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Posts posted by bingham

  1. Does anyone know why Abrera and Forster were dancing the White Swan PDD at the Met today? Numerous ABT dancers posted pics of it on their Instagram accounts, but without context for the occasion.


    Murphy is listed as performing excerpts from Sylvia next Monday for the Gala, so I'm wondering if this might be prepared as a substitute, as needed. What a treat, if it is!

    maybe, we might get an Abrera Swan Lake debut this season?

  2. Marcelo Gomes will be doing Mother Simone in some performances( Roman Zhurbin is doing it too) according to ABT schedule. He will be something to see. Too bad i'm not in the NYC area at that time. Looking forward for reports. Surprised that D Simkin was not cast as Alain. I think he would have been wonderful in that role.

  3. Sadly, LA Fille suffers from the same disrespect that most comedies face, with few exceptions, like Marriage of Figaro and The Importance of Being Earnest.

    It's exquisitely crafted, but no one dies.

    It also has to have very good principal cast to succeed. I love Stella but i can't see her as Lise. Maybe because she always plays serious roles. I hope she proves me wrong. I wonder who will be Mother Simone in the present revival?

  4. The sales for her performances of The Firebird are also extraordinary. The house is almost sold out for both of her performances. Mixed programs always sell so poorly at the Met, so what a boon to ABT. And everything but Family Circle is sold out for her Swan Lake! Sales for her Fille mal gardée seem about on par with other casts, which make sense since it's not a title with widespread recognition.

    It is unfortunate that La Fille does not have the recognition it deserves. IMO, it is just about the most enjoyable of ballets.

  5. Hee Seo is the exchange artist. As noted somewhere in this thread, Hee Seo will perform Aurora next month at the Mariinsky, with Shkylarov as Prince Desire and Kondaurova as Lilac.

    In her FB, Christine Schevchenko posts that she is in St Petersburg- Mariinsky" taking classes and rehearsing". Maybe, she is the exchange artist?

  6. Perhaps they're saving the "Lane slot" for Kochetkova as Aurora? That's more likely than saving it for Copeland. The entire situation with Lane is bizarre and sad. I also would have expected her to have a possible Juliet debut at Wolf Trap in July but that isn't happening.

    About the TBD for Hee Seo's partner in SB, I have a secret wish for that to be Kim Kimin. All-Korean power pair, oh yeah! :)

    Just noted in the Mariinsky website that Hee seo will dance Aurora with V. Skylarov at the april 8,2016 MIB Festival performance of Sleeping beauty. Maybe, he is the TBD?

  7. February 6 & 7

    Asami Maki Ballet

    Swan Lake

    chor: Kyozo Mitani, Terry Westmoreland, after Petipa, Ivanov

    Odette-Odile: Svetlana Lunkina

    Siegfried: Ruslan Skvortsov

    Rothbart: Ken Kikuchi

    Queen Mother: Mami Sakanishi

    Tutor: Anton Kei Hosaka

    pas de trois: Emiko Moda, Marie Kubo, Tomoharu Yonekura

    cygnets: Mariko Oriyama, Mayumi Yonezawa, Chihiro Abe, Honoka Kaminaka (6), Miyako Kobashi (7)

    big swans: Emiko Moda, Marie Kubo, Kanna Sato, Rina Miyake

    pas de quatre: Yuuri Hidaka, Mariko Oriyama (6), Mayumi Onezawa (7), Chiharu Kiyotaki, Yuuki Hamada (6), Chirai Sakatsume (7)

    Russian dance: Kika Aoyama

    Neapolitan dance: Mayami Yonezawa (6), Mariko Oriyama (7), Ikuru Hosono (6), Satoshi Hashimoto (7)

    Tokyo Orchestra MIRAI

    cond: Alexei Baklan

    It had long been a dream of mine to see Svetlana Lunkina and Ruslan Skvortsov dance together on stage, a dream that seemed to fade after Lunkina left the Bolshoi and joined the National Ballet of Canada. When the opportunity to see them together finally presented itself, I was doubly happy that it was in a straightforward and traditional production of Swan Lake, away from the eccentricities and excesses of the stagings by Yuri Grigorovich and James Kudelka. The production by Kyozo Mitani, following on a staging by Terry Westmoreland, is satisfyingly coherent, reminiscent of the pre-Dowell Royal Ballet production, which once upon a time had been the first Swan Lake I saw in the theater. It includes all the elements I expect to see in sensible productions—from Odette’s mime to a double suicide, ending in an apotheosis on a swan boat—none of the execrable things—jesters, potential fiancées performing folksy dances, an applause-milking bow following Odile’s fouettés, a happy ending—and a few of the typical additions—a melancholy solo for Siegfried at the end of Act 1, an Ashton-esque pas de quatre in Act 3 and the less frequently used Russian dance.

    All Japanese ballet companies seem to have very strong women’s corps, and the Asami Maki Ballet is no exception. In particular they combined precision with energy and speed at the swans’ entrance. Nevertheless, the guest artists were the main attraction at these performances. Lunkina and Skvortsov are a magnificent partnership in how they are alike and how they are complementary. They share proud, expressive Muscovite schooling in its most aristocratic, elegant and refined form, an unaffected sincerity and a large-eyed, dark-haired beauty. But where she is exquisitely delicate, he is tall and powerful; she has a porcelain, lissome femininity, while he has unforced, authoritative virility. Gravity hardly seems to be present. She floats through space with liquid smoothness. He soars into the air and lands soundlessly. Everything—the mime, the port de bras, the partnering—is ravishing, musical and true. When her intensely spiritual swan queen meets his soulful prince, the romantic tragedy that follows is eloquent, poignant and bewitching poetry.

    Skvortsov is a noble and gracious hero: handsome and manly, sensitive and romantic, possessing splendid carriage, fluid, patrician style, easy technique and an awareness—to steal an expression from Ashton Fan—that princes don’t sweat. He excels at fine points: naturalness in acting, expansively smooth port de bras and gorgeous épaulement, stillness of the upper body in grand allegro, fluency of movement and above all the musicality which characterizes his dancing and also his mime. These are on full display in his adagio solo toward the end of the first act and especially in the transition to the act’s conclusion, in which his body seems so keenly responsive to the swelling “lake” theme in the music.

    Lunkina’s Odette is immediately striking in her uniqueness. There is little in the way of obvious swan mannerisms: no “fluffing” of feathers, no pronounced, muscular flapping of wings, no broken wrists or hyper-stretched and taut poses. Nothing is done for effect. Lunkina’s Odette is not at all about positions, but about continuously flowing movement. She is more like a graceful willow tree, limbs floating lithely and weightlessly. She is so lovely, fragile and vulnerable, so touching in how she performs her mime scene, that it is immediately apparent why Siegfried should resolve to rescue her. Nowhere is this more beautifully conveyed than in the great adage, when Lunkina swoons back and Skvortsov almost imperceptibly wraps his long arm around her tiny waist to catch her with absolute surety and care. No heart-stopping suspense here. Solicitude is everything in this pairing. In reality Lunkina and Skvortsov had very little past history in this ballet; the Bolshoi typically pairs him with more Amazonian swan queens. But if their rehearsal period lasted only a few days, the audience would never have guessed. The duet is everything that could be wished: rapt, delicate and heartfelt, subtle but deeply stirring, and the lifts are all breathtakingly fast and smooth. They move and breathe as one; it is more spiritual union than dance. Also breathtaking is how Lunkina performs the entrechat quatre-retiré sequence in the coda, for it would be difficult to imagine a more beautiful and graceful rendering of what frequently looks awkward and labored.

    Lunkina’s Odile is a gleefully merciless temptress. But here she also does not follow what Alastair Macaulay aptly describes as “the misguided Russian tradition of tucking her head down and repeatedly looking hard at the audience under her brows…to let us know she is a scheming villainess.” She is not obvious or crass, but luminous and exultant. It is when she imitates Odette most obviously that Skvortsov’s Siegfried senses what a fraud she is and hesitates, but ultimately he is powerless in the face of her seduction. His short-lived joy is expressed in his high-flying variation, although I did get the sense that he felt a little hamstrung by the beautiful but large set that took up a lot of stage space. At no point did he attempt a manège; there simply wasn’t room for it—not for a six-footer, anyway. However at the second performance he threw in an added level of difficulty. If normally his variation ends with three double tours and a pirouette, on this occasion he took a page from Theme and Variations and threw in a couple of extra double tours to finish, all performed in his trademark style, i.e., no discernible preparation. When almost immediately his joy is snatched away by the ruthlessness of Odile’s deception, he is inconsolable in his despair.

    Lunkina’s entrance in the final act is heartrending, without excess or melodrama, but with a new force and determination in her movements. Skvortsov’s remorse is dignified and grave, as both characters confront their inevitable tragedy with resolution and a physical commitment fully worthy of the great score. It is only a pity that the watery suicides and apotheosis are not better lit to put across the drama fully. The jumps take place in the upstage right corner essentially at stage level, without any sort of ramp or rock formation. Just as Lunkina’s Odette runs to the corner, Skvortsov’s Siegfried runs downstage center to mime—with great conviction—his intention to follow her, as a result of which I missed her jump the first time around. Stronger spotlights on the corner and the swan boat wouldn’t have gone amiss, but certainly Lunkina and Skvortsov gave it their physical and emotional all.

    Among the other dancers I would single out Marie Kubo for her strong technique and big jump in the pas de trois, tiny Sayako Okuda as the girl who toys with the tipsy Tutor and Kika Aoyama in the Russian dance, which in this production is the first of the national dances. The Neapolitan dance is essentially Ashton’s but rendered easier by unlinking the dancers’ arms. The fiancées’ waltz was re-choreographed to make Siegfried an active participant, but I would have preferred the traditional version. I do feel strongly that Odette should be the first swan maiden Siegfried and the audience see. Here there was a quartet of swans at the rear of the stage at the beginning of Act 2, presumably because it was thought necessary in the exposition of Rothbart's identity. Also, Siegfreid "follows" Odette swimming across the lake before she emerges from the wings. I prefer the versions where he watches her descent from flight and then sees her transformation as she lands, but that's really a niggling detail.

    If Bob Ringwood’s designs are beginning to look a little frayed with age, they are nevertheless attractive, especially the tapestry-hung walls of the castle ballroom. However, I was puzzled as to why the dancers in the mazurka looked more like Greeks than Poles, and Skvortsov, alas, was stuck with his Virsaladze tunics.

    I thought the Asami Maki Ballet was better served by MIRAI Orchestra under Alexei Baklan than the Tokyo Ballet had been by Anton Grishanin and the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, which had a few too many muffed solo passages. Apart from an excessively fast mazurka, I thought Baklan did a fine job.

    For most of my ballet-going life the perfect Swan Lake has been as elusive as the Holy Grail, and that is still the case, but thanks to Lunkina and Skvortsov these performances were deeply satisfying. My devout wish now is that they should have more opportunities to dance together in the near future—and that I should be there to see it.

    Finally, I have to thank naomikage for her immense kindness and helpfulness. :flowers: Having the opportunity to dine, visit a spectacular Botticelli exhibit and attend the ballet with her was a huge chunk of what made the trip to Tokyo so enjoyable. I hope we can all do it again some time.

    I'm surprised Ruslan Skvortsov is not seen more in the west. He seems to have everything.

  8. You certainly used to be able to fire dancers. After the annual examination, once the public had departed, dancers who had failed to attend class, put on weight, generally failed to come up to the expected standard, appeared before the jury which was asked whether the dancer in question should remain a member of the company or be dismissed. No marking, just yes or no. If the majority voted yes, then the next question was whether it should be at the same rank or a lower. And it's worth bearing in mind that the management, that is to say the artistic director and the ballet staff, have a considerable input into making up the final total of marks which decide whether a dancer should be promoted. Doesn't matter how well he or she performs on the day if they've not worked properly since the last concours the total will be marked down.

    As to the "occidental" remark; Former Etoile Charles Jude is half Vietnamese, Kadar Belarbi now running the company in Toulouse is Berber and soloists Eric Vu An and Jean Marie Didiere were both dark skinned. Don't know what the company is like now but in the past it wasn't a problem.

    Sae Yun Park is Korean,Hannah O'neil is part Japanese and there are 2or3 Asians in the corp de ballet

  9. I too think he's laying the groundwork for his life after performing, whenever that'll happen. Who knows regarding the Bolshoi?

    Dancerboy90210, on 01 Feb 2016 - 2:46 PM, said:snapback.png

    I think it's gotten a bit better recently. Gomes is still the company's MVP, but Whiteside has been churning out a similarly heavy load. Stearns isn't far behind. Bolle is still in good form, but he's now 40 and never danced nearly as much as the others. New principal Lendorf is scheduled to dance 10 lead roles at the Met. We'll see how he does. Cornejo and Simkin are limited due to their size (especially Simkin). They could use a few more I agree. Hammoudi hasn't met their expectations for a possible promotion. I wonder if Gorak will be promoted this year? He's the only male soloist with principal potential (and with him, it isn't a question of "if" but "when").

    Unfortunately, Alban has been out for a while, He has not danced anything at the RDB up to this month. He would be terrific as Colas in La Fille.... I hope he will be able to join the company in the Spring.

  10. sandik and JMcN - I'm actually watching it another five times, but looking over my reply I can see that I confused the numebers. I'm seeing the performance six times in all, four times on tour and two times in Copenhagen. So, ahead awaits Esbjerg Friday, Holstebro Sunday, Aalborg Tuesday the week after and then Copenhagen on the 13th and 27th of February. I'm really excited about this tour of my own and will keep the forum updated on my impressions.

    However, for now I am looking forward to hopefully catching J'aime Crandall and Jon Axel Fransson in T&V a couple of times and, if Holly Dorger recovers from her injury in time, her and Ulrik Birkkjær in Copenhagen. I am really hoping that she will be able to dance again soon, because Holly is just the kind of ballerina who I believe would be able to engage me in this choreography. The rehearsal footage I saw of her and Birkkjær in the PDD was absolutely divine.

    6 times? WOW! Not very familiar with Denmark but are these places close enough to travel with ease. Just curious.

  11. Well two things perhaps to mention: This double bill was selling poorly which is extremely rare in Opera Garnier always full of tourists so perhaps Millepied thought his show biz fame would fill in with new audience (he had a documentary on him shown on TV in December broadly covered by the press)… Also he surprisingly (with no info, we discovered it on POB website) withdrew from the new Nutcracker so perhaps he’s recycling some already prepared material.
    Yes Benjamin Pech is retiring. He wasn’t dancing much the past years due to permanent injury but from the middle of last year, he’s Millepied personal adviser.

    has the new season(2016-17) been posted?Hoping there will be more classical ballet.

  12. I don't know much about The Golden Cockerel. Will be interesting to see. I had hoped that Ratmansky might have taken on Swan Lake and redid their version, which to be honest could use a refresh. Excited for La Fille Mal Gardee, its nice to see them throw in a wild card and not do just the normal repertory rotations. Wonder how long until we get to see casting. Gardee seems like a great ballet for their new corp of shorter principals and soloists. I'm crossing my fingers for the opportunity to see lots of Stella! They also announced their Nutcracker casting in California today and was a little disappointed to see Stella paired with Hammoudi. Nothing against him, but she deserves a fully developed partner. Judging from her incredible Giselle this past season, I think casting her with a strong partner and dancer helps her deliver an incredible performance. This was clear after seeing her with Gorak in Cinderella. He has incredible talent and is on his way to the top, but his partnering and acting skills are lacking. This type of stuff takes away from Stella's performance. She deserves the best. Shall we all take our bets on casting? Lets hope for lots of debuts!

    Stella has Marcelo in her Sleeping Beauty debut.

  13. The website of the Metropolitan Opera now has the performance dates (but not the casting) for ABT's spring season: http://www.metopera.org/calendar#/on-stage?year=2016&month=4

    Sylvia May 9-14

    ABT Gala May 16

    Shostakovich Trilogy May 17, 20, 21, 23

    World Premiere / 7 Sonatas / Firebird May 18, 19, 21

    La Fille Mal Gardee May 24-30

    Le Corsaire May 31 - June 4

    The Golden Cockerel June 6-11

    Swan Lake June 13-18

    Romeo & Juliet June 20-25

    The Sleeping Beauty June 27 - July 2

    Most of the casting is included now. Stella dances Aurora and Lise( La Fille) .Hooray but no Swan Lake? C Trenary also dances Aurora.

  14. It's a shame. Not that Skorik is bad. Now that she's gained some confidence, she's really improved and I would say she's better than any ABT ballerina except Gillian. Still Osmolkina, Novikova and Kolegova are much stronger, more compelling dancers. It's clear that, for some reason, Fataeyev just hates Vaganova trained dancers. He is doing everything to keep them in the corps (except for Shapran and Batoeva). I'm hoping hard working Ermakov gets promoted soon.

    Better than Veronika Part?

  15. Speaking of La Fille Mal Gardee, i know it is still far away but what would be the possible cast for spring. Gillian would definitely be cast again,possibly Misty and Isabella if Natalia Osipova will not return. I hope they ask Lesley Collier to coach the ladies. Herman, Alban and James should do well as Colas. David is too princely to dance Colas but might surprise us. Arron Scott, Daniil S and maybe, Jeffrey Cirio can do Alain. And in a master stroke of casting, KMc should try to convince M Gomes to dance Mother Simone. Marcelo did so well as Caraboose,so who knows. Any other suggestions?

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