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Posts posted by vipa

  1. Not exactly a wardrobe malfunction, perhaps more of a dancer malfunction: Kevin McKenzir in the last scene of a Romeo & Juliet at ABT schlepping Juliet about while still wearing his tatty pale blue wooly long legwarmers.

    Actually, they were sweatpants and they were very loose and baggy. And they became more shapeless during the short scene.

    I wondered why that all came to pass. When McKenzie came out for his curtain call, he was wearing tights.

    So why could he make a quick costume change for the calls but not a little earlier for the last scene? You would think they could hold the curtain or at least keep the tomb scene dark until everyone was set , costume wise

    Didn't he probably have the sweatpants on over his tights? He probably forgot to take them off for the scene but took them off for the curtain call.

    This makes me wonder how he, as director, feels about dancers who make similar mistakes.

  2. .... I have seen Part in many roles and am still looking for the experience that others have had. In my experience she seems tense, flubs steps and under performs. Is it possible that those that love her are taken with her looks, body, Russian training and facial expressions? I just don't get it

    Have you seen her O/O? In other roles my experience is very often consonant with yours.

    her looks, body, Russian training and facial expressions...

    Since Makarova I have seen many O/O's but very few have touched her level. Other than Part, just (young) Guillem, Nina Ballerina, Ashley Bouder, and (on her way, at least) Sara Mearns. I think Mr. B's one-acter should count for something too. Early Darci Kistler, and Maria Kowroski's last (a while ago...).

    I would like to see Part in O/O because I am indeed curious. I hope to see what others see in her and I hear that is her best ballet. The statement about "managing most of the steps" bothers me, because in other ballets I see fear and hesitation from Part because she knows she won't manage all of the steps.

    I am thinking more and more that this whole discussion boils down to individual tastes. I was not a fan of Makarova's Swan Lake although I loved Cynthia Gregory. I don't really go for Russian trained dancers on the whole.

  3. P.S.: I saw James Wolcott's love letter when it first appeared. Thanks for linking to it, drb. It's kind of sweet. You want it to be true, for Wilcott's sake.

    Yes, you do. That piece strikes so rich a chord, it cracks me up. Wolcott is married to Laura Jacobs, who writes about dance for The New Criterion, and who has published her own raptures about Ms. Part. From an essay entitled "Assoluta," much of which is about this ballerina, here's Jacobs on a Part-Gomes Swan Lake:

    Part revealed the heart that’s been in lambswool these last two years. Here was an emotional Odette, passionately pitched, her narrative flights clear and momentous, and the delicacies, those trilling entrechat-passés en arrière, for instance, like water singing. When Odette first allows herself to lean back upon Siegfried’s chest, Part tendrils against him in something between rest and wrest. You never forget she’s trapped in feathers, in Rothbart’s spell. And when Odette approaches Siegfried with a full circling swoop of the arms that pulls her up to pointe, Part powers a whoosh so huge we see the danger of her love—she actually startled Gomes, overwhelmed him— the supernatural size of her, it is the conjuring of the spell blowing through her, white rush and strange heart, Wingwraith. This is imagination, wild and precise, rehearsed and released, big, bigger, biggest. This is Veronika Part, making bliss of the art once again.

    This is really a bit much. I have seen Part in many roles and am still looking for the experience that others have had. In my experience she seems tense, flubs steps and under performs. Is it possible that those that love her are taken with her looks, body, Russian training and facial expressions? I just don't get it

  4. My question is, how important to you and to the ballet are the 32 fouettes in this role?

    Are they, even if well-performed, a highlight, or merely a hurdle? Do they enhance Odile's campaign to seduce and conquer the Prince, or are they just something to dazzle? And, if fouettes are not something a dancer does not do particularly well, what SHOULD she do -- muddle through? change the choreography? decline the role?

    They are not that important to me. If the dancer has to really hobble through them, they should substitute another step. Odile has to show a dazzling confidence to bewitch Siegfried and to get through the series with

    obviously gritted teeth goes contrary to that.

    A different story is a dancer who can do the turns but something goes wrong in the actual performance. In that case , I think the dancer should try to salvage the turns (maybe cut out multiple pirouettes) if they can.

    Or if necessary, switch to another step. The key here is to try not to have it look too obvious.

    I think we are more or less stuck with the 32 fouettes though, they are a tradtion and audiences love the

    high-wire aspect of them. But I think it's a shame to have them subtract from a performer that does

    all the rest of O/O well.

    I think they are important. They are part of the tradition of the piece - standard choreography - a signature movement if you will (such as entrachats for blue bird, balances in Rose Adagio). I don't want to exaggerate but removing obstacles for every dancer would dilute choreography until everyone was doing only those things they were good at (this happened somewhat in Soviet ballet). Truthfully I don't see why any dancer with the technical ability to do Odette/Odile can't just learn to churn out 32 fouettes! It it not a super human trick, It can be taught.

    For audiences it is like hearing a soprano hit a particular note. Maybe the note can be written lower and serve the purpose, but it's part of the excitement

  5. How do you think Darci Bussell or Gillian Murphy compare with Bouder or Sylvie?

    Would they be able to do NYCB/Balanchine ballets?

    I saw Darci Bussell in NYCB doing Tatania in Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream. She was wonderful. Her amplitute and generosity of movement were very enjoyable. I don't know how her technique would measure up to Bouder or Sylvie (by the way, speaking just technique I think Sylvie is far more accomplished than Bouder)

    I think Gillian Murphy would measure up well at NYCB. She was trained by Melissa Haydn and seems very adaptable.

    On the other hand I'm sure Sylvie could handle the ABT rep but I'm not as sure that Bouder could (don't get me wrong, I am a big Bouder fan and look for her when casting goes up).

  6. [of his mind by the fourth movement of Square Dance.... I have never heard it conducted faster.... Stars and Stripes was also done at a super fast tempi for the majority, and the ballet seemed under rehearsed for the female corps, or maybe they were just a little too tired to give it their all....

    Bouder was all power and spit fire and camp. Some of that I very much enjoyed, but I also kept hearing Balanchine's words describing the grand pas as a straight "classical pas de deux" first.... then a sprinkling of camp and fun.

    Funny I thought the corps of S & S looked well rehearsed particularly for a 1st performance. I agree about Bouder. I enjoy her power and exuberance but wish she would tone down the camp.

    Ulbricht and Sterling Hytlin were wonderful in their roles.

    In Square Dance I found Fairchild lacking in attack until the last movement which was so crazily fast that she had to have attack.

    Liebeslieder was a wonderful performance

    Of course the Melissa Haydn remembrances made it a particularly special evening.

  7. ...and cannot wait to once again see Nina A. in Sleeping Beauty.

    According to her site, it looks like you'll have (y)our wish!


    Nice photo of her with baby ballerina Helene, too!

    It is remarkable that she'll return to three such taxing roles at age 44, and after well over two years of not dancing (before the public). Still I'd really rather watch Lane (five years after medalling at Jackson) and Fang (seven years after winning the Prix Lausanne) have chances at the big roles than see any of the Company's regular Principals (Super Guests Annaniashvili, Ferri, Vishneva excepted). How much more experience do they need before retiring or escaping?

    I agree. There seem to be some big talents in the women's corps who are not given opportunities due to the nature of the repertory and hierarchy. I'd love to see more of Fang (Lang had been given more opportunities because of her size but I'd love to see more of her too). There are other talented corps members too.

    In NYCB, dancers have always been given opportunites even as corp members. Of course NYCB does more rep and has a history of that kind of casting. ABT depends on full length ballets with name principals.

  8. I enjoyed Sylve's performance. She has a fullness of movement that is wonderful. I can see that she lacks the "mystery" of some other dancers, but I think she has a kind of majesty. I thought Askegard was very weak (enough said). Reichlen did well but I find something lacking in her use of her upper body. Also, I saw Monique Meunier in that role with ABT fairly recently and it will be hard for anyone to top that.

    I loved Ulbricht's gigue in Mozartiana - everything was clean, beautiful and joyful (funny I thought Victor Castelli, who I saw in the role many times originated it, but the notes available at theater say it was Chris D'Amboise).

    Wendy Whelen & Hubbe were good, but didn't reach the greatness of the Suzanne Farrell/Ib Anderson performances. I even looked at the video again to make sure I wasn't falling into the "good old days" trap!

    All in all it's good to see the company back in rep.

  9. "Solo shades all fine but I agree that Abrea and Kajiya stood out. Not sure what all the fuss over Sarah Lane is, she seems fine and pleasant and young."

    I didn't know that there has been a fuss over Sarah Lane, but I have been a big fan of her's since I saw her do the principal part in Theme & Variations in NY a couple of seasons ago. One partnering glitch but an otherwise outstanding and refreshing performance.

    I worry that some of the outstanding females in the corp won't have opportunities to move up because the rep is so full length ballet heavy. Lane is not the only one.

  10. I really don’t know who the next AD should be, but I think that perhaps the structure of the position could be changed to a much less hands-on responsibility for maintenance and growth of the rep and more management of the big picture as defined by the institution's mission. As we move further from those who were the 1st hand beneficiaries of Balanchine’s teaching, it becomes all the more unlikely that we will be able to find that ONE person who will be able to do all things the way Balanchine did or Martins tried to do. It seems like the current AD is a bit over-stretched and has micromanagement tendencies which aren‘t necessarily healthy for the organization. It would be a good idea to discourage the future AD from indulging in choreography and make sure he stays out of the business side of the institution.

    So here’s how I think it could possibly be organized:

    General Artistic Director [These would be Equal] Exec Dir -- All bus & admin

    Reporting to the General Artisitic Director:

    Asst Artistic Director - Balanchine repertory --

    Supervises dedicated ballet masters to ensure the standards

    of excellence, artistic aesthetic and choreography are

    maintained, and documents changes, enhancements, and

    individual interpretations of the choreography by the artists.

    Asst Artistic Director - Robbins repertory --

    Supervises dedicated ballet masters to ensure the standards

    of excellence, artistic aesthetic and choreography are

    maintained, and documents changes, enhancements, and

    individual interpretations of the choreography by the artists.

    Asst Artistic Director -Contemporary Choreographic Acquisitions --

    Responsible for exploring and examining contemporary choreographers’

    offerings with an eye toward incorporating artistic product into the

    repertory. Supervises dedicated ballet masters to ensure standards

    of excellence, artistic aesthetic and choreography are maintained, and

    documents changes, enhancements, and individual interpretations of

    the choreography by the artists. Works with AAMD - CMA to match

    selected commissioned scores with choreographers.

    Asst Artistic & Music Director - Contemporary Music Acquisitions --

    Provides all musical supervision. Explores contemporary composers’

    works and has full responsibility for commissioning scores for future

    use by choreographers selected with the AAD-CCA.

    I love this thinking. I have not been a fan of the Martin's regime but realize that he has been in a particularly difficult position, one of succeeding a genius who often made exciting casting choices.

    I'd vote for Suzanne for the Balanchine rep.

  11. I think overdancing typically comes with youth -

    You want to show your stuff

    You want to prove that you can do it - that you are worthy

    You don't have the maturity to be nuances or have a developed sense of values.

    It's the same with writers, instrumentalists, singers etc. The young ones want to pull everything out of their bag of tricks instead of saving some things!

  12. Everyone talks about the ABT principal men but it seems to me that there is a lot of depth in the women's corp -- Zhong-Jing Fang, Kristi Boone and Sarah Lang just to name a few. Are there sufficient opportunities for outstanding talents like these? Particulary in the big ballet Met Season; Sleeping Beauty being the exception because is variation heavy

  13. The question is a good one: It's not what to think of a few mistakes but "What to think when a dancer leaves out the hard stuff?"

    And I don't know the answer can be general. It depends, I suppose, on what specific hard stuff is left out in what specific role, and whether you care varies accordingly.

    This is a very good question. We know that Balanchine changed things for dancers who couldn't do a certain step or lift. He changed a part of Apollo for Suzanne Farrell because her knees were bad and she couldn't jump. To me that doesn't mean that the steps don't matter and anyone can change things. For one thing, Balanchine was there to provide an alternative. He might have changed the turn the Veronica Part had a problem with to something else entirely, not just a double. We don't know.

    On the other hand the integrety of a piece can and should be able to withstand changes for a dancer who delivers the real intent of the ballet.

    On the other hand ballets can't be watered down for no good reason.

    One more thing. Who staged SC? Usually people from the Balanchine estate have a strong opinion on what is acceptable or not.

  14. I'm with Michael & Bart here. I did not see the SC at the gala but at the Saturday matinee & found Part sublime. Yes, sitting close mezzanine, I could see the concern cross her face before the turns but they were brief moments in an otherwise glorious performance.

    For me Part (like Allegra Kent & Suzanne Farrell & Kim Highton) is the music, pure & simple. The music doesn't come from the orchestra, the impulse does not come from the conductor. It is channeled directly from the composer to Veronika & to us from her.

    This is a rare gift & I am willing to overlook the occasional blip on an otherwise gorgeous horizon.

    The Tiger Woods analogy is a good one if one is looking solely for technical perfection, but Tiger doesn't golf to Mozart. Ballet is, first & foremost, about the dancer's response to the music & in this Veronika excels.

    I agree in some ways but don't think that it is an either or. Part is gorgeous in many ways, but I am one of those who finds her technical mishaps jarring. Improving her technique won't ruin her artistry, it will just add to the choices she and make. Ballet technique isn't magic (of course some have more facility than others) it can be learned. Not everyone can reach the level of Murphy but believe me technique can be learned.

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