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FauxPas

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  1. What I find telling is that the donor/board member(?) is not explicitly named nor are the other female victims other than Lexi Maxwell (who may have been complicit). Like Trump, the wealthy and powerful are shielded from the repercussions of their abuses. I don’t think the wealthy donor was “suspended” in any way. Erica Pereira must be wondering about the state of her marriage if that is the Craig Hall cited in the complaint.
  2. Ramasar has never exactly been a boy scout. Lest we forget: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/ballet-dancer-pleads-guilty-cocaine-charges-article-1.237922
  3. The Craig Hall on the interim team is married to a man since 2012 per his public facing Facebook profile. Meanwhile I gleaned this from the NY Times article: "She has not gone to the police with her allegations, but is still considering the option, Mr. Merson [Waterbury's attorney] said." This could get worse, much worse.
  4. BTW: Alexandra Waterbury is a sophomore at Columbia and is also a Wilhelmina model. She is 5'9" which is tall for a ballerina. https://www.instagram.com/alexandra_waterbury/?hl=en I was not aware that Lauren Lovette had broken her engagement with Chase Finlay - according to the complaint Waterbury and Finlay had been dating for a year. Also Lexi Maxwell and Lovette might be wondering if nude photos are circulating of them. Maxwell is cited in the complaint in that Ramasar was offering up Maxwell to Chase Finlay both in photos and in person. Wonder how long that relationship will last if it isn't over already...
  5. mom2, I work for an agency that works in legal matters so I have access to ECF or the electronic court filing system in New York Supreme Court. That is where I got it. This is a public website that will get you the Summons and Complaint after you enter the matching code: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/iscroll/index.jsp
  6. The complaint in the case is available online. The case number is New York Supreme Index #158220/2018. It seems that Finlay has had problems with alcohol and drugs according to Waterbury in her complaint. He has appeared at rehearsals intoxicated. It seems that Finlay was requesting and receiving illicit nude photos and videos of female dancers either nude and/or having sex and sharing them with Catazaro and Ramasar. According to Waterbury a photo of an NYCB soloist was taken of her changing while she was not looking at the camera without her consent - it seems that this was sent to Finlay but came from someone else. Ramasar seemed to be very enthusiastic and involved in this sending a topless photo of another NYCB dancer to Finlay. I am kind of shocked because Catazaro seems like a nice and hardworking guy in his social media (I know... I know...). Waterbury specifically quotes statements by Ramasar and others which suggests that she has copies of the texts and communications saved and can offer them as evidence. Finlay's immediate resignation is also telling.
  7. This message posted one day ago on instagram states that Elina lost her brother ten months ago. So this has been a rough year and/or perhaps she felt the need to move on in her life. Her biggest role was the White Cat in the Ratmansky "Sleeping Beauty" in which she was superb.
  8. I could see Forster as Siegfried in "Swan Lake" and as Lescaut in MacMillan's "Manon" but I think Des Grieux is a good possibility too given his Royal Ballet School training.
  9. Definitely it would be best to distribute a male principal premier danseur role in each ballet among Hoven, Forster, Gorak, Aran Bell, Shayer, Calvin Royal III and (my suggestion) Marshall Whiteley. Also, Roberto Bolle has recently been given one shot one role seasonal contracts - I say give him more to do with multiple roles, he has still got it. Then ABT could give a guest shot to Kimin Kim, Leonid Sarafanov or Vladimir Shklyarov. Then hire a new soloist. I think Gatti is a good idea. I also wouldn't be unhappy to see Friedemann Vogel, Osiel Gouneo or Francois Alu.
  10. I love Vogel too and unlike some of these other guys, I have seen him dance live twice so I know his work. However, looking on the internet I see that Vogel was born on August 1, 1979 and celebrated his 39th birthday a few weeks ago. Same age as Marcelo. So he is at the last stage of his wonderful career with still some years to go I hope. Look at Bolle! Vogel would be a great idea for a one-off guest in one or two roles. His rep is heavier on Cranko and Kylian with a lot of Balanchine and he would seem a better fit for NYCB if they were hiring male guests. Guillaume Côté who I love and has guested at ABT previously is about two years younger than Vogel or Gomes. He is a possibility but probably as a guest since his ties to Canada are strong. Then there is the question of Rolando Sarabia who is 35 years old and turning 36 this Saturday. He has had injuries. He never quite maintained the level he had in his native Cuba when he defected to the U.S. He has danced with several regional companies and hasn't exactly busted out into international superstardom. Sarabia is currently one of Julie Kent's principals at Washingon Ballet with his wife Venus Villa. He danced once with ABT as a replacement Basilio in "Don Quixote" with Xiomara Reyes who worked with him in Miami and probably lobbied for him to get a shot. It was a good performance but he was following fresh memories of Bocca, Corella and Cornejo. Not on that level by that point and ABT didn't bite.
  11. So maybe just a guesting situation for them? Remember that Diana Vishneva divided her time between ABT and the Mariinsky as did Nina Ananiashvili and the Bolshoi - they only did the Met season. A month or six weeks and then back to Russia. Notice that no one suggests Sergei Polunin even for a one-off guest situation, too much of a "bad boy"? Also, what kind of shape is Ivan Vasiliev in? I saw him with the Mikhailovsky a few years ago and he looked slightly out of shape. He is only 29 years old. ABT seemed to take him on as a package with Osipova when they were a couple and then seemed to drop him after she did (or he dropped her?) Is he a possibility? I went on a "Corsaire Pas de Deux" binge on Youtube recently and came to the conclusion that his Ali is my favorite: Gatti's company is still in its developmental stages and seems to be mainly a summer program these days with no performances. ABT would raise his profile and attract donors and students.
  12. So what is the solution to the problem of the male principal shortage? I agree with those above who posit that none of the current male soloists are worthy of promotion (with the possible exception of Thomas Forster and unlike ABT I have not given up on Joseph Gorak). I have mentioned Marshall Whiteley before. Aran Bell deserves more principal roles and needs to be tracked for promotion. But he can't do it all NOW. So what is the answer? Well ABT can go out and buy a Russian: Both Leonid Sarafanov and Vladimir Shklyarov have left the Maryinsky and joined better paying second tier companies. It wouldn't be hard to get them to join ABT at least for the Spring Met season when they do the classical full lengths. Each man could stay with the Mikhailovsky or Bayerisches Staatsballett for most of the season. That is a stopgap but could work. Maybe offer them an extended guest contract? ABT tried to get Denis Matvienko as a full-time principal but fate and injury kept interfering with that plan. Then there is the possibility of finding someone good who can fill the gap who is American and a fully developed dancer. ABT basically poached Whiteside and Cirio from the Boston Ballet fully developed. They could get another regional star or someone who is between contracts. Such as: Matthew Golding: Newly released from his principal contract with the Royal Ballet, the Canadian-born Golding is 33 years old and is tall. He has all the standard classical and modern classical repertory under his belt and is massively experienced. For a while he was in the ABT corps de ballet. He could fill the huge gap left by the resignation of Marcelo Gomes. What think you? Joseph Michael Gatti: Same age as Golding. This is a weird career. Like Golding he was an alumni of the ABT school: "After attending the 2003 American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive he joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company for the 2004-2005 season. In 2005 he became the first American Male Dancer to win the prestigious Gold Medal at the New York International Ballet Competition." He went on to win the Benois de la Danse in 2006, gold medal at YAGP and on and on with silver and gold at all the competitions. Yet he dances, mostly as a guest, with companies like the Corella Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Boston Ballet, etc. Never stays in one place too long and mostly regional places like the Florida companies as a guest artist and tons of galas and freelancing. Seems to have done all the standard stuff ABT does. So why didn't they grab him ten years ago????? Maybe it is an issue with him being in a big company like Danny Tidwell or Vadim Pisarev of the Philadelphia Russian Ballet? According to the Orlando Sentinel (http://www.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment/arts-and-theater/os-joseph-gatti-orlando-ballet-matthew-j-palm-20150128-column.html) that is the case: "I just don't feel the need to sacrifice love and happiness for the name of a bigger company," said Gatti, citing the stress found in big-name troupes. "I'll be really happy here and loving my career, dancing until the last day I can dance." Anyway he has a huge rep and is ready. Fabrice Calmels: Maybe doesn't want to leave the Joffrey? He seems to love it in Chicago.
  13. I love the Ashton "Cinderella" but the production that ABT borrowed was a dingy, faded, tired affair with muddily painted drops that was unworthy of the company. Try to find a better physical production, pronto! I love Ashton's "Birthday Offering", Massine's "Gaité Parisienne" and Ashton's "Les Patineurs" (Boy in Blue perfect for Daniil, Gorak and the departed Cirio) ABT should have bought the Munich "Paquita" scenery and costumes and had Ratmansky remount it for ABT. "Raymonda" is so beautiful but hasn't been done in SO long. I would love a Ratmansky reconstruction for that. "Manon" should have Hee Seo (she is their "Juliet" of choice currently so "Manon" is definitely something she would do but I wouldn't be that interested), Misty Copeland (she is sensual enough and technically there is nothing she can't handle), Stella Abrera, Ferri as a guest artist. However, Sarah Lane might not be attracted to playing a prostitute - such an immoral character might not jibe with her religious beliefs. Marianela Nunez as a guest artist? How about Osipova as Manon? Boylston, Trenary, Brandt, Murphy and Teuscher I really have no interest in seeing in the role. Murphy is a possibility and so is Christine Schevchenko. I actually would love to see Melanie Hamrick do the part! "La Bayadere" and "Harlequinade" will return - I suspect that "Don Quixote" and "Giselle" will go on rest. "Swan Lake" returns every season and "Romeo and Juliet" almost every season, so those are good bets. I need to catch up on Stella's Juliet and Sarah Lane needs to debut her Juliet.
  14. Teuscher BTW was scheduled to do both Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads. Fang and Abrera only are doing Mercedes (though Abrera used to dance the Dryad Queen). Besides Hammoudi, Jonathan Klein was replaced as the Gypsy Boy in the matinee - Gabe Stone Shayer has danced all the "Don Quixote" performances in that role so far - mostly with Isadora Loyola as the Gypsy Girl but once with Betsy McBride. So Klein is definitely on the injured list and that is why he is out of the "Whipped Cream" shows next week. In the Tuesday night performance Stone Shayer was replacing Arron Scott who is Klein's replacement as the Boy in "Whipped Cream" but Scott is miming the role of Sancho Panza at least. Also MIA all this season is Zhiyao Zhang who has danced the Gypsy Boy previously and very impressively (he has also been the Bronze Idol in "Bayadere" and Benno in "Swan Lake" also impressively). Meanwhile, Joseph Gorak isn't dancing anything at all in "Don Quixote" from what I can see.
  15. Don Quixote Wednesday evening June 27, 2018: Copeland, Cirio, Forster, Abrera, Trenary, Richardson, Luckett So how did Misty do? Or more specifically what did Misty do and even more crucially - what did she NOT do??? She did well. Quite well. Possibly Kitri is Misty's best role in a 19th century classical ballet. Did she do as well as Boylston, Schevchenko or Murphy this afternoon? No. Did she fail? Absolutely not. One thing that Misty has onstage is charm - she is a natural flirt onstage and has a smile that lights up the stage. She is funny and she is warm. Her Kitri connects with the audience, her partner Jeffrey Cirio and the other dancers. As Kitri, she pouts, she teases and she is FUNNY. Even that ruffled orange dress in Act I that is a color and style that works on very few women looks sensational against Misty's café au lait complexion. But how did she dance? Pretty damn well. Act I: What was very noticeable in her first entrée was that Copeland basically has no jump and she wasn't using her full extension in her kicks. She was playful and fun but there was no "wow" factor in the dancing. Misty's upper body and arms are very sensuous and her port de bras is lush and creamy. The rest of Act I was good until the big solo with the kicks to the head and then the diagonal of multiple unsupported pirouettes with the line of toreadors waving their capes. Misty's kicks to the back of the head barely reached over 90 degrees and nowhere near the back of her head. In fact it was all pretty low to the ground in general - no jump kicks. The diagonal of pirouettes were good until the very end where she slowed down a bit. Instead of doing a triple or quad like Isabella, Shevy or Gillian she opted to finish it with piqué turns. The crowd went nuts anyway. Misty is a good turner and quick turning footwork is her forte. By now Misty seemed to have loosened up and had higher extensions. Cirio as Basilio not only danced with elegant lightness and virtuosity but (unlike Simkin) he is also an excellent partner. Despite being fairly slender and of modest stature, Cirio held Misty overhead in the one-arm lift for several beats with no wobbling. Cirio's footwork is precise and his jumps high and light. He is a natural turner. He will be missed. Despite there being no slip in my program or an announcement, Tom Forster danced Espada in place of Alexandre Hammoudi who is recovering from a back injury. (Hammoudi was also scheduled to play Gamache Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon but on both occasions was replaced by Alexei Agoudine in a very wittily acted comic turn). Forster really swaggered and strutted and displayed a lot more panache than Calvin Royal III or Blaine Hoven. Stella Abrera was an alluring, experienced Mercedes. Clinton Luckett as Don Quixote had the right emaciated appearance and evoked lost grandeur with the right faraway look. The two Flower Girls are Skylar Brandt and Betsy McBride. McBride is delicious and seems equally matched in technique and height with Brandt - she has a bright smile and is delightful to watch. More please. Act II: Misty faces her next trial by fire - the very classical Dulcinea solo with the hops on pointe in the grand pas classique of Don Quixote's Vision. Misty doesn't pose very well in arabesque on pointe - the raised leg travels around a bit and she doesn't quite hold the pose. However the hops on pointe in a downstage left diagonal are credible but don't travel very far. She completes the steps without going off pointe but travels only a few feet. Still the audience applauds her and it looks quite pretty. The coda is somewhat dampened by her lack of any kind of grand jeté. Cassandra Trenary is a good but not great Queen of the Dryads - her developpées lack expansion and the Italian fouettés seem to strain her but she completes them. Trenary lacks queenly repose. Katherine Williams did better on Tuesday night but this was still good. Rachel Richardson is an endearing Amour with lots of quick fluttering steps that are not overdone but she too lacks a big jump. The second scene in the tavern shows Misty acting with great timing and sense of fun. The dancing is more character in style and Misty is very comfortable here. Forster really bats Espada's solo with the cape out of the park and Stella is in great form too. Cirio is doing all sorts of whiplash pirouettes and exciting turns. They look like they are having fun. Act III: The big grand pas with all sorts of dangers. First of all Brandt and Betsy McBride really nail their solo variations. Again: more McBride solos please. Maybe even as Amour? The pas de deux has four balances for Kitri. Copeland manages the first two which are similar to Aurora's Rose Adagio - a promenade in arabesque and then the male dancer stops the ballerina in profile arabesque and she raises her arms en couronne overhead. Copeland managed to hold the pose for several seconds and the audience applauded - in the second balance she held it but started to pitch backward a fraction but Cirio took her hand quickly and righted her. No harm done. The next two balances have the partner revolving the ballerina facing front and he is to the side. He raises her arm over her head facing front and she holds the pose. These were disappointing though this is nearly always the easier balance to sustain for most ballerinas. Misty just immediately came off pointe barely holding the balance - she needs to be more ambitious here. Misty's solo with the fan was charmingly danced with nicely articulated pirouettes and clean footwork. The audience loved her charm and style. The coda: FOUETTÉS!!!! Misty performed the fouettés and did not swap in a chainé of piqué turns. Did she do 32 fouettés? Probably closer to 29 or 30 but they were solid singles with the working leg fairly close to the knee. They traveled a bit forward and to stage left but were clean and she finished them on the music. On the final beats, Misty kind of revolved downward into a kneeling pose brandishing her fan over her head thus avoiding the last two or three revolutions. But it worked, it did the job, it was credible. Osipova level? Hell no but very professional. (Why can't she do the same thing as Odile???) . Needless to say the crowd went wild. Cirio's solo and coda were full of clean high jumps, crisp turns à la seconde with character bravura combined with classical form. A very fine showing and he partnered Copeland very well. A pretty big crowd (though not sold out) who were vocal and appreciative. Much more so than on Tuesday night which in many ways was a better performance but the audience sat on its hands.
  16. Boylston's port de bras depends on her coaching. It was excellent in "Harlequinade" (Ratmansky coached her) and "Giselle" (Carla Korbes coached her). Last night had a few noticeable broken wrists and some careless positions of the arms and hands but overall was good. Kitri isn't Aurora or Odette - in some places you don't have to be totally classical and refined. I admit port de bras is not one of her natural strengths but overall she is better. Simkin I concur with everything above except that he was better as a solo dancer than a partner. He is a little short for Boylston and one or two of the one-handed lifts nearly got away from him. In the first one, Isabella wasn't lifted to full height, began to teeter and Simkin put her down quickly. Daniil clearly prepared for the second one and it came off well. I echo all the praise above for the rest of the show. Katherine Williams danced with creamy expansiveness, technical security and a big jump as the Queen of the Dryads. In the Act II "dream ballet", ABT also now has a corps of little "amorini" or baby cupids seemingly from the JKO School which was heartening to see. I also must praise Gabe Stone Shayer and Isadora Loyola as the Gypsy couple. A very enjoyable evening and two genuine bravura performances in the leads.
  17. I believe that Brandt has studied/coached Kitri with the Maryinsky at some point? There are several other soloist roles in "Don Quixote" including the two Flower Girls, Mercedes/Queen of the Dryads (not in Brandt's rep) and Amour/Cupid. We will be seeing Brandt in some of these roles I am sure which is what she was probably rehearsing with Simkin and Boylston. Given that the technically taxing "Don Quixote" is being given the next to last week of the season, it would be wise of McKenzie to give Brandt some cover rehearsals and extra coaching on the side, just in case.
  18. I managed to get into the Saturday matinee "Romeo and Juliet" on the 16th at the last minute. I never really feel that I have to see one MacMillan "Romeo and Juliet" a season - let alone multiples. But given that I have let opportunities to see Misty Copeland and Daniil Simkin in important leading roles pass me by, I felt motivated to attend. First of all, MacMillan's Juliet has more modern choreography for the ballerina that has less emphasis on intricate footwork - nothing like the classical Petipa ballets that clearly give Misty problems. (Multiple foot injuries over the years mean that fouettés or hops on pointe are not feasible nowadays) I think Juliet may be Misty's best role in a dramatic ballet. From the negative reports of overacting and amateurishness from earlier attempts at the role, I would say that Misty has settled into the role and very likely got some excellent dramatic coaching (Alessandra Ferri?). Misty does have beautiful lines and lovely legs (very visible in the Balcony Pas de Deux). Her first scene as Juliet playing with her Nurse showed a mischievous side that enlivened the character. Yet Misty managed to handle the acting challenges of Act III with believable understated conviction. I liked the understated rebelliousness and free-spirited individualism she suggested in the ball scene and in the confrontation with her father Capulet in Act III - she was not just defiant but deeply conflicted with the role expected of her and her personal needs. The scene where Juliet sits motionless on the bed while the orchestra crescendos underneath her suggested Juliet gathering her willpower and inner strength to take control of her fate. Only Alessandra Ferri managed to pull off the silent scream in the Tomb scene but Misty didn't make a fool of herself and the rest was touching. All in all, this was a very persuasive, attractively danced and well-acted interpretation of the role. She is better than many other regular Juliets of recent years. (Though not better than Ferri *back in the day, Vishneva, Obraztsova et al.) I think one problem for her was the lack of chemistry between Copeland and Simkin's Romeo. I suspect that Misty has way better chemistry with Herman Cornejo but he is more of a romantic leading man type and establishes more of a connection with his partner. Simkin danced absolutely superbly with fantastically precise spins and turns. His line is beautiful and he reminded me at times of young Baryshnikov. Simkin acted the part quite intelligently but there is nothing animal or passionate in his stage persona. Simkin always seems to be performing for himself or for the audience onstage. All the tricky lifts in the two pas de deux's with Juliet came off well with no glitches though. I must say that when Simkin danced steps in unison with Arron Scott's Mercutio and Joseph Gorak's Benvolio, it was Simkin that your eye followed instinctively. Just like you always pick out the best dancer in a chorus line. The rest of the cast was fine and the production looked ship shape. Arron Scott had a playful rogue quality as Mercutio and his death scene registered properly. However, he fudged one or two tricky steps in the Mandolin solo and looked technically a bit limited next to Simkin and even Gorak. Gorak danced quite well but seems stuck in "smiling second banana" soloist roles - he needs to act with more authority and personality and work on his partnering. Roman Zhurbin had lots of the right bad attitude as Tybalt and was a real "prince of cats". Good swordplay from everyone. Alex Hammoudi was a somewhat recessive Paris who looked nice and did nothing wrong. Stella Abrera returned to her usual role of Lady Capulet and managed to make a three-dimensional portrait out of the part with all sorts of subtle details. Clinton Luckett was Father Lawrence and Alexei Agoudine was a decent Capulet. Susan Jones' Nurse always gives pleasure. The harlots were Cassandra Trenary, Skylar Brandt and I believe Catherine Hurlin (replacing Melanie Hamrick who was still listed in the program and there was no announcement but Hamrick definitely wasn't dancing). The theater was quite full with a somewhat more diverse audience than usual in terms of age and racial makeup . But it was not sold out as Misty can do as Odette/Odile or the Firebird. The audience was rapturously enthusiastic and appreciative during the final curtain calls - especially the solo bow for Copeland and Simkin together. Misty seemed genuinely moved at the ardent response. I was glad I went and this is one role where I wouldn't avoid Copeland though frankly I can't do this ballet every season or even every other season. Too much padding.
  19. There are currently at ABT three female soloists: Luciana Paris, Cassandra Trenary and Skyler Brandt. Luciana Paris is in Buenos Aires with a newborn baby on maternity leave. Cassandra Trenary is recovering from a muscle injury and has cut back her schedule to allow maximum time for healing. She danced a very small, not very exposed role in the Wayne McGregor "AfteRite" last week and is preparing to return for her first Gamzatti tomorrow afternoon. But small things like the Wili solos or the Shades solos she is skipping to allow time to heal. Brandt has been one busy, busy girl since she also dances lead ballerina roles and just had one added to her plate: Columbine in "Harlequinade". So ABT has had to dig into the corps de ballet. Veteran neglected Ballet Talk favorite Zhong-Jing Fang is getting several solos - she could do more. Melanie Hamrick is experienced and has danced solos before. She is not a kid and has had injuries. Stephanie Williams is not one of my favorite dancers at ABT but is reliable in solos. Catherine Hurlin is a major discovery this season who is moving ahead quickly - she is young and talented. Katherine Williams is a veteran corps dancer who also is breaking into solo parts including major assignments like Myrtha in "Giselle". April Giangeruso is another veteran corps girl who has been pressed into service sometimes in demanding solo parts like the Second Shade. She can be variable - strong one day and then awkward the next day. Probably all of them would benefit from a stronger coaching staff than what ABT currently provides. Who else is out there in the corps? Lauren Post and Anabel Katsnelson have emerged from the corps as a Wili and a Shade respectively. Two of the stronger corps girls - both veterans - are Gemma Bond (reportedly on maternity leave) and Paulina Waski (back from injury and taking it easy). Both are sidelined at a time when both could present themselves as candidates for promotion. Kaho Ogawa has strong technique and could dance the Second or Third Shade solo. No idea why she isn't used more. Two corps girls whose names I have heard praised as potentially stunning up and comers but have done little or nothing in solo roles - Gisele Bethea and Scout Forsythe. Bethea has just disappeared into the corps and I don't even know what she looks like. Ditto Forsythe. But people who have seen them think they are major talents.
  20. I wasn't judging, I was observing. I saw one mother react one way and another mother react another way. And which one was I "harsh and unfair" to?
  21. So I saw the second cast of "AfteRite" last night. Teuscher lacked Ferri's strengths and that may have been a good thing for the work as a whole. Teuscher was more blankly stoic and more easily manipulated. And less emotive, but then she isn't Italian! Her character was more weak, cowed, resigned and passive and it made more sense that she does not fight for the child. You got the sense that she was not a strong or passionate woman alone, like Ferri, but a meek submissive member of some kind of cult or oppressive society. She gave in to the dictate of the community, swallowed her maternal instincts and after one moment of weak defiance watched her child be sacrificed. A note on the casting: Isabella Boylston was in the Misty Copeland track of the photographer. Gabe Stone Shayer was in Herman Cornejo's track and Daniil Simkin in Jeffrey Cirio's track. Arron Scott was dancing the Blaine Hoven (anguished friend) role and Tom Forster was in James Whiteside's (shirtless) role. The other dancers included Skylar Brandt, Catherine Hurlin, Marshall Whiteley, Tyler Maloney, Jose Sebastian, Courtney Shealy and Joo Wah Ahn. Whiteley has a lot of stage presence and he is HUGE. He is a strong partner but I noticed a tendency toward bulkiness in his frame - he needs to concentrate on keeping lean and vascular. He also sweats a lot onstage. His dancing is very good and he needs to be used more. Initially I thought Shayer was in Cirio's track with Simkin in the Cornejo antagonist role. This surprise casting was interesting and brought a whole different color to the piece. Ferri and Cornejo have an intense personal chemistry onstage. A pas de deux with them will look like it is sexual or romantic due to their chemistry and long partnership. With Ferri and Cornejo it seemed like an erotic encounter turned into sadistic torture. There was no sexual connection between Teuscher and Shayer - all that twisted partnering was from beginning to end about control and manipulation. Shayer is actually shorter than Teuscher which made the image of her being lifted and rotated aloft by Shayer stranger and more disturbing. Ferri and Cornejo were a hot pair and Teuscher and Shayer a cold pair, and cold somehow made better sense despite the loss in star quality. I noticed a detail that had eluded me in the first viewing: the Mother figure does start to try to fight the Antagonist after he turns on the gas in the greenhouse/gas chamber. She tries to push him aside but he subdues her and pushed her to the ground. It wasn't a tiger mother protecting her young but it was something - but too little too late and ineffectual. The lower level of general drama and emoting with this alternate pair let moments like that stand out. So was it GOOD? No, not really but this cast, lacking some of the individual incandescence of the star duo in the other cast, did give more of a sense of ensemble and certain aspects played better. Cornejo and Ferri deserve a better vehicle at ABT. So do Teuscher and Shayer but they are lucky to get this. Everybody was doing their best up there and looking good with what they were given. But again my reaction was "Why are they doing that at that time and in that situation?" "Firebird" was the same cast as Tuesday with Duncan Lyle returning replacing Roman Zhurbin as Kaschei. Having seen this fine cast before I was less blindsided by their excellence and the headscratcher oddities and flaws in Ratmansky's choreography did stand out more to me this time. I still had a good time but need a dose of Fokine, Balanchine or Tetley.
  22. I will be seeing both casts of AfteRite since I am going again tomorrow. I wasn't shocked or horrified, nor did I find the ending in bad taste. I saw the references to "Sophie's Choice" and the holocaust but wasn't really offended. I expect "The Rite of Spring" or a derivative ballet to have some violence and to depict ritualized murder. My main reaction is that the choreography didn't really relate well to the story nor did it clarify the characters, their position in this dystopian post-apocalyptic society or what their reaction was to the planned sacrifice. Basically Alessandra Ferri was the Mother of the two little girls. She is brought on alone and then has a black bag thrown over her head while she is pushed around the stage. She then has the bag removed and goes into the death chamber where her two little girls are being kept prisoner. She chose one girl ("the fair-haired girl") to live on while the other remains in the greenhouse/gas chamber. Ferri then emerges from the greenhouse/death chamber and dances a bunch of twisty, turning pas de deux with Herman Cornejo. Who is Herman? At first he seems to be Ferri's husband or partner - then he turns into her tormentor. And who is the seemingly sympathetic Blaine Hoven? The child's father? He expresses desperation and grief and then just fades away. The choreography looks the same full of contorted lifts and splits with rotating limbs. The "love" duet and the "torture" duet look the same. And Ferri just keeps dancing around with men while her little girl is sitting in that death chamber for what seems like an eternity. Kick Herman in the balls and then tear the door open and run off with the kid, Alex!!! Everyone in the first section spends a lot of time in various pas de deux, pas de trois, pas de quatre, etc. but we don't know who they are or what their relationship is. Usually, "Rite of Spring" deals with a group mentality so you have a corps of dancers vs. one soloist as the "Chosen One". Here everyone is fragmented into various subgroups but the choreography looks the same with the women being manipulated into extreme positions by the men. But the men dance with the men the same way with the same partnering. There is a lot of talent on that stage (notably Cassandra Trenary has returned from injury but her role has no salient characteristics or arc). The costumes are also just the usual modern ballet tank tops, bare chest and beige pants/leggings for the men and camisole and athletic shorts for the girls. It all looks very generic with no identifiable place or time. I felt that Macauley in his NY Times review really reached out to meet McGregor more than halfway but still felt the piece came up short. The narrative just didn't gel and for me no characters were created that you could care about except that Ferri as always creates a real human being on that stage. But she was working in a void and you never knew whether she wanted to save her child or was just passive and crushed by societal pressure. Her motivations and actions seemed unclear and incongruous with the situation of having her child there in danger a few feet away. The general feeling was of total alienation from the situation and humanity. But then there was Ferri who was electric, alive and vulnerable onstage but what she was given to do didn't make sense. I was too bewildered to be offended - I couldn't connect anything I saw to any reality. By the way, Ratmansky's "Firebird" will never be my favorite choreography of this ballet but he has kept working on it. It is no longer the muddle it was the first year it played in 2012. It is full of amusing quirky moments of oddball humor that Ratmansky specializes in. There are headscratcher moments - wouldn't the corps of Firebirds and their male partners attack Prince Ivan in Act I? He has his hands full with the one Firebird? The cast last night was incredible. Christine Schevchenko looked like a ballet superstar with incredible elevation in jumps, high extensions, speed in turns and electrifying energy onstage. The choreography looked more interesting and exciting than I had ever seen it (even with Osipova who was dancing steps designed for Misty Copeland who had actually been around when Ratmansky set the ballet - two very different dancers - terre a terre vs. ballon). Thomas Forster as Prince Ivan had remarkable veracity and detail in his acting and mime and danced superbly. This is the best thing I have seen him do. Bring on the leading roles for him. Catherine Hurlin as the Beautiful Princess (who spends most of the ballet in a scraggly green wig acting like a half-wit) was stunning in mime and dance totally committing to every odd gesture and quirky reaction. Duncan Lyle as Kaschei was another discovery (Ratmansky loves to mine the corps for untapped talent) with wonderfully amusing and creepy gestures and he ruled the stage whether dancing or acting. Even if you hated this ballet in the past, you will be pleasantly surprised by this "Firebird" with last night's sensational cast.
  23. Did anyone go to Gillian and Cory’s Saturday matinee “Giselle”? I am curious if Gillian has refined her interpretation since last season.
  24. I know but Stella didn't have to be basically stalled for another 7 years in soloist roles and also why did she have to wait until she was thirty to be cast as Giselle? In Russia, talented soloists are given a shot at Giselle or Odette-Odile at age 18 (sometimes earlier). We sat through years of Paloma Herrera and aging Julie Kent as Giselle when we could have had prime Stella. Only at ABT, nowhere else in the world do they keep dancers waiting until their thirties to dance the great classics. Lane, Schevchenko (I think close to thirty), Teuscher and Copeland are all learning the great classic ballerina roles in their thirties. Anywhere else they would have been dancing them for a decade or wouldn't be considered prima ballerina material. I also hope that Cassandra Trenary and Skyler Brandt also don't have to wait a decade before dancing Giselle, Kitri and Odette-Odile. As for Stella on Thursday, to me you either concentrated on what she had or what she didn't have. She probably lacked about three or four classic steps. Throughout she had lovely line, style and expression. Copeland on Tuesday also flubbed some steps in the variation but her arabesque was low, she had no jump, she had no Romantic style and she never suggested a Wili in Act II. She was lacking throughout in line, expression and style. Misty also came to Giselle in her thirties after a lot of injuries in her feet.
  25. I was out of town this whole weekend and therefore did not get to the Friday night "Super Giselle" (I have seen both Hallberg and Osipova in this ballet several times) nor any of the others. I did however see Abrera on Thursday night. Giselle Thursday May 17, 2018: It is really a shame that it took ABT so long to cast Stella Abrera as Giselle until she was nearly forty. I hope Catherine Hurlin, Paulina Waski, Katherine Williams et al. don't have to wait that long to get their chance. In some ways this was the most stylistically pure and genuinely Romantic interpretation of the entire run. But diminished technique (due to age and possibly a recent injury) limited Abrera's otherwise superb achievement. First of all, unlike Seo and Copeland, Abrera has a lovely arabesque. Her use of the arms is wonderful. Though not young, she plays young very naturally onstage and her Giselle was particularly naive and vulnerable. Act I was fine until the notorious Spessivtzeva variation where the descents off of pointe in the diagonal of hops on pointe looked preplanned this time and were timed to the music. It was disappointing but understandable but at least it was planned and Stella knew her limitations. On the final circle of turns Stella landed too hard and nearly tipped over to one side on the final chord reaching out her arm to steady herself. This was unfortunate since it was the final image and kind of sealed the variation as a failure. Otherwise, there were a lot of beautiful things to see there. Stella's mad scene was moving: her Giselle was lost in a shifting haze of her own emotions and though understated, was convincing and realistic. Throughout Cory Stearns was a very handsome attentive partner and the way that he finishes movements with elegance was a consistent source of pleasure all night. His Albrecht was not a cad or roué but a sincere and noble young man who gets in too deep with a game that turns serious. Joseph Gorak and Skyler Brandt danced the peasant pas de deux - he was much improved and she was a consistent delight with buoyant jumps and steady balances and crisp footwork. Act II was much better though it was obvious that Stella was dancing with some caution. Jumps weren't too high. In the opening adagio of the pas de deux the développés were good with only one or two jerky milliseconds but in the final pose Stella opted not to go into a deep arabesque penchée. I guess this was due to back problems and again looked planned out beforehand. The rest was really exquisite - the entrechats were light and feathery. Her arms were a vision of beauty every moment. Her use of the back and the torso was flexible and soft. Stella really gets the Romantic style with the soft landings, floating arms and flexible torso. Cory Stearns looked every inch the handsome prince as Albrecht and he really showed a pleasing command of the role. No dizzying heights of virtuosity or dramatic bravura but convincing, noble and beautifully danced from beginning to end. He was not dead behind the eyes and I felt he was connected to his partner and the character throughout.Katherine Williams initially seemed a bit girlish as Myrtha but her skimming bourrees showed that she can dance the role with real power. As the Wili grand pas continued she gained in authority. She still lacks icy command but this was a more than promising debut.
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