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minervaave

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About minervaave

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan, as avid a balletgoer as I can be with two kids
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    NY

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  1. minervaave

    Promotion of May Nagahisa

    I saw her as one of the shades in La Bayadere, and she took my breath away. I'm so glad to hear this, and I hope they bring her to NY the next time they tour. I would love to see her again.
  2. minervaave

    ABT 2018 Swan Lake

    When Shevchenko came on stage and did her first balance, her supporting leg was trembling, and I thought, "oh no, please don't let this be la Bayadere all over again." Her first few arabesque balances on pointe were hurried, as if she didn't trust herself. Which makes her performance all the more amazing because once she started the pas de deux, the nerves went away and she owned that stage. Her white swan pas de deux was really beautiful. Previously, I have thought of her as a somewhat aloof dancer, but she was beautifully sensitive and eloquent with her whole body. She really has the back, the arms and the lines for Swan Lake, but it's also how she used them. I also thought she didn't overdo the swan arms, which can sometimes happen. They were a natural and organic part of her movment, and they were especially beautiful when she boureed off the stage. (Her bourrees were also gorgeous.) In Act III, all I could think was that she was born to dance this role. She was the most gleefully evil black swan I've seen. She teased Sigfried and tormented him, coming close and then putting a hand up to stop him, and every gesture was perfect. She was evil seduction incarnate. And the dancing - well, it fit perfectly with the character, full of dazzle. How could Siegried be anything but mesmerized? The audience certainly was. Yes, the fouettes were amazing, but the variation before them was just as incredible. On her fouettes - I just have to say in addition to all the triples, arms raised, leg extended thrown in, they were incredibly fast. And her supported pirouettes throughout were also extremely fast and just great. I feel sorry for Whiteside because when he came out for his variation, I had clean forgotten about him. Usually, it's the male variations that draw the big applause, but not this time, even before the fouettees. I definitely think Swan Lake will (and should) be one of Shevchenko's signature roles. I found her performance truly exciting, especially in Act III, and this has been tough to find at ABT this season. If I had one criticism of Shevchenko, it would be to echo alexL. Even when her body is beautifully expressive, her face doesn't always reflect this. I didn't notice her open mouth, but in the white swan pas de deux, she sometimes looked blank. Whiteside was sort of irrelevant, which was fine. He certainly made her shine in the partnering, which was the important part. But I don't think I looked at him once while they were dancing together. When I did look at him during the court scenes, he always seemed to have a smirk on his face, and he had the same expression much of the time during Romeo and Juliet. I think he's much more suited for comic roles. He's a "gets the job done" dancer, not someone you get excited about. Aran Bell did well as Purple Rothbart, although I will always hold Gomes at the gold standard. His dancing was lovely, and he had hints of the seductive mannerisms required. He's just so young that it was hard for him to look convincing as the master seducer. His arabesque balance was a little shaky - he looked like he was trying to find his balance with a very low extension and then finally got it up to arabesque very briefly. But other than that, I really enjoyed his dancing. I thought the four cygnettes were much better today than what I have seen in past years. Their pas de chats were in unison, which is usually the place where I feel like they fall apart. It was Calvin Royal, Fang and Giangeruso in the peasant pas de trois. Seeing both Royal and Aran Bell on stage made me wonder what they would be like as Siegfried. I think they both have that princely demeanor.
  3. minervaave

    Seating Advice at the Met

    Masseria dei Vini on 9th and 58th is a nice Italian restaurant and very well priced for the neighborhood. Not thought of as a pre theater place, but actually very close. Rosa Mexicano is also a classic if you like higher end Mexican that is just across the street from LC. I agree that Blue Ribbon Sushi is excellent for sushi. Stay away from PJ Clarke’s - I’ve never had a good meal there. I actually think Fiorella’s does have good food - their lasagna is insanely decadent and delicious. And finally for a very quick bite, witchcraft, which is just across the street in the atrium has tasty sandwiches for a very quick very reasonable meal.
  4. minervaave

    "Harlequinade" 2018.

    I hope it does. I would happily see this again, but Golden Cockerel - not if you paid me. Very different. Sleeping Beauty - depends on what you hated about it because in some ways, they are similar. I personally liked this more because it seemed less obviously a "period" ballet and more in line with today's aesthetics (and the costumes and sets were gorgeous.) I will say that I got my ticket on a flash sale, and there were quite a number of empty seats in my row, which isn't a great sign. But that may have more to do with the lack of star power tonight, not the ballet itself.
  5. minervaave

    "Harlequinade" 2018.

    Speaking of audience behavior, I just got back from Harlequinade, and the two women in front of me were talking to each other during the entire thing. And I mean every couple of minutes at best, often multiple comments in a minute. I tried sshhing them, but they completely ignored me and kept on talking. Is it just me? Is talking during the ballet not that big a deal? Anyone ever handled this successfully? (It wasn't as distracting in the first act, so I didn't think to say anything at intermission.) And a few seats down, there was a woman who kept waving at her child onstage and videotaped the grand finale. At this point, I'm starting to think all children should be banned from performing in all ballets except Nutcracker because the audience seems to think that if kids are in a ballet, the rules go out the window. (Only sort of joking.) On to the ballet. Overall, I thought it was charming. Yes, the first act is very light on dance, and I'm glad I was warned to expect this. But for me, the second act more than made up for it. And I did actually like the children quite a lot here. There weren't any very young ones, so they were actually dancing quite a bit, not just running around the stage. And there were several with very lovely port de bras. Trenary made one mistake at a key point - when she and Pierrette are supposed to balance using each other for support. She never really got the balance at all, which was disappointing because I think the effect would have been lovely - two women supporting each other, instead of the woman being supported by a man. And I couldn't tell what was going on with the hops on pointe in the second act - she was on demi pointe by the end of them, but maybe that is the choreography? But her stage presence makes her a delight to watch. Her dancing has such a joy to it. It's also her smile and the way she exudes happiness that carries over to the audience. It worked perfectly for the part. I also thought Shayer was perfectly cast - he has a swagger to him that worked very well in the part. I thought Shevchenko was very strong technically, but seeing her dancing next to Trenary made it clear to me what I sometimes find lacking in her. Her mannerisms, expressions and smiles feel artificial to me, as opposed to natural. It's clear she is acting a part. Blaine Hoven didn't really register much as a presence, but maybe that was just his part. I did think Keith Roberts was very funny as the suitor, and I love when ballet shows how much humor there is when someone with perfect control of their body uses it to comedic effect. That sort of physical humor is almost never seen anymore on tv and in the movies, and it's nice to be reminded of what an art it is. I also loved the larks and agree - they must have spent all their time rehearsing this instead of Giselle and La Bayadere because they were so much better!
  6. minervaave

    ABT 2018 La Bayadere

    At this point, I think I'd be happier if they dropped the emphasis on homegrown talent. It doesn't seem to be working for them anymore. I enjoyed seeing Shevchenko, Teuscher, Lane and Brandt last year, but I didn't fall in love with them, and I think a great dancer makes you love them. That is what is needed to fill the Met and what is missing right now from pretty much all the female principals on the roster. I keep hoping for greatness, but then I see them, and they can't quite deliver. They either have the artistic part down, but make too many mistakes or they have the technical part down, but not the emotional part. I hope some of them prove me wrong, but apart from Brandt, most of them are pretty well developed as dancers by now, even if they haven't had the chance to perform specific roles. (I do have hopes for Trenary because when I saw her as Olga in Onegin, she was riveting, and I did love her, even if Boylston was stronger technically.) I agree that the problem is less the Met than it is the dancers, but I don't know how ABT goes about fixing that. Bringing in guest stars provokes outcries, but it attracts an audience. Relying on their current crop of performers isn't doing that, and I think it's a totally fair judgment on the part of the audience as to what they are seeing. It's still ballet, it's still beautiful with many wonderful moments, but it doesn't make me long to see that particular performer again in anything and everything they do.
  7. minervaave

    ABT 2018 La Bayadere

    I have to admit I was disappointed. Kim was wonderful - not just that his jumps are almost unreal, he stays in the air so long, but he's so elegant and beautiful as Solor. But I think that, to some extent, he showed up the rest of the cast. I found Gillian Murphy's dancing labored last night in some sections and missing some of her usual razzle dazzle. During the Italian fouettes, it looked like she was giving it all she had to get up there; it didn't have that effortless flowing appearance where it looks easy. Her regular fouettes, on the other hand, were fantastic and had that magic. And in Act III, at the beginning, she had some very awkward moments. I couldn't tell what went wrong exactly, but it looked like she didn't have the balance and control to make a couple of transitions and rushed them. To me, it did not feel like she was at her best. Hee Seo was lovely in the pas de deux and the scarf variation. They had some wonderful lifts that were one of the highlights for me. But I find her very frustrating as a dancer because she plays it so safe. Her jumps lack explosiveness, and there were too many moments when she could have done more, but didn't. For example, she was in a beautiful arabesque pose with Kim on pointe, but she started rolling off pointe as he let go of her hand, and she did it every time in the sequence. It looked like she wasn't even trying to hold the balances by herself, not even for a brief moment. Her bourres weren't that fast and kind of unexciting. And the backward hops in arabesque, her leg was way too low to the ground. It turned what is supposed to be a beautiful moment into something unimpressive. It was almost awkward because Kim would come out and do something incredible, and she would do something... nice. I thought Gorak was very good. He was super sharp and crisp with all his moves, and he had the almost statue like moves down perfectly. One little bobble, but other than that, danced with a lot of beauty and clarity. Finally, the Shades. I saw so many trembling legs during the entrance initially that it was scary. Not just little quivers either, but serious shaking. The first shade took a number of steps before she got her leg under control, and of course, I noticed her because she was first. I don't know if that was nerves or lack of rehearsal time. As it progressed, it got better, and I was able to relax and enjoy the beauty and not worry about potential mishaps. People have commented about ABT lacking world class talent right now, and for me, last night's performance reinforced that. I saw Tereshkina and Kim in DC, and they blew me away, whereas this time, Kim blew me away, but not the performance overall. I really hope that some of the other casts are able to deliver incredible performances.
  8. minervaave

    Coppelia 2018.

    I just got back from tonight's performance of Coppelia, and imho, Tiler Peck is a goddess. Her dancing is just beautiful - confident and secure, even with the most difficult steps, and utterly joyous. I was so happy I got to see her in this role. I thought it was a really special night. I also thoroughly enjoyed De Luz as Franz. I sometimes find NYCB men a little dull especially in comparison with the women, but he was very exciting. My only quibbles were with the male dancer in the War / Discord, who I thought was a little sloppy, and, yes I know this is totally silly, but Swanhilde's skirt in Act I! It looked like a 70's curtain in bright pink with one hideous ruffle at the bottom. It is a crime to put a beautiful dancer like Tiler Peck in that wildly unflattering skirt, and it made it harder for me to imagine her as Swanhilde because the skirt was so obviously a costume, and a cheap looking one at that. But overall, a wonderful evening.
  9. minervaave

    ABT 2018 Giselle

    I was at the Lane/Simkin matinee today, and I thought Lane was really lovely, and I particularly appreciated how in sync with the music both she and Simkin were. For example, I feel like most of the time I've seen the tour jetes (I think that was the step), one person is jumping and landing slightly before the other, and it just looks sloppy to me. This time, they were both jumping and landing in arabesque at the same time, and I found it so much more beautiful to see them in harmony with each other and the music. I felt like throughout she was really paying attention to what the music was saying and expressing it in her movements. Unfortunately, I thought this was in contrast to Shevchenko today. Maybe it is that the music is just too fast, but it still bothered me. And some of it didn't seem to be the music. It was a little thing, but when Giselle first makes her entrance, Lane was walking forward in time with the music, and it seemed like Shevchenko was just walking backwards, not necessarily paying attention to the music. I felt the same about Gabe Stone Shayer too - he was going through the steps, but they weren't connected to the music. Whereas with Simkin and Lane, what I was seeing and what I was hearing made sense together and enhanced each other. I was so happy they got their second curtain call - they totally deserved it! And I hope they realize that there was a sizeable group who really appreciated their performance, even if the overall audience felt dead. If I were guessing, I'd say it felt like at least 20% of the audience, and maybe more, kept clapping and calling "bravo" and stayed in place for several minutes until they came out again. The audience insisted on it, even if it clearly wasn't planned.
  10. minervaave

    Duke University/ABT partnership

    I have to say I’m so excited - my parents live in Durham, and both have loved dance for a long time. Durham is a really nice place to live, but one of the issues has always been its distance from the major cities that usually attract this kind of world-class talent. With this and ADF, Durham is becoming an amazing place in which to see dance.
  11. minervaave

    Winter 2018

    I just saw Romeo and Juliet tonight, and I have to say that apart from Tiler Peck, I thought it was really weak. It wasn’t so much the dancing and choreography even, as the acting and awkward, jarring staging during what was supposed to be intensely emotional moments. There were a couple of moments in the duel scene and at Juliet’s death where I was tempted to laugh, and not because I was meant to. But because the reactions seemed so off, either too nonchalant or too exaggerated, not genuine horror and despair. And Zachary Catazaro didn’t make much of an impression as Romeo. HIs characterization seemed generic and perfunctory. He was better in the scenes with Juliet than the scenes with his companions and the duel, but I really didn’t see him falling in love with Juliet the way I saw how much she loved him in every gesture. It made me wonder whether NYCB dancers don’t get much acting training since so much of their repertoire doesn’t require this level of acting. Anyone know whether this is the case? This is supposed to be an intense, moving ballet, but for me, at least, the emotional component was largely lacking. (And don’t get me started on the sets and costumes - did they hire an eight grader to make those sets?)
  12. minervaave

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Yes, but then he started to get massive negative coverage in the press, all the old skeletons in his closet started getting rehashed (like the assault on Darci Kistler, which really does not look good in 2017) and then he really sealed his fate with his causing a 3 car accident while driving drunk. After that, he became a liability regardless of what the law firm found out.
  13. minervaave

    Peter Martins Retired; Succession Discussion

    I think Martins clearly demonstrated the downside of having the position include choreographic responsibilities. It's difficult enough to find someone who can recognize and nurture talent, both in dancers and choreographers, fundraise successfully and oversee the marketing, finances, administration and all the other organizational issues that go into running a major organization like NYCB. Asking them to choreograph on top of that is almost guaranteeing that you will end up with subpar choreography that has to be performed regularly because it is part of the job of the AD. Yes, there are organizations where one person does it all, but I would argue that they are much smaller and less complex organizations than NYCB and do not need the same level of "management" talent, which is an equally rare and valuable commodity as choreographic talent.
  14. minervaave

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    Really? It's OK for an adult male to date a 16 year old even if they didn't actually have sex? And according to the LA times, they were publicly dating, not just grabbing coffee together. I didn't say it was statuatory rape; I said it was sexual predation. I thought we could agree that in our culture today, an mature adult (not a 19 year old) showing romantic interest in a minor is a line that should not be crossed. Yes, it happened in the past, and people shrugged it off at the time, but I think with our greater awareness today, we can see that this is predatory behavior.
  15. minervaave

    Peter Martins Sexual Harassment Allegations

    I disagree. NYCB is not a court of law. They are a private employer who can fire Martins at will, whether or not he broke any laws. The only standard they should be looking at is what is best for their organization. And it is completely within their rights (and many would say part of the board's fiduciary duty) to remove someone who will tarnish the reputation of the organization and pose a potential risk to the students under his charge. And I will say that his dating of Kistler when she was 16 is certainly germane to the initial issue, which is an accusation of sexual harassment by someone at SAB. Yes, it appears to have been accepted when it happened by the people who were aware of it at the time, but can anyone really justify it morally today? It indicates that at least at one point, he conclusively engaged in what we would now describe as sexual predation. And in terms of the DUI's, I think the last one is the absolute proof that this man is unfit to be in a position of leadership. He caused a 3 car accident because of his reckless disregard for the safety of people around him. He could have killed someone, and no, it would not have been an accident. If it were the first DUI, maybe the board could have pleaded ignorance. But after the second one, any continuing assocation between NYCB and Martins would have inevitably damaged NYCB's name, in addiion to Martin's. (And rightfully so, in my opinion.)
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