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Everything posted by fondoffouettes

  1. Yes, I'm not usually bothered by shoe noise, but I've never heard such a squeak-fest in my entire ballet-going life. It was super distracting, especially in the adagio. I overall enjoyed Scotch Symphony. It was a very strong debut from Gordon, and his variation in the third movement was spectacular. I'm just not sure I really liked him and Bouder together, especially in the adagio. She's a bit overpowering and, to me, doesn't have the delicacy I'd want to see in that sylph-like role. It made me wonder what Gordon would look like with someone like Indiana Woodward. I did miss the lifts; the music builds to a climax, and I don't think cautiously lowering Bouder to the ground matches it (but I can certainly understand why dancers would forgo such a risky move, especially when the man is dancing the ballet for the first time). Baily Jones matched the positive descriptions of her up-thread; she was joyful, light, delightful. I thought the corps looked great, too. Alec Knight was a standout as one of the two demi-soloists -- every move was done big, with such panache. I agree with Leah about Meghan Fairchild. Duo Concertante isn't a favorite of mine either, but Fairchild has given some of my favorite performances of it, both tonight and when she danced it in the past with Russell Janzen. Anthony Huxley -- wow -- fast, sharp, so musical. I can find the spotlit ending a bit precious and overly sentimental, but his tenderness in this section was quite beautiful. While I would have loved to have seen Peck in Sonatine, I thought the role fit Lovette so well; she sparkled in it. I know some have felt that Lovette has struggled to find rep at NYCB that suits her, but this felt like just the sort of role that brought out the best in her. Garcia was just OK. It definitely suited his abilities better than the high-octane bravura roles that NYCB continues to (inexplicably) cast him in. But his dancing seemed effortful at times, and it looked like he struggled to pull off a decent arabesque. And at times his leg positions were just sloppy. A an all-around great performance Stravinksy Violin Concerto. The highlight was Kowroski and Danchig-Waring in the first aria. Both danced like artists at the top of their games. Danchig-Waring looks just as good as before his injury, and Kowroski ... you'd think she were at the zenith of her career, rather than nearing the end.
  2. It was my first time seeing Scotch Symphony this evening, and Bouder/Gordon’s performance was a bit of a mixed bag (more to come later). I’m mostly familiar with the ballet’s adagio from the Bell Telephone Hour clip of Maria Tallchief, which includes those thrilling tosses of her through the air. Tonight, there were no tosses. Is that standard nowadays? Are the tosses ever done? Tonight the corps boys just lifted Bouder, and then Gordon took her in his arms and lowered her. I must admit I was disappointed not to see them, and I figured Bouder, more than anyone, would be game to be tossed!
  3. For me, the Rothbart role can be a guilty pleasure when performed well (which is the case less than half the time, I'd say). But I agree with your assessment of its artistic merits. The Russian music is fantastic, so slinky and seductive, but maybe it could be used for Odile in some way; wasn't there an article in the NYT a couple years ago stating that that music was original written for her? One thing I do like about ABT's production is how Act III runs right into Act IV and omits all the extra music added by Petipa to Act IV, which I find does not fit the score at all and totally defuses the tension. If only ABT could find a way to do the scene change quickly enough to avoid that dreadful front-of-curtain choreography for the swans. I'd even be in favor of omitting the reconciliation pas de deux and just playing Act IV as written by Tchaikovsky; I think it's pure perfection as he wrote it, packing an emotional wallop. After Act III, I think it make sense to be brought quickly to the tragic finale, rather than inserting lots of extra corps dancing or even that relatively brief extra pas de deux for Odette and Siegfried. I argue for this not based on any sense of authenticity (the 1877 version is lost, after all); I just think it makes dramatic and musical sense. Yes, I think she's the most exciting O/O at ABT at the moment.
  4. There's also the whole D.C. hotel damage incident and inability to perform due to substance abuse. I think it's possible NYCB could have made the case for firing Finlay. It seems Catazaro has found rep that better suits his abilities. Of the three, he seemed the least involved in all of this (at least based on the Waterbury filing and what was reported in the press), so I'm glad he's been able to move on. I can't imagine what it will be like for Ramasar to return to the company, with the leadership apparently not wanting him to return and some dancers presumably still uncomfortable with his presence. I suppose the company has no obligation to cast him, only to cut him a paycheck... If you're texting nude photos of colleagues and explicit messages with your colleagues, it has something to do with work.
  5. It does appear she is going back to basics with him and may be working on revamping her technique. This could explain the apparent strain in lifting her legs in that other video, if she's indeed approaching things in an entirely new way. In this other video, he basically recommends that Copeland embrace her hyperextension, rather try to hide it, in order to perform fouettés.
  6. Is she working through an injury? Why is she having so much trouble lifting her legs, particularly her left leg?
  7. I hope Klein gets at least one of the Met dates, since he had to bow out of his Met date last year (if I'm remembering correctly). Somewhat off-topic, but wow, that snippet of the Strauss score sounds ravishing in the piano transcription. I feel like it's been ages since I've seen Luciana Paris in a tutu role, so I'm glad to hear she's getting that opportunity now that she's back from maternity leave.
  8. Couldn't they keep the physical production for Sleeping Beauty but make some tweaks to the choreography so that it's no longer a Martins production? I think this is what ABT did with Baryshnikov's Don Q, right?
  9. Gordon had a smashing debut this afternoon. He was rock solid in adagio of the Act II pas de deux, but while the fish dives were perfectly clean, they didn't have the super-fast snap that can make them so exciting. He was bounding with energy in his variation, which was beautifully executed. He's one of those dancers who can dance so impressively without any look-at-met affectations. What a prince. I agree with others' assessments that Lovette is very well-suited to Aurora, so warm and graceful. She fully inhabited her character in the Rose Adagio, rather than making it a series of tricks; but she did have mixed results with the balances. You never knew what you were going to get with each individual balance, and you could read Lovette's reactions to the balances on her face (which was very endearing). She had a couple very iffy moments in the second set of balances. Overall, I really enjoyed Lovette as Aurora, but there was very little change in character between the birthday, vision and wedding scenes. She was pretty much the same Aurora throughout. Yes, the tempi are extremely fast for the fairies and precious stones, but I think Martins' choreography is equally to blame for the herky-jerky quality of the dancing in these sections. I really enjoyed Emilie Gerrity as the fairy of tenderness and felt the faster tempo suited this variation, which can sometimes have a plodding quality. Miriam Miller has an expansive, expressive upper body, but she was a rather bland Lilac Fairy. And she had her fair share of bobbles. I agree with Vipa about the bluebird pas de deux. Schumacher seemed unable, perhaps because he's simply too short, to partner King. And I was so disappointed by Schumacher's absolute lack of ballon in his solo dancing. King could have really shone with a different partner.
  10. Mearns still seems to be going full-throttle in the rest of her rep, so it's hard to imagine she's at the point where she could no longer pull off the role from a technical standpoint. I think Lilac can be a good role for more senior ballerinas, depending on the difficulty level of prologue variation, which really seems to vary from production to production. Reichlen is a year or two older than Mearns, and I believe LeCrone, who is debuting the role this season, is, as well. So maybe it's just a matter of Mearns or management feeling it's time to move on and give others a chance. Mearns writes in the comments: "my time with [the role] is done. I want to remember the amazing years I had with it, not the years where I was hanging on for some emotional reason." Someone upthread mentioned that Mearns had talked about dancing both Carabosse and Lilac Fairy this season, and NYCB produced this video of her discussing both roles. I wonder what happened.
  11. I've never seen the male principal struggle to get through Sleeping Beauty from a stamina standpoint. The variation in the wedding act is of course devilishly difficult and fast, but the rest of the role is mostly partnering, and he doesn't even appear until the hunt/vision scene. I'm not saying it's a walk in the park, but the ballet is so much more of an endurance test for the ballerina. I can't remember if the NYCB version throws in extra solo dancing for the man, though; does it?
  12. Yeah, not sure. Here's the post from Ashley Hod's account for anyone who isn't on Instagram. And Veyette has deleted all past posts from his own account. Now that I look at the casting sheets, I see he wasn't cast in anything this winter season. I guess I assumed that they were phasing him out of roles that no longer suited him, but I didn't realize he'd been completely absent.
  13. I know this is being billed as a "partnership" but it might just amount to several guesting gigs throughout the year. The fact the Hammoudi and Brandt are doing the Romeo and Juliet PDD seems to indicate that they are only going to be sending small numbers of dancers, and not staging pieces that would require lots of company members (but who knows?). If this is providing some extra income to the dancers, then I don't think it is necessarily a bad idea. Given their upcoming performance schedule, I assume the ABT dancers may be in a layoff period at the moment, and they may appreciate the extra employment. I do hope the main beneficiaries of this arrangement are the dancers...
  14. Sean Suozzi seems to be another soloist who has been completely absent, and not cast in any Sleeping Beauties. Is he injured? I should have checked the dates. It was actually three weeks during which she wasn't cast at all.
  15. Ashley Laracey’s thoughts on not being cast for the first four weeks of the winter season. Unless she’s been dealing with an injury, I find it puzzling that she has been so underutilized. I’d happily see more of Laracey and less of dancers like Stafford and LeCrone.
  16. I just can't imagine LeCrone exuding the warmth and benevolence of Lilac Fairy...
  17. It appears Huxley went on for Janzen this evening.
  18. How did Reichlen fair in her second outing of Piano Concerto No. 2 last night? Any more oomph to her dancing?
  19. I'm thinking that may be the case. This was actually my first time seeing her in the role and I expected it to suit her really well; I figured her sometimes cool aloofness would actually serve her well for such a regal role. And I don't think there is anything in the role that's beyond her technical capabilities. Perhaps, for whatever reason, it was a performance where she simply had to get through the choreography as best she could and didn't have the capacity to bring that extra something to the role. I can fully imagine her blowing the doors off of it!
  20. Yes, it seems they were introduced in fall 2016, based on this article: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/14/arts/dance/new-york-city-ballets-fall-season-bursts-with-talent.html The lighter panels were there in the pre-refurbishment costumes, but they blend in and serve to highlight the legs beneath: The costume shop is usually so rigorous about recreating Karinska's intentions. Could she have really wanted these thick lemony panels that detract from the dancers' legs?
  21. I attended today's matinee and the highlight for me was Mozartiana. I didn't much care for Hyltin's Preghiera -- it lacked the expansive, spiritual, otherworldly quality you might hope for -- but I also think this section could benefit from being played a hair more slowly by the orchestra. (I know NYCB is all about speed, but I think the ballerina could use a little more room to luxuriate in some of the steps and poses.) Hyltin, and especially Huxley (wow!), were excellent in the Theme and Variations. With Finlay's unfocused performance still fresh in my mind, Huxley's incisive, lightning-quick dancing was all the more impressive. Hyltin danced very, very well, though I'd like to see her play more with her phrasing and the way she accents some of the steps. It felt a little by-the-book at times. Schumacher captured the jaunty spirit of his role, though I thought his dancing looked a bit small-scale at times. My eyes were glued to Kikta during the entire Minuet; perhaps someday she'll make a great lead in Mozartiana. Something odd happened in the orchestra during the Minuet, by the way; the orchestra cut out right before a repeat they were supposed to play. The women kept dancing, and then the orchestra came back in; not sure what happened. Lovette made a strong debut as the Waltz Girl, despite one pirouette that really got away from her. Hopefully her characterization will become more fully fleshed-out with more performances. I've seen Hyltin and Mearns be transcendent in the role, and Lovette still has a ways to go. The first male principal is a good role for Ask la Cour at this stage of his career; his partnering looked solid, and in the limited amount of solo dancing he looked just fine. (Also, he looks trim and fit in that rather unforgiving costume; it was probably smart to avoid casting an Angle brother in the role.) Sanz did very well in the second male role, though you could perhaps see the concentration on his face as he dealt with some of the partnering. Gerrity wasn't a particularly memorable Dark Angel, though she acquitted herself well. The way she covered Sanz's eyes looked odd, as if she were gripping his face; maybe she's too short to do it any other way. Bouder was my favorite part of the performance; it's a great role for her, and her dancing looked so big and free. No mugging whatsoever, not that you'd expect it in this role. The yellow-beige tulle panels in the front of the refurbished costumes were so distracting! They didn't even seem like they were having the intended effect of making the dancers' legs more visible through the skirts. Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of my all-time favorite ballets, so I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually felt bored at times watching today's performance. I'm not sure it's a great role for Reichlen. Yes, she certainly looks very regal and glamorous, but I was missing a bit of energy, dramatic presence, or something from her. Perhaps she has to work so hard to get those long, beautiful limbs to cooperate with the choreography, that it doesn't give her much room to focus on being interesting from a musical standpoint. Yes, she danced well, but it felt a bit bloodless to me. I've been among those who've been critical of the Angle brothers (Jared more than Tyler), but Tyler Angle's dancing was excellent throughout. LeCrone was solid as the second ballerina. The new costumes are a mixed bag. I love the overall color palette -- dusky blues and metallics -- but I do think the two lead ballerinas' bodices are overly encrusted. They look like armor, which was only further reinforced by their rectangular shape. I'm also puzzled by the decision to put the two demi-soloist women in heavily encrusted bodices, as well. This was distracting in the second movement, when they link arms (along with the other eight women) with the principal man. I wish the men's costumes could have been designed in a way that would work with white tights. Between the dark brocade vests and navy blue tights, the corps men really faded into the background (also blue). And I can only imagine how hard it would have been to see their legs from, say, the fourth ring. This was especially disappointing in the finale, when, usually, it's overwhelming and exciting to see all those legs working in unison, but really only the women popped. I do think the corps women's costumes were just about perfect; not overly ornate. But overall, I don't think all the costumes worked together harmoniously, and it all just felt a bit dark and heavy. I wasn't crazy about the previous costumes, but I feel like the new ones really diminish the poetry of this piece. I hope NYCB considers some alterations now that they see how the costumes read onstage, and how they don't really work together as a whole.
  22. This video of Nilas Martins from 1993 shows him performing that section on his heels, while Guerin just barely does the steps on her heels: Here, in 1968, Farrell dances on her heels but Martins doesn't: And in this 1960 clip, both d'Amboise and Adams don't dance on their heels: I guess it must be one of those details of Apollo that has morphed over time, either because of Balanchine's tinkering or the way the steps have been passed down. I prefer the look of the passage as danced by Farrell and Martins.
  23. Wonderful news! The current costumes are so similar to the Tchai Pas and Allegro Brillante costumes, while the ballet seems to call for something grander. I assume with a bodice that ornate they must be going with tutus rather than chiffon skirts.
  24. No, if they had wanted to go with someone in-house, I think they might have considered Forster or Royal, both of whom have partnered Shevchenko in the past. By all accounts, Forster pulled off the showy lifts in Nutcracker beautifully. But the company seems to have such limited capacity to coach new roles. I agree that I don't think Mack is being brought in as a box-office draw. I didn't mean to sound disparaging when I noted Mack is a former dancer from a regional company (there's nothing wrong with dancing at a regional company!), but I don't really think of him as an international star, though I may be in the minority. He seems to be more a fixture of the gala circuit rather than someone who appears frequently as a guest in full-lengths; ENO would seem to be one of his most prominent guesting gigs so far, though I believe he has also appeared in full-lengths with the national ballet companies of Ukraine and Georgia. But would I look forward to seeing Mack? Absolutely! It feels like it's been ages since I've looked forward to seeing a new Conrad at ABT. Stearns and Whiteside do nothing for me in the role. Mack's jump looks to be huge.
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