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Everything posted by fondoffouettes

  1. Stella in for Shevchenko tonight and she’s beyond divine! Knocked the variation out of the park (and had to dance it at a faster tempo than in the rehearsal clip). Lane just as gorgeous as Tuesday. More to come later.
  2. Yes, it's quite a schedule, but I imagine it's a much less exhausting role than Siegfried. Desiree has just one variation (albeit a doozy) but the rest is mostly partnering, with very few lifts (and none overhead). Was anyone at today's matinee? I'm very curious to hear how Trenary did after her stunning debut a couple years ago.
  3. Reports on here also seemed to indicate that her Odette had also gone downhill. The fact that management had initially scheduled her for just one O/O, before Murphy went on maternity leave, seemed a wise decision to me. Who knows what will happen next year, after the weirdness of her pulling out of the black swan PDD in the first performance, and her not even attempting the fouettes in the second. Assuming they bring back R&J next year, they can make that a big Copeland vehicle and perhaps allow her to bid goodbye to O/O. While I could see her staying with ABT for another 5+ years, I think there's going to come a point before that when she physically won't be able to dance O/O any longer. Her private training and skipping company class seem to have done nothing for her technique.
  4. And regarding the fairies in Act III, if you consider them fairies, I was really surprised by the degree of sloppiness in spacing, synchronization, and uniformity in how high legs were raised (which is a big focus in this reconstruction) among the sapphire, silver and gold fairies. They were Melanie Hamrick, Courtney Lavine, and I forget the third and unfortunately don't have my program with me. Lavine particularly seemed to lag behind and seem a bit sloppy in her poses. I've always seen this section danced so cleanly and sharply, but it was really off last night. Teuscher, however, was stellar as Diamond. It's true luxury casting to have dancers like her and Shevchenko cast in the role. Yes, it really starts to drag when you have the blah Cinderella choreography followed by the ogre running around with the children. The Cinderella section could be retained but with the music cut a bit; it goes on far too long. And the part where she uses the bellows on the prince just seems idiotic; she's running around looking for her shoe and then when the prince presents it to her, she fends him off with bellows? I believe that bellows could be an erotic symbol in the 18th century ("stoking the flames of love") but that's not how it is used here. And yes, the peasant dance at the beginning of Act II is probably some of the weakest ensemble choreography in the whole work. But I guess if it's truly a reconstruction, you have to sit through all of it; and it does give you a sense of the full fabric of the work.
  5. And regarding the fairies in Act III, if you consider them fairies, I was really surprised by the degree of sloppiness in spacing, synchronization, and uniformity in how high legs were raised (which is a big focus in this reconstruction) among the sapphire, silver and gold fairies. They were Melanie Hamrick, Courtney Lavine, and I forget the third and unfortunately don't have my program with me. Lavine particularly seemed to lag behind and seem a bit sloppy in her poses. I've always seen this section danced so cleanly and sharply, but it was really off last night. Teuscher, however, was stellar as Diamond. It's true luxury casting to have dancers like her and Shevchenko cast in the role.
  6. I think Lane perhaps gave her most beautiful and self-assured Aurora to date, which isn't surprising given the new level of artistic authority she has demonstrated this season. Her dancing was incisive, graceful and incredibly musical. As @nanushka has noted, she and Cornejo perhaps made the best case I've seen for the Ratmansky choreography. Lane's Rose Adagio was very good, and even though she wasn't able to hold the final balance as long as I'm sure she'd hoped, the nod to Ribagorda and her ability to just roll with it was lovely (she used to let things like that throw her a bit). Her variation that followed was perhaps the best I've seen. Shevchenko was a fantastic Lilac Fairy. She made her variation look like a piece of cake, and her mime was wonderfully articulated. Perhaps no one can quite radiate warmth and benevolence like Abera does in this role, but Shevchenko came pretty close. Cornejo and Lane were simply a dream in the vision scene, and I'd forgotten how attractive the scenery and costumes are for that section, from the beautifully painted landscape backdrop, to the ornate boat, to the not at all heavy-looking white costumes adorned with gold leaves. Lane pulled off the clam shell balance just as it is supposed to be done. The wedding pas de deux was fantastic (I'm running out of superlatives). The backbend was even more pronounced than in the rehearsal video (I almost gasped). Regarding the replacements to the fish dives, I quite liked them, especially the first two instances. But, the third one is held much longer than the previous two and I feel like there should be something else going on to better fill out the music. Perhaps there could be some sort of shift in the ballerina's position and change in port de bras. It just felt too static, for too long. The final fish dive at the end of the adagio has been retained. Since we only get that one, it does make it seem more special and makes for a very satisfying end. Cornejo blew me away in his variation. It was a true virtuoso tour de force, and I feel as if he's set the gold standard for this variation. I'm curious what other changes have been made to the vision and wedding pas de deux based on the new sketches that have been found. I'ts been too long since I've seen the full ballet for me to determine what has been changed. Perhaps others will be able to detect the changes.
  7. I still look forward to seeing this new (old) choreography, but there's no denying it's not as climactic as the fish dives. The final pose doesn't seem to have enough amplitude -- or something like that -- to justify it being held in place so long for the third iteration. I was hoping the video would show whether they still do the fish dive at the end, but no!
  8. Abrera has posted a lovely rehearsal video of her executing that tricky arabesque-turn sequence from the Lilac variation. It’s nice to finally have a visual record of this.
  9. Yes, ABT has always done that part in the reconstruction. It's interesting that Ratmansky acknowledges "when done well," since ballerinas seemed to have about a 50% success rate with the balancing device. But yes, when done well, it appears as if she's balancing for a preternaturally long time. Interestingly, I seem to recall that Seo, who can struggle with balances, did very well in the balancing device.
  10. After reading the initial reactions to the premiere in Costa Mesa, I expected the reconstruction to diverge quite a bit from modern-day versions of the ballet, but overall, I found it to be not that radically different. Yes, details may have been different, but the satisfying dance moments were all there. What I appreciate about the reconstruction is the perfect fit of the music with the dancing, action, mime, and scene transitions. The music is allowed to serve its purpose, and choreography isn't shoehorned into music that doesn't quite work. If I were a ballet newbie, and didn't read the program notes, I truly don't think I'd find this particular production to be much different from any other 19th-century full-length presented by ABT. Perhaps it would seem less acrobatic and athletic than some of the other works, and certainly you can see that legs are held in lower positions. My main criticisms of the reconstruction are more about the physical production itself. While I like the overall aesthetic of the production, there are some costumes I'm not so fond of (while not offensive, I find Aurora's Act I costume to be a bit of a letdown). Also, I think it's a real missed opportunity that the panorama was not reconstructed. I'm sure it came down to $$$, and perhaps moving backdrops wouldn't be exciting to modern-day audiences, but I think it could have been so magical. Perhaps it would have been an opportunity to use a modern-day technology -- projections -- to recreate 19th-century stagecraft.
  11. I do love the fish dives, but I'm also very curious to see how these new sources inform the vision and wedding pas de deux. Also, the move that Lane and Cornejo did in lieu of the fish dives was beautiful in its own right, so if this new (old) move is anything like that, I don't imagine I'll be disappointed. For what it's worth, Trenary and Gorak do the final fish dive in this recently posted video, but they are also just playing around, so who knows. (I can't wait to see these two!) I adore the moment in the reconstructed vision pas de deux in which the ballerina faces away from the audience and does a deep backbend, with the prince in front of her. I hadn't been familiar with that move from other versions of Sleeping Beauty, so I hope it remains in the revised reconstructed version we'll see this season.
  12. Stella Abera's Instagram stories show that Copeland danced the black swan pas de deux with Hallberg.
  13. Whiteside has danced T&V with ABT before. I think it was opposite Murphy. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/arts/dance/a-fall-season-of-grand-revival-for-american-ballet-theater.amp.html
  14. If she truly has the flu and was so ill she needed Cornejo to hold her up (as she states in her Instagram post), then she shouldn't have been onstage potentially getting Cornejo, Lane and her other colleagues sick.
  15. I've never thought the Black Swan comments would have negatively impacted Lane's career in the long term. It's interesting that Xiomara Reyes, another very short dancer, was never cast as O/O (at least I don't think she was; correct me if I'm mistaken), and certainly she had technique to spare. I think for a long time, Lane was sort of pigeonholed as a soubrette type, but I think her Giselle was a breakthrough moment for her, showing her profound acting ability. That has only further been cemented by this year's Manon. While opportunities were slow to come to Lane, she is making her way through many of the Petipa roles. I hope she gets her own scheduled Swan Lake next year. Regarding the balance in Von Rothbart's variation...I think they need to come up with a substitution, as almost no one seems to be able to do it, and certainly no one does it as well as Gomes used to. As @mille-feuille says, why not just start flat and maybe go up to demi-pointe. Or put something else there entirely.
  16. The only somewhat analogous situation I can think of is when Julie Kent pulled out of the Odette but not Odile, which seemed like the exact opposite of what you'd expect based on her late-career strengths. I believe Dvorovenko danced Odette that night. I don't believe there was any announcement of injury that time. In retrospect, I wondered if it might have had something to do with Kent's second pregnancy and what she felt comfortable dancing if that was the case (I truly don't remember if the timing lined up, though).
  17. Looks like it may be! Simkin just posted this:
  18. There have been several clips of Cornejo rehearsing SL on Instagram in the past couple days and he looks to be in great form. I’ve seen absolutely no info on Simkin. He has continued to post (non-current content) on Instagram but has not mentioned his injury or responded to well wishes, as far as I’ve noticed. And ABT's Instagram account has a clip of Hallberg rehearsing the leap into the lake, so presumably he's doing well at the moment.
  19. Thanks for explaining this! I tried doing this move (as very much a non-dancer!) and my body immediately wanted to tip forward when I lifted the free leg much off the ground. 😂
  20. Yes, if she could pull that off in performance, it would be truly jaw-dropping. While I realize Brandt doesn't fit the typical O/O type, I don't think we'll know what she could do with the role until she's given the chance. I would have never imagined Sarah Lane had such profound dramatic abilities until she was cast as Giselle and then this year as Manon. She was always just the sunny soubrette... So, you never know.
  21. Um, yeah, it's things like this that make it harder and harder for me to see this particular production multiple times per week unless the casting is stellar. I'll add to that the almost universally detested choreography for the swans in front of the curtain before Act IV. And, overall, the national dances aren't so hot.
  22. Tonight was the most I've ever enjoyed Whiteside in a full-length classical role. His acting was understated but effective, and his dancing was gorgeous -- big lofty jumps with soft landings, excellent turns, and rock-solid partnering with the exception of the few little issues mentioned by @ABT Fan (yes, those super fast supported pirouettes were beautiful AND musical). The overhead lifts in Act II haven't looked so exciting in a long time. In some ways, his dancing reminded me of Gomes at his very best in this role (in terms of dancing, not characterization), though Whiteside probably has a bit more facility with jumps and fast turns. I had big expectations for Shevchenko going into tonight, and for the most part, she delivered. Her Act II had lots of gorgeous moments -- she struck some great arabesques, had a flexible back and lovely port de bras (and even threw a couple ripples into her swan arms as she departed at the end of the act, something I haven't seen much of since Ananiashvili and Wiles toward the end of her ABT career). But overall, I wasn't very moved by her Odette; my feeling was that she still has a little ways to go in figuring out who her Odette is, beyond the gorgeous dancing. I guess I'm looking for deepened characterization; granted, this was only her second outing in the role at the Met, so she has time to develop the role. Her Odile was pretty fabulous, and, I felt, was more fully realized character-wise than her Odette. The adagio was drop-dead gorgeous, as were both principals' variations. Shevchenko's fouette sequence was really solid, but I agree with @ABT Fan that I don't care much for the a la seconde turns. Maybe they'd work in a fouette sequence in another ballet, but given Shevchenko's facility with turning, I think it would have been more effective to go with multiple (musical) revolutions followed by singles. Wow -- Calvin Royal's Purple Rothbart is light years ahead of where he was when he debuted the role; so much more impactful, commanding and fun. It's a shame about the arabesque balance (I thought he actually lifted his leg three separate times), because otherwise it was a pretty superb performance. I'm curious as to what makes that balance so difficult; I wonder if it's the type of thing that doesn't look difficult to audience members, but is actually very challenging. It seems to cause problems for so many Rothbarts. I suppose when men usually do an arabesque on demi-point, it's often a fleeting step that immediately transitions into something else. And I guess you don't usually start with both of your feet together. It was a superb Act I pas de trois -- so light, graceful, and executed with such apparent ease. Gorak doesn't turn Benno into a bravura role, the way Cornejo used to do, but his dancing is so elegant that I almost prefer his approach. Their little pas de trois toward the beginning of Act III was perhaps executed better than I've ever seen before. What luxury casting. I loved all three of them. The orchestra is sounding so much better than it did a few years ago. No funky violin moments during the Act II PDD; no wonky horns for the fanfares announcing entrances in Act III. You used to be guaranteed at least one or two cringe-worthy moments in every performance back in the day.
  23. I'll be very curious to learn who conducted the Lane Swan Lake. As much as it pains me to watch these two dancers who are no longer with the company, I went back to this video of Part and Gomes to see how quickly Part, who certainly wasn't a naturally strong turner, took the fouettes. The music still sounds brisk, but it's definitely not breakneck fast, and she's pretty much able to stay on the music. (I realize it's probably recorded music, but I imagine she would have elected a recording that worked for her.) It's hard for me to imagine a conductor wanting to express his artistic control in that particular part of the score, but who knows. God, Part is just gorgeous here... (sorry, couldn't help myself). I so miss seeing her do those arabesque hops. And she makes a strong case for doing solid singles if you aren't someone who can easily toss off multiple revolutions.
  24. Yikes. That's a shame about the tempo. I feel like, in general, ABT conductors are very responsive to each ballerina's needs, particularly in Swan Lake, where tempi are often slowed down so they can luxuriate in some of the adagio passages. I would have assumed LaMarche and Seo would have worked out some sort of agreement about the tempo, especially if it's a passage that they know is not her strong suite. I can only recall her somewhat shaky fouettes from when she filled in mid-performance for Murphy; I recall her traveling a lot but since it was such a last-minute substitution, and she must have been exhausted from her own scheduled performances, I wasn't sure if it was indicative of her normal ability to execute fouettes.
  25. I really hope Hallberg retires from ABT. Yes, he's only dancing three times, but those are spots that could have gone to actual company members. For me, he has ceased to be a compelling dancer since his comeback, and yet his danseur noble affectations have only grown stronger. I'm not surprised to hear that Des Grieux was a good fit for him, though.
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