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Everything posted by Ceeszi

  1. I know it's not the same with all the air mileage, but I am going to drive 5 hours (New York to DC) just to see Alina on Thursday evening's Sleeping Beauty. I saw her dance before twice. In the Summer of 2004, I saw her in the Voices of Spring Pas de Deux with Johann Kobborg at the Ashton Centennial. Then, in Februray of 2005, she and Johann danced at the Stars of the 21st Century Gala. In that performance they danced to the Act II Pas de Deux from Giselle and the Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote. I have been hoping and praying that Alina would return to NYC, but it just hasn't happened. So, if Mohammed won't go to the mountain ..... I promise to post as soon as I come home on Friday!
  2. I learned a very powerful lesson tonight. Do you know I almost did not go and try to get tickets to this, because I knew nothing about this ballet, I didn't know the story, and I was unfamiliar with the music by Jules Massenet. What got me out tonight was the opportunity to see Alessandra Ferri dance live and a last opportunity to see the great Julio Bocca. I am so glad that I went. It is a lesson for me to try more new ballets. By the time I got to the Met, the only section available was Family Circle. It really is the nosebleeds, but the view is spectacular from up there! Alessandra Ferri - what can I say? Is there any other ballerina in the world who is so mesmerizing just walking across the stage? She has such a presence and she and Julio were awesome together! All of their dances together were so passionate and romantic. Ferri was all over the place - she was upside down - right side up - sideways - at one point she and Julio looked like they were doing pairs figure skating, but every single movement she made was given from the heart and she was in total control the whole time. In her Act I dance with Herman Cornejo as her brother, Lescaut, and Victor Barbee as Monsieur G.M., she kept getting twisted into these pretzel like moves - she was a young girl being whored out by her brother. In her Act II dance with Barbee at the party, where he kept passing her around from man to man - she was a possession being showed off and sampled. And every dance with Julio Bocca as Des Grieux was a total expression of love - passionate, wreckless, and given with total abandonment. Julio Bocca was great in his own solo numbers and was, as usual, the perfect partner to Ferri. Herman Cornejo - I saw a different side of him tonight. All of the times that I have seen him dance in the past, he has been in some type of virtuoso role, where he really gets a chance to show off. He gave a very subdued performance as Lescaut - there were no real fireworks in this role, but he was very effective and the audience (myself included) loved his comic dance with Gillian Murphy. Murphy was very good as Lescaut's Mistress. There was one other part that really got me - the opening of Act III, when the women prisoners are herded off the ship. That was heartbreaking! The short hair - the shame - the humiliation - the despair - all this came out in the choreography, especially the way they kept covering their faces as they danced. And the curtain calls? It was definitely a Ferri-Bocca Lovefest!!
  3. I attended the Saturday evening perfromance, June 17th. First of all, this was a very emotional performance for me. This is the first time that I attended the ballet since my Mother died in April. I used to take Mom to the ballet. In fact, we had tickets for Giselle (the Julie Kent/Julio Bocca performance) last year. Mom had to be hospitalized a few days before we were supposed to go (she had a bad reaction to her chemotherapy). She insisted that I go that night and I remember calling her in the hospital at intermission and telling her how wonderful it was. Saturday night, I took my best friend with me. I loved last year's performance with Julie Kent and Julio Bocca. But last night was just extraordinary. My only complaint was the Peasant Pas de Deux. Last year, I saw this part danced by Herman Cornejo and Xiomara Reyes and it was brilliant! Last night, with Erica Cornejo and Gennadi Saveliev was OK. It was good, but just not given the pizzazz that it could have been. Cornejo looked a little shaky on some of her turns and finishing poses. Again, (sorry to keep comparing!) last year I saw Gillian Murphy as Myrta. Her dancing was wondeful, but I felt that she was not intimidating enough as the Queen of the Wilis. Last night Michele Wiles was a much scarier Myrta, but once or twice she was a little off from the rest of the Wili corps. But overall, dancing and acting, she was a very effective Myrta. Diana Vishneva - What an absolutely stunning performance! She made me cry several times during the night. She was so heartbreaking in her innocence in Act I and so loving and forgiving in Act II. And that was just what she displayed with her acting and miming talents. Her dancing was so wonderful! And no matter how difficult the steps, I just knew she was going to be superb. Her technique - her artistry - her presence - and her beauty combined to make this an unforgettable night. Angel Corella I have seen Angel Corella dance before with Alexandra Ansanelli, Julie Kent, and (on television) Gillian Murphy, but his partnering of Vishneva was magnificent. First of all, he is such a good danseur in his own right. He excelled in his own solo numbers and was the perfect partner to Vishneva. When he lifted her in the air, Vishneva made these beautiful arcs with her legs and arms. I am going to steal a line I read on this board a few months ago. Their Act II Pas de Deux was "meltingly lovely". Once more, we have an Albrecht who prevents Albrecht from becoming the bad guy in the story. The real bad guy was Hilarion (who last night was played by Sascha Radetsky). Diana and Angel got 5 curtain calls last night! What an extraordianry evening! I think this will rank as one of the great Giselles in the history of the ABT. And I would love to see another pairing of these two great dancers.
  4. I would love to attend one of the Kirov's performances. If someone could please help me choose: June 16 - Daria Pavlenko as Giselle, Igor Kolb as Albrecht, and Viktoria Tereshkina as Myrtha June 17 matinee - Irina Golub, Andrian Fadeyev, and Alina Somova June 17 evening - Olesya Novikova, Leonid Sarafanov, and Viktoria Tereshkina June 18 - Daria Pavlenko, Igor Kolb, and Alina Somova The only dancer that I have ever seen before was Andrian Fadeyev when he danced at the "Stars of the 21st Century" Gala last year with Diana Vishneva and this year with Sofiane Sylve. I am unfamiliar with all of the others. Any help would be appreciated!
  5. This is the second year in a row that I have attended the Stars of the 21st Century. I read on the Message Board about the cast and I was a little disappointed that perhaps the star power was not there like last year, but it was an incredible evening which I thoroughly enjoyed. 1) The evening began with Desmond Richardson of Complexions Contemporary Ballet in Showman's Groove. To be honest, this was not what I came to see, but what Richardson showed us was his incredible ability to interpret every note of music with his body. He danced to very jazzy music and the choreography was by Dwight Rhoden. It was a good way to start the evening. 2) Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky were next in the Carmen Pas de Deux. This was very different from the Carmen Pas de Deux which was done at last year's gala by Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre. Irina and Maxim came out in sort of matching oufits - very bellbottomy like pants - he was shirtless. They did very sharp, jarring moves - there was nothing graceful about this dance. It was great to see them dance together again, but I didn't like the dance. 3) Sofian Sylve and Andrian Fadeyev danced to Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux. Strange - I live in New York, but this is the first time that I have seen Sylve dance and I have seen Fadeyev dance three times. I saw Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux many years ago with Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins - it is such a beautiful dance. Sylve kind of floated over the stage and Fadeyev showed her off very nicely. This was a very good pairing - too bad they did not do a second dance - Sylve did a solo in the second act. 4) The Giselle Act II Pas de Deux was performed by a young couple from the Paris Opera Ballet - Mathilde Froustey and Emmanuel Thibault. She is an absolutely lovely ballerina. I saw this at last year's gala with Alina Cojocaru and Johann Kobborg. They gave me the chills and Cojocaru made me cry. Froustey and Thibault did not do that for me this year, but they did a beautiful job. I watched her more than him and I think she is going to to be great. She has beauty and a purity to her dancing. 5) Oblivion with Pilar Alvarez and Claudio Hoffmann of Tango Metropolitan Argentina. Last year, they brought in the Martha Graham Dancers, which I hated. This year, as something different, they brought in these two internationally renowned tango dancers. These two were brilliant - very intense and very hypnotic. They were able to draw in the audience without ever taking their eyes off each other. 6) Pharaoh's Daughter with Svetlana Lunkina and Sergei Filin of the Bolshoi. How dissapointed I was last summer that I could not get tickets to this when the Bolshoi was here at the end of July. So, I was looking forward to seeing this. And how nice to see Lunkina back this year. Last year, her partner was not able to dance and she danced with Guillame Cote in La Sylphide, which I felt did not really show off her strengths. This was a much better dance for her. She is another lovely ballerina with that sky high extension (although not as hyper-extended as Svetlana Zakharova) of the Bolshoi ballerinas. He is a great partner and had great extension on his leaps and jumps. I wish I could see this whole ballet live one day. 7) The program listed that Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre were going to dance the Lady of the Camillas, but instead they danced to the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. As I watched them, I thought of something I read in one of Gelsey Kirkland's books. Gelsey Kirkland was trying to caoch young dancers to dance and show their hearts when they danced - to express what they were feeling while they danced. (I know I am wording this all wrong - I have to go back to the book to get the exact wording). All of the ballerinas tonight - Dvorovenko, Sylve, Froustey, and Lunkina are so lovely to watch. But Lacarra brings that extra special quality to her dance. Maybe because she dances with the man she loves in real life or maybe she is such a superb actress - I could see her love when she danced. And everything that they did looked so effortless. She would be standing there and the next second she is upside down like it was all part of the emotion that they had for one another. This brought tears to my eyes and the audience loved them. INTERMISSION 1) Grand Pas Classique with Froustey and Thibault. I liked them even better in this than in Giselle. She really captivated the audience with her solo number (the part with all the little turns). That's it - I'm in love What an incredibly lovely ballerina - she was the real surprise of the night for me. If only the Paris Opera Ballet would actually come to New York. But this is a ballerina that I want to keep my eye on in the future. 2) Sofiane Sylve did the Solo from Dances at a Gathering. This was good (a lot of posing), but it was way too short. And a solo dance did not fit in with the night's program. But she was lovely to watch. 3) La Cumparsita - the return of Alvarez and Hoffmann in this famous piece of music (I had no idea that it was called La Cumparsita). Once again, they drew the audience in with this very steamy tango. 4) Paganini Pas de Deux with Lunkina and Filin - He was the violin player and she was his muse. She entered and exited the dance with a scarf in her hands. This dance had it all - there was dynamic dancing at the beginning and the end as he chased after his muse. Then, there was the lovely slow section in the middle. I liked them better in this than in The Pharaoh's Daughter. 5) Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky returned with the Junk Duet from Known By Heart with choreography by Twyla Tharp. Once again, they were much better in this than in their Act I Carmen. This was very strange, kind of avant-garde techno music where they interpreted every beat of the music. And Irina did one move several times where she slid across the floor. The love they have for one another (on and off stage) came through more in this dance than in Act I. The dance was intense, yet playful. Not your classical ballet, but they seemed to be having a lot of fun with it. 6) Desmond Richardson returned in Solo, with music by Prince. Again, Richardson was able to interpret every beat of the music and get his body into incredible positions. Like Act I, not really what I came to see, but certainly worth watching. 7) Lacarra and Pierre closed the show with the Thais Pas de Deux with choreography by Roland Petit. I saw this once before with the Royal Ballet at the Ashton Centennial, where the woman kind of floats in and out of the man's dream. With this version, it was a total expression of love. I cried again - these two have such a wonderful quality to their dancing and they are able to draw the audience in with the mood that they set on stage. Lacarra truly dances with her heart. 8) All the dancers came out to dance by themselves and then together. Alvarez and Hoffmann got applause by doing their tango and then he lifted her in a ballet-like move. What an incredible night! Very different from last year. And as my good friend and I left Lincoln Center we just kept saying - "We are so lucky to be here!"
  6. First of all, this was the best birthday present that I ever gave myself! I was really looking forward to this performance of "Don Quixote" and, of course, I was looking forward to seeing the Bolshoi Ballet. The Bolshoi Ballet really delivered a visually stunning, dynamic, fun display to a packed, SRO audience. Kitri was played by Svetlana Zakharova. Now, I am a ballet newcomer. I really have not seen too many ballets live. But, I can say that she is one of the loveliest ballerinas I have ever seen! (THE loveliest I have ever seen is Cojocaru.) Svetlana Zakharova was beautiful, technically secure, hyper-extended, graceful, and so incredibly sure of herself in the character of Kitri. Someone has to explain to me what the controversy about Zakharova is. She was the best part of the whole ballet. Although there were other highlights of "Don Quixote", I kep waiting for Zakharova to dance. Basil was played by Andrey Uvarov. He was good, but nothing spectacular. He was an excellent partner to Zakharova, but he was only really able to turn on the fireworks during the Act III pas de deux. I agree with Faux Pas - I think I was not excited by Uvarov, because I have been spoiled by Corella, Cornejo, Bocca, and Gomes all spring and summer. But his partnering was very good. There were other highlights: - Maria Allash and Timofey Lavrenyuk in the Act I street dance - the whole corps de ballet - the Act II flamenco dance (especially the dancer who was able to bend her back and touch her head to her feet) - the Gypsy dance with Anna Antropova - the scene in the forest, especially Anna Antonicheva and Nina Kaptsova, but Zakharova was glorious in that scene as well - the Grand Pas variation with Natalia Osipova (talk about flying through the air!) It was a great night, but with the sad news that this might be it, because there was a lot of grumbling about the rest of the Bolshoi run being sold out. I am going to try anyway!
  7. OK - I decided to get myself a birthday present, so on my birthday - Monday, July 18th, I am off to see Don Quixote. I just watched the Paris Opera Ballet version on DVD with Aurelie Dupont and Manuel Legris, so I am so, so psyched! I am also planning on seeing The Pharaoh's Daughter, but I am not sure which night that I am going. I promise details about Monday night's DQ.
  8. I went to last night's performance and it was glorious! The Met was packed and I could sense that the audience was anticipating something very special. The two leads were first-rate! I saw Julie Kent and Julio Bocca two weeks ago in Le Corsaire, so I already knew that they have a beautiful, dynamic partnership with a lot of chemistry between them. Kent's Giselle was lovely - very girlish and innocent in Act I and very loving, protective, and forgiving in Act II. Her dancing was beautiful. There is a part in Act I where she skips across the stage while she in on pointe with the other foot - that got a lot of applause. She received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the ballet. She took her time during the mad scene - there was one point where she just stood, holding her head and looking in horror at the audience - that gave me chills. Julio Bocca partnered Kent perfectly. He presented her very well and his own solo numbers were extraordinary. He also conveyed a lot of emotion and prevented Albrecht from becoming the heel of the story. (Funny - Hilarion is actually the guy you dislike in this ballet - not Albrecht). At the curtin calls, he was such a gentleman - he kept pointing all of the attention to Kent. What a great partnership! Gillian Murphy - I have mixed emotions. First of all - her dancing was superb! I have no complaint about her dancing whatsoever. My complaint was that she just wasn't intimidating enough as the Queen of the Willis. I kept thinking about Isabel Seabra on the Giselle VHS from La Scala with Alessandra Ferri and Massimo Murru- she was a scary Myrtha! The only time that Gillian was even remotely sacry was when she sent Hilarion to his death. The two lead Willis were danced by Michele Wiles and Veronika Part. The whole Willi corp was gorgeous. There is that one part where the Willis cross the stage with one leg up in the air. That got a lot of applause. The showstopper of Act I was the peasant pas de deux with Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo. I have had the pleasure of seeing these two dance together before and they did not disappoint last night. This will probably be the last time that I see the ABT until next season and last night I felt really spoiled! - Kent - Bocca - Murphy - Saveliev - Reyes - Cornejo - Part - Wiles - ALL ON THE SAME NIGHT?!?!?!?!?
  9. I went to the performance last night (July 4th) and drb - I see what you mean. I thought Veronika Part was tremendous! I was really looking forward to her performance after having seen her dance one of the Odalisques in "Le Corsaire" and also based on what people have written about her on this board. There were a couple of off moments in last night's "Swan Lake". One of the ladies in the Act I pas de trois slipped once and then had to put her hand down to keep herself from falling at the end. Another of the ladies in the corps went down just before Act I ended. I felt that the audience really was not "into it" until Act II came and Part came on stage. Marcelo Gomes was a perfect Prince Sigfried - very regal, majestic, and you could feel the agony and pain that he was going through. His Act II pas de deux with Part was absolutely radiant. In Act III, he and Part had one or two minor technical glitches, but nothing to disrupt the mood that they were creating together. Veronika Part - - where do I begin? Her Odette was lovely - very heartbreaking and vulnerable. I could understand why Prince Sigfried would fall head over heels for her and especially because Veronika Part is so gorgeous. But everything came together perfectly in Act II - her extensions, her musicality, the way she seemed to melt into Gomes' body, her portrayal of a trapped woman, etc. Now - here is something that I noticed. Her Odile was very flashy and commanding, but she put in a few Odette-like nuances, which makes it better to understand why Sigfried would think it was Odette. Someone commented on this board that if Odette and Odile are played by the ballerina too differently, then how could Sigfried think they could possibly be the same woman. Part managed to make the confusion seem more understandable. Veronika Part made one or two minor technical errors in Act III, but nothing that ruined her performance. She is a beautiful dancer and I think that she is headed for greatness. The corps de ballet was on for all the swan parts and the two lead swans were danced beautifully by Kristi Boone and Adrienne Schulte. There was one dancer who really caught my eye during the night - Zhong-Jing Fang. Besides being a stunning looking woman, she carried herself so beautifully on stage. Jesus Pastor as the human Von Rothbart was good, but I saw the part danced better by (ironically!!) Gomes himself on the PBS television show. But it was a really good night and Tchaikovsky's music is so eternal - no wonder this is such a classic!
  10. I just got my tickets for Monday, July 4th. I promise I will let you know how it goes. I am really looking forward to seeing Veronika Part.
  11. What a shame! I own the Giselle VHS with Alessandri Ferri and Massimo Murru from La Scala and I was really looking forward to seeing her dance the part live. However, Julie Kent should prove to be a worthy substitute. I just saw her Tuesday evening in Le Corsaire and she was lovely.
  12. I just came back from tonight's performance (Tuesday, June 28th). First of all - what a hokey plot - pirates, pashas, slave girls, magic flowers, a dream sequence, and a shipwreck. It was like The Pirates of Penzance meets La Bayadere. But you know what - I LOVED IT!!!!! This is the first full-length ballet that I have ever seen. The audience was really rowdy. I sat in the Balcony section, but there was a group of teenagers who were in Family Circle that screamed through the whole ballet, but it made the night really exciting! What a cast - Julio Bocca as Conrad the Good Guy, Herman Cornejo as Birbanto the Bad Guy, Angel Corella as Ali the Slave, and Jose Carreno as Lankendem the Slave Trader. Can you imagine all that Hispanic testosterone on one stage? Each of them was amazing in their solo dances. And Julie Kent as Medora and Xiomara Reyes as Gulnare were lovely, but kind of overshadowed. Le Corsaire seems to be a man's ballet. There were many brilliant moments in this performance. The Dance of the Odalisques was performed beautifully by Melanie Hamrick, Maria Bystrova, and Veronika Part. And the Act I pas de deux between Carreno and Reyes brought the house down. The only part of Le Corsaire I knew was the famous Act II pas de deux, but this was done as pas de trois between Bocca, Corella, and Kent. Again, the roof was raised, especially Corella's solo numbers. And then when Kent reappeared, she had a lovely, romantic dance with Bocca. As Medora, Julie Kent was beautiful. This is the first time that I have ever seen her dance and I was impressed by her performance. She had some pretty impressive moments of her own which got tremendous applause. But again, the night belonged to the men. But here's something that really impressed me - on one of her curtain calls, she caught a boquet that was flung at her - and that made everyone clap even louder. Of the other five principals, the only one I had never seen before was Julio Bocca. I saw Xiomara Reyes, Herman Cornejo, and Angel Corella back in February at the Stars of the 21st Century Gala. Reyes and Cornejo danced to the Diana and Acteon pas de deux and Corella danced to Le Corsaire. I saw Carreno four weeks ago at the All-Star Tchaikovsky when he again brought the house down with Paloma Herrera in the Swan Lake Act III pas de deux. I did not want to miss this ballet or this cast. One of the most exciting nights of ballet that I have had the pleasure to attend!
  13. First of all, how thankful I am that there is actually ballet on television. I was nervous about the ballet being on Channel 13. Usually, Channel 13 drags out their programs with intermissions and pledge breaks. This was one program that was kind of thrown at you all at once. Honestly, I wanted a break between each act so that I could take all this in. But, there was a brief intermission between Act II and Act III and that was all. I loved the performance. I watched it with my Mom, who has become quite a ballet lover. She did not know the story, so I talked her through it. She was thrilled by the whole program - the costumes, the dancing, the music. No wonder this is one of the all-time classics. I think seeing her get so excited helped me to appreciate the show even more. I saw Angel Corella dance live once - at the Stars of the 21st Century Gala this past February. He danced the Le Corsaire pas de deux with Alexandra Ansanelli of the NYCB. That was, of course, a much more flashier role for him. But I thought his Sigfried was very moving. It is not an eye-catching role, but I thought he carried himself in a very princely manner and he was an excellent partner to Murphy. I also saw Gillian Murphy dance live once - Theme and Variations at the All-Star Tchaikovsky Night about three weeks ago. I thought that she was excellent last night - both as Odette and Odile. Her Odette was heartbreaking, especially the times that she was being controlled by Von Rothbart. And she had this really evil look in her eye while she was performing Odile. I am not that familiar with Swan Lake that I would know what was missing. I watched a Kirov production on VHS with Yulia Makhalina and Igor Zelinsky. This seemed to me a shorter production, based on what I saw on the Kirov tape, but nothing of the story-line was affected and I thought this production kept things moving along niceley. The corps de ballet, the character dances, and the Act I pas de trois were first-rate. I hope that this will be the first of many more ballet productions for TV.
  14. I just finished reading the Suzanne Farrell autobiography, "Holding On To The Air." I enjoyed reading the book very much and I appreciate the fact that it gave me a better appreciation for the person of George Balanchine. Suzanne Farrell obviously adored him and admired him. The only other picture that I had of him in my mind was the extremely negative one of Gelsey Kirkland in "Dancing on My Grave." Farrell comments on Kirkland's criticism of Balanchine and how his ballets "destroy dancer's bodies." Farrell is quick to defend him, but that is before the first of her two hip replacements. Anyhow, back to some eerie coincidences. I just finished reading the section of her book on the creation of "Don Quixote" last Saturday night. The next day, there was a front page article in the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section on Farrell's staging of Balanchine's Don Quixote at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The other eerie coincidence - when I finished reading the book, I popped a VHS tape of "Kirov Classics" into my VCR. The first ballet on the program is "Les Sylphides" with Altynai Asylmuratova, Konstantin Zaklinsky, and Yelena Pankova. Pankova is the ballerina that Farrell coached in the ballet "Scotch Symphony" when she went to (then) Leningrad in 1989. One question for those who have read the book. In the last part of the book when she talks about her experiences with coaching the Balanchine ballets for the Kirov, she mentions the ballet mistress, "Gabriela", who was a former ballerina. Is this Gabriela Komleva? Farrell never mentions her last name.
  15. Is Sonia Rodriguez the one who is married to ice skater Kurt Browning?
  16. I attended the Monday evening performance and I was in awe the whole night. Monday night began with Ballet Imperial and I loved Diana Vishneva. This is the second time that I have seen her dance live. The first time was at the Stars of the 21st Century back in February. I liked the ballet, but I kept waiting for Vishneva to come back on stage. Everything about her dancing was magical, especially her solo numbers. I am no expert, but I felt that Vladimir Malakohov's partnering of Vishneva was a little shaky - I noticed a few hand wobbles. He danced fine by himself, but he seemd nervous when dancing with Vishneva. The secondary lead was danced by Anna Liceica, who seemed to be enjoying herself - she brought a lot of joy to the role. But the ballet belonged to Vishneva - she truly has a command of the stage and the audience. I also liked the background - the Peter and Paul Fortress of St. Petersburg and the blue and white colors of the Winter Palace. Then, came Swan Lake Act II pas de deux with Amada McKerrow and Maxim Beloserkovsky. This was beautiful - my only complaint was that it was too short. I read in the calendar for the ABT that McKerrow is going to retire after this season and I am happy that I got a chance to see her dance. This was a very emotional and passionate dance. It is hard to see this out of context - I wish that they would perform the full length Swan Lake. Then came the big bang - Swan Lake Act III pas de deux with Paloma Herrera and Jose Carreno. WOW!!! Both dancers were spectacular, solo and together. It felt like I was back at the Stars of the 21st Century - a complete showstopper. This got a huge round of applause from the audience - it also left me a little drained. Again - I would love to see a full-length Swan Lake with the two leads now. Theme and Variations was good, but a let down after the spectacular dancing of Herrera and Carreno. The lead parts were danced by Gillian Murphy and Gennadi Saveliev. It was a very nice ballet, but it ended the evening on a very quiet note. The dancing was superb, especially by the two leads. I am now very much looking forward to Murphy's Swan Lake, which I think is coming on PBS this month. Another complaint was that Theme and Variations and Ballet Imperial look alike - I know that they are different, but they appeared to be the same. And an audience complaint - Murphy and Saveliev were taking their curtain calls and the audience was already lined up to leave the Met - how rude!
  17. Obviously I am not a full member, so I can not post in the Ballet Videos section. However, is there a forum where ballet videos can be discussed? I have no interest in trading, but I would love to discuss the ballet videos and DVDs that I have. Thanks!!!
  18. How do you pronounce Diaghilev? Is it Dee-a'-gi-lev or Dee-a'zhi-lev?
  19. I was first taken to the ballet in Spring of 1979. My sister bought a subscription to the New York City Ballet. We had tickets to four Saturday matinees. I was able to go with my sister to the first three. The first ballet that I saw was "The Cage", followed by Act II of "Swan Lake", and then I don't remember the third ballet. During that Spring of 1979 (I was 10 years old), I had the opportunity to see Suzanne Farrell and Peter Martins in "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux". Even back then, I knew that I was seeing something special. There is an interesting story about the matinee that I was unable to go with my sister. I think I went to a graduation party instead. Anyway, my sister invited her best friend and on that last matinee, Mikhail Baryshnikov was dancing in "The Prodigal Son". My sister's best friend was notorious for being late and "Prodigal Son" was the first ballet on the program. By the time my sister's friend arrived and they were seated, Baryshnikov's character already had his legs broken. So my sister's one and only chance to see Baryshnikov dance did not happen. My sister almost killed her friend. One question - that Spring I saw a comic ballet. I don't remember the name, but it has something to do with people coming to a park to hear a piano player. One ballerina made her entrance very dramatically and then sat down with her hands on the piano and her feet on pointe. A man takes her chair away from her and she is still in the sitting position on pointe. The audience gave her a huge hand! What is the name of that ballet?
  20. Isn't it a shame?! When I was a child and a young adult (when I had absolutey no interest in ballet) there always seemed to be ballet on television. Now, when I have such a late-discovered love and appreciation for ballet, it is never, ever on television. The reason that I am posting this is that I recently bought the February 2005 Dance Magazine. There is an article about Gillian Murpht and Ethan Stiefel of the American Ballet Theatre. At the end of the article, it says that Gillian is currently filming Swan Lake for PBS with Angel Corella (who I just saw in "Stars of the 21st Century"). At least that is something to look forward to on TV!
  21. OK - it's Tuesday - about 1:15 p.m. and I am still trying to recover from last night. Thank God, I did not have to come into work until noon, because it was such a tremendous night! I got to Lincoln Center about 10 minutes to 7 and what a downpour! They were not letting people in until 7 on the dot, so there was quite a crowd in the lobby. It was an excited crowd and (as I would later find out) a rowdy crowd. The evening began with Nadia Veselova-Tencer coming onstage and welcoming everyone. BTW, I loved her accent! And how nice that she intoruduced each couple and told us what number they would be dancing. Before I forget, thanks for all the help about dressing. I was OK with a black sweater and dress pants. I saw last night that many people really dressed up (furs, evening gowns, tuxedos, etc.) I felt comfortable, yet presentable. Big schock of the night? - NO ORCHESTRA!! I was in second ring and my first reaction was - "For $95, I should be getting live music!" For me, it made a little bit of difference, because in some numbers, the music was very low, and in one number in particular ("Rubies"), the music was just completely chopped off suddenly. But let's get to the dancing. (***Now I am in no way any kind of expert on ballet, so everything I am going on is what I saw, emotional reaction, etc., etc.) ACT I 1) The first pas de deux was from Diana and Acteon with Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo of the American Ballet Theatre. This number really got things off to a bang. The audience oohed and aahed over Cornejo's jumps. It was a very athletic and playful dance and Reyes and Cornejo looked like they were having a lot of fun. What a pity that they did not perform in the second act. 2) Next came L'Arlesienne with Eleonora Abbagnato and Alessio Carbone of the Paris Opera Ballet. With this pas de deux, we completely changed moods. It was a dark, intense dance. While I personally did not enjoy this as much as the first, the two dancers succeded in creating a mood - more with their emotions than with their actual dancing. 3) WOW!!! - Giselle with Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg of the Royal Ballet Theatre. This is actually the second time that I have seen them dance. I saw them at the Ashton Celebration in July, when they did Voices of Spring. Honestly, I had tears in my eyes watching this. I can't say enough about Cojocaru. She is so solid on her technique, that she can give all her attention to drawing the audience in with her arms, facial expressions, and emotions. 4) "Rubies" from Jewels with Diana Vishneva and Andrian Fadeev of the Kirov. This is a very sharp and athletic dance, which was made so beautiful with Vishneva's sky-high extensions and super flexibility. This is the one part of the show where the music was just yanked, so it came to a very sudden, jarring end. (***Next was supposed to come Paganini with Svetlana Lunkina and Dmitri Gudanov of the Bolshoi, but for some reason Gudanov was unable to perform, so this was cancelled.) 5) Le Corsaire with Alexandra Ansanelli of the NYCB and Angel Corella of the ABT. This was another wow! Probably one of the most famous pas de deux in ballet was done with the graceful femininity of Ansanelli and the athletic prowess of Corella. As with Reyes and Cornejo, what a pity they did not do an encore in Act II. 6) Act I ended with the Carmen pas de deux with Lucia Lacarra and Cyril Pierre of the Munich Ballet. If there was an award for the audience favorites it would definitely be a close race between Cojocaru/Kobborg and Lacarra/Pierre. I think that Lacarra and Pierre would just nugde them out at the end. Carmen was a unique pas de deux in that it started with Pierre alone dancing to the music that is always associated with Carmen and then when Lacarra joined him, it turned into a steamy, romantic, beautiful dance. Lacarra, like Cojocaru, is such a technical wizard that she can focus completely on her interpretation and artistry to draw in the audience. ACT II 1) "Steps in the Street" by the Martha Graham Ensemble - OK - I didn't get it. Neither did the audience, which gave them only polite applause. It was different, but I really don't feel that modern dance belonged on this night. 2) La Sylphide - We were deprived of seeing Lunkina in Paganini in Act I, because of the absence of Gudanov, but Lunkina was paired with Guillaume Cote of the National Ballet of Canada for La Sylphide. This was such a playful dance and Lunkina definitely was the embodiment of a mythical creature. 3) Vishneva and Fadeev returned for Romeo and Juliet. This was another dance that brought tears to my eyes. Besides the technical perfection of the two dancers, their emotions were so strong and powerful during the dance. 4) Abbagnato and Carbone returned wearing bathing suits for Kazimir's Colours. This was another modern ballet for this pair which had them doing the same thing in their Act I dance to L'Arlesienne - repeatedly spurning and rejecting each other. To me this was a mistake - it would have been nice to see them in something different from Act I. Instead, the pair gave us another dark, intense dance with a different kind of choreography. 5) La Prisonniere - Lacarra and Pierre returned with this exquisite ballet which ended with Lacarra being wrapped up in a sheet which came falling from the ceiling. These two dance so beautifully together and they got a huge round of applause at the end. 6) Don Quixote - Cojocaru and Kobborg returned with another famous pas de deux. They danced the first part together and got a huge ovation. They stopped to take a bow and I was so afraid that that was the end - that they were not going to do the individaul parts, but they continued. Cojocaru - I think I found the explanation - she is not content with just dancing these classical parts, but she wants to make them her own. She did the dance with the fan (which I have only seen on video and DVD), but she danced it like no one else I have ever seen do it. I read once that the Don Quixote pas de duex is a contest between Kitri and Basil, but this was not. Cojocaru and Kobborg were not competing against each other - they were encouraging one another. Another beautiful partnership. Then all seven couples came out for a finale to the music of Tchaikovsky. Each of them had a solo number (poor Abbagnato fell when she first came out) and then were joined on stage by the Tencers and the two sponsors - Vladimir Moskalev and Victor Okhotin. What an incredible night! Too bad that this only happens once a year.
  22. I watched Nureyev's "Don Quixote" with Dupont last night. When I first looked, I saw she bore a strong resemblance to Catherine Zeta-Jones. She is gorgeous!
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