to bring the new crop of dancers up to the level of the past few years or prior.
  12. She has certainly benefitted from the fact that Kuranaga is gone. Dunn needs a very small partner. Additionally, many of they young dancers have benefitted from departures from the company this past year.
  13. Instagram and Facebook are both full of dancers’ posts about this. It’s been all day. Ms. Spencer’s instagram is filled with angry comments, as well.
  14. Lendorf is no longer listed with the company. Would love to have seen Hoven or Whiteside in Apollo. Both have danced Balanchine.
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