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laurel

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About laurel

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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    fan/avid balletgoer
  • City**
    New York
  • State (US only)**, Country (Outside US only)**
    New York

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  1. Lena, of course you are right. Management never fails to disappoint me. And of course, Erica Cornejo is Herman Cornejo's all-time favorite partner, so it will make the anniversary even more of a special event for him. Their duet is what I'm most looking forward to that evening.
  2. In the past, Cornejo has referred to Lane as "a great artist." They first performed together in T&V during the spring of 2005 (it was a debut for both; he was a new principal, she was still in the corps). Yet despite his opinion of her artistry, either he preferred, or acceded to the wishes of management, to cast two soloists and a principal with limited skills and emotional range in his "Apollo" performance, rather than her. Cornejo is one of the greatest dancers I've ever seen, anywhere; I used to refer to him as a modern-day Nijinsky. Yet this decision has caused me to lose a large amount of respect for him, especially since I don't see how this situation could be justified in any way. There are simply too many excuses for poor judgment. Which is why I prefer to think that it was management's decision. The AD's bizarre attitude towards Lane has cost her far too much, including her own Swan Lake performance and her dream role, Juliet. I hope the spring season holds good things for her, but for now, I'm pretty bummed.
  3. I have no doubt that Forster and Ahn will be cast as Siegfried in Detroit. If Forster is teamed with Shevchenko, then I hope the two of them will be teamed again in New York in the spring. If that happens, that would be a cast no one would want to miss. I saw them perform in the Nutcracker last year and they were spectacular together, bringing out the best in one another. At last, a reason to look forward to the spring season! As for Copeland, I'm very much looking forward to the day she announces her retirement from ABT. Enough is enough.
  4. One of the most glaring instances of a miscast ballet I’ve ever experienced was ABT’s performance of Valse-Fantasie a number of years ago, with Hee Seo and James Whiteside, one too large, the other too lethargic. Neither dancer had the technique, speed or precision the ballet requires. Both were exhausted and looked ghastly, as if they might collapse at any moment. Thankfully, tonight’s performance of Valse-Fantasie with Daniel Ulbricht and Erica Pereira finally allowed me to experience this ballet as it was intended. Buoyant and fluid, both flew across the stage as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Until tonight, I’d no idea how light and joyous this ballet could be. It was a pleasure to see two great Balanchine artists perform the choreography so beautifully. Now I understand! My thanks! The rest of tonight’s performances just got better and better. This was my first viewing of Kammermusik No. 2, and I loved it. It’s sort of my childhood concept of a Balanchine ballet, and combined with the beautiful Hindemith score, I just relaxed as a soft wave of modernist nostalgia washed over me. The four soloists, Emilie Gerrity, Unity Phelan, Jovani Furlan and Peter Walker, were superb. Emilie Gerrity was marvelous tonight, and I hope to see more of her in the future. How appropriate to see Union Jack tonight, on the same day the British Parliament reconvened in the midst of their nation’s own political crisis. What a great ballet! The standouts for me were Sterling Hyltin (Dress MacDonald), Sara Mearns (MacDonald of Sleat), and Teresa Reichlin (WRENS). I thought Hyltin was especially outstanding; she danced with great panache and verve, both in Rubies last week as well as tonight. I wish I had the time to see this program again; it was a real knockout performance and an absolute pleasure. So enjoying NYC Ballet’s fall season!
  5. Very pleased for Forster, it's about time he was cast in a classical leading role. But he needs to make his debut at the Met; it would presage a promotion. I'd assumed that both Lane and Brandt would be dancing in Durham. Many of my family members have migrated to Chapel Hill, and I'd planned to take anyone who was interested to see either one of them perform. Just so they could see why I make such a fuss over great classical dancing. Unfortunately, ABT has put the kibosh on those plans. How could I have imagined they'd allow Lane to dance when Copeland, Seo and Boylston will always stand in her way and get first dibs? In a role she dances ten times better than any of them! If management had any tendencies toward creative thinking, they might have thought it best to show off their top classical dancers for the NC audience, not their weakest. (Though I do understand why Murphy and Abrera will be dancing.) Yes, Copeland sells tickets, but the tri-city audiences have been buying tickets to these performances since they went on sale, for every night, not knowing who would be cast. They don't care who's dancing, they just want to see the show. Both Lane and Brandt can dance with anyone; Simkin's absence shouldn't make a difference in casting. But it does, because mgmt. is stodgy and contrary. Well, once again, my thanks to ABT for helping me save my money! Much appreciated!
  6. Just returned from “Program C” tonight at the Joyce Ballet Festival, which I enjoyed much more than last week’s Program B. Gemma Bond’s piece “Then and Again” opened tonight’s program, and I thought it was terrific. Bond really knows how to move her dancers around the stage, and her choreography was not repetitive, forced, or trite. Unlike other emerging choreographers, I think Bond actually has something to say, and does so in a clear and expressive manner, and without the need for repetitive steps. The lighting design was also used to great advantage, as the dancers’ shadows played on and off the back wall, filling the stage with intangible movement. If there was a highlight of the evening, probably it was “Song of a Wayfarer” with Joseph Gordon and David Hallberg. These two very different principal dancers, each at a differing point in his career, made those variables work for the piece, with Gordon as the young artist struggling against the blows and vagaries of Hallberg’s capricious spirit of Destiny. It was quite moving, due mostly, I think, to the presence of Hallberg, who dances so rarely in NY nowadays, and still has such impeccable technique and gorgeous lines. At the end, as Hallberg’s Destiny pulled Gordon into the upstage darkness, I could only think that this too has happened to Hallberg, his destiny pulling him elsewhere, leaving NY behind him with only a kind of darkness left in his wake. Gordon and Hallberg took two curtain calls (!), with many standing in appreciation. The final piece, MacMillan’s “Elite Syncopations,” was reduced in size to six dancers and six rags, but was still a joy. Capturing the slyness and elegance both of ragtime and early 20th century dance, it proved a real crowd-pleaser and an upbeat way to end a wonderful summer evening. The cast included ABT’s Cassandra Trenary, who had performed earlier in Gemma Bond’s “Then and Again.” Trenary is one of those unusual dancers with the ability to move easily between dance styles, and this piece really suited both her affinity for modernism as well as her sense of playfulness. She looked right at home. Disagree strongly about the need for an extra intermission during this program. One 20-minute intermission was far too much as it was! But with so many people racing outside for a cigarette break, I assume that one, at least, was a necessity in this situation.
  7. Congratulations to Herman and Maria, and thanks for the podcast link. I love this kind of good news! So looking forward to Herman's 20th anniversary program.
  8. As ABT Fan notes above, Lane and Cornejo have indeed performed T&V many times in the past. Lane has several (blurry) clips posted on her Youtube page, featuring the two of them in rehearsal for T&V in 2011 at the State Academic Bolshoi Theater in Russia with Susan Jaffe coaching. This is the longest of the clips.
  9. I'd chip in $12.50 or even $20.50 for that. For the extra confetti fund to celebrate the arrival of new management the company so desperately needs.
  10. I attended the two Lane-Cornejo performances of the Sleeping Beauty this past week, as well as Saturday’s Trenary-Gorak performance. For me, regarding this company at least, Lane and Cornejo are the nonpareil interpreters of Aurora and the Prince. I think it helps that these two dancers connect personally and always propel one another further. As reported earlier, Lane did have some balance problems in the Rose Adagio, but she never fell off point, and her dancing was gorgeous as always. In the petit allegro following, her feet were flying, as if she were weaving cloth out of air. Her pin-prick collapse scene was as realistic and (almost) as startling as her Giselle collapse. Cornejo’s ferocious brise variation in Act III was as astonishing as everyone has said. One of the things I love about these two is their incorporation of logical character development throughout a performance. Lane’s Aurora travels from buoyant teenager to yearning dreamer to more mature royal ruler. Bored and unhappy, Cornejo’s Prince is pulled from ennui by the Lilac Fairy and Aurora’s vision to happiness at last, embodied by that magnificent pas de deux. On both nights, this gave their Act II Vision Scene a special poignancy, with the Prince unable to reach Aurora, and she unable to let him do so. It was fantastic. I haven’t seen Trenary in this role before now, but on Saturday she was as light and fresh as I’d imagined. She’s a fine actress, and likes to give herself bits of business to develop character. In this instance, however, her choices may have been a bit much, because her Aurora appeared a rather knowing girl, tossing flirty glances to her suitors. In Act II’s vision scene, her image of Aurora flirted with the Prince. Trenary’s dancing is very crisp and clear, but she, too, had difficulty with the balances, both in the Rose Adagio as well as the Act II seashell pose, in which she swayed back and forth in order to maintain balance. Gorak’s performance was very good, though it seemed rather one-note. His Prince appeared to be having a good time during the hunt, and not at all yearning for love. Though he did fine work in the grand pas de deux, his brises was nowhere near as furious and complex as Cornejo’s. (How could they be? He’s not Cornejo.), and his jumps were low. But his partnering seems to have improved; he did not lose his grip nor drop Trenary or anything remotely close to it. What troubles me is the nonstop critical reportage, both from fans and alleged professional writers, of this beautiful production, which has continued nonstop since its premiere four years ago. No one likes the reconstruction, it’s too old fashioned, it isn’t exciting, the costumes are bulky, the costumes are ugly, etc. etc. I adore this production; I love the pageantry, the grandeur, the attempt to place you and your mind in a time capsule and give you a view of a different way of dance and life. Possibly that’s too much to ask of people these days, when imagination is a scarce commodity. I’m also sorry people do not understand the language of clothes, as the costumes contain information regarding character which, alas, is of no concern to audiences. By the way, many if not most of the wigs appear to be new, made of natural colors, and cut in styles more pleasing to the modern eye. I guess no one noticed this either. My concern is that the AD will use all the criticism for this production to return to the old one, the one with his name on it, or even a more modern one, but I hope Ratmansky’s reputation will negate this idea. I could attend another week’s worth of performances of this production and never be bored. Did anyone else spot Paloma Herrara in the front row of the audience on Tuesday night? She looked wonderful, and was doing a lot of meeting and greeting and appeared to be having a great time. I don’t think I’d ever seen her smile during her performance days (she was so stoic on stage), at least not this broadly. On Tuesday her face was alight with enjoyment.
  11. A true Swan Queen! Love this.
  12. Surely no one really believes that Copeland actually had "the flu"?? Influenza remains a deadly disease that kills/hospitalizes thousands every year. If you contract the flu, it will flatten you; it affects your breathing, you can barely move. If Copeland had the flu she would not have been standing upright, much less able to dance on a stage.
  13. Thanks, FauxPas, for that exciting report. Next week's two Lane-Cornejo Sleeping Beauty performances should be outstanding. I hope Lane does not turn into Copeland's permanent Black Swan stand-in after tonight. Lane must have her own pre-scheduled four-act Swan Lake; it's long overdue. Copeland can't handle two complete performances? Give one to Lane. Please. We need this!
  14. Lane will be dancing with Cornejo again, and he knows how to support her and offer her confidence. After her fouette issue two years ago, she'll never make the same mistake again, and either will sweep through the sequence or have a graceful exit planned. I think she'll be just fine.
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