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About Drew

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    Emeralds Circle

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
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  1. ABT did not dismiss Gomes; the company began an investigation and he resigned. Have I misremembered that?
  2. Drew

    Veronika Part

    Thank you for posting this news. (It was also posted under Atlanta Ballet plus a couple of responses there.)
  3. Atlanta Ballet has just announced that Veronika Part and Rory Hohenstein are new ballet masters with the company: https://www.atlantaballet.com/news/introducing-new-ballet-masters
  4. Thank you Sohalia for writing on Stepanova's performance. I would have very much liked to see her but was unable to stay that many nights in London. I think the Balcony at the Royal Opera House is great for Swan Lake--especially great for registering the beauty of the corps de ballet.
  5. I decided to post re the Bolshoi Swan Lakes I saw on the British forum where others have been attending and are discussing them but remembering what a pasting Zakharova took in New York for her Swan Lake with Hallberg in 2014, I decided to post a slightly edited version of my comments about her performance with Rodkin in London here. I saw three Bolshoi Swan Lakes in London and I found her performance to be in an entirely different class from the other two I saw which were Smirnova (with Chudin) and Kovalyova (with Tissi). The very beautiful Smirnova remains a bit opaque to me, though still fascinating, and Kovalyova of course is still at an extremely early stage of her career. I enjoyed aspects of both of their performances and I also--and especially--enjoyed Chudin's Siegfried. (I find his aristocratic bearing and pure classical style a profound pleasure.) As for Zakharova -- Both live and in "HD" I have always found her riveting to watch but not always interpretively memorable....Still, in fairness I also have not seen her dance live in many years--so I did not have strong views on the matter going into this past week's performances. Her Saturday night performance as Odette-Odile on top of her Aegina earlier in the week has entirely rewritten my personal experience of her as a ballerina in the theater. Five years ago in New York (where I missed her) Zakharova was lambasted in the press (and online among some fans--though not all) for giving what was described as an uninvolved or "cold" performance; in London opposite Rodkin she gave a performance I found not only exciting but tremendously moving. (I didn't just have tears in my eyes watching; I have tears in my eyes writing about it.) I think Rodkin played a key role here. He is not the seamless stylist Chudin is. Also, though his leaps are impressive, when it comes to turns, a double pirouette seems about as much as he can muster and he sort of fakes his way through the chaine turns through which Grigorovich has Siegfried express much of his agitation in the final scenes of this staging. Not just Chudin Friday night, but Tissi at the matinee was able to do more with these. But in other respects not only did he dance very impressively, but he seemed a much superior actor to either Chudin or Tissi and his dancing also carries much more of a sexual charge than theirs -- the result was genuine chemistry with Zakharova and a deeply romantic performance of the ballet insofar as Grigorovich's approach allows for it. Apparently no-one told Zakharova that the souvenir program describes her as primarily a specter in Siegfried's mind. And when she looked up into Rodkin's eyes towards the end of the first lake scene you could believe she was in love with him. Overall, unless one values an Odette-Odile solely on whether she makes it to 32 fouettes (I counted Zakharova at 27 with the last one a double) her performance throughout was wonderful--profoundly involved and involving. At any rate, and obviously, I found it so--articulate, fluid, soulful, and exciting, with a coda to the black swan pas de deux that I thought well worthy of her coach Semenyaka--shooting across the stage like lightning and closing with a striking balance. At all the performances I attended I also thought the dancing of the corps and some of the coryphees was a genuine highlight, and the different featured women in both acts of this two-act version made a good and some, a very good, impression (some of the featured men--jesters and evil geniuses--a little less so, though I thought Geraschenko wasn't bad). As in New York five years ago, Tikhomirova as one of the "brides" (she did Spanish the night I saw her in NY and Neapolitan the night I saw her in London) was outstanding. But for me the event of the three Swan Lakes was undoubtedly Zakharova--and though, going in, I was quite confident I would admire and enjoy her performance (she's not "Zakharova" for nothing!) I did not anticipate that it would be such a memorable evening. Huge gratitude to Zakharova and Rodkin both.
  6. Drew

    Simone Messmer

    Yes...thank you @Syzygy for the news on Messmer...
  7. I've always wondered how altitude would impact dancers not used to it. (I get migraines when I'm that high up and can barely walk!) But the setting and programming do always sound quite wonderful. I see Lovette is another ballerina who has opted to highlight her hair in a way that, to me, seems especially out of place in a nineteenth-century ballet. I find it distracting, though I realize it's fine for a Vail excerpt. I guess I'm rather traditional when it comes to taste in hair color/styles for ballet.
  8. I was able to see the opening Spartacus. I had to laugh at Mashinka’s (accurate) description of Belyakov’s Crassus as “an out and out maniac.” Even in the context of THIS ballet it would have to count as an un-subtle performance—but count me another new-minted Belyakov fan. His dancing was just...electric. I almost became overexcited every time he started up. And I think the dancing sometimes did have interpretive qualities in the emphasis he gave the steps. When Aegina spurs him to action after he has been humiliated by Spartacus, Crassus executes three double assemblees—one downstage left, one downstage right, and one upstage center. Belyakov seemed to build one on top of the other, going higher each time, as if to symbolize Crassus’s rising confidence. It didn’t look at all like ‘pacing’ to me— it looked like the expression of the character’s growing determination. But ... definitely a maniac. I thought the whole ensemble looked great—regarding the leads, perhaps I had a few more reservations about Rodkin’s Spartacus than Mashinka. Also, to me, Rodkin did seem to be pacing himself (understandably) and I rather thought the performance got more effective as the evening went along. I’m inclined to cut the inexperienced Denisova some slack: she showed strength and, I guess, guts in some of those acrobatic lifts and seemed very committed to the drama at the end. And I am very glad I finally got to see Zakharova’s Aegina in the theater. Without seeming in any way ever to hold back she did build her performance up to a climax —masterfully I would say. Belyakov, on the other hand, was at 1000 percent the moment the curtain went up and stayed that way until the moment it came down. No complaints from me though. It seemed entirely “Bolshoi” and made me very happy.
  9. Assuming travel plans hold, I am looking forward to all the casts as well — ditto regarding Tereshkina and Batoeva especially. I did not see it myself, but I had thought Shakirova was cast as the Tsar Maiden when the company brought Little Humpbacked Horse to D.C.
  10. Drew

    Francesca Hayward

    Well, her impact is in the world of dance...especially right now as a ‘crossover’ artist between ballet and film and for some time as someone whose background is not altogether typical for an RB principal. For myself, I’m happy to see the arts in general and ballet in particular included in the Vogue feature. It’s the kind of thing they do...And Hayward surely has charisma which Vogue, in particular, is always happy to spotlight even in its ‘serious’ features. And uh....it IS a Vogue cover, not the Nobel prize... Congratulation to Hayward!
  11. Attending the enchanting Fox is itself an event and the Cobb energy center is well outside the city center (insofar as Atlanta has a center) — though I guess it is central to its own section of the very spread out Atlanta. I always laugh (grimly) when Atlanta Ballet thanks Fulton County for its support right before its performances in....Cobb county. The latter is notably absent from the list of public and private supporters being announced. (The Fox is in Fulton County.) That said, sightlines at the Fox are horrible, parking can be a little complicated and of course being able to offer a longer run of Nutcracker could be great for the company. Cobb energy center has excellent sight lines and is in other respects a very pleasant contemporary venue. You feel like you are in a classic Hollywood movie amidst the Egyptian decorative motifs of the Fox Theater ladies room — Gone with the Wind premiered at the Fox — but there are a lot more stalls at the Energy Center. The old baseball venue—Turner Field—moved out to Cobb a few years back. It is actually the same exit off the highway as the Energy Center. It sparked some debate, but Atlanta Ballet is unlikely to generate the same level of interest or concern as the Atlanta Braves.
  12. Drew

    Harrison Ball

    Sounds like a thought-through and thoughtful decision.
  13. I also would love to see Tereshkina in D.C.
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