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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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    new york
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  1. After Act I, my husband asked who was playing Manon and I told him it was Sarah Lane and that we had seen her before several times. He said he didn't even recognize her because she is 'a real prima now.' I thought that this was actually pretty insightful, as this is the first time this season I've seen someone besides Shevchenko bring international level power and glamour to a role. Her transformation was so spot on, her dancing so fluid and confident. I've always liked Lane (and love her when paired with Cornejo) but last night I was swept away. Act III Scene I was devastating. Act III Scene II, especially upsetting (there are of course more explicit scenes in ballet but Zhurbin's creeping determination and Lane's fight then disassociation was genuinely shocking). Hoven's death scene was a little hammy but otherwise he was fabulous. Weird comment, but he has such a great face for this role.
  2. Simkin was my deciding factor between splurging considerable $$ and waiting to see if there are rush tickets this Sat. Although I love Shevchenko and wanted to see Mack, I just can't get into Le Corsaire unless it has an extraordinary Ali at its center. I like Ahn but I can't really see him knocking my socks off in the role.
  3. Very sad to hear. I do think a lot of Harlequinade's choreography is really beautiful and appreciate it as a fascinating piece of dance history, but it was not a show meant for The Met (and none of the performances I saw last year really wowed me...the energy was weird then too even with multiple casts). I feel that most people who were interested saw it last year, realized that they paid to watch 20 minutes of a children's dance recital, some patchy pantomime by the adults (saved by some lovely bursts of artistry and solo work), and decided to skip it this year. I also can't bear to face all the empty seats in that huge theater, especially after a Met Opera season full of packed houses and/or soaring enthusiasm. This season has so little momentum behind it. Honestly, cutting three weeks off the 2021 season might snap some better decisions into ABT's sluggish leadership.
  4. How has she looked the rest of the season? I haven't seen much of her this year and just assumed she was nursing a mild injury or having an 'off' day. It's a shame because I always find this couple the most ambiguous of the Liebeslieder couples. I did love Daniel Applebaum as her partner in this. His innate elegance and splendid épaulement is always a highlight for me. He and Stanley were a joy to watch.
  5. I agree. Are we forgetting that Rochester was moody and intense? Odd looking yet strangely handsome? I think Whiteside is the obvious choice. Not to mention he's also the sturdiest partner in (what seems like?) a very partnering-heavy role. If we're going by the book, Stearns and Forster are the weirder casting choices (though I'm looking forward to seeing Forster as well). Honestly in looking through the ABT male roster, I'm having trouble visualizing many of the dancers as this character. Hallberg has a good look for it, but he's been rather mild in his characterizations lately.
  6. I bet that was Copeland's choice. She dances much more beautifully when not in the 'high pressure' roles (she was great in everything I saw last Spring except Swan Lake, in which she seemed unsteady). I think Manon and Jane Eyre are promising roles for her...she brings a lot of freshness to the more youthful dramatic roles for me. Really hoping Jonathan Klein gets one of those Whipped Cream slots. Bell is wonderful but If find him to be a better partner than an engaging dancer, if that makes sense. Forster had some minor problems partnering Shevchenko in Firebird last Spring (then again, who can keep up with Shevchenko anymore?)...maybe that's why he isn't landing a lot of major partnering leads? So happy that Gorak got a SB. Prince Desiree is a perfect role for him.
  7. Fang has been with the company since 2003! Another Ballet Alert member pointed out to me that she was injured a while back (for two whole years) so it stalled her progress. She will be like Luciana Paris, not on the principal route but an invaluable soloist. For me, Fang absolutely glows. She was the only harlot this year to really dig into the role, performed well as the first shade, and performs even the smallest roles with a freshness and charisma that's impossible to fake. She is also incredibly stylish and carries a sparkling old world glamour, which is always good for fashion shoots and such (shouldn't matter, but it really is important to keep ballet on the public radar, even if it's just a magazine spread). Love her. Williams hasn't been high on my radar, but everyone who saw her Myrtha this year said it was the best of the new batch of Myrthas, and that's really saying something.
  8. I too was a little disappointed in his performance on Monday, but by Wednesday he seemed to have shaken off whatever was holding him back. He really, really tore into the role that night.
  9. Are you me? I thought no one else felt the same way. What Bell lacks is intensity. Some naturally have it (Jonathan Klein does), and some develop it. I hope Bell can. Also he's 19, which cannot be covered by any amount of makeup or even strong characterization. I think the fault here is in weird casting.
  10. That makes sense. I have seen her in soloist roles but she's been with the company since 2003! That seems like a long time to remain a corps member considering what a great presence she has. An injury would definitely explain it (unfortunately).
  11. Whiteside may not be the greatest actor in moments of high drama, but he was the only Siegfried I saw this week who brought life to Act I. He brings such a sly, dissatisfied air to his spoiled Prince, a man who is looking for excitement and destined for trouble. It added some much-appreciated foreshadowing that is very present in Tchaikovsky’s music, but not McKenzie’s terrible choreography. He also was an excellent partner for Murphy. *shrug* I really like his Siegfried. And of all the Odettes I saw this week (note: I couldn't make Shevchenko's performance) Gillian Murphy was the only one who made me cry. She brings the most suffering and depth to the role, as if she has been a captive for over a century. Her interactions with Whiteside were more tender than the other Odettes, and her protection of him much stronger. Love her frozen stare at the sky the moment when Rothbart possesses her at the end of Act II. Her Odile was not the speeding bullet of five years ago, but she seemed the most relaxed in the role. Overall, this has been a good year for O/Os. I didn't love Aran Bell as Rothbart. He's technically superior to Royal, but very flat in characterization. I didn’t expect a 19-year-old to convincingly play Odile’s seductive sorcerer father, and I'm sure he will improve with time. I suppose it was to be expected that he would look like a teenager wearing a silly costume. Has anyone seen enough of Zhong-Jing Fang to know why she's being held back from more soloist work? She's been a breath of fresh this whole season, and has such movie star glamour. She never treats small roles like small roles. She and Duncan Lyle have both been dancing everything with such gratitude and joy. Corps members like them are a blessing. I also couldn't take my eyes off Kaho Ogawa's swan. There is something so beyond-her-years in the way she tilts her head to catch the light, as well as her clean lines and accomplished swan arms.
  12. I have a feeling they are keeping Shevchenko in the wings (metaphorically speaking) tomorrow just in case. But I think it's fine. If social media is any indication, Murphy seems excited to dance Swan Lake. For Don Q, they would definitely give Shevchenko one of Murphy's shows if doesn't feel up to the role. The second slot would probably go to Seo, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Brandt has been learning Kitri as well. Then again it is ABT. They're pretty bad at being prepared (see: the infamous three Sylvias incident in 2016).
  13. People were definitely whispering around me. I think a lot of people noticed. I wonder what she'll do for Don Q. It's one thing to sub them in Swan Lake, but virtuoso dancing and tricks are really the only things Don Quixote has going for it. Why else even bother seeing Don Quixote?
  14. Cirio is an extraordinary artist (also, is there a more likable principal in the ranks?), but he couldn't carry Harlequinade, which I thought would be a shoe-in for him. Even though his solo was the cleanest of all the leading men that week, he didn't seem 100% immersed. I just don't think ABT is a good fit. He excels in more cutting edge pieces. I love Royal in everything I see him in, but his technique hasn't been looking the strongest these past few weeks (his port de bras is still to die for though, and he does have that 'it' factor). I think the big leading man solos would get the best of him unless he has a technical epiphany.
  15. This whole conversation is depressing me. I couldn't make Shevchenko's debut so I went to tonight's show, hoping that some high audience energy would pick up my spirits. It was fine. Copeland is a better Odile than Odette. It might not be world class dancing, but she got the job done without any major fumbles. The only real annoyance for me was that she splays her fingers really wide, especially when she dances Odette. It cuts off her line and looks extremely weird. I've never seen her do this before. And yes, she did piqué and chaîné turns. They weren't especially crisp, but I admire her for realizing her limits and scaling back. Afterwards people around me were whispering, so I assume many are aware of this year's YouTube Foutté-Gate. Oddly enough, there were no solo curtain calls, just two en masse. Jonathan Klein was fantastic in the Neopolitan. Sometimes I get more excited about him than Bell. Act I is really tough to sit through multiple times per week. That choreography is so muddy and uninspired. In some places it looks like it was choreographed to completely different music. Or no music at all. If there were an intermission after Act I I would just wait until it's over and then take my seat. Bleh. Looking forward to Murphy's turn on Friday (but not having to sit through Act I and the dreaded swan interlude). Having two great Swan Queens in the pipeline (Shevchenko, Teuscher) is a pretty exciting prospect. I feel like Trenary would also be fantastic one day.
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