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Everything posted by fondoffouettes

  1. Right. I think it will be a miracle if Hallberg dances his one Swan Lake. If ABT really finds itself in a pinch, Hammoudi does know the role. I know this is an option that very few of us would be enthused about, but it would be easier than teaching the role to someone who has never danced it before. Assuming Simkin pulls out of Swan Lake, I agree that Whiteside is the most likely sub. I think the rule of thumb is that ABT goes with what is the most expedient, safest option when someone needs to be replaced. Cases like Sarah Lane debuting O/O with just a few days notice seem like a rare exception to that rule.
  2. The amounts listed above would only supplement the cost of a dancer’s salary, not fully cover it. What I remember Part saying was that a donor had stepped up to pay her salary and ABT still said no to renewing her contract. She said it in the comments section of something. I’ll try to go back and find it. I still read these “sponsorships” as simply donor perks for large gifts. I don’t think an unsponsored dancer would have a worse chance of being renewed or promoted, unless ABT is truly unethical.
  3. I’ve always assumed that those donors aren’t actually funding a particular dancer’s salary, but rather, giving at a certain level allows one to attach one’s name to a corps, soloist or principal dancer, depending on how much you give. The alternative scenario would seem to give the donor too much agency in determining a dancer’s fate, but who knows... I kind of figured it’s like when donors give a lot of money to name a space after themselves, except in this instance the name is being attached to a dancer rather than to a section of the theater. I think the problem is that ABT’s operating budget is a fraction of NYCB’s, isn’t it? Yes, there aren’t as many principal role opportunities at ABT, but ABT could also expand the notion of what a principal role is (to include peasant pas, etc.). Certainly NYCB principals take on roles that would be considered soloist-level at ABT. NYCB even had principal men doing the Rose Adagio. Not a bad idea, really, when you think of the support the ballerina requires...
  4. I knew it was a debut for Bell but wasn't sure about Trenary. Wow -- her performance was so light and sparkling, not to mention technically rock solid. She had mentioned in an Instagram story, in which she was rehearsing the role, that hops on pointe aren't easy for her, but you would have never known when she did them last night. She has such a special quality about her that's really hard for me to put into words. I'd really love to see her as Queen of the Dryads in Don Q, among many other roles...
  5. I hear you, but I would not hesitate to buy a ticket — rush or splurge — to Saturday evening’s performance. Shevchenko and Trenary gave two of this most extraordinary performances of Medora and Gulnare I’ve ever seen. Their artistry and technical mastery only seem to have reached new heights. And Mack seems to have gotten over any debut jitters. His Conrad was much more compelling than what I’ve seen from Whiteside and Stearns, and he was able to throw in more bravura steps than I’m used to, holding his own against Ali. His partnering was impeccable. Ahn is a beautiful dancer, but no one can hold a candle to Simkin, so it’s hard for me to judge Ahn’s performance fairly, having gone in hoping for a Simkin’s Ali. And kudos to Bell for his fantastic partnering and gorgeous deep knee bends in his variation.
  6. I'm not sure how Corsaire ties into Pride at all, but if you're looking to get discounted tickets for the Saturday matinee: https://mailchi.mp/798262b42eeb/dont-miss-abts-special-events-and-exclusive-offers-782565?e=137cd89e12
  7. I was sure that the caption would provide some information, but no...
  8. If he has been, it's been a real rarity during his ABT years. I can't recall offhand any time he's been replaced. I'm so disappointed I won't get to see his Ali. If he has to withdraw from Manon or Swan Lake, I hope there may be a silver lining of Forster or another dancer getting a debut. Ahn certainly has a busy few days ahead of him.
  9. Thanks, California. And I didn’t realize it was a debut.
  10. Has there been any visual evidence that Hallberg has been rehearsing Manon in New York? A few days ago he was in London for the Fonteyn tribute performance. Has he been dancing Des Grieux recently enough that he can just swoop in and perform it with Boylston? The last image I can remember of him rehearsing with ABT is a video (on Instagram) from months ago in which he was rehearsing Swan Lake with Copeland. I really hope Forster might in fact be dancing Des Grieux with Boylston.
  11. I don’t disagree with this statement, but it seems crazy to me that it only addresses subject matter, not the distorted Orientalist lens through which that subject matter is presented. Slavery is offensive as subject matter, yes, but presenting slavery as sexy, exotic fun for the delectation of European audiences is also problematic. This statement from ABT only goes halfway in addressing the ballet’s issues. I say this as someone who thinks Orientalist works shouldn’t be discarded, but rather appreciated with an understanding of what they truly represent. I commend ABT for addressing this but I don’t think they’ve done the work to represent the complexity of these issues. The statement is a self-preserving copout. The fact that they omitted the prayer scene shows that the company knows that part of the problem is how European artists chose to depict the Arab world, not just subject matter.
  12. I’ll need to read the statement in full, but I hope “those times” refers to 19th-century Europe, not whatever era is supposedly depicted in the ballet. An Orientalist ballet is more a reflection of European values and fantasies, not those of the actual Middle East. I really hope the statement makes that distinction. The portly, bumbling Sultan figure (or whatever he is supposed to be) is probably one of the most racist caricatures you can find on the ballet stage. I’m curious to see whether they alter anything relating to him; the part where he and others kneel in prayer feels particularly cringe-worthy.
  13. Yeah, my gut feeling is that it will be a short list this year. I think Brandt is very deserving of a promotion, but I'm doubtful it will happen until there is a retirement. I do really hope Forster is promoted, though, as you say, it would be unprecedented (at least in recent memory) for a male dancer to be promoted to that rank without having danced the lead in one of the full-length warhorses. I agree that Bell and Shayer seem to be the most likely candidates. And perhaps Mack's guest appearances are an audition. However, I didn't realize until recently that he is 32 or 33 years old (according to Wikipedia), and when ABT has hired from the outside (Cirio, Whiteside, Simkin), they've tended to go with dancers who are younger. But who knows?
  14. Last year it was on June 29, or at least that's when the press release is dated. The previous year it was July 7.
  15. And apparently 540s are still on the agenda, too. I can't believe how light and easy he makes them look...
  16. Really glad to hear these reports that he hopes to go on in Manon. I'd be sorry to miss the special connection he and Lane share as partners. Slightly off topic, but does anyone know if they are using those muddy sets from last time or reverting to the much more attractive (in my opinion) production they'd previously used?
  17. In case you aren't following Simkin on Instagram, this is what he may attempt for his manege in the pas de trois:
  18. I'm not sure they count as "worsts," but I consider The Merry Widow and Othello to be some of the most lackluster full-lengths I've ever seen. The Millepied Daphnis and Chloe was a pretty bad piece, too. Was The Snow Maiden one of ABT's flops?
  19. Yes, I've never done it, but see the exchange rules here: https://www.abt.org/faq/performances/ It will be a $30 fee if you're not a subscriber. At least it seems like you can exchange right up to the performance date, I guess? The Met's policy is only up to 24 hours before a performance, but ABT doesn't seem to have that stipulation. The Met links over to ABT's rules on this page, so I guess you can trust what it says. https://www.metopera.org/about/faq/#accordionButton-4826-4
  20. I think Lane is the best actress of any of the Manons who've been cast. I'm also curious to see her transformation from innocent young woman, at the beginning of the ballet, to a manipulative (and manipulated) courtesan; I think she could pull that off very well. Why am I not at all shocked that Stearns and Seo turned in a bland bedroom PDD? It's true that much of the success of this ballet depends on the chemistry between the leads.
  21. Wow -- that's tantalizing. In my dreams it would be the Tudor one-act Romeo and Juliet (since they aren't presenting the MacMillan this year) paired with Ashton's The Dream (with Cornejo dancing Puck one last time!). A Shakespeare Evening, if that helps to sell it.
  22. I agree with vipa that La Cour did well, especially if this was a last-minute replacement; his partnering was super solid and really allowed Mearns to shine, and shine she did. She was radiant throughout. Ball -- wow -- he was spectacular. I think he's the type of dancer who could be both a great Puck and a great Oberon. Garcia was fine as Oberon. Not a memorable performance, but he managed the choreography better than I'd expected. Yeah, I heard a bunch of squeaks from Bouder's shoes (it might just depend on where you're sitting). It was definitely mood-breaking in such a quiet, dreamy pas de deux. Still, it was only about half the amount of squeaking as in Scotch Symphony. It's maybe not an ideal role for Bouder, but she managed to have more softness and delicacy than she's know for. I was really disappointed in the final move of the PDD, where the ballerina shifts from one of her partner's arms to the other, done so beautifully in this video. Bouder was kind of just passed quickly from one arm to the next. It's one of the most beautiful moments in the PDD, and so unique, so it was a let-down to see it not performed well. This was my first time seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream live. There's so much to love in it, but I thought the first act especially seems a bit bloated; the part with the four lovers just felt interminable. Hippolyta adds interest to the mist scene, but it just felt too long and a bit dull. I'd love to see the ballet condensed into a one act with a pause between the main story and the wedding. While there's some brilliant choreography throughout, I also think there's quite a bit that's not Balanchine at his best. But it's a beloved work that sells well as an evening-long full-length, and I think I'm probably in the minority in thinking the ballet could use tightening. Edited to add: In the wedding act, does Hippolyta always wear slightly darker tights than the rest of the women? I'm curious whether this was a choice to use tights that better match Pazcoguin's complexion; I know she's someone who is very engaged with issues of how dancers of color are represented onstage. It was subtle and I don't think I would have noticed except it made her white point shoes and ribbons stand out more. I was reminded of this article where Olivia Boisson says NYCB is becoming more attuned to issues like these.
  23. I don't wish Garcia any ill, but I really hope Huxley dances tomorrow. But, especially if Garcia may be saying farewell to this role, perhaps they are waiting till the last second to see if he can go on. I hope this is the last season that NYCB casts him in virtuoso roles for which he's no longer suited. They seem to have at least faced the music with Veyette's current state, so that gives me hope.
  24. I agree, but I feel this is less of an issue in the mixed rep programs, where the current crop of dancers have really shined and danced at a very high level. It's more of a let-down for me in the full-lengths; I miss wanting to see 3+ casts to catch all those great performers.
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