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Haglund's

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  1. Wednesday, October 31 Oh my. The Leaves Are Fading was magical this evening. Maybe it was the chemistry of a couple really in love. Maybe it was because they devoted more thought than most do to the different stages of their evolving love for one another. Maybe it was both. Whatever it was, it worked me into some seriously watery eyes. Abrera was breathtakingly beautiful in this piece. Breathtaking. She wears Dvorak like it was composed for her. No wonder Radetsky would gently shake his head in disbelief of how lucky he was to be dancing with the love of his life tonight. He was in heaven. And danced wonderfully as well. The entire cast was incredible, but special thanks to Kristi Boone, Maria Riccetto, Melissa Thomas, and Roman Zhurbin for creating such beauty and romance. I nearly went home after this, not wanting to think about anything other than what I'd just seen. But I stayed to see Lubovitch's Meadow with Kent and Gomes. Another superb performance of his contemporary work that makes his own comtemporaries' work this season look like junk. I love this piece. Seeing that there would be a new cast for From Here On Out, I stayed for that as well. Isabella Boylston and Cory Stearns were the leads with a corps of youngsters who haven't danced all that much in contemporary works. Hee Seo was sensational and looks right to do the lead. Melissa Thomas, ballerina-in-the-making, is no contemporary dancer. Nuh uh. It's probably good for her to try, but her upper body, so beautiful in everything else, looked a bit awkward. Boylston and Stearns had that deer-in-the-headlights look for the first several minutes. But then settled down to a rather boring execution of the movement – although there were a few measures of excitement. Maybe these were just first-performance problems which will self correct with more time on stage. But so far, this piece still looks custom made for Paloma who has been the only one able to sustain my minimal interest in it.
  2. Carbro said: Craig wasn't in Sinatra Suite. It would have been great, if he had been.
  3. Tuesday, October 30th Week 2 opened with Baker's Dozen, Sinatra Suite, C to C, and Fancy Free. Baker's Dozen had a lively cast that included Kristi Boone, Isaac Stappas, Maria Riccetto and Craig Salstein. Unfortunately, the piece looked rather dated and stereotypical Tharp. We've seen so much of the same stuff through the years that her choreographic voice has become mundane in some respects. I really hope that she comes up with some fresh ideas for her premiere this spring at the Met. Sinatra Suite fell flat for me. This would be such a perfect vehicle for Craig Salstein. His tendency might be to over-act it, but that would be preferable to what I saw tonight. C to C had a different cast than opening night with a different result. Tonight it was Riccetto, Abrera, Reyes, Radetsky, Hoven and Salstein. Riccetto was more committed to the movement than Julie Kent was. There was much more energy to her movement, clarity and severity to the odd shapes that Elo demands of the dancer. Same with Abrera. Her movement and shapes were cut and sliced and diced and whipped like Chef Ramsey dispatching a contestant on Hell's Kitchen. Phenomenal until she whacked her head on the scaffolding during an exit. Hope all is well there. If she misses her Leaves debut tomorrow night, I will just kill myself. Radetsky, like Gomes previously, gave a wonderful performance. With C to C, you have to just go with it without too much thinking, and you can make it enjoyable. Fancy Free with Carreno, Hallberg, Salstein, Herrera and Murphy was enjoyable as always. Hearing an orchestra, after the previous two-thirds of the program was piano and recorded music, was a relief.
  4. The NY Sun is reporting this morning that ABT made its official announcement of the 2008 Met season yesterday. The rep evening will include the Tharp premiere (June 3) along with Lander's Etudes. And, Nina will open the week of Giselle with Angel Corella as Albrecht. No mention of any retirements in the NY Sun article! As reported earlier, the Merry Widow will be revived. S.L., Don Q., Le Corsaire and La Bayadere are also on the slate. Groan if you will, but I'm looking forward to seeing Etudes on the Met stage again, and the company sure has the roster to pull it off magnificently. The Kirov is going to present it at City Center in April, so it will be an interesting and probably controversial comparison.
  5. Saturday evening, October 27th If you loved the jerky movements in Glow-Stop, you'll love C to C. Jorma Elo picks up where he left off last year with a couple of new twists. First, the compliments – Philip Glass' Musical Portrait of Chuck Close was beautiful and merged from one concept to the next in interesting ways. Very smooth. Not boring. Repetitive frames, of course, but not monotonous. I would buy the CD. Bruce Levingston was the pianist (on stage), and he made this piece worth sitting through. Go see this if only to listen to Levingston. C to C was very much an art exhibit. Close designed the scenery which – (I'm torn between describing this or not, because it was such a nice surprise. So, if you're going to see this piece and don't want the surprise spoiled, skip the rest of this paragraph) – opened with a massive backdrop of Close's glasses. The glasses changed a bit as the piece went on and evolved into a brilliant pink/orange mosaic like you see in much of his work. Then during the very last moments, a huge portrait of Philip Glass drops from the ceiling. Seeing Close's artwork on such a large scale was quite thrilling. Seeing him motor out onto the stage for applause at the end, equally thrilling. The costumes were appealing. As was mentioned above, the dancers started out in some very stiff fabric (black skirts with wraps) but shortly thereafter, the women appeared in black leotards that were sheer but for where they shouldn't have been sheer. It looked like everything was cut out except for those certain areas. Bare legs. The men were shirtless and had black tights which, while not sheer were visibly less opaque in the legs than in the dance belt area. Too much information for you? The choreography was exactly what you expect from Elo. Remember the jerky movement that Cornejo ended Glow-Stop with? Well, he reprises that moment early on. Some of the jerks we can understand, because Elo found his inspiration in an artist's struggle to regain his artistic faculties following a devastating aneurysm. Gomes was the featured dancer and of course was, as were all the dancers, 1000% committed to every excess, jerk and hand signal within the choreography. In summary, we had beautiful Glass music for C to C, and then beautiful Glass-inspired music by Muhly that followed in From Here On Out. We had beautiful costumes with cut-outs in C to C, and then beautiful costumes with cut-outs that followed in From Here On Out. We had choreography that included women sliding on point shoes in C to C, and then we had choreography that included women sliding on point shoes in From Here On Out. We had a dance that relied more on pas de deux than group work in C to C, and we had dance that relied more on pas de deux than group work in From Here On Out that followed. So there you have it. A trend. I liked From Here On Out less on second viewing. It was clearly made for Paloma, and Paloma's feet and legs, and flexibility. Gillian Murphy didn't compare favorably in last night's performance. She took the satin off of her GM's but still the lack of flexibilty in her feet was visibly apparent. Nor did she have the go-for-broke commitment that Paloma demonstrated the first night. And after earlier in the evening seeing Paloma and Carreno in Clear, the difference was more apparent. These two were phenomenal again last night. All of the guys were incredible. Radetsky, sporting a stunning six-pack, was fabulous. Blaine Hoven and Alexandre Hammoudi, as well. Hoven is so flexible in the back and hips that he tends to throw it away and can look a bit ballerina-ish, particularly when he flaps his wrists. He really has a lot to offer in the technique area. I'm not going to bring up the t-word, but yes they were noticeable on Radetsky and Hammoudi, and yes they detracted.
  6. NYSusan, you should have been there this afternoon for Ballo. Berloserkovsky was replaced by Hallberg, and it was the Hallberg/Wiles show again. Michele was so much more relaxed today; infused her movement with an elegance that she may have forgotten she had Thursday night; and was filled with such joy in dancing with Hallberg. Everything was easy for Michele today. A magical second performance for her. Thank you, David. Melissa Thomas was one of the soloists, and oh my, did she command a lot of audience attention and appreciation. The guys behind me were ooohing and aahing and frantically flipping through their programs in the dark trying to find her name. Add to that - she danced beautifully. Kristi Boone, another Ballo soloist, glided through her variations dancing more and more like Cynthia Gregory, who looked radiant sitting in the Grand Tier. I, too, am eagerly looking forward to the Kajiya/Cornejo performance. Meadow with Abrera and Hallberg was beyond stunning. I've seen every performance of this since they recently revived it, and the more I listen to the composition and watch the dancers, the more I love it. Abrera and Hallberg were heavenly. So perfectly in tune with each other. So perfect. The contrasting appearances of these two dancers creates drama in itself, and physically they are so appealing together. Now that I think of it, is there anyone who Hallberg doesn't make look miraculous? The dancers received a huge ovation from the audience, far bigger than what one normally hears for a middle program piece. This afternoon's Fancy Free (Radetsky, Cornejo & Gomes) was the best so far. The three of them nearly came uncorked trying to out-act each other and break the composure of Kent and Herrera. Not quite like Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, but you get the idea. During the final gum paper throwing competition, Gomes's went over his shoulder behind him (intentionally). A great afternoon. Now back to City Center for the evening.
  7. Friday, October 26th I may simply be suffering from the paralysis of analysis, but I can't think of a lot to say about last night's premiere of the Millepied/Muhly From Here On Out. Let's start with the music – a strong Glass base swirling with youthful impetuosity. Highly creative and energetic with a strong conclusion. Somewhat difficult to follow. Ballet score or background score for a movie? Hard to say. I won't be buying the CD, but I would perhaps buy a ticket to hear the NY Philharmonic play it once. Ormsby Wilkins' pick-up orchestra sounded super. The choreography – well, these dancers of course were incredible. The choreography looked custom made for Paloma who relished every second that she was on stage. She was clearly hungry for this and looked phenomenal. There were some interesting sliding-to-a-stop on pointe moments. There was some pretzel pas, but much of it was accompanied with high speed horizontal movement. The choreography relied too much on PdD while begrudging time to group movement. Poor Marcelo. Not much to do other than lift Paloma, which of course he did marvelously. The costumes – at first I laughed, thinking perhaps some BTers had donated their old ripped unitards to ABT. But eventually, they grew on me. The dark gray dark blue dark brownishplummygrayblue unitards with rectangle holes cut into them were interesting. I can't say that the costume concept added anything to the choreographic concept, but the dancers had to wear something. Not sure what the title From Here On Out had to do with the choreography. But like the costumes, the piece had to have a title. My overall impression was that the music was better than the choreography and the dancers were better, far better, than both.
  8. The casting for the Friday premiere of Millepied's "From Here On Out" was in last night's program. Paloma and Marcelo have the leads with other couples as follows: Boylston & Stearns, Ricetto & Hammoudi, Reyes & Radetsky, Tanatanit & Hoven, and Messmer & Forster. The program notes include Nico Muhly's description of his musical composition and it truly sounds exciting even as black ink on white paper. I think the orchestra members may have been practicing it last night during intermission, and all seemed enthusiastic. The program indicates, however, that Ormsby Wilkins will be conducting. I think some media reports had indicated that Muhly would conduct. We shall see tonight. I think I may be more excited about the music than the choreography. The Leaves cast will be sensational with Melissa Thomas, Veronika Part and Yurilo Kajiya. Ballo soloists will include Hee Seo. You just must see her in this. Warning to all - last night there were a lot of noisy, unrully kids in the gallery. Add obnoxious.
  9. Carreno, sans shirt, hot-footing it around, working up a sweat under the muscle-defining top lighting, is enough to stop one's breathing. He's not a contemporary dancer, and has escaped most of those thankless roles during his ABT career, but he made an honest effort Thursday night in Clear and did what he does best supremely and made the rest inconsequential by being the most handsome, sensual animal ever on the stage. Herrera was gorgeous, if under-employed, but to compete with what else was going on on that stage, quite simply, she would have had to take off her top. Thankfully, Kevin is not at that point -- yet. Meadow was beautiful, and I found the two pas de deux with Gomes and Kent exquisite. Lubovitch is a master at merging group and solo moments and weaving the movement within the music to great emotional effect. Bryars conceived this composition when he was coping with conflicting emotions of loss of loved ones and the birth of a child. It is highly unusual, and I enjoyed the whole thing immensely. Ballo was quite different from the Gala. Michele delivered a performance with panache and style and striking balances. She opted out of trying double piques before opening to the arabesque as Murphy had done, but we've seen singles before elsewhere. I found her performance had more different colors to it than Murphy, but at the same time, I didn't care for the intentional imitating of bad habits with the wrist and the famous nose-in-the-armpit port de bra. The corps was SUPERB - Hee Seo was magnificent with soaring jetes and a megawatt stage presence.
  10. Tonight was high energy, reflection, and comic relief. The evening opened with Clear featuring Xiomara Reyes and Herman Cornejo. We saw them in the pas last night, and they were wonderful. Wonderful again tonight. The two soloists were Hammoudi and Blaine Hoven. Blaine was impressive as could be. Lines, strength, guts, turns, and extraordinary flexibility. He's got it all. But his face remained the same concentrated expression throughout. He performed like it was an exam that he was determined to ace. Maybe it was. Julie Kent was lovely and seamless in The Leaves Are Fading. Marcelo Gomes ensured that she was weightless as well. While I may pass up Julie in bravera roles, I can't think of anyone I'd rather see slowly unfurl a classical line. She is just stunningly beautiful in that respect and the two of them were tender, thoughtful lovers. Stella Abrera, partnered by Isaac Stappas, was perfume and delicacy personified. She dances the lead with Radetsky next Wednesday, and I look forward to seeing what the two of them conjure up in the way of romance and reflection.Michele Wiles and Alexandre Hammoudi repeated their pas de deux from the Gala. Fancy Free closed the program. The men in tonight's cast (Salstein, Hallberg, and Carreno) were a stronger ensemble than last night, but the women (Murphy and Herrera) weren't as animated and sassy as Kent and Abrera were last night. Salstein was terrific in this and provoked Carreno into one of the best FF performances of his I've seen. Hallberg was super, but for a little trouble jumping over the stools and punctuating with a double tour. The stools might have been too close to the bar for those long legs of his.
  11. A terrific opening night at City Center! Ballo della Regina lit up the stage with the whiz-bang wattage of Gillian Murphy and David Hallberg and the sensational soloist, Hee Seo. Murphy tore through this like it was child's play. Everything was crystalline clear even with the music speed pushed to the max. Hallberg was superb in his variations, making it clear that the City Center stage just is not big enough to contain his jumps. All of the soloists, including Maria Riccetto, Misty Copeland, and Jackie Reyes, were wonderful -- and I was pleasantly surprised to see such different dancers assembled as the soloist bunch for this piece. I am so happy that Jackie Reyes is being given these little opportunities. She is a very classical looking dancer, with modesty and grace in the upper body and speedy, reliable technique in the feet and legs. Add to that a dazzling smile. But I must say that I was completely blown away by Hee Seo. Her dancing is rich with nuance and color usually seen in much more mature dancers. The women in the corps were darn near perfect. Speedy without looking rushed. Tidy port de bras. Everyone was definitely on their toes tonight – pardon the pun. Did I mention Hee Seo? The pas de deux from Clear marked the comeback (from injury) of Xiomara Reyes, partnered by Herman Cornejo. I doubt there's ever been a dancer happier to be back on stage than Xiomara tonight. She poured the equivalent of six months of soul and passion into this little pas. Herman's partnering was secure and Xiomara was not being particularly careful with him. I kept imagining Herman racing down the diagonal in a frenzy of uncontrolled brissees to his knees before Myrta. Next came the 4th pas de deux from The Leaves Are Fading with Michele Wiles and Alexandre Hammoudi. Michele was extremely balanced and well-centered for every movement, particularly her turns. It was lovely to watch, but the end result was that it interfered with any sensation of flowing or falling, you know, like leaves. She was so on center that she needed no partner tonight, as much as Hammoudi tried to fill the role. He is tall and has a nice line, but he was clearly outmatched by Michele. Still, all in all, it was refreshing to see her in something atypical. The Don Quixote pas with Jose Manuel Carreno and Paloma Herrera closed the first half of the program. Wow. I don't remember them having this hot, little, make-you-wonder-what-they-have-been-up-to chemistry. Just when I thought Paloma could not be any better in this, she slows down her double turn a la second and slowly, slowly stretches into a long arabesque penche. It went on forever. My only complaint is David LaMarch's conducting. Every time he conducts her in this piece he holds back the orchestra during the eschappe section making Paloma look like she's off the music on that first eschappe. He makes me crazy. Whether this is some kind of ongoing joke between him and Paloma, I don't know, but he wrecks a nice moment in her variation every time. Fancy Free was the second half of the program with Gomes, Radetsky, Cornejo, Abrera and Kent – with Melissa Thomas as the final walk-through girl. A spirited performance from everyone, especially Cornejo who was the spunky little popeye who was always ready for a fight. They sure don't make dances like this anymore. It's the whole package – an ensemble of principal characters, great story, great dancing, great music, sets and costuming. Why has that seemingly fallen out of fashion with today's choreographers? One performance down. Ten more to go. Not kidding.
  12. Slightly off topic . . . a happy result of leaving at the second intermission was that I got home early, flipped on the T.V. to see NYCB's Kristin Sloan starring in an Apple iPhone commercial and plugging thewinger.com. Very cute!
  13. I left at the second intermission having had way too much pas de deux with way too much sameness. So much of it seemed to be the same soup in a different bowl. There was so little horizontal movement in most of it that it could have been performed on a postage stamp. This type of programming will not only never build new audiences, it could well drive existing audiences away. Wheeldon has the pretzel pas down pat. I just hope he's not trying to build a company around it. What I liked: -- Maria Korowski and Michael Nunn in the final pas de deux from There Where She Love. Both were determined to make some dance out of it, and that was much appreciated. I'd not seen Nunn before in performance, and was struck by the strength of his stage presence. -- Seeing Darcey Bussell again. I kept saying to myself, "I wish she would dance. I wish she would dance." But no, it was more pretzel pas (Tryst). -- Seeing National Ballet of Canada's Tina Pereira. Another dancer determined to make something out of her pretzel pas (Prokofiev). She is an extremely warm and giving performer. Immediately likeable. There was the hint that, if allowed, she would dance up a storm. Rob Fisher conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's. The music sounded superb
  14. I think it was a general reference to online chatter. Here's the quote:
  15. In Sunday's NY Timz, Claudia La Rocco reports that Herman Cornejo will dance ALBRECHT during the Met season, as well as Prince Desire!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you. There is also an interesting comment attributed to McKenzie about the "problem" bloggers create when they impatiently obsess over the pokiness of a dancer's career path. Kevin has a tough job, and I for one truly, truly, truly appreciate his sensitive nurturing of my favorite artists, -- but dammit, I want to see Abrera as Giselle, and I want to see it yesterday. So, now we have a glimpse at the casting for the 2008 season, and it looks very promising indeed.
  16. Also noted: During the second week, Xiomara Reyes has been replaced by Maria Riccetto in the Jorma Elo piece. My enthusiasm is beginning to build for this season. Am looking forward to seeing Michelle Wiles in Ballo, Carreno in Clear, Abrera in Leaves are Fading, and everybody in Fall River Legend.
  17. The new Elo piece now has a title: "C to C (Close to Chuck)" There is no appropriate little smiley face for that. Still no casting for the Millepied piece, but I read in the ABT On Pointe magazine that came yesterday that he's using six couples.
  18. Does anyone know whether the Local One stagehands work any of the various dance venues - City Center, Joyce, etc.? This possible lockout is giving some of us jitters, especially since, according to news sources, it could start immediately or after a period of several days.
  19. I was referring, as Aurora points out, to the two new works on the bill that seem to hold the casting hostage for so much else. And then there is that odd set of circumstances wherein the brochure clearly showed Stiefel and Dvorovenko as performers, yet Stiefel has lined up his Kings of Dance gig for all but the first few days of the City Center season, and he, as well as Irina, are no where to be found on the schedule. It's really very stingy and consumer-unfriendly of ABT and/or City Center not to allow for a free exchange. Honestly, how much of a problem would that really cause them?
  20. Hey, Barbara, they haven't announced any casting for the new Millipied piece yet; so there is still that chance that Hallberg may be dancing on Oct. 31st. With regard to your first performance choice, if it's Oct 25th -- you won't be paying much attention to Meadow anyway, having just spent a half hour watching JM Carreno cavort around in Clear with his shirt off!! Trust me. It is frustrating how ABT holds back the casting on the rep performances. But I guess there are just too many variables to pin it down any sooner. To make things more difficult for us, there is no longer an exchange privilege that goes with the City Center packages.
  21. Thanks for posting the Macauley review excerpt. At least I won't waste time reading the rest of it. Of course, his views are extreme. How much of The New York Times writing represents moderation and reason, or accuracy for that matter? It doesn't sell papers. Whenever Macauley doesn't want to put forth the effort to write something thoughtful, he'll write something inflammatory - which comes so naturally to him. While Macauley saw that pose of Whelan's as a mast or prow to a ship, others may have seen her as a bird taking flight, a leaning crucifix or something else. His remark about Wheeldon's presentation of women as being that way "often" is left unsubstantiated. It's lazy writing.
  22. In his October 4 blog Wolcott relives his meeting with Macauley at a Nureyev biography book party:
  23. Haglund's

    Veronika Part

    About 13 paragraphs down in that bio is a blurb about her being engaged to Alex Tressor. Whoda thunk?
  24. Some more casting has been added for the first week of City Center: Opening night Oct Ballo della Regina G. Murphy D. Hallberg The Leaves Are Fading pas de deux M. Wiles A. Hammoudi Clear pas de deux X. Reyes H. Cornejo Don Quixote Act III pas de deux P. Herrera J. Carreño Fancy Free H. Cornejo S. Radetsky M. Gomes S. Abrera J. Kent Wednesday Clear X. Reyes H. Cornejo The Leaves Are Fading J. Kent M. Gomes Fancy Free C. Salstein D. Hallberg J. Carreño P. Herrera G. Murphy Thursday Clear P. Herrera J. Carreño Meadow- J. Kent M. Gomes Ballo della Regina M. Wiles M. Beloserkovsky Friday Ballo della Regina G. Murphy D. Hallberg The Leaves Are Fading X. Reyes G. Saveliev From Here On Out (New Millepied Work) Company Saturday Matinee Ballo della Regina M. Wiles M. Beloserkovsky Meadow S. Abrera D. Hallberg Fancy Free H. Cornejo S. Radetsky M. Gomes P. Herrera J. Kent Saturday evening Clear P. Herrera J. Carreño New Elo/Glass/Close Work M. Copeland J. Kent K. Boone H. Cornejo M. Gomes J. Matthews From Here On Out (New Millepied Work)- Company Sunday matinee Ballo della Regina M. Wiles M. Beloserkovsky New Elo/Glass/Close Work M. Copeland J. Kent K. Boone H. Cornejo M. Gomes J. Matthews Fancy Free C. Salstein D. Hallberg J. Carreño S. Abrera G. Murphy Sunday evening The Leaves Are Fading X. Reyes G. Saveliev Meadow J. Kent M. Gomes From Here On Out (New Millepied Work) Company
  25. If the fingers are extended out further yet still maintain some curvature, I think the position can be lovely and I don't think it breaks the arm's line. It's the wrist position that breaks it. Sometimes the pointer finger can be raised too high. It's not really fair to judge from a photograph since dancing should allow for fluidity in the movement of the hands, but I've seen some dancers that exaggerate the position of the finger too often. Regarding Van Hamel, the first time I saw that video that was the first thing I noticed: how expressive and delicate her hands are! And personally, I don't see a huge difference between her hands and the supposed "choreographic" hands...her fingers are held relatively far apart. I found VanHamel's hands in that video extremely choreographic and far from text book. There are teachers out there who might want to tape her thumbs down. But what she is doing appears to be, for the most part, the choreography, including all the wrist movements. That's different from letting the thumb, pointer finger and little finger take on lives of their own and thereby distort and segment the line.
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