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Everything posted by fondoffouettes

  1. Thanks, California. And I didn’t realize it was a debut.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. And apparently 540s are still on the agenda, too. I can't believe how light and easy he makes them look...
  8. 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?
  9. In case you aren't following Simkin on Instagram, this is what he may attempt for his manege in the pas de trois:
  10. 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?
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. I would have given anything to see her in T&V again! I have my fingers crossed she'll be back soon; based on her Instagram, she's been quite active off-stage, so hopefully it's just a matter of rest.
  18. They might as well repurpose the Nutcracker Act II set, which looked more like a garden than a fantastical land of sweets (I'm mostly joking).
  19. I'd like to echo others and say that Pollack was really great in The Times are Racing. I thought Applebaum and Stanley were beautiful in the pas de deux, and while I suppose it could be just as effective with a male-female pair, I loved how it was danced by the two men. This was my first time seeing the piece, or any Peck piece for that matter, and I really enjoyed it. I liked having a contemporary piece as part of a mostly Balanchine program, rather than having to attend an all-21st-century-choreographers program to see Peck's work. This made it such a perfect piece for her a farewell. Bouder and Ball were superb in Stars and Stripes. What can make Bouder irksome in some other ballets is what makes her so well-suited to this type of wink-and-grin ballet. And her dancing was truly impressive. Ball looked at ease throughout all the bravura dancing and soared through the super fast tempi with ease. I can see why Kowroski or Mearns might be more effective in Slaughter, but I thought Tess was very good. It was noted by someone that her extensions hadn't look so hot in a previous performance, but they were excellent this afternoon. She came out of her shell more than I expected. Veyette was fine in this sort of role and it didn't expose too many of his weaknesses. Ulbricht was perfect in Tarantella; just the right combo of virtuosity and earthiness, with flair to spare. It was nice to see Pereira in this role. As has been noted before, she can sometimes be outshone by other ballerinas when she's sharing the stage, but here she got the opportunity to show how strong she is technically. Ulbricht's performance had so much oomph that he sort of stole the show, but Pereira managed to hold her own. Shout out to Hoxha, who was excellent in Stars and Stripes, as well as in Slaughter, in which he danced one of the police officers.
  20. What a poignant note; you really never know what struggles a dancer may be dealing with. This may have already been posted elsewhere, but it looks like she just graduated summa cum laude from Fordham and is off to pursue an MFA in animation at CalArts. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ashly-isaacs-35699389
  21. I think the current dancers could certainly do it justice, and then some. Shevchenko/Brandt/Royal/Shayer have delivered absolutely electric performances of the third section, for example. I also think Serenade after Plato's Symposium is among his strongest works for the company, with the PDD unfortunately being a real low point in the piece. Though it's only one part of a larger work, I consider Ratmansky's Waltz of the Snowflakes to be one of his masterpieces for ABT.
  22. I quite liked some of the sketches Robert Perdziola posted, but I'm less fond of the finished products (based on photos alone), which look a bit garish and cheap. All of his other work I can find online seems to be very traditional/historicizing, so maybe these Seasons costumes were a departure for him. Some of them do have a sort of modern-day Ballet Russe vibe to them, though, so I'm guessing he may have still been drawing upon some historical references.
  23. I'd add Davidsbündlertänze to the list of scenic/costume design that perhaps deserves to be reconsidered. I've always thought it kind of looks like a cheesy music video from the 80s, the type that would employ lots of soft filters. I was disappointed Marc Happel's redesign for Piano Concerto No. 2 (they just didn't pop onstage), but I think he's incredibly talented and would love to see him be given a shot at some of these ballets. I agree that I'd put Suite No. 3 at the top of the list, though the company may not feel the same, as they've recently rebuilt all the T&V costumes (per the video above).
  24. I wonder if it's some effort to recreate the original look of the costume. At 1:57 in the video below, there's briefly a picture of (I believe) Darci Kistler wearing a costume with that "super hero" bodice. Theme and Variations deserves better costumes, period. The company should take stock of poor costume/scenic choices from the 70s and 80s and figure out something better.
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